We went on a field trip to Fort Vancouver, the oldest fort on the West Coast, and I was actually surprised to find out that the Fort was not American, but English. Local Native Americans brought in fur to trade at the mercantile, where everything was priced in beavers (so many minks = one beaver pelt, etc.). You could buy an ax, but it would be dull, so then you'd have to buy something to sharpen it with, etc. When they entered the fort they immediately saw a large white house (paint = prosperity) with two cannons aimed at you. The cannons kept the peace, but were never fired. The blacksmiths showed us how they made traps and fire, and we learned that fur trading was not for the impatient.... a round trip sending furs to England and returning with goods took 3 years. The most fun part of the tour were the outhouses, which cracked Elora up, the tower with cannons in it ("Look over here! You can see the freeway! Cool!") and just plain wandering around.