‘Channelling Champlain’

What the French explorer can teach us about relations with First Nations

 By Teresa Smith, Ottawa Citizen June 15, 2013. Posted here with permission of the author.

Every day thousands of motorists travel over the Champlain Bridge between Ottawa and Gatineau, golfers tee up at Champlain’s course in Aylmer, and picnickers kick off their shoes for a quiet spell in Champlain Park. Sick people in Gatineau can go to Clinique médicale Champlain, hungry and weary travellers in Plantagenet can stop at the Motel de Champlain & Restaurant, while hobbyists in Renfrew can join the Champlain Flying Club.

But, while his presence dominates the geographic, cultural, and even retail nomenclature of the region (anything named Astrolabe or Rideau is also part of his legacy), few Canadians know much about Samuel de Champlain, the 17th-century French courtier, soldier, explorer, and cartographer who was the founder of New France.

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