by Calvin Kania, president and CEO, Fur Canada, January 26, 2018
Everyone in the fur trade has tales to tell, and I am honoured that Alan Herscovici – the creator of Truth About Fur – thinks mine are worthy of launching Trapline Tales. It’s the least I can do. Alan has devoted his working life to the trade, sometimes at great personal cost, and has been a passionate spokesperson to the media on behalf of us all. We owe him a great debt of gratitude.
Today I run a company called Fur Canada, making a range of fur products, museum-quality taxidermy specimens, and traps, but my journey in the fur trade began long ago, in a place called the West Kootenay, in British Columbia. I grew up there in the 1960s and ’70s, and it had to be the best childhood any kid could experience. With my parents and siblings, I learned the ways of living off the land. We grew every kind of vegetable, had milk cows, chickens, horses and beef cattle, and in winter I would assist my father on his fur trapline.
Snowmobiles – and a Missed Opportunity
Every weekend during winter was a new experience. My father’s trapline was 100 kilometres long, and it took us five years just to rotate every corner of it. In 1963, we also acquired the area’s first snowmobile.
One day my mother and I were shopping in Nelson when I spotted a parked truck with two big, yellow snow-plowing machines on a trailer. “What are they?” my mother inquired of the gentleman attending them, who happened to be a distributor. He graciously explained how they worked and their advantages over snowshoeing. He called them “snowmobiles”, and they were made by a Quebec company called Bombardier. She said her husband was a trapper and might be interested in one, so he followed us home. My father quickly took a liking to these machines, and since it was late, invited the gentleman to stay the night.
Next morning, my older brothers and father road-tested the machines, and by lunchtime the deal was made. We were the proud owners of a brand new Bombardier snowmobile! I still have it to this day, and one day will restore it to its original state.
During that winter and the next, the gentleman made follow-up visits in case repairs were needed. He was very impressed with my father and his success with the machine, because within that first winter, he had contracts with the power company and timber company to check on their power lines and spar tree equipment that was inaccessible in the back country.
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