By G.P. deT. Glazebrook

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When, in 1663, the two adventurers arrived back in Quebec with some hundreds of Indians and a great cargo of furs, they were heavily fined for illegal trading. Looking for a more profitable undertaking, they sought support in France without success. It is possible that the attitude of the French government was due to the distance of Hudso n Bay from the St. Lawrence and the fear of over-expansion. In England, however, they succeeded in enlisting the interest of Prince Rupert and some merchants, with the result that Groseilliers guided a ship in 1668 into the bay to which, half a century earlier, Henry Hudson had given his life and his name.

Apparently Frobisher was instructed to examine possible rou tes between Lake Ontario and Lake Huron. particularly by the Trent va lley, but he replied that, fro m what he could hear of the latter, it was impracticable. He still hoped, howcver, that so me alternative could be fo und to the dangerous Ottawa route, and mentioned that he had met several persons who had used th e Toronto portage. This, he thought, sounded by all accounts quite hopefuJ. 30 ]n 1788 Rocheblave, who had earlier asked fo r a grant of land at Toronto and al ong th e tine of the portage, petitioned for THE FUR TRADERS, 1763· 1821 - 39 a monopoly of carrying goods from Toronto to Lake Simcoe, by a road to be made.

3 1 While no result appears to have come from this petition, the road it assumed became one of Simcoe's dearest projects. He went over the whole route to Georgian Bay himself, and in 1796 was able to inform the council that Yonge Street was open to the navigable part of the Holland River. Thus the Toronto portage was removed from the line of the H umber ' east to Yonge Street, but though completed before the end of the century, there is no evidence that it was extensively used for the carriage of furs.

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A History of Transportation in Canada, Volume 1: Continental Strategy to 1867 by G.P. deT. Glazebrook


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