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Jan 4, 2014 - Jan 6, 2014
The race starts in Grand Portage, goes to the Gunflint Trail, and ends in Grand Marais! Communication was vital to the operation of the North West Company. The “Winter Express” carried information, mail, and news or gossip from the far northern fur posts in the northern Athabasca region to Montreal, and everywhere in between by dogsled. It delivered, “every kind of general information and remarks regarding the state of the country” to the Montreal partners. The Express teams carried letters on promotions, wages, laws and regulations for the trade, and details which affected agents and partners. (Innis 244-245)The rival Hudson’s Bay Company’s winter mail team was called the “Winter Packet,” which also carried news, gossip, and business letters. These dog trains, as they were called, could travel over the frozen rivers and lakes, through deep snow and dense forests; the men walked on snowshoes and the dogs hauled the toboggan. “This conveyance of intelligence, extending to the distance of nearly three thousand miles, is attended with but a trifling expense to the Company,” wrote Harmon of the Winter Express. (68) The invaluable information carried on the Express would be used to conduct the company’s business at the summer Rendezvous in Grand Portage.