Speed, Brawn & Beauty: The History of the Northern Manitoba Trappers' Festival

Creator(s): Sam Waller Museum

The Pas' popular Northern Manitoba Trapper's Festival, one of the oldest in Canada, has its roots in the early wild fur industry.

At the turn of the 20th century, the range of commercial markets in The Pas made it the central meeting place for trappers selling their furs to cash buyers on bid. Trappers put their lives on the line, but for many, it was worth it.

There was no road system in the wilderness, so they brought their furs to town via dogsled and their very survival depended on their skills dealing with the harsh environment. If they did make it to The Pas, they would often leave with tens of thousands of dollars in hand. But before they moved on, the men would often brag about their prowess. Eventually they held impromptu competitions that showcased these survival skills.

Through photos and stories, this Community Memories exhibit details the origins and continuing traditions of this "Mardi Gras of the North".

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