A little over 250 years ago James Cook was busy charting the deadly shoals and eddies of the St. Lawrence River, which enabled large ships to sail far up river. Under General Wolfe, British troops scaled the river cliffs at night and captured the French fortress of Quebec. Canada retains much of its French heritage and language, but French political power in North America ended with the fall of Quebec.
The right place at the right time
How important was Canada in Cook's career? What Cook learnt, his charting of the tortuous coastlines of Newfoundland, were significant in explaining why he was chosen to lead the Endeavour voyage of exploration.
'Mr. Cook's genius and capacity'
Admiral Lord Colville in 1762. With some of his earliest original charts and loans from major museums, the exhibition covered Cook's work on Canada's east coast, and also provided a postscript with his west coast visit eleven years later, repairing the ships on his final voyage. Here was another world of mythologies and native artifacts, where totem poles were first seen.
right: The Little Wooden Midshipman, 18th century shop sign for the chart makers, Norie's of Leadenhall Street, London. Lent by Dickens Museum, London. Photo © CCMM