What was the impact of the fur trade on Canada?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In many ways, we can say that the fur trade created Canada.  

Many of the first Europeans to explore Canada were lured there by the potential of the fur trade.  Samuel de Champlain was one of the first to come to Canada, charged by the French crown with developing the fur trade.  The fur trade then helped to create conflict between France and Great Britain over Canada.  The Hudson's Bay Company was founded in 1670 to get fur from the areas of Canada that were west of what the French controlled.  Both Britain and France, then, were looking for furs in what is now Canada.

After Canada became British following the French and Indian War, the fur trade led to further exploration of Canada.  The competition between the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company led, for example, to Alexander Mackenzie becoming the first European to cross the Rocky Mountains and reach the Pacific. 

In these ways, the fur trade was largely responsible for the exploration of Canada.