Kane left Toronto in 1845 to sketch Indians in their homelands and collect Indian legends. He travelled around the Great Lakes but, warned of the dangers of a solitary trip to the Pacific, he contacted Sir George SIMPSON, superintendent of the Hudson's Bay Company, who arranged for him to accompany the fur-trade canoe fleets to the West. He joined the traders at FORT WILLIAM [Thunder Bay, Ont] in May 1846 and travelled west with them to Fort Garry. He witnessed the last great BUFFALO HUNT in that region, continued to Norway House, and followed the Saskatchewan River to Fort Edmonton. After crossing the mountains on horseback, he descended the Columbia River to Fort Vancouver and sketched Mount St Helens and the coastal tribes around Victoria. He returned to Toronto in 1848, having made 700 sketches of western scenery and of Indians from some 80 tribes.
Kane lived quietly in Toronto after his return. He painted canvases from his sketches, rendered in a contemporary European genre style. One hundred canvases bought by George Allan are now in the Royal Ontario Museum, while 12 bought by the Canadian government are in the National Gallery. Kane's account of his travels was published in 1859 and translated into Danish, French and German. A Canadian classic, full of anecdotes, it complements his sketches in its vivid description of the life of Indians, Métis, HBC traders and missionaries in the 1840s.
Author J. RUSSELL HARPER
Links to Other Sites
Art Gallery of Ontario
The official website of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Click on "Collections" and "Exhibitions" to view online images of galleries and works of art housed at one of Canada's major art museums.
View an online gallery of art by Canadian artist-explorer Paul Kane. A National Gallery of Canada website.
Visions from the Wilderness
This impressive multimedia website focuses on the art and travels of Paul Kane. Produced by CineFocus Canada.
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
An illustrated information guide for one of the world's best preserved buffalo jumps and a Unesco World Heritage Site located near Fort Macleod in Alberta. Produced by the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump interpretive centre.
A biography of Canadian artist Paul Kane. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
Paul Kane House
A brief history of Paul Kane's home in Toronto. From the "Lost River Walks" website.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...