Rendezvous – The Great Gathering

The French term for great gathering. The North West Co. held its annual rendezvous in June and July, either at Grand Portage or later (after 1803), at the new trade depot, Fort William. During Rendezvous the Montreal Agents and the Wintering Partners would talk company business and other serious matters while the Clerks were busy unpacking the trade goods and repacking trade goods as needed for various posts. They also repacked the bales of fur for shipment to Montreal.

rendezvous, white oak

White Oak Rendezvous

In the evening, the gentlemen would dine on fine food and liquor and maybe have a dance. On the other hand, the voyageurs would hold contests, drink and party outside the walls of the post after the work was done. The only voyageurs allowed inside were the Guides and Interpreters.These two groups were also allowed to eat with the gentlemen and sleep in the barracks. The remainder had to sleep outside and share communal meals. The pork eaters and winterers set up camp on opposite sides of the post.

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