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William Hind's "Overlanders of '62 Sketchbook"

Born in Nottingham, England, William Hind attended the Nottingham Government School of Art and Design. In 1852, he moved to Toronto to join his brother, Henry Youle Hind. Trained as a professional artist, William Hind taught drawing at the Normal School in Toronto for a number of years, before joining the Overlanders.

Numbering about 150, the Overlanders chose not to follow the normal sea routes to British Columbia, but to travel overland through present-day western Canada. This route had been advocated by Hind's brother, who had recently returned from his expedition to Red River. Hind and the Overlanders journeyed by train from Toronto to St. Paul, Minnesota, and then by steamer down the Red River to Fort Garry, where they purchased supplies and transportation for their trek across the Prairies.

Several members of the Overlanders kept diaries which complement Hind's watercolours, the majority of which concentrate on his travels from Fort Garry to Jasper. In his sketchbook consisting of 92 watercolours and drawings, Hind captures the difficulties of the journey across the Prairies, such as challenging river crossings and thunderstorms. The sketchbook also provides a glimpse of the everyday routine of the Overlanders.

After a challenging journey through the mountains, the Overlanders finally reached their destination, having covered some 5,000 kilometres since leaving Toronto. However, few of them succeeded in mining gold; most continued on to Victoria, where Hind opened a studio for a few years before returning east.

View sketchbook page by page       Retrace Hind's journey across the Prairies