Finlay River

British Columbia. River: Peace River drainage
Flows S into Finlay Reach, Williston Lake
56.9036 N 124.9506 W — Map 094C15 — GoogleGeoHack
Name officially adopted in 1974
Official in BCCanada

John Finlay [1774–1833] was a fur trader and explorer with the North West Company [1779–]. He is best remembered for establishing the first fur trading post in what is now British Columbia and for his exploration of the Finlay River, one of the two major rivers forming the Peace River, the other being the Parsnip River.

Finlay was born in Montreal, the son of James Finlay, who himself was a significant player in the western Canadian fur trade. Finlay was apprenticed as a clerk in the North West Company in 1789 at the age of 15. He accompanied Alexander Mackenzie [1764–1820] on his historic trip across the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean in 1792-93 becoming, with him, the first European to traverse North America. He was placed in charge of the North West Company’s Athabasca Department in 1794, and the same year established a trading post at present-day Fort St. John, called Rocky Mountain Fort. This was the first European community established in present-day British Columbia and is the province’s oldest continuously inhabited European-founded settlement.


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