Each season we build sledding equipment for various niches using our sleds and toboggans for their various pursuits. It all began with a phone call from my uncle telling me that I should start making toboggans for people living in the far Northern Provinces and the Northwest Territories of Canada. He had learned through Fr. Darveau of Lac Brochet MB that the previous toboggan maker had sold his business to another group a few years before and it was apparent that it never took off. Fr. Darveau was concerned because wooden toboggans were an important part of the way of life for winter travel, subsistence hunting, and fur trapping.
There is more to the story of my getting started making toboggans and sleds but for now it all started with a query from my uncle with insight from Fr. Darveau’s concerns for the future supply of toboggans for the northern lifestyle. Since then we supply not only the LacBrochet region with toboggans but communities all across the Northern Provinces and Northwest Territories. In many of these communities the old ways are passing but the attachment to the land is very important to the people living there and also in passing on the knowledge of their traditional way of life to the future generations.
In many of the communities the First Nations are supporting opportunities for the youth to spend time on the land learning to appreciate the old ways for posterity. Also to learn the skills to live well in the Northern environment, the culture is remarkable, and tied closely to the land.
It has been a positive relationship for me personally to learn from and about the people and the way of life in the Far North. Making toboggans and sleds for people who can truly appreciate them has been a pleasure for me and what is most satisfying about the work that I do.