Voyageur

   A voyageur was an adventurer who journeyed by canoe from Montréal to the interior to trade with Indians for furs. At the close of the 17th century, the term was applied to selected COUREURS DE BOIS, hired by Montréal merchants to arrange and sustain trading alliances with Indian bands. The term later included all FUR TRADE participants: the merchant (BOURGEOIS), his clerk (commis) and contracted servants (engagés). Today, the term "voyageur" suggests the romantic image of men paddling the canoes in the fur brigades which traversed much of the continent, living lives full of perilous adventure, gruelling labour and boisterous cameraderie.