Voorhis Interactive: Posts of the Trade

Nipigon House   NWC GMaps
ID: 472  Voorhis Number: 393 ;   Location: Ontario, Canada [50.05, -88.94] ;    Founded: 1795 , Closed: NA .

Hudson's Bay Co. post on northwest shore of lake Nipigon. The first of this Company's forts on lake Nipigon was built at the north end of the lake about 1775 or 1785 and was named fort Nipigon. It is shown on the Arrowsmith maps of 1832 (No. 101), 1850 (No. 100), and 1857 (No. 8). Their second fort was constructed on Wabinosh bay in the northwest angle of the lake and was called Wabinosh House. This post was probably built about 1821 or soon after the union and superseded the first fort Nipigon and the North West Company's Fort Duncan which stood nearby. About 1850 Wabinosh House was removed 10 miles to the south and re-established as Nipigon House on its present site. The original Wabinosh House is shown on the Bartholomew map accompanying Burpee's "Search for the Western Sea". A canoe route leads from this bay to Osnaburgh House on lake St. Joseph and thence by the Albany river to York Factory, whence the Hudson's Bay Co. furs were shipped to England, and not via Montreal. Nipigon House is shown on Richardson's map of 1851, and on map of Hind's Expedition 1858 and Arrowsmith 1857 (No. 8).

Other posts established by the Hudson's Bay Co. on lake Nipigon were, (1) Poplar Lodge about 1825 on the east shore of the lake at the mouth of the Namewinikan river, shown on the Bartholomew map referred to above also on map accompanying the first report of the geological survey of lake Nipigon made in 1869; (2nd) a small post called Red Rock House at the mouth of the Nipigon river on the right side, head of Nipigon harbour. Grant in "Ocean to Ocean", 1872, speaks of the old Hudson's Bay Co. station at the mouth of Nipigon river. Red Rock House was established soon after the union of 1821 on the site of, or near by, the old French Fort Nipigon.

The North West Co. about 1785 established themselves at the old French Fort Nipigon at the mouth of the Nipigon river and endeavoured to secure a monopoly of the fur trade in the interior north of lake Superior. Outposts on the shores of lake Nipigon were built, (1) one on the southwest shore of the lake, name unknown, shown on map of 1817 in Davidson's History of the North West Co., and (2) Fort Duncan, built by Duncan Cameron about 1795 at the north end of lake Nipigon on Windigo or Wabinosh bay. Cameron was clerk at Nipigon in 1797 and was in charge of the Nipigon district 1799.

Summary of forts and posts on lake Nipigon.

NameLocationCompany Date
Camanistigoyan mouth Nipigon river French 1678
La Maune "      Ombabika   " " 1684
Outoulabis n.end of lake " 1685
Nipigon mouth Nipigon    " N. W. Co. 1785
Nipigon north end of lake H. B. Co. 1775
Duncan "     "   " N. W. Co. 1795
Unknown S.W.shore of lake " c. 1817
Nipigon House N.W.    "   " H. B. Co. c. 1820
Wabinosh House "     "   " " c. 1821
Red Rock House mouth Nipigon river " c. 1820
Poplar Lodge East shore of lake " c. 1825

See forts La Maune, La Tourette, Camanistigoyan, Nipigon, Duncan, Wabinosh Ho., Poplar Lodge, Red Rock Ho., Outoulabis.

Lake Nipigon during the French regime was called Alemipigon, and Nemipigon, afterwards shortened to Nipigon, meaning "deep, clear, water". It was also called later St. Anne or Red lake and on Hennepin's maps of 1682 and 1697, lake St. Joseph, where a fort is shown at the north end called "Outonlibis" or fort to stop the Assinipoels. Lake Nipigon was first surveyed in 1869 by Robert Bell.

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