- May 2017
York Boats are long, canoe-like, inland boats utilized in the 19th century for fur trading. The boats received their name because they were produced at the York Factory and travelled to inland fur trading posts and back to the York Factory (HBC). Contractors for the Hudson’s Bay Company built the York boats because the birch trees needed to build canoes were not prevalent in York (Morton). Because the Hudson’s Bay Company was already in competition with the North West Company to be the biggest trading company, they attempted to build a new type of boat. York boats soon surpassed canoes in the fur trading business because they could carry more goods. The boats were “clinker-built”, meaning that the heavy wood panels overlapped on the sides to make the boats strong (HBC). The boats were long with flat bottoms and the stern of the boat was angled upward at 45 degrees so that it was easy for the boats to be transferred into and out of water. Each boat fit 8 men, where 6 men paddled the boat down the river and two additional men steered the boat (Morton). Along with their ability to carry more goods, York boats were able to withstand harsh winters and could contact ice patches without destruction (HBC). York boats were no longer produced for trade after the 1870s, but are still used today for an annual heritage festival in Norway House, Manitoba. York boats can be seen below. http://www.hbcheritage.ca/hbcheritage/history/transportation/yorkboat/home
References: Hbc Heritage | The York Boat. Accessed May 03, 2017. http://www.hbcheritage.ca/hbcheritage/history/transportation/yorkboat/home.
Morton, W. L. "The York Boat." Manitoba Historical Society . June 30, 2009. Accessed May 03, 2017. http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/pageant/02/yorkboat.shtml.