BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

British Columbia and its resources Shannon, W. (William), 1841-1928; MacLachlan, Charles 1889

Item Metadata


JSON: bcbooks-1.0222191.json
JSON-LD: bcbooks-1.0222191-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcbooks-1.0222191-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcbooks-1.0222191-rdf.json
Turtle: bcbooks-1.0222191-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcbooks-1.0222191-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcbooks-1.0222191-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

Compiled by and Printed for
Vancouver,   B. C. 
Compiled by and Printed for
Vancouver, B.C.
"We have endeavoured as far as possible to give toe
public a brief and general idea of the Province of
British Columbia. Nearly the whole of the information has been the result of extensive travel, also
a practical and varied experience of over 26 years,
and written so as to portray a truthful and reliable
account of the general features and resources of
this Province.
Wm. Shannon.
The Province of British Columbia may fitly be described!
as the California of Canada; and on account of its great
natural resources and position it will, before long, become
one of the most important places in the world. It is
bound to command the great bulk of the Oriental and
Oceanic trade in the near future, and this, coupled with
the development of the country, will insure for it an era
of prosperity which will compel public attention to be
drawn towards it. For the last twenty years the progress-
of this province has been comparatively slow, on account
of its almost complete isolation from the outside world,
the inhabitants depending entirely upon American railways and steamships for their means of travel and commerce. Now everything is different. Since the Canadian
Pacific Railway has been completed, the connecting link
has been forged and strongly bound, making the chain
complete, which has now stretched from the Atlantic to
the Pacific Coasts of Canada. Thus a new channel has.
been made which will in time divert to itself a great portion of the trade which used to flow through that of the
States, and at the same time fresh feeders will be provided
for the main line as the country becomes developed. Formerly, the outside world had an idea that this country
was hardly fit for habitation ; most persons believing that
it was cold, and bleak, surrounded and enveloped by mountains, but now, owing to increased knowledge, this mistaken idea has been dispelled, and it is fast becoming one
of the most favoured spots on the Pacific Slope. b BRITISH COLUMBIA
British Columbia is the most favoured of all the
Canadian Provinces with regard to climate. Along the
coast it resembles very much that of the South of England,
and on this account a great many persons from the Eastern
Provinces are settling in the country, glad to escape the
extreme cold and spend their days in a warmer clime, and
at the same time live under the old flag. This fact alone
is causing a large flow of immigration, and the day is not
far distant when land which was once thought valueless
will prove a rich mine to the possessor. The climate of
the interior varies from a moderate temperature to extreme
This city, which now commands such public attention,
was only a few years back entirely a large forest. About
two and a-half years ago it was burnt-to the ground, but
it arose from its ashes with renewed strength, and the fire,
instead of being a misfortune, proved a great blessing to
the city's prosperity. Situated on the borders of the
Pacific Ocean, it is fast becoming one of the finest cities
in the west, and is now designated as the San Francisco
of Canada. It will be the natural outlet, not only for the
undeveloped resources of the country, but will capture
nearly the whole Eastern trade, not mentioning the grain
products of the North-West and the manufactures of the
Eastern Provinces. When one stands on the wharves
and views the amount of shipping alongside, it does not
require a very keen imagination to picture its future
growth. It is bound to become a very important centre,
and when the arrangements for the fast Atlantic and
Oceanic steamers are completed, it will be the favourite
route for travel, not only for comfort, but also for the
great saving of time effected, which will ensure for it one
of the largest floating populations in the world. There is
bound to be one large city on the West Coast of Canada,
and Vancouver, being the terminus of the greatest trans- AND ITS RESOURCES. /
continental railway system in America to-day, namely, the
Canadian Pacific Railway, will without doubt command
that position. The loading and unloading of the China
steamers, even at the present time, afford occupation for a
large surplus population, but when this service is increased
it will employ a much larger number. There are numerous
branch lines projected as feeders for the main line, and
this, coupled with the Canadian and American traffic, will
be of immense benefit to its future growth. Its prosperity in the near future is a matter of certainty, and it is
sure to increase until it attains the proportions of a magnificent city.
Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is situated
on the southern extremity of Vancouver Island, and is,
without doubt, the prettiest town in the whole of the
province. It has a population of about 12,000, which is
made up of Europeans, Indians, and Chinese. The chief
wholesale business houses in the province are established
here, as it was the centre of trade and the basis from
which supplies were forwarded, not only for the coast, but
also the entire trade of the interior, previous to the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. This has
caused it to become one of the wealthiest towns for its
size on the Pacific coast. Nearly all the old pioneers of
British Columbia, when they retire, make it their home,
having no further desire than to spend their few remaining
days in this lovely spot. It resembles greatly a town in
the South of England on account of the well laid-out
gardens and the great similarity of climate. Here rose-
trees attain great perfection, the soil being particularly
adapted to their culture. It is the headquarters for the
salmon and fur trade, and is also the terminus of the
Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway. Another line is projected, called the Victoria and Saanich Railway, which is
to be connected with the mainland by a steam ferry. Not
far from this town is Esquimalt, which is the Pacific
Naval Station, where the dry dock is situated.    With all 8 BRITISH COLUMBIA
these advantages it is bound to increase in size. There is
at present a keen rivalry between Vancouver and this city,
which has proved a stimulus to both.
This town is situated on the Fraser River, and contains
a population of about 5,000. Its chief wealth is derived
from its lumber and salmon industries. The farmers of
the Fraser Valley (which is' by far the best settled district
in British Columbia,) here dispose of the bulk of their
produce, and purchase implements and household requisites for their ranches. There is a branch line of the
Canadian Pacific Railway running between here and Vancouver, and another line is projected, called the Southern
and New Westminster Road, which will connect it with
Bellingham Bay and the American system. The latter is
expected soon to .be in operation, and will no doubt serve
as an extra stimulus to the town's prosperity. There is
sufficient depth of water to allow large vessels to load
direct at the saw mills, and no doubt with the erection of
several new mills, which are now being commenced, it
will fast become a thriving and populous city.
The amount of good farming land along the coast is
comparatively small, but where found the soil is exceedingly rich and productive, so much so that the yield per
acre could hardly be credited. There are valleys lying
between the different ranges of mountains, which, though
not large, are sure to yield a rich harvest to the owner.
The richest, without doubt, is that of the Delta of the
Fraser River, and the price per acre in this locality varies
from 50 dols. to 100 dols., and will in time double and
treble. Most of the land is, comparatively heavily timbered, and on this account, where cleared, or of light brush,
prices vary in proportion, according to the improvements AND ITS RESOURCES. y
made, or the expense required in getting it in a fit state
for cultivation. Farms of this description can be purchased at from 10 dols. to 50 dols. per acre. Of course
there is a large amount of land still to be taken up under
the Homestead Act, but unless a person has some capital
it is not advisable to pre-empt, as he might probably be
disheartened with the uphill work at the beginning. The
best way, by far, is to be become acquainted with a person
who has a thorough knowledge of the country by his long
residence, and to take his advice.
The immense forests of this province are a mine of
wealth to the country, and formed into timber make
it one of the staple products, giving employment to a large
number of hands. The number of saw mills is fast increasing, as the attention of capitalists from the great
lumbering centres, such as Michigan and Wisconsin, is
being steadily concentrated in this direction, on account
of the supply in their own country steadily decreasing.
The size of some of the trees is simply enormous, as much
as 22 M feet being sawn out of one log. The chief
kinds are fir, cedar, spruce and maple. The two former
find a ready market abroad, especially in Australia and
China. The strength of the Douglas pine is equal to
English oak, and on this account it is a very suitable
material for house and ship building. Cedar, being softer,
is greatly used for inside work, such as doors, articles of
furniture, &c. At present, only the outside fringe of this
large belt of timber country has been cut, owing to the
great saving effected by felling the trees close to the
water's edge, where they are gathered into booms and
towed to the various saw mills. This industry will grow
larger every year and will not only give employment to a
great, number, but will at the same time open up the
country. This fact can easily be understood, because
every mill has two or three men attached to its staff,
called timber cruisers, whose sole duty is to explore the 10 BRITISH COLUMBIA
country for first class timber lands; when so employed
they very often come across a large tract of open country
before unknown.
In a few years this province will become one of the
largest stock-raising countries in the world. Already the
cattle ranges in the United States are giving out. When
this happens, the attention of stock men will be turned
towards this field. In the interior, towards the north of
British Columbia, there are large tracts of open land at
present not utilised, which will one day yield the investor
a handsome profit. The life has a great many charms,
being free, independent, and healthy. In a few years this
country will be taken up, and the fortunate ones who
have taken time by the forelock, and been far-seeing, will
be able to survey their large bands of cattle roaming on the
distant plains, and think with pride of the splendid investment they have made. The North-West and Manitoba
are not able to compete in this trade, the climate being
too severe, while here, in some .portions of the province,
cattle can remain out all winter, and even in the coldest
years need only be sheltered for two or three months.
The necessary fodder can easily be cut and made into hay,
as the grass very often grows to a height of three or four
feet. All that the stock want is a little care and attention, and without this nothing can succeed.
This province abounds in minerals, the chief being
coal, iron, copper, gold, and silver. The first of these is
extensively worked at Nanaimo, a small town on the east
coast of Vancouver's Island, which is one of the prettiest
mining villages in the world, on account of its natural
position and picturesque surroundings. Here is an ener-.
getic, thriving population, and the coal finds a ready
market in San Francisco, being greatly superior to that of AND ITS RESOURCES. 11
the United States. This is only one, however, of the
immense coal fields of British Columbia, as almost the
entire province is underlaid with this precious commodity.
Dr. Dawson, the Dominion geologist, makes the following statement with regard to the quality of coal:—| It is
truly bituminous coal of very excellent quality. It was
tested by the "War Department of the United States some
years ago to find out which fuels gave the best results for
steam-raising purposes on the western coast; and it was
found that, to produce a given quantity of steam, it took
1,800 lbs. of Nanaimo coal to 2,400 lbs. of Seattle coal,
2,600 lbs. of Coos Bay coal, Oregon, and 2,600 lbs. of
Monte Diablo coal, California, showing that, as far as the
Pacific coast is concerned, the coal of Nanaimo has a
marked superiority over all others.
Iron ore has been discovered in large quantities, but
owing to the dearness of labour has not yet been manufactured, but is being shipped to the American side in its
natural state. This mineral only wants capital, combined
with pluck and the necessary knowledge, to make it a
source of profit to the investor, there being a large market
near by, and would at the same time mark a new era in
the country's prosperity.
Copper is a comparatively virgin field which is practically
untouched, except so far that it has been discovered.
Glold and silver, especially the former, were the means
of bringing this country to the notice of the public, the
first discovery taking place about 1858, when a great rush
flowed into the country from all parts of the world bound
for the far-famed gold fields of Cariboo. At that time it
was a very arduous and expensive journey, as everything
had to be transported by steamer up the Fraser, and afterwards carried by mules to the interior. Even with these
disadvantages a considerable number of men made their
fortunes, while others, who drew the blanks after expending every dollar, were forced to take up land, not having
enough to pay their passage out from the country, and
these became the pioneer farmers of British Columbia.
Ever since then prospecting has had its charms for a great
number, and this industry has fluctuated with the rise and 12
fall of discoveries. One day, not far distant, there will
be considerable excitement in quartz mining; this branch
hitherto has not been properly worked, owing to the
great expense of transporting the necessary material and
the high price of food, making labour very dear. This is
now changed since the Canadian Pacific Railway has been
completed, besides which, a railway is projected to be
built to Cariboo, so that supplies can be almost brought
direct to the mines, thus materially reducing the working
expenses. This rich section of the country is in the same
range of mountains which proved such a source of wealth
to California, and there is no reason why British Columbia
should not reap the same success. What this industry
wants is capital, men full of pluck and enterprise, and also
possessing prudence combined with common sense, and
when this takes place, quartz mining will prove an immense benefit, not only to the province, but to the world
at large. A rich lead has lately been discovered at Texada
Island., about 50 miles from Vancouver, and already a
number of prospectors have started to thoroughly survey
the land. A number of claims have been taken up, and
this may serve as an impetus to a great number of others
to search other parts of the province in the hope of finding
this valuable metal. The citizens of Vancouver have
been alive to the development of this industry, and granted
a large bonus to an English company to erect smelting
works in their city. These are now completed, and before
long will be working full time, as the supply of ore is
practically unlimited.
This is already one of the largest sources of wealth in
the province, though the field has been comparatively
little worked. Canned salmon, which is now so universally used, is put up here in large quantities, being shipped
to London and other parts of the world, where it finds a
ready market. The rivers of British Columbia teem with
this rich fish.    Early in the spring they commence to run, AND ITS RESOURCES. IS
and are then caught by the Indians, who bring them to
the respective canneries, and they are there sold at a fixed
price. Afterwards they are cut up, boiled, put up in tins,
and labelled. These fish are also salted in barrels, and
shipped to Australia and South America, where they are
highly prized. Sturgeon, halibut, herrings, black cod,
smelts, flounders, &c, in fact, almost every class of the
finny tribe, are found in large numbers. It is only recently
that persons have turned their attention to this new enterprise. Before, there was no opportunity of sending fresh
fish to the eastern cities, on account of the want of necessary communication. This is changed, as they are now
being forwarded by refrigerator cars over the Canadian
Pacific Railway to the various markets, where they are considered a great delicacy and fetch high prices accordingly.
This industry will very soon assume large proportions, and
prove a great addition to this country's wealth.
Sealing has for many years been a lucrative employment in British Columbia. Very few people know that a
great number of the articles formed from this valuable fur
have originally come from this province. There is a fleet
of from twenty to thirty schooners annually employed in
this trade. They sail principally from the pretty and
picturesque port of Victoria in Vancouver Island and come
back laden with their precious freight. The season commences early in the spring, and the vessels proceed to one
of the many harbours on the west coast of Vancouver
Island, where they engage a certain number of Indians to
serve as hunters. Immediately on the approach of fine
weather the canoes are hauled up on deck and the
schooners sail for the sealing grounds. On arriving there
the canoes are let down, each being provided with two
Indians, namely a hunter and a steerer. It is rather exciting to see them return at sunset, some with happy faces,
■others downcast, according to the luck they have had.
The fleet returns about May with their spring catch,
which is either sold to the skin dealers or sent to London.
After this they refit and proceed to the Behring Sea,
Which ground has proved a constant source of dispute
between Americans and Canadians.   The former declare
it is an act of piracy, while the latter contend it is an open;
sea, and as such, free to everybody, provided they keep
without the three-mile belt.     This year the fleet has-
been considerably increased on account of its very lucrative returns.   There are many other industries which will
be started in the near future, and prove profitable, such as
potteries and other factories.    This country in the next
five years will make rapid strides to advancement, and will
one day be the richest province in   Canada.   Its undeveloped resources are immense, and before long will be
largely utilised and turned into untold wealth, benefiting:
not only Canada, but the world at large.
This district extends from the Fraser River on the-
south-east to the coast range of mountains on the west,
and embraces an area of about 100 square miles. Its
general appearance is undulating, consisting of hills and
valleys. The beautiful scenery of this district charms the
eye with its lovely and picturesque views. It is almost
entirely covered with grass, being here and there, on the
hills, intermixed with trees, but in no place are these
sufficiently thick to prevent travelling on horseback.
There is comparatively very little forest, but sufficient for
all necessary purposes, such as fencing, building, and so
forth. Numerous lakes and creeks occur, causing the
country to be well watered; some of the former are 40
and 50 miles long, and will one day be utilised for navigation. The climate is somewhat variable, in the interior
the winter being rather severe, though short, commencing
about January and ending about the beginning of April.
The snow fall is comparatively light. The coldness of
this season of the year can be better understood when we
consider that the general elevation is 3,000 feet above the
level of the sea. The climate of the valleys near the
coast is considerably milder, being tempered by the warm
Japanese Stream, and the warm winds accompanying it,
and also being protected from the interior by a lofty AND ITS RESOURCES. 15
range of mountains. The climate of the whole of British
■Columbia is greatly modified by the warm Chinook winds
which blow from the sea, reaching far into the interior,
finding their way from the coast through the mountain
passes, reaching the open plateaus above and extending
as far as the Alberta Territory in the North-west.
The Indians inhabiting this country are peaceable, and
in many parts devote their whole attention to tilling the
soil and cultivating cereals of all kinds for their own use.
This district is a great game country, the principal
kinds being deer, elk, moose, bear, prairie chickens, geese,
ducks, &c, while the lakes and creeks abound in fish.
The Southern portion, along the Fraser River, is
partly settled by stock raising men. One of the largest
cattle ranches in British Columbia is located here, and
ihas an area of about 37,000 acres, with about 2,000 head
•of stock. Towards the East is another of considerable
size belonging to the Messrs. Drummond, also several
more on a smaller scale. There have been several ranches
taken up recently in the interior, but the larger portion of
the land is still open for settlements. On the Chilcotin
River there is a small grist mill which turns out the finest
flour in British Columbia, ground from the grain grown in
rthis country. The land, however, is most suitable for
pastoral purposes, and is not particularly adapted for
:farming, being subject to summer frosts sometimes, which
r.are liable to destroy the crops. The rich bunch grass
which grows in abundance, and is equally as good in
winter as in summer, makes it a very rich grazing country,
so much so, that it will one day be one of the greatest
stock-raising countries of the West. Cattle ranching on
a large scale requires considerable capital, and owing to
"the want of it this industry is practically undeveloped.
The stock requires to be fed in some winters, but only
at such times as the bunch grass is completely covered,
with snow, which does not as a rule occur every year.
However, provision can be easily made for this, on account
of the large quantities of grass growing on the prairies,
which should be cut, turned into hay, and stored for use.
'Cattle ranching is one of the healthiest occupations in the 16 ' BRITISH COLUMBIA
world, being particularly so in this district, which is not
subject to high winds or blizzards, but enjoys a clear, dry
atmosphere, making the settler feel light-hearted and
buoyant. The stock could be driven either to the head of
the Bentick Arm on the coast and from there shipped to
the various markets, or inland to Ashcroft Station on the
Canadian Pacific Railway. The latter is the general route
taken, as there is no difnculty in the cattle finding feed
along the road.
There is a fine projected from Ashcroft Station running
North, which would tap this portion of British Columbia,
and when this takes place it will have easy access to the
outside world.
This country extends a few miles from the Cariboo-
Road, on the North-west, to the Horse-Fly Lake, on the
South-east, and embraces an area of about 60 square
miles. The land consists of plateaus and valleys, which
are intersected by numerous lakes and streams. The
valleys as a rule are open prairie, though the hills are'
lightly timbered.
The general altitude is from 1,500 to 2,000 feet above
sea level, and the country- is, therefore, less subject to
summer frosts than the Chilcotin District.    The principal
stream is the Horse-Fly, which is of considerable size.   A
large quantity of gold has been taken from this river, and
very rich deposits of this precious metal are still found in
this locality.    There is a placer gold mine close by, owned
by Mr. Harper, which is expected to return good results
when further developed.   The Horse-Fly Lake is the
largest body of water in this district, and there is a range
of mountains on the north-east of it which will one day
be the centre of a gold excitement.    The same range
extends north past   Quesnelle   Lake into the  Cariboo
country, which was famed many years ago for the rich
deposits taken out of it.    This country is the best watered
in the whole of British Columbia ; the streams and small
lakes, which abound with fish, form an almost continuous. AND ITS RESOURCES. IT
chain, draining eventually into the main channel of the-
Fraser River. The summers are simply delightful, and
though warm at times, there are fresh, cool winds, which
make the season very enjoyable. The extreme heat
rarely exceeds 100 degrees, and is but seldom reached.
The atmosphere is so pure that it has hardly a rival in
this respect in the world. There is a small rainfall,
though sufficient, rendering irrigation unnecessary, and
the soil, where not subject to summer frosts, is suitable
for agricultural purposes. The autumn is clear and dry,
with light frosts at night, but warm during the day.
Winter commences about the end of November and ends
about the middle of March, though there is seldom much
snow till January. The cold at this season of the year is
sometimes extreme, but high winds and blizzards are
unknown. The arrival of the warm Chinook winds are-
the first signs of the opening of spring, and when these
appear the snow rapidly melts, and vegetation grows profusely about April. Then the flowers form a perfect
garden, with their varied colour and beauty, though unfortunately they are devoid of smell.
The soil of the valleys is extremely rich, being similar
and quite equal to that of Manitoba; that of the hills is
more of a fighter, loamy character. The chief value of
this country is the great variety of grasses grown in it, all
of which are very nutritious and of luxuriant growth.
One of these deserves particular attention. It is found in
large quantities in the valleys about the lakes, and resembles the sugar cane both in form and sweetness, therefore it is known under this name. It makes the choicest-
hay, and is extremely rich in fattening qualities, so much
so, that it exceeds in this respect the finest cultivated
grass. The crop of this averages about three tons to the
acre. This variety grows in abundance, and the country
being level, there is no difficulty in putting up fodder ready
for use in the winter, should occasion require. In other-
parts of this country there are a variety of other grasses,
comprising wild clover, wild timothy, foxtail, timber grass,.
pea vine, etc. The hills are covered with bunch grass
similar to that grown in the Chilcotin district.   Much of the 18 BRITISH COLUMBIA
land, more especially that in the valleys, will be used for
agriculture. This country is the finest pastoral district in
British Columbia, and at present is entirely unsettled,
though, as soon as communication is opened up, in the
shape of a railway, it will be taken up by stockmen.
Though the winter is rather severe and long, with a considerable snowfall, it is more than counterbalanced by the
-easy provision that can be made to feed cattle in this
season by putting up hay in the summer. It is also un-
■equalled as a dairy country in America, having the best
water, and this, coupled with the natural milk-producing
•qualities of the fodder, will cause it one day to take the
first rank. It is well adapted for sheep raising, the climate
"being very suitable.
This country is much superior to the stock-raising districts of the Southern portion of British Columbia, there
being a never-failing supply of natural fodder and water,
while in the latter the growth dies out for want of moisture. Across the plains of this country one can observe
several large bands of horses feeding, and their condition
in summer is such that, owing to the fattening qualities of
the pasture, they are unable to go at their ordinary speed.
In the winter they feed on the meadow lands.
The Black River is distant about 60 miles from that of
the Quesnelle, and from there to the Skeena River District
is a distance of about 300 miles. This country was first
explored for the construction of a telegraph line to cross
the Behring Straits and thence to connect with the European system. This was in 1865, and was the proposed
route of the Western Union Telegraph Company, but was
abandoned owing to the successful laying of the Atlantic
cable. Since that time the country has not attracted
much attention, and has only been used to drive cattle_ to
the Omenica and Cassiar Mines when they were being
worked.    A large quantity of good pastoral and farming AND ITS RESOURCES. 19'
land exists in the Black River and its vicinity, and the
prairies are to be found extending northwards to Stewart's-
Lake, where a Hudson's Bay Trading Post, known as
Fort St. James, has been established for many years. In
connection with this fort, as is usual with this Company,
they have turned their attention to stock-raising and agriculture, besides other business. A large tract of land is
cultivated by them, on which is successfully grown wheat,
barley, and all kinds of vegetables.
The country as a rule is open, but lightly timbered in
places, though everywhere grass may be seen, extending
even to the woods. The soil of the valleys is extremely
rich, and, as the climate is favourable, though somewhat
severe in the winter, it will no doubt be brought into cultivation. The district, extending from the Black River and.
crossing the Noolthkl, Fraser and Francois Lakes, together
with that of the river as far as Decker Lake, is similar in
appearance and character to that already described.
Around the Francois and Decker Lakes there is grass-
which would average about two tons to the acre. The
telegraph lines are still standing, and they cross the centre
of all these valleys, extending as far the Skeena River, and
the watershed formed by the lakes drain into the Fraser
on the South-east and into the Skeena on the Northwest. From Decker Lake the elevation of the country
towards the Skeena River becomes lower and the valleys
more defined, extending for a distance of nearly 200 miles
north-west to the Skeena River, forming what is considered the richest belt of agricultural land in British)
Columbia. This at present is wholly unsettled. The-
Wastonquah River runs through the centre of this valley.
This stream, with very little outlay, could be made navigable for light draught steamers and boats. There are
also numerous lakes, the largest being the McLean or
McClure Lake, causing it to be a well-watered country,
with no alkali. This rich valley in many places is over
40 miles wide, and there are numerous smaller ones adjoining it equally as good, the whole occupying an area of
about 300 square miles. The general climate is excellent
and particularly suitable for agriculture, more so in this. ^20 BRITISH COLUMBIA-
particular than "any of the northern or eastern plateaus of
British Columbia.    It is almost entirely free from summer
-frosts, and in no part is irrigation necessary, the rainfall
being sufficient, while in the southern portions of this province, such as the Nicola, Okonogan, &c, crops cannot be
. grown without artificial watering.    The winters are somewhat long, extending from about the end of November to
-the middle of March ; the cold, however, is not extreme ;
it is of a comparatively even temperature, without any
high winds or blizzards.    The average snowfall is about
15 inches, making sleighing very enjoyable, without the
-disagreeableness of a heavy thaw.    The  atmosphere is
particularly clear and bracing at all times; this alone will
cause it to settle up very fast as soon as connection is
•established with the outside world.    The soil is generally
•of a rich black loam, with a clay subsoil reaching a depth
of three feet in many places, and cannot be surpassed for
agricultural purposes, being greatly superior to that in
Manitoba, as the country possesses a much more enjoyable climate and the crops are not endangered by summer
.frosts.    There is no valley of the same size on the Pacific
'Coast which produces such a natural luxuriant growth;
•and various kinds of grasses cover the whole surface. The
most common are wild timothy, red top and the blue
•grasses, though bunch grass is not found in this part of
the province.    Wild fruits grow in abundance, which is a
sufficient proof that the soil is well adapted for orchards.
Timber is rather scarce in some parts, but where this
occurs it can easily  be procured by drawing it a few
miles, as the distances from where it is to be found are
never very great.    This valley could be farmed on an extensive scale, as it is an immense prairie on which the
-most improved machinery could be used, the chief thing
-which is necessary for the cultivation of the ground would
be the breaking of the soil, and as there are no obstructions, this work would be very easy, especially in comparison to the immense labour to clear other districts of this
province which are thickly timbered.
At the mouth of the Wastonquah, where it flows into
;the Skeena, there is a large Indian Tribe who take their AND ITS RESOURCES. 21
name from this locality, besides which there are a Hudson's
Bay Trading Fort and a mission established. Both the
whites and the Indians living in this vicinity have raised
large crops of grain and vegetables, though only sufficient
for their own use.
From here towards the North-west for a distance of
about 50 miles the country is similar to that previously
•described, but after this the land becomes mountainous
;and swampy until you travel toward the head of the Naas
River, where you come into a good grazing country. Then
travelling north in the direction of the Stickeen River,
near the Cassiar mines, you come across numerous valleys,
which have been cultivated in places by the miners, who
have raised good crops, and they would most likely have
been wiser and wealthier men if they had turned their
attention entirely to agricultural pursuits instead of following the uncertain fortune of a gold digger's lot.
The country abounds in game of all kinds, the chief
being moose, elk, red deer, bear, prairie chickens, grouse,
geese, wild ducks, &c. Wild flowers grow in great profusion, among which might be mentioned the daisy, which
is here very common.
The great drawback to the settling of this fertile valley
at the present time is the want of communication with the
outside world. There is a lofty range of mountains between
it and the coast, which is quite impassable except for a
pedestrian, and even then it is a very arduous and dangerous task. The Skeena is the only river which taps it,
but is not navigable, except for canoes, and then only at
certain seasons of the year, being attended at the same time
with much risk to the adventurer. The Canadian Pacific
Railway is about 600 miles distant, and, therefore, of no use
as far as this country is concerned. A good wagon road,
which was built to the Cariboo Mines, extends about half
this distance, and although the remainder is through an
open country suitable for pack trains, it is impassable for
wagons, though, even if it were, the distance would be too
great to render the journey at all profitable. There is a
line now projected by the Provincial Government which, if
built, will be the means of throwing this rich, undeveloped 22 BRITISH COLUMBIA
country open for settlement, and then it will prove a source-
of revenue to the province.
The Nechaco River is about 150 miles long and rises
not far from Stewart Lake, and continues its course till it
flows into the Fraser opposite Fort George.    The country
surrounding it is by far the best bunch grass district in the
northern part of British Columbia, and having a large
area   of meadow land, is particularly well  adapted for
stock raising.    There is a very small amount  of good
agricultural land, therefore it may be classed as a purely
pastoral country.    The climate is similar to that of the
Chilcotin   District.    Leaving the   Nechaco   River, and
following in a north-easterly direction towards the Peace-
River, you come upon Canoe Creek and McLeod Lake,
where there is also some good grazing country.   Here we-
are on the borders of the Peace River Country, which was-
called by a well-known traveller, " The Great Lone Land
of North America."    This name was not given to it for
its want of fertility, but for the great extent of the country
it embraces, part of which is in the Province of British
Columbia.   Fort Laird is situated here.    Near this trading
post a large quantity of the vegetables consumed by the-
miners in the Omenica country were grown, and were
pronounced first rate in quality; also grain has been raised
with very fair success.    This portion of the Peace River
Country is very suitable for stock ranges, and there is at
present a large band of horses owned by a gentleman in
this locality that thrive remarkably well, and require no
attention at any season of the year.    It is here that the
Dominion Government received a grant of 250,000 acres;
from the Provincial to compensate them on account of
the broken mountainous country which was intended for
the 40-mile belt, and agreed upon by the terms of the
Union between the two for the construction of the Pacific
Railroad, and was a bone of contention for several years
until it was amicably settled in this way, AND ITS RESOURCES. 23
Following the Peace River eastwards the country
quickly descends to a lower level. The waters of this
river have cut their way through the clayey nature of the
soil to a depth very often of from three to four hundred
feet below the general surface of the country, forming a
valley of considerable size, with bluffs on each side similar
to that of the Colorado River. This in some places is
15 miles wide ; the soil of it is exceedingly rich, and where
cultivated has proved remarkable for its fertility, owing
•chiefly to the protection received from the perpendicular
banks. This country might be called an immense rolling
plateau, made up of hills, valleys, prairies and woodlands,
intersected by numerous lakes and streams, embracing
hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile land, which if it
were not for the frequency of summer frosts would become
one of the largest agricultural districts in Canada. Owing
to this it is unfit for farming in a great many places,
although in every other respect there is not anything
wanting. However, there are parts of it very suitable for
grain, &c. This country has been spoken of very
favourably by a recent writer, but miners and others who
have resided in it cannot coincide with him in his opinion,
though all acknowledge it is a country of very great
natural resources.
The Peace River is navigable for almost its entire
length for steamers of light draught. The waters of this
country find their way through the McKenzie into the
Arctic Ocean, and this river, with its tributaries, forms one
of the greatest systems of inland waters in the known world.
There are already rumours afloat that this country will be
the route of the next transcontinental railway, via Fort
Edmonton in the North-West Territory, Lake St. Anne,
Athabasca River, following the lake of the same name,
and then passing through this country to the Skeena River,
and north to Fort Simpson on the Pacific Coast, which is a
great natural harbour, and at one time it was thought that
it would be the terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
This route would have immense advantages over every
other road that has yet been built. There would be no
lofty ranges to cross, as that of the Rocky Mountains ter- 24 BRITISH COLUMBIA
minates a little to the north of the Fraser, and this natural
barrier, which has proved an obstacle to other lines, would
practically disappear, and this new line would comparatively speaking cross almost a level country. Snowsheds
would not be required, and no blockades need be feared,
as the country is entirely free from the blizzards and
storms which occur further south. It can therefore be
easily imagined that the cost of construction would be
very small in comparison to the other great through lines,
and also that a great saving in working expenses would be
effected, besides opening up one of the richest sections in
America, which would be quickly peopled on account of its
great fertility.
These districts are situated in the southern part of
British Columbia,- and are both more or less settled. The
resources of their valleys are pretty well known, as they
have been frequently described in other publications;
therefore it will be unnecessary to go over the ground very
fully. They are chiefly noted for their cattle, and also
for their mining and agricultural pursuits. The Spall-
mucheen is the best farming land in this district, as irrigation is not needed, but the same cannot be said for any
other portion. Generally speaking, the remainder maybe
described as a pastoral country, as the scarcity of water
for irrigation purposes prevents its becoming a great agricultural settlement. Part of the Okanagan is a splendid
fruit country, peaches, apricots, and grapes being raised
which are equal to those grown in California. The meat
market of British Columbia is supplied from the stock
farms in this part.
The climate is considered very beneficial for consumption, and many people suffering from this disease are recommended by their medical advisers to five on the banks
of the Nicola, where the atmosphere is exceedingly dry
and pure. Many cures have been effected, especially in
those cases where the complaint has not made much
This country extends from the Rocky Mountains to
the Columbia River.    The appearance of the country from
here up the Kootenay River, for a distance of about
40 miles, is very rough and mountainous.   But from there
to the Kootenay and Columbia Lakes, a distance of about
two hundred miles, it is principally prairie,  and well
adapted for stock-raising and agriculture, but the choicest
land is that around the Upper Lake.    There is steamboat
communication on these waters which extends as far as
-Golden City, a small town on the Canadian Pacific Railway.    The whole of this country is partly settled, and
since the construction of the railway it has become a
favourite location which will soon cause it to be a very
thriving district.    Gold and silver ledges have been found
in its vicinity, companies have been formed to work the
same, and they have every faith in their future development.    Should these be successful it will prove one of the
richest districts in this province, not only on account of
its mining industries, but also for the extra stimulus given
to agriculture, as the farmers and stock raisers will be
able to' dispose of their produce and cattle in their own
market.    This country embraces a large area of land suitable for cattle ranches, some of which has already been
utilised for this purpose, though there are still large tracts
waiting for settlement.    One of the great advantages is its
position, lying  as it  does between  the Canadian  and
Northern Pacific Railways, it can be easily reached from
either side, and is therefore bound to attract the attention
of incoming strangers.   The climate is dry, and particularly healthy, with an entire absence of summer frosts and
sufficient rainfall for all purposes.    The winters are mild
and the summers moderately warm, making it a favourite
resort for invalids.
This valley has a length of between three and four
hundred miles, and follows the Columbia River to the 26 BRITISH COLUMBIA
base of the Rockies. This river flows through the First
Arrow Lake, which is situated about thirty miles to the
north of the International Boundary Line. The two
lakes, namely the Upper and Lower, form a beautiful
sheet of water about 160 miles long. Between these and
connecting them is a river, on the banks of which and at
the head of the Upper Lake there is a large area of good
farming land which is lightly timbered; from here, following the Columbia as far as Revelstoke, the country is
heavily timbered, most of which will prove very valuable
for lumbering; the soil is however not first-class, though
well adapted for fruit raising. From Revelstoke to St.
Martin's Rapids the valleys spread out to a width in some
places of 30 miles; the soil of these is similar to the previously described, but the timber is not so good in quality.
From St. Martin's Rapids to the Rockies the land improves considerably, being lightly timbered in places,
though generally- an open country possessing a rich soil.
Here the Canoe River enters the Columbia, which is navigable from the International Boundary to the Rockies,
with the exception of two rapids, namely the Death and
St. Martin's, and these could be improved with very little
expense. The climate differs somewhat from those
mentioned before, as the snow and rainfalls are considerably more, with a moist and humid atmosphere and comparatively mild winters. This may be accounted for by
the presence of the mountain ranges surrounding it.
These islands are situated to the north of Vancouver's
Island, and are distant about 60 miles from the mainland
of British Columbia. The chief island of this group is
Graham Island, and it is by far the wealthiest in natural
resources. The eastern part is mostly level, and contains-
a considerable area of good agricultural land, extending as
far as sixty miles along the coast. The western part is
covered with low mountains and hills, intersected by
numerous lakes and valleys.    The general character of AND ITS RESOURCES.
"the country is prairie, intermixed with small brush and a
light growth of timber. The soil is well suited for agriculture and fruit raising, but especially adapted for a grazing
•country. The Indians have cultivated patches, and the
large crops grown by them prove the richness of the land.
The hills in many places are covered with a short grass,
which would make it a capital sheep grazing country.
In some of the mountain valleys spruce and fir are found
in large quantities, which will eventually be turned to
good account for lumbering purposes. There is situated
on the north-west extremity of this island a Hudson's Bay
fort, near which there is a large band of cattle; and on
account of the mildness of the climate and the rich pasture surrounding them, they do not require any attention
■during the winter. Coal, both bituminous and anthracite,
has been discovered on this island in large quantities, the
•quality of which has been pronounced by experts to be
greatly superior to any found on the Pacific Coast, even
more so than that worked in Nanaimo, on Vancouver's
Island. This fact has drawn the attention of the shrewdest
business men in the province, who have invested largely
in these lands, and have shown their belief in their wealth
by opening out four different mines. It is the general
•opinion of scientists that this island will prove an immense
coal field. If the operations which have been commenced
turn out profitable, they will be increased to a much larger
scale, and be able to support a large mining population.
Should this take place, the land in the vicinity will be
taken up by farmers, as they will have a market close at
hand to dispose of their produce. The islands to the
south are more mountainous and rugged in appearance,
though covered with a short grass, which would be adapted
to sheep grazing. However, there are several valleys of
good land, among which may be named those of Shingle
Bay and Gold Harbour. The latter place took its name
from the gold discovered by the Hudson's Bay Company
many years ago, which was shipped in the shape of quartz to
England, where it was reduced. The climate of these islands
is the most equable in British Columbia; although they
are so far north, the soft, humid atmosphere of the ocean, 28 .  BRITISH COLUMBIA
together with the warm Japanese gulf stream, prevent a
marked difference at any season of the year, and renders
them extremely mild. The rainfall is considerably less,
than on the coast of the mainland, which is owing, no
doubt, to there being no lofty mountain ranges. Snow
seldom falls, but, when it does, soon disappears, on account
of the general mildness of the air. - These islands are
well situated commercially, as there is no difficulty in
sailing into the many harbours along the coast. Towing
is therefore unnecessary, and thus, coupled with their-
other advantages, such as coal mining, &c, they will no>
doubt become a very important naval station. Communication at the present time with other parts of the province
is somewhat irregular, though a project is on foot to pro-
ride regular service. Another industry, which has not yet
been mentioned, namely, fishing, though now only in its-
infancy, will shortly become one of the most important in
the province. Fishing stations are being erected along
the coast, the waters of which are teeming with fish.
Among the various kinds is the black cod, which is considered a very great delicacy, and is caught here in large
quantities, and shipped to the eastern market, where it
finds a ready sale. Wild fowl abound everywhere, but no
wild animal has yet been found existing on these islands.
This is by far the largest island in British Columbia,
and is about 250 miles long, with a breadth of about 50 and
60 miles. The southern part is by far the oldest settled
district in the province. The general appearance of the
coast is broken and rugged, and to the eye of the stranger
would appear rock-bound, though on a nearer approach
numerous openings are discovered, disclosing bays and inlets, most of which afford the best of anchorage. The
harbours on the west coast are used by the different
schooners in the sealing fleet as the base of their operations, from which they sail out with their Indian hunters,
who return to their homes at the end of the season.   One AND ITS RESOURCES. 29'
of the sources of wealth in the province, namely, coal"
mining, is pursued on the east coast. The chief centre of
this important industry is Nanaimo, which, for its beautiful scenery and surroundings, is one of the prettiest towns
in the mining world. The principal collieries are owned
by Messrs. N. Dunsmuir and Sons and the Vancouver
Coal Company, who export a large quantity of coal to San<
Francisco, where it realises a much higher price than the
home article, on account of its superior quality.
There are some new mines now being opened at
Comox, which is situated about 50 miles to the north-east
of Nanaimo. These will no doubt in time have an output
equal to that of their older rival. This island contains a
large area of fanning land, some of which is pretty thickly
settled, more especially the valleys on the east coast. The-
north part is supposed to be very rich in coal, and a large-
quantity of land has lately been applied for by Victoria
capitalists in the vicinity. The other principal resources
are fishing, lumbering, and mining. The general climate-
is mild, and resembles greatly that of England.
There are numerous other localities which might be-
mentioned, but space will not permit the ground to be
thoroughly worked in a small pamphlet, but, at the same
time, for the information of the general public, it might
perhaps be better to name a few without entering into*
general details, such as the Pemberton Meadows, Lilloet,
Buonaparte, Bella Coola, Salmon River, Squamish, North
Thompson, Bridge Creek, Lower Naas, and numerous-
other valleys, most of which are suitable for agriculture
and stock.
British Columbia cannot be considered a great farming
country when we compare the amount of land suitable for
agriculture with the area of the entire Province, though it
cannot be denied that it possesses considerable wealth in
thiB respect, and will eventually support a large farming
population.   The Province is almost alone in the great 50 BRITISH COLUMBIA
variety of climate which it embraces, from the moist humid
air of the coast to the dry cold or warmth of the interior,
with its pure atmosphere; in fact, it might almost be safe
to state that in every valley of any size the climate varies
somewhat in this respect. Some persons who have only
had an acquaintance with a part of this immense country
might possibly describe the climate in the district in which
they had lived as moist, while others would be equally
within the truth by stating that it was dry and cold, and
though both statements would appear contradictory, they
would be correct so far as their experience had led them
to believe.
Strangers arriving by the Canadian Pacific Railway
will have a very poor and mistaken idea of the country, as
the railway travels through the most rocky and mountainous portion of British Columbia, which, though exceedingly picturesque to the artistic eye, is somewhat
•disappointing to- that of the immigrant who has decided
to make it his home. It might be asked why was this
route then selected, but this question can easily be
^answered when we consider that this is the most direct
route to the coast, and was chosen on account of the
saving of distance. The great advantage this country
possesses over many others is that, owing to its varied
resources, it could, if needful, be almost independent of
the outside world, providing it had the necessary capital to
work the same. A person can have no idea of the
natural wealth of British Columbia unless one has become
intimately acquainted with its natural resources by long
residence and extensive travel. Many express an opinion
which is given out as authentic, but on examination it
very often proves superficial, and is liable to give the
public a wrong and mistaken idea for want of proper
Some First-class Claims to be disposed of.
Twenty-seven years' experience in British Columbia
Office—Hastings Street (opposite Leland Hotel), Vancouver, B.C.
London Office—Agent at 29, Furnival Street, Holborn, E.C.  
j Farm Lands. ^
{Timber Limits.
)ts in all parts of the City for Sale,
loice Acre Property for Sale cheap.
(lKM Lands.—A large List to select from.   Cattle Banches
rjuewutjei'.   Having a practical knowledge of this branch, parties
calling or writing can he certain of obtaining reliable information.
Some First-class Claims to he disposed of.
Twenty-seven years' experience in British Columbia.
Office—Hastings Street (opposite Leland Hotel), Vancouver, B.C.
London Office—Agent at 29, Furnival Street, Holborn, E.C.  


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items