Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques

Sir Thomas Button (d. 1634)

sir thomas button
(Courtesy of the Archives of Manitoba)

Installed 1990
Fort Prince of Wales National Historic Site
Churchill

Captain Thomas Button sailed from England in 1612 in search of a Northwest Passage to the riches of China. He became the first European to explore the western coast of Hudson Bay. Landing at 60º 41'N, which he named Hopes Checkt, he returned southward to explore Button's Bay at the mouth of the Churchill River and Cape Churchill which he called Hubbard's Hope. He wintered at the mouth of the Nelson River, named for his ship's master and erected a marker claiming the "Territory of New Wales" for James I of England.

Button's reports encouraged further efforts to find the Passage, but his exploration had revealed a direct route from England to the heart of the North American Continent.