When Was Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall Painted?

The famous painting “Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall” has been captivating art enthusiasts for decades. Created by Frances Anne Hopkins, a British artist, this stunning masterpiece depicts a group of voyageurs skillfully navigating their canoe through treacherous waters. But when exactly was this remarkable piece of art painted?

The Creation of the Painting

Frances Anne Hopkins, born in 1838, possessed a keen eye for capturing the essence of Canadian wilderness and its people. She traveled extensively with her husband, who worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company. During these journeys, Hopkins had the opportunity to witness firsthand the life and struggles of the voyageurs.

The painting “Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall” was completed in 1879. It showcases the extraordinary skills and bravery of these men as they navigate their canoe through turbulent waters. The artwork is not only visually stunning but also offers a glimpse into the challenges faced by voyageurs during their expeditions.

Depicting the Voyageurs

Hopkins’ attention to detail is evident in her portrayal of the voyageurs. The use of brushstrokes brings out their muscular physiques and rugged appearances. The artist’s choice to underline certain features emphasizes their strength and determination.

In addition to highlighting their physical attributes, Hopkins also captures their intense focus on navigating through the waterfall. Their facial expressions convey both concentration and confidence as they maneuver through perilous waters.

A Glimpse into History

The painting provides us with valuable insights into the lives of voyageurs in Canada during the 19th century. It offers a window into the perilous nature of their work and the challenges they faced while transporting goods across vast distances.

  • The voyageurs were French-Canadian fur traders employed by fur companies such as the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company.
  • Voyageurs played a crucial role in the fur trade industry, transporting furs and goods across long distances using canoes.
  • The painting showcases the voyageurs’ expertise in navigating treacherous waters, which was essential for their trade routes.
  • Through this artwork, we gain an appreciation for the physical strength and endurance required to be a voyageur.

The Influence of Hopkins’ Painting

“Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall” has had a significant impact on Canadian art. Hopkins’ portrayal of the voyageurs resonated with art enthusiasts and historians alike. The painting not only captures a moment in history but also symbolizes the spirit of exploration and adventure that defines Canada’s heritage.


Frances Anne Hopkins’ masterpiece “Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall” was painted in 1879. This visually engaging artwork offers us an invaluable glimpse into the lives of voyageurs during an era when their skills and bravery were instrumental in shaping Canada’s history.

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins