On April 20, 1534, Jacques Cartier set out from Saint Malo, Brittany at the request of Francis I, on the explorer’s first attempt to find a western passage to Asia. The trip across the ocean was accomplished in 20 days, but Cartier didn’t find Asia. He did, however, find the eastern seaboard of Canada, and he was the first to explore the St. Lawrence River. He planted a 30 foot tall cross claiming all that he found in the name of the king of France. In September of that year, he took two Iroquois Indians back with him as proof of his success in finding Asia. Oops. Cartier made two subsequent voyages, exploring the Canadian wilderness much more profoundly. He was also the one who gave the name Canada to my homeland, from the Iroquois word kanata.
Today’s expression, explorer toutes les pistes (ex-plor-ay toot lay peest), means to explore all the paths or leads. Jacques Cartier explored all the paths he could in order to try to find Asia, only to accidentally discover what eventually became the second largest country in the world. He never did, however, make it to Asia.
- A Canadian Diamond (tkmorin.wordpress.com)