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Saguenay River

Canada's River Heritage, Routes of the Fur Traders


Saguenay River



Date of Issue

April 22, 1994




Postal Administration



Canada's River Heritage, Routes of the Fur Traders

Series Time Span


Perforation or Dimension



Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.


Designed by Malcolm Waddell Based on illustrations by Jan Waddell

About Stamp

Canada's first fur-trading port was established in 1600 at Tadoussac, Quebec where the Saguenay River empties into the St. Lawrence. It was here that Jacques Cartier first heard of the fabled "Kingdom of Saguenay" in 1535. The Saguenay, forming a part of a corridor that reaches as far north as James Bay, consists of three distinct sections. The uppermost part begins where Lac Saint-Jean flows into the Grande and the Petite Décharge, creating a 95 meter waterfall which is used as a power source. The next more stabilized section is more suitable for settlement with cities such as Jonquière and Chicoutimi. The lower Saguenay consists of the only navigable fjord in North America. These deep waters form breeding grounds for beluga whales while the river mouth is home for pilot, humpback, finback and blue whales. On his second voyage in 1535, Cartier moored at Tadoussac. Although the Montagnais called the river "Pitchita8itchez" (the "8" is pronounced "woo"), Cartier named it Saguenay - "flowing water" or "that from which water flows" in the Montagnais language. A 10-year monopoly on the fur trade was granted to Pierre Chauvin, who in 1600 built the first European structure on the Canadian mainland - a 20 foot by 25 foot palisaded fort at Tadoussac. The Europeans did not travel inland, preferring that the Indians bring the furs to them. It wasn't until 1647 that Jesuit Jean Dequen with Montagnais guides ascended the river to Lac Saint-Jean (named in his honour) and established a fur-trading route. Louis XIV declared the area a royal domain in 1674 restricting its use for fur trading; no colonization or logging permitted. The British maintained this policy and it was not until 1842 that establishments other than the North West Company of Hudson's Bay Company were permitted access.
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Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamps Details, Vol. 3, No. 2, 1994, p. 10-11.

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