Reenactment of an antique store
Reenactment of an antique store

For some 6,000 years during the Archaic period and throughout the Woodland periods that followed (about 1,000 B.C. to the 16th century), this location and the surrounding area were sporadically occupied by nomadic populations. Archaeological artifacts such as stone tools from abroad, ceramics, copper, and even corn grains are evidence of the extensive networks of exchange with other Indigenous cultures west of Lake Superior and in places that include James Bay, Lac Saint-Jean, and southern Ontario. These networks were integral to the success of mobile societies by connecting families, and maintaining the flow of information and material objects.

Algonquin, or Anicinabe, which means "men from this earth", occupy the territory for millennia.

In 1679, the first trading post was built on this lake, at the mouth of the Montreal River, by the government of New France to compete with the English settled on Hudson Bay. It was burned down in 1688 by the Iroquois in response to the capture of three English forts in 1686 by the Chevalier de Troyes in James Bay. The post was reopened in 1720 on the current site and leased to merchants until the fall of New France. Afterwards, various independent merchants settled on Lake Timiskaming. In 1795, the North West Company obtained a monopoly on the trade. The Hudson’s Bay Company then held one starting in 1821.

This fort is representative of trading posts in the northern boreal region. Throughout its existence, it remained dependent on the trapping activities controlled by the Algonquin populations, some of whom began farming in the early 1830s.