A rare find

Submitted by: Denis Tremblay, MNO North Bay Métis Council member

Denis Tremblay with the rare trade ax he found in Huronia.

Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) citizen Denis Tremblay recently came in possession of a rare item, a trade ax dating circa 1650.

The ax is clearly marked with the three fleur-de-lis stamps. It was found in the district of Huronia. It is an ax that Métis in the fur trade era would have traded and used.  This style of ax is known as the “Biscay style” from France. They axes were sent to New France to trade with Aboriginal people in Canada. Pierre-Esprit Radisson advised the Hudson Bay Company to stock this style of ax for trade. In 1821 this type of ax would have cost two beaver pelts.

A similar French trade ax was found in Black Creek, on the North Shore of Lake Erie where Dollier de Casson and Gallinee spent the winter of 1669 -70. The ax has the same marks on both sides as the one found by Tremblay. It was previously on display at the McCord Museum in Montreal.

This is a great addition to Tremblay’s collection that consists of Métis, First Nation and fur trade era items. His collection has been displayed at numerous events in the past including MNO Annual General Assemblies.


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