In the past, the Stó:lō utilized a variety of ways to travel. Trade with other indigenous groups in the plateau and on the coast of British Columbia meant that long journeys were regularly made and transportation methods had to both cope with large cargo volumes and numerous travellers. Traversing by foot on land and by canoe along waterways created an elaborate and efficient network of routes for trade and resource collection. Additionally, it facilitated communication between groups and provided an opportunity for familial visiting.

The dugout canoe provided the bulk of the transportation for people and goods along the Fraser River. Stó:lō people traded extensively with other groups along the coast and in the Interior of British Columbia, and relied heavily on water transport. They also used the canoe to transport their main source of food, which was salmon.

An example of the importance of the canoe as a method of transportation in areas other than the Fraser Valley can be found in an early trader's account of First Nations transportation along the coast. Accounts of early fur traders on the northern and southern parts of the coast record six hundred or more canoes surrounding anchored trading vessels, as happened to Captain Barnet while trading in Cloak Bay. The scale of this example shows the importance of the canoe in the activities on the Northwest Coast.

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