A Brief History of Our Namesake, Mr. David Thompson

David Thompson was an extraordinary explorer, surveyor and map-maker who travelled over 90,000 kilometres across North America, mapping almost 5 million square kilometres during the course of his career.

Thompson was born in England in 1770, and at the tender age of 14 he became an apprentice for the Hudson’s Bay Company and set sail for Canada.  Arriving in Fort Churchill, he was soon transferred to York Factory where he honed his astronomical and surveying skills after a serious leg injury.  Although losing all sight in his right eye, HBC promoted Thompson to surveyor in 1794 in recognition of his map-making skills.

In 1806, David Thompson travelled to Rocky Mountain House in preparation for his expedition to follow the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean.  Thompson crossed the Rocky Mountains in 1807 and spent the next few years surveying the Columbia River basin.  During this time, Thompson established trading posts in Montana, Idaho, Washington, British Columbia and Alberta.  David Thompson was the first European to navigate the entire length of the Columbia River.

Named after an explorer committed to expanding the boundaries of knowledge in his time, David Thompson High School has developed its own proud tradition of providing top quality education to successive generations of students living on the east side of the Wild Rose School Division.