Trading Post Established
1830 — Golden Lake, Ontario, Canada
Factor Charles Thomas began his career with the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1808 and worked with them in various locations throughout Manitoba and Ontario, until about 1830. Then he was sent to Golden lake to establish a Company Trading Post at the narrows of the Bonnechere River.
Thomas was so impressed by the lake’s beauty, not to mention the prospect of gathering gold from valuable furs and timber, that he named it Golden Lake and ended up living here for the rest of his life.
Thomas was determined to win the favour of the local Algonquin people. He sold the first trade gun [the length of which was used to measure the height requirement of a pile of beaver pelts for trade] to their Chief Stokwa. [This was possible the father of Lamab Stokwa (c. 1814-1874), grandfather of Matthew Bernard (1875-1972) who built the 36-foot birch bark canoe which was displayed in the Museum of History, Ottawa, in its early years when it was still called the Museum of Civilization.
The lumber harvest began in 1836, with Alexander McDonald being the first to cut a white pine. Thomas quickly realized that the Aboriginal rights had been violated, and proclaimed, in a meeting with Algonquin leaders outside his Trading Post’s stockade, that McDonald was also a subject of the ‘Great Father’ and that he merely wished to cut trees in order to build houses. Thomas also promised that McDonald’s men would not harm the beaver.
The Old Post, as it came to be known, may not have had a long life, but at least it put Golden Lake on the map.*
The Algonquin Trading Post was established in 2002 by Aimee Bailey, a granddaughter of Matthew Bernard, and her husband Doug Fischer. They enjoyed their 15 years of providing cultural education about Indigenous culture to customers from around the world, and they are confident that the new owners, Jodie Pullen and Ward Wright, will also serve their customers well in Micksburg.
*excerpt from Pioneer Reminiscences of the Upper Ottawa Valley by Rev. L.L. Lake, Eganville, 1967.