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Mink Collar

Curated Submission
Lower Mainland, British Columbia
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
58 x 26
Materials & techniques
Mink fur; Sewing, pelting, tanning, taffeta
Shirley Varney
Delta Museum and Archives Society DE2010.13.1
Historically the North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company had significant economic interest in Canada’s west coast and exploited the abundance of furs available in the area. The development of the fur trade was the primary driver of early settlement traffic and, ultimately, the placement of international borders. Competition between Britain and the United States over trapping territory persisted throughout the first half of the 1800s.
Over time the natural fur resource became depleted because of over-trapping. In response, farms sprung up around the Lower Mainland to farm fur-bearing animals. This mink collar is a product of that industry.
Mink farms were a natural fit on the Pacific coast, especially where discarded salmon parts from canneries could be used as nutritious feed for the animals. The environment was also conducive to well-managed and relatively disease-free operations.
Many early settlers turned to mink farming once timber had been cleared from the land, and these farms persisted until relatively recently, disappearing as the landscape has become increasingly gentrified and urbanized. Additionally, such farms were becoming more expensive to operate because of the diminishing fish industry and subsequent scarcity of cheap animal feed. At the same time, the fur industry was becoming less socially acceptable across North America. As a result, this once formative industry has greatly diminished in both numbers and significance in the region.
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