Peter Pond newsletter :: May 2008 :: #33

Peter Pond

Peter Pond


ITE The David Thompson Brigade of 16 six to eight-eight-person voyageur canoes recently got underway on a 63-day 1,200-mile (3,600 kilometers) paddling voyage to commemorate the great mapmaker's Bicentennial. Word has it they plan to "toast" fellow mapmaker Peter Pond as they paddle by the Peter Pond National Historic Site just west of Prince Albert, SK, around May 24. It'll take that long to reach PA on the North Saskatchewan River after the brigade departed Rocky Mountain House, AB, on the same river May 10. PA has scheduled a four-day celebration for the brigade May 23-26. The whole trip is expected to end July 12, in time for the annual Great Rendezvous at the Old Fort William restored fur trading post on Lake Superior at Thunder Bay, ON. The brigade celebrates the great voyageur lore and colorful fur trade era as this website does. For background on the Peter Pond site see: Peter Pond Society1, "News of the Peter Pond Cairn" between Peter Pond Society13 and 14, and Peter Pond Societyer Sharon Thomson's fascinating article as a PDF on the dwindling archaeological value of the site as the river gradually erodes the riverbank and washes away artifacts).
Peter Pond Societyer Darin Zandee and eight members of the Borealis Canoe Club, Fort McMurray, AB, are paddling one of the canoes plus overall shot of canoes launching). He has set up a blog for the trip.

The David Thompson Brigade has a website.
Peter Pond made the first detailed map of Canada west of Hudson's Bay. Thompson's came later and was much more accurate.

Pat McDonald of Rocky Mountain House, a Peter Pond Societyer who maintains a fine website on DT sent me this message on May 10, the day the voyageurs departed from a snow covered shore with ice chunks flowing down the river:

Bill- the voyageurs did get the message and will definitely toast Peter Pond hwen they arrive there. Will try to get a pic as well but if the Ft MacMurray crew is there they will probably do same. Send off from RMH was this morning.( Sat.) Pat


Seeing that my website is predicated on a love of canoeing, non-Canadians should see how much an icon that craft has become in Canada. I'm envious that a National Canoe Day is being proposed for July 26 by the Canadian Canoe Museum of Peterborough, ON. The museum is unique of its kind in North America. A national poll in May 2007 conducted by CBC Radio and TV saw the canoe voted one of the seven wonders of Canada (along with the Igloo, Niagara Falls, Old Quebec City, Pier 21, Prairie Skies and Rocky Mountains). And the Canoe Museum had a good turnout on a nearby lake when it held a canoe party the Thursday before Canada Day July 1. It will hold the party again this year and is urging other such parties across Canada or just going out and paddle… with destinations that could include parliament or provincial or territorial legislatures. The museum's executive director is James Raffan, mentioned in the last newsletter as author of a new book on Hudson's Bay Co. legendary governor Sir George Simpson. I liked the book and Raffan makes sure to mention more than once that Sir George was never happier than when he was in a canoe being paddled to far-flung HBC outposts.


You'll remember in Peter Pond Society31 my surprise at receiving an email from Carol Hassem, a descendant of Jean Etienne Waden whom Peter Pond was accused of murdering, though never convicted, in March 1782. This was at Lake La Ronge, SK by today's Waden Bay where a stone marker that is missing its plaque commemorates the deed. She referred Toronto genealogist Liane Kennedy, researching the Waden family, to me to compare notes. Though Liane gave me a fine timeline of Jean Etienne's life, I had little to offer. If anyone wants a copy of the timeline, please ask. Liane did say she'll try to track down a copy of "Fur Trading on the Churchill," said to be Waden's memoirs and in a few private hands in England. The rare book was published with the help of Patrick Small, father of Charlotte Small, metis wife of David Thompson. Liane has "a few ideas in play" toward locating the book as she talks about this and other topics in the following message emailed March 17, 2008:

Thanks! I had found Carol's contribution to the Peter Pond Society - that's how I located her. I had read Mary Larrat Smith's book on the Bethunes and have actually included your quote (edt. in Peter Pond Society31) from her book in my research (with proper attribution). I have spoken with several Waden decendants of Marie-Josephe/Josette/Jane Waden who married Alan Morrison - several lines settled on the White Earth Ojibway reservation in Minnesota, although some are also located on the Rosebud Sioux Nation in South Dakota. I do admin work for a descendant of Veronique Waden who married Rev. John Bethune, Sr. So Carol's contribution completes the trio. There was a fourth daughter who died in infancy. I am working with Christ Church in Montreal to find out if any more children were born.

Here is what I have on Waden and his wife, Marie-Josephe Deguire dit Larose. You are welcome to print the information but would appreciate the credit and the name and e-mail contact information for my company given as attribution.

I have read Mary Larrat Smith's book but have not found a copy of "Fur Trading on the Churchill" either. Have a few ideas in play and will let you know if any of them pan out.

As an aside, have you read this commentary. It illustrates perfectly how much work we have to do in teaching Canadians about the importance of the fur trade in our development as a nation.

Have a good week.
Best regards,
Liane Kennedy

J. Liane Kennedy
Kennedy Administrative & Research Services
One Clarendon Avenue, Suite 502
Toronto, Ontario M4V 1H8 Canada<

T 416.200.7070


A long newsletter by an Australian investment counselor cited in the last paragraph above says the North West Company helped create Canada by extending commerce all the way to the Pacific Ocean. But it also laments the fact that no Norwesters like Simon McTavish, Alexander Mackenzie and yes, Jean Etienne Waden, made the top 10 or even top 100 in another CBC national poll, this one taken in 2004. The top 10, from top down, were: Tommy Douglas, Terry Fox, Pierre Trudeau, Sir Frederick Banting, David Suzuki, Lester Pearson, Don Cherry, Sir John Macdonald, Alexander Graham Bell, and Wayne Gretsky (sic). The article makes interesting bedtime reading. It was written by Chris Leithner and appeared in The Leithner Letter, 26 May 2005, Issue 65. It was published by Leithner and Company Pty Ltd., a private investment company in Brisbane, Australia, that "caters primarily to professional and sophisticated investors."


Graham MacDonald just sent me an email that the book on Prince Albert National Park, SK, that includes our photo of Peter Pond's Beaver Club medal has been published.

Dear Bill:
I am glad to announce that the book on Prince Albert National Park is now published. Thanks again to you and your associates for use of the medal photo. I think it came out quite well in the book. I believe you wanted information on ordering. I attach an information sheet below which we send to bookstores. I do not have a supply in hand here in Victoria, but if you or others wish to order through any better book store, they should be able to order it through our wholesale distributer Mr. Blum, who operates Alpine in Canmore, Alberta. Being a wholesaler however, he does not supply individuals directly. The suggested retail price is $25.00 Canadian.

Best wishes
Graham A. MacDonald
Victoria, B.C.

The book is entitled Waskesiu and its Neighbours: A Casual Illustrated History, by Graham A. MacDonald and Grit McCreath. It is available through Alpine Book Peddlers, 140-105 Bow Meadows Crescent, Canmore, AB T1W 2W8, Toll Free Phone: 866-748-2280, Fax: 866-978-2840, Phone (403) 678-2280, Fax: (403) 678-2840, email:

Peter Pond Society editor Bill McDonald

Au revoir,