The fur trade influenced the historical development of Canada in a number of ways including: the development and expansion into western and northern Canada; the significance of Canadian place names; the origin and rise of the Métis Nation; the impact of interaction between the First Peoples and the Europeans-and these connections can be found in personal and commercial stories about the people and events of the fur trade.
“Beaver Club” gold medal with suspension eye at top centre through which a linen cord has been threaded. The front side is engraved with a beaver gnawing a tree and a banner above with the words “Industry and Perseverance.” The legend reads “Beaver Club instituted Montreal/1785.”
The reverse side features the words “Fortitude in Distrefs [Distress]” written above six men in a canoe. The legend reads “George Simpson/1820.”
George Simpson's wife kept diaries of her travels. Read some excerpts - type 'Frances' into the search box to your left.
Check the Beaver Index - e.g., 'Beaver Club,' or 'George Simpson,' etc.
The Beaver Club was formed in 1785 by a number of wintering partners who were associated with the North West Company, the trading rival of the Hudson’s Bay Company until the two amalgamated in 1821.
At this time, Montreal was the centre of the fur trade. The core of the membership was composed of those fur traders who had spent at least one winter in the interior. Members also included wealthy fur merchants and retired traders. Honorary members were ships’ captains and army officers. Guests, often representing the elite of society, were also invited to meetings. These gatherings and associated dinners were held in the winter months and were renowned for their revelry.
The club was active from 1785 to 1804 except for brief revivals in 1807 and 1827. It declined in importance as Montreal’s role in the fur trade diminished. George Simpson received his medal in 1820, a year before the amalgamation of the North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company. The motto of the Beaver Club was “Fortitude in Distress,” and the words were engraved on a gold medal. Members were required to wear their medals on special occasions and at the meetings.