Exploring Great Destinations in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada
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Early French Exploration

Jacques Cartier led 3 voyages of exploration to the St Lawrence region in 1534, 1535-36 and 1541-42, and although his travels only took him as far as the St. Lawrence he is usually the one credited with discovering Canada.

He was the first explorer to ever chart the St. Lawrence River which enabled France to expand its lucrative fur trading industry with the Indians into the interior of this New World.

Sixty-eight years later in 1603 another French explorer, Samuel De Champlain would make the journey again to Upper Canada exploring deeper into the continent than ever before. As a cartographer, he was given responsibility for investigating the coast in search of an ideal location for settlement.

He decided on the Gulf of St. Lawrence after sailing up the coast from Newfoundland as far as Cape Cod. Samuel de Champlain had a great vision for the colonization of the new land referred to as Canada. However France’s plans involved commerce with the Indians only. Samuel De Champlain was an accomplished cartographer and artist and his vast collection of work was the first documentation of New France.