Spotlight: HBCA in Words and Images

Point Blanket Sail

This photograph was one of roughly 55,000 photographs collected by the library at Hudson’s Bay House in Winnipeg and used in The Beaver, which was published by HBC from 1920 until 1994. For more information about the Hudson’s Bay House Library photograph collection or The Beaver search Keystone.

photo of men in canoes that are using point blankets as sails
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Canoes with blanket sails arriving at the Hudson’s Bay Company
Post at Kanaaupscow, Quebec, summer 1943. HBCA 1987/363-C-11/102

Using Hudson’s Bay Company point blankets as sails for canoes was just one of many creative uses. Point blankets were also used as coats, saddle blankets, mattresses for babies (folded up), curtains and sometimes even as blankets!  Blankets were important trading goods as early as the 1680s, although ‘point’ blankets were not introduced by the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) until 1780.

See past features in the Spotlight Archive.

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