Etienne Brulé and The Unadulterated History of Ontario

Unadulterated Ontario

Ontario occasionally comes across as a highly efficient province of vast natural resources and impeccable infrastructure. And it is, but it is also a ticking time-bomb of history and wonder.

I’m currently reading Max Braithwaite’s Ontario and there are some real gems in Ontario’s history. The first is Etienne Brule. He was the first white man to see Georgian Bay, Lake Simcoe, the place where Toronto would eventually be built, and Lake Erie, Huron and Superior. Sent to explore Ontario by Samuel de Champlain, he was one of the first coureurs de bois. Max’s passage describes the Brule better than I ever could:

“Etienne was a lean, powerful, audacious young man who scorned the establishment and preferred the more natural life and sexual mores of the Indians with whom he travelled…he learned the Indian ways and language, loved the Indian maidens and, inevitably quarelled with their menfolk so that they executed him. (But even in death he was useful, for, according to one story, they Indians had him for supper.)”

Etienne and Samuel de Champlain

I’d like to be the first to claim Etienne as the spirit animal of our vast adventure.