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Speed, Brawn & Beauty: The History of the Northern Manitoba Trappers' Festival
Sam Waller Museum
The Pas , Manitoba

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   Canadian fur trappers were
known for their tall tales
and colourful lifestyles. The
Pasí 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 then 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. They had to know
how to saw and chop logs,
skin animals, hunt, fish,
build fires and use
snowshoes. 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.
   Three local business
leaders, Henry Fishman, Harry

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