Douglas & McIntyre
The Elusive Mr. Pond

Book details:

September 2014
ISBN 978-1-77162-039-0
6" x 9"
256 pages
20 b&w illustrations
History / Canada
$34.95 CAD


  • Shortlisted for the 2015 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize

Douglas & McIntyre

The Elusive Mr. Pond

The Soldier, Fur Trader and Explorer Who Opened the Northwest

Shortlisted for the 2015 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize

Sir Alexander Mackenzie is known to schoolchildren as a great Canadian explorer who gave his name to the countryís longest river, but hardly anyone could name the man who mentored Mackenzie and mapped much of northwestern Canada before him. Soldier, fur trader and explorer Peter Pond, the subject of this long overdue book, is a man whose legend has been forgotten in favour of those who came after him.

Born in Connecticut in 1739, Pond volunteered for the colonial Connecticut and New York regiments that fought against the French for control of North America. Soon after, drawn by the promise of wealth and adventure, Pond paddled into the wild territory of the Indians to the west with only a canoe, some trade goods and a few French Canadians to aid him. What he returned with is the stuff of legend. From the voyage that defined his career, Pond brought back over eighty thousand furs and directions to a portage and river system that would carry traders farther west than they had ever been. In 1779, Pond was a founding partner of the North West Company that entered into fierce competition with the Hudsonís Bay Company for control of the North American fur trade. He was a gruff man not to be crossed and left his position with the company in 1788 after being implicated in two murders.

Much of Pondís life is shadowed in mystery. The second half of his memoirs are torn from the original journal and he died in obscurity without an obituary or marked tomb. Historian Barry Gough uses Pondís surviving memoirs, explorersí journals, letters written by acquaintances of Pond, publications in London magazines and many other sources to track and reconstruct the life of one of the last of the tough, old-style explorers who ventured into the wilderness with little more than a strong instinct for survival and helped shape the modern world.

About the Author

Barry  Gough

Barry Gough

Dr. Barry Gough, one of Canadaís foremost historians, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of Kingís College London and Life Member of the ...

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News & Events for The Elusive Mr. Pond

  • Barry Gough to receive Washington State Historical Society's Robert Gray Medal! Read more >>
  • The Elusive Mr. Pond Shortlisted for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize Read more >>
  • Dr. Barry Gough awarded the 2014 SS Beaver Medal for Maritime Excellence Read more >>