York Boats, 19th century
                 Transportation in the Canadian Northwest

The water carriage of the country is performed by means of what are called
'inland boats.' Each of these is worked by nine men, of whom eight are
rowers and the other is steersman; it is capable of carrying about three-
and-a-half tons of freight.  Brigades composed of numbers varying from four
to eight of these craft are kept plying in various directions, throughout
the season of open water, on the inland lakes and rivers between those
points to and from which goods have to be carried.  The tripmen who man
these boats are Indians or Half-breeds engaged at the place where the
brigade is organized, and paid a stipulated sum for the performance of the
trip.  Between Red River Settlement and York Factory such brigades pass and
re-pass throughout the whole season of open navigation.  They are organized
in the settlement, both by the Company and by such private settlers as have
capital and inclination to invest it in that description of business.  The
cargoes sent to York are made up of furs and other country produce
consigned thither by the Company for the purpose of shipment to England;
the return freight from York to the settlement is partly composed of goods
imported by private merchants and partly of those imported by the Company
for use in its trading operations.  These goods have all previously been
shipped from England to York by the Company's annual vessel.

Source:   Joseph James Hargrave,  (Montreal: 1871),
          pp. 159-60.