BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

From Ontario to the Pacific by the C.P.R Spragge, Ellen Elizabeth Cameron, 1854-1932 1887

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Array         TO   THE   PACIFIC
Mrs. Arthur Spragge
Toronto :
1887.  THE substance of this volume was published in a series of
articles in the Toronto Week during the progress of the
journey it narrates : to those articles some considerable additions
have since been made ; and the complete account is now offered
to the public in the hope that it may in some degree supply an
existing deficiency of information about a most interesting part
of the Dominion—especially the district of Kootenay, with the
mining interests of British Columbia, of which no later account
is extant than Mr. Sandford Fleming:s " Old and New Westminster."
Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada in the year one
thousand eight hundred and eighty-seven by Mks. Arthur Spraggb in
the office of the Minister of Agriculture.  CONTENTS.
Introduction—The Canadian Pacific Railway—Sketch of
its history and construction        5
I. Supplementary branch of the C. P. R.—Canadian
Pacific steamboats—Lake Huron—St. Mary and
Garden Rivers and Lake Superior—Port Arthur
—Country between Port Arthur and Winnipeg 13
II. Winnipeg, past and present—Principal objects of
interest—Hotels—Arrival and departure of first
through train between Montreal and Port Moody     20
III. Pullman cars on the C. P. R.—Country between
Winnipeg and Broadriver—Portage la Prairie
—Brandon and Moosomin        26
IV. Journey across the prairie—Old Wives Lake—Buf
falo—Swift Current—First appearance of Indians
—Gophers—Gull Lake—Cypress Station—Maple
Creek— Dunoon—South Saskatchewan—Medicine Hat—Monotony of scenery      33
"V. Third day's journey across the prairie—Extinction
of buffalo—Prairie wind—Bow and Red Deer
Rivers—Quiet of nature—Non-appearance of the
Rocky Mountains—Indian Reserve—Chief Crowfoot—Gleichen— Calgary       38
VI. The town of Calgary—Population—Enterprise—
Cochrane—Calgary Timber Co.—Indians—
Beauty of scenery—Wild flowers—Cowboys—
Indian ponies—Orderly state of town—Roads
about Calgary—Bow and Elbow Riven—Want
of trees         44
VII. Departure from Calgary—Banff—Development by
Canadian Government and C. P. R. Company—
Situation — Sanitarium — Mountain    scenery—
Spray Falls—Hot springs—Mammoth hotel of
C. P. R. Company—National Park—Bow River 11.
chapter —Fishing, boating and shooting—Caves—Medical analysis of waters—Curative qualities-
Summit of Rockies—Kicking Horse River and
Pass—Magnificent mountains—Field Tunnel
Mountain—Golden City—Columbia Valley—
Selkirk Range—Donald       50
VIII. Boundary Province British Columbia—Plan of
C. P. R. through the mountains—Donald—
Columbia River — Selkirk Range — Private
houses — Gold Commissioner — Stipendiary
Magistrate—The town—Coast Division of the
Road — Navigation    of    Columbia    River—
Steamer Duchess       64
IX. Gentlemen's   residences,    Donald—Expense   of
living—Vegetation—Climate — Mosquitoes—
Bush fires—Mountain storm       72
X. Arrival of Sir John, with Lady Macdonald on the
cowcatcher — Presentation of address and
miner's license to Sir John Macdonald       81
XL Mines in neighbourhood of   Donald—Gold  and
coal—Report of Minister of Mines of British
Columbia for 1886      84
XII. Departure from Donald for trip to Columbia
Lakes and Kootenay Valley — Moberley—
Golden City—Mr. F. P. Armstrong—Steamer
Duchess—Voyage up the Columbia River—
Canyon Creek — Johnson's Hog Ranche—
Branches of Columbia—Rocky Mountains'—
Wild fowl—Wooded banks—Shallow water
—Soundings—Navigation of the Columbia—
Spillumacheen—Landing—Ranges of Selkirk
and Rockies—Bear tracks—Change in character of river and country—Clay cliffs—A
settler's effects—Lilacs'—Force of current—
Period of river navigation—Plan of disembarkation        93
XIII. Pack and saddle horses—Indian boys—Smoke,
clouds, dust and heat—Grass region—Windermere—Ranche of Hon. F. Aylmer—First
nightunder canvas—Salmon spearing— Western
camp outfit—Kootenay Indians—Contrast
between Indians of mountains and plains—
Geherry's Ranche—Smoky atmosphere    106 Contents.
chap ran PAG.E
XIV. Ranche of Mr. Armstrong—Upper Columbia Lake
—Heavy smoke—Strong wind—Difficulties of
trail—Head, lake, and source of Columbia
• River—Beauty of scenery—Pinus ponderosa—
Kootenay River—Kootenay woods—English
sportsmen—Camp at Mud Creek—Thunderstorm — Wet   morning — Clearing   weather—
Sport by the way—Sheep Creek     112
XV. Temperature in September in Kootenay Valley—
Clear atmosphere—Flaxen lands—Valleys of
the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers compared
—Acres of ranching country — Nourishing
qualities of bunch grass—Distance from the
C. P. R.—Unknown to tourists—Kootenay
Indians—Wolf Creek—Ranche of Mr. Humphreys—Scenery in Kootenay Valley—Bummer's Flats—Six-Mile Creek—Clarke's Crossing
—Kootenay River—Cranbrooke     118
XVI. Colonel Baker's ranche—Bad weather—English
sportsmen—Mr. Forbes, owner of American
yacht Puritan—Monotony of ranche life—Travellers—Rising barometer—Golden stubble
fields—Palace Hotel—" The Captain "—Catholic Mission on St. Mary's River—Important
influence of priests upon Indian civilisation—
Father Fouquet—Dr. Powell—Mr. Smythe,
Indian Commissioner and Premier of B.C.—
Mr.  Norris,   H.M.'s   Collector  of   Customs,
Kootenay     127
XVII. Colonel Baker, M. P. P. for Kootenay—Particulars
of district furnished by him—Climate, resources,
and capabilities of the Kootenay Valley—
Arrival of Dr. Powell and Mr. Smythe at
Cranbrooke — Deputation waits upon the
Premier—Address of Col. Baker—Reply of
Mr. Smythe—Prospected canal,  and Golden
City and Kootenay Railway     136
XVIII. Beautiful weather at Cranbrooke—Departure from
the Ranche—Kootenay River again—Wild
Horse Creek—Untold wealth of this district—
Placer mining—Chinese-Population—Government   office—Heart   of   Rocky   Mountains—
, IV.
Collector of Customs—Six-Mile Creek again-
Meeting with Mr. Smythe—Return journey to
Wolf Creek—New Government road—Lake
Pasilqua—Camping ground on Upper Columbia
Lake—Arrival at Mr. Armstrong's ranche     142
XIX. Voyage down the Upper Columbia Lake—Beginning of the Columbia River—Dangers of navigation—Mud Lake — Columbia River between
Mud and the Lower Lake—Lower Columbia
Lake—Night camp—Columbia River proper—
Lilacs Landing again—No news of Steamer
Duchess — Camping ground on Columbia
River—Stormy night—Decrease of luxuries—
Arrival of visitors—Steamer detained at Spillu-
macheen—Departure by boat to meet her—
Voyage down the Columbia River—Miss the
boat—Adventures   by   the   way—Arrival   at
Golden City—Donald     151
XX. Leave Donald for the Glacier Hotel— Scenery along
this section of the C. P. R.—First crossing of
the Columbia River—Beaver River—Bear
Creek—Selkirk Mountains—Course of snow-
slides—Railway bridges—Snow sheds—Height
of mountains in Selkirk Range—Glacier Hotel
— Favourite locality for artists — Messrs.
O'Brien, Forbes, Fraser, and Aitken     164
XXI. Donald to Port Moody—Loop in the Selkirk
Range—Skill of C. P. R. engineers—Hie Celle
Waet River—Revelstoke —Second crossing of
the Columbia—Fine timber—Gold Ranges—
Cascade—Thompson River Canyon—Kain-
loops district—Canyon of the Fraser River—
Spuzzum—Vale—North Bench—Coast Mountains—Port Moody — Burrard Inlet—Vancouver—Gulf of Georgia—Victoria     170
XXII. Population of Victoria—Chinese quarter, their
position, importance and emigration—Situation
of Victoria—Handsome buildings—Parliament
Houses—Union Club—Beacon Hill Park—
Esquimault—Nanaimo—Climate of Victoria—
Vegetation—Expenses of living—Hospitality
of Victorians—Advantages of the Canadian
Pacific Route     179 ONTARIO  TO THE PACIFIC,
BY THE  C. P. R.
As a passenger in the first through train, which
left Montreal on the 28th June, 1886, and was
joined by me at Winnipeg, I feel justified in prefacing my journey from Ontario to the Pacific
with a brief notice of the road.
The Canadian Pacific Railway was a National
Enterprise, is a National Highway, will be a
National Heirloom. Created as a condition of
the completion of Confederation, its history
occupies an important place in the annals of
Canada, involving as it did the fall of one Government and the rise of another.
The isolation of British Columbia was the
* I am indebted to the "Canadian Almanac " [Copp, Clark and
Co.] for the facts concerning the Canadian Pacific. 6
Ontario to the Pacific.
chief obstacle to that colony entering the Confederation of the Provinces.
Separated from the Eastern Provinces by vast
ranges of unexplored and inaccessible mountains,
and by over one thousand miles of supposed
barren rocky wastes, known only to the Indian
tribes and servants of the Hudson Bay Company,
she felt her position to be one of peculiar disadvantage, and modestly stipulated in 1868 for a
waggon road as a pledge of her redemption from
the mighty barriers imposed by' the hand of
Nature upon her commercial progress. This was
to be followed within three years by the commencement of a trans-continental railway, upon
which one million dollars was to be expended
annually in British Columbia. It was not until
the 20th June, 1871, that the Crown colony
became a Province of the Dominion of Canada,
under condition that the railway should be begun
at once and completed within ten years.
It was contemplated from the first by the Act
of Parliament that the railway | Shall be constructed and worked by private enterprise, and
not by the Dominion Government; that the public
aid to be extended shall consist of such liberal Introduction.
grants of land and such subsidies as the Parliament of Canada shall hereafter determine." To
this end two companies were formed in 1872 to
undertake the work, but difficulties arising, they
dissolved, and a new one, under the presidency
of the late Sir Hugh Allan, arose. To it was let
the contract for building the railway from a point
near Lake Nipissing to the Pacific Ocean, the
Government undertaking to contribute $30,000,-
000 and 50,000,000 acres of land.
After a year's negotiations Sir Hugh Allan's
company failed to secure- the assistance of
English capitalists, and finally surrendered its
charter. Then" followed a change of Administration, proving a serious drawback to the progress
of the railroad; the new Government opposed
its original form of construction on the ground of
undue, excessive expenditure; action had to be
taken, and in 1874 negotiations were opened
with British Columbia for a modification of the
terms of the Act of 1871. This step aroused the
uneasiness of the Provincial Government, who
agreed finally to refer the question of their rights
to the arbitration of Lord Carnarvon. In 1875,
accordingly, an extension of ten years, or until 8
-Ontario to the Pacific.
the 31st December, 1890, for the completion of
the railway was determined upon, and the sum
to be annually expended in British Columbia
was increased to $2,000,000. The Government
took charge of the road, and let various contracts
for building in different parts of the country; it
proceeded, however, slowly and disconnectedly
in its construction until 1878, when another
change of Administration occurring, new life was
infused into the enterprise, which was vigorously
prosecuted up to the end of the year 1879. In
1880 an association of a few capitalists turned
their attention to the work the Government had
in hand, and proposed to carry it out, as originally intended, by private enterprise. A provisional
contract was entered into and ratified by Act of
Parliament on the 15th February, 1881, when
the charter was granted to the present Canadian
Pacific Railway Co., on its undertaking to build,
equip throughout, and have in operation by May,
1891, 2,000 miles of railway, for the most part
across an unknown land. The most difficult
portions of its construction fell to their share ;
viz., the completion of the road round the north
shore of Lake Superior, and the connexion of Introduction.
the west end of the line in Manitoba with Kam-
loops in British Columbia, a distance of 1,350
miles, including in its course the crossing of the
Rocky, Selkirk, and Gold ranges of mountains.
In consideration of this undertaking, the Government were to finish the line from Savonas
Ferry to Port Moody, 213 miles, and to hand
over to the Company, completed, all their lines
under contract, in all 711 miles; to pay them
$25,000,0001 and to give them 25,000,000 acres
of land.
The events connected with the carrying out of
the contract by the Canadian Pacific Company
are unparalleled in the history of railway enterprise ; the difficulties of the proposed route were
enormous, and the speed with which its construction was completed is almost miraculous,
when we consider the very great obstacles it
presented. On the 7th November, 1885, a union
was effected between the parties working from
the east and from the west at Craigellachie,
in British Columbia, 2,552 miles from Montreal.
The Company contributed their share of the work
of construction in four years and nine months,
or less than half the time stipulated; and the 10
Ontario to the Pacific.
Government kept faith with the Province of
British Columbia with five years and seven
months to spare.
Of the Canadian Pacific Railroad it may be
said tbat it is the longest continuous line of
rails in the world, and passes through an extent
of country remarkable for the diversity of its
natural formation.
Commencing at the east end from Callander,
the Nipissing section to Lake Superior was
attacked, consisting of some 400 miles of broken
rocky country, interspersed with innumerable
lakes and streams. It was entirely uninhabited ; and provisions, clothing, and necessaries
of every description for the men had to be provided by the Company, storehouses established,
hospitals built, medical assistance, fodder for
horses, materials, tools, and explosives for work
supplied. Waggon roads had to be constructed
in advance of the route, and in many cases at a
cost per mile exceeding that of the corresponding
mile of railway.
Next to the Nipissing came the Lake Superior
section, where the work consisted of cutting and
tunnelling through rocks of the hardest possible Introduction.
description, or of hewing a bench or ledge round
the face of a beetling cliff towering hundreds of
feet above the line. Here, and to some extent
in the mountains, the Company found it prudent
and economical to manufacture their explosives
largely on the spot. The total expenditure on
this account on the entire works was $2,100,000;
from these figures some idea may be formed of
the necessary blasting. On this section occurs
the most costly work of the whole road; some
particular localities having cost from $600,000
to $700,000 per mile.
The construction of the road across the prairie
was remarkably rapid, the speed with which the
track was laid being almost phenomenal. The
average for one month was over three miles per
working day; and on one particular day over six
miles were laid. The mountains once reached,
waggon roads had again to be built at great
expense; problems of engineering solved; rivers
crossed; lakes drained; mountains scaled;
chasms bridged; and the materials for all these
operations to be anticipated for months. Yet
throughout the whole period of construction the
Transportation Department never once failed to 12
Ontario to the Pacific,
respond promptly to the call of the Construction
Department, which was not delayed a day for
want of supplies. Enormous difficulties were
successfully overcome, and on June 28th, 1886,
the first through train for the Coast left Montreal,
and safely accomplished within a week that
eventful journey to the far Pacific Slope which
marked so important an era in the history of
Canadian enterprise.
The men who accomplished this great work,
and whose names will ever be associated with
the progress and development of the Dominion,
are Sir George- Stephen, Sir Donald A. Smith,
Mr. Richard B. Angus, Mr. Duncan Mclntyre,
and Mr. W. C. Van Home. To them the honour
of this great enterprise is chiefly due.
The Company employs a very large force of
men, and in each branch of the service a very
high standard is required; consequently, its
officials collectively are not surpassed by the
staff of any other railway in America. Its
employe's number 14,551 hands, and it pays out
in wages $4,300,000 annually.
Its officers number—station agents, 384; operators and despatchers, 269: other station em- By the C. P. R-
ployes, 791; workshop employes, 663; locomotive
engineers, 375; locomotive firemen, 396; conductors, 233; brakesmen, 489; employes of
road department, 2,496; bridge and building
department, 1,147.
In Winnipeg there are 1,000 men on the payroll, 600 being employed in the workshops alone,
and, if the- average be taken, a man supporting
five persons, the number directly dependent
on the Canadian Pacific in Winnipeg alone, is
5,500, and in the Dominion no less than 72,755,
in itself a small army.
I left Toronto on Saturday, June 26th, 1886,
at ten a.m., by a supplementary branch of the
C. P. R. (formerly the Toronto, Grey, and Bruce
Railway), running to Owen Sound and connecting
with the Canadian Pacific boats at that place.
I carried with me a through return ticket to Victoria—the first one, probably, issued from the
Toronto office. The fear of losing this valuable
bit of paper haunted me like a nightmare during 14
Ontario to the Pacific,
my four months' absence, and suggested to my
mind the idea that the Company should originate
some neat and unostentatious brand to be
stamped upon the unoffending through return
passenger, as a form of financial security.'
There was no dust on the day in question, and
the weather was all that it should have been,
bright, clear and cool; the sky co¥ered with
heavy masses of soft, fleecy clouds, drifting so
far overhead that they held no thought of storm
or shower in their gray depths.
Soon after leaving Toronto Junction, we passed
into a pretty, rolling country, extending to the
Forks of the Credit, the most picturesque spot
on this road. The river is here spanned by a
long trestle bridge, over which the train crept
most carefully, then steamed up a heavy grade to
the top of the valley, where the dining station,
at Orangeville, was reached. A halt of twenty
minutes occurred, and we rolled on again
through an ugly, flat, well-wooded district, very
suggestive of timber limits, to Owen Sound, where
we arrived punctually at half-past three o'clock.
The Alberta lay at her wharf on the opposite side of
the platform to that on which the train drew up, By the C. P. R.
so it was a very simple matter to transfer oneself from land to water. . She proved to be
a first-class screw steamship, of 1,179 tons,
built on the Clyde, and brought out to Canada
three years ago for .service on the upper lakes.
Her machinery is particularly fine, and consists
of two large compound engines, fourteen hydraulic engines, and one electric engine, which are in
the best of order, and bright with all the brilliancy that polish can give. Everything on board,
even to most of the cooking, is done by steam,
and the system of electric lighting is very complete, the saloon being illuminated by six centre
chandeliers of artistic design and six single
branches from the side walls, all provided with
globes, mellowing and'toning the light without
detracting from its power and efficacy. The
Alberta and Athabasca cost $300,000 each, including the machinery. The former is registered
to carry five hundred and eighty passengers; her
cabin accommodation is excellent, and the table
good and well served. The only deficiency I
noticed was the lack of camp-stools or other
available deck accommodation. Of her qualities
as a sea boat I am happy to say I had no oppor- 16
Ontario to the Pacific,
tunity of judging, for our trip to Port Arthur
was over a waveless sea, under a cloudless
Saturday night found us well out on Lake
Huron, and on Sunday morning, after breakfast;
we were steaming up the Garden River, a tributary of the St. Mary River, connecting that
lake with Lake Superior. The scenery along its
winding course is very pretty and varied in
character, the land falling away from Lake
Huron in high wooded hills, flooded with rich
purples in the distance and deep greens in the
foreground, to low cleared land in the neighbourhood of the Sault Ste. Marie, where the river
narrows perceptibly, the American and Canadians towns of the Sault lying exactly opposite one
another and comparatively close together. The
American town is situated in the State of Michigan, and to the Federal Government belong the
locks through which all vessels must pass, to
avoid the unnavigable rapids of the Garden River,
which toss their foam-crowned heads beside us
as we steam slowly through the short canal out
into Lake Superior.
It was some time after we left the Sault before By the C. P. R.
we really lost sight of land, and found ourselves
launched upon the bosom of this huge inland sea,
the largest lake in the world, with the exception
of one in Russia. Some idea of the size of Lake
Superior may be formed from the fact that from
its two extremities the distance is equal to that
from London to the centre of Scotland. In width
it is capacious enough to take in the whole of
Ireland. It is 900 feet deep, the surface being
600 feet above, the bed 300 feet below, the ocean
level. Its water is remarkably pure, and the
colour of the finest crystal.
We passed a number of steam barges and
deeply-laden vessels, and entered the lake, whose
rugged, rocky hills on the north shore ascended
to a height of a thousand feet. I was prepared
for a slight rocking, at the least, but was agreeably surprised to find Superior as smooth and
smiling as nature could make it. The air, however, became perceptibly chilly as the land
receded, and by six o'clock I was glad to retire
to the warmth and comfort of the saloon, behind
closed doors and windows. The night passed
quietly and uneventfully; not a suspicion even
of fog detained us, and on Monday morning at 18
Ontario to the Pacific,
nine o'clock we were off Thunder Cape, which
reared its magnificent mass of rock close above
the vessel. I never saw anything more exquisite
than the purple lights on its rugged wooded sides,
as the Alberta steamed away from the rocky
headland, with its picturesque and invaluable
lighthouse, towards Port Arthur, whose houses
could be distinctly seen rising in a semicircle on
Thunder Bay.
This is the terminus of the C. P. R.. boats,
which connect here with the through trains from
Montreal, east and west. The town is beautifully
situated, and seems to be a thriving place. At
eleven o'clock the wharf was reached, and I made
my way to the Northern Hotel, five minutes'
walk from the boat. The hotel has since been
burned to the ground; it was decidedly ambitious
in structure, its wide verandas on both stories
commanded a most extensive view over the
numerous headlands and islands of Lake
Superior, with Thunder Cape an imposing mass
in the distance. At one o'clock we were provided with a good substantial dinner, and at
ten minutes past three the C. P. R. train
from Montreal   stopped  just in front of  the By the C. P. R.
hotel to embark passengers and baggage. We
were soon rushing along at full speed, bound for
Winnipeg and the far West. A dining-car was
attached to the train, which I patronised for tea,
and at half-past nine o'clock on Tuesday morning
I breakfasted in Winnipeg.
I never performed a more comfortable journey;
no time was lost, and no casualty occurred. The
only thing I have to complain of is the extremely
dreary, barren country that extends between
Lake Superior and the prairie region. We traversed long stretches of black, boggy swamp, to
which the Indian name of " Muskeg " has been
given; throughout the district, as the train
moves on, nothing but rock and forest are to be
seen, in their most rugged forms. The country
about Rat Portage, situated at the junction of
the Lake of the Woods and the River Winnipeg,
is, I believe, extremely pretty and interesting;
but we passed it at night, so I had no opportunity of appreciating its beauties ; when I awoke
next morning, we were at Selkirk, twenty miles
north of the city of Winnipeg, and had entered
on the prairie land of the West. In another
half hour the train steamed  slowly into the 20
Ontario to the Pacific,
station at Winnipeg, and a few minutes later, I
was comfortably settled at the Leland House for
the next two days.
The weather at Winnipeg was unusually close
and sultry, -making any exertion an effort, so I
spent the day of my arrival (Tuesday, 29th June)
quietly at the Leland House, recommended to
me as the best and newest hotel in the town. It
is on a small scale, and the bedrooms, with a few
exceptions, are tiny; the dining-room, too, is
badly situated, below the level of the street, making the atmosphere both heavy and cavernous, as
the ventilation is naturally very imperfect; however, it is as good accommodation in the hotel
way as Winnipeg can offer. Water is abundant,
and obtainable, which is not always the case, I
believe, in other localities, and the proprietor
and his employes are extremely civil, obliging,
and anxious to promote the comfort of their
Wednesday, the 30th of June, was as hot as By the C. P. R.
the preceding day; but I had determined to see
something of Winnipeg, and a friend having
kindly offered to show me the city, we drove
away from the Leland House, at four o'clock,
and found a pleasant breeze blowing over the
prairie, though the sun's rays still beat down
upon our heads with unabated vigour. The
absence of trees in the town is a great disadvantage to both man and beast, in the warm summer
months. I heard, however, that the deficiency
has been fully recognised by the corporation, and
an Arbour Day instituted in the interests of the
city. A few hundred yards from the hotel, we
turned into Main Street, a handsome, wide, block-
paved road, the principal thoroughfare of Winnipeg, as its name indicates. When it is filled
with handsome brick buildings, no city in the
Dominion will offer a finer drive and promenade
than Main Street. At present I imagine it looks
as Toronto did " some forty years ago," and the
contrast between the few brick shops, warehouses,
banks, and the low wooden houses adjoining
them, jars upon the eye, and reminds one
that Winnipeg, with its population of 30,000, is
a city of very recent creation.    " Thirteen years 22
Ontario to the Pacific,
ago," according to Mr. Sandford Fleming, " there
was little to distinguish its site from any other
spot on the river bank. The Red River was
skirted by a single tier of holdings, on the shore
line, directly along its banks for a distance of
fifty miles, known as the Selkirk Settlement."
These holdings, or farms, were peculiarly surveyed, and show a frontage of two hundred and
forty yards, by a depth of two miles.
The first place we visited was St. John's College, about a mile from the city, on the continuation north of Main Street. We drove all
round its group of buildings, including the so-
called Cathedral and the quaint old episcopal
residence known as Bishop's Fort, situated on a
high bank immediately above the Red River,
which rolls its low and muddy waters below.
A grove of oaks and poplars surrounds the
houses, the first trees I had seen in this part of
the country, which really refreshed one's eyes,
wearied by the unbroken monotony of land and
sky. A new white brick college has been erected
on the prairie, not far from the original buildings,
but away from the river. I should fancy the
dean and canons would be loath to exchange By the C. P. R.
their present shady retreats for the barren, treeless prairie about the new college, and hope their
present residences, some of which are quite
detached, will be secured to them.
We had not, unfortunately, time to go over
Bishop's Fort, and after making a circuit of the
place, the horses' heads were turned towards
Winnipeg, and we drove to the Hudson Bay
stores, occupying a fine block of brick buildings
on Main Street South; these we investigated
fully. I was much impressed by their completeness in every department. We spent some time
examining the different flats, then drove along
Main Street South, towards the fashionable part
of the town, in which most of the private residences are situated, passing on our way, a short
distance from the Hudson Bay stores, the foundations of the great hotel that collapsed with the
boom, and never got beyond the low stone walls
now covering an immense area of ground.
We crossed the Assiniboine, flowing here from
the west into the Red River, turned up River
Avenue, past some fine new houses, and entered
again upon a region of trees and underbrush,
through which pretty roads wound and charming 24
Ontario to the Pacific,
little villas appeared, and soon came upon the
Ross Mansion, another memento of the boom, at
present unoccupied and unfinished. I was
delighted with this part of Winnipeg, which
promises to be the most attractive suburb of the
city, the houses fronting on the Assiniboine
especially having a charming situation. After
winding all through these wooded roads, time
warned us homewards and we returned by way
of Broadway and Edmonton Street, with their
pretty villa residences, to the Leland House,
where I was deposited, after spending a most
enjoyable afternoon, feeling quite invigorated by
the strong, fresh prairie wind which blew freely
over the grassy plain stretching westward from
the city to the setting sun.
Thursday, Dominion Day, had been named for
the arrival of the first through train from Montreal to the Pacific Coast, advertised to leave
Winnipeg at twenty minutes to ten o'clock in the
morning, which was to bear me westward to
the Rockies. At breakfast I read, in the Winnipeg Free Press, the following announcement:
I The arrival of the first C.P.R. transcontinental
train will be welcomed by a salute from the Win- By the G. P. R.
nipeg Field Battery. The two military bands
will be present. The Mayor and Council will
attend in a body; and no doubt there will be a
large turnout of citizens to mark this important
event in Canadian history." Warned by this
notice of an impending crowd, I tried to get
down to the station early to avoid it, and left the
hotel nearly an hour before the appointed time, but
early as it was, the platform was crowded; it was
almost impossible to force a passage through the
seething, struggling mass of humanity moving
up and down. Fortunately, I had pressed the
hotel proprietor and a porter into my service to
carry my valise and rugs; they succeeded in
clearing a way for me to the baggage-room, where
I extracted my luggage from that of those other
passengers who, like myself, had waited over in
Winnipeg for the through train. I had no difficulty in getting it re-checked to Calgary; and
the heavy train, consisting of nine cars,
having at last drawn up to the platform, I
sank a few minutes later into a luxurious seat,
flanked by my valise and rugs, feeling that I
was established for the next thirty-six hours
at least. 26
Ontario to the Pacific,
The Pullman I found myself in at Winnipeg
proved to be a through car from Montreal to
Victoria, intended to be occupied entirely by
men, as I discovered later, when the train
started. When I entered it was quite empty,
and the number of people inspecting the different cars, as they were allowed to do, and
passing backwards and forwards in the operation, made the possession of the first vacant
seat a considerable object to a hot and weary
traveller. The black porter was as usual very
civil, and told me to remain in the car as lone:
as it suited me, so I availed myself of the opportunity to inspect it thoroughly. The "Honolulu "
is one of the handsomest Pullmans owned by
the Company; it is upholstered most artistically,
or rather aesthetically, in gray green velvet; the
sides of the seats and berths are mounted in
cherry, beautifully carved and inlaid with brass ;
the roof is painted, and the ventilators are
provided with amber-coloured stained glass;!
two  lounges  occupy each  side  of   the  centre By the C. P. R.
of the car, parallel with the sides; and heavy
velvet portieres hang over each end door. The
wash-basins in the lavatories are of dark marble,
one of them furnished with a small three-
foot-six bath, evidently much patronised between
Montreal and Winnipeg. There is also an observation compartment at the end, the full width of
the car, provided with very large windows on
both sides and comfortable lounges, which is
intended to facilitate the enjoyment of the mountain scenery.
The train was supposed to leave at ten minutes
to ten, but it was after the half hour when the cry
of " all aboard " was heard, followed by a hurried
shaking of hands, and the engine with its nine
cars—two sleepers (the " Honolulu" and the
" Selkirk "), a dining-car, two first class, two
second class, and two baggage cars—moved
slowly out of the station, bound on its long
journey to the far Pacific Slope. For more than
a mile outside of Winnipeg, we passed crowds of
people who had gathered along the line to see
the first through train, and I began to feel myself
quite an historical character : the event seemed
one of such marked importance to this section of 28
Ontario to the Pacific,
the country. The day was close, sultry, and
slightly overcast; but once clear of the city,
steaming away over the prairie, we left dull
clouds' behind us, and passed into a region of
vivid blues and greens, where the land and sky
met upon the horizon, and the eye was almost
wearied by the glare of colours all about us. We
saw large herds of cattle browsing upon the
plains, and numerous prosperous farms dotted
about on both sides of the railway.
Soon after leaving Winnipeg, I departed from
the "Honolulu," and was escorted to my proper
place in the 1 Selkirk "—which had been added
at Winnipeg, and was a very common and
ordinary Pullman compared to the other—
already filled by passengers from Montreal to the
Coast. The first large town we reached was Portage la Prairie. According to Mr. Sandford
Fleming, " this town is situated on the northern
bank of the Assiniboine River (we have not, however, caught a glimpse of the river), directly to the
south of Lake Winnipeg. Ten years ago, Portage la Prairie had little more than the name by
which it was known to the voyageur; it is now
[in 1883] a thriving town, with many streets and By the C. P. R.
buildings extended over possibly a square mile;
two large elevators are constructed on the railway
line for the storage of wheat, and a branch railway has been established to Gladstone." The
town appeared to me to have increased and
developed considerably since the above lines were
penned, and is now a busy place. Larger a great
deal than Portage la Prairie is Brandon, where
we stopped for about twenty minutes. It has
quite an imposing station, but the town is not
visible from the track, being situated on a hill
above the river Assiniboine. It is now quite an
important place. Mr. Fleming says of this part
of the country, " The prairie in all directions in
the neighbourhood [of Brandon] has a warm
subsoil of sandy or gravelly loam, differing from
the deep black vegetable mould of the level banks
of the Red River. Settlers' houses and huts
are seen in all directions, and I learn that a
great extent of country has been taken up for
During the afternoon we continued to roll
along over the same level prairie land, and had
occasional peeps of the Assiniboine, whose course
is marked by groups of trees, varying the mono- 30
Ontario to the Pacific,
tony of the dead-level horizon. We passed
numerous ponds close to the line, which
abounded with small wild ducks, apparently
quite indifferent to us, scarcely troubling themselves even to turn their pretty heads as we
flew by. Wild flowers covered the prairie in
all directions, handsome red lilies, enormous
cone flowers, wild sunflowers, dwarf wild roses
growing on bushes hardly a foot high, a tall plant
with a deep pink blossom unfamiliar to me, and
scores of others I did not recognise.
After leaving Brandon we partook of our first
meal in the dining-car, where everything was
well arranged, and an excellent menu provided,
including fresh salmon and other delicacies of
tbe season. The car itself was a new one, exceedingly handsome and massive: the seats of
solid dark leather designed to imitate alligator
skin, the mirrors and all suitable portions of the
car inlaid with bronze, the linen and plate, glass
and china, all fresh and resplendent; in fact, the
only improvement that could have been made
would have been to substitute for the white
waiters black ones, and increase the number
employed upon the trip;   doubtless, however, By the C. P. R.
the Company did not anticipate the amount of
patronage that was bestowed upon the first
through train.
We arrived at Moosomin at seven o'clock ; it
is a small town scattered over a large area of
ground on both sides of the line. There were
indications here of a tremendous storm rapidly
approaching us from the west; the sky turned
from steel-blue to copper colour; the wind rose;
the dust blew in clouds, completely obscuring
the town; and five minutes later, as we glided
again out on to the prairie and were seated at
tea in the dining-car, the storm broke over the
train, accompanied by heavy thunder and vivid
forked lightning, which played all over the plain.
The rain descended upon the roof in perfect
sheets*; not a sound could be heard above the
din and rattle as it peppered ventilators and
window panes. By common consent, knives and
forks were laid aside, and the occupants of the
well-filled car ceased to shout inaudible orders to
patient, much-vexed waiters, and devoted themselves to contemplating the progress of the
storm. The landscape was almost shut out
by dense sheets of. water,  except away to the 32
Ontario to the Pacific,
south, where the gray leaden clouds trailed their
ragged edges over a breadth of golden sky which
had caught the reflection of the setting sun. In
about twenty minutes we had passed out of the
worst of it; windows were thrown up on all
sides, and we enjoyed the delicious, cool, damp
atmosphere after the hot, sultry, dusty air
breathed all day between Winnipeg and Moosomin : when we returned to our Pullman we
feasted our eyes upon a magnificent sunset,
toward which we were smoothly and silently
A few miles from Broadview, the next station
to Moosomin, our engine developed a hot box,
and went off either for repairs or to seek a substitute, leaving its nine cars in solitary grandeur
out on the boundless prairie without a habitation
in sight. The gentlemen all availed themselves of this opportunity to leave the train and
wander about in search of flowers and curiosities-
I was presented with a magnificent bouquet of
gigantic size, containing most of the flowers I
have above referred to I and after a delay of an
hour and a half, during which we enjoyed the
twilight and abused the mosquitoes, our engine By the C. P. R.
returned, and—once more under way—we all
prepared for our night's rest, it being past ten
o'clock, though still quite light.
When I got up at half-past seven on Friday
morning, July 2nd, I found we were passing over
an arid, rolling country, utterly devoid of tree or
shrub. The presence of alkali in large quantities
was marked by the white, salty appearance of the
ground, where various ponds had dried up, leaving the earth exposed like patches of driven
snow. The Old Wives' Lakes soon came into
view. According to Mr. Fleming, " these are
three salt-water lakes; together they extend
fifty miles in length, and from ten to six miles
in breadth ; they abound in wild duck." I saw
none; but several large gray cranes, roused by
the train, flapped solemnly over the white sandy
beach, and flew away across the dark green
water. We came upon occasional skulls and
bones of the buffalo bleaching in the sun, while
their trails were visible crossing and re-crossing 34
Ontario to the Pacific,
the plain in all directions, marking its surface
with deep indented lines. The grass, which has
now overgrown the well-worn tracks, is sunk far
below the natural level of the ground, showing
what countless millions of feet must have trodden
these deep-cut paths as the animals travelled
across the prairie from one watering-place to
another. At several stations I noticed ghastly
trophies of piles of bones, many feet high, awaiting transport to distant cities for fertilising and
chemical purposes, which I heard was a lucrative though somewhat exhausted traffic.
At nine o'clock we reached Swift Current, not
far from the bend of the South Saskatchewan.
The town consists of a few low wooden houses on
a grassy plateau facing the railway station.
There were two or three Indian encampments
in the neighbourhood, marked by their smoke-
browned tepees. This was my first glimpse of
the aborigines. At Swift Current the train made
quite a long halt to take in wood and water, and
the attention of all the passengers was aroused
by an Indian boy, about sixteen years of age, a
son, we heard, of Big Bear's, who rode on to
the platform attired in full dress, wearing a black By the C. P. R.
felt wide-awake, carrying a lasso over the horn
of his saddle, and mounted on a cream pony,
about twelve hands high, adorned with a gorgeous embroidered saddle-cloth. Most of the
gentlemen and several ladies got out of the train
to examine him and his steed more closely, and
at last one passenger, more venturesome than
the rest, persuaded the boy to dismount, jumped
upon the pony*s back, and cantered the tractable
little beast up and down the platform close to the
car windows, amid shouts of laughter from within
and Without.
After a delay of twenty minutes we moved
slowly out of the station and passed a number of
new ploughs and heavy waggons standing on the
grass near the line, indicating farming operations in the neighbourhood. The day was bright
and clear, with a delicious fresh prairie wind
blowing; all the windows were open—we felt
we had left the dust and heat of cities far behind
us as we steamed away over an undulating, treeless prairie, covered with short buffalo grass.
We saw numbers of gophers scampering about
in all directions, sitting up on their haunches
like rabbits outside their holes, and examining 86
Ontario to the Pacific,
the train as it rolled by. These animals are a
species of ground squirrel; they burrow in the
earth and look like large tawny rats ; their tails
are stiff and hard, devoid of the soft feathery
brush of the tree squirrel, which they resemble
about the head and body.
We soon came upon Gull Lake, so called from
the numbers of these birds which hover over its
placid waters. " We are," says Mr. Fleming,
" five hundred and fifty-four miles from Winnipeg, north of the Cypress Hills. The lofty
ground to the south of us is perfectly bare; the
country is dry, the herbage scanty." We slackened speed and approached Cypress Station ; at
one o'clock Maple Creek was reached. After
leaving there we moved off again over the endless
prairie; the character of the herbage was changed,
and the plains were covered with low sage brush
and great bunches of a silvery-looking plant like
lavender, interspersed with quantities of short
yellow grass and foxtail, resembling dwarf barley.
At two o'clock we arrived at Dunmore, but
were soon off again, rolling over a vast plain,
broken here and there by grassy bluffs, with
scattered herds browsing upon them, and occa- By the C. P. R.
sional homesteads in the distance. We followed
for some miles the half-dried bed of a tributary
of the South Saskatchewan. The banks of this
stream were marked by refreshing foliage in the
shape of a few low, stunted trees. Evidently,
there had been no rain in this part of the country
for many weeks, and in a short time all signs of
water disappeared, leaving a dry, sandy bottom
exposed to view. A few minutes later we steamed
into Medicine Hat, situated on a sandy area, and
consisting of a row of wooden houses and low
cabins on each side of the track. A steamer on
the South Saskatchewan was distinctly visible,
anchored below the Mounted Police barracks,
which are on a high bluff on the opposite side of
the river. When the train moved off again we
crossed a solid iron bridge over the river, some
thirty feet above the water's level, just outside
the town; then followed the course of the Saskatchewan for a little way, and ascended a heavy
grade with high grass bluffs on one side, and the
valley of the river on the other, far below us.
Soon the top of the ascent was reached, and
we were once more upon the genuine prairie,
which rolled away as far as the eye could reach
4 38
Ontario to the Pacific
in an unbroken line to the horizon. I cannot
do better than quote here a few lines from Mr.
Fleming's book to give an adequate idea of the
monotony of the scene. He says : " Our point
of vision is really and truly the centre of one
vast grassy plain, the circumference of which
lies defined on the horizon. As we look from
the rear, the two lines of rails gradually come
closer till they are lost seemingly in one line ;
the row of telegraph poles recedes with the distance to a point. I should estimate the horizon
to be removed from us from six to eight miles.
The sky, without a cloud, forms a blue vault
above us; nothing around is visible but the
prairie on all sides, gently swelling and undulating, with the railway forming a defined diameter
across the circle. The landscape is unvaried; a
solitude in which the only sign of life is the
motion of the train."
All the afternoon of Friday, July 2nd, we sped
on over the prairie, with its inevitable buffalo
trails and bones.   Apropos of these animals and By the C. P. R.
their extinction in North America, I came upon
an article the other day, copied from the Washington Star, on this very subject. The writer
gives an account of a hunting trip made by two
gentlemen to Montana, in pursuit of buffalo, during the spring of the present year (1886). "In
all our explorations," he says, " we came across
only two herds of buffalo. The largest of
these did not contain more than seventy-five
head. Formerly they used to roam in such numbers as sometimes to stop railroad trains."
(Hence the deeply-cut trails I have referred
to.) " The buffaloes," he continues, " are being
rapidly exterminated, and in another year or
two will be extinct. The cowboys and tourists
shoot them recklessly, leaving their bodies
to decay where they fall. The plains are so
thickly covered with buffalo skeletons that a
company has been organised in Montana to collect the bones for use in the manufacture of
Evidently, the same remarks may be applied to
the prairies of the North-west as to Montana,
substituting Indians and hunters for cowboys
and tourists.   Four years ago, buffalo meat sold 40
Ontario to the Pacific,
in Regina at ten cents per pound, a lower price
than beef brought; in many instances the
animals were slaughtered simply for their skins.
This accounts for the destruction of the buffalo
in Canadian territory, marked by the thousands
of bones and skulls which I saw between Winnipeg and the Rockies.
To return to my journey, however. We stopped
occasionally to water our engine at the various
tanks erected along the line for this purpose,
with no sign of a habitation except a signal
station beside them. A tremendous wind blew
dead against the train, and greatly retarded our
progress. Some idea of its velocity could be
formed by the force with which it whistled and
rushed through windows and ventilators, causing
a prompt closing of those on the weather side of
the cars. It was, however, merely an extra-
powerful prairie breeze, such as generally sweeps
over these exposed plains, and whose effects
reach even to the far distant Winnipeg, and may
be felt there, outside the city limits, on the hottest
summer afternoon. The sky was a deep, intense
blue, with a few soft, fleecy clouds drifting over
it and lying low in banks upon the horizon. By the C. P. R.
At sundown we were, according to Mr. Fleming, "on a broad plateau, between the Bow
River and Red Deer River. The outline of the
valley of the former is distinctly visible away on
the horizon; the latter is too far distant to be
traceable. We expected soon to see the Rocky
Mountains. The soil improved as we advanced,
and the prairie had long, gentle ascents, with
occasional heavy gradients." The air was keener
and fresher as the sun descended, the shadows
grew longer, and chased one another over the
broken ground as we rushed away due west into
the sunset. The clouds on the horizon were
golden, those on the east a rosy pink lying on a
bed of steel-blue sky. Not a sound was heard
but the rattle of the train; not a living object
was visible as far as the eye could reach. The
wind had fallen with the sun, and perfect silence
prevailed. Still no Rocky Mountains rose slowly
into view to break the line of the rolling plain,
and a horrid fear seized me that, owing to the
prairie wind which had delayed the train an hour
or more, night would close around us before I
could see the first mountains my eyes had ever
rested upon. 42
Ontario to the Pacific,
After a time, the plain ceased to undulate and
settled down once more into a flat sea of green
and brown, shading away in the distance to gray
and purple, an unbroken line of land and sky.
Gleichen was reached at half-past eight o'clock
in the evening. There is a large Indian reserve
in this neighbourhood, and Chief Crowfoot, accompanied by six or seven squaws, appeared
upon the platform and entered the train; he
passed through every car, nodding and shaking
hands with all the passengers. He is a fine-
looking, intelligent man, and retains the national-
costume of his forefathers, which, on this occasion, was resplendent with beads and embroidery,
and adorned with several medals. Crowfoot was
decorated by the Government, and his character
established in the country by his proven loyalty
during the late rebellion. He received quite an
ovation from the gentlemen on the train, and
was presented with the freedom of the Dining-
car in an elaborate address, and a substantial
souvenir was collected for him in a purse of seven
dollars; in fact, he so much appreciated the
attention bestowed upon him that he was very
loath to part with his hosts, and in the end he By the C. P. R.
and his squaws had to be forcibly lifted from the
last car by a stalwart porter and conductor, to
prevent their being carried off in the train, a
proceeding which they evidently treated as a good
joke, judging by their shouts of laughter, as
one brown dame after another was encircled
by a pair of strong arms, and deposited upon
terra firma. The end car of the long train
extended beyond the platform, and the descent
from its steps was some feet to the ground
Half an hour after we left Gleichen the stars
came out one by one, and, there being no moon,
the landscape was soon blotted into obscurity.
Sections were made up about me for the
through passengers to the Coast, and I was soon
left companionless to await my destination—
Calgary; which was reached at half-past eleven
o'clock at night, exactly one hour behind time.
Here I was met by friends, and made my way
on foot to the Royal Hotel, five minutes' walk
from the station. It proved to be a large frame
building, in one of the principal streets of Calgary, which, even in the darkness, I recognised
as the largest town I had  seen since we left 44
Ontario to the Pacific,
Brandon; Regina, two hundred miles west of
there, the capital of the North-west, having been
passed in the middle of the night.
Calgaky, eight hundred and forty miles west of
Winnipeg, is beautifully situated in the valley of
the Bow River, and is the largest town in the
neighbourhood of the Rocky Mountains, whose
snow-clad summits are always distinctly visible
from there in clear weather, rising away on the
western horizon. They seem to enclose the
valley with its low foot-hills in a species of
amphitheatre circling from north to south. The
town, which is daily growing in size and importance, and spreading over the prairie in all
directions, has a population of about 1,200, and
possesses several busy streets and a number of
ambitious shops, besides a private bank—doing
such a flourishing business that its proprietors
were erecting a new and commodious building ;
the "Royal Hotel" was also undergoing an
extensive  addition.     I   should  say,  from  my By the G. P. R.
own experience, that its courteous manager deserves all the custom and popularity he has
evidently secured. The accommodation was
somewhat limited, but when the new wing is
completed the " Royal" will compare very
favourably with what- Winnipeg can at present
offer to the traveller in the hotel way.
Calgary promises to be the centre of the great
cattle, horse, and sheep trade of the future.
There are now 90,000 head of cattle in the district, and 30,000 more on their way into the
country from the east, west, and south, besides
10,000 horses breeding upon the ranges. At
Cochrane, twenty-four miles west of the town,
the Calgary Lumber Company have built an
extensive saw-mill at a cost of $60,000. It has
the most complete system of machinery in the
country, is worked by an engine of seventy-five
horse-power, and can turn out 20,000 feet of
lumber per day. The mill is beautifully and
advantageously situated on a small tributary of
the Bow River, dammed for the purpose of floating the logs • brought down by a tramway from
the large limits owned by the Company, who
employ forty men steadily all the year round, 46
Ontario to the Pacific,
and do the largest business in the country, as
they can ship their lumber either by water or
rail to the town.
At Calgary I had my first experience of the
reality of Western life. A large body of Indians
had come in from their reserve, not many miles
distant, and were encamped upon the prairie
opposite the town; their smoke-browned tepees
and droves of horses dotted the plain, forming a
very picturesque element in the landscape defined against the low foot-hills enclosing the
valley of the Bow, with its background of everlasting hills.
The first walk I took the morning after I
arrived at Calgary will not soon 'be forgotten.
The day was overcast but clear. I wandered
over the prairie, carpeted with lovely flowers, for
a couple of miles; mounted the highest hill I
could find, and took my first look at the Rocky
Mountains, rising like a rampart in the distance,
and glistening in some reflected light that did
not catch the valley below. I sat down on a
grassy mound, and lost all record- of time till I
was roused from my dreams by the sun coming
out   and beating on my head with  a power By the C. P. R.
and intensity peculiar to the West, which soon
warned me homewards, with hands filled with
red lilies, hare bells, and giant cone flowers.
A picturesque element of Calgary was the
number of cowboys to be seen at all hours
dashing about the streets, clad in the unconventional costume generally and typically adopted
by them; namely, broad-brimmed felt hats, flannel shirts, and leather leggings—in the parlance
of the country, " chaps" (an abbreviation of
" chaparel," a word meaning " thick brush," as
they are used to protect the nether limbs in
riding through the woods). They were mounted
on small, wiry ponies, as a rule in such poor
condition that they strike one as hardly equal
to the weight of the riders and their clumsy
Mexican saddles, with enormous wooden stirrups
and broad girths, covering the animal like a
harness. I believe experience has proved that
the Mexican saddle, with its deep seat and roomy
stirrups, is a most comfortable and well adapted
article for*the service required of it; in point
of comfort, its neat and compact English brother
cannot compare with it. Unfortunately, like
a good many other invaluable things, appear- 48
Ontario to the Pacific,
ances are against the Mexican saddle. It has a
most unbusiness-like air, very suggestive of a
circus or a side-show; though it certainly indicates that wild, adventurous character now so
thoroughly associated with the class it represents.
Indians, too, rode in and out of the town all
day on their small, weedy ponies, chiefly remarkable for their diversity of colour. I never could
have imagined so many odd combinations of
shades, from cream to smoke-colour, through all
the gradations of coffee, tan, and slate, piebalds
(called "pintos") included; but a good solid
brown, bay, black, or white pony was not to be
met with. I heard this peculiarity of colouring
accounted for by the fact that the Indians sold
all their so-called whole-coloured horses, only
retaining those which, from this very peculiarity
I have referred to, were unsalable. They rode
and walked about attired in bright blankets, and
in most cases devoid of any head-gear, except
the natural growth of their coarse black hair,
hanging down over their eyes, and shaken back
occasionally with wild tosses of their unkempt
locks.   I must confess that to me the red man is By the C. P. R.
a most unattractive species, and the more I saw
of him the less I liked him.
Calgary is the most orderly, well-regulated
town I was ever in, considering the wild, reckless
character of many of its inhabitants. Liquor
laws are most stringently enforced by the Mounted
Police, and with good effect; for though living
in one of the principal streets of the town, and
sleeping at night with the windows open, I never
heard the slightest noise or disturbance of any
kind; I saw no rows or fights, and certainly no
drunken men.
I drove every afternoon for miles over the
prairie, intersected here in all directions by admirable roads. Roads about Calgary are a mere
matter of detail, for no one hesitates to turn off
them, and drive at random over the short, wiry
grass wherever the spirit prompts. The grass
offers apparently no opposition to wheels, and
a carriage moves just as smoothly and easily
over the prairie as along a made road. The
horses, too, are all accustomed to the country,
and pick their way so cleverly amidst the gopher-
holes that they may be safely left to their own
devices. 50
Ontario to the Pacific,
I saw all the country within driving distance
of Calgary very thoroughly, and always found
the fresh prairie breezes most invigorating after
the heat of the day. Like the rest of the Northwest, Calgary is entirely devoid of trees, except
along the bed of the rivers Bow and Elbow,
which unite their waters to the east of the town;
it is a deficiency much felt by a resident of a
more sheltered region.
I left Calgary on Tuesday, July 6th, at half-
past ten at night, by the through train from
Montreal bound west for the Coast. I had telegraphed in the morning to Medicine Hat to
secure a section, which I found duly reserved for
me ; when I entered the car I had it made up, or
rather down, at once, and was soon wrapped in
as profound a slumber as I can ever hope to
achieve in a Pullman sleeper. Banff was reached
at two o'clock in the morning, but owing to the
very limited accommodation to be met with last
summer, as well as the inconvenient hour of the By the G. P. R.
arrival and departure of trains east and west
(since altered by a new time-table), I did not stop
there on my journey to or from Victoria. It has,
however, been so wonderfully developed during
the last year by the combined energy of the
Dominion Government and the Canadian Pacific
Railway, that it will be one of the most attractive
resorts on the road this summer, both from the
natural beauty of its scenery and the marvellous
medicinal and curative powers of its hot springs.
I applied to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company for the latest and most reliable information
concerning this Canadian Bethesda, and have
compiled the following account from the extracts
of different newspapers furnished me by them,that
of the medicinal properties of the springs being
taken from a letter which Dr. Orton, M.P., addressed to Dr. O'Reilly, Medical Superintendent
of Toronto General Hospital :
Banff station, on the main line of the C. P. R.,
919 miles west of Winnipeg (a journey now
accomplished in two days and one night), is
situated in the beautiful Bow River Pass, forty
miles from the summit of the Rocky Mountains,
in the North-west Territory, and a little over 52
Ontario to the Pacific,
4,700 feet above the sea level. It is the centre
of one of the most attractive regions on this
broad continent, and is destined, in the immediate future, to become one of its chief pleasure
and health resorts. The station lies in a lovely
valley about a mile wide, interspersed with clumps
of trees and stretches of open prairie on the
north side, Cascade Mountain (so called from
a small stream of the purest snow-water which
falls down its east side in an almost continuous
leap, a distance of over 1,000 feet) towering to a
height of over 5,000 feet, or one mile above the
pass. This giant frowns across the valley at
Mount DuthiH, which is of scarce inferior height.
Between these mountains, south of the station,
lies Tunnel Hill, which is 1,000 feet high, and
can be easily ascended even by ladies. From its
summit a panorama is visible of mountain, forest,
lake, and stream, which richly repays the fatigue
of the ascent. Immediately to the south of Tunnel Hill are the Spray Falls of the Bow River,
which make a descent of sixty or seventy feet in
a short distance.
The Sanitarium Hotel, two miles and a half
from the station, is approached by an excel- By the G. P. R.
lent road built by the Government; it lies in the
centre of the National Park on an elevated plateau, commanding a lovely view of the Bow River
and Spring Creek, as well as numerous mountain
peaks, and is a large, three story-building, provided with every comfort and convenience that
visitors could desire. It is the property of the
Banff Springs Sanitarium Company, of which
Dr. Brett is the medical director, and Mr. S.
Hungerford, the manager. The Government are
conducting the water from the Hot Springs in
iron pipes, and will lease it to the Company at
so much per bath for a long term of years, including the five acres of ground about the hotel.
The Company have also erected a hospital close
to the Hot Springs, with every comfort for
patients, to which a number of bath-rooms and
two swimming-baths are attached. In connexion
with the establishment there is a stable of forty
horses, also coaches, carriages, and every description of vehicle suitable to the country.
The Canadian Pacific Railway Company have
laid the foundation of their Mammoth Hotel at
the foot of Sulphur Mountain, on a slight elevation near the falls of the Spray River, between 54
Ontario to the Pacific,
the Sanitarium and the Springs. This structure
will be in the form of the letter H, and the front
portion will be 188 feet long, with 8 stories and
an attic; the rear, 156 feet long, 2 stories and
an attic. Underneath are extensive basements
88 feet long. The hotel will be of brick veneer,
with spacious detached balconies surrounding
each story, giving an extensive view from all
points. The front drawing-rooms of this stately
pile will be 40 feet square. Ample bath-rooms
will be provided throughout the house, and large
bath-houses in connexion with it. Cold water
will be brought from the mountains in a series*
of aqueducts, and a steam elevator will take visitors from the foot of the mountain to the hotel,
which will accommodate 300 guests, and cost
$500,000. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company expect to have the hotel ready for occupation by the 1st July, 1887.
The National Park is an immense domain, with
an area of 216 square miles. This tract is set
apart by the Government for the especial use of
tourists and invalids. Mr. G. A. Stewart is the
superintendent. A more beautiful spot it would
be difficult to conceive.    The Park lies north-east By the C. P. R.
by south-west, against a background formed by
the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains,
and is intersected by the Bow and Spray Rivers.
Within its limits are the Cascade Mountain, 5,400
feet high; Sulphur Mountain (the source of the
Springs), 4,000 feet high; and the Peak, with an
altitude of 4,500 feet. Nestled among these rugged heights lies the Devil's Lake and Gap, a beautiful expanse of water from which the surrounding romantic scenery can be fully appreciated.
The Bow River is navigable for several miles
for yachts and small boats, and affords, like
the Spray, excellent fishing. Speckled trout,
known as mountain trout, are caught from one
quarter to two pounds weight, and pike, pickerel,
and other varieties of fish abound. Good canoeing can be had on all the small lakes and
streams, and the sportsman will find geese, duck,
prairie fowl, partridges, snipe, and, if he desires,
larger game. Mountain sheep, antelope, goats,
and prairie wolves are to be obtained for the
hunting. The Government has sent up wild rice
to be planted in the places most suitable to its
growth, to attract ducks and other water-fowl.
Sulphur Mountain is honeycombed with natural caves, large and small, all showing the same 56
Ontario to the Pacific,
formation of limestone crystals, basalt, and tufa,
resembling, in many respects, those of Fingal's
Cave. These have been for ages the retreat of
numerous porcupines, which still.harbour there.
Geologically, the rock formation is generally Devonian, and in the immediate neighbourhood of
the Springs composed of magnesian sandstone
and limestone, with occasional beds of coarse conglomerate. The waters of the Springs have also
petrifying qualities, and many interesting specimens of fossilised moss, etc., have been gathered
from them. The two principal springs flow from
a central spur of Sulphur Mountain, 800 feet
above the level of Bow River. One, called the
Main Spring, issues at the rate of 1,500,000 gallons per day, and maintains a temperature of
115° Fahr. A quarter of a mile from this spot
is another spring, which reaches a less degree of
heat than the main spring, but possesses all its
medicinal qualities. Near here a hole has been
cut, eight feet long by four deep, through which
the water flows; it is used as a plunge bath.
On the summit of a mound three quarters of a
mile from the Sanitarium, some 500 feet in
length, and about 50 feet above the level of the By the C. P. R. 57
road, is a small opening of the size of a man's
body. A 40 foot ladder leads from this hole to
a spacious chamber, the roof of which glistens
with myriads of crystals. From the bottom of
this cavern issue several springs, whose waters
are of very high temperature, and ascend with
great force, occasionally throwing up quantities
of black sand heavily charged with iron and other
minerals, and from one of its walls a stream of
cold water falls from a height of 5 feet into the
basin. A small outlet to this cave has been discovered, which is now being enlarged by tunnelling in order to utilise the water in a bath-house.
In reference to the mineral character of the
waters, it varies somewhat in the different springs.
The following is an analysis made by Professor
Osier, of Philadelphia, of the hottest spring,
temperature, 127° Fahr., where it emerges from
the mountain side :
100,000 parts water-
Sulphuric anhydrite   51.26
Calcium monoxide  24.48
Carbon dioxide    16.47
Magnesium oxide    4.14
Sodium oxide  27.53
Total  123.88 58 Ontario to the Pacific,
Total solids per 100,000, found by experiments, as
existing in water—
Calcium sulphate     58.85
Magnesium sulphate     12.39
Calcium carbonate       3.29
Sodium sulphate     15.60
Sodium carbonate     35.73
Silica Traces
Organic matter    Traces
Of the curative qualities of these waters in
very many diseases there can be no doubt, a
very large number of invalids having been successfully treated both during the summer and
autumn of 1886. The stimulating effect of these
hot mineral waters on the capillary circulation
causes the functions of every organ in the body
to be brought into more active and healthy operation, and thus the natural growth and decay, or
building up and pulling down, of tissue is carried
on in a more vigorous and normal manner. The
baths are so soothing and gentle that they
may be enjoyed by the most feeble and sensitive invalids. The most striking benefit has,
perhaps, been derived by those suffering from
various forms of rheumatic affections, both articu- By the G. P. R.
lar and muscular, as well as those of a specific
character. In addition to rheumatic, gouty,
specific, and allied affections, these waters, which
vary somewhat in the different springs as to their
mineral and saline qualities, are very beneficial
in affections of the liver, in diabetes, Bright's
disease, biliary and renal calculi, in catarrhal
affections of various mucus membranes ; also in
chronic forms of dyspepsia, especially of a
catarrhal character, often so difficult to treat
in ordinary medical practice. By allaying
muscular and nervous irritability through their
soothing influences on the prepleural nerves,
sciatica, and other neuralgias, hysterical and
hyperesthetic conditions are strikingly benefited. Paralysis, with loss of muscular and
nerve power, is improved by the use of these
baths, which are also exceedingly beneficial in
skin diseases.
On leaving Calgary I had been warned to
rise early in order to enjoy the scenery to
be met with at the summit of the Rockies,
and accordingly five o'clock found me up and 60
Ontario to the Pacific,
dressed, and my first glance from the window
revealed beauties undreamt of before. We were
passing through a wild region of tall and slender
spruces and pines, in a narrow rocky defile: some
were mere bare, naked poles, others scantily
clothed at their tops with ragged foliage, which
lower down changed into a dark, heavy black
fungus, indicative of premature decay, giving
these youthful trees a melancholy, depressing
air, as if they were wearing their own mourning.
There was something to me irresistibly suggestive of crape about these sombre trappings of
Nature's vegetation.
We were evidently at the summit: we saw
several small lakes lying close to the track, all
gloom and shadow in the early dawn, and presently
came upon a brawling torrent, some forty feet
wide, which, I learned, is the Kicking Horse River.
We were now in the celebrated Pass of that
name, by which the line descends the west slope
of the Rocky Mountains; the river rushed and
tumbled along beside us, tossing its foaming
waters over huge boulders and rocks, as if striving to escape from its narrow bed. We began
to move slowly, with the powerful air brakes in By the G. P. R.
full play, down the steep hill, following the course
of the river to the valley below (a grade of
four feet to the hundred). I must confess I held
my breath as I gazed from the window and
watched our engine snorting and groaning while
it crept slowly and carefully along, as if feeling
every step of the way. • The line twisted and
turned round steep walls of rock, and I could see
the conductor on the locomotive with the engineer
and fireman, their heads well out to the front
watching carefully over the lives of the passengers entrusted to their charge; and I was
also aware of a sense of gratitude to the iron
horse bearing us so steadily and surely down
this apparently perilous dechvity.
The scenes that began to unfold themselves
before me soon turned my attention from all
thoughts of personal danger, and I became quite
absorbed in the wild beauties of, I believe,
the most magnificent mountain scenery in the
world: certainly I can imagine none which could
possibly equal, much less surpass it. Peak
towered above peak on both sides of the line,
carved and moulded by the hand of Nature in
every possible form of crag and precipice, as 62
Ontario to the Pacific,
if lavish of design; their snow-clad summits
glistened in the early sunlight with such dazzling
brightness that the eye was glad to travel slowly
down, over the reddish yellow rocks on which
the snow was resting in shady nooks and crevices,
to the bare walls of the same warm cplour below;
then on to the dark forests of spruce and fir
straggling up from the sea of green beneath.
Words seem too feeble to express or describe the
grandeur and solemnity of such scenery; one
could only gaze in awe and admiration, and
realise how small and feeble a thing man is
beside the works of God.
About half way down the hill a beautiful
valley opens out, formed by the north fork of the
Kicking Horse River; blue woods recede into
purple forests, and these again swell into an
amphitheatre of lofty mountains, whose peaks
had caught and held the first rays of sunlight,
and were glowing in rainbow lines, while all
below was mist and shadow. Soon the bottom
of the descent was reached, where the river,
increased by the streams running into it, widens
into a broad shallow bed more than half clay,
and spreads itself over it in several channels, By the G. P. R.
fordable at Field, where we paused for breakfast.
There was no dining car attached to the train
(it had been dispensed with the preceding night,
after supper, to avoid carrying its weight down
the Kicking Horse Pass, 'and another car was
to be attached for dinner).
Field is quite a typical mountain station, consisting of a few log shanties and cabins roughly
put up on %. clearing in the forest, at the foot of
Tunnel Mountain, with the Kicking Horse River
flowing quietly below it. I did not feel inclined
to breakfast at half-past six o'clock, so remained
where I was, feasting upon the beauties of nature.
After half an hour's delay we moved off again
down the valley, where the river soon changes
its course and narrows into another rocky bed.
It now roars and tumbles along more wildly
than ever beside the line, here raised on a stone
foundation several feet above the foaming waters,
which dash angrily against its walls as if bent
on their destruction. The track crosses and
recrosses the river several times, and penetrates
through four or five'tunnels before finally leaving
the Kicking Horse Valley at Golden City, and
entering upon that of the Columbia, whose
opening is several miles wide. 64
Ontario to the Pacific,
The city of auriferous name consists of about
thirty log buildings, in the parlance of the
country "shacks;" it is well situated on an
extensive flat, with the Selkirk Range in the
distance, an imposing" feature in the landscape.
After leaving Golden City the line follows the
course of the Columbia River down the valley
to Donald, seventeen miles distant, which we
reached at half-past nine o'clock a.m. This
was my temporary destination, where my husband was living.
The boundary of the Province of British Columbia is formed by the watershed of the main
range of the Rockies; it commences at the summit of these mountains as they are approached
from Calgary, lying at their eastern base. The
plan adopted by the Canadian Pacific Company in
order to obtain a passage for their road over the
apparently insurmountable natural barrier intervening between the North-west Territories and
the Pacific Coast is obvious to a close observer.
It consists in laying the course of the line up the By the G. P. R.
valley of one river towards its source in the
mountains, and down the valley of another towards its mouth till the ocean is reached. To
illustrate this, I will describe the course of the
C.P.R. from the prairie, region terminating at
Calgary on the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains. It there enters the valley of the Bow
River (flowing east from the Rockies), follows it
to the summit of the mountains, or boundary of
British Columbia, crosses it through the celebrated Kicking Horse Pass, descends the valley
of that river on the western slope of the Rocky
Mountains, and enters the valley of the Columbia;
this it follows for seventeen miles to Donald,
where it crosses the Columbia River, runs for
thirteen miles along its left bank, to the mouth
of the Beaver River; this it follows to the summit of the Selkirks, enters Roger's Pass, and
descends the western side of the Selkirk Range by
the valley of the Ule-celle-waet to Revelstoke, the
second crossing of the Columbia River. The Gold
Range of mountains now bars the way, and is
surmounted by the valley of the Eagle River,
crossed at Eagle Pass, and descended on the west
side by way of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers 66
Ontario to the Pacific,
through the Cascade Range to the Pacific Coast.
Donald is the principal town in the mountain
region. Here the ranges draw nearer together
again; and the town lies snugly nestled in
one of the most perfect situations that could
be imagined, with the Rocky Mountains bounding the valley on the east side and the Selkirks on the west, with the Columbia River at
their base. This is a deep rapid stream of
curiously muddy, green water about 600 feet
wide, flowing between high, steep banks; the
left rising in a wooded height of some 300 feet,
from which the eye is carried up to the gray
scarred peaks of the Selkirks, breaking apparently out of hills of green. They are streaked
with snow in their rocky fastnesses, and stand
out in blue or purple distance, according to the
time of day, against the sky beyond. The right
bank of the Columbia is marked by a dense
second growth of balsam pines, through which
clearings called fire breaks have been made
to protect the town from the ravages of the flame
fiend, and also to make room for the residences
of several officials of the C. P. R. Co., the court
house, the jail, my own home, and that of Judge By the G. P. R.
Vowell, the Gold Commissioner and Stipendiary
Magistrate of the District, all occupying the
high ground between the railway and the right
bank of the river, and rejoicing in the somewhat
exclusive appellation of Quality Hill.
. The town owes it's importance to the Canadian
Pacific Company, who, impressed by its favourable situation, selected it as the end of the
mountain and commencement of the coast division of the road. To facilitate their arrangements they have cleared the Columbia Valley,
protected it thoroughly from fire by a judicious
cutting of the bush, and have erected large workshops, in which all necessary repairs between
Donald and Vancouver are executed, and a
commodious and artistic station and lunch room
and a twelve-stall engine-house. It is expected
that about two hundred and fifty men will
be permanently employed at Donald: The wide,
well-gravelled yard, with its numerous tracks and
lines of cars, gives the town a very imposing
appearance as the eastern and western trains
approach it; and the busy sound of the clang of
hammer and anvil from the outlying shops indicates the bustle and activity prevailing in the 68
Ontario to the Pacific,
Columbia Valley. The Company, in addition to
their other improvements, have Built a large
boarding-house for their employes, and opened
an extensive shop, which carries on a thriving
business, and supplies any wants the bona-fide
tradesmen of Donald cannot minister to. The
stock of its two shops was limited to the actual
necessaries of existence, and these were limited
in quantity and quality. Glass, plate, and
crockery could be procured; but cooking utensils and tins of all kinds were supplied by the
Company's " store."
Donald boasts of a hotel known as " The Selkirk House," a frame building of modest exterior
(with which I have no personal acquaintance, my
own house being ready and waiting my advent):
it is beautifully situated, facing the whole eastern
range of the Rocky Mountains, and forms the
beginning of a long line of frame, log, and tent
structures (western " shacks "), stretching away
westward down the valley, following the line of
the railway, which here runs in a small cutting.
About one hundred feet or more of level ground
lies between the shacks and the line, filled with
an untidy collection of rough stones, timber, and By the G. P. R.
debris of all sorts; outside of this, on the edge of
the bank above the track, runs the roughest of
waggon roads.
I wish I could convey some idea of this rambling street (save the name!). " The Selkirk
House " at the east end stands a little back from
the line in an angle of its own; its neighbour is a
store turned gable-end towards the street, a frame
building occupied by a general dealer who is also
a justice of the peace ; then follows a tent building with a wooden front, the "Woodbine Hotel;"
to this succeed a number of saloons and restaurants which rejoice in the suggestive names of
"Delmonico's," "TheIdeal," "TheHub," "The
Chop House; " then a few more shops and tent
houses, the end of the row being formed by "The
Windsor Hotel," a rival of the " Selkirk," but of
still more modest dimensions. This hostelry of
ambitious nomenclature occupies the end of the
high ground; the bank to the west of it falls
away in a low wooded bottom, recalling the
ancient bed of some mighty stream. The railroad is here raised high above the level of the
ground, and half a mile westward crosses the
Columbia River, which has formed the western 70
Ontario to the Pacific,
boundary of the valley and town, but at this point
turns due east and makes a decided loop in its
devious course.
The water of the Columbia is a curious muddy
green, caused by the deposits from the mountains
and melting snow, which swell its turbid current
as it flows smoothly and rapidly along between
its high wooded banks. It is a narrow river at
Donald, but it possesses all the natural wild
beauty that its picturesque course can give, enhanced by the odd colour of its water, harmonising with the deep greens of the surrounding
banks and heights. It takes its rise in the
Columbia Lakes, and flows in a generally direct
line to the north-west for some seventy miles.
—" At this point, the Columbia," says Mr.
Fleming, " completely changes its course, and
runs almost directly south to Washington Territory in the United States." It is navigable from
Golden City upwards towards its source at the
Lakes—one of the most beautiful districts of
British Columbia, lately opened to the public
through the enterprise of Mr. Thomas B. Cochrane, of Quarr Abbey, Ryde, Isle of Wight. He
launched, last summer, the trim little steamer, By the G. P. R.
the Duchess, a vessel sixty feet long, driven by a
stern wheel. Her engines were bought in Montreal, and shipped to Golden City in the spring;
the hull was built on the banks of the Columbia
under the superintendence of Mr. F. P. Armstrong, of Montreal. She has cabin accommodation for eight people, and can carry forty
tons of freight. I copy from the Winnipeg
Free Press some further particulars of the new
steamer and the district she has opened up, in
her connexion of the C.P.R. with the Kootenay
Valley : " The trim little craft, Duchess, is now
making regular trips from Golden City up the
Columbia River to the Columbia Lakes, thus
opening out a portion of the country which has
been almost isolated from the rest of the world.
There are about thirty or forty ranchers in this
district who have well stocked ranches, and who
can raise roots, vegetables, and grain in abundance. There are also about two hundred Chinamen washing gold in the neighbourhood, taking
out from $2 to $4 per day to the man. Gold
dust is the principal specie of the country.
The trip is described to be very romantic and
enjoyable; it lasts about three days and a half. 72
Ontario to the Pacific,
In September, large quantities of cranberries
and other fruits ripen, and great numbers of
bears come down to the valleys and afford capital
sport to hunters, while the streams abound with
fish. We have already heard of several hunting
parties that intend visiting the locality this
The gentlemen's residences at Donald are all
the typical log houses of the settler, constructed
on the simplest and most inexpensive plan.
Lumber in this part of the country is a costly
item, $25 per thousand feet being paid for rough
boards which in Ontario would sell at $9 per
thousand, or even less. The buildings consist
generally of one centre or living room, off which
the bedrooms open, with a kitchen at the back,
and their dimensions are about 27 x 19 feet
inside. The exterior of these modest dwellings is
much more picturesque than might be imagined;
the roughly trimmed logs laid in substantial
parallel rows over and under each other at the
four corners, show many artistic shades of dull By the G.P.R.
grays and browns, blended into a harmonious
whole by the creamy white plaster filling the
intervening crevices. The logs are often allowed
to project a foot or more at the angles instead of
being squared off, breaking the rectangular lines,
and adding a charming irregularity to the general
effect. Roofs, floors, inside walls, and partitions
of boards use up a surprising quantity of rough
lumber; the latter as well as the walls are
covered with sheets of coarse, yellow-brown
paper, tacked on to conceal the cracks and joints.
This forms an excellent background for pictures
or prints, and also lends itself admirably to
decorative purposes with the brush or chalks.
In the matter of living, Donald is not a
cheap place; however, all the necessaries and
most of the luxuries of life can be obtained.
Beef and mutton are excellent in quality, and
sold at 15 cents per pound. Poultry and veal
the market did not supply, owing to the scarcity
of the biped and utility of the quadruped. Calves
are not for the knife in this stock-raising district; the rollicking, awkward little beast leads a
charmed life in the west. Salmon came every
week fresh from the Pacific Coast, and was sold 74
Ontario to the Pacific,
at from 15 to 20 cents per pound; it is much
redder in colour, and less flaky in quality, than
the Atlantic fish. Fruit was abundant, and
imported extensively from California and Oregon.
I believe it is not generally appreciated that San
Francisco is only three days by sea from Victoria,
consequently only four and a half from Donald,
so these perishable articles reached us fresh and
in the best condition. Peaches of the most
superior quality, and price 80 cents per dozen;
Bartlett pears, 60 cents; fine purple and white
plums, 25 cents per pound (meaning about six);
beautiful grapes ditto ; oranges and bananas
10 cents apiece. Fresh vegetables could be procured once a week at least, sometimes oftener,
and were decidedly expensive, though excellent
of their kind. What would Ontario gardeners
think of pease and beans at $1 a peck, lettuce 25
cents a bunch, vegetable marrow, 25 cents apiece,
and new potatoes at 20 cents per pound! Butter
and eggs were neither irreproachable nor above
suspicion, and brought respectively 80 cents per
pound and dozen; bread at 20 cents a loaf, and
milk 15 cents a quart, shows that British Columbia is not at present a refuge for the impecunious. By the G. P. R.
The Scott Act does not prevail in this country,
but the prices of liquor were sufficiently high to
prevent any great over-indulgence; beer and
whiskey were 25 cents per glass, the latter
stimulant $2 a bottle and the former, both
English and American, sold at $3 per dozen for
pints, and $5 for quarts. Fortunately there is
excellent water flowing from two or three springs,
and soft water can be obtained from the Columbia River at 50 cents a barrel. I must not leave
the subject of living without mentioning that
servants' wages are $25 to $30 a month, and
washing given out was done at the rate of $1.50
to $2 a dozen; the Chinamen, of whom only
three or four had found their way to Donald,
asked only 25 cents per piece. Five cents is the
smallest current change, and coppers do not
circulate in the Columbia Valley.
I did not notice any vegetation peculiar to
this district; the soil is sandy (as, I believe, is
universally the case in pine regions), and the
herbage all scanty, cropping up in detached
bunches every here and there. Wild strawberries were abundant through July, and so were
berries of all  descriptions in August,—huckle- 76
Ontario to the Pacific,
berries, blueberries, whortleberries, mulberries,
and raspberries in some parts. Every particle
of foliage near the ground donned an autumn
livery, rivalling in brilliancy of colouring the
gorgeous tints of the Canadian maples and oaks.
The leaves of the wild strawberries glowed with
ruddy colour, and I found a plant growing on
the banks of the Columbia River on a single
stem, about a foot high, without fruit or flower,
in sprays like rose leaves, resembling strongly
the Virginia creeper in richness of colouring; it
streaks the ground about its locality with brilliant splashes of crimson and gold. The Oregon
grape, known in Ontario as the Mahonia, offered
a beautiful contrast to these gaudy shades with
its low bushes of bright, glossy green leaves and
dark blue berries.; it grew profusely in all directions, and must be capable of resisting the severe
frosts in the winter season. Under foot, we had
the glow of colour, so that nature seems somewhat reversed; while overhead, we were surrounded by the dark heavy greens of the firs,
pines, and spruces, indigenous to the soil, with
occasional groups of silver birch and white
poplar. By the G. P. R.
The climate was perfect so far as my summer
experience went, and fulfilled all that has been
said or written about it. We certainly had*some
very warm days early in July, when I believe a hot
wave pervaded the Dominion generally; and I
heard that the thermometers in the town ranged
at over one hundred degrees in the shade. The
air, however, is so rare, I did not feel it at all in
the house, and the extreme heat only lasted from
eleven till five o'clock; the nights of those days
were so cool that blankets were a necessity.
Later, the weather was cool and bracing, except
in the middle of the day, when the sun was
directly overhead : it was pleasant to close the
windows in the evening and light a small fire.
There had never been a single case of sunstroke
even among the workmen employed upon the
road, which was certainly hard to realise when
one felt the power of the sun at noon. The
mosquitoes were a sad drawback to Donald; for
my own part, I had no idea what a mosquito
was or could be till I went there. Out of doors
they were a veritable Egyptian plague, and it
was an ordinary occurrence to see men walking
about, moving first the right then the left hand 78
Ontario to the Pacific,
round the back of their necks in a sort of
gentle rotatory motion, to ward off the attacks
of thfc insidious insects, and quite unaware
that they were doing it; the force of habit
made it mechanical, and I dare say they continued the practice long after the mosquito had
departed. A judicious netting of windows, doors,
and beds, with a constant renewal 'of the backwoodsman's smudge, kept the house fairly free
from the nuisance, and the cool, even frosty,
nights soon decidedly abated it.
Mosquitoes are the only insect plague of the
Columbia Valley; there are no black flies,
sand flies, horse flies, or other objectionable
winged creatures, and neither vermin nor
snakes. The chief climatic peculiarity of the
season of 1886 was its dryness. During the
seven weeks I spent in Donald there were only
two heavy showers, lasting three or four hours
each; consequently, the dust was at times several inches deep. The bush fires were numerous,
and spread in all directions, destroying acres of
valuable timber, which will prove an incalculable
loss to the country. The prevalence of smoke
through the.mountain region was a sad drawback, By the G. P. R.
both to tourists and residents, to the enjoyment of
the beautiful scenery between the summit of the
Rockies and the Coast; in many places it hung
over the valleys for weeks at a time, obscuring
and blotting out the landscape like a thick veil,
until dispersed by wind and rain. The effect of
this about Donald was almost magical, like the
raising of a curtain on some gigantic transformation scene, as the smoke clouds parted and
rolled away over the tops of the mountains,
revealing the magnificent peaks which enclose the
Valley of the Columbia. As far as I observed there
was little or no wind in this district, and the
quiet and silence of nature, without song of bird
or rustle of leaf, is a most striking peculiarity
of the region. There is a magnificent echo for
miles along the valley, and the whistles of the
locomotives may be heard at all hours of the day
and night, rebounding through the rocky defiles
and dying away into infinite distance.
I saw only one mountain storm, which, strange
to say, was rainless. It began on the gloomiest
day of smoke, with a roaring noise in the Selkirk
Range (to which we were nearest) like the report
of cannon.   This proved to be the crashing and 80
Ontario to the Pacific,
uprooting of timber in some forest belt far up on
the mountain side; about our house the trees
stood perfectly motionless, not a branch stirring.
Twenty minutes later, the storm, or, fortunately
for us, the edge of it, struck the valley, and the
tall young pines and spruces bent like reeds,
while clouds of dust and smoke rolled along, veiling every object in a mysterious half-light. The
trees about us were only partially thinned, and
protected one another; but at a little distance off,
on the edge of the high bank, where they were more
exposed, some twenty or thirty were uprooted,
one of them falling upon a house occupied by
an official of the C. P. R. and his family.
Luckily, it did no damage, being too close to
the building to have gained^ any purchase in its
descent; it fell against a solid wall of logs, instead of crashing upon the roof. This small
cyclone lasted about twenty minutes, and was
followed by some hours of rain during the night. By the G. P. R.
The principal event during my residence in Donald was the visit of Sir John and Lady Macdonald to the town, on the 22nd of July, on their
way to the Pacific Coast. They arrived by
special train at two o'clock, Lady Macdonald
creating an immense sensation, as the engine
drew near the crowded platform, by her occupancy of a well-cushioned seat immediately
above the cow-catcher ; she had made the whole
trip from the summit down the Kicking Horse
Pass on this commanding post of observation,
and subsequently continued her journey to Port
Moody without any change of base (they not
travelling by night), a feat which will doubtless
become historical. Sir John and Lady Macdonald
spent only half an hour at the station, just long
enough to receive a handsomely engrossed address presented by Judge Vowell, Stipendiary
Magistrate and Gold Commissioner of the Kootenay District, on behalf of the residents of
Donald. As this document has not seen the
light of day in the public press, owing to our
remoteness from the centres of civilisation, and 82
Ontario to the Pacific,
as it deals with some of the important features
of the country, I give it verbatim:—
Donald, B.C., July 22,1886.-
To the Right Honourable Sir John A. Macdonald,
G.G.B., etc., etc., etc.:
Sib,—The people of this portion of Kootenay
District have much pleasure in welcoming you
to Donald, the first place of importance in British Columbia you reach in your journey from
the Atlantic to the Pacific through Canadian
It must be a great source of pleasure for you
to travel over the Canadian Pacific Railway,
which has been brought to completion with a
speed unparalleled in the history of railway
construction, owing almost entirely to the support this great enterprise has received from your
Ministry, but more especially from yourself.
This important work you are now viewing, and it
alone would be a sufficient mark to distinguish
the career of any statesman ; but in your case it
is only one of a large number of great public
works which have resulted from your long and
successful administration.
Until the railway reached this portion of
British Columbia, it was impossible for settlers
to come in, and the district was only occupied By the G P. R.
by a few enterprising miners, who endured hardships, privations, and dangers which it is hoped
are now things of the past. We trust that
one result of your visit will be the early opening up for settlement of the Dominion lands
along the Hne of railway, in order that parties
anxious to become settlers, and those already
settled upon the soil, may have that feeling of
security they require which can only be established by the granting of a title to the lands
they occupy.
We hope and trust you have recovered entirely
from your illness of last winter, and that your
valuable services to Canada may be available for
many years to come. We have also much pleasure in conveying to Lady Macdonald our hearty
welcome to the Western Province of the Dominion, the threshold of which you have just crossed,
and to wish both you and her a pleasant journey
and a safe return to your eastern home.
Presented by
A. W. Vowell, S.M.,
On behalf of the residents of Donald.
Sir John was also presented by the Gold Commissioner with a free Miner's License, bearing
his name inscribed upon it in letters of gold, on 84
Ontario to the Pacific,
the receipt of which he made a few appropriate
and witty remarks to the effect that he was glad
to find, in view of his advancing years, that he
was regarded as a minor in British Columbia.
There are several silver mines in the immediate neighbourhood of Donald awaiting development, as is the case with all the mineral
resources of British Columbia at present, owing,
not to any want of enterprise, as numerous claims
have been located and entered, but to the lack of
capital in the country. " Placer" mining at
the Columbia Lakes has been diligently prosecuted for some time past owing to the simple
and inexpensive system employed to extract the
"gold dust, which is merely washed out of its
gravelly bed into wooden troughs, through which a
constant stream of water is led. Chinamen have
been particularly successful at this work, and
have carried some thousands of dollars out of the
country back to the Celestial Empire.   I can By the C. P. R.
give no better idea of the mineral resources of
British Columbia than by introducing here the
report for 1886 :
[From The Mail]
The report for 1886 of Hon. John Robson,
Minister of Mines in British Columbia, is just to
hand. It is a capital resume of last year's mining operations in the Pacific Province. The
value of gold exported by the banks of Victoria
during 1886 is placed at $750,043. This shows
a bank export of nearly $160,000 in excess of
1885, and adding one-fifth as the estimated value
of gold leaving the Province otherwise than
through the Victoria banks, gives a total yield of
over $903,000 for the past year—a very substantial and gratifying increase. In the twenty-eight
and a half years, from 1858 to the end of last
year, the estimated yield of gold reaches the
enormous sum of $50,289,517. The years 1864-8
show the largest yields, the average for each of
those five years reaching nearly $3,000,000.
The year 1875 was the biggest since that time,
the yield being $2,474,904. This year, too, shows
the highest average yearly earnings per man,
viz., $1,222.   Last year there were 3,147 miners 86
Ontario to the Pacific,
their average yearly earnings being only $287.
It will therefore be seen that to all gold-diggers or
quartz-crushers the returns do not come alike.
As was the case in California and Australia, one
man may be successful while ten others working
near him may fail. The reports of the gold
Commissioners in the Cariboo and Lillooet districts show that the greatest activity prevails
now, and the most sanguine hopes are entertained with regard to the profitable working of
good quartz. In fact, information from every
source irresistibly leads to the conclusion that
the era of quartz mining is at hand. P. H.
Ward and H. Gould, who made various prospecting trips in the Lillooet district, furnish an interesting account of their travels. Near the top of
Castle Mountain they picked up a number of
petrified shells, indicating that that part of the
country had at some time in past ages been under
water, although the elevation above the sea level
is estimated now at between six and ten thousand
feet. These two gentlemen, from an extended experience express the belief that British Columbia is
on this continent for minerals, and have no
doubt that in the near future rich quartz ledges
will be discovered,   Mr. George A. Koch, mining By the G. P. R.
expert, who was asked to report on the Cariboo
quartz ledges, after giving a most encouraging
account of the region, proceeds to administer
some salutary advice respecting the investment
of capital in Canadian mines generally. He
says: — "In the absence of statistics I will
attempt to show the difference in the cost of
mining and milling in California as compared
with Cariboo, and the very probable results to be
obtained from the energetic, careful, and scientific handling of your large and well-defined gold-
bearing veins. Skilled labour, which includes
mechanical engineers, smiths, mill men, and chlo-
rodisers, costs, in California, about $4 per diem.
First-class miners and blasters cost $3, and
second-class from $2.75 to $2.50; outside labour,
including Chinese, averages $2 per diem; wood,
for steam purposes, will no doubt average at
this time $5.50 per cord, while the ores milled
do not, in my opinion, yield to exceed $8.50 per
ton. The estimate may seem small to a California miner, but when it is remembered the
enormous quantities of
milled by such companies as the Plumas-Eureka,
Sierra Butts, Douglas Island, Doctor Zielie Mine,
and many others, it greatly reduces the average
as compared with the few stamps milling $12 to
$20 ore.   And yet the far-seeing capitalist of 88
Ontario to the Pacific,
California finds investments in the quartz mine
one of his best investments, and does not hesitate to erect the best machinery that skill can
invent, whereby mining may be made a legitimate branch of industry, and my examination of
your veins has led me to carefully study the situation as compared with the above. I find skilled
labour will, perhaps, cost $6 per diem, good
miners, $4, second-class, $3.50; while outside
labour costs $3, and wood not to exceed $3 per
cord. While I feel safe hi placing the milling
value of your ores at from $17.50 to $20 per
ton, and I feel confident that those figures can
be safely advanced from 10 to 20 per cent., I
have endeavoured to be cautious in the examination of your mines and my statements to your
people, and do not wish to cause them to feel over
sanguine until milling results are reached. I have
made the above estimates as to cost after talking
with your most prominent citizens, and estimate
the value of your ores after making over fifty
assays from the different veins, and carefully
testing the feasibility of chlorodising the sulphu-
rets contained in the ore. I deem it of the
greatest importance to the Province that
be made, not alone in this immediate vicinity,
but of the outlying and surrounding country. By the C. P. R.
The survey should be so managed as to keep
pace with the prospector rather than neglect the
work commenced by extending the examination
too far beyond present work; for, by extending
the survey beyond present developments, you
deprive the prospector of the assistance and
advice of your engineer. As I have previously
stated, the Government can materially aid and
assist the prospector in his work of development,
"and often save him much time and money by
having an intelligent and practical engineer near
by to consult and to advise him as to the best
method to prospect his ground, and as to the
probability of reaching pay ore. In this connection I will state that I see a Bill is presented
before the House in New Zealand, whereby it is
proposed to appropriate £ 100,000 to aid in developing the mineral resources of the colony,
while the United States has, perhaps, the most
complete and extensive mineralogical survey
system of any country in the world, and the
result is—what? English and French capital
come to the United States in preference to
any other country. They read, and have the
mineral resources of the country explained to
them constantly. Following upon the heels of
the annual mineralogical report, enterprising
men go to London and Paris well supplied with
samples of ore and. elaborate maps of mining
property; and gifted with 90
Ontario to the Pacific,
and never-let-go, they annually induce a large
amount of capital to come into California, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, and Arizona.
Not one of these States or Territories but has
large English and French companies successfully
at work, and the more capital they invest the
better they are pleased in case it yields from
6 to 10 per cent, per annum. Capital can
be turned hitherward; not, however, by sitting
supinely waiting for its coming. Ask an Englishman which he would prefer—Canada or the
United States, and why—and he will answer—
the United States, because there is more dash,
enterprise, and go-ahead among the people. Including Alaska, Oregon, California, Idaho, and
Montana, mining industries have almost surrounded you, and the outside world scarcely
knows that you are the possessors of such promising and well defined gold and silver-bearing
veins. Several years ago so eminent a man as
Professor Dawson took with him to Montreal
samples of the quartz broken from the croppings
of your veins, and reported to you from $5 to
$6 per ton, and encouraged you to hunt in these
veins for richer ore, as they were, beyond doubt,
the sources' of the many millions of coarse gold,
intermixed with quartz, taken from your creeks
and benches, and no richer "placer diggings were By the G P. R.
ever discovered than your creeks and benches,
-through which the veins pass. Do not forget
that the mountain will not come to you ; on the
contrary, you must seek capital, and give it encouragement, and the day will come when your
districts will again rank as formerly amongst
Capital at present is seeking investment in the
most remote corners of the globe. All manufacturing industries are overdone. Silver is a
drug upon the market, and can scarcely hold its
place as a circulating medium, while, including
the product of the entire world, gold enough is
not now produced to supply the arts and sciences.
Then why not use energy and push enough to
induce English capital to come to your district ?
In referring to capital seeking investment, I may
refer you to the circumstances of an English
company formed to work the gold quartz found
in South Africa. In order to be well equipped in
every detail, their mill was built in San Francisco, shipped overland to New York, thence to
England and transhipped to Natal, where it had
to be hauled by cattle 700 miles inland. Also
one of a hundred stamps and necessary amalga
mating pans was built in San Francisco, and
shipped to Peru, where, by rail and mules, it had
to reach a giddy height of 13,000 feet, near the
summit of the Andes Mountains, to work a silver
mine. 92
Ontario to the Pacific,
The output of coal in British Columbia from
1874 to the end of last year was 2,972,706
tons, or a yearly average of 228,670 tons. Last
year 826,636 tons were produced, of which a
quarter of a million tons were exported, principally to California, Portland, Oregon, Alaska,
Petropaulovski, Mexico, and the Hawaiian Islands, besides which coal for fuel was regularly
supplied to the ocean mail steamers, gunboats,
and vessels calling. Inspector Dick in his report
strikes at a question which is engaging no little
attention just now, viz., reciprocity. He says:—
" The year 1884 was' one of unprecedented prosperity in our coal industry, both in volume of
trade and prices realised; but the drooping
figures of the succeeding years, with the lower
rates which our collieries have had to submit to
in return for their product, urge me. to again
bring before your attention the necessity for the
adoption of some active measures for the relief
of our collieries from the imposition of 75 cents
per ton levied in the United States upon our
coal when it enters their ports. With the removal of this inequitable tax by a judicious
reciprocity treaty, our coal industry will at once
recover itself, and years unexampled in activity
and progress will become our lot." By the G. P. R.
We left Donald for our trip to the Columbia
Lakes and Kootenay Valley at four o'clock on
the afternoon of Saturday, 28th August, by the
eastern bound express, with a regular camp outfit, consisting of two bundles containing blankets,
buffalo robes, and waterproof sheets for bedding,
one tent, one small valise, two saddles and saddle-bags, two guns, an axe, one sack of flour, one
sack of provisions for our two hundred miles ride,
another of cooking and eating utensils, and miscellaneous odds and ends. It should have taken
us but half an hour to reach Golden City, seventeen miles distant, where we were to embark upon
the steamer Duchess, but we were more than an
hour on the way, for, owing to the approach of a
special, bearing Sir Donald A. Smith, Mr. Cyrus
Field, Mr. Stafford Northcote, and other notabilities, to the far Pacific Slope, our express had
to turn off the main line at Moberley on to a
mysterious switch branching from the track at a
right angle, and running so directly into the
bush, that as our engine advanced along it we
seemed bound to plunge from the rails into the
primeval forest. 94
Ontario to the Pacific,
It was half-past five o'clock when we steamed
into Golden City. We were met by Mr. F. P.
Armstrong, the captain of the Duchess, who
escorted us to the banks of the Columbia, about
a mile distant, where the steamer lay at her
moorings. There is a good waggon-road all the
way, but the evening was so beautiful that I preferred to walk, and formed a far more favourable
opinion of the city of gold than I had done when
I passed through it on my way to Donald, perhaps because on that occasion I had my back
turned to Pilot Mountain, which rises, almost a
detached mass of granite, behind the town. The
setting sun was gilding the surface of its reddish-
yellow rock with tints that might have given the
city its golden name; I fear, however, it was
derived from below, and is of the earth earthy
in its origin.
The rosy and purple shades of the near and
distant ranges would have delighted the eye of
an artist, and the aspect of the boat, as she lay
at her picturesque moorings opposite a high
wooded bluff on the Columbia River, was most
inviting. To me the Duchess was a new nautical
experience, being a small edition of the stern- By the G. P. R.
■wheel steamers used for the shallow navigation
of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers; she is
a flat-bottomed boat of light draught, and can
pass over two feet six inches of water; has a
promenade deck, supported on light columns,
with a hurricane deck above, on which the wheel-
house stands; is sixty feet long by seventeen
feet beam, with a carrying capacity of twenty
tons; her cabin accommodation is fair, but limited, giving room for eight or ten passengers.
The main saloon is wide and spacious, and, as
Mr. Armstrong kindly placed his cabin at our
disposal, we fared sumptuously. The steamer
Duchess will run this year, from the month of
May to September, in connexion with the C. P.R.
trains; the trip to the lakes and back takes four
days. All information on the subject of the
route will be forthcoming at that time, and it
will be advisable for tourists visiting British
Columbia to diverge from the main route, and see
something of the interior of the country and the
magnificent mountain scenery which the Columbia River commands in its winding course between
the ranges of the Rockies and the Selkirks.
Steam was up when we went on board; a few
minutes later the boat moved away from her moor- 96
Ontario to the Pacific,
ings, and we were launched upon the bosom of the
far-famed Columbia. We ran up the river some
seven miles to Canyon Creek, to take on wood,
and then tied up to the bank for the night, as it
was getting dark. The navigation of the Columbia, with its numerous snags and sand-bars, is an
impossibility after dark, and this original manner of securing the boat to Mother Earth during
these hours was very conducive to sound slumber.
Sunday, 29th August, was a lovely summer day,
bright and cloudless, with a fresh wind blowing,
which rolled away the light veil of smoke that
had drifted down from the forest fires of the west,
till it rested on the distant mountains like a
silver haze, against which the adjacent trees
were defined in strong relief. The scene from the
decks of the Duchess was a most entrancing one,
and quite beggars description. Words fail me to
depict the beauties of the Columbia River, winding as it does between two mountain ranges, the
Rockies on the east side standing out in bold
peaks and rugged bluffs, while the Selkirks on
the west, some few miles from Golden City, lose
their massive outlines and fall away in sloping
wooded heights to the water.    The course of By the C. P. R.
the river, with its swift current, as it flows,
now wide, now narrow, between low banks overhung with willows, cranberry bushes, and tall
cottonwood trees (very similar in growth and
appearance to our poplar), is strangely peaceful
and secluded. Its varying width, never exceeding
three hundred feet, is a strange contrast to the
extent and volume of our eastern waters.
.The first pause we made was at eleven o'clock
in the morning, at Johnson's Hog Ranche, which
does not, as the name would imply, indicate the
porcine quadruped, but is the western slang for
a whiskey resort. That insiduous stimulant was
a year ago a contraband article, which could not
be sold within twenty miles of the C. P. R. rails ;
hence Johnson's Hog Ranche was established
just outside that magic circle. We were now
twenty-five miles from Golden City. The said
ranche is beautifully situated at the base of a
superb peak of the Rocky Mountains on one of
the numerous channels of the Columbia. We
made a halt of some twenty minutes to take on
wood at this delectable spot, then ran down the
stream with the swift current at a tremendous
pace for some hundred yards, sweeping so close 98
Ontario to the Pacific,
to the bushes, as we turned into the main channel, that the overhanging trees crashed against
the sides of the boat.
Immediately after we leave Johnson's, the Columbia develops numerous branches, and the
Selkirk Range is lost to view, its place being
supplied by wooded hills, which descend to the
edge of the water and continue for about ten
miles. The river seemed, if possible, to increase
in beauty the farther we ascended its tortuous
course. The Rocky Mountains stood out in an
almost incredible depth of blue distance on the
eastern bank, reminding me of some of Turner's
Italian landscapes. In one place the main channel divides, and we followed an apparently narrow stream, and coasted along a low island, with
a marshy bed of reeds on the west-:—a likely
haunt for wild fowl; indeed the constant popping
of a gun from the hurricane deck overhead, as
flocks of geese and ducks, roused by the approach
of the steamer, flew across her bows, was a constant source of excitement. I regret to say, however, that on these occasions no bag was made.
Farther up again we found ourselves in a network of islands and channels, with trees hanging By the G. P. R,
in some places so far-over the water as almost to
sweep the upper decks of the Duchess as she
glided beneath them. On one occasion, Mr.
Armstrong told me, when he had given the
wheel for a few moments to the charge of a deck
hand, the latter cut a point too short (in nautical
parlance), and the steamer struck upon one bank
and swung off on to the opposite side, passing as
she did so under a leaning tree which caught the
smoke-stack and deposited it promptly in the
river: he and his men spent all the next day
fishing in twelve feet of water for it, and eventually succeeded in recovering and restoring it to
its former position.
The even tenor of our way was broken by
occasional soundings with a long pole, and shouts
re-echoed from the promenade deck to the wheel-
house of "no bottom," "no bottom," "six-and-
a-half," " six-and-a-half," " six feet," with other
variations of lesser degree, as we swung over the
numerous sand bars obstructing the course of
the Columbia when the water is low. Lideed, I
was much impressed with Mr. Armstrong's skilful navigation of the river's numerous and tortuous channels, and his thorough knowledge of all 100
Ontario to the Pacific,
its knotty (one might coin a word, and say
snaggy) points. We stopped for the second time,
at four o'clock, at Spillumacheen Landing, consisting only of a couple of cabins lying at the
foot of a gigantic mass of rock, clothed almost
to its bare summit with a scattered growth of
pines ; in fact, we were so immediately below it
that the eye was wearied and strained painfully
by any effort to gaze up at its rugged crags. We
paused here but a few minutes, then steamed on
again up the wonderful Columbia, winding from
one side of the valley to the other, now to the
base of the Rockies, and. again to the foot of the
Soon after we left Spillumacheen, however,
the valley opened out as we approached the
lake country, and away to the south of us rose
a conical blue hill, like a giant sugar-loaf, from
which the Selkirk Range fell away in gentle
undulations to the horizon. The Rocky Mountains, on the contrary, lost the low, wooded plateaux (or grass-benches as they are called here)
that had marked their bases, and came sloping
down almost to the water's edge, the silver river
flowing so close by their precipitous sides that one By the G. P. R.
could distinctly see a number of inviting paths
marking the face of the rocks. On inquiry, however, these turned out to be the dry beds of
mountain torrents formed by the melting snow
in the warm months. We noticed, too, occasional signs of the pack-trail leading from Golden
City to the interior, and observed its course along
a dangerous-looking slope, congratulating ourselves upon being able to prosecute our journey
by steam instead of horse-power. Nothing could
exceed the varied nature of these mountain peaks
and summits; some, though barren and rugged,
showed occasional scattered groups of pines and
firs, while others were streaked far up their rocky
sides with^the brilliant greens of a recent undergrowth following in the track of some forest fire;
all showed an unwearying diversity of conformation. Fourteen miles from Spillumacheen the
character of the Columbia changes entirely; it
leaves its mud banks, and flows between low overhanging bushes of cranberry and willows on the
west, and clay cliffs, some sixty feet high, on the
east side. Near here we came upon a bit of wet
sandy beach, in which the tracks of a bear were
clearly visible not twenty feet from the boat. 102
Ontario to the Pacific,
The lights and shadows of the setting sun on
the mountains and river were exquisitely soft
and tender, and the reflection of the trees in
the swiftly flowing water was clearly and sharply
cut. Some twenty miles from our last landing
a wooded rocky range came into view on the west
bank,—a spur of the Selkirk Range. It was
streaked in some places with a red mineral deposit, in others it showed a rich orange colour.
These headlands rose to a height of six hundred
feet and then fell away down to the water, to he
succeeded by others of a similar but less rocky
nature, till the shades of evening blent all into
At eight o'clock we tied up to the bank, in
delightfully primitive fashion, for the night, and
were off again at sunrise the next morning.
When I stepped out of my cabin I found the
mountains on the west bank had entirely disappeared, and given place to high bluffs covered
with the short bunch-grass of the lake region,
now burnt to the colour of pale brown paper by
the long-continued drought of these dry summer
months. Fine fir trees were scattered about,
singly and in groups, without any undergrowth, By the G. P. R.
giving the country the air of a well-kept park
suffering severely from want of rain. The Rocky
Mountains still lay in distant blue masses on
the east bank. At nine o'clock we stopped beside a large sand-bar forming the north end of a
wooded island, and deposited a settler with his
effects, consisting of a farm waggon (in various
parts), a plough, a harrow, six pigs, two coops
of chickens, lumber, bundles, pots and pans, and
other miscellaneous articles. He was a man
well advanced in years, and it was positively
depressing to leave him alone, a melancholy
atom of humanity in the middle of the Columbia
River. His son was to join him during the
morning, and convey him and his outfit (western)
by boat to his future home on one of the smaller
channels of the main stream. A little farther
on we drew in to the bank for wood, which had
been cut and piled for the steamer's use during
the winter; then moved on again for some uneventful miles till we reached a high, clay cliff
on the east side, carved (by the action of water,
it is said,) into the towers and battlements of a
miniature fortification. To me it looked more
like some curious and inexplicable freak of Na- 104
Ontario to the Pacific,
ture. There are detached pillars of clay, several
feet in height, dotted about in this vicinity, which
remind one strongly of the chimneys and debris
of some ruined city. We saw several fine fish-
hawks floating high over the river, and remarked
their large, untidy nests perched in—what would
seem to be their favourite locality—the top of a
decayed pine tree; on one occasion the tree in
question hung so far over the water that the
Duchess passed almost beneath it.
We had now almost reached our destination—
a place called "Lilacs;" this euphonious name
being derived from its owner, not from any shrub
that flowers in the neighbourhood. This delectable spot is some six miles from the Lower
Columbia Lake, and we were rapidly approaching it on Monday morning when we came to a
shallow place in the river where the water fell
to three feet. We made our way slowly towards
a point round which the Columbia flowed with a
rapid curve, but just as we were clearing it the
current caught the boat's head, and turned it in
a second down the stream again. Mr. Armstrong
would not risk a second attempt to ascend the
river, as we had already narrowly escaped run- By the G. P. R.
ning upon a reef of rock, when the steamer
refused to answer her helm and fell a prey to
the violence of the current. We accordingly
retired a couple of hundred yards down the
Columbia to a favourable nook, and tied up the
Duchess once more to the edge of the bank,
which, fortunately, sloped down in a gentle,
grassy declivity to the edge of the water. We
found we were a mile from Lilacs; and an Indian,
who had been observing our progress from the
top of a high bluff, mounted his pony and rode
away to spread the news of the steamer's arrival,
which is quite an event in that isolated part of
the country. From the middle of May, or earlier,
until the middle of August, the waters of the
Columbia, swelled by the melting snows from
the mountains, are sufficiently deep to allow the
Duchess to penetrate some twenty-five miles farther than the place we reached, viz., to the end
of the Lower Columbia Lake, an extension which
greatly increases the beauty of the trip. But,
owing to the lateness of the season in our case,
and consequent low water, these twenty-five miles
were added to our riding expedition. We despatched a messenger for saddle and pack-horses, i ii   iiiniiiMiiiiiiiiriiiwiiTnirrnrT——■ HHBI
reconciled ourse
Ives to
a d
jf twenty-
i until they could
h us
which we
spend uj
>on tb
e steamer,
as si
ie did
not leave
On Tuesday morning, 81st August, our three
pack and two saddle horses arrived at eleven
o'clock in charge of the Indian boy who had been
engaged to pilot us to Kootenay. We were much
disappointed at being obliged to take a lad of
eighteen as a substitute for a man, but he
proved so excellent a youth that our regret
soon passed off, and we realised that it would
have been difficult to improve upon him. The
adult Indians were all engaged at this season
salmon-fishing in the Columbia, and no money
would entice them away from their favourite
pursuit; hundreds come down many miles from
the interior of the country for this purpose, and
many of them we passed upon the road.
My horse, which was sent me by a gentleman
from his ranche on the Columbia Lakes, proved By the G. P. R.
to be a sturdy blue-roan pony, standing between
twelve and thirteen hands high, and up to any
weight. I jumped on his back, while the other
horses were being packed, to try his mettle and
paces over a nice bit of grass near the river, and
found he travelled in the easy lope, or slow canter,
which is the peculiar gait of all western horses. He
was, moreover, bridle-wise, as indeed are all the
animals in this part of the country, a fact which
only an equestrian can thoroughly appreciate.
(I may explain, for the benefit of the uninitiated,
that to be bridle-wise means that a horse is
broken to guide simply by the pressure of the
reins on the neck, without any reference whatever to the bit; consequently, the slightest motion
of the hand, right or left, will direct his course
from one side to the other.) All the Eastern
horses I have ever mounted, and their name is
legion, require to be guided by the bit alone, and
can seldom, or never, be ridden with one hand.
Most of the Indian women ride their ponies with
a noose of rope through their mouths, and some
dispense even with this, and simply guide them
with a piece of stick, which is applied, like the
reins, to each side of the neck, ^t must be said, 108
Ontario to the Pacific,
however, that the majority of horses in this
country are very tractable, and can be easily
handled, as indeed is necessary for the nature of
the work required of them. But the eayuses
(Indian ponies) are, it is universally conceded,
the meanest of brutes; they are, however, wonderfully sure-footed, and can travel day after day
over hundreds of miles of country with enormous
loads, feeding only on the native bunch-grass,
and never tasting corn or oats. Mules are, I
believe, extensively used in packing, but I saw
very few of them on my travels.
We got off soon after twelve o'clock, and were
very sorry to bid adieu to our kind friends of the
Duchess. We had two miles of tedious riding along
the grass bluffs (western "benches") on the east
bank of the Columbia; the trail followed the river
as far as Lilacs' Landing, where it turned off inland. It was a very warm day, but the sun, fortunately for us, was obscured by a cloud of smoke
hanging between earth and sky. This did not conceal the scenery, but veiled it in a silver mist
which, combined with the perfect silence of nature,
lent a strange ideal beauty to the country. Dust
was a great drawback, and lay several inches deep By the G. P. R.
along the trail; on the face of the cliff, where
there was no alternative but to follow the beaten
path, it was most oppressive. When we turned
our backs upon the Columbia, however, we found
ourselves in a fine grass region stretching away
for miles, and quitted the dusty trails for the turf,
where we cantered along at our pleasure. We
made only eight miles the first afternoon, and
camped for the night at Windermere, the ranche
of the Hon. F. Aylmer, which is beautifully situated near the base of a fine peak of the Rocky
Mountains. We pitched our tent just above a
large creek rushing noisily through a wooded dell
below us, but completely concealed from view by
a thick growth of trees. It faced two magnificent mountains, while behind us rose grass
" benches " dotted with groups of evergreens.
The pack and saddle horses were soon relieved of
their loads, and turned out for the night to graze.
This was my first experience of being under
canvas. I found that a tent, comfortably arranged by my husband's skilful hands, was an
abode not at all to be despised in favourable
weather. Our Indian boy did not appear with
the horses until noon the next day, having asked 110
Ontario to the Pacific,
permission to go salmon-spearing in the Columbia the previous night, and been beguiled by that
fascinating sport. It was one o'clock before all
the horses were packed and ready, though Bap-
tiste was assisted by another lad, called Dave, a
half-breed, whom we had engaged also, as we
found that our work would require more than one
youth to attend to it.
A western camp " outfit" is certainly a novel
and picturesque sight. First came two well-
mounted riders, behind them three Indian ponies
not twelve hands high, without bridles, bearing two packs slung on each side of a pack-
saddle, secured by strong ropes; the leader of
these animals was decorated with a sonorous
bell, and they were driven by our two Indian
boys, attired in coats and trousers, who rode
good stout ponies, and had excellent Mexican
saddles and bridles. The eayuses were most
aggravating beasts, often rushing off the trail
into the bush to snatch a mouthful of grass,
and rubbing the packs against the trees with
such violence that it was a marvel they stayed
on at all. The dust and noise made by the
after part of our outfit were so unpleasant that By the G. P. R.
we found it advisable to keep well ahead. We
had now seven horses in our party, and made
quite an imposing train as we stretched out
across the open country.
We made eight miles in pretty good time, as
the riding was excellent, and stopped to dine by
a brawling creek, which supplied the requisite
water for our cooking and horses. A Kootenay
Indian joined us here, and shared our frugal
meal of salmon, bacon, tea, and bread. The
Mountain Indians struck me as a much finer
race than their brethren of the plains ; the present one was a handsome man, well armed
and well mounted ; he wore a semi-civilised costume, consisting of a gray flannel shirt and
cloth waistcoat, a draped blanket fell over his
lower limbs, which were encased in deer-skin
leggings ; while a red cotton handkerchief, bound
round his head and tied in a knot on the forehead, lent a brilliant touch of colour to the
whole. In the course of an hour we were in the
saddle again, and made seven miles during the
afternoon.' We camped that night on Geherry's
Ranche (the legitimate and licensed stopping-
place of the road, corresponding to the tavern of 112
Ontario to the Pacific,
civilisation), and partook in the house of an
excellent supper of partridges, cooked by his
Chinaman in a novel and tempting manner, and
paid for at a reasonable rate. The country we
had passed through during the day had been so
hidden by smoke that it was impossible to form
any idea of it beyond the fact that it was hilly and
"wooded, with intervals of open park land.
On Thursday, 2nd September, we left our camp
at seven in the morning, and rode four miles to
breakfast at the ranche of the same Mr. Armstrong who had been our host and captain of the
Duchess. He had a fine property of several
hundred acres on the Upper Columbia Lake,
well fenced and in the best order, with a good
log-house and large outbuildings, since sold to
Mr. Vernon, an Englishman. Unfortunately,
the smoke on the day in question was as thick
as a dense fog, and it was impossible either
to see across the lake or to form any idea
of the fine mountains in our immediate neigh- By the G. P. R.
bourhood. The Indian boys followed so leisurely in our steps with the pack-horses that
they did not appear upon the scene till- after
twelve o'clock; consequently we *again made a
late start, but rode on quickly and steadily to
try and recover lost time.
The first part of the trail, after leaving Mr.
Armstrong's ranche, was very steep and rocky;
it led along the face of a high cliff above the lake,
and we were not sorry to turn off it, and to find
ourselves again in an open part of the country
over which we could quicken our pace for some
miles till we came to another elevation. A steep
climb upwards brought us to the top of a still
higher cliff. A strong wind which had begun to
blow now kindly lifted the veil of smoke, and
revealed to our eyes a vision of strange, wild
beauty. The head-lake and source of the far-
famed Columbia River lay a thousand feet below
us, shimmering in a silver haze; above our
heads towered a wall of solid rock, forming the
base of a mountain range ; while on the opposite
side of the lake, some two miles away, the outline of the Selkirk Mountains was dimly visible.
The descent from the high cliff which the trail 114
Ontario to the Pacific,
skirted to the flat below, was long and tedious,
but once accomplished, there were some two
miles of excellent riding over light sandy ground
covered with an open forest of the Pinus ponde-
rosa, known throughout the country as the yellow
pine, but, I believe, improperly so called. This
was my first introduction to these beautiful trees,
of which I had heard so much, nor was I the
least disappointed in them; they attain an
enormous size in some localities, and are perfectly straight and uniform in their growth. The
bark is curiously marked in a series of irregular
dark cracks running the whole length of the
tree; these show spaces of a reddish yellow
colour between, and give the trunk the appearance of a scaly covering. The effect recalled
strangely the alligator leather now in fashionabel
use. The foliage is a long pine needle which
spreads out in crownlike masses above the
supporting boughs.
Our two-mile gallop brought us to the Kootenay River, a broad, clear stream of deep-blue
colour. The water was so low at this season
that it only reached our horses' girths, and was
qxdte fordable on a firm bottom of large round By the C. P. R.
stones. In the spring and early summer, I was
told, the river is so full and deep, and the current
so strong, that its passage is often a dangerous
affair, and many horses have been lost in the
attempt. On the top of the high bank above
the Kootenay we stopped to enjoy the beautiful
view of water, wood, and mountain spread out
like a panorama below and above us, and also
to snatch a hurried meal; then rode on again
four miles farther through a beautiful forest of
yellow pine entirely free from undergrowth of
any kind. The effect of the tall red trunks
stretching away in a vista of endless columns,
the sough of the wind in the branches, and the
spicy aroma of the pine needles amid the growing gloaming, was ideal in its weird beauty.
We regretted each moment that brought us
nearer to that necessary camp item, water;
indeed, we tarried so long that it was quite dark
when we came upon a fine clear brook grossly
libelled under the name of Mud Creek. We
pitched our tents by faith, not by sight, close to
those of a party of Englishmen who were on a
hunting expedition, and were most kind in their
offers of hospitality.   Our retreat beneath the tall 116
Ontario to the Pacific,
pines was extremely picturesque; but the high
wind which had blown all- day did not go down
with the sun, but rather increased in violence
and filled me with a sense of insecurity. Visions
of falling trees and branches mingled in my
dreams with the flapping of canvas and the
rattle of thousands of pine needles upon the tent.
I sighed for the stability of a house, and vowed
vows never to camp again. These were strengthened and confirmed at midnight by the reverberations of thunder in the distant mountains; a
few minutes later, the storm broke over our
devoted heads, lightning flashed, thunder pealed,
trees groaned, and rain descended in torrents.
This storm was truly disturbing to an outsider in
more than one sense of the word. I trembled
for the tent, and prepared, philosophically, to be
enveloped in folds of wet canvas, the result of a
total collapse. Mind, however, triumphed over
matter, and we weathered the storm, which
passed away in half an hour, so far as thunder
and lightning were concerned, but the rain continued in a steady downpour, which gradually
lulled me to rest. The morning revealed a scene'
of appalling dreariness ; a gentle drizzle thicken- By the G. P. R.
ed the atmosphere to a pea-soup consistency, and
everything, both over head and under foot, was
saturated with moisture; it was well-nigh impossible to kindle a fire, and the general tone of
nature was most depressing. About eight o'clock,
however, the sun struggled over the top of the
mountains and made an effort to appear; the
drizzle condensed itself and rolled away; the
damp chill that had penetrated to the marrow of
my bones was absorbed; the heavy masses of
leaden clouds parted and floated off over the tree
tops, and glimpses of blue sky took their place.
We-were soon in the saddle, and made eighteen
miles, riding all day through a beautiful, wooded,
grass country, with occasional bits of broken,
hilly ground. During the morning we passed
three lovely little lakes, set like emeralds in the
heart of the forest, and covered with flocks of
wild ducks. Baptiste—who was, by the way, a
capital shot, and had secured us three fine
mallards the previous day—was unsuccessful
on this occasion. He and my husband, after
wasting much time and many cartridges, realised
how impossible it would be to recover the birds
without a dog to retrieve them, and we rode on 118
Ontario to the Pacific,
till four o'clock, when we found ourselves on
the top of a high plateau; we descended from
it by a precipitous gravel trail to the valley of
the Kootenay, and camped for the night at Sheep
Creek, which is divided in this neighbourhood
into six or seven channels, and empties itself by
as many mouths into the river. A high, cold
wind blew over the flat, and made the temperature a good deal lower at night than was agreeable under canvas.
We found the temperature on Saturday, 4th
September, extremely chilly at six o'clock in the
morning, and watched anxiously for the sun to
make its way over the tops of the Rocky Mountains and shed its genial beams upon the Kootenay Valley. Breakfast over, we had packed and
were ready to start by eight o'clock. For the first
few miles our course led us along the sides of the
high grass cliffs which enclose the east banks of
both the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers; here,
however, the soil was gravelly, so we escaped the By the C. P. R.
dust which had afflicted us on a former occasion.
It was a bright, cloudless, breezy day, and we
rejoiced in an atmosphere entirely free from
smoke, dispersed by the rain of Thursday night,
and were able once more to enjoy distant effects,
as well as surrounding details. The scene, from
our lofty vantage-point on the grassy slopes
above the Kootenay, was not one easily forgotten.
The lovely blue river wound along through its
wide valley, bounded on the far west by the soft
gray line of the Selkirk Range, while between it
and the mountains rolled acres upon acres of
pale yellow grass, dotted over with groups of fine
pine trees.
This flaxen land owed its indescribable straw-
colour to the magic power of the sun god, who
had dried and bleached the herbage all over this
immense extent of country, giving the landscape,
with its dark evergreens and azure sky, an individuality of expression not often met with in the
book of nature. On the east bank of the Kootenay,
between the river and the grass cliffs along which
we rode, lay a wooded bottom of poplar and wild
cherry trees, their fresh young shoots looking a
most brilliant green in contrast to the yellow 120
Ontario to the Pacific,
expanse about us. The difference in character
between the valleys of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers was brought vividly before me as I
gazed; the former in its width of forty miles,
with a distant line of mountains visible on the
west side only, its vast extent of what, with a
very slight stretch of the imagination, might be
converted into waving corn-fields, and its clear
river, flowing with little deviation—is a strange
contrast to the sinuous twists and turns of the
Columbia River in its narrow, confined area,
between the magnificent ranges of the Rocky
and Selkirk Mountains, rising often precipitously
on both sides from its turbid, pale-green waters.
I could not help regretting the thousands of
acres of perfect ranching country which lay
unoccupied about us, save for wandering herds
of cattle and horses owned by prosperous Kootenay Indians. Strange as it may appear, these
animals prefer the sun-dried bunch grass to the
juiciest green food, and thrive and fatten upon
it, as the condition of all the horned and un-
horned beasts I saw in that region amply testified. The whole of this Kootenay district, so far
removed from the line of railroad as to be little By the G. P. R.
known or visited by the traveller or the tourist,
is the finest country I visited in British Columbia. The Canadian Pacific, in its course over
the mountains, runs up one narrow valley and
down another to the Coast, affording, it is true,
unsurpassed beauties of scenery, but at the same
time no real idea of the interior, which stretches
away in fertile plains to the American boundaries
of Idaho and Montana. Water is excellent in
quality, and abundant in quantity. Besides the
river, there are* innumerable fine creeks rising
in the Rocky Mountains, and flowing into it.
When we turned our backs, at last, upon the
Kootenay, we positively scaled the cliff by the
steepest of trails, and passed into the country I
have just described, which' gave us miles and
miles of galloping ground over straw-coloured
grass, under dark green trees, with a turquoise
sky overhead.
At noon we came to a rapid stream, called Wolf
Creek, where a party of Indians were encamped
on their way to spear salmon in the Columbia ;
indeed, the whole morning we had passed perpetual family parties riding along on their small
ponies, sometimes a mother and three children 122
Ontario to the Pacific.
inexplicably mounted upon one animal and surrounded with their household gods, while countless colts and dogs followed in their train. They
all looked happy and prosperous, and greeted us
with " Cla-how-jah ? " their equivalent for " How
do you do ? " Some of the Indians near the spot
where we watered our horses were playing cards
with a remarkably greasy, dirty pack ; they were
gambling for tobacco. It is curious how the
Redskin copies and exaggerates the vices of civilisation : they are all inveterate gamblers; our
lad, Baptists, during the trip won seven horses
in the notorious game of seven-up, but in the
effort to increase his stud he lost them all and
his handsome Mexican saddle to boot, returning
with us in Borry plight, a sadder and wiser Indian than when he left the Columbia Valley.
We diverged here from the trail to inspect the
ranche of Mr. Humphreys, a wealthy Englishman who, after visiting Australia, India, and
various other parts of the globe, has given the
preference to British Columbia as his future
home. He owns nine hundred and sixty acres of
land, which he means to add to, and has some
excellent log buildings and the finest corral in By the G. P. R.
the country upon his property. The house itself
is beautifully situated on high ground, rising
gently from Wolf Creek (which, by the way,
contains quantities of large trout), and commanding a lovely view of the broken range of the
Rockies on the east. We had not time, unfortunately, to make a thorough examination of the
place, but saw enough to convince us that Mr.
Humphreys had been exceedingly fortunate in
securing so fine a tract of land, on which all the
fencing and building had been done in the' most
substantial manner by two hard-working countrymen, from whom "he bought it at a most reasonable figure.
We declined all offers of hospitality, and rode
on two miles farther, where we stopped for dinner
by the shores of a beautiful little lake. Grassy
slopes and glades opened out of the forest down
to its very waters. These were broken near the
banks by lines of reeds, offering a good cover for
numbers of wild duck; a brace of these my husband secured for our midday meal. We were in
the saddle and off again before three o'clock, and
continued to ride for miles over the same wooded
park country I have described,  following the 124
Ontario to the Pacific,
course of the Kootenay, which came occasionally
into view. We passed on our way beside a long,
winding lake or inlet from the river, framed in a
background of dark trees and hills, reminding
me of many views I had seen of the English lake
country; in fact, the beautifully cultivated appearance of the Kootenay Valley, with its boundless meadows of native grass, impresses the mind
with an idea of civilisation and settlement, yielding only to the absence of houses and human beings. We gradually descended from high ground
late in the afternoon and entered upon a broad
bit of prairie rejoicing in the name of Bummers'
Flats, which extends between the river and the
wooded country above; it is used by the Indians
as a race-course, and is certainly a spot which
every devotee of the turf might envy them. We
made the best of time over it for a distance of
two miles, when the trail led us again on to high
ground, and we pitched our tent for the fifth and
last night under canvas, by a small stream embowered in trees, and known as Six-Mile Creek.
We found the Rocky Mountains close to us again,
and I enjoyed gazing up once more into their
purple depths.    The evening was clear and not By the G. P. R.
unpleasantly cool, and the forest dell where we
were encamped, with its mountain foreground,
and the silver crescent of the moon rising behind
us among fine trees, seemed to me a typical
sylvan retreat worthy of "Midsummer Night's
Our camping-ground at Six-Mile Creek proved
so seductive that, the following day being Sunday, we unwittingly assumed the privileges associated with the sabbath, and slept late, viz.,
until after eight o'clock; consequently it was
ten before a start was effected. We continued
our way then over the high grass benches on
which we had sojourned the previous night, and
followed the course of the river farther and farther up the beautiful Kootenay Valley. A cold
wind blew down upon us from the Rocky Mountains, near which we were riding, and made the
temperature anything but agreeable for early
September weather, especially as the sun was
concealed behind heavy gray clouds, while masses
of mist rolled along the sides of the range, and
threatened every moment to envelop us in sheets
of rain. We caught occasional glimpses of the
Kootenay winding far below us through its yel- 126
Ontario to the Pacific.
low hay marshes and extensive flats, similar in
character to the one we had traversed on Saturday. At noon we reached the second crossing
of the river. Here the ferryman had a picturesque log house, charmingly situated on a cliff
high above the water, and commanding a most
extensive view of the country we had just ridden
through, as well as that upon which we were
about to turn our backs. We dismounted and
descended on foot the steep gravel road leading
down to the Kootenay, which we crossed, animals
and riders, in a large flat-bottomed scow, propelled by the force of the current and worked
with pulleys upon a heavy rope stretched in
primitive fashion from a tree on one bank to
a tree on the other, the river here being only
some hundred feet wide at low water. Mounting
again, we left the Kootenay behind us, and rode
on through a wooded bottom of young poplars,
where some grouse got up under our horses'
feet, but escaped into the thick cover about us.
We soon came to the end of this flat, and ascended a high hill into more park country beyond. A gallop over this brought us to one of
a chain of small lakes covered with wild fowl, By the G. P. R.
where we stopped to dine, and were en route
again by three o'clock; we had not gone far
before the threatening clouds of mist descended
upon us in a solid, penetrating rain. After cantering on for about a mile through this damp
medium, Colonel Baker's ranche came suddenly
into view, and was hailed with proportionate
delight. It consists of a number of detached
buildings situated on a gently-rising ground from
the broad plain below, which stretches away to
some wooded grass benches and is bounded in
the gray distance by the main range of the
Rocky Mountains rising in serrated peaks upon
the horizon.
We received the warmest of welcomes, and were
soon drying ourselves over a huge fire in the
sitting-room. The house proper is a long, low,
log building, entered by a hall its full width,
whose walls were decorated with numerous saddles, bridles, and other equestrian appointments;
from this, one door opened upon a succession of
bedrooms, occupying all the available space upon 128
Ontario to the Pacific,
that side; the other upon the typical, or rather
ideal, living room of a gentleman's residence in
the wilds of British Columbia. This apartment
is very large, and was filled with chairs, lounges,
tables, and bookshelves; a gun-rack, with nine
handsome rifles and various implements of the
rod and chase, occupied a prominent position on
one side, almost opposite to a writing-desk of
business-like proportions, with pigeon-holes filled
with papers and documents. The crowning feature of the whole is an enormous fireplace at
the end, quite large enough to roast the proverbial ox, which certainly accommodates a full-
length cordwood stick with perfect ease. Above
the high mantel-piece a magnificent cariboo's
head reigned monarch of all he surveyed, as no
doubt his owner had done in his day, and below
this were the spiral horns of a small, white-
tailed deer, killed near the ranche. The floor was
covered with rugs and matting; the walls were
adorned with coloured pictures from the Graphic
and Illustrated News; and the windows command an extensive view to the west, of rolling
mountains and wooded plains, with the noble
Selkirk Range lying in the distance. By the G. P. R.
The rain continued to descend in torrents until
late in the evening, and we congratulated ourselves heartily on being under a roof. We found
the same party of Englishmen (which, however,
included Mr. Forbes, part owner of the celebrated
American yacht, Puritan, himself a Bostonian),
whom we had met and camped with in the Kootenay woods; they were, like ourselves, enjoying
Col. Baker's hospitality, and we spent a most
agreeable evening, discussing various adventures
by land and water, and relating our personal
experience in the country. We found they had
only arrived two hours before us, having crossed
the Kootenay River after we parted from them,
and followed a different trail from ours up the
opposite side of the valley. The following morning we realised one of the numerous phases of
ranche life in the departure of these gentlemen,
with numerous pack-horses and packers, on a
hunting expedition in Montana. Another Englishman, who had been shooting for two months
in the Rocky Mountains with a solitary attendant, and also turned up the previous evening,
drenched to the skin, made his exit with four
more horses a couple of hours later in another 180
Ontario to the Pacific,
direction. The arrival and departure of travel
lers and hunters serves to break the monotony of
ranche life in the interior, where communication with the outer world is maintained only
by a mail once in six weeks and the society of
fellow-creatures is warmly appreciated amid so
much unavoidable isolation.
The day broke decidedly damp and chilly, with
a heavy mist hanging over both mountain and
valley; but a rising barometer indicated fine
weather, and by noon all the clouds had dispersed, and a glorious sun was drying up the
well-soaked ground. I took a short walk with
mine host after lunch to see some of the beautiful views that Cranbrooke boasts, and was
lost in admiration of golden stubble-fields, a mile
long and a mile wide, which, Col. Baker having
rescued them from the plain, now extend, in
well-fenced lines, to the distant foothills below
the mountains. We concluded our little expedition by a visit to the Palace Hotel, on the same
property and not far from the house. This rambling log-building of ambitious nomenclature was
the abode of a prosperous Chinaman, known in
the neighbourhood as the "Captain;" his rank By the G. P. R.
dating, I believe, from the time when he commanded a pirate junk. Previous to his nautical
experiences he held the honourable office of
Lord High Executioner in the Celestial Empire; and a notable character he was—gray,
grizzled, and communicative. We went into the
Palace, sat down, and chatted with him for a
time, so far as his limited command of the English language would permit; he bestowed upon
me some delectable condiments called China
candy, consisting of small, dried plums, like
prunes, and slices of sugared citron, not particularly clean. His " hotel" was the resort of
all his countrymen, numbers of whom were
mining in the neighbourhood, and was largely
patronised. The room we entered immediately
from the door, and sat in, was curiously adorned
with a tawdry altar and Chinese god, placed high
above my head on the wall, while the partitions
were lavishly decorated with brilliantly-coloured
hieroglyphics. The lodgers and visitors occupied
open bunks supported on light poles, which did
not look inviting, as may be imagined.
On one afternoon Col. Baker and I rode over
to the Catholic Mission on St. Mary's River, about 182
Onta/rio to the Pacific.
six miles distant. The trail ran for a considerable distance through his own property, and was
sufficiently good to admit of cantering all the way
had it not been for the dust and the warmth of
the September sun at two o'clock in the afternoon, which induced us to spare ourselves and
horses, and loiter on the way, so that nearly an
hour and a half elapsed ere we reached our destination. The Mission lay ensconced in a narrow
valley, and was approached by a stony, precipitous path, which we descended, threading our
way between rows of mud-covered log-houses
to the priest's abode. The aspect of this settlement was both suggestive and impressive;
it filled my mind with an unaccountable and
strange depression. There is an unnatural element about semi-civihsed Indians which has to
be actually felt to be appreciated. The Redskin
loses his picturesqueness when he is placed within four walls, and these cabins, some fifty in number, were nearly all empty and deserted at this
season, their occupants being engaged in hunting and fishing to provide food for the coming
winter; a few women and children were left
behind, and these came out of their doors and
"S By the G P. R.
stared at us as we passed. The little chapel,
with its tall belfry, and the priest's house standing in a large garden beside it, were a pleasant
contrast, with their clean, fresh wooden walls,
to the mud structures around them. We dismounted, tied our horses to a fence, and passing through a gate and up a long path, rang
a large bell suspended on a spring outside Father
Fouquet's door. The clanging summons was
responded to by a very old and decrepit Indian;
who admitted us into a small, scantily furnished
apartment. We heard a distant murmur of
voices, and concluded that the priest was engaged with his parishioners; he soon after
appeared, bringing with him Dr. Powell, the
Indian Commissioner from Victoria, whose advent
we had long been expecting, and Mr. Smythe,
the Premier of British Columbia, whose visit
was an unlooked-for benefit to the Kootenay district. These two gentlemen were on their way
to Col. Baker's ranche, but had turned off on a
wrong trail, and found themselves at the mission
instead of Cranbrooke. While they were engaged
with my host I entered into a long conversation
with  Father  Fouquet, who was a Frenchman 184
Ontario to the Pacific,
born and bred, and spoke with a somewhat provincial dialect, at the same time expressing himself fluently and well. I learned from him that,
the mission had been established for twenty-
five years, during thirteen of which he had been
in charge, assisted by a Father Richard, whom
I did not see. I had been already much struck
by the work of the Catholic Church in this
country,where its priests have lived and laboured
for years, nearly all of them being educated
Frenchmen, whose lives of isolation amid tribes
of Indians, in the centre of an immense unsettled
country, are certainly heroic, and are a noble
testimony to the religion they profess. They
must have been subjected to trials undreamt of
by us, but they have, in most instances, become
reconciled to their fate. Father Fouquet assured
me pathetically that if the Church recalled him
he should feel quite out of his element in the
world; indeed, he seemed to have lost any desire
to revisit France, and, I fancy, will end his days
in his little valley among the Kootenay Indians,
to whom already he has devoted the best years
he influence of the priests in the
oi nis lite.
country is having a most beneficial effect
upon By the G. P. R.
the rising generation of Indians. It is to the
native youth and their education that they have
chiefly applied themselves, realising, with their
natural quickness, that the young plants may be
trained, while the old ones can only be pruned.
That they have wonderfully civilised the children,
the two boys we had with us, of twelve and nineteen, were excellent examples ; they always began
their cooking preparations by washing off the
dust of their ride, and never touched any food
unless absolutely necessary, always using sticks
or forks—indeed, they handled cutlery in general
with perfect familiarity; never helped themselves until they were bidden, and in divers and
sundry ways were an improvement upon their
white brethren of the middle classes.
The most novel experience of my visit to Cranbrooke was a dinner party given by Mr. Norris,
Her Majesty's Collector of Customs, whose snug
little cottage lies not a stone's-throw from Col.
Baker's house. The revenues of the Dominion
Government have been considerably increased by
this small office which has been in existence for
eleven years or more, and has taken considerable toll from the thousands of gallons of whiskey 186
Ontario to the Pacific,
brought into British Columbia from the States,
the direct trail from Sand Point, on the borders
of Idaho Territory, passing by Mr. Norris's door.
The party in question was given in honour of the
Gold Commissioner, the Indian Commissioner,
and myself, and we sat down, eight in number, to
a most sumptuous repast prepared by the skilful
hands of the best Chinese cook in the district, to
which we did ample justice. Wine and whiskey
flowed freely, and I can truthfully say that no
more generous entertainment was ever given in
Kootenay, or one which reflected more credit
upon our gallant host pro tern.
I am indebted to Colonel Baker, late of the
Blues, who has resided for two years in Kootenay and was this summer elected by a Conservative majority to represent the district in the
Provincial Parliament at Victoria, for the following information about this part of British Columbia, with the subjoined particulars of its climate,
resources, and capabilities: By the G. P. R.
His ranche, Cranbrooke, situated on Joseph's
Prairie, not far from the Kootenay River, is 3,068
feet above the level of the sea ; it contains 10,000
acres, 400 enclosed, and lies in the centre of a
gold-bearing region, of which Perry Creek, nine
miles distant, is the most remarkable example,
several hundred thousand dollars having been
taken from it. But at Palmer's Bay, in the immediate vicinity, only $10 a day are now obtained.
The soil on this extensive property is a rich
vegetable loam, differing from the Kootenay
bottom lands, which are rich sand loam, while
the large benches on both sides of the river are
a rich sandy loam. The fertility of the land
about Cranbrooke is evident from the fine quality
of its vegetables, roots, and grains. Pease and
cucumbers, grown in the open air, were produced
in constant succession from the middle of June
till the middle of September, when I enjoyed
them both. Potatoes and cabbages attained an
abnormal size; one of the latter, which was
weighed during my visit early in September,
when then not fully developed, reached twenty-
three pounds. A sunflower measured three feet
seven  inches round the  seed-bed.    The black 138
Ontario to the Pacific,
wax-bean (a delicate plant) grew to perfection.
Hops covered the houses in wild profusion. The
quality of beet-root produced is extremely rich in
saccharine matter,- and heavy crops have been
raised without any irrigation. Alfalfa, a species
of lucerne, has been cultivated with great success.
The winter is short; snow usually appears about
the end of December, and disappears at the
beginning of March, never exceeding fifteen
inches in depth; occasionally there are snowfalls in November, but these are soon dispersed
by the warm sun. The weather during this
season is, on the whole, comparatively mild;
but cold waves of a few days' duration do occur,
and the thermometer has fallen to as low as 30°
below zero. The maximum and minimum temperatures in the shade on the 29th January, 1886,
were 57° and 33° Fahrenheit. The geological
strata is of the Laurentian and Cambrian systems, merging into the Carboniferous, as the Elk
River district is approached. The timber is composed chiefly of large pines (the Pinus ponderosa),
which often attain to four feet in diameter, and
make excellent lumber. The Douglas Fir also
reaches a diameter of three feet, and there is a By the G. P. R.
valuable variety of larch, commonly called the
tamarac, which differs materially from the species of that name common in the low country.
This mountain kind is remarkable for its durable qualities in water, and it makes first-class
wood for building purposes. Among the deciduous trees are the poplar, alder, and birch.
It is thought that the larger fruits, such as
apples, pears, and plums, may be successfully
cultivated, as the smaller berries, including currants, gooseberries, raspberries, and strawberries,
grow abundantly.
The capabilities of the Upper Kootenay Valley •
and the Columbia Lake region for cattle-ranching
and horse-breeding are of a very high order,
especially the latter, as horses can range at large
during the whole winter without extra food or
shelter, and thrive*m a wonderful manner upon
the natural bunch-grass of the country. With
regard to cattle it is considered advisable to provide open shelter-sheds for the cold weather, and
to furnish them with a moderate amount of
fodder, which can be procured in abundance
from the hay-marshes extending throughout the
country.   A very necessary item in stock-raising 140
Ontario to the Pacific,
is the quantity and quality of the water. It is
abundant everywhere; large rivers flow in every
valley, and numbers of fine creeks are met with
in all directions, containing water as pure and
clear as can be met with anywhere in the world,
as well as excellent trout.
Although there is a great quantity of game in
British Columbia, such as cariboo, elk, bear,
black and white tailed deer, and mountain sheep
and goats, they are very difficult to obtain on
account of the dense forests to be met with in
the mountain region, and the number of Indians constantly engaged in hunting. It should
also be borne in mind that it is well-nigh
impossible to have any sport without the guidance and assistance of some experienced Indian
well acquainted with the country. White men,
with very few exceptions, are practically useless.
The Gold Commissioner, Mr.Vowell, of Donald,
and the Indian Commissioner, Dr. Powell, of
Victoria, with Mr. Smythe, the Premier of British
Columbia, arrived at Kootenay a week after we
did, and camped upon the ranche, with the exception of Mr. Smythe, who became, like ourselves,  a guest of Col. Baker's.    On the day By the G. P. R.
before the Premier's departure a deputation of
the settlers in the district waited upon him to
welcome him to the country, and to request his
: able assistance with the Provincial Government
in furthering the development of Kootenay.
These objects were admirably expressed and laid
before Mr. Smythe by Colonel Baker, their representative, who called his attention to the pressing
need of a waggon-road between Golden City and
the Upper Kootenay, to facilitate the conveyance
of supplies at present carried by pack-trains, and
also to place the settlers within reach of a central
market on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Mr.
Smythe replied to Col. Baker's address in a short
and concise speech, saying he had come among
the people and penetrated into the interior of
the country, which he believed no Premier had
ever done before, to try to ascertain what were
the requirements of the settlers, and bring
them before the House when it met. He hoped
to connect the Upper Kootenay Valley with the
outer world both by land and water, through the
Columbia and Kootenay Rivers, which could be
joined by a canal and made navigable from
Golden City to the interior- 142
Ontario to the Pacific,
I saw also, this winter, in the Canada Gazette
that " application is made for the incorporation
of the Golden City and Kootenay Railway Company, to build a line of railway from Golden
City up the Columbia River to the head of
Columbia Lake, and then down the Kootenay to
St. Mary's, and thence to Cranburgh " (presumably meant for Cranbrooke).
We had beautiful weather during my visit to
Cranbrooke. Days of cloudless sunshine succeeded each other only too quickly, till the inevitable Thursday arrived that bore us away from
the hospitable ranche and kind host, who will
ever be associated with my pleasantest memories of British Columbia.
We left Col. Baker's at two o'clock on September 16th, homeward bound, and made twelve miles
during the afternoon, camping for the night on
the wooded poplar flats near the west bank of the
Kootenay River, which we found an extremely
damp and chilly spot; so much so that the fol- By the G. P. R.
lowing morning revealed half an inch of ice on
some water left standing in a pan. The temperature was by no means balmy and genial at
six a.m.; and, after a hurried breakfast, we were
extremely glad to warm our benumbed bodies by
a short gallop to the ferry, where we again crossed
in the scow, with its primitive rope and pully,
described previously.
At the top of the hill, on the east side, we
parted with our pack-horses and Indian boys,
and diverged from the main trail to visit Wild
Horse Creek, the most celebrated mining ground
of the Kootenay district. Twenty years ago
3,000 men were at work in this isolated spot, out
of which over $12,000,000 have been taken. We
covered the distance of five miles in a little over
an hour, part of the trail being extremely rocky
and precipitous. The creek itself runs through
a deep canyon, whose course we followed for a
couple of miles. Huge mountain peaks faced us,
towering over 9,000 feet on the opposite side of
the narrow gorge, and frowning down upon us
in all the majesty of their solemn -grandeur.
The camp, or settlement, at Wild Horse consists
of a few Government buildings, a large general 144
Ontario to the Pacific,
store, and a number of log cabins with small
gardens attached, occupied and cultivated entirely
by the ubiquitous Celestials, upwards of one hundred of whom now populate this scene of departed
glory. We lunched at the Government office
with the Gold Commissioner, and after our repast
walked half a mile further up the creek over an
immense area of ground which had been completely washed out years ago by white men of all
nationalities, and was now a mass of rocks, cUbris,
and fine gravel, forming anything but a pleasant
footpath; indeed, it would have been utterly
impassible but for the constant contact of Chinese
shoe leather, which had made some semblance
of a road.
The view from this point was very striking;
we were in the heart of the Rocky Mountains ;
the creek, a mere thread, lay far below us; on
each side of it, as far as the eye could reach,
extended a desolate waste of rocks, stones, and
boulders. It would be difficult to imagine a
more impressive spectacle than this chaos of
distorted nature. Both steep gravel banks were
seamed with wooden troughs, carrying water
from the high ground above; while far in the By the C. P. R.
distance a magnificent range of mountains appeared to enclose the valley in a species of
Several Chinamen were diligently engaged in
digging and washing down earth on the opposite
side of the creek, and presently, to my great
satisfaction, we came upon two of them at work
not far from where we stood. We managed to
circumvent the masses of soil and gravel scattered about us, and took the opportunity to
investigate their proceedings. A small stream
of water was led through a wooden trough from
some neighbouring creek to the edge of the valley,
sixty feet above our heads. From there it fell in
a cascade on to another inclined trough below,
rolling great stones and quantities of gravel down
with the force of its fall; these were extracted
from the trough, or propelled along it, by a
Chinaman armed with a heavy hooked pitchfork
and an iron crowbar, which implements he handled most dexterously. Another Celestial stood
some feet above him, and played with a canvas
hose supplied from a different trough of water
on the bank above, upon a mound of earth and
gravel, which was driven into a second inclined 146
Ontario to the Pacific,
trough, connected at an angle with the first.
This large body of accumulated water rushed in
a dirty foaming torrent along its wooden bed, to
an accompaniment of the pounding and grinding
of great stones, and poured from it down a steep
slope to the creek below. The earth and fine
gravel deposited by the water sinks to the bottom
of the troughs or boxes, between the interstices
of the poles or ripples, and at the end of the week
is collected, taken out and washed over again
by hand to extract the particles of gold. The
wealth of Wild Horse is supposed to be exhausted,
but the Chinese are industrious and indefatigable,
and there are claims, I was told, owned and
worked by them, which yield from $2,000 to
$6,000 a year.
After thoroughly inspecting their operations,
which are described as hydraulic mining, and
closely resemble the placer mining so much
talked of in British Columbia, we mounted our
horses and rode from Wild Horse by another and
simpler trail to Six-mile Creek, taking with us
fhe Collector of Customs, Mr. Anderson, and a
young Englishman, who was in charge of some
pack-horses bound for the Columbia Lakes.    Our By the C. P. R.
increased party was to serve as escort to Mr.
Smythe, the Premier of British Columbia, who
joined us at our camp, where we arrived at four
o'clock, he having ridden directly from Col.
Baker's that day. We were now eight in number, with thirteen horses among us, and our three
tents and two large fires made quite an imposing
"outfit" The weather had been so damp and
cold all day that we were truly glad to gather
round the burning logs and partake of supper.
The return journey from Six-Mile Creek to the
Upper Columbia Lake covered much the same
ground as we had passed over on our way to
Kootenay, except that under the able guidance
of Mr. Anderson, an old resident of the district,
we left the main trail at Wolf Creek near where
it led along the steep gravel cliffs beside the
Kootenay, with a tremendous descent and ascent
at Sheep Creek, and entered upon the newly-
prospected Government waggon road, which runs
through a beautifully wooded, park-like country
some miles from the river, over a remarkably
even grade. The September sun was so particularly warm and penetrating that we were duly
grateful for the cool shade afforded by the mag- 148
Ontario to the Pacific,
nificent evergreens under which we rode all the
afternoon. At five o'clock, Mr. Anderson proposed that we should turn off the Government
road for the benefit of a particularly attractive
camping ground which he could point out, in a
spot known only to himself and a few others, and
not even located upon any map of the Province.
It certainly far surpassed our most sanguine
expectations. After an abrupt descent from the
woods through which we had been riding, and
a short canter across an open grassy plateau, a
sudden turn revealed a beautiful little lake lying
immediately at the base of the Rocky Mountains,
which rose in woods and crags from its surface,
and were tinted with every shade of purple, blue,
amber, and gold by the rays of the setting sun,
each faithfully reflected in the water with a
softening of the gorgeous colouring as delicate as
indescribable. The land on the opposite side,
by which we approached, was all in shadow, and
sloped down to the lake in a succession of bold
wooded promontories, every tree and stone of
which were likewise repeated in sombre tones,
the light and shade meeting curiously in the
centre of the sheet  of water, with a strange By the C. P. R.
mirage effect. It is called by the Indians Pasil-
qua Lake, which has to my ear a soft, suggestive
sound, very appropriate to it; it seemed about
five miles long, and of varying width, the lower
end (opposite which we pitched our tents on a
high grass cliff) being entirely concealed from
view by the farthest headland, which hid the
sweep of its glistening waters, while a distant
golden .mountain formed the background of the
picture, in which Nature at that hour seemed to
have exhausted her palette. With the soft evening lights of a perfectly cloudless sky, without a
sound in the air above or on the earth beneath,
the scene, as we drew rein and gazed, would
alone have repaid the most arduous journey.
We were also indebted to Mr. Anderson for the
situation of our third night's camp, on the east
side of the Upper Columbia Lake, to reach which
we again turned off the main trail. The same
view which had been veiled from our eyes by
thick smoke from forest fires a fortnight before
now lay spread out before us, a vision of unrivalled beauty, as strong a contrast by its large
proportions, wide horizon, and simple evening
light, to Lake Pasilqua as can be imagined.   The 150
Ontario to the Pacific,
broad waters of the Columbia Lake lay shimmering also in the light of a sun fast descending
behind the distant Selkirk Range, which faced
us on the opposite shore, while the Rocky Mountains rose immediately behind us, a lofty wall of
granite, covered with a scanty growth of stunted
pine trees. This sheet of water is nine miles
long by two wide. Where we encamped, close to
a little stream which gushed out of the mountain
side not a quarter of a mile from our tent, it was
alive with ducks and large flocks of geese, unfortunately to be reached only by a boat. We succeeded in losing two of our horses during the
night, and my husband and I had to make our
appearance at Mr. Armstrong's the next morning,
mounted upon an Indian pony and a cayuse, a
somewhat ignominious advent; fortunately, however, we picked up our truant steeds making
the best of their way home in apparent enjoyment of their unwonted freedom, and were able
to return them to the ranche sound in wind
and limb, and in better condition than we had
received them in, with a grateful appreciation of
their enduring qualities and sure-footedness. By the G. P. R.
We found that an open boat was about to start
from Mr. Armstrong's down the Columbia Lake
and River to meet the steamer Duchess, and we
succeeded in prevailing upon one of the gentlemen from the ranche, who was to embark in her
with a French-Canadian boatman, to take us on
board, as we were somewhat weary of the saddle,
and expected to economise time by the change.
We bid adieu to our Kootenay friends, and,
in company with Mr. Smythe, were launched
upon the lake in a boat similar to those used
for lumbering on the Ottawa. This craft was
twenty-eight feet long by four broad, solidly
built, and pointed at both ends. Her carrying
capacity seemed unlimited, as she accommodated
six persons, with their baggage and effects, including saddles, bridles, blankets, and a mattress. We started at half-past eleven o'clock
with a fair wind, which soon induced us to hoist
an apology for a sail, by whose assistance we
made rapid progress down the lake, enjoying the
beautiful scenery as it extended before us on
both sides of the water.    Numbers of ducks and 152
Ontario to the Pacific,
geese, aroused by the noise of the boat, flew
away on our approach, always succeeding in
keeping just out of gunshot. After an hour's
delightful sail we entered the reedy channel
which forms the commencement of the river
and connects the Upper with the Middle, or Mud
Lake, as it is called. We drifted down this for
some distance with the current until we got into
very swift water. The river now dashed along
between snags and stones, its shallow nature
obliging us to keep close to the bank, where the
force of the current had hollowed out a channel.
Down this we rushed under overhanging boughs
and dead trees, avoiding debris of all kinds. My
husband, Mr. Smythe, and I were obliged to
double ourselves up in the bottom of the boat,
where we listened with suppressed emotion to
the dragging of the branches over our heads and
the grating of stones and snags under our feet,
and wondered if we should ever come out alive.
By what gymnastic feats the French-Canadian
who was poling in front, and the gentleman who
was steering behind, managed to retain their
places in the boat will ever remain a mystery
to me.    One man had been  upset  from this By the G. P. R.
very boat, and another pinned to his seat by a
dead tree and only rescued by great presence of
mind, during a preceding season while navigating this bit of river. We passed several nasty,
dangerous places, each one worse than the last,
fortunately with intervals of plain sailing, or
rather poling, between, when we were allowed to
raise our heads and anathematise the Columbia.
About the middle of this part of the river, however, the current seemed to subside into a deep
stream, down which we floated quietly towards
the second lake, camping on a wooded point for
dinner and a well-earned rest before we entered
the lake. We were off again by half-past three
o'clock, and had to pole the whole way across
Mud Lake, each member of our party taking
turns for an hour to relieve the crew. The
amount of game upon this shallow sheet of
water was almost incredible. Flocks of ducks
as numerous as crows flew in all directions, and
the wild geese were legion. I counted one flock
of forty-one, besides many separate pairs. Owing
to the lowness of the water, it was useless to attempt to shoot those on the reed-beds, which the
boat could not approach, while the others kept 154
Ontario to the Pacific,
provokingly out of range, and amid all this
abundance we only secured one plump plover.
The Columbia River, between Mud and the
Lower Lake, flows in a channel of an entirely
different character from the one we had already
passed through. Its bed is very deep, and the
current runs swift and smooth between low banks,
clothed with high bush cranberries, willows,
and cottonwood trees, brilliant with golden yellows and deep crimson dashes of colour. The
reflections in the water, both of form and colour,
were intensely vivid, and the scene was one of
wild, unique beauty. The river follows a winding
course for six miles between Mud and the Lower
Lake, which we entered just as it was growing
dusk. It is double the size of the Upper, or
Head Lake, and about two miles broad, but very
shallow, and full of reeds, weeds, and aquatic
plants. The wind had died entirely away by
this time, so one of our party, with the aid of
the boatman, Joe, rowed the boat along with a
pair of oars which would have been the despair
of a modern Argonaut and resembled nothing
so much as a couple of young trees. It was
heavy pulling, as may be imagined, with the By the G. P. R.
laden boat; and, after making our way slowly
for a mile and a half, we found an entrance
through the reeds to the west bank of the lake
by a channel made for the steamer, which can
penetrate to this part of the lake at high water.
Wood had been cut and piled here for her use,
and when we ascended the steep bank by a
road cut through the bush, we found ourselves
on the top of a grass cliff overlooking the whole
extent of the lake. It was almost too dark, however, to distinguish anything, being seven o'clock.
In a marvellously short space of time tents were
pitched, a huge fire burning, and active preparations for supper in progress.
We were off again at half-past seven the next
morning, not at all pleased to find it a perfectly
dull, quiet day,without a breath of wind to help us
on our way; the view across the lake,too,was completely obscured by heavy clouds of smoke, and
the general atmosphere was depressing. So wo
all took our seats in solemn silence upon our
various articles of baggage, and had to take to
the oars again, and row our heavy boat the whole
length of. the Lower Lake, a distance of twelve
miles.    At half-past eleven  o'clock we hailed 156
to the Pacific,
with delight the mouth of the Columbia River
proper, which here flows with a very swift current. We gladly laid aside our young trees, and
poled and steered our craft for a mile or more
till the current failed us, when we pulled again
for six weary miles and made Lilacs' Landing,
where we hoped to hear some news of the steamer
Duchess. She had not, however, appeared in the4
neighbourhood, so we went on a mile farther down
the river, where two gentlemen were encamped on
the bank in charge of freight and stores deposited there on her last trip to await transportation
to the interior. We soon discovered their retreat, and landed just in time for dinner. This
repast over, we pitched our tents and prepared
to await the arrival of the Duchess. I spent the
afternoon fishing off a mud bar, and was lucky
enough to secure fourteen fish, which, though
of no size, were excellent in flavour and a pleasant change from the inevitable bacon and potted
We had an excellent and most picturesque
camping-ground; and our party of eight was
a very merry one, gathered round a huge fire
of large logs, over which we  sat and chatted By the G. P. R.
until a late hour, there being no prospect of an
early start before us. The following morning
was fine and bright. We breakfasted at eight
o'clock, and during our meal a high wind sprang
up, very suggestive of an equinoctial gale, and
blew for twenty-four hours; we lingered and
loafed about the camp, reading, smoking, and fishing all day, listening in vain for the welcome note
of the Duchess's steam whistle; then retired early
to bed without having heard any news at all of
her. The night proved very stormy, the wind
roaring through the giant trees around us and
rattling down the dead branches in a ghastly
fashion, bringing, too, the dreary howl of distant
coyotes (prairie dogs) borne upon its wings. Rain
fell in occasional squalls, but not heavily enough
to soak the ground.
Thursday morning broke as calm and untroubled as if no rude Boreas had ever raged
during the hours of darkness. Our stock of
luxuries now began to decrease, canned milk
and potted meats and game were dreams of the
past, and we were reduced to tea and coffee without the lacteal fluid, and bacon of inferior quality.
•My husband accordingly set out for Lilacs' Land- 158
Ontario to the Pacific,
ing to try and procure some fresh meat, and returned late in the afternoon with several pounds
of corned beef and a partridge shot en route.
While we were at supper, two Indians came into
camp with a brace of fine mallards which they
disposed of for seventy-five cents, so our larder
was well replenished.
During the evening we were startled by shouts
and view-halloas from the river, to which we
promptly responded, with vague hopes of the
steamer. Presently four men emerged from the
darkness into the brilliant light of our huge fire ;
they were on their way down to meet the Duchess
with a boat and canoe to bring up freight, and we
learned that a message had been left at Lilacs' by
a passenger, to the effect that the steamer could
not get any farther up the river than Spillumacheen, some twenty-five miles distant, and that
our boat was to go down to meet her as soon
as possible. Our minds were immensely relieved
at the prospect of a move, and we spent a hilarious evening with much singing of divers songs
and choruses, and separated with the intention
of rising early the following morning. We were
accordingly all up long before six, only to learn* By the C. P. R.
the encouraging news that our boat had broken
from her moorings during the night and was
nowhere to be found. The canoe had already
departed with two occupants, but the freight,
boat, exactly similar in character to our craft,
had been left behind with two men in charge.
We were only too thankful to be able to pack in it
ourselves and effects, the live freight being now
increased to nine persons, who still seemed able
to find accommodation in these elastic vessels.
We discovered our own boat, fortunately, about
half a mile farther down the Columbia, hard and
fast upon a log, so we trans-shipped our party and
baggage, and sent the other on its way rejoicing.
We rowed and sailed down the turbid Columbia
with a fair wind behind us, which the numerous
turns and twists of the river most effectually
counteracted ; our spirits, however, were buoyed
with the hope of meeting the steamer at noon,
and we made merry at our own expense.
Imagine our feelings when we came upon a
heavily-laden boat moored to the bank to admit
of its occupants  making a hurried meal, and
learned from them the melancholy news that the
'Duchess had come up as far as Spillumacheen 160
Ontario to the Pacific,
the preceding day, deposited her freight upon
the bank, and returned at once to Golden City,
as the water in the river was- falling every hour.
There was nothing for it, therefore, but to make
our way down to the same place, some seventy
miles distant, in our open boat. We got a ham,
some sugar, and tobacco from our fellow travel-
lers, for which we were duly grateful, not being
provided with extensive supplies, and camped
half an hour later for dinner, then pulled all the
rest of the afternoon, reaching Spillumacheen at
half-past five. We pushed on half a mile farther
and came upon a log house without windows or
doors, but roofed and half floored with cedar
poles. Here we landed, making our fire in the
cellar for the night, and suffering agonies from
volumes of wood-smoke which had no exit except
through the interstices of the logs as yet un-
plastered. We were too glad of a shelter, however, to be critical; for the night promised to be
a wild one, the wind had risen and was blowing
a gale, howling down the river and over the
mountain tops, which were covered with a light
veil of newly-fallen snow. We pitched two tents
on the pole floor, which I can recommend to any By the G. P. R.
one wishing to perform a voluntary penance.
Three of our party slept between the tents, and
Joe, the boatman, retired to the cellar under the
floor, which was warm and dry, with standing
room of about three feet, and he, I believe, had
the advantage of us all. Our four walls were
certainly but a draughty abode, the roof, however, was new and weather tight, and we congratulated ourselves heartily upon not being
under canvas as we heard the rain descending in
torrents during the night. In fact, it was pouring
so fast at dawn that we made up our minds for
a wet day, and accordingly did not prepare for the
early start we had proposed. But while we were
breakfasting at eight o'clock the weather showed
signs of clearing; so we promptly struck our tents,
packed our traps generally, and made a start.
The scene about us was most impressive in the
gray, chill autumn morning. The mountains
towered overhead, covered now with a heavy
white mantle down to the timber line, the results
of last night's storm, while masses of light,
fleecy mists rolled off their bases in soft, shapeless clouds. The golden tints of the cottonwood
trees contrasted most effectively with the deep 162
Ontario to the Pacific,
greens of the pines, and the crimsons of the high
bush cranberries along the bank relieved the
whole with brilliant dashes of colour. It was
half-past eight when we got off, and the weather
still looked anything but promising. However, so
long as it did not actually rain, we determined to
prosecute our voyage, as Mr. Smythe was in haste
to reach Victoria, having already considerably overstayed his time in Kootenay. We rowed by turns
unceasingly all day, only stopping for an hour,
which was devoted to a most necessary mid-day
meal, and again at six for some whiskey, half
a bottle being divided judiciously among seven
of us, who were pretty well benumbed with cold
and exhausted by a long day's work. We all
gathered fresh strength and courage from the
bottle, and pulled bravely on, but the shades
of night began to fall while we were 'yet many
miles from Golden City; fortunately, however, one
of the crew knew the channel, so we determined
to persevere. Darker and darker it grew; the
river, lined with its tall trees, was a veritable
nightmare of snags and sand-bars. We literally
felt every step of our way, so that our progress
was not rapid, narrowly avoiding logs and shoals By the G. P. R.
by dint of a good look-out ahead, kept by my
husband. I must confess I fully expected to
spend the night fast upon a sand-bar, if not in
a worse place. Fortune, however, so far favoured
us that towards ten o'clock, after traversing
windings of the river so devious that we actually
seemed to be going backward instead of forward,
we made out the lights of the Duchess lying placidly at her moorings. We shouted and received
responsive shouts, and at last, weary, cramped,
hungry, and stiff, we were received once more
into her hospitable bosom, partook of a hearty
supper, and claimed her protection for the night.
We slept the sleep of the just, and the following
Sunday morning left the boat at eight o'clock to
catch the express bound west for the Coast. I
don't think T ever enjoyed a meal more than the
luxurious breakfast we partook of in the Marlborough dining-car between Golden City and
Donald, where we arrived an hour later, on Sunday, September 26th, after a month of travel and
adventure by land and water. 164
Ontario to the Pacific,
On Monday, September 27, at nine o'clock in
the morning, we again left Donald by the express
bound west for.the Coast, a party of four on a
long-contemplated visit to the Glacier Hotel at
the summit of the Selkirk Mountains; " summit"
being the expression generally used in the country
for the elevation at which the railroad crosses
that range. The scenery throughout this portion
of the Canadian Pacific is said to be unrivalled
in the world, and it certainly far exceeds in
beauty and grandeur that of any other locality in
British Columbia. We were, as usual, favoured
in our weather, which was bright and clear, with
a brilliant sun and a cloudless sky. The tops
of the mountains on both sides of the Columbia
Valley were covered with a soft coating of snow,
lending a not unpleasant suspicion of frostiness
to the atmosphere. The railroad crosses the
Columbia half a mile west from Donald over a
high trestle bridge; the river at this point
describes a perfect loop, and when next it comes
into view its character has entirely changed—
lost the smooth sweep of current which charac- By the G. P. R.
terised it, ceased to be navigable, and is seen
tumbling over a shallow, rocky bed in a succession of small rapids.
The Rockies now face us on the east, and the
brilliant autumn livery they have donned is a
strange contrast to the various shades of green
which clothed their sides during the early summer
months. Bright streaks of golden colour, formed
by the yellow hues of thousands of young poplars
and alders, seemed to creep in detachments up
the mountain sides, alternating with the heavy,
dark foliage of the pines and firs, while the lofty
peaks above them glistened with a veil of snow
down even to the timber limit.
Thirteen miles from Donald the line enters
the harrow canyon of the Beaver River, a small
and picturesque stream rushing down from the
Selkirks over huge rocks and boulders; we followed it for a few miles, and crossed it at Bear
Creek, where the magnificent range of the Selkirk
"Mountains is brought into full view. Nothing
could ex"ceed the beauty and impressiveness of
some of these peaks rising on the opposite side
of the narrow valley from the very waters of the
creek, so that the eye could follow their gradual 166
Ontario to the Pacific,
ascent from base to summit, without the effort
necessary to obtain a glimpse of Mount Carroll:
I actually sat on the floor of the Pullman,
as we passed below this giant, and even then
strained my neck to its severest tension to
reach the topmost point. We began now to see
the course of the snow-slides (of which much is
said and thought at this particular season).
They were marked by an undergrowth of vivid
green, showing where all the forest trees had
been swept away by the weight of the descending
mass. The railroad at this point creeps up the
side of a mountain, down which some lovely
cascades dash in soft threads of silvery water.
I failed to trace their source, or to see the top of
the height above on that side; their junction
with the creek below is also lost to sight amid
the woods and rocks covering the foot of the
slope. Some of the finest bridges on the line
have been constructed to cross these same cascades, or creeks, as they are called; that over
Mountain Creek is 1,100 feet long, supported by
massive trestles, and that over Stony Creek is
290 feet above the water.
Near here we came upon the commencement By the G. P. R.
of the snow-sheds built by the C. P. R. Co. to
protect their road from the snow-slides above
referred to, which have been wont to descend the
very mountain side along which the rails are
laid. The sheds extend over some five miles of
the track in the worst places, observed and
located last winter by engineers stationed at
different points for the purpose, and they are the
most solid structures imaginable. We saw them
in all stages of development, from the mere shell
to the complete building. They are raised against
one side of the mountain in a sort of crib-
work, filled in with earth and stones, and inclined
so as to meet the ground above the cutting.
The inside wall, next to the rails, is composed
of solid sawed and hewn logs a foot square, laid
horizontally upon wooden blocks separating the
timbers from each other by a space of four
inches; these beams appear to be all fitted and
welded together like a child's puzzle, and are
sheeted over with four-inch boards, as a finish.
The opposite, or lower, side of the shed is a
strong structure of posts a foot square, also
sheeted in with planks; these support the sloping roof, likewise composed of solid beams rest- 168
Ontario to the Pacific,
ing in brackets, and of four-inch planks. These
sheds required 22,000,000 feet of lumber, and
employed 3,500 men. Their general effect is
one of marvellous power and endurance, and
they will, no doubt, be severely tested by the
mighty rush of avalanches of snow during the
winter, sliding down the mountain sides, and, it
is to be hoped, continuing their course over the
roofs of the sheds to the valley below. Naturally,
much of the scenery is lost in this succession of
wooden tunnels, perversely occurring at some of
the finest points of view: to obviate this disadvantage the Company will construct a summer
track outside the line of sheds.
After we had passed the summit proper, marked
by an extensive wooden and tent town, we came
in sight of Mount Carroll, a most stupendous
peak, 5,558 feet above the railway, and 9,440
feet above the level of the sea. It lies upon the
west side of the line; indeed, the train passes
so immediately below it that I nearly dislocated my neck in the endeavour to realise its
vast proportions. Here, also, is seen Mount
Sir Donald, the highest elevation upon the line,
6,980 feet above it, and 10,645 feet above the By the G. P. R.
sea. In the immediate neighbourhood is Mount
Hermit, 4,983 feet above the railway, and 9,063
feet above the sea; it derives its name from a
curious conformation of rock resembling the
figure of a hermit draped in a long cloak, and
sharply defined against the sky.
At one o'clock we reached the Glacier Hotel,
close to the station of that name, three miles
west of the summit of the Selkirks. It is a most
artistic building, somewhat of the Swiss chalet
style, built by the enterprise of the C. P. R. Co.
and intended as a summer resort for many who
will now be enabled for the first time to enjoy
genuine Canadian mountain air. No more lovely
spot could have been selected for its situation,
commanding as it does a veritable, though much
disputed, sea of mountains of the grandest description ; the peaks of those above-mentioned
are all in view, while not a mile from the hotel
lies a large glacier, a sea of green, glittering ice.
There were both bear and elk close to the hotel
last summer, an attraction to sportsmen in
search of big game. The beauty of the locality
is sufficiently vouched for by the fact that it was
unanimously chosen last summer by four artists 170
Ontario to the Pacific
as their sketching ground. Mr. O'Brien and
Mr. Forbes, Mr. Fraser, of Boston, and Mr.
Aiken, a Scotch painter, all rallied round the
Glacier Hotel, though, owing to its unfinished
condition, they were obliged to content themselves with canvas roofs. We lunched in a
stationary dining-car at Glacier, and returned
to Donald by the express from the Coast in the
I left Donald for the third time on Monday,
October 4, to conclude my trip to Victoria and
the Pacific. Having already described the scenery between the former town and Glacier, two
miles beyond the summit of the Selkirks, where
we stopped to dine at two o'clock, I shall recommence my travels from there. Immediately after
leaving the station we entered upon the wonderful loop, one of the greatest triumphs of engineering skill in the world, by means of whose
curving lines the road gradually descends the
western slope of the Selkirk Range.    Passing By the G. P. R.
round the shoulder of a mighty mountain, the
track describes a perfect loop as it follows the
conformation of a small inner valley and reaches
a lower level of road, which could be distinctly
seen as we crept slowly along, winding many
feet below us down the side of the very mountain we had quitted; thus, as we steamed continuously along the curve, we commanded a view
of three tiers of rails, rising one above another,
surmounted by magnificent snow-capped peaks
towering high above us and enclosing the narrow
valley on all sides. Here is the source of the
head waters of the Ule-Celle-Waet. We crossed
this stream twice before we reached the wider
valley at the base of the mountains through
which it flows. The road follows its course, and,
rising above it, creeps up the face of another
mountain.. The effect of finding oneself first on
a level with the water, and then slowly and imperceptibly elevated above it, was curious in the
extreme, especially when the height attained
became so great that the Ule-Celle-Waet looked
like a mere tangled thread of foaming white as
it dashed far below us through a deep, rocky
gorge; this it soon left, to spread its released 172
Ontario to the Pacific,
volume over a broad, shallow bed; then again
disappeared many hundred feet below in a magnificent rocky chasm, called the Albert Canyon.
Soon after passing this, we "began to move
down a very apparent decline, and once more
reached the level of what may now be called the
River Ille - Celle -Waet. At high water, when
swollen by the melting snows of the early spring,
this must be in some localities a mighty stream.
Now, however, it flowed in peace and quiet, confined in its rocky bed. Once more we rose above
it to a considerable elevation, and the station of
Twin Butte was reached. The timber in this
district is very fine. Enormous trees of red
cedar grow close to the line; while the hemlocks
and spruces scattered about in groups are of
very superior size and quality. A few miles
farther on we crossed the Ille-Celle-Waet for
about the eighth and last time; its valley widens
here, and we entered a dreary, desolate desert
of burnt wood, in whose centre the artistically-
named Revelstoke rises. I believe the station
is, some distance from the town proper, which
occupies a more enviable situation. As we moved
away from the place, we saw that it was sur- By the G. P. R.
rounded by fine mountains, and was close to the
Columbia River, which has made a considerable
loop likewise since we parted with it close to
Donald, and now appears most unexpectedly
upon the scene. We crossed it here for the
second time, and ran for three-quarters of a mile
over a high trestle above a dreary area of cleared
trees and blackened stumps.
The mountain sides all through this district
have been completely burnt over by forest fires,
and presented nothing but ugly lines of bare
poles, relieved somewhat by the bright colouring
of the undergrowth. Revelstoke left behind, we
came upon a sheet of dark-green water, more
than a mile in length, called Summit Lake.
This marks the highest point of the Gold Range
of mountains. Just beyond it is a gigantic wall
of wooded rock towering immediately above the
line; and here, too, flourish red cedars of gigantic proportions. It is evident that from this
source has been drawn the solid timber for the
snow-sheds; we have passed during the afternoon numbers of flat cars, laden with cedar logs.
Three Valley Lake and one other, equally lovely,
came into view before dusk—beautiful expanses 174
Ontario to the Pacific,
of clear water, reflecting every tree and shrub on
the adjacent mountain sides. The days were
now perceptibly shorter; more apparently so in
this elevated region, where the natural gloom
and shadow of the heights about us brought the
shades of evening quickly down. When we returned to the Pullman from the dining-car
attached at Revelstoke, it was quite dark and a
new moon was rising just beyond the shoulder
of a neighbouring mountain.
I found the next morning that we were running along beside the Fraser River, which flows
through a magnificent rocky gorge, bounded on
the east side by the Coast Range; this is a
broken line of lofty heights, wooded to their
summits, rising in many places to the dignity
of mountains. During the night, we had crossed
the Gold and Cascade Ranges by way of the
Thompson and Fraser Rivers, passed through
the Kamloops district, and were, now in that
part of British Columbia settled many years
ago, as was evident from the number of time-
worn houses scattered about, and the more cultivated appearance of the land available for agricultural purposes.   A fine waggon road leading
was By the 0. P. R.
to the Cassiar and Cariboo districts, which cost
the Government many thousands of dollars,
crosses the Fraser at Spuzzum over a handsome
suspension bridge. The line follows the east
bank of the river, rising in some places several
hundred feet above it as it sweeps along—an
ever wider and more imposing volume of dark-
green water. The road curves in and out with
the conformation of the rocky cliffs it has to
circumvent; these must have offered nearly as
many obstacles to engineering skill as the north
shore of Lake Superior. The scenery on the
canyon of the Fraser River was far grander and
more interesting than I had anticipated, though
different in character and lacking the imposing
features of the snow-capped Selkirk and Rocky
Mountain Ranges; its variety constituted its
charm. Huge detached rocks and boulders, and
dark towering cliffs, succeeded one another in a
fascinating chaos of wild confusion.
At eight o'clock in the morning we reached
Yale, a town of some three hundred inhabitants,
a mixed population of Indians, Chinese, and
whites. From this point the Fraser is navigable to its mouth, and  near here, at North 176
Ontario to the Pacific,
Bend, is the third hotel erected by the C. P. R.
for the convenience of passengers, commanding
a most picturesque view of this mountainous
After we left Yale, the line turned away from
the river, which appeared to open out in a broad
stream flowing between low, sandy banks. We
caught occasional glimpses of it here and there
as we rolled along through a country reminding
me strangely of the wooded farm districts of
The Coast Mountains now began to melt away
on both sides into the width of the valley, reappearing as we approached Port Moody. Near
this town the land on the east side of the line
extends in an open hay marsh to the River
Pitt, nearly a mile in width. This is crossed a
short distance from the present terminus of the
Canadian Pacific; it opens the vista of a distant valley breaking the mountain range. Port
Moody is a very small place, consisting only of
the C. P. R. buildings, a few houses, and a fine
wharf and freight shed, at which a tea-ship from
Japan was lying.
Port Moody is situated at almost the extreme
end of Burrard Inlet, a fine sheet of water twelve By the G. P. R.
miles in extent and of varying width, an estuary,
as it name indicates, of the Pacific Ocean. A
range of wooded hills rises from its shores on
both sides, in a succession of promontories;
these, following the conformation of the inlet,
appear to meet in some places, and convey the
impression of a large lake, on whose broad bosom
numbers of gulls float like foam-flecks. We had
to wait half an hour, until one o'clock, for the
boat, plying daily (Sundays excepted), between
Victoria and Port Moody. The Princess Louise is
a paddle-wheel steamer of the solid, old-fashioned
type, with excellent accommodation for her eight-
hour journey. As she steamed down the inlet,
it opened out to a width, in some localities, of
two miles. The town of Vancouver, the future
terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway, is nine
miles from Port Moody. While the boat was
slowly manoeuvred close to a fine pier, my eyes
rested upon rows and rows of ambitious wooden
houses, filling the background with their inflammable materials, and I found it well-nigh impossible to realise that these structures had
arisen in four months from the ashes of a conflagration, which had, on June 4th, 1886, left 178
Ontario to the Pacific,
only one house standing to mark the site of
Vancouver No. 1. The buildings numbered, in
October, over three hundred, and they were (I
was told) far superior in style and construction
to their predecessors.* Mr. Harry Abbott's residence was almost completed; it is excellent in
design, and the situation is most delightful, commanding an extensive view across the inlet to
some wooded hills beyond. We stopped for half
an hour at Vancouver, to discharge a large cargo
of hay and oats. Soon after leaving there we
entered the Gulf of Georgia, extending for a distance of thirty miles between, the mainland and
a group of large islands lying outside of Vancouver Island proper, as it is approached from this
direction. It was ten o'clock at night and very
dark when we arrived at Victoria; I was met by
friends, whose house lay on the James Bay side,
opposite the business quarter of the town. The
harbour of the capital is completely land-locked;
its waters spread themselves into numerous
minor channels and bays, over one of which a
high wooden bridge led to my destination, not
half a mile from the dock.
* $83,166 was spent in building at Vancouver between July
and December, 1886. By the G. P. R.
Victoria is a city of some 12,000 inhabitants,
a very heterogeneous population of whites, Indians, and Chinese ; the latter number over 1,200,
and occupy an especial quarter of the town
assigned to them. At one time the influx of
Celestials was so great that the Government
levied a tax of $50 on every new arrival; this
has had a repressive effect upon Chinese immigration. The race at present so much discussed
impressed me as a quiet, orderly, inoffensive
people, who make excellent servants and reliable
hewers of wood and drawers of water; indeed,
they seem to do all the manual work in Victoria,
except the skilled labour, and to be universally
employed. Their contempt for women is most
amusing, and, in their domestic capacity, they
bow only to the master of the house, often dismissing the mistress from the kitchen by a curt
| too much talkee, talkee go way." They fulfil
all their household duties in a regular, mechanical
fashion, and prefer to do so alone and unassisted,
being cooks, housemaids, parlour maids, and
laundresses in  one  unique  combination.    The 180
Ontario to the Pacific,
most rational objection offered to their introduction and employment in new countries arises
from the undoubted fact that they are non-consumers, live upon nothing, spend no money in
their adopted land, but accumulate large sums,
and ship .them promptly to China—a view of the
question which has not, perhaps, been adequately
dealt with in the general discussion of Chinese
The city of Victoria is beautifully situated on
its land-locked harbour, and possesses many
handsome buildings, among others, the new
Bank of British Columbia, the Driard Hotel,
and several fine shops on Government and
Yates Streets. The Parliament Houses and
Provincial Offices, on the James Bay side of the
Harbour, display a curious style of semi-Oriental
architecture; they stand in the midst of well-
kept and luxuriant grounds, and are well worth
a visit. There is also a handsome theatre, small,
but complete, and an excellent club. Indeed, the
fame of the Union Club, in Victoria, has gone
abroad far and wide to the distant corners of the
globe. Most of the buildings in the city, with
the exception of those I have mentioned, are By the G. P. R.
wooden, as are all the private houses. The
majority of these, however, are really villas, each
standing in its own brilliant garden, gay with
flowering shrubs and plants, and it is surprising
how artistic such wooden walls can be made by
the application of a little taste and a large quantity of paint. The verdure of the turf, the
presence of holly, ivy, cypress, laurels, and other
English plants, the vast expanses of brown
bracken growing in every available spot along
the road and on all waste lands, together with
the woods of oak trees to be met with in every
direction, give a very English flavour to Vancouver Island. Beacon Hill Park, half a mile from
the centre of Victoria, is a stretch of broken
downs, rising in one part to a slight elevation, as
its name indicates. It is covered in the spring
with English daisies (not our bold, self-asserting
Canadian Marguerites), but in October, when I
saw it, was rich in the warm brown tints of a
wilderness of bracken, which splashed the ground
with lovely dull russet hues. This locality was
very suggestive to. my mind of the Hampshire
coast, and the view from the highest point Was
entrancing,  showing  part of Vancouver Island 182
Ontario to the Pacific,
extending in a broken line of wooded hills in the
bluest of blue distances, with the entrances to
the harbours of Victoria and Esquimault, mere
streaks of silver disappearing behind two promontories. Looking across the Straits of Juan de
Fuca, whose waters wash the gravel beach below,
the eye rests upon the beautiful range of the
Olympian Mountains in Washington'Territory,
their bases cleaving, apparently, this inlet of the
Pacific. Behind lies the city, and the country
adjacent to it, a well-cultivated, fertile land, dotted
with pretty houses and cottages nestling in luxuriant fields and groves. This view includes Carey
Castle, the residence of the Lieutenant-Governor,
crowning the whole district from its lofty elevation, and offering a glorious picture of land and
water, not speedily forgotten by the casual visitor. Should the weather be favourable, the
snow-capped summit of Mount Baker, in American territory, may be seen, lying a blue-gray
mass upon the horizon.
The drives about Victoria are delightful, and
offer every variety of scenery; one of the most
interesting is to Esquimault, three miles from
the city, the naval station of the Pacific squadron By the G. P. R.
during the summer months. The flagship
Triumph and the gunboat Cormorant were the
sole occupants of the landlocked harbour at that
late season of the year. The Dominion Government have almost completed here a dry dock
intended to accommodate vessels of a very large
size. It is four hundred and fifty feet long, and
twenty-six feet deep, with a width of ninety feet
at the entrance, and is built entirely of concrete
faced with sandstone. The Island Railway,
between Victoria and Nanaimo, was finished last
autumn; the latter place, seventy miles from
the capital, is situated on high, rising ground,
and has a fine harbour, besides being the important centre of the coaling interest of Vancouver
Island. The coal mined there is of the best
bituminous quality, and is largely shipped to
San Francisco, the Sandwich Islands, and China;
300,000 tons are exported annually to California,
where it commands the highest price, in spite of
the seventy-five per cent, duty levied upon it.
Esquimault is naturally the coaling station of
the Pacific squadron.
The climate of Victoria is most enjoyable in
October; the days bright and sunshiny, but the 184
Ontario to the Pacific,
nights decidedly chilly, the temperature acquiring after sunset that penetrating sense of dampness inevitable on the sea-coast of the Dominion
in the autumn season. I believe it is considered
to be similar in character to the English climate
during the winter months, and suffers, like the
British Isles, from a very heavy rainfall, with
occasional frost and snow. Victoria is called
England without its east winds, and all the plants
and shrubs peculiar to the Mother Country grow
and flourish luxuriantly out of doors. The spring
is early, and flowers may be said to bloom in
the gardens all the year round.
House rent is cheap in Victoria, and the
accommodation it provides excellent. A good
detached cottage, standing in a pretty bit of
ground, and representing the ordinary habitation
of the owner of a fixed income, rents at twenty-
five dollars a month. Living, I believe, is expensive ; all the luxuries and necessaries of life
are double the price of their eastern equivalents,
except fish and game—both cheap and abundant.
Wages are high, for one Chinaman costs twenty-
five dollars a month, but when the individual is By the G. P. R.
secured, the investment is satisfactory. Fuel is
an expensive item, but the houses are heated
only by stoves or open fires. Money seems to
be no object in British Columbia. The subject
of expense does not occur, and coppers do not
circulate. The Victorians appear to possess all
they require, and to live simply, unostentatiously,
but most hospitably, as all visitors to the capital
will testify.
In conclusion, I can only add that the jouruey
from Ontario to the Pacific, over a road as well
engineered, equipped, and managed as the C. P.
R., can confidently be recommended to all tourists, with the full assurance that it will not disappoint their most sanguine anticipations. The
varied character alone of the scenery they will
enjoy in travelling through this portion of the
great Dominion cannot be surpassed in any
country of the world. Beginning with the fertile
districts of Ontario, they soon pass on to the
iron-bound, rocky shores of Lake Superior, and
leaving these behind, cross the boundless prairies
of the North-west, to revel in the beauty and
grandeur of the Rocky, Selkirk, Gold, Cascade, 186
Ontario to the Pacific,
and Coast Ranges, and they will feel with me,
when they end their journey amid the rural
English surroundings of Vancouver Island, that
they have indeed traversed a continent between
Ontario and the Pacific and alighted in another
and a fairer world.   
My Canaoian Journal of politics, Society,
'^NDEPENDENT in Politics,   THE  WEEK   appeals by  a
*-^     comprehensive Table of Contents to the different tastes that
exist within the circle of a cultured home.    An average of fifteen
pjehort, crisp editorials is given in each number upon
:<Xanaoian, Hmertcan, anb Engltsb politics
anb ^Literature.
THE WEEK aims to combine the best features of the literary
magazine and review with the weekly journal of politics and social
"topics. —It is the organ of the best thought of the country : among its
regular-contributors are all that are prominent in Canadian literature,-
• . theology, politics, the arts and sciences ; and special correspondents
^in London, Paris, Washington, and other centres, furnish frequent
letters to its- columns.
Sample Copies free on application.      


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