Did you know that Simon Fraser was American? 200 years ago he reached the mouth of the Fraser River

It's the 200th Anniversary of Simon Fraser's reaching the mouth of the Fraser River.

200 years ago, there where no white settlers in Vancouver's Lower Mainland.  Captain Cook met Chief Maquinna at Nootka in 1778.  And in 1792, Captain Vancouver met the Spanish Commissioner Quadra in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Alexander Mackenzie was the first to travel overland across Canada, reaching the mouth of the Mackenzie River in 1793, missing meeting Captain Vancouver by six weeks according to local Bella Bella First Nations people.

It wasn't until 1808, that Simon Fraser undertook an exploration for the North West Company to explore the area south of Mackenzie's journeys.  Fraser had been an apprentice at age sixteen with the North West Company then later became a clerk for the company at Athabasca.

“Simon Fraser was born to Loyalist parents who fled to Canada after the American Revolution.” is what I routinely told tourists at Simon Fraser University, where I worked as a tour guide in the early 1990's.  It was at SFU, where I first wore a kilt when tour guides were asked to help out with the annual Robbie Burns Day ceremonies at SFU.  It's a strange tradition, because it's all adopted because of Fraser's parent's Scottish heritage.  Simon Fraser the explorer never ever set foot in Scotland.  But the university, which began in 1967, adopted the Fraser clan shield and even it's motto “Je suis pret” which is French for “I am ready.”  Supposedly, the Frasers came to Scotland originally from France, with the name “Frasier” which means “strawberry.”  This would explain why there are strawberries on both the Fraser Clan and SFU shields.

The Ancient Fraser Hunting tartan, or Fraser of Lovat tartan was the first kilt I ever wore.

We have adopted the modern Fraser hunting tartan for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team, and we will celebrate tonight for Kilts Night, at Doolin's Irish Pub in downtown Vancouver.  Wear a kilt on the 1st Thursday of each month, and receive a pint of Guinness beer.

We will raise a toast to Simon Fraser, the explorer, tonight!

Vancouver Sun's Stephen Hum has written some very informative articles about Fraser's voyage.

An amazing feat
Vancouver Sun,  Canada – 2 Jul 2008
Two hundred years ago today, at about 3:30 pm, a large dugout canoe carrying the explorer Simon Fraser, Jules Quesnel, John Stuart and 19 other hardy men

Celebrations remind us that Canada is bound by ties greater than
Vancouver Sun,  Canada – 28 Jun 2008
July 2 marks the 200th anniversary of Simon Fraser's arrival in 1808 at what's now Vancouver during an astonishing journey of exploration down the

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