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Arts & CultureBooksThe North Star of Herschel Island by Bruce Macdonald - press release

The North Star of Herschel Island by Bruce Macdonald – press release

Mill Street Books at 52 Mill Street in Almonte Ontario is now carrying a new book on Canada’s Arctic tall ship entitled North Star of Herschel Island – last Canadian Arctic fur trading ship. The 500 page book contains 120 photos of the ship’s 76 year career many from the private collections of Inuit elders, trappers and fur traders and never been publicly seen before.

North Star of Herschel Island was built in 1935 at the height of the Great Depression for two Inuit fox trappers who used the ship to transport their winters’ catch of fur from Banks Island to markets with the Hudson’s Bay Company in Herschel Island, Aklavik, Inuvik, and Tuktoyaktuk. Except for three winters when they were not fast enough back to their home port and were frozen into the Beaufort Sea, each fall their whole village would haul the ship over greased skids by hand onto shore to protect her from the ice.

During the Cold War, North Star’s Captain was asked by the Canadian Government to fill the ship with volunteers and then sail to a remote island four hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle to hold it for Queen and Country in order to assert Canadian Arctic sovereignty. The ship was later used for sail-training with Inuit; surveying the controversial B.C./Alaska

The ship’s story has been a well kept secret until now as her history has only been passed down through the Inuit oral tradition, though famous Canadian authors Pierre Berton and Farley Mowat have written pieces about her in some of their books.

The book was launched in early November in the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.

For more information, the author, R. Bruce Macdonald, may be contacted at or by phoning 250-885-0645




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