Canada’s western wilderness was the scene of fur trader John Tod’s extraordinary life. Born in a Scottish village in 1794, Tod spent 40 adventurous years working for the Hudson’s Bay Company and in his later years, served on the first Legislative Council of the fledgling colony of Vancouver Island. Posted all over the Company’s vast territory – York Factory, McLeod Lake, Fort Alexandria, Island Lake, Fort Kamloops – he spent most of his years in New Caledonia.
A spirited and prickly man he was a free thinker, impatient with authority and distrustful of many of his superiors. He was also a lifelong and loyal friend to many of his fur-trade colleagues, especially John Work, the Ermatinger brothers and James Murray Yale. Tod saw astonishing changes in the west, from the bitter warfare between the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Nor’Westers, to settlement by pioneers and the conventions of the polite colonial society.
Few lives have spanned such contrasts. This definitive biography presents the picture of the unusual man in an exciting era.