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Algoma's Fur Trading History

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Algoma's Fur Trading History

Inside the Summer Kitchen of the Old Stone House. • Credit: Algoma Country

Part Four: A taste of local foods and ingredients

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In Part Four of Algoma’s Fur Trading History series, we’re talking foods eaten by fur traders and voyageurs.

Voyageurs’ food had to give them a lot of energy and be high in calories because of the hours they spent paddling each day. The food also had to keep and not spoil during the long journey. Their diet included biscuits, pork and beans, pancakes, dried peas, cornmeal and pemmican (a dried meat that could be eaten fried, or even made into a stew seasoned with maple syrup or berries). Voyageurs didn’t eat fancy meals, but the meals were hearty.

Those who lived at the forts ate similar foods, but more varied, as they ate many foods gathered by local Indigenous people: wild rice, maple sugar, fish, and berries. Some forts even had gardens where they could grow root vegetables like carrots, potatoes or rutabagas.

Below are places where you can buy food items similar to those eaten by those in the fur trade, or experience what food would have been like in the 18th and 19th century.


Smoked fish from Agawa Fishery can be purchase at the Voyageurs' Trading Post. (Photo credit: Voyageurs' Lodge & Cookhouse)

Clarence's Fish Market, 1360 A & B Hwy 17, Algoma Mills
You’ll find fresh trout and whitefish at the fish market.
Phone: (705) 849-2226

Mill Market, 35 Canal Drive, Sault Ste. Marie
Phone: (705) 251-6776
You can purcahse fresh fish and products from both Agawa Fishery and Sayers Fishery at the Mill Market.

Friday Night Fish Fries
There are many fish fries across Algoma Country that you can attend throughout the summer months.


(Photo credit: Algoma Country)

Algoma Highlands Wild Blueberry Farm & Winery, Wawa
Northern Ontario blueberries, specifically ones that come from Wawa, are the best blueberries! Enjoy a taste of the North when you purchase blueberry jam, blueberry BBQ sauce, or blueberry syrup. Coming soon: blueberry wine.
Where to Buy: click here for a list of places to purchase


Maple Syrup And Products
Maple syrup was also used as a sweetener. You can purchase fresh local syrup products in Algoma Country. There are many maple syrup producers in the region, with St. Joseph Island being home many producers. 

Mountain Maple Products, Richards Landing, St. Joseph Island
Sells a variety of products including syrup, maple butter, maple BBQ sauce and even maple salsa.
Where to Buy: click here to find where to purchase
Phone: (705) 782-0101


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Farmers’ Markets
During the summer and fall months, there are many farmers’ markets throughout Algoma that sell fresh produce, meat, and homemade products grown or harvested from gardens and farms. You’ll also find honey, homemade baking, handmade products and local fibre and textiles.
Find all the Farmers’ Markets in Algoma


Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site, Sault Ste. Marie
In Part One of our blog series, we talked about visiting the Old Stone House, once the home of Charles Oakes-Ermatinger, a prominent citizen and fur trader. Not only can you visit this restored home, but you can also have a taste of early 1800s through the heritage culinary experience in the summer kitchen. In winter, the site hosts Fridays by Fire consisting of a hot meal and interpretive programming. Or, host an intimate group of friends, family or colleagues for your next event. Menu choices includes locally sourced products and you can order items like pea soup, whitefish mousse, tourtière (meat pie), biscuits with homemade preserves, and more. You can even have High Tea.
Learn More: click here to learn about heritage culinary experiences

Heritage Chocolate

(Photo credit: Algoma Country)

Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site, St. Joseph Island
Parks Canada and Mars Canada collaborated to create historic chocolate experiences at various Parks Canada sites. You can purchase Heritage Chocolate, a 1750 chocolate recipe made only using ingredients found in the 18th century, at the gift shop at the Fort St. Joseph site.

Inspired by Voyageurs

Now, a food tour stop wouldn’t be complete without visiting a restaurant in Algoma Country that was truly inspired by voyageurs! 

(Photo credit: Algoma Country)

Voyageurs’ Lodge & Cookhouse, Hwy 17 North, Batchawana Bay
The interior decorated with Hudson’s Bay Company décor and the menu serves up tasty items similar to what French Canadian voyageurs may have eaten: pancakes with local maple syrup, bannock, beans, and tourtière. The cookhouse also serve up Canadian favourites like poutine and for dessert, indulge in a blueberry crisp. If you’re looking for fresh Lake Superior fish, the restaurant hosts a Friday Night Fish Fry all season, or purchase locally caught smoked fish at the Voyageur’s Trading Post.
Phone: (705) 882-2504
Good Reads: Eating Fresh Locally Caught Fish

Interesting fact: Pancake Bay on Lake Superior got its name because this was the last place voyageurs camped before the journey to Sault Ste. Marie. Because they only had flour left before refilling supplies in the Sault, they would make pancakes over a fire along the shores.

Discover this Region
Sault-Ste Marie is a 7 hour drive from Toronto

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