Vintage Photos of Trapping from Around Alberta

The fur trade played a formative role in the development of this country. For almost 250 years furs were big business across the vast, forested wilderness of what is now modern day Canada. The trade was intensely competitive and was mostly sustained by trapping beavers to satisfy Europe’s high demand for felt. Although the fur trade was at it’s peak from the early 17th to the mid-19th centuries, the tradition has continued to modern day albeit not to the same extent. Furs provided a modest income to the trappers, but also a source of meat and warm clothing.

Trapper’s Cabin, Kananaskis area, Alberta, 1911

To get an idea about modern trappers, please refer to my interview with Bill Abercrombie who is on the board of the Alberta Trapper’s Association. You can read the full story by following this link, Wild Jobs: Trappers. You can also find similar stories by reading Old Photographs of Fishing in Alberta and Vintage Photos of Ice Fishing from Across Alberta.

Trapper beside cabin, Alberta Coal Branch area, Alberta, 1920s
Furs hanging on line, Edson area, Alberta, 1921-1922
Trapper’s hut on trail to Wabasca, Alberta, 1929
Trapper with dog team at Islay, Alberta, 1929
Trapper with handcar on railway tracks in northern Alberta, 1910
Joe Louie, trapper, and saddle horse loaded with coyote pelts near Wainwright, Alberta, 1911
Trapper’s cabin, Peace River area, Alberta, 1920
Abraham Plante, Metis trapper, with his dog and furs, 1930s


Trappers returning to Morley, Alberta, after a winter in Kananaskis area, 1907
Winter’s catch of furs from Kananaskis area, Alberta, 1908
Winter scene on the trap line, Lomond, Alberta, 1930s
Trapper with beaver pelts at Swift’s Ranch, Jasper, Alberta, n.d.
Trapper with beaver pelts at Swift’s Ranch, Jasper, Alberta, n.d.
Coyote skins at trapper’s cabin, Alberta Coal Branch area, Alberta, n.d.
Furs hanging on line, Edson area, Alberta, 1954
John Hacket, trapper and packer, outside his cabin, Fraser Hill, Alberta, 1960s
Trapper Sam Sackrider returns after one thousand miles on trap-line, Nordegg, Alberta, 1933
Trapper with backpack of supplies, 1932
A trapper stands outside his cabin with a fine display of furs, 1932
Swedish trapper Swan Swanson standing on the frozen Athabasca River. Photographer is Harold Routledge, n.d. Object #A17168
Exterior of the log cabin belonging to Louis Garski, trapper and prospector in Hines Creek, Alberta, n.d. Object #A5947
Log exterior of a cabin located near Fort McMurray, Alberta, 1931-1932. Object #A7600
Unidentified trappers with animal skins hung to dry on Sled Island, Alberta, 1924. Object #A3318
Trapping near the Peace River near Fairview, Alberta. Trapper with snowshoes on his back standing outside log cabin, 1929-1930. Object #A14068

The photos above were collected from the Glenbow Archives and the Provincial Archives of Alberta. If you’re interested, additional information can be found for each photograph on the Glenbow website by searching the identification number that is printed on the photo. There is also the option to purchase a high resolution copy. If you search the object number that can be found in the photo captions, you will find additional information about the photographs on the Provincial Archives website. Stay tuned for additional posts featuring historical photos from across Alberta. We’d love to know what you think in the comment section below.

About Tyler Dixon 221 Articles
Tyler is originally from Saskatchewan, and yes he cheers for the Roughriders, but don’t hold that against him as Calgary has been his home for the past eight years. He is a teacher working at a wilderness- based treatment program for youth working to overcome addiction. Tyler is also a volunteer with the GOT Parks initiative, which aims at reconnecting Canada’s youth with our national, provincial, and territorial parks. During his time away from work, Tyler enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and snowboarding, team sports, travelling, photography, spending time with good friends, and being at home with his wife and German Shepherd, Rome.