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Celebrating Champlain

On an expedition to find the northern sea more than 400 years ago, explorer Samuel de Champlain reaches the site of the modern city of Ottawa on the Ottawa River.  More than 100 events have been planned so far to mark the occasion, including an 11-day canoe trip in July and August to retrace part of his route.

Many of the events are planned to excite young people about Canada’s early history. Champlain was the first European to explore—and more importantly, map—the Great Lakes. He established relations with local tribes, wrote one of the earliest accounts of Native American life and was wounded in a battle between the Hurons and Iroquois. Champlain first came to Canada on two voyages to Canada in 1603-05 during which he saw the St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers, the Gaspe peninsula and the southeast coast of Nova Scotia and the U.S., and gave precise and detailed accounts of the rivers and shorelines.  In 1608, Champlain built a fort in what is now Quebec City, a settlement to which he was devoted. He died there Christmas day, 1635, lieutenant general of New France, de facto governor.

Celebrated as the Father of New France, there are many memorials to the explorer, including Lake Champlain, which straddles the borders of Canada, New York and Vermont.

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