The Fur Trade
Two hundred years ago, four men working for the Pacific Fur Company travelled by horseback through the Okanagan Valley and met with native peoples -- the Syilx and the Secwepemc -- to establish trading posts in their country. One fort was built at the mouth of the Okanogan River in present Washington state, another at Kamloops at the junction of the North and South Thompson rivers. When the Hudson's Bay Company took over, the fur trade became a major enterprise utilizing the native trail through the Okanagan Valley -- which became known as the brigade trail -- where hundreds of horses laden with furs travelled south to the Columbia River and returned north with trade goods for the forts of northern British Columbia, formerly known as New Caledonia.
This exhibit tells the fascinating story of the early exploration of the Oakinackane, as the valley was called, and the trail that was used by the fur traders for almost half a century -- a trail that can still be found today. A variety of authentic fur trade artifacts form part of the exhibit. As well, two books on the history of the Okanagan fur trade are for sale.