Bastien Brothers

Company History: 

Bastien Brothers were located in Village des Huron (formerly also Loretteville, now called Wendake). They were one of many First Nations builders in that region. For at least part of their history they were marketed under the name Big Chief Canoes. The firm still exists (as of 2012), but only manufactures moccasins and snowshoes today.

Bastien Bros. canoes may be marked in one of several ways. A metal nameplate, a deck decal, or a decal with an indian head located on the bow.

Identifying Features: 

Hurons tend to be stocky, smaller canoes. They have fairly wide ribs (1½” — 1¾”) and babiche (varnished leather strips) seats with the stern seat set very far back. The deck is sort of heart shaped and fairly small. The decks are usually arrowhead-shaped; notches are cut to hold the ends of the inwales, rather than running them to the stemhead (see also St. Louis Meramec Canoe Company). Huron canoes usually have gunwale caps.

Models Offered: 

The canoes came in 12’, 14’ and 16’ lengths. They generally used fairly poor quality wood. The inwale was often spruce and covered with a strip of ash or some other hardwood tacked to the top. If you have the canvas off, check the planking. There may be frequent gore cuts (vees cut about 3/4 of the way through the wood to make it easier and faster to fit the planking around the curves of the boat.

The boats were covered in either painted canvas (in red or green, other colours may have been available) or vinyl-impregnated canvas (Verolite).