The Canadian Corps of Voyageurs

This page contains information on our Historical Re-Enactment group. Here, you will find information about the Canadian Corps of Voyageurs, as well as events and activities we take part in.

The Original Corps

During the War of 1812, American invasion could have proven detrimental to the British Government and to the North West Fur Company, alike.

In late July through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie would pass the North West Company's entire year's profits in trade goods and furs. At St. Josephs Island were large warehouses containing stores of firearms, gunpowder and liquor. If the Americans secured either of these establishments they would control access to Lake Superior and threaten British holdings in North America, and result in the eventual ruin of the North West Company. It was less than one day's travel to Sault Ste. Marie from the American Fort Mackinac.

For obvious reasons it was advantageous to the British and the North West Company to secure Fort Mackinac. In July 1812 a force consisting of 180 Voyageurs, 300 Indians, and 45 regulars of the 10th Royal Veteran Battalion stationed at St. Josephs Island departed for Fort Mackinac. On July 18th, the American fort was captured.

In October 1812 William McGillivray was given the rank of Lt. Colonel and instructed to arm a company of voyageurs made up of North West Company engagees. Officers of this newly armed corps came from the Scottish gentlemen partners and clerks of the NW Company.

The Corps disbanded in March 1813 in Lachine, Quebec, after serving in engagements at St. Regis (23 Oct.) and LaColle (20 Nov.) in 1812.

Most of the Officers, NCO's and men returned to the interior of British North America to continue in employment with the NWC. Some did remain in Lower Canada and were assigned to other units and duties. Most notable among these was Major Archibald Norman McLeod.

Maj. McLeod remained as a Staff Officer in Quebec, and as a liase between Lt. Col. MacGillivary and the NWC. It was during this time that Maj. McLeod most likely made his aquaintance with the DeMeuron Regiment, after their arrival in 1813. 


The Modern Corps

The modern Corps consists of a group of volunteers who re-enact the military history of Canada during the Nepoleanic era and the War of 1812. 

A DeMeuron soldier relaxes by the fire, while the children play in the camp. 
Photo of Micheal Bull, Thunder Bay, Ontario

We are a group of about 40 men, women, and children. They portray a variety of roles and circumstance. The most popular one, with the public, is always the Red Coats. But many of our other characters include wives, children, trades men, and militia. 

A Chosen Man takes aim at a target. 
Photo Courtesy H.R. Swanson, Wayzata, MN.

We attend many historic sites and events, all over central Canada and the North Central United States. Our "Home" has always been Old Fort William, a re-construction of the inland headquarters of the North West Fur Company. There, we do volunteer work, to augment the regular staff of that Provincial Historic Site.

Membership is not restricted to local people. We have many associates as far west as Brandon, Manitoba, as well as Wisconsin and Minnesota, in the US.

We make and reproduce clothing, tools and equipment as it was done during the period. This can be quite a task, as sewing machines were not invented yet. This means that all the clothes had to be stiched by hand!

Events and Activities

During the winter months, we are always busy, making things for our group, practicing our drill, doing character development, and more. When the season begins, though, in May, then look out, we are on campaign!
Annual War of 1812 Events that we take part in are:

Return Main Whistle Signals Regt de Meuron
Regt de Meuron
Photo Gallery War of 1812 Cooke's Mill Laura Secord Musket Amunition Platoon
Exercise & Musketry