Hard Travel: 6000 years up the Ottawa River and into the West

Friday, 29 January 2021 online via Zoom

Speaker: Dr. Richard Van Loon

Lecture title: Hard Travel: 6000 years up the Ottawa River and into the West

Lecture Summary

For over 6000 years the St Lawrence and Ottawa valleys were the main highways leading to the interior of North America. This talk will focus on the travellers and traders who used the Ottawa River from the end of the last ice age to the end of the 17th century. Of course we will meet Samuel Champlain and his contemporaries including the Algonquin Chief Tessouat, but also the predecessor First Nations which have used the river for at least 6000 years. We will also meet Pierre Esprit Radisson, and his contemporary coureurs de bois as well as the voyageurs who powered so much of this travel.

Bio: Richard Van Loon

Richard Van Loon is past president of Carleton University and past chair of the Council of Ontario Universities. He holds a BSc in chemistry and an MA in political science from Carleton and a PhD in political studies from Queen’s University.

He joined Carleton in 1970 as assistant professor of political science and has held faculty positions in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton where he is now professor emeritus and in the Faculty of Administration at the University of Ottawa. He was associate deputy minister of Health Canada and of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and held several assistant deputy minister positions in the Canadian federal government. He was the first Carleton alumnus to become president of the university.

Dr. Van Loon’s current research interests include federal-provincial relations, particularly related to post-secondary education, quality assurance and institutional structure in post-secondary education as well as the history of the Ottawa River and of First Nation/fur trader relations.