Anthony Henday (fl. 1750–1762) was one of the first European men to explore the interior of the Canadian northwest.
His explorations were authorized and funded by the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) because of their concern with La Vérendrye and the other western commanders who were funnelling fur trade from the northwest to their forts. Henday volunteered to undertake an expedition into this territory. A convicted smuggler, he joined the HBC in 1750 as a net-maker and labourer. Henday had gained some experience in inland travel after arriving at York Factory. On June 26, 1754, he set out with a group of Plains Indians. It is documented that they passed the French Fort Paskoya where he may have met La Corne, the western commander at that time.
In October 1754 he and his group came to what is now Alberta from York Factory with a mission to meet the Blackfoot and perhaps trade with them.
After receiving an indefinite answer from the Blackfoot (which Henday took as a “no”), Henday traveled back to York Factory with news that he had explored the area and had met with the Blackfoot. Since the answer had been unsure, there were no more expeditions to Alberta.
This trip, and later ones, took Henday across much of the prairies of what is now Saskatchewan and Alberta and although his journal cannot always be put in a modern context, it is evident that he brought much trade to York Factory. Records show that some of the trade also went to the French at Fort Saint-Louis (Fort de la Corne) and Fort Paskoya which were on the route to Hudson Bay. He left the service of the HBC in 1762 largely because his efforts for the company, at least in his estimation, had not been properly recognized.
Anthony Henday Drive, a large ring road in Edmonton, is named in his honour, as is Henday Hall, one of the residence towers in the main student residence complex at the University of Alberta in that city.
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