Welcome! You are viewing an archived issue of SaskSecrets, Tourism Saskatchewan's Online Newsletter, from April 2008. To read the current issue of SaskSecrets, click here.

The 2008 David Thompson Brigade

Sometimes described as the "greatest land geographer who ever lived", David Thompson (April 30, 1770 – February 10, 1857), was an English-Canadian fur trader, surveyor, and map-maker. Over his career he mapped over 3.9 million square kilometres of North America, including much of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba. 

Canoeing in Saskatchewan

Back then, the canoe played a vital role in the transportation of goods and people, and in the travels of new world explorers like David Thompson. Following his crossing of Howse Pass in June of 1807, David Thompson began his return trip in the spring of 1808 to report his findings to his partners in the North West Company.

This trip, and all of David Thompson’s remarkable achievements, is being celebrated as part of the David Thompson Bicentennial. Several events are planned over the next three years, including the 2008 David Thompson Brigade.

On May 10, 2008, over 160 participants will launch a brigade of canoes from Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site in Alberta and paddle through over 30 host communities through Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. This epic 63 day journey will cover 3600 km and end in Ontario at Old Fort William on July 12.

The Saskatchewan portion is scheduled to begin approximately May 18 as the brigade paddles in from Alberta on the North Saskatchewan River near Fort Pitt Provincial Historic Park. The brigade will wind its way through North Battleford, Fort Carlton Provincial Historic Site, Prince Albert, and Nipawin. The Saskatchewan leg of the journey ends approximately May 30, after the brigade makes its way through Cumberland House near the Manitoba border.

For more information on this commemoration of the life of David Thompson, visit the 2008 David Thompson Brigade website.