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Fur-trade rascals are making for McMaster

So here is an early heads-up on a Hamilton event where I will be giving a talk on June 4. What happened is that the library at McMaster University acquired an extraordinary collection of papers from the estate of the late Dr. William Bensen. Dr. Bensen was a medical doctor with a passion for Canadian history, and especially for anything related to John Rae or the fur trade. I had the privilege of meeting him over dinner some years ago and we had great fun chatting. He showed me a box of china that had been on board Franklin's ship the Terror.
Anyway, I am quite excited to investigate this collection of papers, which comprises letters and documents pertaining to such figures as James McGill, Simon Fraser, Alexander Mackenzie, William McGillivray, and Simon McTavish, all of whom were associated with the fur-trading North West Company based in Montreal. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, not to put too fine a point on it, these ex-Highlanders -- renegades, rogues and rascals almost to a man -- used fur-trade profits to build the Golden Square Mile in Montreal and swanned about like kings. I was thrilled to discover that the men who figure in this archive turn up in five of my books (if we count Flight of the Highlanders, coming this September).
I'm calling my talk Rogues, Rascals and Kings: Fur-Trade Adventurers Spring from the Archives. It kicks off at 7 p.m. in Convocation Hall and is open to the public. BUT space is limited so you have to register by clicking here. If you're within hailing distance of McMaster, come on down!
(Pictured here: William McGillivray (above left) and Simon McTavish.)

Ken McGoogan
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Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.