In May of 1946, Alan Yuill got a job with the Hudson's Bay Company. The seventeen-year-old began his fur-trade apprenticeship at Portage La Loche, Saskatchewan, under Chief Factor John Blackhall. Blackhall had worked with the HBC for more than forty years by the time Yuill joined the company.
"I spent many a Saturday night during the long winters at the kitchen table with a kerosene lamp glowing, listening to the fascinating tales of the eastern Arctic and Labrador where Mr. Blackhall served," says Yuill, who found Portage La Loche to be an excellent, yet isolated, starting point.
Employees awaited their daily radio communication from Fort McMurray and their once-a-month mail delivery. Yuill took this photo of residents outside of the store in Portage La Loche. "'The chap at the far left (is) Willy, our interpreter."
Yuill, who today lives in Scarborough, Ontario, spent two "'wonderful" years at this post, until he was promoted to the position of HBC fur trade manager, serving in Northern Ontario, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. After ten years, Man Yuill left the HBC and moved to southern Ontario. But he says he still thinks fondly of his time in "frontier country."
DO you have an old photograph that captures a moment, important or ordinary, in Canada's history? If you would like to submit it for possible publication, have it copied (please don't send priceless originals) and mail it to Album, c/o Canada's History, P.O. Box 56060, Portage Place RPO, Winnipeg, MB R3B oG9. Or email your submission to album@Canada'sHistory.ca. Include a brief description of the photo, including its date and location. If possible, identify people in the photograph and provide further information about the event or situation illustrated. To have your posted submission returned, please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.