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Trade in Victorian Canada: The Pocket Compass

Compasses have become a important symbol in Canadian popular culture. From t-shirts to tatoos this navigational instrument can be seen in various fashions on a daily basis. The compass has attracted much attention because of its aesthetic qualities and what it represents. It is associated with adventure, discovery, travelling, exploring, and orientation among other themes.

The discovery and the orientation of the unknown have been made possible with tools such as the pocket compass. Compasses have helped explorers, surveyors, cartogrophers, and travellers find their way in unfamiliar lands and this has led to some important discoveries and developments for Canadian culture.

The compass displayed in this exhibit section has oriented surveyors and explorers in the unfamiliar Canadian West in the Victorian period. As a result it facilitated trade and the instrument itself also embodied imperial trade as this exhibit will demonstrate. 

By describing its physical qualities, determining the use, and determining the provenance of this pocket compass, this exhibit section will demonstrate the importance of this instrument for the History of Trade in Victorian Canada.


Carine Trazo and Jessica Ozorak