Winter Transportation

Sleigh and Cutter

In the winter, horse-drawn sleighs were used to carry people, supplies, and mail. Some wagons were converted to sleighs for the winter. People bundled up and heated bricks or stones kept their feet warm. Crossing frozen lakes in the winter shortened travel time.

Two childen are bundled up for winter weather are being pulled with a horse and cutter. The ground is covered in snow.

These kids are being pulled with a horse and cutter in 1924.

Sleighs were built sturdier as they were intended to haul a large group or family. Cutters were smaller sleighs and meant for leisurely driving to a neighbour’s house or to town.

Two women are bundled up as they ride in a cutter that is being pulled by a horse through the snow.

A cutter is used for a couple of people, while a sleigh is sturdier to haul a larger family.

A man is sitting on top of a wooden sleigh as it is pulled by two large horses. The ground is covered in snow.

A man is using a sleigh to haul wheat to the elevator.

Snowshoes and Sledges

Travel was difficult in deep snow. Indigenous Peoples (First Nations and Métis) involved in the fur trade used snowshoes and sledges or toboggans for winter. The sledges were flat and lightweight. Snowshoes and sledges were also used by settlers living in wooded areas. Using these technologies made trapping for meat and furs easier.

Four men are preparing to walk through the snow with a snowshoes and a toboggan that is loaded with items and being pulled by a dog.

Men from Hudson’s Bay Company are using a toboggan and snowshoes to travel in the winter.

A First Nations woman is traveling through the snow using snowshoes.

The snow on the Prairies was deep so people involved in the fur trade sometimes used snowshoes to travel in the winter.

A load of supplies or firewood could be hauled on a flat sledge pulled by oxen or horses. The sledge glided over the snow. Sledges were also used in the summer for pulling heavy loads (rocks, tree stumps, and barrels of water). Homesteaders had sledges called ‘stoneboats’ to haul stones and rocks from fields when they were clearing the land. A sledge could be pulled over the ground, grass, ice, and snow so it was used all year round.

A man is hauling a load of items on a flat sledge, that is being pulled by two horses thorugh the snow.

A load of supplies was hauled on a flat sledge that would glide over the snow as it was pulled by oxen or horses.