From the first French presence in Canada, exploration and the spread of Christianity were closely linked. Missionaries accompanied explorers and other individuals engaged in the fur trade. Sometimes, the explorers themselves were churchmen. Their precise accounts were usually very detailed geographical and ethnographical descriptions of the regions they traversed. They described the places (lakes, rivers, rapids, portages), towns, climate, resources (mines and fishing) and the advantages associated with them. They also gave accounts of the Aboriginal peoples, their way of life and their conversion to Christianity.

The Advantages of Canada
Description [par un sulpicien] du Canada et de ce qui s'y trouve d'advantageux tant pour les interests de sa majesté que pour ceux des colonies françoises qui y sont establies [Description (by a Sulpician) of Canada and what is found there that is advantageous to both His Majesty and the French colonies that are established there], ca.1671
FR CAOM COL C11A 3 fol. 192-211