York Boat

York Boat, named for the Hudson's Bay CO's York Factory; one of 3 types of inland boats (the others being scows and sturgeon-heads) used by the HBC, and the most suitable for lake travel. Boatbuilders recruited from the Orkney Is built the first boat about 1749, for use on the Albany R. In competition inland with the NWC on the Saskatchewan R in the 1790s the York boat offered the HBC a distinct advantage, since it carried twice the cargo of a canot du nord (see Canoe) with the same number of crew; it was less easily damaged by ice and was safer in storms.

The typical boat had a 9.1 m keel and overall length of 12.6 m, beam 2.7 m and inside depth of 0.9 m. It carried 6 to 8 tripmen and a cargo of over 2700 kg. By the late 18th century the HBC had boat-building stations from James Bay to Ft Chipewyan, and in 1795 York boats were first built at Ft Edmonton. In the early 20th century York boats were of 3 sizes, "60 pieces" (2700 kg), "100 pieces" (4535 kg) and "120 pieces" (5440 kg). By the 1920s the York boat had passed from service.