Turnor hired on for three years as an inland surveyor with the HBC and landed at York Factory (Man.) in August, 1778. After mapping York itself, he set out to map the route to Cumberland House (Saskatchewan) and the newly established post of Upper Hudson House.
He is credited with exploring and mapping many of the settlements and their connecting rivers and lakes for the company in the late 18th century.
A variety of willow, unique to the sand dunes of Lake Athabasca, is named "Turnor's willow" in his honour. He is credited with teaching David Thompson the skills of surveying.
- "Philip Turnor". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2005.
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