Saturday, February 1, 2014

Great Explorers

Champlain, as imagined for Canada's History by the artist Robert Carter
(  Credit: Canada's History.
Canada's History -- formerly The Beaver -- asked a couple of issues ago: Who is Canada’s Greatest Explorer?  Five experts were invited to champion the person they think should rank as Canada’s greatest explorer.  The finalists included Samuel de Champlain and David Thompson, Alexander Mackenzie, as well as less known figures such as Robert Bylot (a contemporary of Champlain) and Jane Franklin (widow of the ill-fated ninetheenth century explorer, whose efforts to orchestrate his search apparently qualifies her as a great explorer).  The latter two candidates were dubious contenders, but the magazine can be applauded for having found a way to bring these little known historical figure to the attention of the public.

The votes are in, and the winner is... David Thompson.  Allow me to point out, though, that by my count he wins with 35% of the popular vote, a mere 5% more than Champlain, who earned an honest 30%.  In the world of greatest-explorer-polls, that counts as a photo finish.  Should the devotees of New France demand a recount?  ;-)


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