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It was not until the late 1700’s that the fur trading companies began to establish trading posts in the lake region, at both Rainy River and Fort Frances. Lake of the Woods became a large fur trade transportation system which carried furs from the Athabasca region to the Montreal market, and in return provided trade goods from Montreal to the posts of the interior.
While the Rainy River and Fort Frances posts were lynch pins in the long transportation system, Post managers did not overlook the fur riches in the their immediate vicinity. With the consent and guidance of the First Nations peoples in the area, sub-posts, or outposts, were set up at several locations in Lake of the Woods, including Whitefish Bay, then known as Whitefish Lake. The establishment of an outpost effectively incorporated the region into the growing fur trading network that flourished across North America. The sub-outpost at Whitefish Lake proved to be a good source of furs, fish and wild rice.
This post’s overall role in Canadian history was minor, but for the people of Sioux Narrows, it marked the community’s beginning. The earliest record of the Sioux Narrows post dates to the year 1804. It was established by the Northwest Company on Whitefish Lake, now known as Regina Bay. In 1821 the trading post was taken over by the Hudson’s Bay Company and was closed in the 1880’s.