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Reports and documents in reference to the location of the line and a western terminal harbour. 1878 Fleming, Sandford, 1827-1915 1878

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ill  contents;
1. General Report by Sandford Fleming, Engineer-in-Chief      5
2. Appendix A.—Report on surveying operations and on the progress of con
struction, for the year 18*7*7, by Marcus Smith, Acting EngLneer-in-Chief.    It
3. Appendix B.—Report  on the location survey from Yellowhead Pass to
Burrard Inlet, by H. J. Cambie, Engineer in charge of Surveys, British
Columbia    30
4. Appendix 0.—Memorandum on an exploration from Port Simpson, by the
River Skeena, to Fort George, by H, J. Cambie ,    38
5. Appendix D.—Roport on the explorations and surveys, with reference to the
location of tho Western Section of the Line, by Marcus Smith     41
6. Appendix E.—Report on the location made in 18*77, by the Rivers Thomp
son and Fraser, to Burrard Inlet, and the comparative advantages of that
line and the line to Bute Inlet, by H. J. Cambie     55
7. Appendix F.—Correspondence with the Admiralty on a Nautical Survey at
tho mouth of the River Skeena, and on  the question of a Terminal
Harbour    62
8. Appendix G.—Report on an exploration of the Pine River Pass, by Joseph
Hunter ,  ,     72
9. Appendix H.—Extracts from a paper on Canada and its vast undeveloped
resources, by Sandford Fleming    83
10. Appendix L—Explanation of the Map ,  101
11. Appendix K.—List of lives lost in connection with the Surveys and Engi
neering operations  104  B-U-L
Canadian Pacific Railway
. Office of the Engineer in Chief,
Ottawa, April 26th, 1878.
The Honourable A. Mackenzie,
Minister of Public Works,
&c, &C.,' &c.
Sir,—I have the honour to report on the operations which have been carried on
to determine the location of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and to establish the
locality on the Pacific Coast best adapted for its terminal point.
In my last General Report, February 8th, 1877, I endeavoured to furnish a
concise record of these operations from the commencement of tho survey in 1871;
I further submitted what other important information had been acquired from
various sources. In the following pages I shall have occasionally to refer to that
fteneral Report,
A During the past season the investigations have been confined "to the following
surveys and explorations:—
1. A trial location of the line (No. 2), extending from Yellowhead Pass, via
the Rivers Thompson and Eraser, to Burrard Inlet.
2. An exploration from Port Simpson, on the Pacific Coast, by the valley of
the River Skeena, to the Central Plateau, and thence to Fort George.
3. An exploration from Fort George, through the Rocky Mountain Chain, by
Pine River Pass.
4. A nautical examination, by the Admiralty, of the mouth of the River Skeena.
5. Surveys, between Selkirk and the south branch of the Saskatchewan, for an
alternative line.
6. Surveys between Lake Nipissing and Lake Superior.
7. Explorations to Lac la Biche and other points lying to the north of the main
A Report, dated 4th January, 1878,* on these operations and on the progress of
the works under construction, has been made by my Chief Assistant, Mr. Marcus
Smith. A Report dated the 23rd inst.** has also been furnished by Mr. H. J. Cambie,
Engineer in charge of Surveys in British Columbia, on the results established by the
location survey of the line from Yellowhead Pass to Burrard Inlet. These reports,
together with a memorandumf on explorations from Port Simpson by the River
Skeena to Fort George on the Eraser, are appended.
Supplementary Reports have been likewise made by Mr. Smith and by Mr.
Cambie :  the former submitting the advantages which appear to him to be presented
by a line which,diverging from the located line at Nbrthcote, near Lake Winnipegoosis,
is projected to run through the Pine River Pass to Bute Inlet: the latter furnishing
additional information with regard to the line by the Rivers Thompson and Fraser
to Burrard Inlet; and showing the comparative advantages claimed in regard of that
route.   Both Reports, together with a Report on the exploration made of the Pine
River Pass, are appended. *J
* Appendix A., page 17.   ** Appimiix B. page 30.   f Appendix 0. page 38.    *J Appendices D., ET
and G. pages 41, 55 and 72 Some concspondonce has taken place on the subject of the Terminal Harbour
in connection with tho examination made last summer, under instructions of the
Admiralty, by Imperial Naval Officers, of the mouth of the River Skeena. This
correspondence is appended.*
In reporting on this important subject, the general question presents itself to my
mind under two aspects; first, in respect to the influence which the Railway will
exercise on colonization; second, as a through line of steam communication between
the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
8 Tho early settlement of the Eastern Provinces of Canada followed the coast of
the Sea-board, and the margin of the land traversed by the Great Rivers and Lakes.
The natural water-ways accordingly were important auxiliaries in directing successive
waves of Emigration to points of settlement; and, doubtless, the water communications
of the interior of the Dominion, west of Lake Superior, will prove valuable accessories
in this respect. They may be largely utilized during the early stages of colonization;
and when settlements have been effected, and the various districts become inhabited,
the more important will still be valuable as the means of transporting heavy products.
Climatic conditions, however, impose a limit to their use. During four or
five months of the year the rivers and lakes are frozen, and navigation is closed ; and
thus the absolute necessity of a system of Railways is imposed before any extended
and permanently prosperous settlement can be attained. More especially^ this the
case where the water lines are broken or disconnected, and the localities are far
removed from open navigation.
In examining into the question of colonizing the vast undeveloped interior of
Canada, we are called upon to consider what main lines of communication may, in
after years, be regarded as essential. It is desirable to take a comprehensive view
of the subject," as we may be regarded as preparing the way for the occupancy of
Territory capable of sustaining millions, and as dealing, to no limited extent, with
the destinies of half a Continent.
— >
Appendix F. page 63* 8
I have elsewhere given my views as to the principles which should govern the
establishment of Railways in such circumstances. * In the case of tho territory
under consideration, from information we have gathered, we are justified in assuming
that, ultimately, not one Railway, but many Railways, will hereafter be needed.
At one time it was thought that the habitable land was confined to a comparatively
narrow fertile belt along the immediate valley of the Saskatchewan; now, it is
considered that the bolt is of immense breadth, and that the habitable territory is
of vast extent. It is therefore to be anticipated that one Railway will eventually
prove insufficient for the traffic of the country, and that two trunk lines, with
numerous branches, may hereafter bo required.
We have but to place before us a map of the United States and Canada, to note
the lines which run from the seaboard westward, in some sections ramifying in
many directions : lines on which the traffic is regular and constant, and which,
thirty years ago, not the most sanguine of projectors would have ventured to foretell as indispensable.
In the paper referred to, I have set forth the importance of strictly observing
certain principles in the establishment of Railways in a now country, in order to
avoid hasty and ill-considered construction; to prevent mis-application and waste of
capital by assuring that no unnecessary line be undertaken, that no lines be completed, before they are wanted, and that the highways of the country, of every class,
be designed so as to perform their functions in the most satisfactory manner.
2. By the establishment of Railways, on the principles which I have described,
steam communication from the valley of the St. Lawrence to British Columbia
would be a matter of no speedy attainment. A through line being, however, required
for other than colonization reasons, it becomes necessary to consider how that connection can with least difficulty be effected.
The map which I submit with this Report, shows lines of Railway, which,
possibly, may in time bo required for general service, all of which should bo kept
prominently in vjow. The engagements of the Government are to securo without
delay one through line, and if it be probable that these linos will all ultimately bo
required, it is evident that that which is the-.most easy .of construction is tho
one which) under the present circumstances, should be selected.
* Appendix H, page 83. In my Report of February 8th, 1877. I described all the routes projected at
tli&t date. I submitted approximate estimates of cost as well as naval testimony with
respect to the harbours on the coast, and I attempted to narrow clown the enquiry by
rejecting all projected lines and proposed termini, except the most satisfactory
and important.
I pointed out that there is no harbour on the mainland entirely unobjectionable ;
that on the outer coast of Vancouver Island, there is more than one harbour well
suited for the purpose of a terminus; that it was exceedingly desirable to carry the
railway to at least one of these harbours; but that they all could be approached
from the interior only at an enormous cost.
By this process of elimination I reduced the number of available routes to
three, viz:—
Route No. 2, terminating at Burrard Inlet.
Route No. 6, touching tide water of the Pacific first at Bute Inlet.
Route No. 11, terminating near the mouth of the River Skeena.
The examinations made during the past season have not materially changed tho
circumstances under which these separate lines were considered: and the trial location
survey to Burrard Inlet, substantially confirms the general accuracy of the estimates
of cost.
the exploration to Pine River Pass is of value in confirming the impression
referred to in my report of last year that a low lying available passage exists across
the mountains in that latitude; but there is nothing to show that so good a route
can be obtained in that locality as by the Peace River Pass. As already stated, it
has been suggested to carry the line from tho east through Pine River Pass to Bute
Inlet. Mr. Smith has given prominence to this line in his Report 29th of March last as a
moans of reaching the coast. I do not .attach the same importance to the Pine River
Pass. It is certainly lower than the Yellow Head Pass ; but its position is not favourable for reaching a southern terminus.     Moreover, although favourably situated for
a line to a northern terminus, its importance is Hot enhanced by the fact that a still
i io
lower pass—Peace River—exists, only a few miles further north. I have accordingly
projected a northern line of Railway through Peace River Pass, which I consider
The correspondence respecting the examinations at the -mouth of the Skeena
River by the Admiralty proves the non-existence of a suitable harbour immediately
at that point; but our own explorations show that an excellent harbour exists at
Port Simpson, in the neighbourhood of the Skeena, and that there are no great
obstacles to be met in carrying the railway to it.*
I find also that Commander Pender has a favourable opinion of Port Simpson. At
page 295 of my last General Report (February, 1877), he states: "Port Simpson, at
the north part of Tsimpsean Peninsula, is the finest harbour north of Beaver Harbour,
in Vancouver Island."
It will be seen from the correspondence with the Admiralty that a northern
terminus is objected to on account of climatic features incidental to a high latitude.
But no data have been furnished to show that the climate is materially different from
that on the coast of Great Britain, in similar latitudes such as the North Channel,
and the approaches to the River Clyde ; and it cannot be overlooked that although
the climate on the west coast of Scotland may bo considered far from good, Glasgow,
one of the most enterprising and important cities in the world, has come into
existence in the latitude referred to.
Commander-in-Chief, Admiral DeHorscy, on the Pacific Station, objects to
Burrard Inlet (vide despatch to the Admiralty, 26th October, 1877,) and advocate3
carrying %he Railway to a harbour on Vancouver Island, in the manner set forth in
my Report of February 8th, 1877, page 72. The Admiral, equally with most of the
other naval authorities, objects to "Waddington Harbour as a terminus.
The deductions to be drawn from the naval testimony at our command, and from
our own examinations, may be thus summarized :—.
1. That there can be no question as to the superiority of certain harbours on
the outer coast of Vancouver Island.
Appendix A, page 23, and Appendix C, page 38. 11
2. That Waddington Harbour is not favourably situated for a terminus, and may
be viewed as a preliminary and temporary station only, the true terminus of a line
by Bute Inlet being Esquimalt, or some other harbour on the outer coast of Vancouver Island.
3. That a terminus at Port Simpson would have the advantage of possibly the
best harbour on the mainland; and that of ajl the terminal points projected on the
mainland and on Vancouver Island, Port Simpson is most conveniently situated for
Asiatic trade. But Port Simpson is open to climatic objections, which are not
experienced to the same extent at points farther south.
4. That of all the other points on the mainland, Burrard Inlfet, an arm of
the Strait of Georgia, is the least difficult of approach from the ocean, and is generally
preferred by the naval authorities.
5. That Burrard Inlet, equally with Waddington Harbour, is open to the
geographical objections mentioned in my last General Report (page 71).*
With these deductions, the comparison may be said to be confined to the three
lines terminating respectively at Port Simpson, Esquimalt and Burrard Inlet.
The route terminating at Port Simpson has not been surveyed. On reference to
the map, it will be seen that it is projected to follow the River Skeena, and thence,
eastwards to Peace River; thence by Lesser Slave Lake, and Lac la Biche, keeping
about 140 miles to the north of the line located by the Valley of the Saskatchewan.
Being unsurveyed,and but little being definitely known concerning it, it is not possible
to compare it with the other two lines, which have been located throughout the
greater part of their length. If, therefore, this northern line is to be seriously considered, it is indispensable that a thorough survey be made of it. With our present
knowledge, it will be unwise to adopt it as the route for the Railway, and to determine
on proceeding with construction, without obtaining full and complete information
regarding it.   My own opinion is in favour of gaining information, and if the Govern-
*The Strait of Georgia is separated from the ocean by two archipelagoes, one to the north, the
other to the south of Vancouver Island.
The approach by the north of Vancouver Island to the Strait of Georgia is hazardous and
The approach by the south of Vancouver Island, is through passages more or less intricate,between,
or at no great distance from, islands known as the San Juan group.
The most important islands of the San Juan group are in the territory of a foreign power, and
from their position they hold the power of assuming a threatening attitude towards passing commerce.. 12
ment entertain this view, I beg leave to suggest that during the present year a continuous exploration be made from Port Simpson eastwards to a point of junction with
the located line in the neighbourhood of Lake Winnepeg'oosis.
If, however, the Government deem it essential to arrive at &n immediate
decision, the northern route,.being insufficiently known, cannot be entertained, and
thus two lines only remain for consideration, one terminating at Esquimalt, the
other at Burrard Inlet.
The respective engineering merits of the two lines are sufficiently described in
my last General Report and in the Reports of Messrs. Smith and Cambie, appended.
It only remains for me to submit some additional general remarks.
Manitoba is as nearly as possible about midway across tho continent. From the
crossing of Lake Manitoba to Burrard Inlet, the distance is more than 1,100 miles;
and to Esquimalt more than 1,400 miles. In the whole of the territory throughout
these distances, there are few civilized inhabitants, probably not more than 12,000.
I do not speak of the Indian population; they can hardly be considered as influencing,
to any considerable extent, the project of the Railway.
It is thus evident that, whatever may be needed hereafter for connecting prosperous and populous communities, there is not, at this moment, any pressing necessity for
the Railway, for ordinary purposes. For special reasons, however, the construction of
the Railway to the Pacific Coast is demanded, and, in the absence of traffic to sustain
it, it becomes more than ordinarily important to adopt that route which will least
involve the.sinking of unproductive capital, and by which the I03S to be borne in
working and maintenance will bo least heavy.
I have expressed my conviction that, ultimately, tho country will require a comprehensive Railway system; and that, besides branches in many directions, j>robably
two leading trunk lines will eventually be demanded. These requirements, however,
only lie in the future, and, possibly, may be somewhat remote. But it is of vital importance to burden the-future as little as possible with accumulated losses resulting
from operating the line. The selection of a line the least expensive to construct
and to maintain is an essential point to be kept in prominence. It is even
3till more important to adopt the route whk-J} }yil\ w^ Qr^tethe largest debt, through 13
rapidly accumulating losses, resulting from the expense of working being in excess
of receipts.
I have submitted that, if the line by Peace River to Port Simpson be thrown out
for the present, there remain to be considered the two lines terminating at Burrard
Inlet and Esquimalt.
Burrard Inlet is not so eligible a terminal point as Esquimalt. It cannot be
approached from the ocean, except by a navigation more or less intricate. Nor can
it be reached by large sea-going ship3 without passing at no great distance from a
group of islands in the possession of a foreign power, which may at any time assume
a hostile attitude and interfere with the passage of vessels.
To the first objection it may be said that there are other harbours in the world,
with an enormous extent of commerce, with entrances where shipping is not entirely
free from delays and risks. New York, Liverpool, Glasgow and Montreal may bo
instanced. The second objection would appear to a non-combatant like myself a
forcible one; but those who are held responsible for maintaining communication by
land and sea in times of war appear to make light of it. It is impossible, however,
to deny that, other things being equal, Esquimalt as a harbour and terminal point
is superior to Burrard Inlet.
Regarding the question simply from a commercial standpoint, let us assume,
for the Bake of the argument, that a Railway is completed and in operation to both
points, and a person at Esquimalt desires to travel to Ottawa. He has the option of
crossing by steamer, 90 miles, to Burrard Inlet and then using the Railway; or of
taking the train at Esquimalt, and proceeding on his journey from that point. In
the latter case, taking the most favourable view, he would have to travel some 150
miles farther, or if the line were carried through by Pine River Pass, fully 200 miles
farther, than by way of Burrard Inlet.
It is evident that, even were the wide channels at the Valdes Islands bridged
the Railway carried to Esquimalt would present no advantage in time or cost to an
ordinary traveller.   If passengers from Esquimalt could secure no benefit from tho
extension of the Railway to that place, it is certain that a loss would be sustained
in carrying freight by the longer route.
The cost of extending the Railway to Esquimalt would greatly exceed that of 14
taking it to Burrard Inlet; there are no sufficient data for forming a proper estimate of
the cost. But even by leaving a gap near the Valdes Islands of 15 miles, and" substituting a ferry for the enormously costly bridging at that locality, the excess would probably reach $15,000,000 or $20,000,000. The cost of maintenance would be great in
proportion, and the annual losses on working the extra mileage would, under the
peculiar circumstances, be serious.
It is difficult to recognize any commercial advantage in carrying the line to
Esquimalt, at this period in the history of Canada, to compensate for these grave
objections. I have assumed Esquimalt as the Vancouver Island Terminus. If the
other Harbours, Alberni or Quatsino, were substituted, the argument remains
unchanged, the conclusions differing only in degree. If we abandon the idea of
extending the Railway to Vancouver Island, and fall back on Waddington Haibour,
we should have for a Terminus a point not favoured by the principal naval authorities, and partaking of the geographical objections to Burrard Inlet, while some of
the advantages possessed by the latter place would be wanting.
Upon carefully viewing the engineering features of each route, and weighing
every commercial consideration, [ am forced to the conclusion that, if these alone are
to govern a selection, if a decision cannot be postponed until further examinations
be made, if the construction of the Railway must be at once proceeded with, the lino
to Vancouver Island should, for the present, be rejected, and that the Government
should select the route by the Rivers Thompson and Fraser to Burrard Inlet.
I have great faith in the future of a country favoured with a bountiful supply of
the natural elements of prosperity. The capabilities of the territory of the Dominion on the Pacific Coast, are great. Vancouver Island alone is capable of supporting, by the industries which may be establisheJ, a large population; but this result
may not be attained for many years. When the Island becomes fully inhabited, an
independent Railway system, which by that time may be created within its limits,
may "then, with comparative financial ease, be connected with the main land, by
way of Bute Inlet, as necessity may dictate.
If the mining industries of Cariboo become permanently profitable, a branch to
that district could be constructed from some point between Lytton and Tete Jauno
Cache.   This branch would shorten the link to bo filled up between the separate 15
railway systems to be created on Vancouver Island and on the mainland, and render
the connection less difficult of attainment hereafter.
In former reports, I have directed special attention to the paramount importance
of securing a line through the country with easy gradients.* In the case of Branch
Railways, such as those projected on the accompanying plan, there is not the same
necessity for light gradients, These branches will bo local lines, with limited traffic.
Their functions will simply be to serve productive districts to the right and left, and
to collect traffic for the main thoroughfare. The branches may therefore bo of a
cheaper and less perfect character; but in order to secure the means of the cheapest
possible transportation over long distances, the trunk line should have the lightest
gradients obtainable.
The line located from Lake Superior to Burrard Inlet commands generally more
than ordinarily favourable gradients. If the railway be constructed on this route in
the manner which I have recommended, cheapness of transportation will be assured,
and advantages will accrue in the future of the most important kind.
It is my sad duty to add to the record of lives lost, the names of those members
of the Engineering Staff who have passed away during the past year.**
1 have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Note —Vide Report of 1874, page 32, and Report of 1877, pages 8L ail 85.
** Appendix K, page 104.  It
report on surveying  operations and construction for the year  1877,
mr. marcus smith, acting engineer-in-chief.
Canadian Pacific Railway,
Office of the Engineer-in-Chief,
Ottawa, 4th January, 1878.
Sir,—1 have the honor to report on the progress made in surveying operations
and construction to the 31st December, 1877.
Surveys in the Eastern or Woodland Region.
In the season of 1876, a trial location survey was made from the proposed Eastern terminus, near Lac Amable du Fond, about 23 miles south-east of Lake Nipissing.
to Cantin's Bay on French River, and, from this line, explorations were made of the
country extending north-westward, on a course as direct as practicable, to a point on
the north shore of Lake Superior, near the mouth of the River Pic.
These explorations were not completed; and portions of the trial location above
referred to were not satisfactory, as the low gradients that had been expected were
not obtained.
During the past season, four surveying parties were employed in completing these
exploratory surveys, and improving the location of the line of the previous year.
The plans and profiles are in progress, and the following is an outline of the results
of the season's work.
Location of the line from South River to Cantin's Bay on French River.
This line commences at a point on South River about 3 miles from its mouth on
Lake Nipissing, and 22 miles north-west of Lac Amable du Fond, where the survey
of the previous year commenced. It follows down the left bank of the river to the
shore of Lake Nipissing: thence it takes a course nearly west to the 20th mile, from
Which its course is south-west to the 35th mile, where it joins the survey of the previous year, and then follows that line on a course nearly west tu the head of Cantin's
B.ay, 49\ miles from the point of beginning. If extended to the foot of the bay its
length will be 55J miles.
This bay—a sheet of water about 5 miles in length, and averaging nearly a
quarter of a mile in breadth—lies at the confluence of the Pickerel and south branch
of French River, about 20 miles from the mouth of the latter on the Georgian Bay.
Its altitude varies from 4 to 6 feet higher than that of the latter; so that to extend
the navigation of the Georgian Bay to Cantin's Bay, a lock would be required to
surmount the rapids near the mouth of the river, the rest of the distance being still
•water; it is, in fact, a long narrow lake.
The country traversed is generally rocky, and broken up with numerous lakes
and small streams running in narrow valleys or ravines.
The altitude at the starting point on South River is estimated 678 feet above sea
level, being 530 feet lower than that of Lac Amable du Fond, and the highest point
on the line is 813 feet, being 407 feet lower than the summit altitude of the line of the
previous year. But still the proposed maximum gradient of 1 in 200, or 26*40 feet
per mile, has not been obtained. The gradients can, however, be kept down to a
maximum of 1 in 150, or 35-20 feet per mile, rising eastward, without involving
very heavy works. Of this gradient of 1 in 150, there are ton separate lengths,
making a total of about 8 miles. In descending to Cantin's Bay, however, the gradient
20 j—3
V 18
is 1 in 133, or 39.60 feet per mile; but it is expected that this can be reduced by a
slight deviation, and lengthening of the line, Of the maximum of 1 in 100, rising
westward, there are seven short lengths, making an aggregate of 5J miles.
The works will be generally lighter than on the corresponding length of the line
surveyed in 1876. The heaviest will be in rock cutting, running from 5 to 25 feet of
maximum depth, and 300 to 800 feet in length, with embankments of somewhat
larger dimensions. There will be about 12 miles on which work of this character
will occur, and 14 miles on which there will be rock cuttings varying from 6 tc 15
feet of maximum depth, and averaging about 500 feet in length. The balance will
be moderately light work.
The principal bridging will be as follows:—
Realty's Greek.—Ravine 250 feet wide, with a maximum depth of 40 feet.
Gommanda Greek.—Breadth of valley 620 feet, maximum depth 62 feet, breadth
of stream 120 feet.
Outlet of Lake Mahmasagamising.—One span of 100 feet.
Pickerel River.—One span of 150 feet.
Pickerel River Branch.—Breadth of ravine 220 feet, maximum depth 35 feet,
breadth of stream 40 feet.
In addition to these, there will probably be some bridging required in ravines
where material for embankments cannot be obtained in the vicinity.
Surveys and Explorations from French River to Lake Superior.
Exploratory surveys have been made of two lines extending westward from different points on the line last described, and meeting at a common point in the valley
of the Wahnapitaepee.
The northern, and most direct, line diverges at the 19th mile of the located line,
and takes a general course a little to the north of west. Continuing the mileage from
South River (Lake Nipissing) it crosses the main branch of French River near the
26th mile, at the Chaudiere Falls, where the trough of the River is contracted to 200
feet, and the breadth of the stream to 50 feet. Near the 29th mile, it strikes the
north branch of this river, and follows down its left bank to the 34th mile, where
the line crosses the river, which at this point is 200 feet wide, and 10 feet deep.
At the 39th mile, it crosses another arm of French River, 200 feet wide; thence
it follows a chain of narrow valleys which are separated by low rocky ridges. Near.
the 61st mile, it crosses Lake Maskinonge, 1,700 feet wide and 18 feet deep, which
can, however, be reduced by drainage. The line reaches the Wahnapitoepee Valley at
the 72nd mile.
There is very little variation in the altitude of the country throughout this section, and the gradients are generally easy. The works would be variable, as the line
alternately runs in the valleys or across intervening ridges, There will be an aggregate of about 11 miles on which rock cuttings, varying from 5 to 15 feet of
maximum depth, but in short lengths, would occur. On the rest of the line the
works would be medium or moderate.
The southern line leaves the located line at the 48th mile near the head of
C: ntin's Bay, and within half a mile it crosses the Pickerel River, which is here 250
leet wide and 5 feet deep. It then follows the north shore of Cantin's Bay, and
crosses the main Branch of French River at the Horse Rapids, where the channel is
200 feet wide. Near the 55th mile, it crosses another branch of this river, 40 feet
wide, and at the 57th mile it crosses the north branch, where the channel is 250 feet
Thence, the line takes a generally north-westward course, following a chain of
narrow valleys and lakes. It crosses the south end of Lac de L'Isle at the 74th mile,
and following another chain of valleysand flats, separated by rocky ridges, it joins
the line last described near the 81st mile.
This is 9J miles longer than the northern line, but the whole of it would be part
of the main line, while the northern would have a branch of 30 miles to Cantin's Bay,
marking 20| miles more line to be constructed.   The gradients on this line are very k
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On both lines there are detached tracts of land fit for cultivation, with spruce,
tamarac, cedar, birch and poplar, which would furnish railway ties. There is a small
quantity of hemlock and pine, but most of the latter has been burnt off by bush fires.
On Cantin's Bay and near the Chaudiere Rapids, there are large patches of sugar
Explorations with Barometer and Compass.
The altitudes and distances from this foi ward must be taken as approximate.
The distances hereafter referred to are estimated from the starting point on South
River by the northern or direct route.
The River Wahnapitsepee is 200 feet wide where the line crosses it, and the
altitude is 632 feet above sea level. Thence the line of survey takes a general northwest course, ascending diagonally the slope or water shed of Lake Huron over a
rough and rocky country, intersected with numerous, narrow, trough-like valleys,,
and indented with lakes and swamps, rocky ridges intervening. 'Still, a feasible
line has been found without very high gradients or exceptionally heavy work up to
the Vermillion River, at the 106th mile. At the 85th mile it crosses the long valley
running in a south-west direction, in which lies the chain of narrow lakes known as
Long Lake. The altitude at this point is 810 feet. The rocks up to the 97th mile
are generally gneissoid, but westward of this, slate is the characteristic of the country.
The highest point on this section is at the 97th mile, where the altitude is 1010 feet:
at the crossing of Vermillion River—106th mile-^near the foot of Vermillion Lake, it
is"936 feet.
The line follows the north shore of Vermillion Lake 4 miles, then crosses a hilly
and rocky tract to Spanish River, which is reached at the 135th mile, altitude 1070
feet. Between this and the River Aux Sables, the country is very rough, and the
course of the line tortuous.
The ascent is by terraces, and in some places is very abrupt, more especially
from the 147th mile to Rocky River at the 160th mile, where the altitude is 1411 feet.
There will be some high gradients, and a large proportion of heavy works throughout
the section from Vermillion River to the River Aux Sables. At the 175th mile, the:
line crosses this river near the foot of Lake Aux Sables, altitude 1512 feet. This
is near the watershed between Lake Huron and Hudson's Bay. Thence its course is
more uniform, and there is very little variation in the altitude for the next 100 miles,
so that the gradients are very easy, and the works will be generally light or medium.
The line strikes the River Epinette at the 204th mile, about a m:le above its
confluence with the Mississagua. Thence it follows up this stream, and its affluent the
Cypress, to the source of the latter in Lake Wagong at the 220th mile, whore the altitude is 1440 feet. It crosses the River D'Embarras at the 222nd mile, and passes the
south end of Lake Winnibegon at the 235th mile. The River Montreal, Lake Superior, is crossed at the 274th mile, altitude 1410 feet, and the Shequamkah at the 286th
mile, where the altitude is 1345 feet.
On the last 12 miles the plateau is broken by numerous detached hills rising to
a height of 300 or 400 feet. To avoid these, the curvature of the line would be
increased, and the works would be heavier than on the rest of the plateau.
From the Shequamkah to Lake Superior a new line was explored during the last
season, keeping more to the north than that of 1876, passing by tho head of Dog Lake
and the valley of White River, and thereby avoiding the high ground east of Sand-
beach River.
The line, however, is still open to objection in many parts. The country is
intersected at intervals by deep valleys and high rocky ridges, often at nearly right
angles to the general course of the line, causing great variaxions of altitude and a
large amount of curvature, with occasional high gradients, involving a considerable
proportion of heavy works.
At the 306th mile, the line reaches the valley of the Michipicoten near the foQt
of Whitefish Lake, an expansion of the river, altitude 900 feet, i
The River Magpie is crossed at the 335th mile, whore the altitude is 963 feet.
The highest intermediate point is 1,230 feet at the 318th mile.
From the Magpie to the head of White River at the 370th mile, the course of the
line is tolerably direct, with generally easy gradients, and the works would not be
heavy. The altitude at this point is 1,380 feet. Thence the line follows down the
valley of White River to the 417th mile, where the altitude is 1060 feet. There is a
large amount of curvature in this section, but with easy gradients, and the works
would be moderately light.
From White River to the River Pic, at the 440th mile, the country is rough and
full of hills, the line tortuous, with high gradients, and the works generally would be
rather heavy.
The last point is on the same level as Lake Superior, 600 feet. Thence the line
passes through a valley to Heron Bay, and follows the shore of Lake Superior to
Peninsular Harbour, where it joins the survey of 1874, at the 452nd mile. The shore
of Lake Superior from Peninsular Harbour to the River Nepigon is deeply indented
with numerous bays, coves and bights surrounded by high rocky bluffs, involving a
large amount of curvature on the line with occasional high gradients, and, in construction, a large* quantity of rock excavation with a number of short tunnels. ( Vide
Report of 8th February, 1877, pages 206 to 210.)
The line crosses the River Nepigon near the foot of Lake Ellen, to which the
length from South River is 569 miles; and if it were extended to a common point
near the south-east angle of Lake Nipissing, it would be 26 miles longer than the line
No. 2, explored in 1873.    ( Vide Report of 26th January, 1874, page 205.)
Following the exploratory survey of 1874 from the River Nepigon via Dog Lake
to a point on the line under construction from Fort William westward, the total
length would be, approximately, 661 miles.
These exploratory surveys show that a feasible line, with fair gradients and only
a moderate proportion of rather heavy works, can be obtained from South River to
Vermillion Lake, 106 miles. But between that point and the high plateau reached
at Lake Aux Sables at the 175th mile, tho country is not so favourable. The course
of the line is tortuous, the rise occasionally abrupt, requiring high gradients, and a
considerable proportion of the works would be heavy.
The almost uniform altitude of-this plateau or watershed for a long distance on
the line explored, and at different points where it has been crossed by previous surveys, suggests the course of avoiding the heavy works on the shore of Lake Superior,
by diverging from the present line at some point in th'e vicinity of Lake Winnibegon,
and following the watershed which trends more to the northward, to Long Lake, and
there joining the line No. 2 of the survey of 1873. Thence, it follows that line to the
crossing of River Nepigon near its outlet from Lake Ellen.
If this were found favourable, we should then have tho choice of two feasible
lines between the south-east angle of Lake Nipissing and the River Nepigon ; one
passing the south of Lake Nipissing and the watershed between Lakes Huron and
Superior and Hudson's Bay; the other running to the north of Lake Nipissing, and
generally north of the watershed.
During the past season, surveys have been made with the view of improving the
oroseings of some of the rivers and deep ravines in this region, with the following
results :—
Sleuth Branch of the Saskatchewan; at the 878*A mile, from Fort William, Lake Superior
The eastern approach to this river can be improved from a gradient of 0.75 per
100 to one of 0.50 per 100, or 26.40 feet per mile; but the line will be lengthened about
a mile and one-third, and the formation level above the bottom of the valley, raised
from 88 to 95 foot. 21
Grizzly Bear Coule at the 1078ft mile.
By former surveys, the breadth of the Coule or trough was 2,200 feet at the
top, 1,000 feet at the bottom, and 155 feet deep. By the last survey it is 2,400
feet wide at the top, 1,200 feet at the bottom, and 125 feet deep. Neither
the.rateof the gradients nor the quantity of excavations in the approaches has been
The summit altitude, west of the Coule at the 1087th mile, has been reduced 54
feet, and the gradients have been improved.
Buffalo Couli at the 1101s£ mile.
The breadth of this, by former surveys, was 1,600 feet at "the top, 700 feet at the
bottom, and 100 feet deep* which is reduced by the last survey to 1,200 feet at the
top, 600 feet at the bottom, and 90 feet in depth.
Suggested deviation of the line from Selkirk westwards, passing south of Lake Manitoba.
In accordance with the verbal instructions of the Minister, an examination has
been made of this line, with instrumental surveys of some of the deep valleys
traversed by the line, and at other places where deemed necessary.
The deviation from the located line commences at the crossing of the Red River,
and takes a south-westerly course till it reaches the centre of the range of townships
lying north of the fourth base line; thence it follows due west on or alongside a road
allowance through the centre of this range nearly up to the valley of the Little
Saskatchewan. Thence, continuing westward, it crosses the Assiniboine at a point
above the junction of Qu'Appelle River and through the Touchwood hills to the
Elbow of the North Saskatchewan at Caerlaverock.
The line throughout the Province of Manitoba, nearly 100 miles, is very favourable for railway construction, and the land is generally fertile. West of the Province
Line the country is more broken, and the land becomes poorer.
The first serious difficulty is the crossing of the valley of the Little Saskatche-
wan,which is nearly a mile wide at the top,sloping gradually down to the river,where
the valley is 225 feet deep. As it is obviously impracticable to cross this at right
angles without enormously heavy works, the course of the surveyed line was
deflected so as to follow obliquely down one side of the valley and up the other, by
which the maximum gradient on the east side was reduced to 0.75 per 100, or 39.60
feet per mile for five miles in length, and on the west side to 1 per 100, or 52.80 feet per
mile for a little over four miles in length. Thus it requires over nine miles to cross
this valley, carrying the line out of the direct course, which, together with the
unavoidable curvature, will increase its length considerably.
The valley of Bird tail Creek, at the point crossed by this route is three-quarters
of a mile wide, and 190 feet deep in the centre.
The valley of the Assiniboine is over a mile wide, sloping abruptly down to the
bottom flat, which is over 200 feet below the level of the plain. The river is 300
feet wide at flood, where it is crossed by a bridge near Fort Ellic'e.
No instrumental survey was made of these valleys, but they could probably be'
crossed in the same manner as the little Saskatchewan.
The valley of Cut Arm Creek is over 100 feet deep where the trail crosses it.
The Touchwood Hills could be crossed without exceptionally high gradients, but
with some rather heavy excavations; and the line would be sinuous, and consequently
longer, than if a direct course were practicable.
Thence, to the bend of the North Saskatchewan at Caerlaverock, the country is
similar to that traversed by the located line. A large proportion of the land on this
line is only fit for pasture, and much of it is sandy or light soil, producing short
grass. Among the Touchwood Hills, and in their vicinity, there are some tracts of
good land fit for cultivation.
Deviation to Quill Lake.
An alternative line in the same general direction, may be thus described :—
Following the course of the last line up to the Little Saskatchewan, it there deflects 22
to the north-westward, crossing the Assiniboine near the mouth of Shell River;
thence, parsing to the north of the Touchwood Hills it joins the located line near
Quill Lake.
The valley of Bird Tail Creek, where this line crosses,, is nearly a mile wide at
the level of the plain, and slopes gradually down to the river, where it is 175 feet
deep. This could be approached-on the east side by a narrow lateral valley, but
there is no corresponding valley on the west side.
The valley of Shell River where the line strikes it, is 250 feet deep, over a mile
wide at the top, and 1.000 feet on the bottom flat. It is possible to descend by the
slope of this valley to the bottom flat of the Assiniboine Valley, and after crossing
that, to ascend by a lateral valley to the table land on the west side; this, however,
can only be done by using high gradients, and with a large amount of curvature, by
which the length of the line would be considerably increased. Some of the gradients
used on the survey were 70 feet to the mile; these, however, can probably be reduced
to 1 per 100 or 52-80 feet per mile, but only with very heavy excavations.
The rest of the line to Quill Lake is favourable; a considerable proportion of the
land is fit far cultivation; of the balance, some is good pasture land, the rest very
It should be observed that the Engineer-in-Chief fixed the maximum gradient at
0-5 per 100 — 26*40 feet per mile rising eastward, and 1 per 100 = 52;80 feet per
mile rising westward, and on the located line these gradients have been maintained
to a point west of Battleford. They could not, however, be maintained on the line
suggested; even with very heavy works a gradient of 1 per 100, each way, is the
best that can be had for many miles.
This, together with the increased length caused by curvature and deflections
from the general course, would render the line suggested much inferior to the located
line for the economic working of the traffic, and would add considerably to the cost
of moving to the seaboard the produce of the large and rich agricultural tracts lying
farther to thve north-west.
There are no data for estimating the difference of the cost of construction in the
two lines, but this is a point of less importance than economic working after construction.
Comparing the extent of good lands that would be crossed by the located line
and the suggested deviations, the latter have probably the advantage for the first 100
miles, viz., to the western boundary of Manitoba, as the lands of the Province are
generally fertile, and in the portion that would be traversed by the lines proposed,
they are comparatively dry and free from timber, and are, therefore, eligible for
rapid settlement; a good system of drainage, however, is required throughout the
H The located line also crosses large tracts of good land; and it should be borne in
mind that even the muskegs or swamps, which are found on both lines, will make good
meadow land when drained, as they are not deep: the side ditches of the railway
alone will effect a great improvement in this respect, as they have done elsewhere.
There is a considerable quantity of wood lands on the located line, chiefly poplar,
which may possibly oppose certain difficulties to settlement, but which undoubtedly
offers compensating advantages.
Beyond the first 100 miles from Selkirk there is a long stretch of land, of inferior
and variable quality on both lines. But at the valley of Swan River the located line
enters on a very extensive fertile tract. On the suggested deviations, after passing
the Province boundary, the quality of the land becomes inferior, and only a small
proportion is fit for cultivation westward up to the bend of the North Saskatchewan.
On the deviation from the Little Saskatchewan, north-westward to Quill Lake,
there are considerable tracts of good land fit for cultivation.
This seemed to indicate that the fertile belt trends to the north-west, and a more
extended examination of the country was accordingly made, by which this view was
A line drawn from Winnipeg to Fort a la Corne near the confluence of the two
u n
Photo li;
of Duck
uia Hills.
ice by the
of Smoky
ural lands
over 1,000
rf hills on
e improve
Dnd Peace
portions of
inches will
st, to meet
>f the main
the wider
r advisable
it. There,
id of Lake
ing Moun-
the valley
poplar and.
ed line, but
I it would,
he Saskat-
I Eraser to
nts of the
from Tete>
work met
'ally much
:ies of tho
n estimate
ion of this
nth of the
in Cardena
difficult, if
end of the.
aination it
>rth side of
)f the two,
construct- to the north-west war
thence, passing to tin
Quill Lake.
The valley of Bn
the level of the plain,
deep.   This could be
there is no corresponc
The valley of Sh
wide at the top, and 1
slope of this valley t(
that, to ascend by a h
can only be done by r
which the length of tl
used on the survey we
to 1 per 100 or 52-80
Thereat of the lii
land is fit far cultivati
It sbouId be obse
0*5 per 100 = 26-40 |
mile rising westward,
to a point west of Bat
suggested; even with1
best that can be had f
This, together wi
from the general cour
line for the economic
of moving to the seab
farther to the norths
There are no date
two lines, but this is t
Comparing the e
and the suggested de\
miles, viz., to the wes;
generally fertile, and
they are comparative"
rapid settlement; a g
The located line
mind that even the m.
meadow land when di
alone will effect a gre
There is a considerab
which may possibly c
offers compensating a
Beyond the first
and variable quality c
enters on a very exte
the Province boundar
proportion is fit for ci
On the deviation
there are considerabh
This seemed to ir
extended examinatioi
* A line drawn fr< ft
r,   ■>   I i ,™niri out off the south-west angle of Lake Manitoba,
branches of the^Saskatchewan. ^g ^^^ theb north end of Duck
skirt the north-easter1, base^ of Bidng*Lou        ,    ^ ^ ^ &
Mountain, and pass 15 *-0 mU» nortA oi '    Lac la Bich    thence by the
If this line were ^^^^^t^rPeaoe fever near the mouth of Smoky
Lesser Slave Lake so as tomte»£'   *° fertile belt of agricultural lands
Eir^'Swest Ten5t? y tTsTot to be elpectcd that in a stretch of over 1,000
in the North- W est £»"™y*, d    The fertile belt is accordingly very irregular,
miles the soil will bo "nifoimljgooa.    x ^      of ^ oq
often intersected and oon rac ej by Selie however vast tracts (/extraordinary
S^6 Sh\feT i y S ht 'sotand the salubrity of the climate improve
fowalthe NortVest whilst investigations have shown that even beyond Peace
■H P—       .s of.he ^^^^yj^ H| I
a JU^Te^sivt "andThat Sefore tL trunk line is complete, branches will
bG TKlch VSeUcSoSCbe°nconstructed, at a comparatively small cost to meet
the luhementsof the Province of Manitoba equally well as a diversion of the mam
WfehTSld out as suggested, could not fail to be  mjunous to the wider
int^m°afnh?rfSmation obtained up to this time, it does not appear advisable
i'lorn au iny"lu\ mllrl   hp     aVi0 ^ the line as located m this district.    There,
howe^ t^tot^t&AZ wbich, after passing the south end of Lake
bowevei, appears   w ""       .   %1 - ' skirting the eastern  base of Eidmg Moun-
1^^^^^£^ « the located line in th§e valley
•5fS Theory is described as level and thickly wooded with spruce, poplar and.
somemaole     (Vide Eeport of April 10th, 1872 : Page 56.)   Small lakes surrounded
bvexSve mar hes are, however, found throughout this district
7   Th   1tee Suggested would be from 20 to 30 miles longer than the located line but
the oradiente would probably be good, and the works moderately light, and it would,
Seif fore! be somewhat less open to objection than the other deviations proposed.
T>nvin» the season of 1877, the writer travelled over the route from the Saskat-
chewS S the°?Slowhead P^ss, and the valleys of the •Thompson and the Praser to
Sfi Vn^i and closely examined the line at most of the difficult points of the
Srvey 1 complS'SS survey wasmade of that portion of the line from Tefe,
JaunTbafhe to Wrard Inlet, by which some of the difficulties and heavy work met
with in former surveys have been avoided or reduced, and the line generally much
Sw When the plans and profiles are competed and the quantities of the
ISSral classes of work got out, they will furnish better data for making an estimate-
S^0««SSoM!StiS. than ha/e hitherto been obtained. A description of this
survey by Mr. H. J. Cambie is appended.
At the outset, it became evident that there is no harbour at the mouth of the
qWn„ stable for a railway terminus. A fair anchorage is to be had in Gardena
Bay at thfsouthern end of Kennedy Island, but it would be extremely difficult, if
not impracticable, to reach that neighbourhood with a railway line.
Attention was therefore directed to Port Simpson, at the northern end of the
Tsimnsean Peninsula, a well known and excellent harbour, and on examination it
was found that there are no great obstacles to carrying a line along the north side of
the Peninsula to that point.
The distance is probably 10 miles longer than to Cardena Bay, but, of the two,
this harbour is far better adapted for commercial purposes, and the cost of constructing the railway would probably be much less. I
Engineering Features.
From Port Simpson, for about 35 miles along the north side of the Tsimpsean
Peninsula, and across the dividing ridge, 250 feet high, to the banks of the Skeena,
the works would be heavy.
In ascending the Skeena through the Cascade Mountains the works would
generally be heavy, but less so than by either the Fraser or Homathco valleys,
through the same chain of mountains.
For the first 35 miles the hills descend in.steep inclination to the water's edge,
and there are indications of snow slides at several points. The valley averages a mile
in breadth, but the river is thickly studded-with islands, and has channels washing
the base of tho mountains on either side.
Above this, for a distance of about 80 miles till the eastern face of the Cascade
range is reached, the valley narrows a little, but the side hills are not so steep. The
valley then opens out somewhat, and the works would be moderate for about 40 miles,
which distance would bring the line to the Forks of the Skeena, near which there is
an Indian Village named Kitma on the map.
The elevatiQn at this point is about 700 feet above sea level, and the gradients
.would be very easy throughout the whole distance from the seaboard.
The general course of the line up to this point has been north-east, but here it
leaves the Skeena and takes a south-east course at right angles to the former, ascending the valley of the Watsonquah, which for the first 27 miles is principally a canyon,
and would require stiff gradients and heavy works in places.
The remainder of the distance, via Lake Fraser to the valley of the Neehaco,
would have easy gradients with moderately light works. The summit altitude between the Skeena and Nechaco, is only 2,400 feet above sea level. In this valley a
junction is made with the previously surveyed liae from Yellowhead Pass. ( Vide
Eeport, February 8th, 1877, pages 274-276.)
Several attempts were made to find a pass leading directly from the Skeena to
Lake Francois, so as to avoid the angle between the former and the "Watsonquah, and
so greatly reduce the length of the line, but without success, as the space contained
within the angle is a compact mass of high mountains.
The distances from a common point at the mouth of the Chilacoh, near Fort
George, are as follows:— ,
To Port Simpson, approximately     430
To Bute Inlet, by measurement     289
To Dean Inlet, by measurement     231
Port Simpson is, however, much  nearer  to the  Asiatic coast, the distances to
Yokohama being as follows :—
Statute Miles.
From Port Simpson     4,450
From Kamsquot Harbour, Dean Inlet    4,720
From Waddington Harbour, Bute Inlet     4,836
Character of the soil, &c.
There is a small area of land in the neighbourhood of Port Simpson fit for cultivation. In the lower part of the Skeena, many of the islands with which it is
studded, consist of rich alluvial soil, but they are subject to overflow at high water.
For 15 or 20 miles below the Forks of the Skeena, and for some distance above that
point, the hills do not approach the river within two or three miles on either side.
The land is of fair quality, and covered with a light growth of poplar, birch and
spruce. There are some settlements at the Forks of the Skeena, where there was a
fine crop of oats, almost ripe, on the 31st July, and also abundant crops of potatoes,
carrots, cabbage, &c.
The slopes of the Watsonquah Valley throughout its length are, in part, prairie
and sustain a magnificent*growth of grass fit for pasture.   The roots of the grass 25
intertwine and form a sod, so that it would not be killed off by allowing cattle or
sheep to crop it closely, as bunch grass is.
This part of the country is, however, subject to summer frosts, which would
render it unfit, or at least unreliable, for purposes of agriculture.
A tree commonly called " yellow cypress " is found on the Lower Skeena, which
has great strength and density of fibre, and is said to be extremely durable, but tho
quantity is so limited that it may be said to have little commercial-valuo. The
same remark would apply to hemlock, though it was seen in some places of great
size. On most of the islands subject to overflow, very fine cotton wood trees are to be
found, which may be utilized at some future time for the same purpose to which
basswood and whitewood are applied in "the Province of Ontario.
Snow Fall.
Through the Cascade Mountains, the snow in places lies to a depth of seven or
eight feet on the level. From the Forks of the Skeena to the Eiver Fraser it is said
not to exceed three feet in depth, except on very rare occasions.
Marble was seen in beds of groat thickness, varying in color from purple to
white. Some ores of copper and lead were also observed, but not in veins of any
great thickness.
The highly favorable reports received respecting the character of the Peace
Eiver District, and the prospects held out of a satisfactory route being obtainable
through the Pine Eiver Pass, made it expedient to obtain further information in that
direction. Accordingly, the exploration was extended from a point in the neighbourhood of Lake Fraser, via the east end of Lake Stewart, to Fort McLeod on the
Parsnip or south branch of the Peace Eiver.
This route proved very unfavourable for railway construction; subsequently,
however, a good connecting line, though more circuitous, was found by following
down the Nechaco and the Stewart Valleys nearly to Fort George; thence in a
northerly direction up the valleys of the Fraser and Salmon ."Rivers, and across the
low water shed to Summit Lake, one of the sources of the Parsnip, which river was
then followed down to Fort McLeod.
Beyond* the existence of an Indian trail across the Eocky Mountains from Fort
McLeod to Fort St. John, very little was known; nor was any information obtainable in the neighbourhood respecting the Pine Eiver Pass, except through an old
Indian woman, who drew a sketch on the sand and explained it to the best of her
With the sc*mt information thus obtained, the exploration was continued from
Fort McLeod eastward: following up the valley of the Eiver Misinchinca, an affluent
of the Parsnip, till an altitude of 5,500 feet was reached without any appearance of a
Pass. On descending the river, a stream was discovered running into it from, the
north, about 35 miles above its confluence with the Parsnip. Following this up four
miles, it was found to issue from a small lake named Azuzetta. This proved to be
near the summit of the Pine Eiver Pass, its altitude being; estimated at 2.430 feet
above the level of the sea.
A little beyond this tho head waters of the Pine Eiver were struck, and the
river followed down eastward to tho Forks, a point reached by Mr. Selwyn with a
canoe from the Peace River in 1875. {Vide Geological Survey of Canada, Eeport of
Progress for 1875-76, pages 52 to 54.)
The exploration was continued 30 miles eastward of the Forks on to the Beaver
Plains, which lie between the Eocky Mountains and Peace Eiver.
Thus the question of tho feasibility of the Pine Eiver Pass is at last solved.
20;-4 The full Eeport has not yet been received, but the distance between Fort McLeod on
the west side of the mountains, and the Forks of Pine Eiver on the east side, is
roughly estimated at 90 miles.
The gradients are stated to be generally easy, with the exception of about four
miles near the summit of the Pass, where they will probably be about 60 feet to the
mile, and the works in the construction of a railway would be moderately light,
except for a length of about eight miles near the summit of the Pass, and a short
length at the Forks of Pine Eiver where they would be heavy.
The land in the Pine Eiver Valley, for 50 miles above the Forks, is described as
of excellent quality and well suited for agricultural and grazing purposes.
It should be observed that this fertile strip of land, lying nearly in the heart of
the Eocky Mountains, is an extension of the Beaver Plains which connect with the
great fertile belt stretching from Manitoba to and beyond the Peace Eiver.
Should the engineering character of a line by this route prove, on closer survey,
as favourable as reported, the results from this exploration will be amongst the most
important that have been obtained since the commencement of the surveys. Some of
the serious difficulties in crossing the Eocky Mountains will have disappeared, and
this formidable chain, once held to be insurmountable, and even now felt to be a grave
obstacle to railway enterprise, can then be passed with very favourable gradients,
and with works not exceeding in magnitude those generally required on other portions of the line.
In addition to the manifest advantages offered by this route, there is, further, the
important consideration that in the place of a bleak, sterile country, wherein settlement is an impossibility for hundreds of miles, the line would traverse an area of
remarkable fertility with but a few short intervals of country unfit for settlement.
This route also passes between the vast mineral districts of Omineca and Cariboo.
The extraordinary results of recent mining operations in the latter give promise,
when their resources are more fully developed—as they can only be with the assistance of direct railway communication—of rivalling, if not surpassing, the far-famed
gold and silver regions of the neighbouring States, which lie in the same mountain
Port Simpson may possibly be considered, at present, too far north for tho terminus of the Canadian Pacific Eailway, but it is important that the fact should be borne
in mind that, by virtue of low altitudes and consequent easy gradients, together with
the comparatively moderate character of the works required to reach it, this terminal
point offers advantages which would enable a Canadian line to defy competition for'
the trade with China and Japan, Port Simpson being fully 500 miles nearer to Yokohama than Holme's Harbour, at the mouth of Puget Sound, the proposed ultimate
terminus of the Northern Pacific Eailway, while the advantage it possesses over San
Francisco is correspondingly greater.
But the Pine Eiver Pass is not merely the key to Port Simpson; it affords comparatively easy communication with Bute Inlet, and all the intermediate inlets
between that point and Port Simpson, the valleys of the rivers leading to these inlets
radiating from the Stewart Valley, south-west of the Pass, with exceptional directness. Thus many of the difficulties in the way of reaching Bute Inlet and the inlets
to the north of it, via the Yellowhead Pass, can be avoided, and this probably without increasing the length of the line.
The distance from Livingstone on the located line, over the Yellowhead Pass to
the confluence of tho Chilacoh and Stewart Eivers, near Fort George, is 1,029 miles.
The distance between the same points via the Pine Eiver Pass, measures on the map
so nearly the same as the above, that a survey alone can determine the precise difference between the two routes. WOEKS OF CONSTRUCTION.
Commencing at Fort William, the line is erected to a point named "Falcon," a
distance of 137 miles, and is in operation to English Eiver, 113 miles. Between
Falcon and Keewatin, 160 miles, considerable clearing has been done, and a line
erected for a distance of 30 miles eastward from Keewatin. Between Keewatin and
Selkirk, 112 miles, the line is erected and in operation. It is expected that the connection between Fort William and Selkirk will be completed during the winter.
The line is erected and in operation between Selkirk and Livingstone, 271 miles,
but where it crosses certain lakes, ponds and marshes, a number of the poles require
to be more permanently secured. The branch line between Selkirk and Winnipeg,
a distance of 22 miles, is completed and in operation.
. The line is erected, and has been operated from Livingstone to a point in the
longitude of Fort Edmonton. There is still, however, a considerable amount of
clearing to be done, some inferior poles to be replaced, and some portions to be
altered.    At present, it is only in operation as far as Battleford.
On the western Section, between Edmonton and the existing line in British
Columbia, no portion of the line is completed, but a quantity of material has been
delivered at points along the route.
Fort William to English River 113 miles.
From Fort William, westward, the roadbed of the railway is graded continu
ously, and the bridges erected to the 77th mile; beyond this point there is an
aggregate of four miles more graded in detached portions. The rails are laid for a
distance of 41 miles, and of this about 36 miles are partially ballasted, and in fair
running order.
English River to Keewatin {Rat Portage,) 184 miles,
The line has been located for construction between these points, but is not under
Keewatin to Gross Lake, 36 miles.
From Keewatin, westward, for a distance of 25 miles, a considerable quantity of
excavation has been done, consisting chiefly of rock. From the 25th to the 36th
mile supplies are being delivered, but grading has not been commenced.
Gross Lake to Selkirk, 76 miles*
From Cross Lake, westward, for a distance of 11 miles, there has been no grading
done. From the 11th to the 43rd mile the grading is in various stages of progress,
17 miles of the distance, in detached portions, being ready for tracklaying. From
the 43rd to the 76th mile the grading and bridging are completed, and the roadbed is
in good condition for tracklaying. The rails are laid, but not ballasted, for a distance
of 6 miles eastward from Selkirk.
Pembina Branch.
The length of this branch is 84J- miles, extending south.wa.rd from the main line
at Selkirk to the International Boundary at Emerson. Between Selkirk and St.
Boniface, opposite Winnipeg, a distance of 22 miles has been graded during the past
summer, and the rails laid over the same, but it is not ballasted. From the 22nd to
the 29th mile, no grading has been done. From the 29th mile to Emerson, the
grading was completed in 1875, with the exception of the spaces left for bridges and
A ten stall engine house has been completed at Fort William, ENGINEERS' HOUSES.
At Fort William a good house has been built for the District Engineer, and
between that point and Selkirk,' 18 smaller houses have been erected for the use of
the Assistants on the line during construction, which, after the line is opened for
traffic, will come into use in connection with the stations.
The rock excavation is nearly completed. The timber for the gates will be procured during the winter. For description of this work, vide Eeport of 1876. Appendix,
p. 205-208,.
A schedule of contracts, with statement of expenditure upon the same during the
fiscal year ended 30th June, 1877, is appended.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Acting Engineer in Chief. c3
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Ottawa, 23rd April, 1878,
SrR,—On the 19th December last, I prepared a report giving a description of the
trial location survey of the line from Yellowhead Pass to Burrard Inlet, made during
the summer of 1877,
| The plans and profiles having since been completed, I am thereby enabled to
revise that report as follows:—
From the summit of the Yellowhead Pass to the 38th mile, westwai-d, the line
descends the valley of the Fraser Eiver, and, so far, it is common to all the routes
through British Columbia.
Point of divergence to Cranberry Lake, 38 to 58 miles.
The line continues to follow the valley of the Fraser, in a westerly direction, to
about the 46th mile, near Tete Jaune Cache, when it turns sharply to the south, up
the Cranberry Valley, to the lake of the same name. As laid out, it is nearly
level, till it enters the Cranberry Valley, and then falls gradually to the lake, by
which the descent is distributed over a long distance. For the first eight miles it is
high up on the mountain side, which is very steep; much curvature is required, and
the works are in rock, and very heavy.
For the remainder of the distance the curvature is easy, and the excavations are
in gravel, two miles being heavy and about ten light.
McLennan's Creek, 100 feet wide, is the only large stream to be crossed.
Cranberry Lake to North Thompson, 58 to 85 miles.
At the 58th mile, the line crosses Cranberry Lake, which is 4,000 feet wide,and from
5 to 7 feet deep,—thence continuing in a southerly direction, it crosses the Canoe Eiver,
a tributary of the Columbia, at the 61st mile, and ascending the valley of the Camp
Eiver, to the 71st mile, there passes over a summit 2,880 feet above sea level, and
enters the valley of the Albreda Lake and Eiver, whose waters flow, via the Thompson and Fraser Eivers, into the Strait of G-eorgia, about ten miles south of Burrard
Inlet, and the line follows the valleys of those rivers all the way to the last mentioned place. Surveys were made around both ends of Cranberry Lake,-but rejected
for economical reasons.   The work thence to Canoe Eiver, 3 miles, is heavy.
Between the 80th and 82nd miles the Albreda falls rapidly, and then flowing
gently, joins the Thompson at the 85th mile. In order to keep the gradient within
a maximum of 1 per 100, the line is located on steep side hill for about 4
miles, with numerous curves of 1,146 feet and 1,433 feet radius and heavy works.
If it were permitted to introduce a steeper gradient for a short distance, and so
keep the line in the bottom of the valley, it is probable that the curvature could be
eased and the works much reduced without lowering the efficiency of the line
Of the works on the remaining twenty miles, four may be classified as heavy and
sixteen ranging from medium to light.   The material is principally sand, gravel and"
North Thompson Valley,'85 to 102 miles.
Near the eighty-fifth mile the line crosses the North Thompson Eiver, 300 feet
wide, and then follows its right bank.   Being to a large extent on the hillside many i
curves were required, and four of 820 feet radius were used ;   but at such places the
gradients are trifling, and are throughout undulating and easy.
The work varies from medium to heavy, with the exception of one point near
the eighty-sixth mile, where the main mountain abuts on the river, causing it to be
excessively heavy.
Crib wharfing will be required at several places for protection against the
Thompson Eiver.
North Thompson Valley, 102 to 120 miles.
For the first four miles the line is on benches requiring heavy woi'k. From that
point forward it is on flats, and the work is light except at a few places where the
base of the hill is washed by the river, causing some rock spurs to be cut through.
The principal streams to be bridged are—Green Eiver, 75 feet, and Blue Eiver, 100 feet
wide.   The grades are light and undulating, and curvature easy.
North Thompson Valley, 120 to 130 miles.
This section is all on side hills and embraces the canyon of the North Thompson
four miles in length.    The works are generally in rock, and for six miles are very
heavy, with  two tunnels—one of 350 feet and one of 150 feet long.     Although  the
descent through the canyon is rapid, only 1J miles of 1 per 100 grade will be necessary.   The sharpest curves are 1,146 feet radius.   No large streams are met.
North Thompson Valley, 130 to 143 miles.
This section is on the flats adjoining the stretch of river known as Stillwater,
which is subject to overflow when the river rises in June or July, and will require
some protection. Two rock spurs and one of gravel have to be cut through; the rest
of the work is almost exclusively embankment, and not heavy. No large structures
are required.   The grades and curves are light.
North Thompson Valley, 143 to 16 J miles.
Six miles of this are on side hills and require heavy work, one-third of which is
in rock; the remaining 15 miles are on benches and flats, with medium work principally in gravel and boulders. Several places have to be protected against
encroachment of the river, and two points between the 160th and 162nd miles
against earth sliding from above in the Spring.
The grades are undulating with four stretches of one per 100, the longest of
which is 1J miles. To avoid tunneling a curve of 716 feet radius was used, on a
grade of 26 feet per mile. Mad Eiver, 60 feet wide, is the only stream of consequence
to be crossed.
North Thompson Valley continued tc Clearwater, 164 to lo2 miles.
Of this distance there are about four miles on steep side hill close to tho river
and require protection in many of the bays. There are about six miles of heavy
work, principally in sand, gravel and loose rock: the rest is light. Near the 171st
mile the line crosses the North Thompson to its eastern bank, which is then followed
to Kamloops. This crossing is 350 feet wide; and no other river of importance is
met with on this section. The grades are undulating and easy, and the curvature
is not serious. By crossing to the left bank of the Thompson, near the 155th mile,
the sliding clay near the 160th and 162nd miles, and some of the river protection
would be,avoided; but without a survey it is difficult to form an opinion as to which
line would be best.
From the summit of the Yellow Head Pass to Clearwater the valleys through
which the line is located are either in the Eocky Mountains proper or among some
of the outlying spurs of that range, which induces a large rainfall, and tho country
is therefore covered with a dense growth of timber, principally hemlock, cedar, fir
and spruce, with much underbrush. To the westward of the Clearwater, however,
there is a marked change in the climate and vegetation. The rainfall decreases
very much; the timber becomes scattered; bunch grass, sage and cactus appear on
the hill sides. 32
Clearwater to Indian Reserve, 182 to 206 miles.
Assiniboine Bluff and some other side hills abut on this part of the river, and
cause about eight miles of heavy work, a large proportion of which is in rock. ' The
other 16 miles may be classified as medium work. Curves and grades ate easy. No
large streams have to be crossed.
Indian Reserve to Head of Rapids, 206 to 220 miles.
Most of this distance is on the flats next the river, where work is light; 2J miles
of heavy work occur in clay, sand and gravel. Some river protection is required.
The only large stream to be bridged is the Barriere, 350 feet wide. The curves are
eai-y and grades light.
Head of Rapids to Kamloops, 220 to 255 miles.
This section includes two side hills, one five miles and the other 3J miles long, on
which the work is heavy. Tne rest varies from medium to light. Near the 254th
mile the South Thompson, 500 feet wide, is crossed close to its confluence with the
North Thompson.    The grades and curves are light.
Kambops to Savona's Ferry, 255 to 280 miles.
From Kamloops the line follows the Thompson Eiver for seven miles, with easy
work and gradients, to Kamloops Lake.
In following down the south shore of the lake, Cherry Creek Bluff and some,
others of bold irregular outline have to be passed, entailing ten tunnels of a total
length of 4,475 feet, principally in rock, all of it heavy—and eight miles of it excessively so. In passing the bluffs it was found necessary to use curves of 955 feet
radius, and gradients of 1 per 100 are of frequent occurrence. No large streams
have to be crossed.
Before the survey was commenced, the Thompson Eiver was examined from the
Clearwater to Kamloops, with a view to deciding whether it would be better to have
the line located on substantially the same line surveyed in 1872, which crossed the
Thompson Eiver a little above Clearwater, and continued on its left bank to Kamloops, or to follow down its right bank and cross the main Thompson Eiver between
Kamloops and Kamloops Lake.
The latter line would be the shorter of the two, but that advantage was considered to be more than counterbalanced by the increased length of bridging, and the
lin6 was therefore located down the left or eastern bank.
It is still, however, possible that a better line could bo had by continuing down
the right bank, keeping on the north side of Kamloops Lake and crossing the
Thompson Eiver a short distance below Savona's Ferry ; for, by adopting that line,
or a modification of it, the distance would be shortened about three miles. Battle
Bluff, on the north side of Kamloops Lake, would have to be encountered, which is
a formidable obstacle, but might, on a closer examination, prove to be even less so
than Cherry Creek Bluff, on the south side of the lake. The relative merits of the
two lines can only be decided by a survey.
Savona's Ferry to foot of Black Canyon, 208 to 308 miles.
Of this distance six miles may be classified as light work. All the rest is on the
face of benches adjacent to the Eiver Thompson, causing heavy work which requires
protection from wash at many points. Tho proportion of rock work, however, is
not large. Near tho 307th mile a ridge of rock forming a sharp bend in the river
necessitates a tunnel 550 feet in length. No large streams have to be crossed. Curves
of 1,146 feet radius were frequently used. The grades are undulating and short,
requiring in several instances 1 per 100.
Foot of Black Canyon to Spence's Bridge, 308 to 327 miles.
This section is partially similar in character to thatN last described. ^Through
nearly half of it the work is of a light character and the balance heavy, requiring
river protection at many places.   There is but little rock excavation. 33
rous. 955 feet radius being the sharpest.
The grades
The  curves are nan:
Near the 326th mile the Eiver Nicola, 300 feet wide, has to be bridged. The
Thompson River, throughout its entire length, is subject to freshets, which usually
occur between May and July, when it exceeds its winter level by 10 or 12 feet. But
as the ice breaks up and passes off in March or April, when tho water is still at a
low stage, no danger need be anticipated from this source.
Spence's Bridge to Lytton, 337 to 350 miles.
The valley of the Thompson Eiver for most of the distance is narrow, and the
line is located along tho face of the steep side hills, advantage being taken of benches
at a few points where available. The work may be classified as heavy, with a large
proportion in sand gravel and boulders. The Eiver Nicomen, 150 feet wide, and a
few rocky ravines, are the only places requiring structures of importance. Several
curves of 1,146 feet radius and two of 955 feet radius represent the heaviest curvature. The grades are undulating and easy, there being but one mile of 1 per 100.
The worst feature on this section occurs near the 333rd mile, and is known as tho
Mud Slide. It commences at a height of 1,900 feet above the line and about two
miles distant, and extends down the mountain side to the Thompson Eiver where it
terminates abruptly in a bank about 1,000 feet in length and 40 feet in height. At
the point where crossed by the line, it is 1,000 feet wide, and the average forward
movement per annum is about eight feet at the centre, decreasing gradually towards
the sides. It is apparently caused by springs near its source, which disappear into
the ground, reappearing, at intervals, causing the earth, which is strongly impregnated with alkali, to dissolve to the consistency of soap, thus forming a lubricator
between the bed-rock and the mass of earth above. By careful drainage of these
springs near their source, and divertingt hem elsewhere, the slide can doubtless be so
far stopped as to cause but little inconvenience.
Lytton to crossing of the River Fraser, 350 to 356 miles.
The line descends gently on sand and gravel benches, with heavy work and
much curvature for 5f miles. It then crosses over to the right bank of the Eiver
Fraser and continues down that side all the way to Burrard Inlet. The crossing of
the Fraser is 500 feet wide at formation level and about 120 feet above low water
mark, and can be bridged by one span of 275 feet, the abutments of which can be
founded on rock ledges several feet above the river at its low-water level.
Immediately after passing the river, and on the same straight line, there is a
tunnel 600 feet long through a rock bluff.
The dry country referred to as commencing near the 182nd mile continues to
this point in a greater or less degree. It is especially marked between Kamloops
and Spence's Bridge, where the country is sparsely timbered; and with the exception of bunch grass (which is peculiar to dry climates) nothing can be produced
without irrigation.
Grossing of River Fraser to Boston Bar, 356 to 379 miles.
The work is heavy throughout this section, being in rock for upwards of one-
third of the distance. The Na-ah-latch Eiver, 120 feet wide, and about twelve large
ravines have to be crossed. The curves are numerous, but none shorter than 1,146
feet radius. The grades undulate, and the maximum 1 per 100 has often to be
Boston Bar to Yale, 379 to 403 miles.
At Boston Bar the line enters the Canyons of the Eiver Fraser, which extend to
Yale. Five miles of the distance is over benches with medium work, and the rest
on a broken rocky side hill or along the face of almost perpendicular bluffs, entailing
heavy rock excavation; and 13 tunnels, the united length of which is about 5,650
feet (=1-07 miles), the longest being 1,550 feet. The largest streams on this section
are the Skuzsy, 80 feet, and the Spozzum, about 100 feet wide, and three other
20;-5 34
smaller streams. There is one curve near Yale of 820 feet radius on a level; with
this exception, 1,146 feet is the shortest radius used. The grades undulate, and there
are about seven miles of one per 100. Near the 384th mile is a ravine down which
snow sometimes slides, but as the grade is high, and provision has been made for a
bridge at this point, the snow can pass underneath without danger to the superstructure.
Yale to Sister of Rocks, 403 to 413 miles.
The work is moderate, being chiefly on gravel benches, with easy undulating
gradients, and a small percentage of curvature, five creeks have to be bridged which
vary in width from 40 to 100 feet.
Sister Rocks to Flat below Hope, 413 to 419 miles.
From Sister Eocks for a distance of six miles to a flat three miles below Hope,
the work is heavy, with a considerable number of sharp curves on undulating gradients principally 1 per 100. There are three short tunnels, amounting in the aggre*
gate to 1,275 feet.
Flat below Hope to Harrison River, 419 to 44,4c miles.
The work on this section is moderate, four-fifths being on benches and flats, and the
remainder along bluffy and-broken side hill, with one tunnel 230 feet in length ; one
creek 100 feet wide has to be crossed. At the time of high water the toe of embankments will be subject to flood at several points, but no apprehension need be felt as
to stability of line, as these banks will be of rock, and in no case subject to wash.
Harrison River to St. Mary's Mission 444 to 462 miles.
Eleven miles of this work varies from medium to heavy, with a small proportiqn
of rock; the other seven miles are on a low flat, liable to an overflow at extreme
flood of from three to twelve feet, entailing heavy works. The principal streams to
be bridged are the Harrison with a waterway of 900 feet, and an extreme depth of
27 feet, the Hatzic 1,400 feet wide varying from 6 to 14 feet in depth, and one other
stream 100 feet wide.   The grades are undulating and curves easy.
St. Mary's Mission to Pitt Meadows, 462 to 482 miles.
This section of the line is'generally close to the northern bank of the Fraser
Eiver, five miles of it may be classified as medium, the remaining distance heavy
with little rock. Stave Eiver, 1,000 feet wide and 20 feet deep at the centre with
Kanaka Creek, 400 feet wide, are the largest rivers to be crossed. The alignment and
grades are easy.
The country was explored for some distance back to ascertain the practicability
of carrying the*line in rear of some partially detached hills which abut on the river,
by which the line would be shortened considerably, and some extensive works of
bridging and protection avoided. It was found, however, that the hills above referred to were connected with the range of mountains in their roar by high ridges
which rendered it impossible to locate a line there with moderate grades.
Pitt Meadows to Port Moody, 482 to 493 miles.
This section includes the Pitt Meadows, which are four miles wide, and subject
to an overflow at extreme flood of about 7 feet in depth, requiring expensive works
of construction. The remainder of the work varies from medium to light, without
rock excavation, so far as known. Where the line crosses the Eiver Pitt it is 1,000
feet wide, and varies from 5 to 45 feet in depth. The Coquitlam, 200 feet wide, is the
only other stream of importance.   The curves are easy and the grades light.
The head of Port Moody is reached at 491J miles, but that'place being unsuited
for wharves owing to large mud flats which are left dry at low water for a considerable distance from the shore, the line was continued to the 493rd mile, where such
objections do not exist. To extend the line from Port Moody along the southern shore of Burrard Inlet
to Coal Harbour, which is just inside the entrance,the distance is 12 miles,and to English
Bay, three miles additional. On this section some rock spurs extend to the waters edge,
entailing some heavy cuttings.
The grades are easy and curves light, From the foregoing it will be observed
that 1 per 100 is the maximum gradient used, and that some of the heaviest works
met with in the exploratory surveys have been considerably reduced, the aggregate
length of tunnelling being now 2J miles. A considerable portion of these reductions,
however, have been effected by introducing more curvature and sharper curves at a
few points than had heretofore been employed, one of these being 716 feet radius, and
several 820 feet radius, but they were used only in localities, where the line is level
or the gradients of trifling ascent. It is probable that a revised location in many
places would show an improved line with a considerable reduction of the works.
In passing the Cascade Mountains on this route the ravine near the 384th mile,
already referred to, is the only place where snow is now known to slido from any
considerable height across the proposed line of railway, heavy drifts occur at various
points where the configuration of the ground favours their formation, and will entail
the construction of snow sheds. The hill sides were carefully examined for traces of
avalanches, but none were found, and this result was corroborated by the testimony
of people residing in the neighbourhood, who travel the road continually. No damage,
therefore, need be anticipated from this source. On that portion of the line, however,
in the Fraser Valley, above Tete Jauno Cache, the mountain sides are very steep and
are grooved at places by avalanches of snow, timber and loose rock.
Annexed is a table of gradients from the summit of Yellow Head Pass to Port
Moody, from which it will appear that 185 miles are practically level, a portion being
on grades of 5 feet per mile or less. Ascending eastward there are 66 miles of
gradients ranging from 43 to 52.80 feet per mile, 9 J miles of which are included in the
first 38 miles, and are, therefore, common to all routes through British Columbia.
Between the 38th mile and Port Moody the longest stretch of 1 per 100 or 52.80
feet per mile ascending eastward, is 3J miles, and the longest ascending westward is
2f miles.
Lest the large number of grades ascending westwards should convey a wrong
impression, a diagram has been prepared on a scale of 10 miles to the inch, horizontal,
and 500 feet vertical, by which it will be seen that these undulations are in many
cases so short that the impetus acquired before reaching the foot of the grade will
carry a train most of the way up it.
Bill of Works.
The accompanying bill of works includes everything considered necessary to
complete the railway to formation level, with iron bridges and durable structures
similar to those on the Intercolonial line.
Through that portion of the interior plateau before described as subject to a very
limited rainfall, the gravel cuttings have, in many instances, been estimated with
slopes of 1 to 1, which is considered sufficient to render them safe in the arid district
where they occur ;   the natural slopes of the same material in this district being I
much steeper.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Engineer in charge of Surveys in British Columbia.
Sandford Fleming, Esq., C.M.G-.,
Engineer-in-Chief Canadian Pacific Railway. 36 37
Bill of Works, Permanent Structures.
Description. Approximate
Clearing Acres	
Close cutting     "     	
Grubbing     |     	
Fencing Eods	
Cattle guards Pairs	
Solid rock excavation Cubic yards...
Loose I  |
Earth excavation  |
I    in stream diversions         |
I    in foundations         |
Under drains Lineal feet....
Masonry, first class , ....Cubic yards...
1       second class «         |
Paving  I
Masonry in retaining walls  |
Bridge spans, 275 feet clear Number	
Line tunnels, in rock,. % Lineal feet...
Stream tunnels, 12 feet diameter  "
I 8 I
I 6 " Hfi
Crib wharfing, 12 to 15 feet high	
I 6 to 10       |
Rip-rap   Cubic yards..
Timber in culverts, 16X12 Lineal feet...
I 16X 8	
I 16X 6	
I 14X12..	
I 12X 8	
Timber flatted to 12 inches	
I 6 inches	
Plank ...B'd Measure
Wrought iron in beam culverts Lbs	
I in trestles  §   	
Cast iron in culverts and trestles..   "   	
Deviations of waggon road .Miles 	
Bridge for1 1 	
Under crossings.
4 38
Ottawa, April 23rd, 1878.
No harbour was found at the mouth of the River Skeena suitable for a railway
Fort Essington, which is situated about 14 miles up the river, has been used by
small coasting steamers, but is liable to the following objections: —
About seven miles below that place the Skeena is divided by McGrath and
Kennedy Islands into three channels.
The northernmost is tortuous, and contains reefs of rock which unfit it for
navigation; the central is very shallow, while the southern has only about two
fathoms of water when tide is out. Were it even practicable to reach Port Essington with large vessels, it was ascertained from three traders who have each resided
at the mouth of the River Skeena for upwards of six years that that port is unsafe
as a harbour during the months of December, January and February, and sometimes
even longer, owing to the heavy masses of ice which drift up and down with the
This, ice is principally from an inlet named the Eckstall which branches from
the Skeena about half a mile above Port Essington and extends S.S.E. for about 40
miles into the mountains. It has numerous fiats when the tide is out; the water is
almost fresh, with very little current, and a rise and fall of tide exceeding 20 feet.
Heavy snow storms during cold weather in such a locality cause blocks of ice to
increase rapidly in thickness and attain such a size and weight as to endanger shipping and stop navigation.
There is fair anchorage in Card ena Bay at southern end of Kennedy Island, near
the mouth of the Skeena, but it would be impracticable to cross to that island with a
railway line and extremely difficult to reach a point on the mainland opposite the
Port Simpson, at the northern end of the Tsimpsean Peninsula, is well known,
and seems to answer all the requirements for a terminal harbour.
The distance to Port Simpson is probably eight miles greater than to a point on
the mainland opposite Cardena Bay, but the obstacles to the construction of a railway
lino are not so great, and the cost of building it would probably be less.
About 100 miles above Port Essington the Skeena Valley bends to the northward, and about 60 miles further up the Watsonquah, a large tributary, which rises
near Lake Francois, enters it from the south'. By following this valley a line can be
found to the sources of the Nechaco with easy gradients and a low summit. The
distance would be shortened about 70 miles if a pass could be found leading directly
east, from the bend before mentioned, 100 miles above Port Essington, instead of
following round the vallies of the Skeena and Watsonquah Rivers.
An exploration was made with that object, and several valleys were examined,
but without success. The southernmost and only direct pass has a summit more
than 6,000 feet above sea level. The more northern ones are not so high, but are
still impracticable.
The only available line, therefore, from Port Simpson towards Fort George must
follow the northern side of the Tsimpsean Peninsula till the valley of the Skeena is
reached, ascend that valley 150 miles to the Forks, and continue up the valley of its
tributary, the Watsonquah, 120 miles to the summit.   Thence it should descend the 11
valleys of the Intaquah, Nechaco and Stewart Rivers to the line already surveyed
near Fort George. The distance by this route to the summit of Yellow Head Pass,
would be about 690 miles.
Engineering Features.
From Port Simpson along the southern shore of Works Canal, and across the
dividing lidge—275 feet high—:to the banks of the Skeena, a distance of 35 miles,
the work would be expensive, being principally in rock.
For the next 40 miles the line would follow up the right or northern bank of the
Skeena. The valley varies from one and a half to two miles in width, but is intersected by a net work of channels which extend to the base of the hills on either side,
forming islands almost without number, and leaving no continuous flat between the
base of the hills and the river. The worjc would be very heavy, as the mountains
are lofty with steep rocky sides, which are swept by avalanches at about twelve different places. It is probable, however, that there would be little tunnelling required,
the water being shallow so that rock embankments could be built round thaface of
bluffs where such abut on the river.
Up to the Kitsilas Canon some 40 miles farther, the valley for perhaps half the
distance, continues to be of the sam§ character cut up by channels from one side to
the other, and the works would still be heavy and in rock, though the hill sides are
less steep. For the remainder, there are either low flats or benches between the hills
and the river where the works would be moderate.
There yet remain 30 miles before the loftier ranges of the Cascade Mountains
are passed, and the works on a part of that distance would be heavy, as the rocky
side hills descend to the river's bank. The larger part would be on benches, ranging
from 10 to 60 feot above the river, on which the works would be moderate.
Above this point the mountains recede from the river, and for the next 35 miles
the valley attains a considerable width. The benches next the river vary from 10 to
100 feet in height.   The works would be moderate and in many places light.
The description has now been carried to the forks of the Skeena, about 180 miles
from Port Simpson, and about 700 feet abovo sea level. The ascent is gradual for all
that distance, and the grades would be'easy, but require many undulations in order
to take advantage of the most favourable ground.
The river Watsonquah, from its mouth at the Forks up to the Indian Village of
Kyaghwilgate, a distance of 27 miles, is rapid, and runs most of the way through a
deep ravine, which at some places assumes the character of a canon. The works
would be generally heavy, but some exceedingly so with stiff gradients and sharp
curves would be required occasionally.
From Kyaghwilgate upwards the valley is favourable for railway construction,
and the works would be moderate with easy gradients for about 90 miles, where the
line passes over the summit between the waters of the rivers Watsonquah and Intah-
quah, tributaries respectively of the rivers Skeena and Fraser, which is distant from
Port Simpson about 300 miles, and at an estimated elevation above sea level ot 2,400
feet. Thence by the valleys of the Intahquah River and Fraser Lake to the junction
with the line previously surveyed from the Yellow Head Pass, in tho valley of the
Nechaco, the works would be moderate and grades easy.
Character of the Soil.
Round Port Simpson there is a limited area of land fit for cultivation, where tho
Indians have numerous potato gardens. Many of the Islands'in the lower part of
the Skeena are composed of rich alluvial soil, but they are usually overflowed at time
of freshet. For 15 or 20 miles below the Forks and some distance above that place,
the valley of the Skeena is several miles in width. The land is of fair quality and
co\ered with a light growth of poplar, birch and spruce.
Mr, Hankin, a trader at the Forks, had a very fine crop of oats which was
almost ripe on July 31st. He and others had at the same time some fine potatoes,
turnips, carrots and cabbage.   They had each purchased a short time previously a 1
small herd of cattle as an experiment, and proposed cutting hay in some of the natural
meadows for their sustenance during the winter.
The slopes of the Watsonquah throughout its entire length are in part prairie,
and sustain a magnificent growth of grass suitable for pasture. The roots intertwine
and form a sod, which would prevent its being killed off like bunch-grass in case
cattle or sheep were allowed to crop it closely.
This valley, however, is subject to frequent frosts during summer which render
it unfit for agriculture.
A tree commonly called Yellow Cypress, is found on the lower Skeena which
has great strength and density of fibre and is said to be extremely durable, but the quantity is limited. The same remark would apply to hemlock .and cedar, though
they were seen in some places of great size.
On most of the islands subject to overflow in the lower Skeena, there is a fine
growth of cottonwOod which may be utilized at some future time for the same
purposes to which basswood and whitewood are applied in the Province of Ontario.
Snow Fall
The Cascade Mountains, where the Skeena breaks through them, consists of two
principal ranges, which are separated by a valley extending from the Kitamat arm
of Gardner's inlet in a northerly direction to the River Naas. The snow fall in the
westernmost of these ranges sometimes reaches a depth of 10 feet or upwards, and
the avalanches before alluded to occur there. The other range commences a little
below the Kitsilas canon and extends about 30 miles above it; here the snow fall
would average 6 or 7 feet. From the Forks to Fraser Lake the snow rarely^exceeds
3 feet in depth.
Marble was seen in beds of great thickness near the mouth of the Skeena, and
again about 85 miles from the coast. Some ores of copper and lead were also observed,
but not in veins of any great thickness. APPENDIX D.
Office of the Engineer-in-Chief,
Ottawa, 29th March, 1878.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit a report on the results of the Surveys and
Explorations made in the Central and Western regions since the date of Mr. Fleming's
last report, January, 1877.
In that report, comparative estimates are given of the cost of construction of
several lines, branching out of a common route, from Yellowhead Pass, in the Rocky
Mountains, westward, and terminating at different points on the Pacific coast.
Of these several lines, only three are now under consideration; and in the report
above referred to, they are estimated as follows, vide pages 62 and 63 :—
Route No. 2.
Following the North Thompson, via Kamloops, to Lytton, and by the Lower
Fraser to Port Moody, Burrard Inlet, 493 miles.   Estimated cost of construction,
Route No. 6.
Following the Upper Fraser to Fort George, and by the Rivers Chilacoh, Nazco,
and East Homathco to Waddington Harbour, Bute Inlet, 546 miles. Estimated cost,
Route No. 8.
Via the Upper Fraser, Fort George, Rivers Chilacoh, Blackwater and Salmon to
Kamsquot Bay, Dern Inlet, 488 miles.   Estimated cost, $29,000,000.
These estimates, as stated in the Report, " include everything deemed necessary to
complete the grading of the Railway, with solid embankments, iron bridges, and,
generally, with durable structures equal in point of character to those on the Intercolonial line.
Also the cost of ballasting, permanent way, rolling stock, stations, shops,
snow sheds and fences, indeed all the supplemental expenses indispensible to the
construction and completion of a line similarly equipped and equal in efficiency and
permanency to the Intercolonial Railway, and basing the calculations of cost on
precisely the same data, the same value of material and the same average value of
skilled and unskilled labour, as obtained on that work."
There is great probability that these estimates will prove to be too low for the
class of work referred to, as the price of labour of all kinds rules much higher on the
Pacific slope than on the route of the Intercolonial Railway. The cost, however, can
be kept down by using stone and iron only for the larger structures, and culverts
under high embankments.    There is plenty of timber to be had alongside the line for
and renewing the lighter
structures when  necessary.     But, as th<
increase of cost, if any, would be proportionate on each route, these estimates were
believed to present as fair a comparison of the several routes as could be rarrived at
with the date then obtained.
20 j—6 42
These data, however, being imperfect, owing to the loss of plans and profiles of
a portion of the route No. 2, in the fire of 1874, which destroyed the Engineers' Offices
at Ottawa, it was deemed advisable to have a re-survey made, and during the past
season seven parties have Leon engaged in that work.
A very close location survey has been made, and every effort has been employed
in the endeavour to reduce the cost of construction to a minimum. By the introduction of a large number of exceptionally sharp curves a considerable quantity of
tunnelling and rock excavation has been avoided; further, the liae has been carried
at points so close to the rivers as to require protection works against floods, while the
inclination of the slopes, instead of being l| to 1, as on the other routes, has been
frequently increased to 1 to 1, in order to reduce the amount of excavation.
From the quantities thus obtained, an estimate of the cost of construction has
been made out at the same rates for labour and materials as on the other routes.
According to this estimate the comparative cost of the three lines would stand as
follows :M
Route No. 2.
From Yellowhead Pass via the Rivers Thompson and Fraser to Port Moody,
xcmA   T^1^±        /lOOl   -~«:i~«   .      ~^4-l~~~±~A    ^«^4-       <n>0/?  KAA AAA Ti?     „ 1   J.-.  TH 1"    L    T>	
Burrard Inlet, 493J miles ;  estimated cost
508 miles, $37,100,000
$36,500,000.   If carried to English Bay,
Route No. 6
From Yellowhead Pass by the Upper Fraser and the Rivers Chilacoh, Nazco and
East Homathco, to Waddington Harbour, Bute Inlet, 546 miles, $34,000,000.
Route No. 8.
From Yellowhead Pass by the Upper Frazer, and Rivers Chilacoh, Blackwater,
and Salmon, to Kamsquot Bay, Dean Inlet, 488 miles, $30,000,000.
In Mr. Fleming's estimates, an allowance was made for possible reductions in
locating for construction. On information since obtained, however, a revision Iris
been made, and the present estimates are believed to represent very fairly the comparative cost of construction on the several routes.
But, besides the cost of construction, other points bearing on the selection of the
route have to be considered.    The chief of these are:—
1st. The extent and quality of the lands fit for cultivation traversed or brought
within easy communication with the seaboard.
2nd. Access to the mineral districts, where mining is now in successful operation.
3rd. The character and geographical position of the harbour at the terminus, and
its fitness for commerce, both foreign and domestic.
These matters were discussed in a previous Report, but the enquiry was then
limited to the country lying between the Yellowhead Pass and certain points on the
Pacific Coast; during tho past season, however, additional information has been gained,
and a new route has been explored by another pass through the Rocky Mountains
which diverges from the existing line at a point a little to the west of Lake Winni-
pogoosis. Accompanying the present Report is a map shewing the several lines
referred to, and coloured to shew the general character of the soil in different regions,
as explained in the margin. The mileage, in former \ Reports, is carried on from
Fort William (Lake Superior) to Yellowhead Pass, and for convenience of reference,
the same arrangement is adopted here.
I 43
Southern Route {No. 2 of former Reports) vid Yellowhead Pass to Port Moody,
Burrard Inlet.
The line located for construction crosses the Red River at Selkirk, 410 miles
from the starting point at Fort William, thence it takes a north-west course and
continues in an almost direct line to Northcote— 629th mile—at the north end of Duck
Mountain. This is the point at which the line by the Pine River Pass would
diverge. Thence the located line takes a westerly course up the valley of Swan River,
to Livingstone, a few miles north of Fort Pelly.
Up to Doyle Station at the 673rd mile, the line has passed through what has
been termed the fertile or wheat growing belt, shewn by buff colour on the map,
stretching away to the north-west, beyond the Peace River. It now crosses a tract of
soil lighter and poorer, but yet, in parts, suitable for settlement up to the 815th
Between Humboldt and Baitleford—815th to 961st mile—the line touches the
northern limit of the Great Plains (coloured mauve) which stretch away southward to
the International Boundary, and are principally prairie. The soil in parts is alkaline and saline, in others fit for the plough and for pasture, but owing to the want
of wood and good water, settlement would be practicable onlj at intervals. Indeed,
throughout the whole of this region, the surface water is bad and scarce, except in
the early spring.
Between these plains and the fertile lands to the north of the Saskatchewan,
there is a region of prairie, (coloured green on tho map), interspersed with poplar
copse, on a loamy and sandy soil, producing good crops of grass and wild pea-vine;
the surface water being generally abundant. A fair proportion of this is suitable
for agriculture and settlement.
The line enters this district a little to the west of Battleford, and reaches its
western boundary about the 1130th mile. In this distance of 165 miles there is
probably about an equal division of poor and sandy soil and of land fit for settlement.
From the 1130th mile to tho crossing of the River Pembina at the 1267th mile the
soil is a heavy, rich loam, suitable for wheat growing, with very luxuriant vegetation, nearly identical with that of Ontario, abounding with streams and fresh water
lakes, and clothed with a continuous forest of poplar and spruce. In places, the
country is swampy, but it can be drained without difficulty.
At the River Pembina, rock is first seen on the surface—it is a sandstone, with
coal seams underlying. Between this point and the Yellowhead Pass- -1267th to 1453rd
mile—the altitude is generally over 3,000 feet above sea level; the soil is cold and
wet, with numerous muskegs; it is densely covered with poplar, occasional belts of
spruce being interspersed with strips of Banksian pine on the gravelly ridges. This
tract is unfit for settlement.
The summit of the Yellowhead Pass—altitude 3,720 feet—is the eastern boundary of British Columbia ; and as this Province has formed a separate division of
the surveys, a new mileage is commenced from that point to the Pacific coast.
From Yellowhead Pass to a point within a few miles of tho confluence of the
two branches of the Thompson at Kamloops—about 235 miles—the country is unfit
for settlement. The Upper Fraser, Albreda, and Thompson Rivers flow through
narrow, deep, and rock-bound valleys, with scarcely an acre of land fit for cultivation;
though in some parts they are well wooded with spruce and cedar of large size. The
Cariboo gold mines lie at no very great distance to the north-west of this part of the
route; but a high and impassable mountain range intervenes.
At Kamloops, the line is fairly on the elevated, undulating, plateau between the
Rocky and Cascade Mountains;—a belt, varying from 80 to 160 miles in breadth, and
stretching from the International Boundary line, on the south, across the Province
in a north-westerly direction to the watershed of the continent, between the 54th
and 55th parallel of north latitude.
This belt is generally on a volcanic formation, and varies from 3,000 to 4,000
feet abov 3 the level of the sea; it has been deeply furrowed by watercourses; and u
the altitudes of the main valleys range from 1,000 to 2,000 feet above the sea. On
the south-east portion there is little rainfall, but the soil, though dry, is rich, and
produces luxuriant crops of bunch-grass, which is very nutritious, and ripens, as it
stands, into natural hay. The snow in this region rarely reaches over two feet in
depth, and cattle thrive on the bunch-grass during the winter, very seldom requiring
any other feed.
The bunch-grass extends up to about the 53rd parallel of latitude, beyond which
the rainfall increases, and blue-joint and other kindred grasses take the place of the
In the bottom lands of the valleys and on tho benches adjoining, the soil is very
rich, producing excellent wheat and other cereals, as well as vegetables. These lands,
however, are scattered throughout the plateau in isolated patches, and bear a very
small proportion to the whole area. They generally require irrigation, which can
only be obtained to a limited extent.
The Central, or Bute Inlet route, branches out of the one under consideration
near Tete Jaune Cache; and a line drawn from this point, so as to make an equal
division of territory between them, would cross the Cariboo road near, the east end
of Lac La Hache and the. River Fraser, near the mouth of Canoe Creek.
This would give a breadth of fully sixty miles ou the north side of the Southern
line, and about one hundred miles on the south of it, embracing an area of about
15,000 square miles.
Notwithstanding the advantages of its position, as being on the route to the
gold mines, both from the coast and from the United States, the population of this
district is but small, although most of the lands available have been taken up.
By the construction of a railway to the coast a considerable impetus would, no
doubt, be given to the cultivation of cereals, which, at present find a limited market
at the centres of the mining industries. This is however, pre-eminently a grazing
country, so that it seems probable that horses, cattlo and sheep would practically
continue to be, as now, the chief or only exports of the district. These, in a free grass
country, transport themselves at a cheaper rate than is possible by railway.
The district is already fairly supplied with roads and good cattle trails, and in
Appendix F, page 117 of the Engineer-in-Chief's Report of 1877, it is shown how the
water communication can, at small cost,, be rendered available, from Lake
Kamloops to Okanagan.
From Savonas' Ferry, at the foot of Lake Kamloops, to Yale, the distance by the
line surveyed for the railway is one hundred and twenty-three miles.
It is a few miles more by the waggon road, and it is evident that if this road
were improved and developed, when required, into some inexpensivo-fa'nd of railway,
it would serve this district nearly as well as a line brought across tho Rocky
Mountains at great cost.
Spence's Bridge, on the River Thompson, is, by the located line, three hundred
and twenty-seven miles from the summit of Yellowhead Pass; thence down the
Rivers Thompson and Fraser, nearly to Fort Hope, a distance little short of one
hundred miles, the valley is a mere gorge in the mountains, with no land, save a few
garden patches, fit for cultivation, and only scant pasturage on the hill sides; the
few houses on the road are only way-stations on the road to Cariboo.
Below Hope the valley begins to open up, and it becomes several miles -wide, in
places, before New Westminster is reached. The bottom flats are generally low and
partly prairie land ; the river meandering through them is occasionally divided into
channels or sloughs, forming numerous islands; these are thicldy clothed with
cotton-wood, vine, maple, willow and other woods. There is good land on the
higher benches, though but little wheat is grown in the district. The reasons for
this, as given by the farmers, are:—The uncertainty of tbp weather during the harvest
season, the alternate rains and hot sunshine causing tho grain to grow in the ear
before it can be housed ; and, further, that they find it more profitable to raise stock,
coarse grains, hay, and fruit, and import their flour than to spend money in producing wheat, which, at best, would prove to b<? t>qfc an Bi^ll arti<?l§.    Jh$ cattle are
\|| 45
reared for the markets of New Westminster and Victoria; the hay and oats are sent
to the logging camps, and the fruit to the upper country.
The total area of land in the valley is estimated at a little over 500,000 acres: *
of this but* a very small part is under cultivation, and it will require much labour and
expense before any extensive increase can bo obtained. The great bulk of the land
that could be most easily brought under cultivation, lies on the estuary of the river
below the point where the line leaves tho valley for Burrard Inlet; and most of the
balance is on the opposite side of the river to that on which the line is located. Much
of this land is subject to overflow from the floods of the river and from high tides in.
the Strait.
Taken altogether, this is a very fine district, and in course of time will have a
considerable population ; but it is obvious that the reclamation of the low lying lands
is not to be brought about by a railway, but by means of dykes, cm ban kments, pumping
machinery and such other works and appliances as have been successfully used on
lands in a similar condition.
Steamboats already ply between New Westminster and Yale (90 miles) twice a
week each way, and would do so daily if there were sufficient traffic. These steamers
step at any point on the river where desired for the collection of passengers or freight,
however limited in number or quantity; a degree of accommodation greater than
could be afforded by any railway. -The amount of traffic which the valley would
supply to a railway would be but limited, as its main products go seawards, and
four-fifths of the traffic, both of passengers and freight, which passes up into the interior
is in connection with the Cariboo Gold Mines, for the necessities of whose development
there must, and will ultimately, be found a shorter and better route from some point
on the coast further north. On the whole it does not appear that the prospects of
a railway on this route are encouraging.
The distance from Fort William (Lake Superior) to Port Moody, at the head of
the south arm of Burrard Inlet is 1,946 miles, and, if carried to English Bay, 1,961
Up to Northcote, 629 miles, the line is common to all the proposed routes westward.
Between this and the Pembina River—1,267 miles—the soil is variable, and, as above
described, only in part fit for settlement.
From the Pembina River across the Rocky Mountains, to a point near Kamloops—
420 miles—is totally unfit for settlement. There is another length of 100 miles in the
canyons of the Thompson and Fraser in a similar condition. So that from the River
Pembina, on the east side of the Rocky Mountains, to the proposed terminus at
Port Moody, a distance of 679 miles, there are 520 mile3 on which there is no land
fit for settlement-, and on the balance most of the land of any value is taken up ; in
all this distance, therefore, there will scarcely be an-acre within 60 to 100 miles of the
lino at the disposal of the Government for railway purposes. The works, moreover,
will be generally heavy and costly.
Central Line, via Yellowhead Pass, to Waddington Harbour, Bute Inlet.
This line diverges from that last described at a point thirty-eight miles west, of
the summit of Yellowhead Pass, and follows the Valley of the Eraser down to Grand
Rapids, 181 miles from the Pass. Here the line leaves the Fraser and turns across
the north end of the Cariboo Mountain Range, crossing Bear River at the 206th
mile. This river rises near Barkerville, the chief town of the Gold Mining District,
about eighty to eighty-five miles from the point of crossing: tho valley affording
facilities for the construction of a road. The line descends to the Fraser Valley on
the west side of the Cariboo Range, by the Willow River, and crosses the Fraser at
the 228th mile.   The lower part of the Willow River Valley, for a length of tourtcen
Calculated from the map issued by the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works. 46
miles, is about three-quarters of a mile wide, the soil being good both for agriculture
and pasture; the elevation is 2,000 feet above the level of the sea. This is the first
land of any extent fit for cultivation met with since leaving Yellowhead Pass.
The line then crosses some rough ground on the right bank of the Fraser, and
reaches the Valley of the Stewart River at the 246th mile, about nine miles west of
Fort George. At this point it is fairly on the elevated plateau, between the Rocky
and Cascade Mountains, already described on the other route; in this district the plateau
is of low altitude, ranging from 2,000 to 2,500 feet above the level of tho sea. Tho
line crosses it in a south-westerly direction by a series of valleys, rising gradually in
altitude to the foot hills of the Cascade Mountains, passing through the latter by
the Valley of the Homathco, to the head of Bute Inlet; the length from Yellowhead
Pass being 646 miles.
The portion of the grass region thus crossed is fully as extensive as that on the
southern route, and is in part similar in character. Towards the north, however,
the rain-fall is sufficient, without irrigation, and there is more woodland and soil fit
for the plough.
Still, in proportion to the whole, the quantity of arable land is but small, though
whatever there is, is available for railway purposes and settlement with the exception of the immediate neighbourhood of the Cariboo Mines and the approaches
to them, where a population, about equal to that which would bo served by the other
route, is already located. It should be explained that the waggon road and the accompanying settlements, followed the course of gold discovery up the Valleys of the Rivers
Fraser and Thompson to Cariboo; and as the supply of farm and other produce was
obtainable in sufficient quantity from the settlements on the existing road, no farther
extension has as yet been made of road or settlements northward of that district. The
distance of the mines from the coast by the present road was long ago felt to be so
serious an inconvenience that a waggon road from Bute Inlet to the mouth of Ques-
nelle was projected by the late Mr. Waddington, and 40 miles of a horse trail were
actually constructed when .a stop was put to the work through the massacre, by the
Indians, of the men engaged in its construction. The proposed railway line follows
this route generally, passing within 48 miles of Quesnelle.
On the whole, this route appears much more favourable than the other. As a
colonization line it would bring a large quantity of land into cultivation, and afford
much better accommodation to the gold mining district of Cariboo, where the recent
developments in quartz mining give promise of a future of extraordinary prosperity.
The A or them Route, via Yellow Head Pass, to Kamsquot Bay, Dean Inlet.
This line is identical with the last, to a point in the Chilacoh Valley, 280 miles
from Yellow Head Pass, where it diverges to a more we>terly course, striking the
Salmon River at the entrance to the Cascade Mountains, and following the same
through the Mountains to Kamsquot Bay.
The length from Yellow Head Pass is 488 miles, being 58 miles shorter than tho
last line. This is undoubtedly the shortest practicable line across the Continent
from Red River to the Pacific, and can be constructed at the least cost; it is also on
the direct route to the coast of China. Both of these last two routes have, however,
the same serious drawback as the southern line—the great length of sterile country
in crossing the Rocky Mountains, and the considerable stretches of indifferent land
which lie to the east of them. This objection was felt so sttongly, that the permission of the Minister was obtained last summer to extend the projected exploration from
the Skeena to Fort George, eastward, through the Pine River Pass, as far as might be
possible during the season. An examination was also made of a portion of that route
east of the mountains.   The following are the results obtained.
Route by the Fine River Pass to Bute and Dean Inlets.
This route diverges from the located line near Northcote, at the north end of
Puck Mountains, 629 miles from Fort William, Lake^ Superior, from which point, 4fi
following up the Valley of the Swan River about 30 miles, it would take a course as
direct as might be practicable, to a selected crossing of the River Saskatchewan,
near Fort a la Corne, passing on the way the head waters of Red Deer River, and the
Porcupine Hills.
The land in the Valley of Swan River is reported by the Surveyors to be very
rich and of considerable extent; the soil on the Basquia Hills is also reported good ;
while the belt between these hills and the Saskatchewan, extending from the Prince
Albert settlement, above the Grand Forks, down to the Old Fort, a distance of over
90 miles, is exceedingly rich land.
From the Saskatchewan, the line would be nearly direct to the foot of the Lesser
Slave Lake, skirting the north side of the Moose Hills, on the water shed of the
Beaver River and passing the south end of Lac La Biche or Red Deer Lake. Low
ranges of hills skirt the north bank of the Saskatchewan from a point a few miles
above Fort Carleton nearly to Victoria; these are partially covered with groves of
aspen and willow; the soil is generally light, but is well supplied with streams of
clear water; the pasturage is good, especially in the neighbourhood of Fort Pitt.
Between these hills and the river the soil is generally sandy, and there are
numerous salt or alkaline lakes; but immediately north of the hills, the soil is stated
by the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company, to be very good.
There are numerous fresh water lakes, abounding in white fish; but also numerous muskegs or swamps that will require draining.
The writer drove out 16 miles north-west of Carleton, and found the character of
the country gradually improving, as he had been led to expect from the description of it
given by Mr. Clarke, the Chief Factor at the Fort, who has spent many years in this district. An excursion was also made from Fort Pitt to Lac la Biche. The south slope of the
Moose Hills, where the trail runs, is covered with a dense grove of aspen; but in
crossing the west end of these hills, a magnificent prospect opened out. Stretching away
to the east, north and west, as far as the eye could reach, there appeared a vast, undulating, grassy plain, rising in places into softly rounded hills, dotted and intersected
with groves and belts of aspen mixed with spruce and tamarac and clumps of willows.
This appears to have been formerly forest, which has probably been destroyed by
fire, decayed trunks of large trees being found on the hill sides. In the hollows,
however, there is sufficient timber left for railway and domestic purposes. The
altitude, taken at several points, averages about 1,700 feet above the sea level.
During three days, whenever the trail was left, great difficulty was found in
forcing a way through thick masses of grass and pea-vine, three to four feet in
height, and sometimes reaching nearly to the horses' backs. As Lac la Biche
was neared, the country became more wooded, and the track lay through long
glades between belts of poplar and willows, passing a number of small fresh water
There is a Roman Catholic Mission at Lac la Biche, where they produce excellent
wheat, barley, oats and all kinds of vegetables ; there are about 40 families
settled round the Lake, chiefly half-breeds, engaged in the fur trade, and only cultivating enough of cereals and vegetables for their own use.
Between this point and the Lesser Slave Lake, the line crosses tho River
Athabaska. This country has.not been explored for the railway, but from information gathered at the Hudson's Bay Post and the Mission, it appears to be rather rough
and broken, with low hills and muskegs, but possessing intervals of good land.
The line would follow either the south or north shore of Lesser Slave Lake, as
might be determined by the Surveys. After passing that lake, it enters on a vast
region of great fertility, extending far northward on both sides of the Peace River,
and westward to Pine River, which falls into the Peace near Fort St. John.
By this route, what is termed the fertile belt, or wheat-producing country,
extends nearly three hundred miles farther to the west before the Rocky Mountains
are reached than by the route over the Yellowhead Pass; a corresponding reduction
being made in the breadth of sterile country to be crossed in the Rocky Mountain
district. ii
In crossing the Peace River country, the line is two degrees farther north than
on the parallel district traversed by the line to the Yellowhead Pass; but the
climafe is much milder, horses wintering out on the natural pastures.
This may be due to several causes, the chief being the difference of altitude
which is here only about one-half that on the approach to the Rocky Mountains by the
other line ; probably, also, the warm currents of air from the Pacific ocean produce a
favourable effect.      Our surveys show that tho Northern Passes in the Cascade and
Rocky Mountains are less than 2,500 feet above the level of the sea.
The valley of Pino River, from the Lower Forks, for 50 miles up, is one to two
miles wide; the soil is good and suitable for agriculture and pasture.
This point is within 25 miles of Lake Azuzetta, near the summit, which is
estimated at 2,440 feet above the sea level.
Here the valley is narrowed to half a mile, and is rather rough for about four miles
on the east side. On the west side the line would follow the narrow, rocky valley of
the Atunachi, about four miles, to wheie it joins the valley of the Misinchinca. The
latter is a fine flat valley, one to two miles in breadth, thickly wooded and containing
a considerable quantity of land fit for agriculture and pasture.
The line would follow down this to its confluence with the Parsnip, ol south
branch of Peace River, which at this point is about 800 feet wide, and 5 to 8 feet
deep, with a current of 3J miles per hour. Crossing this and. a'tongue or high
bench, in about eight miles the line would strike Lake Tutia, the lowest in a chain
of Lakes, in the yalley of the Chu-ca-ca or Crooked River, running nearly due»north
into the Parsnip. At Lake McLeod the line is within 50 miles of Germansen Creek,
in the Ominica Gold District.
The line would follow up this valley, nearly south, for about 70 miles, to the
head of Summit Lake, near the divide or watershed of the continent, which, at this
point, is a swampy flat only 2,160 feet above the level of the sea; the distance being
about three miles acioss to the Salmon River, which the line follows to a point near
the Fraser, there joining the located line from the Yellow Head Pass.
The distance from the point where the two routes diverge at Northcote, by the
Yellow Head Pass, to where tley re-unite, is .1,081 miles.
By the Pine River route it measures a little more on the map, but there will,
probably, be less curvature, and the apparent distance may possibly be reduced.
Cost of Construction.
It is difficult to form even an approximate estimate of the cost of construction
without surveys, but the explorations across the Rocky Mountains show that a
very great reduction can be made on the rock and earth excavations by the lino
through Pine River Pass as compared with the line by the Yellow Head Pass. . On
the Summit there will be about eight miles of heavy work; and also on the east
side, in crossing valleys of various mountain streams some heavy bridging will be
required; but it is not expected that any rock cuttings or tunnelling will be necessary.
On the west side of the pass to the point of junction of the two lines the works will
be very light, and the cost probably not more than half that on the other line, mile,
for mile.
The bridging on both lines will be rather heavy in the central or prairie regio n
and on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, but the number of very large
structures will be much greater on the southern than on the northern route.
We have sections of all tho large rivers and valleys on the northern route, except
Smoky River, which runs in a deep valley, near wiiere it joins the Peace River, here
700 feet below the level of the surrounding country.
The valleys of the streams falling into the Peace River, however, decrease in
depth towards the Rocky Mountains, and it has been ascertained that by following a
valley on the east side, with an easy gradient, the Smoky River can be crossed at a low
level, whilst a similar means of rising to the level of the .plain on the west side will
probably be found. 49
On the whole, the cost of the works of construction on this route may be safely
estimated, so far as our examination extends, as very considerably below that on the
other route.
The gradients on all the three routes may be considered favourable for a mountainous country, the maximum being 1 per 100 or 52.80 feet per mile, with the
exception of a portion of the Bute and Dean Inlet routes, in passing through the
Cascade Mountains, where the gradients vary from 60 to 110 feet per mile. But as
these stiff gradients are all concentrated within a space of 30 miles on each route,
the extra tractive power required for heavy loads would not be very costly, and
would be compensated for in the easier gradients after the high plateau is reached;
the gradients, moreover, are falling in the direction of the heavy traffic.
It is unnecessary here to analyse the gradients on each line ; but on the whole it
is not considered that there would be any appreciable increase in the cost of working
the traffic on these two latter routes on account of the gradients. In connection with
this point, it may be here stated that the Central Pacific Railroad has a continuous
stretch of about 90 miles, with gradients rising 66 feet to 105 feet per mile.
The Baltimore and Ohio has gradients of 116 feet per mile, which are worked without
Harbours at the different Termini.
The selection of a harbour for the terminus of the .Railway engaged much of
the writer's attention during the four years he had special charge of the surveys on
the Pacific Coast, Every harbour was examined with the assistance of the
Admiralty charts; and from conversations on the subject with officers of the Navy
and of the Hudson's Bay Company, who have navigated these waters for years, much
information was gained and communicated to the Engineer-in-Chief from time to
From the information thus obtained, it is the strong opinion of the writer that
by reason of the difficulty of access from the ocean, there is really no harbour on
the coast of the mainland of British Columbia, with the exception of Port Simpson,
eligibly situated for purposes of foreign commerce, and that in this respect, at any
rate, they are all inferior to the American Port, known as Holmes' Harbour, at the
entrance to Puget Sound, to which it is probable that more than one American
railway will be extended within a few years.
On the coast of Vancouver Island, however, there are several harbours better
situated for commerce with Asia than any of the American harbours.
Of the mainland harbours, Port Simpson is easily approached from the ocean,
and is the nearest to the coast of Asia of any harbour in British Columbia, whilst
it is fully 500 miles nearer to Yokohama than Holmes' Harbour in Puget Sound.
It has also been shown that the Railway could be extended to it without much
difficulty from a point in the surveyed line, west of the Rocky Mountains, to Bute
Inlet; the line, however, would be 140 miles longer.—( Vide Report of the Minister of
Public Works for 1877, Appendix, page 186.)
It should, however, be taken into consideration that the Japan current
flows south-eastward, parallel with the coast ; consequently, on the voyage
from China, eastward, the current would be favourable, but on the outward
voyage it would be the reverse. The steamers from San Francisco take the southern
route out, following the bend of the current, though the distance is thereby greatly
lengthened, but they return by the northern route.
Port Simpson is also too remote from the present industrial centres of the
Province, and can only be looked upon as a station to which the Railway may ultimately be extended if ever the competition for the trade with China and Japan should
demand it.
20/—7 56
Kamsquot Bay, Dean Inlet, is the next harbour for consideration. It has
been shewn that the line to this point is the shortest that has been found
across the continent, and its construction is.estimated to cost $4,000,000 less than any
other that we have surveyed; it also lies very nearly on the direct route to the coast
of Japan and China. It is situated about 7 miles from the head of Dean Inlet, on the
south-east side, being a bay formed by a projecting point of the shore on one side
and a spit of land, well wooded, formed by the detritus brought down by the Kamsquot or Salmon River, on the other.
It is well sheltered from every windj and has nearly two miles of frontage
convenient for the construction of wharves and slips.
At a short distance from the beach, however, the bottom slopes rapidly down
into deep water, leaving but a narrow belt for anchorage. Artificial moorings would
therefore, have to be provided to meet the requirements of a large fleet.
The inlet and channels leading to Millbank Sound, by which vessels would
approach from the ocean, are from one to two miles wide, very deep and freofrom
sunken rocks, affording good navigation for steamers. The distance to Millbank
Sound is about 100 miles, over which sailing vessels would have to be towed. It is,
however, a serious objection that there are no large bays or harbours near where
sailing vessels could anchor if necessary. Several of the naval officers object to all
these long inlets, on account of fogs. Our own experience has been that rain and
mist drifting along the mountain sides are more prevalent in the northern inlets,
and that the southern inlets, where the Straits are wider, are more subject to dead
fogs. In severe winters ice sometimes forms from the head of Dean Inlet down to
Kamsquot Bay, but not below it.
There is another serious objection to Kamsquot Bay as a present terminus. It
cannot be reached from the settled portions of the Province, either on the mainland
or Vancouver Island, without crossing Queen Charlotte Sound, which involves an
exposure for a distance of 30 to 40 miles to the full swell of the Pacific Ocean, off a
coast which, in a western gale, is well known as exceptionally dangerous.
This terminus, however, would be very convenient for the Queen Charlotte
Islands, which are known to contain a large amount of mineral wealth, with some
tracts well suited for agriculture.
Should the objections against this point as a terminus prevail, then the choice
on the mainland will be limited to Waddington Harbour, Bute Inlet and Port
Moody, or some other point on Burrard Inlet.
Waddington Harbour is formed by the silt and detritus brought down from the
mountains by tho River Homathco on the north, and the Southgate on the east. It
stretches across the head of the Inlet about two miles. The anchorage in 4 to 18
fathoms,, varies from 200 yards to half a mile in breadth ; outside of this the bank
slopes rapidly down into very deep water. The best anchorage is at the north-east
angle, where it is widest and best sheltered.
It is obvious that this is not a suitable harbour for a large fleet; it could,
however, be made a good port by the construction of a pier, together with slips and
■wharves; there is abundance of timber and other requisite materials for such work
close at hand.
Bute Inlet is about 45 miles long and two miles wide, it is completely shut in
by high mountains on each side and by islands lying across its entrance, and is not
exposed to gales; the channel by which it is entered is designated "Calm Channel |
on the Admiralty chart.
Port Moody, at the head of the south arm of Burrard Inlet, is a snug, well
sheltered harbour 2J miles long, and from a third to half a mile wide, with good
anchorage; the hills enclosing it rise steeply from the water's edge to a height of
200 to 500 feet. There is no site for a town except a flat at the upper end, partly
covered at high tide.
At Coal Harbour, just inside the first narrows, there is fair anchorage, but very
limited in extent. There is a considerable area of flat land adjoining, suitable for a
town site. 51
This arm of Burrard Inlet is about 15 miles long; the channel at the entrance is
not over 200 yards wide, and the ordinary tidal current is four to eight knots an
hour.   In spring tides it is more rapid.
About half way up the Inlet are the second narrows, where the current is three
to seven knots an hour.
English Bay, at the entrance to the Inlet is free from these inconveniences, it has
a considerable extent of good anchorage, and flat land adjoining, suitable for the site of a
large commercial city .-This Bay, however, is exposed to gales from the west, across a
stretch of at least 40 miles of open water, being only partially protected by a spit of land
called Spanish Bank which is covered at high water; it would consequently require
extensive works to make it a safe harbour. There are also other difficulties more or
less serious, Sand-banks lie near its approach, and the neighbourhood is notoriously
subject to fogs.
But the most serious difficulty of all, is one that affects alike both Bute and Burrard
Inlets. The passage to the ocean by the north and south end of Vancouver Island is
obstructed by a group of Islands, stretching right across the strait between Vancouver
Island and the mainland.
The channels between these Islands are in places narrow and crooked, and
subject to strong tidal currents, difficult of "navigation, even for steamboats, and often
A list is. before me of over 60 marine disasters that have occurred in these
straits within a few years.
The group of Islands commanding the channels in the southern passage are in
possession of a foreign power, and the naval testimony shows that in the event of
any difficulty with that power, commerce by this passage would be liable to serious
In order to conduct the railway traffic from Burrard Inlet to Esquimault, or-to
any port on Vancouver Island, it will be necessary to have two transhipments, as
there '< re 30 or 40 miles of open water to be crossed, subject to heavy gales, which
would render the adoption of a steam ferry carrying a railway train impracticable.
The railway could, however, be extended nearly due south, from a point near
Lake Sumas, in the valley of the Fraser, about 35 miles above New Westminster, in an
almost direct line to Holmes' Harbour, which lies between Whitby and Camano Islands,
at the entrance of Puget Sound. The distance is a little over 60 miles. The country is
generally flat, and the railway could be constructed at less cost than from the same
point to Burrard Inlet.
This is a large and excellent harbour, and it is proposed by the Americans to
cut a canal from the Admiralty Inlet through a neck of land a mile and a quarter
across and rising 20 feet above the level of the water, so that sailing vessels may enter
from the ocean without towage, except in the short length of the canal.
The Americans are thoroughly alive to the importance of this advantage, and
the adjoining lands are held at a high value. The Northern Pacific Railway will
doubtless be extended to this point, as well as other projected railways.
By referring to the map and Admiralty Chart accompanying this Report, it will
be seen that near Lake Sumas the line to Port Moody takes abend north-westwards,
carrying the line farther away from the passage to the ocean, by the Strait of San
Juan de Fuca, while the line to Holmes' Harbour leads directly to it. There can be no
possible doubt that if the line comes down by the Fraser "Valley route, this must
inevitably be the ocean terminus. It is impossible to force commerce out of its
natural channel for any length of time; it will find the most convenient route
despite national boundaries.
The Canadian Pacific Railway would thus be placed in competition with the
American Northern Pacific Railroad, for the commerce centring in Puget Sound; but
the American citizens would be chiefly benefited. A large city would be
built up by the aid of Canadian enterprise, while the main industries of British
Columbia would receive no stimulus from the construction of the railway. 52
Extension to Vancouver Island.
The traffic of the railway could be extended from Waddington Harbour to Vancouver Island by a ferry, and ultimately by bridging, should the commerce ever
become so great as to warrant the enormous expenditure. The main points in reference to this extension are so clearly stated in Mr. Fleming's Report of 1877, pages
72 and 73, that no apology is necessary for repeating his statements here.
I The connection may now be made by steam ferry, possibly accompanied by
I some inconvenience, and subject to occasional delays. The course of the ferry
" boats would be along Bute Inlet, to the south of Stuart Island, thence through the
" Valdez Islands to Elk Bay on Vancouver Island. The whole of this course is land,
| locked and smooth water. The distance is 64 miles. The chief difficulty is said
" to be a strong current for about two hours a day at one point: with this exception,
" if the railway for the present terminated at Waddington Harbour, the water to Elfc
I Bay could be as easily navigated as'an ordinary canal.
" By extending the railway along the western side of Bute Inlet, and thence
| across to Frederick Arm—a feasible scheme, but one exacting a heavy expenditure—
I Nodaies Channel, a completely sheltered and an easily navigated sheet of water, is
H reached. This channel is reported to be free from strong currents, shoals or other
I difficulties, and could be used by a railway ferry at all seasons of the year. The
| ferry navigation between Frederick Arm on the main shore and Otter Cove on
I Vancouver, is about 15 miles. The length of railway line from Waddington Har-
| hour to Frederick Arm is about 51 miles. The accompanying chart (sheet No. 2)
| shows the relative position of Nodaies Channel, Vancouver Island and Bute Inlet."
I From Elk Bay, or Otter Cove, a railway could be carried to Esquimault, or to a
I much nearer point—Alberni—at the head of the Alberni Canal; possibly to Nootka,
I or, perhaps, with still greater ease, to Quatsino Sound. Compared with Esquimault
I the latter has the advantage of being fully 200 miles nearer the Asiatic coast. At
I Quatsino coal beds are reported to crop out at the water's edge."
It should be explained that the currents referred to are in the following channels,
and run very strong for two or three hours each day at a certain state of the tide.
1. The Cardero channel between the mainland and the Valdez and Stewart
Islands.   This is in the northern passage from Bute Inlet to the ocean.
2. Across channel, not shown on the chart, which separates the Valdez Islands.
This is in a line with Bute Inlet, and wculd be the channel taken for the ferry from
Waddington Harbour to Elk Bay on Vancouver Island.
3. The Seymour Narrows, between Valdez Islands and Vancouver Island. This
does not interfere with the ferry to Elk Bay or Otter Cove, but prevents its extension
southward to the better harbour of Menzies Bay.
By constructing the line down the side of Bute Inlet and across by the Estero
Basin to Frederick Arm, the rapids No. 1 are avoided, and there is a clear passage.
thence northward to the Ocean.
The Nodaies channel between Frederick Arm and Otter Cove, Vancouver Island,
is about 15 miles in length, a mile wide, with deep water, and no strong currents or
sunken rocks; it is well sheltered, almost straight, and could be navigated at all
seasons and in all weather by a steamboat carrying a railway train. A report on
the subject of this ferry has recently been made by Admiral DeHorsey.
From Otter Cove the railway could be extended to several harbours on Vancouver
Island, either north or south; of these the nearest is Stamp Harbour, at the head of
Alberni Canal, Barclay Sound, the distance to which is about 100 miles.
On the first 15 miles along the shore of Discovery Passage, to Menzies Bav, the
country is rocky; thence down the coast to the River Qualicum—70 miles—it is flat
and very favourable for railway construction. From this point the line would bend
away westward, across Vancouver Island to Alberni Oanal, about 15 miles, and would
require some stiff gradients, but not very heavy works, except for a short distance.
The line could be ultimately extended from the River Qualicum to Nanaimo and
Esquimault, the distance to the letter being about U0 miles* 53
The district lying between Otter Cove and Esquimault is one ot the richest
tracts of country in British Columbia. It comprises a considerable extent of excellent
agricultural lands, overlying and adjoining vast beds of coal and iron ore. No less
than five coal mines are now being successfully worked, the product ranking at San
Fransisco as superior to any on that coast. The iron ores from the main island and
the Island of Texada have been pronounced, after assay, as of exceptionally good
character, while the close neighbourhood of the coal beds offers opportunity for the
establishment of iron works on an extensive scale. These advantages, added to its
agricultural capabilities, sufficient for the maintenance of a considerable population,
the general beauty of the country, and the s xlubrity of the climate of Vancouver
Island, give promise of a future of great prosperity.
Esquimault and Alberni (Barclay Sound) are well known and excellent harbours,
and have been already described in the Report of the Engineer in Chief for 1877,
pages 308 to 311.
The Harbour of Esquimault, at the south-east end of the Island, about 60
miles from Cape Flattery, at the entrance from the ocean, is one of the finest and
most convenient harbours on the coast; and with the aid of easy soundings, and the
present lighting can be entered at all times. It affords excellent anchorage for ships
of any size, and in no wind is the swell sufficient to create inconvenience. The
Strait of San Juan de Fuca is 10 miles wide, and the Royal Roads outside the harbour afford excellent anchorage for vessels awaiting towage for ports in the Strait of
Stamp Harbour, at the head of the Alberni Canal, is about 36 miles from Cape
Beale at the entrance to Barclay Sound, on the west coast. It affords ample accommodation for vessels of any tonnage, being about two miles in length and one in
Width, and having a depth of from 5 to 20 fathoms.
The channel from the entrance to the Sound, is from a mile to a mile and a half
wide, up to Uchucklisit Harbour, about 16 miles distant on the west side of the
channel. This harbour affords good anchorage for vessels awaiting towage up the
Alberni Canal, which varies from a half to three quarters of a mile in width. Sailing vessels sometimes go in with the tide, without towage, but it may be considered
that, practically, the employment of tugs is necessary.
In conclusion, the writer is desirous of expressing his strong conviction, as
the result of detailed investigation of the subject in all its bearings, that the line by
the Pine River Pass to Bute Inlet, with extension by steam ferry to Vancouver
Island, will prove the true route, whether regarded in its national or economic
aspect. It traverses a far greater extent of good agricultural lands, and affords
better communication with the chief gold and coal mining districts than any other
The fertile portion of the Peace River country, east of the Rocky Mountains, is
about 400 miles in length and 300 miles in breadth.
From the reports of Professors Selwyn and Macoun, Mr. Horetzky, Hudson's Bay
officials, residents at the Mission Station and others, there is no doubt but that the
prospects of this rich district lie in the development of its exceptional capacity for
the production of cereals. Mr. Macoun says : | As to the capability of the country
I for producing grain, the barley and wheat raised at 59° north latitude, took the
I bronze medal at the Centennial, and the size and quality of all vegetable products
I is astonishing." This can, undoubtedly, become the great wheat producing Province
of the Dominion. In aid of its development, it possesses a noble and navigable river,
which runs through its centre, affording easy means of collecting its produce, and
bringing it cheaply to some convenient point, where it could be received by the
railway and carried to the seaboard. The distance from a point on Peace
River, near the mouth of Smoky River, to Fort William, Lake Superior, is about
1,500 miles, thence by lake and river navigation to Quebec, 1,350 miles, giving a total
of 2,850 miles to the Atlantic tidewater. This route, however, it must be remembered,
is open only six months in the year. 55—
On the mainland
700 miles,
On Vancouver Island.
Westwards, to the Pacific coast, from Fort St. John on the Peace Rivei
of the Pine River Valley and Pass, the distances are as follows:-
To Dean Inlet, 480 miles
To Bute Inlet, 540 miles
To Alberni, Barclay Sound,
To Esquimault, 810 milos,
These ports are open throughout the entire year
The question then arises, does not the Pacific seaboar.1, notwithstanding the
greater length of ocean transit entailed, offer the best outlet for the products of the
Peace River District towards the markets of Europe and Asia? In California and
Oregon, immense quantities of wheat are grown yearly and exported even to England
at a good profit—of wheat alone last year, San Francisco exported 4,929,690 quintals,
valued at $11,017,353.
There is no reason to doubt that the Peace River District could compete,
though at some slight disadvantage in point of distance, with the wheat-growing lands
of California and Oregon in trade with England, while it would be in a better
position as regards the Asiatic trade.
For a distance of 300 miles from the coast, to the point where the Pine River
route diverges, the line would be identical with that surveyed for the Yellow Head
route. The remainder has only been explored in part; but from the information thus
obtained, it may be safely assumed that though the line would probably bo somewhat
longer, the cost of construction would be considerably less than on the parallel
portion of the route by the Yellow Head Pass.
But even were the cost of construction greater,* the difference would be of
minor importance in comparison with the advantages to be derived from a line of
railway that would utilize the wonderfully productive powers which now lie dormant
in this vast region.
Should this route meet with tho favourable consideration of the Government
surveys will be required from Northcote via the Pine River Pass to the point of
junction near Fort George, but an examination of tho larger river crossings and
other difficult points on this route, together with the data obtained from previous
surveys, would afford sufficient information to enable companies to tender for
the construction and working of the whole line from Lake Superior to the Pacific,
as provided for by Act of Parliament.
Meanwhile, if desirable, construction could be commenced on that Division of the
line between the Pacific coast and Fort George which will not be affected by these
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Acting Engineer-in-Chief.
F. Braun, Esq., Secretary,
Department of Public Works,
Ottawa. tt
Sandford Fleming Esq., C.M.G.,
Canadian Pacific Railway.
Ottawa, April 18th, 1878.
Sir,—I have been instructed by letter of date 15th inst., from the Secretary of
the Public Works Department, to report to you, on your arrival' from England, my
views relative to the Routes No. 2 and 6 for the Canadian Pacific Railway, leading
respectively to Burrard Inlet and Bute Inlet in British Columbia.
In order that the comparison of these routes in the matters of length and
cost may be more complete, I shall follow them to the Ports where they first touch
the navigable tide water of the Pacific Ocean ; and as those points are inadequate
for the accommodation of the shipping likely to frequent them when the line has
been completed, and a large through traffic developed, I have thought it well to
consider to what other harbour either line may be extended hereafter in order to
obtain the requisite facilities.
Route No. 2 with extension.
At the 493rd mile from Yellow Head Summit, Route No. 2 reaches tide water at
Port Moody, Burrard Inlet, which is a good harbour, though small, and when traffic
increases the line can, at a moderate outlay, be carried 12 miles further to Coal
Harbour, which is just inside the entrance to the Inlet, or 15 miles to English Bay.
On reference to replies of naval officers to questions submitted by you for their
consideration, it will be seen that Admiral Cochrane, Admiral Richards and Commander Pender recommend* Burrard Inlet, with the adjacent anchorage in English
Bay, as being suitable for a terminal harbour.
Route ]So. 6, with extensions.
At the 546th mile from Yellow Head Summit, R^uto No. 6 reaches tide water
at Waddington Harbour, Bute Inlet.
From the statements of the naval authorities above cited, it would appear that
this harbour affords an extremely limited anchorage, owing to the great depth of
water; and the tortuous character of its approaches, together with the absence of
anchorage along their bold rocky shores, renders the navigation of sailing vessels unsafe
without the assistance of a tug. It cannot therefore be adopted as a final terminus
while other harbours offering greater facilities are available, and must be used
only as a temporary one, with the object of extending the line hereafter to some
harbour on the outer coast of Vancouver Island ; and its capability of such extension
to one of those harbours is the strongest argument which can be urged in its favour.
From Waddington Harbour the line can be continued either to Stamp Harbour
at the head of Alberni Canal on the west coast of Vancouver Island, a distance of 159 miles, or to Esquimalt at the southern end of the Island a distance of 249 miles,
in both of which distances, a ferry of 15 miles from Frederick Arm to Otter Cove is
To exemplify the comparative cost of lines to the above mentioned places the
following estimates are submitted;
Estimates to temporary Terminus.
On both routes, the works as far as tide water have been estimated from trial
location surveys and moneyed out at rates suitable for the district.
After making allowance for possible improvments in location and for permanent
way and equipment, Route No. 2 from Yellow Head Summit to Port Moody, 493 miles,
will amount to $34,000,000; and precisely similar calculations applied to Route No- 6
from Yellow Head Summit to Waddington Harbour, 546 miles, will amount to
Facilities for carrying on works.
On Route No. 2 there is good water communication in immediate proximity
to the lino for 100 miles from the coast, and then a waggon road for 125
miles, followed by another navigable stretch of 100 miles, thus affording easy access
to it for two-thirds of its length; it may, therefore, safely be assumed that the works
on this portion of the line can be carried out at a much lower rate than on the other
route, which is at present devoid of any natural or artificial means of access thereto.
To bring the cost to a suitable basis for comparison, a deduction of at
least 12 per cent should be made on the- cost of all the works of this route, below
formation level, thus reducing the total amount to $31,000,000.
Extension to permanent Terminus.
To compare the cost of extending these routes to a final terminus, is a matter
which cannot be attempted with any hope of approaching to accuracy, owing to the
want of sufficient data,—no continuous surveys having been made,—but it is hoped
that the sums named in the following estimates, will represent the difficulties to be
encountered in each case, with sufficient accuracy for comparison.
In the case of Route No. 2 it will be necessary to add the cost of continuing the
line to Coal Harbour, in Burrard Inlet, a distance of twelve miles say, $700,000, or to
English Bay, fifteen miles, at a cost of $900,000.
In regard to Route No. 6, the cost of extending the line to Alberni or Esquimalt
Harbours, on Vancouver Island, may be summed up as follows:—
Waddington Harbour to Alberni: - There are 51 miles of railway to be
constructed along the western shore of Bute Inlet to Frederick Arm, which is known
from actual survey to be excessively heavy, a ferry from Frederick Arm to Otter
Cove 15 miles, requiring at least three boats with slip docks, and 93 miles of railway from Otter Cove to Alberni, thirty of which require very heavy works,—
amounting .in the aggregate to not less than $14,000,000.
Waddington Harbour to Esquimalt:—Tho railway to Frederick Arm and
ferry to Otter Cove, same as above, with 183 miles of railway from Otter Cove to
Esquimalt, fifty of which are very heavy, amounting in the aggregate to about
From the foregoing it will appear that the total comparative cost of each route
to a permanent terminus, is as follows :—
Route No. 2 to Coal Harbour or English Bay, say  $32,000,000
I      I    6 to Alberni, with the inconvenience of a 15 .
mile ferry     47,000,000
Route No. 6 to Esquimalt, with the inconvenience of a
15 miles ferry    52,000,000 57
The results will be brought out more forcibly, when stated in tabular form as
Route No. 2.
Route No. 6.
Distance from Summit
of Yellow Head Pass
Temporary Terminus.
Port Moody	
Waddington Hr.
Distance from Summit
of Yellow Head Pass
Permanent Terminus.
U §
(i       CC        i
493   131,000,000
English Bay...
Alberni *	
lEsquimalt*      795   52,000,000
* With the inconvenience and delay of a 15 mile ferry.
Objections to Burrard Inlet as a Terminus.
Burrard Inlet is open to a serious objection, which I have not yet touched
upon, viz, that in approaching it from the sea, by the channel to the South
of Vancouver Island, vessels have to pass so near to some of the Islands of
the San Juan group as to | be exposed to the guns of the United States, in the event
of hostilities, and that the navigation of the channel would greatly depend on the
force of the'United States in the locality " (See C. P. R. report of 1877, page 70) the
same report then continues, " with regard to the possibility of large sea going
vessels passing round the north side of Vancouver Island and reaching Burrard
Inlet, all the naval authorities, with one exception, express an unfavourable opinion."
The channel at present used by vessels when passing through the Haro Strait
to reach the Strait of Georgia is at several points only about two miles distant from
San Juan and other Islands belonging to the United States. But in the event of war
with that country, a very fair succession of channels from Active pass, across Swan-
son channel through Moresby passage, Sydney and Baynes Channels to the Strait
of Fuca, can be had by the erection of a few beacons, and buoying out the channel
where intricate and narrow; a vessel then using those channels, need not at any time
approach within five statute miles of foreign territory, as will be seen in statements by
Admiral Cochrane, Capt. Graham and Commander Pender.
The channel by the North of Vancouver Island could also be used by special
care, and in substantiation of this fact I may state, that the steamers California 673 tons,
and Otter 400 tons, have plied for a number of years, day and night, at all seasons
through this passage without accident, although it is neither buoyed nor lighted. In
September and October of last year H. M. S. Daring used this passage both up and
down when on her exploring trip to Port Essington. In using either of the above
channels to reach the Strait of Georgia, some detention would no doubt be experienced
by very large vessels, owing to strong currents at certain points, which it would be
advisable to pass at the most favourable stages of the tide.
Extra cost attendant upon the adoption of Route, No. 6,
By the adoption of the Bute Inlet route, merely to avoid the risks of delay just
alluded  to, and which moreover would only occur during a war with the  United
20;-8 8 58
States, $15,000,000 or $20,000,000 must be spent in the construction of 197 or 287
miles of extra railway line,—including ferry—which would cause through
freight to be carried by land, an additional distance of nearly 200 miles from Alberni,
in order to save 150 miles of water carriage, or in the case of Esquimalt, 300 miles by
railway to save 90 miles by water.
Frederick Arm.
The possibility of Frederick Arm being found suitable for a terminal harbour,
does not seem to require an extended notice. It has not been recommended by any
Naval Authority, and an inspection of the chart leads to the conclusion that the anchorage is very small; that there is no roadstead within many miles of it; and that
it is only suitable for slip docks for a ferry.
Annexed is a table of gradients from which the following conclusions may be
Of line practically level there are on Route No. 6, 48 miles less than on Route
No. 2.
Of grade between *10 and -50 per 100 there are on Route No. 6, 38 miles more
than on Route No. 2.
Of grade between *50 and 1 per 100 there are on Route No. 6,42 miles more than
on Route No. 2.
Of grade between 1 and 2 per 100 there are on Route No. 6, 21| miles, a large
proportion of which is 2 per 100, and there are no corresponding gradients on Route
No. 2.
It may be stated also that the grades on tho Burrard Inlet route are generally
short and undulating, which is not the case in regard to the other. This will be more
clearly understood by reference to a diagram which has been prepared on a scale of
10 miles to thennch horizontal and 500 feet to the inch vertical. 59
Comparative Statement of grades from  summit of Yellow Head Pass to Port
Moody, Route No. 2 and Waddington Harbour, Route No. 6.
Level to
'Over-10 to
•20 to
•30 to
•40 to
•50 to
•60 to
•70 to
•80 to 1-00
1-00 to 1-25
1-25 to 1-75
115 to 2-00
•10 per 100
•20 I
•30 |
•40 I
•50 "
•60 I
•70 "
•80 "
•10 to
•20 to
•30 to
•40 to
•50 to
•60 to
•70 to
•80 to
Rotjtb Wo. 2.
Per cent
of whole
37 60
2 30
3 22
3 50
6 14
2 63
2 53
6 74
13 42
2 24
I 73
5 63
Boots No. 0.
(Per cent
of whole
— Route  2
25 10
3 85
4 33
2 15
2 70
4 70
14 70
2 27
4 31
5 37
2 33
4 35
1 68
2 02
2 91
9 54
Route 6.
Boute 6
Route 2-
No. of Miles.
100 Straight line
Curves up to
Over 1° to 2°
Over 2° to 3°
Over 3° to 4°
Over 4° to 5°
Over 5° to 6°
Over 6° to 1°
Over 1° to 8°
, 5,730
, 2,865
, 1,910
, 1,433
, 1,146
, 955
,   819
ms 5,730 ft.
to 2,865 ft.
to 1,910 ft.
to 1,433 ft.
to 1,146 ft.
to 955 ft.
to 819 ft.
to   716 ft.
Total length ..'•  493-00
Percentage of curved line to
length of respective lines...
From the above statement of curvature, it will be seen that there are 9|- miles
more of curved line on Route No. 6 than on Route No. 2; but of the sharper curves
there is a greater length on the latter, and nearly 1J miles of curvature sharper than
anything on Route No. 6. These, however, occur on portions of the line where the
grades ax*e easy, and so compensate for the extra resistance due to curvature; while
the sharpest curves on the Bute Inlet Route occur in conjunction with the steepest
The characteristics which most materially affect the cost of maintenance are
length of line, grades, ferriage (if any) snow fall, and length of bridging.
Assuming the traffic to be equal to that on the Intercolonial line during the fiscal
year ending June 30th, 1877, and the ordinary working expenses and renewals
to be also similar to that railway, viz.: $2,327 per mile per annum, that would cause
an expenditure of $123,000 per annum, if the line terminated at Waddington
Harbour in excess of that required to Port Moody, and if the line should be extended
to Alberni an expenditure including ferry of $483,000, and if to Esquimault $693,000
per annum in excess of that required in maintaining a line to Coal Harbour or
English Bay, and which would increase in proportion to the amount of business done,
while the rates for carrying through traffic would be governed by competing linos
and not by mileage carried-
\|||L 01
Table showing the comparative cost of maintaining lines to certain  points  in
accordance with the above calculations.
Distance from Yellow Head Summit.
Route No. 6 exceeds No. 2.
Eoute No. 2.
Eoute No. 6.
In annual expenditure for
maintenance while
traffic only equals that
on Intercolonial in
Port Moody	
483 000*
* Including an allowance for a 15 mile ferry.
It has been shown that there are some grades on Eoute No. 6 much steeper than
any of those on Eoute No. 2, and also tbat there is a greater length of the heavier
gradients generally, which reduce the capacity of the route and add largely to the
cost of transport, thus affecting the maintenance, which would bo still further
increased by the extra wear and tear to the rolling stock from the same cause, but
it would be extremely difficult to reduce this to a monetary value.
On the Bute Inlet route provision must be made for diverting avalanches at
several points in the Cascade mountains, which would be costly, otherwise no great
difficulties are likely to be encountered in regard to snow on either line, westward of
Tete Jaune Cache, and eastward of that point the line is common to both routes.
The total length of bridging as estimated is 2f- miles on route No. 6, and 3J
miles on route No. 2, being half a mile less on the Bute Inlet route, but as the estimates
have been made out for permanent structures this item need not be considered.
Local Traffic.
The resources of British Columbia are not sufficiently developed at present to
furnish any considerable local traffic, though the various industries give promise of
considerable extension before long.
The southern portion of the Province, which is most suited for agriculture and
stock raising, would be best served,by the Burrard Inlet route, while the Cariboo
mining district, though about equi-distant from either line, can probably be more
easily reached by the Bute Inlet route.
The former route, with a branch to Cariboo, whenever there may be trade to
justify its construction; would seem to serve the interests of both sections.
I think I have in the foregoing referred to all matters' specially requiring
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Engineer-in-Charge of Surveys in British Columbia. 62
Correspondence with the Imperial Government and officers of the Eoyal Navy
respecting certain nautical surveys and a terminal harbour
for the canadian pacific railway.
The Earl of Dufferin to the Earl of Carnarvon.
No. 115.
Government House,
Ottawa, 19th April, 18*7*7.
My Lord,—I have the honor to forward herewith to your Lordship a copy of
a minute of Council, expressing a desire that the Imperial Government will undertake a survey of certain ports of the coast of British Columbia.
I have, &c.
The Eight Honorable
The Earl of Carnarvon, &c, &c.
Copy of a Report of a Committee of the Honorable the Privy Council, approved by
Excellency the Governor General in Council on the l*Jth April, 187*7.
On a Eeport, dated 16th April, 1877, from the Honorable the Minister of Public
Works, stating that special efforts have been made during the past summer and
autumn to procure information through the officers of the Admiralty and Eoyal
Navy, respecting the several harbors and roadways on the coast of British Columbia,
but that it would appear no surveys have yet been made of the coast adjacent to the
mouth of the Eiver Skeena, and that no decided opinion has been obtained regarding
the waters in that quarter ;
That, as the Dominion Government have no means of conducting an examination in that direction, he recommends that a request be forwarded to the Imperial
Government that they will direct a nautical survey to be made during the coming
season, of the channels and approaches at the point indicated, and that surveys should
be made of Frederic Arm, and the waters leading thereto, as-decided information
respecting this point should be obtained before a final decision is arrived at, fixing
the seaport terminus of the Canada Pacific Eailway.
The Committee concur in the foregoing recommendation, and submit the same
for Your Excellency's approval.
Certified. W. A. HIMSWOETH,
Clerk, Privy Council. 63
The Colonial Office to Mr. Sandford Fleming.
Colonial Office,
Downing Street, 3rd December, 1877.
Sir,—I am directed by the Earl of Carnarvon to transmit to you, for your
information, a copy of a despatch received through the Admiralty, from the
Commander-in-Chief on the Pacific station, together with a copy of a .Report from
the Commander of Her Majesty's ship "Daring" forwarding plans of the. channel
and approaches adjacent to the mouth of the Eiver Skeena, prepared by him in
connection with the question of the selection of a terminus for the Canadian Pacific
I am to request that the plans which are forwarded in original, may be returned
to this Department.
Admiral DeHorsey's despatch has been communicated to the Governor General of
I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed)       EOBEET G. W. HEEBEET.
Sandford Fleming, Esq., C.M.G.
&c,       &c,       &c,
Admiral DeHorsey to Secretary of the Admiralty.
I Shah " at Esquimalt, 9th October, 1877.
Sir,—"With reference to the directions of the Lords Commissioners of the
Admiralty,contained in your letter, No. 86, of the 19th May last, (received 14thAugust),
I have the honor to report that 1 sent the | Daring," Commander Hanmer, to make
a general examination of the channels and approaches of the Eiver Skeena.
From Commander Hanmer's report, and from such information as I have been able
to obtain, I am of opinion that, whether in view of communication with the inhabited
parts-of British Columbia, or of through traffic across the Pacific, the vicinity of Skeena
is totally unfit for the ocean terminus of the proposed Canadian Pacific Eailway. Tho
mere circumstance that the bars of the river are not navigable for ocean steamers,
except at high water, is of itself condemnatory, in my opinion. Added to this are
the difficulties of tortuous approaches on a very foggy and rainy coast, and that tho
land in the vicinity is reported to consist of mountains and swamps, offering little
inducement to settlers.
1 beg to transmit herewith a copy of my orders to Commander Hammer, and of,
his report, accompanied by plans of the mouth of the Skeena and of Woodcock's
The lateness of the season and the almost constant rain, caused a service of this
kind (necessarily performed in open boats) to be somewhat arduous. I submit
Commander Hanmer's execution of it for their Lordships' approval.
I have forwarded a copy of this report and enclosures for the information of
the Governor General of Canada.
I have, &c.
(Signed) A. DeHOESEY,
Rear Admiral and Commander-in-Chief.
The Secretary of the Admiralty. Admiral DeHorsey's orders to Commander Hanmer.
By Algernon Frederick Eous DeHorsey, Esquire, Bear-Admiral in Her Majesty's
Fleet, and Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Ships and Vessels employed and to
be employed on the Pacific Station.
Her Majesty's ship under your command being in all respects ready, you are, on
receiving instructions to part company, to put to sea and proceed to Nanaimo, there
to complete with coal to your utmost stowage.
2. From Nanaimo you are to proceed to the vicinity of the Eiver Skeena, and on
your arrival you are to make a general examination of that part of the coast of
British Columbia; the Governor General of Canada having requested that a survey
might be made of the channels and approaches adjacent to that river, with a view to
fixing a terminus of the Canadian Pacific Eailway.
3. In view of the lateness of the season it will be desirable to lose no time in
commencing this examination, and you are to return to Esquimalt before the severity
of the winter.
4. Your proceedings are to be reported to me by every opportunity; and, as soon
as practicable after your arrival off the Skeena, you are to furnish me with an estimate of the time you consider requisite for the examination ordered, specifying the
part you intend to commence first.
5. On completion of the service, your report is to be furnished me in duplicate.
Given on board the "Shah," at Esquimalt, this 22nd day of August, 1877.
To John G. H.^Hanmer, Esq.,
Commander Her Majesty's Ship | Daring,"
By command of the Commander-in-Chief.
Enclosure No. 2 in Pacific Letter No. 326, of 1877.
Report of the Examination of the River Skeena by Commander Ranmer.
H.M.S. § Daring" at Departure Bay,
4th October, 1877.
Sir,—I have the honor, in accordance with your directions, dated 22nd August,
1877, to report the result of my examination of the channels and approaches to the
Eiver Skeena, British Columbia.
1. As regards the channels and approaches of the three named respectively,
Telegraph, Middle and North Channels, Telegraph Channel is available at high
water for ships drawing 25 feet up to Port Essington, the deepest water being on the
mainland side, abreast of Kennedy Island, and on the Island side abreast of De
Horsey Island (as will be seen by the plan annexed), heavy tide rips occur at springs.
The passage between Kennedy and DeHorsey Islands I have designated as the
"Middle;" it is between sand banks, which, I should think are liable to shift at
different seasons of the year, and is only fit for small steamers. North Channel (or
North Skeena Passage), has a passage for steamers of light draught, and is entered
over a flat with about three fathoms low watei springs, and has an outlet between De
Horsey Island and the mainland of only half a cable in width, at low water the ebb
tide setting strongly through it. I do not recommend it for large vessels. Port
Essington should therefore be reached from the westward, either by the Browning
Entrance, Ogden Channel and Cardena Bay, or by Dixon Entrance, Chatham Sound,
Arthur Channel and Cardena Bay. 65
2. Anchorages.—Skeena Eiver has an extensive anchorage ground between Port
Essington and the north end of DeHorsey Island; holding ground is good, being soft
mud; at springs heavy tide rips occur, making boat or lighter woik dangerous. Mr.
Cunningham (a trader of many years' experience at Port Essington), informed me
that the river was never frozen at Port Essington, but great quantities of ice come
down in the spring, as well as immense trees. During the winter months heavy
gales from the north are frequent, and, I should think, would completely suspend
communication between the shore and vessels in the stream, as there is no shelter
from their full force.   High water approximate 1-0-0, F. & C. rise 24 feet springs.
Woodcock's Landing affords a fair anchorage, but is limited in extent (plan
annexed), it is more sheltered than Port Essington, and is free from tide rips-,
although the ebb tide runs between four and five knots at springs; holding ground is
good, being mud off the village, H. W. F. & O, 12115, rise springs 24 feet approximate, neaps 17 feet (vessels must moor).
Cardena Bay is the best anchorage in the vicinity, being sheltered from N. and
S.E.; holding ground is good; tide sets fairly through the anchorage; H. W. F. &
C, noon springs rise 24 feet; .neaps, 17 feet approximate.
The prevailing winds in the vicinity of the Skeena are said to be westerly during
the summer months, and during the remainder of the year S.E. and N.E., with heavy
gales occasionally from the north. Fogs are frequent in August and September.
Eain is prevalent in spring and autumn, and during the stay of the | Daring," from
1st to 27th September, the prevailing winds were easterly and south-easterly, with
almost constant rain and frequent squalls; during the same time the barometer's
lowest was 28° 90'; highest, 30° 30'.
The land about the entrance of the Skeena is mountainous and densely wooded
(chiefly cedar and hemlock) and shows signs of a remarkably wet climate, and, I
should say, is quite unfit for settlement.
I have, &c,,
(Signed)       JOHN G. HANMEE,
J. H. Cleverton,
The Colonial Office to Mr. Sandford Fleming.
Colonial Office, Downing Street,
21st December, 1877.
Sir,—With reference to the question of the selection of a site for a terminus on
the Pacific coast, for the Canadian Pacific Eailway, I am directed by the Earl of
Carnarvon to transmit to you for your perusal and information, a copy of a despatch
received through the Admiralty from Eeal-Admiral DeHorsey, Naval Commander-in-
Chief on the Pacific Station, reporting his views upon this subject.
I am to state that a copy of this despatch has been communicated to the Governor General of Canada for the information of the Dominion Government.
I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) E, H. MEADE.
Sandford Fleming, Esq., O.M.G.
20;—9 66
Report of Admiral DeEorsey respecting Canadian Pacific Railway Terminus.
I Shah | at Esquimalt,
26th October, 1877.
Sir,—I request you will bring under the consideration of the Lords Commission
ers of the Admiralty the following observations, submitting my opinion relative to
the best site for the ocean terminus of the Canadian Pacific Eailway.
2. With a view to forming an opinion on this subject I have carefully perused the
reports of exploration of 1874 and 1877, made by Mr. Sandfoid Fleming, the
Engineer-in-Chief, and I have had the advantage of personal interviews with Mr.
Marcus Smith, Mr. Cambie, and other Engineers of the Survey. An ascent of
the Fraser Eiver, as far as Yale, and on to Boston Bar by land, has enabled mo to
form some idea of the difficulty of penetrating the Cascade range of mountains with
a line of railway. I have further inspected Burrard Inlet, Haro and Georgia Straits
(as well as the inner channels emerging at Active Pass), Discovery Passage and
some of the channels in the vicinity of Valdes Island, including Seymour Narrows. An examination has also been made by their Lordships', direction of the
approaches to the Skeena Eiver, the result of which has been reported in my letter,
No. 326, of the 9th instant.
3. The question of site of ocean terminus should, it appears to me, be determined by two main considerations (besides feasibility in an engineering point of
1st. Its suitability for the interests and traffic of the populated parts of British
Columbia, that Province having joined the Dominion upon the promise of a railway.
2nd. Its being situated at a convenient port for ocean steamers to take up,
direct from wharf accommodation, the through traffic for Australia, China, Japan,
and other places across the Pacific at all seasons of the year and in all weathers.
4. Bearing in mind these considerations, it appears desirable to reject all idea of
a terminus on the coast between Vancouver and Queen Charlotte Islands. The navigation of that part of the coast, judging from the charts and from the reports of
Admiral Eichards and other naval officers, is decidedly unfavorable, and I should
equally reject the vicinity of the Eiver Skeena owing to the prevalence of fog, ice
and other climatic causes incident to a high latitude, as well as to the difficulties of
approach from sea.
5. If the above views are correct, the question of site for the terminus is narrowed
to a choice between Burrard Inlet and a port in Vancouver Island.
6. Burrard Inlet does not appear suitable for an ocean terminus on account of
difficulties of navigation to seaward. The tortuous channel from Burrard Inlet to
sea through Haro Strait will frequently be unsafe on account of the strength of the
tide, great prevalence of fog and absence of anchoring depth. Burrard Inlet itself
also, although possessing a safe port in Coal Harbour, and a good anchorage in Eng-'
lish Bay, has these objections, viz.: that the narrow entrance to Coal Harbour through
the First Narrows is hardly safe for large steamers in consequence of the rapidity of
the tide; and that English Bay, although affording good anchorage, would-not,in my
opinion, be smooth enough during north-westerly gales for ships to lie at wharves,
there being a drift of forty miles to the north-west.
7. Another grave objection to Burrard Inlet as the final terminus, is the possession of San Juan and Stuart Islands by a foreign power. These islands form the
key of the navigation inside Vancouver Island. In case of war with the United
States that power might readily stop our trade through Haro Strait. (San Juan was
visited last month by General Sherman, I believe with a view to its fortification.)
8. Condemning Burrard Inlet for the above reasons, I conclude that the terminus
should be in Vancouver Island, which may be reached in three ways :—
' 1st. By steam ferry carrying a train from Burrard. Inlet to Nanaimo.
2nd. By bridging Seymour Narrows.
3rd. By steam ferry, carrying a train from Estero Basin (Frederick Arm) to
Otter Core. 6*7
9. The train once landed on Vancouver Island, can, I understand, be carried
without much difficulty either to Esquimalt or to Quatsino Sound, or perhaps to
Barclay Sound, where Uchucklesit Harbour forms an admirable port.
10. The first method of crossing the Strait, that of a steam ferry from Burrard
Inlet to Nanaimo, has three objections,—1st. The drawbacks above mentioned, to
navigating the First Narrows, and to going alongside a wharf in English Bay; 2nd. The
difficulty and certain frequent detention in mid-channel, owing to fog; 3rd. The
heavy sea with north-westerly and south-easterly gales, which would be at least
inconvenient for the conveyance of a train across the Strait of Georgia. Another,
and I think a cardinal objection, to the route by the course of the Fraser Eiver and
Burrard Inlet, is its passing within six or eight miles of United States territory, and
its consequent liability to destruction when most wanted in time of war.
11. The second method that, of a line of railway across Valdes Island without
water conveyance would require very expensive bridging. Valdes is not one island
as shown on the Admiralty Chart, but consists of three or four islands.
The main difficulty, of course, exists in bridging Seymour Narrows, a distance of
2,575 feet, in. two spans of respectively 1,200 and 1.350 feet. To execute this work
the middle pier has to be erected on a rock, said to be eighteen feet under water at
low tide, with a velocity of tide over it of from five to eight knots. This would be a
work of vast magnitude and expense, even if it be practicable to place a foundation
on the rock, which I doubt, as there is hardly any slacl£ tide. Nor must it be forgotten that bridging Seymour Narrows would, as regards large ships, obstruct the
only practicable channel between Vancouver Island and the Main. This alone
should, in my opinion, preclude its attempt.
12. The third method, and the one I recommend, that of ferrying a train from
Estero Basin to Otter Cove, is, in my opinion, not only feasible, but perfectly simple.
I have carefully examined this route, and find: —
1st. That Otter Cove is well adapted for a pile dock terminus for the steam ferry.
2nd. That the head of Frederick Arm, at the entrance to Estero Basin, is also
well adapted for a pile dock terminus.
3rd. That the channel between the two is easy of navigation, being nearly
straight, free from dangers, smooth as glass, sheltered from all winds, and having
very little tidal stream.
13. The tide in this, the Nodaies Channel, is noted on. the chart as running from
two to three knots, but I think it is much less.
I spent five hours in this channel during what should have been the strength of
the tide, the day before the full moon, and found the tide scarcely perceptible.
The distance for steam ferry between the two ports is thirteen miles of still,
clear navigation, and I consider it may, with proper signals, be safely traversed in
a fog.
14. In advocating the route by Frederick Arm, it will be observed that I am
assuming that the railway can be brought to that point.
This assumption is borne out by Mr. Fleming's report of 1877, in which he states
it to be I a feasible scheme," but one exacting a heavy expenditure, which expenditure would, I suppose, be in part compensated by the route No. 6, from Yellow Head
Pass to the head of Bute Inlet, being estimated at two million dollars less than that
by the Lower Fraser (No. 2) to Burrard Inlet.
15. From conversation with Mr. Marcus Smith (the principal officer of the survey,
next to the Engineer-in-Chief) I am given to understand that .the Eocky Mountains
can be crossed at a comparatively low level, and that the line can be, carried through
a far less mountainous district by avoiding Yellow Head Pass altogether, and selecting
a route by Lesser Slave Lake and Pine Eiver Pass, and thence in a more or less
direct line to Bute Inlet. Should this prove correct, it will be an additional reason
for ending the main land route at Frederick Arm rather than at Burrard Inlet,
omitting, as I do, all consideration of taking water conveyance from the head of
Bute Inlet on account ot its length and tortuous passages, which would be impracticable in foggy weather, 68
16. Having thus come to the conclusion that the line should pass by Frederick
Arm, and that the train should be conveyed by steam ferry through Nodaies Channel, to Otter Cove, the extension to one of the good ports of Vancouver Island
remains to be considered.
II In future years, I imagine that for the sake of more direct through ocean
traffic, a line will be extended to Quatsino Sound, by bridging Quatsino Narrows, and
thence on to a terminus at Winter Harbour.
18. But for present wants, it seems that the line should be continued from Otter
Cove past Bayne's Sound and Natiaimo to Esquimalt, there to make the ocean terminus. This port is easy and safe of approach at all times; its dock (to take the
largest ships) has been commenced, and there is reason to think that the line coming from the principal collieries and iron districts on Vancouver Island, ought to pay
itself in great part by the conveyance of minerals to Esquimalt for shipment. Not
only for trade, but for the supply of coal to Her Majesty's Squadron at Esquimalt, a
line of rail from Nanaimo would be advantageous, as the possession of San Juan
might enable the United States, in case of war, to cut off our supply from the mines
by sea.
19. Assuming, therefore, that a line of rail between Esquimalt and Nanaimo
will be constructed, not only for the reasons above detailed, but because its construction appears to have been virtually promised by the Dominion Government in
accordance with Lord Carnarvon's suggestion (a large portion of the rails are actually
lying at Esquimalt), the chief difficulty connected with the Vancouver part of the
through line will be overcome, for I understand that the extension of the line from
Nanaimo to Otter Cove presents comparatively few difficulties.
20. It will be observed that I have omitted consideration of a terminus in* Howe
-Sound.   This is because the same objections in respect to difficulties of navigation to
sea through Haro Strait, apply to Howe Sound as to Burrard Inlet, and with greater
force. The route to Howe Sound is also, I observe, estimated to cost six million
dollars more than that to Bute Inlet.
21. Finally, whilst submitting the foregoing remarks in accordance with their
Lordship's intructions to me, of the 23rd August, 1876, I beg to express much diffidence in respect to such as are not strictly within the scope of the Naval Service.
Viewing the shortness of my stay in British Columbia waters, this Eeport cannot
pretend to deserve much weight; but it has, I submit, one merit, that of coming from
an officer who, from his position, must be totally disconnected from all local interests.
I have, &c,
(Signed) A. De HOESEY
Rear Admiral and Gommander-in-Chief.
The Secretary
To the Admiralty.
Mr. Sandford Fleming to the Hon. A. Mackenzie.
Canada Buildings, 31 Queen Victoria Street,
London, E.G., 26th December, 1877.
Dear Sir,—I have received copies of Admiral DeHorsey's despatches of the 9th
and 26th October, respecting a terminus for tho railway in British Columbia, the
originals of which have b^en'forwai'd^ to Qttawa.
Li 69
Admiral DeHorsey gives expression to very decided views: amongst other things
he recommends the rejection of all idea of a Northern terminus. In acting on this
recommendation, the Government should, I think, have something more, if possible,
than an opinion, however strongly expressed. I think it should be in possession of all
the information which exists; indeed it would be desirable to have on record data
sufficient to enable any one to judge of the propriety of completely rejecting a
northern terminus from consideration, before that course is finally adopted.
I have considered it my duty, therefore, to address a communication to the
Colonial office (of this date) a copy of which I herewith enclose.
I am, dear Sir,
Yours very truly,
(Signed)       SANDFOED FLEMING.
The Hon. A. Mackenzie,
Minister of Public Works,
Mr. Sandford Fleming to the Colonial Office.
Canadian Agency, 31 Queen Victoria Street, E.C.
London, 26th December, 1877.
Sir,—I beg to acknowledge the receipts of Admiral De Horsey's despatches of
dates 9th and 26th October, on the subject of a site for a terminus on the Pacific
Coast for the Canadian Pacific Eailway, both despatches having by the direction of
the Earl of Carnarvon been recently transmitted to me for perusal.
As requested by you, I now return the plans of the mouth of the Eiver Skeena,
which accompanied Admiral De Horsey's despatch of the 9th October.
I have carefully read these important documents, and I find that the Eiver
Skeena is objected to on account of difficulties of approach from sea and climatic
causes incidental to a high latitude. In considering these objections, I have thought
it possible that the Canadian Government, before completely rejecting all idea of a
northern terminus, may desire to obtain some further information. I deem it my
duty, therefore, in order that delays may be avoided, to suggest that the following
enquiries be made :—
1. If the nautical examination instituted by the Admiralty, have been extended
to Metlah Catlah, Port Simpson, or other points on the coast, beyond the immediate
mouth of the Eiver Skeena, with the view of ascertaining how far any of them may
be eligible for the purpose of a terminus.
2. If the Admiralty is in possession of data respecting the prevalence of rains,
winds, fogs, &c. on the coast referred to, which would admit of a comparison being
made between it and well-known places in nearly corresponding latitude on the coast
of Europe or elsewhere. Take for example the coast of British Columbia, between
latitudes 54 and 55, embracing Dixon Entrance, Portland Inlet and River Skeena, as
compared with the coast of Great Britain, between latitudes 55 and 56, embracing
the. north channel and the Frith and Eiver Clyde.
I have, &c,
(Signed)       SANDFOED FLEMING.
Eobert G. W. Herbert, Esq.,
Colonial Office. (Copy.)
The Colonial Office to Mr. Sandford Fleming.
Colonial Office, Downing Street,
3rd January, 1878.
Sir,—I am directed by the Earl of Carnarvon to acknowledge the receipt of your
letter of the 26th December, making certain enquiries in connection with a report
recently furnished by Bear Admiral de Horsey, respecting a site for the terminus of
the Canadian Pacific Eailway.
Lord Carnarvon desires me to inform you that he has forwarded a copy of your
letter to the Board of Admiralty, with a request to be supplied with an answer on
the^points which you have raised.
I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed)       E. H. MEADE.
Sandford Fleming, Esq., C.M.G.
The Colonial Office to Mr. Sandford Fleming.
Colonial Office,
Downing Street, 9th February, 1878.
Sir,—With reference to your letter of the 26th of December last, asking that
certain information m'ay be obtained from the Board of Admiralty, in regard to the
coast of British Columbia, beyond the immediate neighborhood of the mouth of the
Skeena Eiver. I am directed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to transmit
to you, for your information, a copy of a letter from the Board of the Admiralty,
with the charts which accompanied it.
Should you wish the Hudson Bay Company to be consulted in regard to the
climate on the portion of the coa^t referred to, as suggested by the Admiralty, Sir
Michael Hicks Beach will be happy to give the necessary directions for this purpose,
although the Company would no doubt give you any information in their power on a
direct application from yourself.
I am, Sir
Your obedient servant,
(Signed)       EOBT. G. W. HEEBEET.
Sandford Fleming, Esq., C.M.G.
The Board of Admiralty to the Colonial Office.
Admiralty, 10th January, 1878.
Sir,—With reference to your letter of the 3rd inst., forwarding copy of communication from Mr. Fleming, the Chief Engineer of the Pacific Eailway, in which he
requests to be supplied with any information which this Department may have in its
possession relative to the nature of the coast of British Columbia, beyond the immediate mouth of the Eiver Skeena, and as to the meteorology of those parts, I am 7i
commanded by my Lord's Commissioners of the Admiralty to acquaint you, for the
information of the Earl of Carnarvon, that the coast and inlets from the Skeena
Biver, northward to the boundary of British Columbia, were charted by Admiralty
surveyors in the years 1867-8 and 9, to meet the requirements of navigation ; but
these surveys took place before the question of a railway terminus had arisen, and
their results are published in the accompanying charts Nos. 1,923 a, 361, 2,426, 2,431
and 2,190.
2. In this extent of coast there is not, in the judgment of Staff Commander
Pender, who was in charge of these surveys, a suitable site for a terminus.
3. A meteorological journal was kept during the progress of the Admiralty survey (1867-8-9) which is in manuscript at the Hydrographical Department of this
office, and may be consulted or copies taken by Mr. Fleming.
4. I am further to inform you that the Hudsons' Bay Company could probably
give some statistics of weather, etc. from their long established trading post at Fort
Simpson. The mission stations at Metlah Catlah and Kincolith could also possibly
supply information on these points.
I am, etc.,
The Under Secretary of State,
Colonial Office. APPENDIX a
report on an exploration of pine river pass by mr. joseph hunter.
Canadian Pacific Eailway Office,
Victoria, B.C., 19th January, 1878.
Sir,—I beg to submit the following report on my explorations in British
Columbia during the past season in connection with the survey of the Canadian Pacific
My duties, as set forth in your instructions of May last, were to obtain a general
knowledge of the country north of the great bend of the Fraser Eiver and east of
the Telegraph Trail, in continuation of previous northern explorations, and in connection with a proposed examination of the route by the Eiver Skeena; to seek for a
pass through the Eocky Mountains by way of Pine Eiver; and, if such existed, to
determine its position and character, as well as examine its approaches from east
and west. It was suggested that I should travel by the Telegraph Trail from Ques-
nelle to Stony Creek, thence to McLeod's Lake by way of Fort St. James, and then
eastward to the Eocky Mountains, returning to .Giscome Portage by a route as far
south as practicable, and along the Fraser to Quesnelle.
This programme, although apparently simple enough, was sufficient to occupy
me during nearly the whole of the open season.
Business relating to another Department detained me in Victoria till the 22nd
of June, on which day I left for the Upper Country, arriviug at Quesnelle on the
29th. I here found a pack-train waiting, numbering thirty animals, with the necessary equipment and supplies for the season. Ten of these with their loads were to
be sent to the Forks of Skeena for service in connection with the proposed exploration of that river; the remaining twenty to be used by myself and party as circumstances might direct.
The pack-train left Quesnelle by the Telegraph Trail on the morning of the 30th
June. On Monday, July 2nd, I followed, and the same day overtook the train at
Blackwater Eiver, 43 miles from Quesnelle.
Sinkut Lake was reached on the forenoon of the 6th July, and as the trail by
which we intended to travel eastward diverged from the main trail near this point,
we camped here, and occupied the remainder of the day in selecting the animals and
stores which were to be sent to Skeena Forks. These were despatched to their destination on the morning of the 7th, and the same day our train made the Nechaco
Eiver Ferry.
In the meantime, I rode round by the upper crossing of Stony Creek to where
the line of Division § S," 1876, crosses the Telegraph Trail at Station 3220*50,
Lat. 53° 55' N., Lon. 124° 8' W. Altitude above the sea, 2,403 feet. This I took as
the initial point of the season's operations, and commenced a track survey along the
trail towards Fort St. James.
From the starting point the trail runs along the left or north bank of Stony
Creek for 2f miles, when it crosses at a fishing weir to the right bank, and follows
a north-easterly course for two miles, leaving the Creek to the left. It then turns
north-westerly, and re-crossing Stony Creek at a swampy ford, reaches the Nechaco
Ferry at 7J miles.
The Nechaco Eiver is here about 525 feet wide, maximum depth of water ten
feet; current running five miles an hour over a sound gravel bottom. A small
island lies in mid-channel a little below the ferry, and for some distance along the
right bank above and below this point the land is of good quality and pasture
HHH 73
The stores, rigging and animals were crossed on the evening of the 7th, and we
started forward early next morning.
The trail, on leaving the river, ascends at once about 150 feet to a fine grassy
plateau of rich soil, suitable for profitable cultivation. At 4J miles from the river,
the northern edge of this plateau is reached, and the trail begins to ascend in a
northerly direction, the dividing ridge between the Eivers Nechaco and Stewart. The
summit is crossed at an altitude of 720 feet above the Nechaco, distant therefrom
about 10J miles. The descent to tho Stewart Eiver of 840 feet is made in 5J miles.
On the last mile the fall is 470 feet, but the trail in this locality seems to have been
carried over ground considerably above the average level of the surrounding
Stewart Eiver runs on a soft muddy bed with a sluggish current, and at the ferry
is about 600 feet wide. The river valley at this point is a little over half a mile in
From the ferry, the trail turns up stream and winds along the left bank 10 to 25
feet above water-level for three miles, when it begins to diverge from the river to the
right, and, ascending by three benches, gains at the fourth mile from the crossing a
sandy plateau, 240 feet above the level of the river. After following this plateau, at
nearly the same altitude, for three miles, the trail descends 70 feet into the valley of
Nine Mile Creek, which it crosses. It follows down the right bank of this creek,
through some rich grass and good land, for seven and a half miles, when it leaves the
creek and ascends to the east, passing the base of a rocky slide from which Stewart's
Lake can be seen. The trail then runs along a hard rocky ridge for a short distance,
when, descending into the low plain, nearly on the level of Stewart's Lake, it runs
N. 53° W. till reaching that lake at Fort St. James, a trading post of the Hudson
Bay Company, 46f miles from the starting-point at Stony Creek. We arrived here
on tho evening of 10 th July.
Leaving Fort St James on the 11th, our route lay for five miles N. 70° E. through
a narrow belt of fine grassy country, 170 feet above the level of Stewart's Lake, or
2,400 feet above the level of the sea.
At the 57th mile a small stream about three feet wide is crossed. Here Sir Geo.
Simpson, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, camped in 1828, when travelling
from Fort McLeod to Fort St. James. The stream, from this circumstance, has been
dignified by the name of | Governor's Eiver."
Carrier Lake is reached at the 64th mile from Stony Creek. The trail skirts the
south shore of this lake for two and a quarter miles, and passes to the north of Eound
Lake and Deadman's Lake, over some high gravelly knolls and ridges, reaching
Salmon or Canoe Eiver at 73J miles, but the trail turns to the left and crosses this
river by a shallow ford two and a half miles further up stream. We camped here on
the 13th, on a bench 110 feet above the level of the river.
On the 14th July our march was from Salmon Eiver to Swamp Eiver, a distance
of 10J miles N. 20° E., over a poor, sandy, burnt country. The trail between these
points crosses White Mud Eiver three times. This is a small, sluggish stream, 10 to
30 feet wide, bordered in many places by grass and spruce swamps, and running in a
narrow valley 150 to 200 feet below the general level of the plateau.
Swamp Eiver is an insignificant sluggish stream, twenty feet wide. Its valley,
a quarter of a mile wide is soft and swampy. The ground on each side, rises by
gravelly benches to the plateau which is here about 100 feet above the river.
From Swamp Eiver to Carp Lake crossing a distance of eight and three-quarter
miles, the trail runs on a general bearing of N 56° E. The soil for this distance is of
a sandy nature, and the surface of the country comparatively level. The watershed
between the Pacific and Arctic Oceans, occurs at the 90th mile, or four and a
half miles to the east of Swamp Eiver, altitude 2,620 feet above the sea. Carp Lake
crossing is about 120 feet wide, and for 60 feet of this distance, mules have to swim.
The ground on each side is hard and firm. This crossing saves a long detour round
the west arm of the lake. The lake itself is about six miles long north-east and
south-west, and from two to three miles wide. Its shore line alone; the east and
20J—10 a
j 74
south sides is very irregular, and, with the exception of narrow flats along the shore,
the surrounding country is broken up into gravelly and rocky ridges.
Carp Lake drains into Long Lake by a crooked river forty to sixty feet wide.
This river is crossed at the 106th mile at a shallow ford near the outlet of Long Lake.
One mile below this crossing occurs a nearly perpendicular fall on the river of 130 feet.
From the crossing of Long Lake Eiver to within seven miles of Fort McLeod,
the trail passes through a high rough broken country, in many places much encumbered by fallen timber. Iroquois Creek, running in a deep narrow valley, is crossed
at 108J miles. From the 112th to the 114th mile, the country falls 340 feet, to a sandy
plateau 75 feet above the level of McLeo'd's Lake. Along this plateau, the trail runs
on a bearing of N 28' E for five and a half miles, when it descends from the plateau,
and crosses Long Lake Eiver near its outlet, into McLeod's Lake, and a quarter of a
mile from Fort McLeod, which is reached at 119f miles from the initial point.
The party arrived here on the 16th of July, 17 days from Quesnelle.
The general character of the country through which the trail passes from Stony
Creek to Fort McLeod, is identical with that of the country for a considerable distance co the southward. It is intersected by the three main rivers, Nechaco, Stewart
or Nacosla, and Salmon or Canos, running in a south-easterly direction. These
rivers derive their chief, and almost only sources of supply from the great lake area,
stretching easterly from the eastern base of the coast range to the Arctic watershed,
and southerly from Lake Tatla in latitude 55° 30' N. to Lake Gatcho, a distance of
175 miles.
The country in the neighbourhood of the route traversed, contributes but little
to swell the volume of the rivers above named. There are no lateral streams of any
importance, and consequently no lateral valleys sufficiently well marked to guide the
course or regulate the grades of a railway, and, although the land does not rise to
any great altitude, the location of a line would not be free from difficulty.
Throughout nearly the whole extent, but more particularly from Fort St. James
to McLeod's Lake, the country is broken up .by narrow sandy and gravelly ridges,
and rounded hills rising from 200 to 500 feet above the general level, low boggy flats
and depressions containing stagnant pools, and small lakes, and small sluggish
streams running in all directions.
Between the Nechaco Eiver and the valley of McLeod's Lake, three watersheds
or summits are crossed, the particulars of which are shown in the following table:—
Nechaco River.
S <
Eastward to
o    \
■8 g
°    1
Rise or Fall.
2,990 Stewart River
2,790 Salmon River.
Stewart River <  2,150|Summit.
Salmon River	
2,800 McLeoa's Lake
Rise, 720 feet.
No difficulties of a more than ordinary character would be met with in crossing
the above rivers.
In projecting a line of railway through the country above referred to (that is
from Stony Creek to Fort McLeod), detailed and careful explorations would, no
doubt, obviate some of the difficulties now apparent. It may, however, be stated
with safety, that the alignment and grades would in any case be objectionable and
the quantities excessive. W
The timber on this tract of country is generally of an inferior quality. The
higher portions of the land are covered with the common black pine. Occasional
patches of good spruce are met with, and a few Douglas firs were noticed on the shore
of Eound Lake, near the 67th mile. The lake shores are generally bordered by alder
and birch. Balsam seems to flourish, and attains to considerable size in the neighborhood of Fort McLeod.   A large area of the country has been desolated by fire.
The journey from Quesnelle to McLeod's Lake was over a route long established
and well known, and we found few obstacles in the way of rapid travel. Eastward
of McLeod's Lake, however, the country was known only as an Indian hunting
ground, and the information regarding it was both scanty and unreliable.
On the way out I made every endeavor to obtain some information in respect to
the locality of the northern passes through the Eocky Mountains, and more particularly in regard to the pass by way of Pine Eiver. In this I was not very successful.
Nearly all the Indians had left for the mountains on their annual hunting expeditions two weeks before my arrival, and I could find no one with anything like a
reliable knowledge of the Pine Eiver Pass, nor could I get any positive assurance
that such a pass existed at all.
At Fort McLeod was an old Klootchman who, in her young days, had been
acquainted with the country in the neighborhood of the Eocky Mountains. This lady,
with a sharpened stick, drew a rough map on the sand, and explained it to the best
of her ability. | By the aid of broken English, Patois and Chinook, I was given to
understand that there were two streams, the Misinchinca and the Mischinsinlica,
tributaries of the Parsnip Eiver, by either of which I could reach a pass through
the Eocky Mountains. The former was the stream visited by the geological party in
the summer of 1875.
By following the Misinchinca it was said I would find at its source a lake shedding its waters east and west, and which formed the source of a river falling into the
I Great Eiver," near a | Hudson Bay House."
The route by the Mischinsinlica, the smaller stream, seemed the less satisfactory,
and all my efforts failed to elicit from my informant any idea of the comparative
altitudes at the sources of the rivers above named.
Having resolved to try the pass by the Misinchinca, arrangements were made
for the trip, and we left Fort McLeod on the 18th of July, the party now consisting
of eight persons in all, including three Indians, whom I hired with great difficulty
by the way.
The stores were sent by water down Pack Eiver and up the Parsnip, to meet
the train at the mouth of the Misinchinca, about ten miles north easterly from Fort
McLeod, This enabled the pack train to move more rapidly over the rough and
swampy country bordering Pack Eiver.
We travelled down t^e left bank of this river for three miles, then crossed to the
right or east bank, reaching Tutia Lake in four miles, on the shore of which we
camped. On the 19th we cut our way through the timber on the ridge between the
Pack and Parsnip Eivers.
This ridge, where crossed by the trail at the summit, is about 250 feet above Tutia
Lake. The ground rises rapidly from the lake, and after attaining the above altitude
runs out nearly level to the Parsnip Eiver. A steep gravel bank fronts the river on
the west side, where the trail approaches it. Half a mile lower down the banks on
each side are about the same altitude, or 30 feet above the river. ||||
A good crossing of the Parsnip could be effected here. The width would be about
800 feet; height of piers, 35 feet; depth of water, 5 to 8 feet; bottom, gravel; current, 3J miles per hour. To reach this crossing the line would have to bend northward by an arm of Tutia Lake, which opens up the ridge or plateau and affords the
means of crossing it at a lower level.
\ On the morning of the 20th we left the Parsnip Eiver and journeyed up the
Misinchinca, keeping the left or south bank where the travelling was good, and
where could be seen faint traces of an Indian trail, which, however, soon ended at an
old trapping camp, and we saw no more of it, Our first camp on the Misinchinca (No. 20) was on a fine wide bench about 200
feet above the level of the river. This bench extends about six miles up the valley,
and lies mostly on the left or east bank.
From camp No. 20 the general upward course of the valley for eleven miles is
N. 25° E. The rise on this distance is very small, the current on the river being
hardly perceptible.
The valley at its entrance, and for some distance upwards, is enclosed by hills,
rising gently on each side, and in some instances green to their tops. Farther in,
however, the mountains assume a more bold and rugged character, with steep and
rough rocky slopes. The open sandy benches give place to low swampy flats, and
the river is hemmed in by dense thickets of alder and willow.
The difficulties of travel had now materially increased, several unsuccessful
attempts were made to carry the trail high up on the mountains, and for six days we
cut our way foot by foot through the dense jungle with which the valley at some
points is covered throughout its entire width.
Although presenting many obstacles to travel, the whole of this low land is
susceptible of reclamation by drainage, and seems generally well suited for agriculture.
On the 1st August we had reached a point thirty-one miles from Fort McLeod,
where the Misinchinca valley begins to rise rapidly, and the river shows innumerable
bars of sand and pebbles with many shallow rapids and drift piles.
Following up the valley from camp No. 29, we came in three-quarters of a mile
to the 1 Atunatche," a stream fifteen feet wide, falling into the river from the northward. Beyond this a short distance the Misinchinca issues from a narrow gorge or
canyon, walled in by bluffs of rock and gravel.
In front and running in a north-west and south-east direction is a range of high
bare, rounded, limestone mountains. This range forms a barrier on the east side of
the Misinchinca valley, which turns sharply to tho southward, near the mouth of tho
For five miles after passing this tributary, travelling at a low level being impossible, the trail was carried along the west side, 500 feet above the level of the river,
on a well timbered bench, from which we found the descent to our camp, No. 30, of
2nd August, extremely difficult. This camp is 2,630 feet above sea level, the rise in
the last five miles being 380 feet.
From the elevated points on our route, during the next four days, we looked
anxiously for some lateral opening by which, at a practicable altitude, we might cross
the range on our left. The upward bearing of tne valley was now a little West of
South, it was rapidly rising, and the distant mountains, wherever a glimpse could be
caught of them through the thick woods, seemed high and rough and well patched
with snow.
On the 7th August we had reached an altitude of 3,000 feet above the sea. The
valley had expanded into a wide swampy flat, while the volume of the river had
materially decreased, and it was evident we were rapidly approaching its source.
Selecting one of the mountains on the left as being about the average altitude of
the range, I commenced its ascent at noon of the 7th, and had climbed but a few
hundred feet, when I saw that, as far the Misinchinca was concerned, our
exploration was at an end; for we were within a few miles of where the valley
branched out on every side into rocky ravines, raising abruptly into tho mountains.
The last 500 feet of the ascent was made over loose limestone slide, on which
travelling was both difficult and precarious; and at an altitude of 5,550 feet above the
•sea I reached the summit.   The view on all sides was uninterrupted.
North-easterly from where I stood, and about 500 feet lower, was a small round
lake, one-quarter mile in diameter, "shedding its waters eastward down a dark,
crooked, rock-bound valley. Looking farther to the eastward, tho view was over a
rugged, rocky, mountainous country; S. 40' E., in the direction of the Fraser Eiver,
very high mountains, all tipped with snow, stretched away to the limits of the
horizon. With the exception of the rough peaks enclosing the valley of the Misinchinca. a low vpood$n country lay to the westward.   To the north the country
—— 11
generally seemed falling; and I could clearly trace the valley of the Atunatche,
along the base of the main range from the southern bend of the Misinchinca, and
nearly in a line with the valley of that river. Yet the prospect in this direction was
not encouraging; for the view through what afterwards proved a feasible pass,, was
obstructed by the overlapping profile of the opposite mountains.
We seemed to be in the heart of the Eockies, and it was evident that no pass
need be be looked for to the southward; so I resolved to turn northward, and,
retracing our march to the mouth of the Atunatche, follow up the valley of that
stream, in the hope of being able to pass eastward round the northern limit of the
higher mountains.
Having, with the point of my bowie-knife, inscribed my name and purpose on a
smooth block of limestone, I descended the mountain, and came up with the party a
short distance ahead of where I left them. On observing the peculiar character of
the surroundings, and being hemmed in on every side by windfall, they had camped
early to wait for further orders. The barometer at this camp (No. 34) indicated an
altitude of 3,010 feet above sea, the distance from the Atunatche being 26 miles.
On the morning of the 8th August we turned back, and reached the mouth of
the Atunatche (altitude 2,150 feet) on the 10th; and the next day we pushed on up the
valley of that stream on a bearing of N. 12° E.   The travelling was difficult; the
stream runs in a narrow gorge, and the grour.d on either side is much broken up
into rocky and gravelly ridges, the general surface rising slowly to the mountains
on either side.
At three and three-quarter miles we reached the south end of Azuzetta Lake.
The rise in this distance is 270 feet; the altitude of the lake, which drains into the
Misinchinca, being 2,430 feet, and along its shore is some excellent grass.
We followed the eavt shore of Azuzetta Lake to its north end, one mile and
three-quarters, and then kept along the valley in a north-west direction. After
passing a few beaver dams we crossed an open, sloping, grassy prairie, at the base of
the right-hand mountain, and noticed, 100 yards to the left, a stream ten feet wide,
running northward. On further examination I found that this stream issued from
the mountains on the west, and received the drainage of the last small lake or beaver
dam we had passed; this proved to be the origin of the west or main branch of Pine
Eiver, or Satchaca. The altitude of the summit, near the beaver dam above referred
to, is 2,440 feet above sea level
A mile from the summit brought us to a precipice, or drop, over 100 feet high,
stretching across the valley from side to side, down the face of which the pack train
scrambled with great difficulty.
The stream finds its way gradually to this lower level through a rugged rocky
canon. The valley at this point is about a quarter of a mile wide, with high rocky
bluffs on both sides.
For six miles from the summit the general course of Pine Eiver Valley is
north-west, and it seemed at one time almost certain that we should be pushed westward by the main range into the valley of the Parsnip, by an opening lying nearly
on our course ; but this proved to be the valley of a tributary from the north, upon*
receiving which, the main river turns to the eastward.
or> T^b0Qla mile below Camp No* 42'or 14i miles from the 8UmmitJ in ab°ut Lat. 55°,
25 N., and Long. 122°, 32' W, the sandstone structure makes its appearance, and Pine
Eiver may be said to be fairly beyond the Eocky Mountain range.
From the precipice up to this point the fall is about uniform, and the river runs
on a bed of thin slaty slabs. Short low bluffs of shale and slate appear occasionally
on the banks. |
. ^he valle7 is thickly timbered with spruce and balsam of good quality, and
is sufficiently wide to admit of easy curvature. The flats bordering the river are in
places soft and swampy.
Since leaving Fort McLeod, on the 18th July, we had been travelling through a
country almost entirely devoid of trails, and presenting every conceivable obstacle to
.be passage of a pack tram.   Day by day our small party toiled from morning till night in making a passable trail for the animals through fallen timber and over
swamps, and sometimes after a hard day's work in chopping, brushing, bridging, etc.,
we had the indifferent satisfaction of looking back only a mile or two to the curling
smoke of the previous camp fire. With incessant labor both men and animals were
becoming exhausted. The season was far advanced, and our position was by no means
determined with certainty. We were glad, therefore, to adopt the expedient which
now was presented of travelling in the river bed and on its numerous shingly bars,
taking to the woods only where the river was obstructed by drift piles or too deep
for travel.
All the saddle animals were pressed into the packer's service. Yet we cheerfully
exchanged the hard and continuous toil of hacking our way slowly through the
bush, for the discomfort of the more rapid mode of travelling, involving as it did,
wading sometimes for a considerable distance in the deep cold water.
One hundred and thirty seven crossings of the river were made altogether.
In this manner we made good progress till the 21st August, when the river
channel had to be abandoned, as the water had become waist deep, and fording the
river dangerous.
At 55J miles from the summit Pine River receives a tributary about its equal in
volume from the south. The general upward bearing of the valley of this branch for
six or seven miles, at which point it seems to fork, is S. 20° E.,and its width averages
one and a half miles. Some grassy slopes are seen on the west bank, but the valley
generally seems thickly wooded.
Nineteen miles below the middle branch the lower or east branch of Pine Eiver
is reached. The east branch is slightly larger than the main river and more glacial
in appearance. Below the Forks the river is from 500 to 750 feet wide. The altitude at the Lower Forks is 1,430 feet above the sea.
Between the middle and lower forks is a canon two and one-quarter miles in
length, of shelving sandstone, but its course is comparatively straight. A loaded
dug-out canoe, managed by one of our Indians, passed through the canon in safety,
and no difficulty was experienced in travelling on the grassy slopes above.
From the summit of Pine Eiver Pass to the lower forks the distance is seventy-
four and one-half miles, and the fall 1,010 feet. With the exception of a few miles
at the summit, the valley between these points is generally favorable for railway
construction. In the upper part of the valley there would be some short rock
cuttings, where spurs from the low, sharp, wooded mountains project into the river,
but on the lower portion there are long stretches of level flats, wheie the work would
be very light.
On the 18th of August, about two miles above camp No. 44, and twenty-two
miles from the summit, an open alluvial flat was reached on the left bank of the
river, and a change in the character of the valley became apparent. Up to this
point, which is probably the extreme western limit of the "Fertile Belt/' no land
suitable for cultivation or settlement was seen oast of the mountains.
From camp No. 44 to the canyon, a distance of forty-three miles, Pine Eiver
Valley is from one to two miles in width. A very large proportion of the low land
in this distance is fit for settlement, and the pasturage in the valley and in the north
hill slopes is of the richest description. Grass and pea-vine in profuse luxuriance,
with clumps of poplar and pine, cover thousands of acres, rendering this part of the
country peculiarly attractive. From the canon to the lower forks the cultivable
land is less extensive, but the pasture equally abundant and rich. The country
abounds in large game, such as bear, cariboo and moose.
The hill slopes are, in many places, very distinctly marked by unbroken terraces,
rising in some instances 1,000 feet above the level of the river. Opposite camp No. 47,
and for some distance above and below it these terraces are most noticeable. They
are truly parallel, and expose at their outer edges short bluffs of sandstone,
We arrived at the Lower Forks on the 28th August, and the following day made
preparations to strike eastward, as Pine Eiver here suddenly turns to the north.
On the 30 th we started up the east branch in the hope of finding some lateral valley W
from the eastward, by which the summit to the Smoky Eiver might be reached. We
ascended the valley for ten miles, when it became evident that it was useless to
proceed any further, as the upward course of the valley was west of south, and we
had evidently reached the southern edge of the plateau. Beyond could be seen
pretty high hills rising roughly from the east bank of the river.
For eleven miles above the Forks the east branch has dug out for itself a narrow
valley through the plateau. Bough, broken slopes of clay, sandstone and shale face
the river, with shelving slabs of sandstone near the water's edge. The river margin
is strewn with lumps of coal, numerous thin seams of which are seen in the face of
the bluffs.   The average height of the plateau above the river is 500 feet.
At noon on the 31st August we left the east bianch and kept a course nearly
due east. After passing the north end of a ridge running north and south, we
reached a large stream coming from an easterly direction. Following up this stream
to its source, through a wide valley, a summit 3,050 feet above the sea was
crossed, and a little farther on we came to a small stream running eastward, which
was followed for seven and one-half miles to camp No. 59, where the stream turns
northward. The last five miles we travelled on a good Indian trail, on which were
marks of horses, and by the side of the stream we noticed numerous wigwams..
At camp No. 59 was found the entire skull of a buffalo.
From this camp we kept on, as nearly as possible, an easterly course, travelling
occasionally on an Indian trail. After crossing a low ridge and several tamarac
swamps, we reached, at four miles from Camp 59, a sluggish muddy river, 100 feet
broad, running north, and no doubt falling into Pine Eiver. Two miles east from
this river we made Camp 61, at the foot of a pretty high ridge lying directly across
our course. The altitude of this camp is 2,300 feet above the sea, and its distance
easterly from the lower forks of Pine Eiver, thirty miles.
From the time we left the east branch we had evidently been travelling along
the southern limit of the plateau; for near at hand, on our right, rose hills and
ridges from 700 to 1,000 feet above the general level, while the country to the north
looked comparatively even. In the vicinity of | Buffalo Creek " the land is good,
and the pasturage very rich.
The safety of the mules had now to be taken into consideration. They were 650
long miles from their winter pasturage at Kamloops, and the higher mountains had
received, some time ago, their winter coats of snow.
Notwithstanding the never-ceasing attention of the most careful and industrious
of cargadores, the animals were very much bruised and fatigued. For fifty-one days,
often on scanty fare and with little rest, they had been by turns scrambling along
rocky slopes and over fallen logs, breast high, floundering across swamps, or stumbling among the slippery boulders of the Misinchinca and Pine Eivers. Without
the train I could do nothing, for the Indians refused to pack, and were besides becoming otherwise troublesome. They were in a strange country, far from home,
and lor sometime back had been using every means to dissuade me from continuing
my journey eastward, at the same time making implied threats of returning home
by themselves. I was very anxious to reach the summit to Smoky Eiver ; but there'
was high ground in front of us, and we would have been compelled to deflect still
more to the north; besides, the country was much encumbered with fallen timber,
and our progress eastward must have been very slow.
It was intended that the pack train should be at Quesnelle not later than the
20th October, as beyond that time it could not be considered safe in the woods. By
this arrangement there was now left a margin of only a few days, and, under the
^circumstances, I judged it best to turn homewards.
We left Camp No. 61, for Quesnelle, on the 7th September, and reached the
Lower Forks early on the 10th. On the 11th I examined the river for six miles
below the Forks, and next day we started up stream on our homeward march.
Jn passing, I ascended Table Mountain, from the top of which an extended view
was obtained-—and the following notes taken respecting tho surrounding country :—
S. round to S. 80° E, many low hills rising from the plateau 500 to 1,500 feet; S. 80° 80
1 to N. 60° E., hills gradually flatten ; N. 60° E. to N. 15° W., a comparatively level
country ; N. 75° W., very high peaks distant 40 to 50 miles (These are no doubt
the southerly peaks of the high range in the great bend of the PeaceEiver.) N.15° W. to
S. 70° W., a flat country for 30 to 40 miles, beyond which rise high rough monu-
tains well patched with snow ; S. 25° W., up the valley of the middle branch
towards the source ot the Misinchinca, high snowy mountains. All the country to
the south rough and irregular.
From the above observations it is evident that no satisfactory line of railway
to the eastward need be looked for, independent of the Pine Eiver valley, as far as
the Lower Forks, or to the south of a line bearing N. 60° E. for some distance from
the latter point.
The height of Table Mountain is about 3,500 feet above the sea.
On the morning of 16th September, the thermometer (Fahr.), stood at 22° above
zero, and the weather looked threatening. We therefore pushed on with all speed,
and reached the summit on the 20th. The snow line was then within 400 feet of the
valley, and the weather boisterous, with occasional showers of hail.
Parsnip Eiver was crossed on the 26th, and the following lay, during a heavy
snow storm, we arrived at Fort McLeod, 16 days from the Lower Forks of Pine Eiver.
On the 29th,with the thermometer at 8° above zero,the pack train was despatched
to Quesnelle, under instructions to proceed as rapidly as possible.
The train arrived at Quesnelle in safety on the 15th October.
After settling some difficulties with our three Indians, who insisted on returning
with the pack train to Fort St. James, I proceeded by canoe to the mouth of the
Mischinsinlica for the purpose of examining the valley of that stream and ascertaining if a practicable route existed in that direction to the valley of Pine Eiver.
The Mischinsirlica falls into the Parsnip Eiver, about ten miles below the Mis-
inchinica. It is about 15 feet wide at the mouth, and its valley for eight miles up is
Beyond that distance the valley gradually becomes narrower and steeper, and at
sixteen miles from tho Parsnip branches out into the high rough mountains which
lie on the west side of Pine Eiver. A very indistinct Indian trail was followed up
the Mischinsinlica for ten miles, where it ascended the left hand mountain and was
seen no more.
Eeturning to the Parsnip on the 4th October, on the 5th we started up that
river with the object of ascertaining the character of its valley and examining the
eastern slope of the ridge between McLeod's Lake and the Parsnip.
During the night of the 4th the thermometer fell to 7° above zero, and we were
much hindered by float ice in the river. On the 8th we had reached a point thirty-
three miles above the Misinchinca. For this distance the valley of the Parsnip Eiver
is flat and wide, and in every respect favourable. The ridge on the east, towards
McLeod's Lake is from 500 to 1,200 feet above the level of the. river, and does not
seem to present any serious obstacles to a line across it from East to West, were such
At noon on the 8th we turned down stream and reached Fort McLeod by way of
Pack Eiver and Tutia Lake on the 10th.
It now remained for me to examine tho route by way of McLeod's Lake and
Crooke'd Eiver or Chucaca to Summit Lake, and thence by way of Salmon Eiver to
tho located line on the Upper Fraser.
We started from Fort McLeod by canoe on the 11th October, at 10 a.m., and
entered Summit Lake on the 14th at 11 a.m. For some distance before reaching the _
lake we had to break our way through the ice. The navigation on a great portion
of this route is excellent. The river in many places forms a natural canal, in others
it opens out into lagoons and small deep lakes. There are, however, not a few shallow
difficult rapids, affording barely sufficient depth of water to float a canoe, and in some
portions of its course the windings of the river are interminable.
The adjacent country is generally flat for some distance on each side, and thickly
wooded.    On the west shores of McLeod's Lake, which is about fourteen miles in
- SI
length, the hills are rough but not high, sloping irregularly to the lake. The slopes
on the east, shore are more uniform, and less steep and broken. The shores of the
various lakes are deeply indented by numerous bays and narrow arms, but the promontories thus formed are generally low, and by undulating grades could be crossed
near the foot hills.
Eock appears on the east hill slopes at several points, but, generally, this would
not interfere with railway location. On the upper portion of Crooked Eiver the
country is of a gravelly character; in some places rising in benches fifty to 100 feet
above the river.
The distance from Fort McLeod to the upper end of Summit Lake, omitting the
many windings of Crooked Eiver, is about sixty miles, and* the rise between those
points is 160 feet. On a lino this would be pretty evenly distributed throughout the
whole distance.
The altitude of Summit Lake is 2,050 feet above the sea. Its length north and
south is about five miles by four miles east and west. The waggon road across the
Giscome Portage from Fraser Eiver, strikes the lake at the south-east corner.
From the west end of the lake to Salmon Eiver the distance by a good trail is
only ttf o and three-quarter miles, and the country is comparatively level. The
watershed between the Arctic and Pacific Oceans is crossed one and a-quarter
miles from Summit Lake, at an altitude of 2,160 feet above the sea.
We hauled our canoe and packed our baggage across this portage and started
down Salmon Eiver on the 16th October, reaching the Fraser early on the 18th;
Quesnelle on the 19th, and Victoria on the 27th.
I closed my track survey on Division N, location of 1876, at the crossing of
Salmon Eiver bench, mark No. 106 ; altitude, 1915*46.
The valley of Salmon Eiver, from the east end of the portage to the Fraser, is
from one half to one and a-hal£,miles wide, and about 200 feet below the general
level of the surrounding country. It is thickly wooded with fir and cotton wood.
The channel of the river is very crooked and much obstructed by drift piles, which
render navigation, more especially at a low stage of water, very tedious. There are
a number of sliding slopes and bluffs of clay and gravel at the elbows of the river,
and many gravel flats on both sides five to thirty feet above high-water mark.
The approximate position of a line along the route explored, from the railway
surveys on the Upper Fraser by way of Pine Eiver Pass to the Lower Forks of Pine
Eiver, a distance of 187 miles, is shown on the acconpanying plan by a red line. This
route is well marked out by the natural physical features of the country, and the
following brief notes, with respect more especially to the general grades obtainable,
may be useful.
From Division N. location up Valley of Salmon River to
mit on Portage	
From Summit on Portage to West End of Summit Lake..
From West End of Summit Lake to Outlet of same	
Outlet of Summit Lake to North End of McLeod's Lake	
From North End of McLeod's Lake to Tutia Lake at the 80th
Mile ,	
From the 80th Mile to Summit of Ridge between Pack and Parsnip Rivers	
From the Summit of Ridge to the Crossing of Parsnip River....
From Crossing of Parsnip River to Crossing of Misinchinca,
near Mouth of Atunatche , ...,.., |	
From Crossing of Misinchinca to South End of Azuzetta Lake
From South End of Azuzetta to Summit of Pine River Pass..
F»om Summit of Pine River Pass- to Lower Forks	
20/—11 ~'
per Mile.
per Mile
1-4 82
For the first 106 miles the works would be mostly in gravel. From the 106th mile
there would be some heavy work along the Atunatche, with considerable rock-cutting
and probably some tunnelling near the precipice from which, to the Lower Forks,
seventy-three and one-half miles, the works would be generally light, with a few rock
The crossing of Pine River below the Lower Forks would be 1,200 feet wide, and
seventy feet above the river, and some heavy work might be expected along the
river slopes in gaining the plateau to the eastward.
Finally, the following may be noted as the salient facts ascertained from this
exploration, viz.:
That a depression occurs in the Eocky Mountain range, extending from 55° 15',
to 55° 45', North latitude.
That a pass exists in this depression which, together with its approaches from
east and west, is, with respect to railway constiuction, of a generally favorable
That the summit of this pass is 2,440 feet above the level of the sea, which summit,
for the sake of convenient comparison, it may be observed, is 1,293 feet lower than
that of the Yellowhead Pass; 1,065 feet lower than the watershed between the Fraser
and Homathco Eivers; 660 feet lower than the summit to Dean Channel; and, to carry
the comparison a little farther, 5,802 feet lower than the highest point on the Union
Pacific Eailway.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Marcus Smith, Esq.,
O.P.E. Survey.
■ 83
Read before the Royal Colonial Institute, London, England, 16JA April, 1878,
I Having mentioned some of the events which ushered in the birth of the new
Dominion, it will now be my purpose to furnish in a concise form a general account
of the great region embraced within its limits, all of which is under the control of
the Canadian Government. As a preliminary it seems proper that I should refer
to some of those early discoverers and daring travellers who gave to the world the
first knowledge of the country.
Last session, Mr. Fraser, when he addressed the Institute, referred to Sebastian
Cabot, who touched the east coast of Labrador so long ago as 1496, and to Jacques
Cartier who, in command of two or three French vessels, sailed up the St. Lawrence
in 1534, and proceeded to establish trading posts which proved to be the beginning
of the old province of Canada, now Quebec. Attention being now directed to a more
extended field, in fact, to the northern half of North America, our inquiries must
necessarily take a wider range, and embrace discoveries on the Pacific, on the Arctic,
as well as on the Atlantic coast.
In the fifteenth ceniury, when the Continent of America was first discoveredM the
dimensions of the globe were but imperfectly known. Its circumference was thought
to be much less than it has since proved to be, and the newly-discovered land was
supposed to be the eastern shores of Asia. Spain and Portugal were then the great
maritime powers of the world, and they agreed under a Treaty of Partition founded
on a bull issued by Pope Alexander VI, in the year 1494, that the Spaniards should
possess exclusive control over the western route to Asia, while the Portuguese should
communicate through eastern channels. The question of jurisdiction having thus
been settled and stamped with the authority of the highest power in those days, the
Portuguese pursued their discoveries to the east by way of the Cape of G-ood Hope,
while the Spaniards endeavoured to find their way, in a westerly direction, through
new seas and unknown lands, to India, The Spanish ships cruised along the Atlantic
coast of America in the hope of finding their way to the south of Asia. In 1513 the
Isthmus of Darien was crossed> and* three years afterwards Spanish navigators
penetrated the Straits of Magellan ; and thus the Pacific Ocean was discovered at
two widely separate points.
In 1592, Juan de Fuca is reported to have followed the Mexican and Californian
coasts until he reached the broad inlet of the sea which to this day bears his name,
and which forms the southern Unlit of Canada on the western ocean. Eight years
after the alleged discovery by Juan de -Fuca, Henry Hudson ascertained the existence of a great inland sea accessible from the Atlantic side oi the new continent.
From Hudson's Bay it was confidently expected that some passage would speedily
be found winch would enable ships to traverse from the Atlantic to the Pacific and
thus shorten the voyage from Europe to Asia.
* Columbus landed on 1 Salvador or Watling's Island, on the 12th of October, 1492, 84
In 1669 the whole region surrounding Hudson's Bay was granted by the British
Crown to the society of merchants ever since known as the Hudson's Bay Company,
Who, after thoroughly exploring its shores, failed in discovering an outlet to the west.
The first civilized men who pierced the interior were probably French a venturers
and traders from old Canada, while the whole country was yet in possession of
France, A record of the exploits of these men, who, without the slightest previous
knowledge of the territory, penetrated &mong numerous savage tribes, would be of
thrilling interest. They passed from ike St. Lawrence through the great lakes
Huron and Superior, and. by the innumerable intricacies of streams, lakes, and
portagesto Lake Winnipeg. Thence, they passed up the Eiver Saskatchewan to
about the 103rd meridian, where they planted their most distant trading post some
2,000 miles, from the then colonized parts of Canada.
In 1679, almost two centuries ago, Eobert Chevalier de la Sale entertained the
idea of finding a way to China through the lakes and rivers of Canada. His expedition set out in the frail canoes of the natives, his point of departure above the
rapids on the St. Lawrence, near Montreal, being named, as it is still named, | La
Chine," in allusion to the daring project to reach from that point the land of the
Chinaman. Haifa century later the attempt was renewed. In 1731, Pierre Gauthier
de Varennes, under the auspices of Charles, Marquis de Beauharnois, Governor of New
France, commanded the expedition, and although he failed to reach the Pacific
Ocean, he was the first to reach the Eocky Mountains.
In 1762, Fort La Eouge, close to the site of the present Fort Garry, was an
established trading post. Soon after this, the conquest of Canada extinguished French
possession and terminated French exploration in the western wilderness. Even
the French missionaries, who were the first to preach the Gospel to the aborigines,
abandoned the country, and did not resume the work for nearly sixty years.
A hundred years after the grant to the Hudson's Bay Company, one of their
agents, Mr. Samuel Hearne, was commissioned to examine the interior. Between
1769 and 1772, that early explorer made journeys on foot and in canoes 1,000 miles
westwards from tho place of his departure on Hudson's Bay. He discovered Great
Slave Lake and other large lakes, and traced the Eiver Coppermine to its mouth.
Exactly a hundred years ago, and in the year before the sad end of one of the
most distinguished of navigators and discoverers, Captain Cook touched at Nootka
Sound, on the western coast of Vancouver's Island, claimed its discovery, and
after remaining there a few weeks, sailed along the coast to Behring Straits.
After an intermission of eleven years, Alexander Mackenzie, in the service of
the North West Fur Trading Company, set out on an important exploration of the
interior. Between 1789 and 1793, that intrepid traveller discovered the great river
which justly bears his name, and followed it to the Arctic Ocean. He ascended the
Peace Eiver to its source, was the first civilized man to penetrate the Eocky Mountains, and passed through to the Pacific Coast. This traveller inscribed in large characters on a rock by the side of Dean Inlet, the words—"Alexander Mackenzie, from
Canada by land 22nd July, 1793." @n the same day that Mackenzie painted that
memorable inscription by the side of the Pacific, Captain Vancouver was pursuing his
examination of the coast about two degrees further north. A short time before
Mackenzie emergod from the interior, Vancouver had visited the spot where Mackenzie slept but one night within sound of the sea. Thus these two distinguished
travellers, from opposite directions, and engaged in totally different pursuits, discovered precisely the same place, and by a remarkable coincidence ail but met each
In 1806, Simon Fraser crossed the Eocky Mountains from Canada, and descended
the great river of British Columbia which, in his honour, was named after him. It was
my good fortune many years ago to read Fraser's original manuscript journal, then in
the hands of his son. I have since witnessed the foaming rapids and boiling whirlpools of that wildest of all large rivers, and 1 cannot be surprised that not many
havo attempted, and that still fewer have succeeded, in following in the wake of Simon
JYaser from tbe source to the wwth of the mighty stream.   Twenty-two years after- 85
wards, however, Governor Sir George Simpson made the daring attempt. In 1828 he
stepped into a canoe at York Factory on Hudson's Bay, and stepped out of the frail
craft some time afterwards at the mouth of the Eiver Fraser, having in the interim
traversed the interior, and carried the canoe, as Mackenzie did before him, from the
source of Peace Eiver to the great northern bend of the Fraser.
This celebrated traveller, in his journey round the world in 1841, again crossed
the northern half of America. His course was by the St. Lawrence, the Ottawa,
Lakes Nipissing, Huron, Superior, and by the canoe route to Lake Winnipeg. Then
across the prairie via the Saskatchewan to the Eocky Mountains and by Kootenais to
the Columbia Eiver.
In June 1843, Captain (now General Sir Henry) Lefroy arrived at Eed Eiver,
passed through to Lake Athabasca, and there remained from the middle of October to
the end of February following, engaged in meteorological and magnetical observations.
In March 1844 he started for Fort Simpson on Mackenzie Eiver, where for several
months his time was occupied in similar pursuits.
The north-west passage, a problem which had already baffled the energy and
skill of navigators, remained unsolved at the beginning of the present century, and a
series of attempts was made to throw light on the gloom which surrounded it. Some
of these efforts assumed the forms of expeditions by land, traversing the region which
now constitutes part of Central Canada, and therefore Gall for further notice here. The
reference to them must be brief, but the indomitable perseverance and heroic endurance which they developed and displayed, demands a passing tribute to names which
will ever be familiar in Canadian and Arctic story.
In 1819, an Arctic land expedition was organized under the command of Captain
Franklin. That officer travelled, via Eed Eiver,- to Cumberland House on the Saskatchewan, and thence by Fort Chipewayan, Fort Enterprise, and the Eiver Coppermine,
to the Arctic Coast. This expedition was marked by frightful suffering and loss of
In 1825, Franklin started on a second expedition. Having reached Ontario, he
passed, via Lakes Huron and Superior, to Eed River, and thence traversed the country
to Great Bear Lake, where he wintered. The following year he pursued his journey
to the Arctic coast, via Mackenzie Eiver.
In 1833, Captain Back, on an expedition in search of Sir John Boss, passed from
Montreal to Lake Winnipeg and thence to Fort Eeliance, where he wintered ; after
which he followed the Great Fish Eiver to the Arctic coast.
In 1836, Messrs. P. W. Dean and Thomas Simpson, at the instance of the Hudson
Bay Company, started overland from Eed Eiver on a joint expedition. They spent
the years 1837, 1838, and 1839 in explorations on the northern coast. They joined
the surveys of Franklin and Beechey at Point Barrow in Behring Strait, and those of
Franklin and Back between the Coppermine and Great Fish Rivers, making the
longest boat voyage in the Arctic seas on record.
In 1845, Dr. Bae took his departure from Lake Superior on the breaking up of
the winter, passed by the common route to Eed Eiver, by Lake Winnipeg to Norway
House and thence to York Factory, where he wintered. A year afterwards ho wintered
at Eepulse Bay without fuel, and subsisted with his party for twelve months on food
obtained with the gun and spear. He united the surveys of Eoss and Parry, a
dibtance of about 700 miles, and made the first long sledge journey performed in that
part of the world, the total distance being nearly 1,300 miles.
In 1848, Sir John Eichardson, who bad already made two overland journeys with
Sir John Franklin, made a third in search of that lamented traveller. On the last
occasion he was accompanied by Dr. Eae. The two volumes published by Eichardson
on his return afford evidence of the minute scientific observations made in that part
of Canada traversed by these celebrated explorers, and supply ample proof of the value
of their labours.
In 1849, Dr. Eae, alone, passed down the Eiver Coppermine, pursuing the object
of discovering Franklin with unabated vigour.
In the following year, Dr. Eae renewed the search.   He wintered at Fort Confi- 86
dence, Great Bear Lake ; descended the Coppermine Eiver ; travelled over ice nearly
1,100 miles, at an average rate of from twenty-five to twenty-six miles a day ; and
made the fastest long Arctic journey which has ever been known. Subsequently,
on the same expedition, he made a boat voyage almost rivalling that previously made
by Dean and Simpson.
In 1853 and 1854 this indefatigable and justly celebrated traveller, Di. Eae, was
again in the field. Again we find him wintering at Eepulse Bay, living nearly
altogether on the produce of the gun, tlje hook, or the spear. He made another
sledge journey of over a thousand miles, and joined the surveys of Dean and Simpson
with those of Eoss west of Boothea. On this occasion Dr. Eae was so far successful
as to set at rest all doubts as to the sad fate of the Franklin expedition. For this
the promised reward, £10,000 sterling, was presented to him and his men.
With the exception of a final exploration made in 1855 by Messrs. Anderson
and Stewart, who passed down the Great Fish Eiver, this ends the record of
overland Arctic expeditions. It cannot be denied that, notwithstanding all the toils,
perils, and privations inseparable from them, these expeditions have resulted in
failure and disappointment in regard to the main object for which they were undertaken, viz., a north-west passage for ships. They have incidentally, however, given
valuable additions to our knowledge of the country, and made important contributions to science.
. These various overland Arctic expeditions, of which I have presented but an
outline, extended over a period of thirty-six years. But for them the northern
regions of Canada would not have been so thoroughly explored. We have now a fair
knowledge of the northern coasts, with all their silent and peaceful grandeur, far
away from the feverish bustle of busy men. The more Arctic portions of the Dominion are probably destined to remain for ever undisturbed by the hum of industry,
and to continue, as Providence has hitherto kept them, with all the characteristics
of snow and solitude which mark the landscape in high latitudes.
While investigations were being proceeded with during a series of years in the
northern parts of British North America, in connection with the all but futile
attempts to find a north-west passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, it
was not until a comparatively recent period that special attention was directed to
the southern and far more valuable portions of the country.
Between the years 1819 and 1855 the northern districts were traversed in many
directions. It was only subsequent to the latter date that regularly organized efforts
were made to gain information respecting the country nearer home.
In 1 57, on the recommendation of the Eoyal Geographical Society, Her
Majesty's Government sent out an expedition to explore the country between Lake
Superior and the Rocky Mountains. It was placed under the command of Captain
Palliser, who, with a staff of scientific men, remained pursuing his investigations
until 1859. Reports of the highest value were published on the return of the
The Government of the late province of Canada likewise sent out an expedition
in 1857. Its object was to survey the canoe route between Lake Superior, and the
Eed Eiver settlement. Messrs. Dawson and Hind, who were in charge of distinct
branches of this expedition, pursued their investigations during 1857 and 1858, extending them as far west as the south branch of the River Saskatchewan.
In the same years, 1857 and 1858, Captain Blakiston, at the instance of tho
Eoyal Society, was engaged in meteorological and other scientific observations. He
began at York Factory, on Hudson's Bay, passed inland to Lake Winnipeg, and
thence by the Saskatchewan to the Eocky Mountains.
Other travellers, who were not directly commissioned by the Imperial or
Colonial Governments, passed through tho country, and on their return added valuable contributions to the general stock of information. In 1859 and 1860 the Earl
of Southesk followed the Assiniboine and Saskatchewan valleys to the Eocky Mountains, and some years afterwards gave the public the benefit of his observations. In
1862 and 1863, Lord Milton aud Dr. Cheadle crossed from the Atlantic to the PacifiQ ■&
charming among modern books of travel. In 1864 we again find Dr. Eae at work.
On this occrsion he had abandoned the Arctic regions in favour of a more southern
journey. He' crossed as Milton and Cheadle did in the previous years, via the
Saskatchewan to Tete Jaune Cache, but, unlike them, he turned at this point to follow
the Fraser, in place of the Eiver Thompson; finally reaching the Pacific coast.
I ought not to omit to mention Messrs. Douglas and Drummond, both botanists
who spent some time in the country, and David Thompson, after whom tho River
Thompson is named.   He was for many years in the service of the Hudson's Bay
Company as astronomical surveyor.   To his labours we are indebted, to no small
extent, for our geographical knowledge of much of the interior.
I should do injustice to the missionaries who have gone forth at different times
to Christianize and civilize the native tribes, did I overlook the part they have taken '
in throwing light on the physical features of the several regions they have visited.
Ministers of the Anglican, Wesley an, Presbyterian, and Eoman Churches have each
and all done their part. To French clergymen of the last-named Church we are
perhaps chiefly indebted. Nearly a hundred and fifty years ago Pierre Arnaud, on
his first intercourse with the Indians, fell a victim, together with one of the brothers
Verandrye and party on their way between Lake Superior and Eed Eiver. Canada
owes much also to the learned Archbishop Tache, whose travels during a sojourn of
over thirty years have been extensive, and the results of whose observations in many
parts of the far interior have been given to the world.
This brings the list of the principal explorers, as far as I have been able to learn
their names, and the record of the various independent discoveries which have
been made, up to the period when the whole territory formerly known as British
North America came under the name and jurisdiction of Canada. As I before mentioned, the Imperial Act by which British Columbia and the Hudson's Bay Territory
entered the Dominion, came into force in July, 1871. On that day, strong engineering
parties were sent out by the Government of Canada to explore the whole region intervening between the seat of Government at Ottawa in the eastern provinces and the
Pacific coast at the west. The object was to obtain more complete information
respecting the country, and find a line to be followed by a trans-continental railway.
The engineering force engaged in this work has been about a thousand men of all
grades. The surveys have been continued from 1871 up to the'present time. I have
been myself intimately connected with it, and therefore it behoves me to refrain
from saying much with respect to the manner in which the work has* been done. I
may, however, be pardoned for alluding to the earnestness and determination of the
Government and people of Canada with respect to the development, as rapidly as
possible, of the niagnificent country which has come under their control. An instance
may be given in connection with the surveys. After three years had been spent
by the engineers in exploring every part of a wild, uninhabited, and roadless country,
extending a distance of about three thousand miles, a great amount of exact engineering information had been obtained at a heavy cost, when a serious and discouraging disaster occurred. In 1874, in mid-winter, the building in which were deposited
the field note-books, the unfinished plans, and nearly all the other information accumulated, was destroyed by fire, and nearly every scrap of paper was consumed ; and
thus the labour of three years, and results which had been obtained at a cost of about
£300,000 sterling were lost. Nothing daunted, the order was given to begin the
work of surveying afresh. It has been vigorously prosecuted up to the present time,
and I can now point to some of the results as being highly satisfactory.
I shall not attempt to weary you with even an outline of the details of the work
which already fills volumes ; I will simply allude presently to the general information
which has been acquired, showing, perhaps, some of the more important results which
have been obtained. It will, however, enable the members of the Institute to form
soma idea of the labour which has been expended on this survey when I inform them
S that the total length of explorations made during the last seven years exceeds
47,000 miles, and that no less than 12,000 miles have been laboriously measured by
chain and spirit level, yard by yard, through mountain, prairie, and forest. To mention that the Canadian Government has, on this special examination alone, expended
about £700,000 sterling, will not fully convey a correct idea of the energy and
determination displayed.
Besides extensive land surveys in Manitoba, the boundary line between Canada
and the United States has been defined from end to end. This was done by a joint
Commission appointed by both countries; the British section of the Commission being
in command of Major D. E. Cameron. The work occupied three years, and tho
reports furnished on its completion, including scientific papers by Captains Anderson,
Featherstonhaugh, and George M. Dawson, have largely extended our knowledge
of that portion of the country adjoining the southern boundary line from the Lake
of the Woods to the Eocky Mountains. A boundary survey west of the mountains
had been previously effected.
The foregoing sketch of the early discoveries of different independent portions of
North America which together make up the Dominion of Canada, and the reference
to the various explorations and surveys which, from time to time, have been made in
different parts, will enable members of the Institute to judge of the value of the
information, geographical and physical, which has been acquired respecting much of
the country. The several provinces on the Atlantic sea-board, and the valley of the
St. Lawrence are well known, and have already been described at a former meeting.
The southern margin of the country, extending from these provinces westwards to
the mountains, have been examined with the greatest care by the Eoyal Commission
appointed to define the boundary between Canada and the United States. The
Canadian coast on the Pacific, with its many deep fiords, flanked in some instances
by mountains reaching the limits of perpetual snow, has been the subject of repeated
explorations. The northern side of the country, with its long summer day and its
equally long winter night, has been visited in nearly every part by brave indefatigable men, who, after perils and privations of no ordinary kind, have mapped it
out, and left it again to the silence and desolation which pervade the Arctic circle.
The interior is so vast that it cannot be said to have been completely examined.
There are still some districts where the foot of civilized men has not yet stepped;
but, as I have shown, explorers have forced their way in many directions; adventurous men have penetrated tho gloomy recesses of ^he primeval forest, have peered
into the rocky fastnesses of the mountains, and, with unflagging toil and unflinching
endurance, have gained for us a general and reasonably correct knowledge of much
of the country.
I shall not trouble you with many details, but shall endeavour only to lay
before you a very brief and condensed description of the general physical
characteristics of the several great divisions of the territory comprised within the
limits of the Dominion. In the first place it is important that a perfectly clear and
correct conception should be formed of its extent. If we open an ordinary atlas and
overlook the parallels of latitude and longitude, for the moment, all countries appear
very much about the same size. Scales and projections are adopted to suit the convenience or fancy of the publisher. Large countries are made small, and small
countries are made large, to suit the size of the book; and thus strange misconceptions
are often formed. If, however, we take a large terrestrial globe upon which all the
land and water on the earth's surface are depicted on precisely the same scale, war
ideas will be corrected. If on the surface of the globe we draw on one sheet of
tracing paper the outlines of Canada, and on another the outlines of Europe, and
then proceed to lay the one over the other, so as to cover so much of the land in
each case as possible, and if we go on to measure and make allowance for portions
left uncovered, we sh^ll find that Europe somewhat exceeds the area of Canada, but
that the excess is not great. Lest it be imagined that Canada has an undue share of
the region of ice and snow, we may exclude from the comparison ail the land within
the Arctic circle in both cases, and still we find that Canada covers fully more of the 89
earth's surface than the comprised areas of European Eussia, Lapland, Norway,
Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, the British Islands, France, Switzerland,
Germany, Austria, Turkey, and all the principalities between the Adriatic and Black
Seas; in fact, if we leave out Spain and Italy, Canada appears to equal in area the
remainder of Europe.
Of course, this is a comparison simply of extent; it has no reference to soil, or
mineral resources, or to climate.   These features will be briefly considered presently.
It has been found convenient in describing the general characteristics of Canada
to divide it into three great regions. Its leading botanical, geological, and topographical features suggest this division. One region, excopt whore cleared of its timber
by artificial means, is densely wooded, another is wooded and mountainous, the third
is avast lowland plain of a prairie character. The Mountain Eegion is on the western
side; the Prairie Eegion is in the middle; the remainder, which embraces the settled
provinces on the St. Lawrence, originally covered with a growth of timber, may, for
the sake of simplicity of description, be considered the Woodland Region.
I shall first consider the Prairie Eegion. If we place before us an orographical
map of North America, it will be noticed that a great continental plain stretches
north and south between the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean. It is bounded
on the western side throughout its whole extent by the Eocky Mountain zone, and
on the eastern side in part by a less elevated region, the Appalachian zone. This
great plain occupies the whole of the continent of North America between the'
western and eastern mountain ranges. It is divided by its river systems into three
perfectly distant drainage basins, One drains to the south into the Gulf of Mexico,
another north into sub-Arctic waters, and the third east into the Atlantic by the
channel of the great river St. Lawrence.
Of these three basins, that of the St. Lawrence is by far tho smallest, and the
northern is fully as large as the other two together. The St. Lawrence basin, on
the boundary between the United States and Canada, occupies part of both countries ;
the southern basin is almost wholly in the United States; the northern basin is almost
wholly in Canada; and the line of contact between the two latter basins is in part
approximately coincident with the 49th parallel of latitude—the southern limit of
the interior of Canada. It will thus be seen that the great continental plain of North
America is divided naturally, as well as artificially, through the centre. It is divided
politically into two adjacent countries, under distinctgovernments, and naturally into
three vast drainage basins, the smallest of which occupies a comparatively narrow
strip along the eastern portion of the International Boundary line, while the other
two discharge their waters in diametrically opposite directions.
The Prairie Eegion of Canada, lies in the northern drainage basin: it may be
considered to extend from south to north more than a thousand miles, and j nearly
the same distance from east to west. It is not all a treeless prairie; a considerable
portion is thinly wooded; yet the whole is considered as more or less partaking of a
prairie character.
The Prairie Eegion, so called, is somewhat triangular in form. One side coincides with the International Boundary line, and extends from the 95th to the 113th
meridian; another side follows the eastern slope of the Eocky Mountains from the
49th to about tho 64th parallel of latitude. The third side, about 1,500 miles in
length, skirts a remarkable series of lakes, rivalling in size Lakes Erie and Ontario.
These great water-filled depressions lie in a generally straight north-westerly and
south-easterly direction. They embrace Great Slave Lake, Lake Athabasca, Lake
Wollaston, Deer Lake, and Lake of the Woods, and they appear to occur geologically
on the separating line between a broad band of Laurentian or metamorphic rocks and
the softer Silurian formations. This great triangular-shaped region is estimated- to
measure about 300,000,000 acres. Its base, running along the series of lakes men--
tioned, will probably average less than 1,000 feet above the sea; and its apex, near
where the International Boundary line enters the Eocky Mountains, will'probably be
about 4,000 feet above sea level. This region may generally be described as a great
plane sloping from its apex in a north-easterly direction downwards to its base, but
20;—12 90
the inclination is not uniform and unbroken. Several terraces and well-defined escarpments stretching across the country are met with at intervals. A great proportion
of the surface is gently rolling, and hills of no great height occur here and there.
The rivers of this division of the country flow for a great part of their course in
deeply eroded channels, frequently of considerable width, and as the superficial
formations are for the most part drift or soft rock, the- channels which have been
furrowed out are but little obstructed by falls or steep rapids. They generally present
a uniform descent, and the long stretches of some of the rivers, although the current
be swift, are capable of being navigated. A wide expanse of the region to the south
of the main Saskatchewan is a prairie, without trees or shrubs of any kind; the
treeless prairie passes by easy gradations into copse woodland with prairie intervening. To the north of the-Saskatchewan, woodland appears in various localities. On
Peace Eiver there are extensive prairies; there is, also, ar! agreeable mixture of woodland and prairie; and this character of country appears to prevail for a considerable
distance still further north. ,
It is scarcely to be supposed that a region so extensive would be found all
fertile land. The great American desert, which covers a wide area in the centre of
the United States, was at one time thought to extend north for a considerable distance
into Canada. The Boundary Commission reports, however, appear to show that the
arid and unproductive tract is more limited on the Canadian side than was previously
supposed; and that a great breadth of the country previously considered valueless
may be used for pastoral purposes, and some of it ultimately brought under cultivation. There are other places within the territory described as the Prairie Eegion
which are unfavourable for farming pursuits; and although certain drawbacks claim
recognition, there can no longer be any doubt respecting the salubrity of the climate
and the existence of vast plains of rare fertility. Information on this head has been
obtained year by year. Professor Macoun, a well-known botanist, has recently been
commissioned specially to investigate this subject. He estimates that there are no
less than 160,000,000 acres of land available in this region alone for farming and
grazing purposes, of which one-half, or 80,000,000 acres, may be considered fit for
The mineral riches of this great division.of Canada are but imperfectly known.
It has, however, been established that immense deposits of coal exist in many parts,
chiefly along the western side. The examinations of Mr. Selwyn, director of the
Geological Survey, carry the impression that the coal bearing rocks pass with their
associated coal seams and iron ores beneath the clays farther east, and it may be that
shafts would reveal workable seams of coal at such limited depths beneath the surface
as would render them available for fuel and for industrial purposes in the heart of the
prairies. Should these views of Mr. Selwyn prove correct, their realization will be
of the greatest possible importance to the country. Besides coal and iron ore, petroleum, salt and gold have also been found.
The nucleus of a population has for many years existed on the Eed Eiver ; it
was originally formed by the Earl of Selkirk near the beginning of the present century. In the autumn of 1812 he reached the chosen locality, Kildonan, via Hudson's
Bay and Eiver Nelson, with a small party of Highland Scotchmen. Subsequently,
the numbers were increased, and a number of French Canadians also settled down to
cultivate the soil at St. Boniface, on the opposite bank of the Eed Eiver. The Eed
Eiver settlers, exposed to many vicissitudes during a space of half a century, did not
greatly prosper. But since the incorporation with Canada of the whole country
formerly under the sway of the Hudson's Bay Company, marvellous progress has been
made. The province of Manitoba has been created around the place whjeh was once
the Selkirk settlement; its population has increased from a mere handful to many
thousands, and it has to all appearance entered on a career of unexampled progress.
Manitoba, although a province with prospects so brilliant, occupies but a small
corner of the*fertilc lands in the interior of Canada. The Prairie Eegion, as set forth
in the foregoing, is alone ten times the area of England, reckoning every description
of land; such being the case, it may be no vain dream to imagine that in due time
—< 91
many Provinces will be carved out of it, and that many millions of the human family
may find happy and prosperous homes on these rioh alluvial plains of Canada,
I shall now pass to that other great division of the country which has been
designated the Mountain Eegion.
This is part of the great elevated mountain zone of North America, which begins
in the Cordilleras and elevated plateau of Mexico, and extends to the Arctic Ocean.
If we examine.the orographic map, it will be observed that the Eocky Mountain
zone, although it has many subsidiary mountain ranges, is characterized^ for the
greater part of its length by two prominent and perfectly distinct Alpine chains, each
with many spurs or branches. One of those main chains is directly along the Pacific
coast: in Canada it is known as the Cascade Mountains, and farther south as the
Sierra Nevadas. The other range is the Eocky Mountains proper: it observes a general,
although not perfect, parallelism with the coast. The distance between the crests of
these two lofty chains varies from 1,000 miles in the United States to 300 miles in ,
Canada, and to this circumstance may be attributed the remarkable widening of
the alluvial plains in the Canadian half of North America.
I shall now confine my remarks to that portion of the Eocky Mountain zone
within the limits of Canada.
The Cascade Chain rises abruptly from the sea level, presenting from the water an
extremely bold and defiant aspect. The average height of the many serrated summits
will probably range from 5,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level, and some of its central
crests and loftiest peaks rival in elevation the main Eocky Mountain Chain.   The
main Eocky Mountain Chain is in Canada from 300 to 400 miles distant from the
Pacific coast.   This chain rises like a colossal wall above the continental plain on its
eastern side.    Its flanks are, however, deeply gashed, and great countefort-like spurs
jut out, between which the rivers which water the Prairie Eegion take their rise.
Much of this great mountain barrier rises over 8,000 feet above sea level. The loftiest
central peaks enter the region of perpetual snow; some of them, indeed, reach an
elevation estimated at 15,000 feet above the ocean.   On the western flank of the
chain are several independent groups of mountains, known by local names.   They are
separated from each other by narrow valleys and deep chasms, some of which are
prolonged in the direction of the Prairie Region, forming passes through the mountains.   Some of these passes are from 6,000 to 7,000 feet above the sea, and they
range down to less than 2,000 feet.   These transverse openings through the lofty chain
afford comparatively easy passages from one side to the other.    The lowest and most
remarkable is in about latitude 56 degrees.   Here the Peace River rises on the
western side of the Eocky Mountains, and flows through them at a low altitude,
ultimately passing into the Eiver Mackenzie.
Between the Cascade and Eocky Mountain Chains there extends an elevated plateau, averaging from 3,000 to 4,000 feet above sea-level. This plateau is grooved out
by deep river channels, broken by rocky ridges and inferior mountain masses. It
has many lakes, occupying deep depressions in the surface, and is intersected in many
directions by numerous broad, sheltered, undulating valleys. The surface of this
plateau in some quarters is thickly, in others scantily, timbered, and in certain districts open prairies present themselves.
Off the shore of the mainland there are several large islands, the most important
of which is Vancouver Island; the others are the Queen Charlotte group. The former
is half as large as Scotland, the latter is in area more like Wales. The climate of
these islands is moist and temperate, and in this respect they are not dissimilar to the
British Islands. Vancouver, the most southerly, has an elevated interior with mountains rivalling in height those of the mother-country. Some of the central peaks,
such as the Alexandra, the Albert Edward, and the Victoria, rise from 6,400 to 7,500
feet above the sea. The last, the Victoria Peak, is double the height of Snowdon, and
one-third higher than Ben Nevis.
Besides Vancouver and the Queen Charlotte group,-there exists along the shore
of the mainland clusters of smaller islands, between which are deep, and in
many places intricate passages, jj Great arms of the sea pierce the mainland in many 92
places. They resemble the deep-water, rock-bound fiords of Norway, and they
penetrate so far that the largest iron-clads afloat could steam, in some cases, into the
very heart of the Cascade Mountains.
The Mountain Eegion has some good lands, but the fertile tracts are limited in
extent; when developed they will be advantageously situated for raising agricultural
products and stock to supply the mining industries which in time will undoubtedly
be established.
This region is exceedingly rich in minerals, containing coal arid iron in profusion. In quality, the Vancouver coals are found superior for steam engines to any
worked on the Pacific coast. They find their way to California, and are used on the
railways leading out of Saa Francisco, in spite of a high duty imposed by the United
States. The precious metals are also found. The yield of the gold washings is
already about 40,000,000 dollars, and within the past jear quartz mining has been
inaugurated. Mr. Dawson, of the Geological Survey, reports: 11 think it may be
said without exaggeration that there is scarcely a stream of any importance in the
province of British Columbia in which the I colour ' of gold is not found." Silver
is met in several localities. Copper, mercury, lead, platinum, and nickel are also
mentioned in the reports of the Geological Survey.
Very much still requires to be learned respecting the rock formation of the
Mountain Eegion. Data have, however, been collected in a rapid and necessarily
imperfect geological exploration sufficient to establish the existence of great mineral
wealth. There can be no doubt that here we have a wide and promising field, and
the future will witness industries of various kinds working and developing the riches
which lie buried under the surface. The forests, of enormous growth, which exist in
many places, and the fisheries of the rivers and coasts, will give employment to a
very considerable population.
I must now turn to the Woodland Region; but to describe it, even in outline,
would far exceed the limit of this paper ; I must therefore content myself with a few
passing remarks. I have already defined the Woodland Eegion to be the whole of
Canada not within the Mountain Eegion in the west and the Prairie Eegion in the
middle; it therefore embraces all the settled portions of the Eastern Provinces which
were wooded at one time, but which have, within a brief period, been in part cleared by
the hand of man. This region is of immense extent; it embraces 84 degrees of longitude ; its most southerly point is on Lake Erie, in the 42nd parallel, and it stretches
from the latitude of Eome away far north to a point at least 200 miles within the
Arctic circle. Compared with the country on the Pacific coast, no part of this region
can be considered mountainous. Although elevated ranges, like the Laurentides, are
met, only a small proportion of the country exceeds 2,000 feet above sea-level. An
area of fully 200,000 square miles is estimated to be under 500 feet above the level
of the sea.
So great an extent of territory presents many varieties. In the north it assumes
an Arctic character, and resembles portions of Siberia. The nearest portion of
Canada to Europe is that which is least known and believed to be the least valuable.
It is bounded on the west by Hudson's Bay, and on the cast by the Atlantic Ocean.
Its extreme length from north to south is about 1,000 miles, and it is about the same
length from east to west. Thi3 section of Canada is somewhat greater in area than
Norway and Sweden, Denmark and Lapland, and a great extent of it is considered
to have no better climate than the northern parts of these European countries. To
the north-west of Hudson's Bay about an equal area may be similarly described. Its
surface is varied, and its vegetation affords sustenance for the great herds of reindeer
and musk ox which find a home in this otherwise inhospitable section. It presents no^
prospect for the agriculturist; the only hope is in the fisheries along the coast, in the
fur trade, and possibly in minerals which.may lie hidden under the surface.
These are the worst sections of the country; as. we advance southward its character gradually changes and improves. True, there is a broad band, the agricultural
resources of which aro not promising; but tho forests which cover the surface will
every year become more and ?&or$ valuable, and its geological structure affords indi-. 93
cations of mineral wealth. The investigations of the Geological Survey here point
to the existence of rich deposits extending over wide areas. The more important
minerals are gold, silver, coal, iron, copper, lead, phosphates, and plumbago. Crossing
the fnetalliferous band, we reach considerable tracts of land which by^ cultivation
will produce all the ordinary crops; and continuing southwards we finally reach
Ontario, one of the finest wheat-producing countries in the world.
I must say a word about the climate. It should be borne in mind that Canada,
like Europe, extends over so many degrees of latitude that it must have many gradations of climate. In some parts of Canada, fruits ripen in the open air that cannot
successfully be grown in England in any quantity except under glass. In one locality
every farmer enjoys the luxury of a large peach orchard ; while far to the north the
flora and fauna are those of Lapland, and still farther north icebergs are the perennial
crop. The alpine region bordering the Pacific, as in Southern Europe, presents lofty
peaks reaching the permanent snow-line, while at lower levels in the vicinity of the
ocean a climate soft and mild as Ireland prevails.
In the greater part of Canada, however, the thermometer has a wide range. In
summer the temperature runs high; in winter it occasionally goes very low. It is
difficult for a resident of this country to understand how one can live and enjoy life
in a temperature sometimes many degrees below zero; but owing to the extreme
dryness of the atmosphere the cold is not really felt so much as might be imagined.
Ordinary work is carried on in the open air without inconvenience in what would
seem to a resident in England very great degrees of cold.
•jc *j> *fi *F *F *r
Generally speaking, the climate of habitable Canada may not unfairly be
compared with that of Eussia, Germany, Austria, and other countries in Europe. It
cannot be denied that the winters are perhaps longer and colder than is desirable. The
climate is certainly continental, but notwithstanding the wide range of temperature,
there cannot be a doubt that it is not only endurable, but that it is healthy and
Viewing Canada as one consolidated country, extending across the widest and
not the least valuable portion of the continent of America, embracing a marvellous
breadth of fertile and unoccupied land; with a healthy, invigorating climate ; with
unlimited mineral resources; with supplies of timber in her forests second to tboso
of^no country in the world ; with inexhaustible fisheries in its great lakes and rivers,
and around its coast on three oceans; with deposits of coal and iron of unmeasured
extent in the interior of the country, and on the Atlantic as well as on the Pacific
sea-boards; taking all these natural elements of future wealth and greatness into
consideration, the problem which presents itself is the development of a country
which has been provided with natural resources so lavishly. The question is, how to
colonize the northern half of North America, and render it the home of a happy and
vigorous people. It is true that Canada already has a population of some four millions,
but as yet the mere outer fringe of the country is occupied. We are only beginning
to realize the fact that the interior has space for many times the present population.
It is just beginning to dawn upon Canadians themselves that in the territories which
have been described, there is room, and to spare, and there exist the elements of
support, for a greater population than that of the mother-country. No wonder, then,
that the problem to be solved appears one of weighty importance.
The waterways of a country present the natural means of colonization. In bygone
times, rivers and lakes, the shores of bays and estuaries, have been followed by adventurous races, and these natural channels have thus in all ages furnished the means of
spreading the human family. Canada is not wanting in highways of this kind, although
many of them are subject to drawbacks which will presently be referred to. On the
eastern side she has the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which in many respects resembles the
Baltic. To the north she has Hudson's Bay, a sheet almost half as large as the Mediterranean^ She has lakes, but they are really seas, and they breed storms and
tempests like the Atlantic. I might attempt to describe a dozen of these inland fresh-
Water $eas, but I should fail to convey a correct idea of their character and importance. 94
Fortunately lean refer to a description of the waterways of Canada by a master-
hand.    I cannot, I am sure, quote higher authority than that great traveller and
distinguished nobleman, the Governor-General. On a recent occasion, Lord Dufljprin,
standing as near as possible midway between the Atlantic and the Pacific, and
addressing some of the subjects of Her Majesty in the province of Manitoba, said:—
I To an Englishman or a Frenchman, the Severn or the Thames, tho Seine or the
Ehone, would appear considerable streams; but in the Ottawa, a more affluent of the
St. Lawrence, an affluent, moreover, which reaches the parent stream 600 miles from
its mouth, we have a river nearly 550 miles long, and three or four times as big as
any of them. But, even after hiiving ascended the St. Lawrence itself to Lake Ontario,
and pursued it across Lake Huron, the Niagara, the St. Clair, and Lake Superior to
Thunder Bay, a distance of 1,500 miles, where are we? In the estimation of the
person who has made the journey, at the end of all things, but to us who know better,
scarcely at the commencement of the great fluvial systems of the Dominion, for from
that spot, that is to say from Thunder Bay, we are enabled at once to ship our
astonished traveller on the Kaministiquia, a river of some hundred miles long. Thence,
almost in a straight line, we launch him on to Lake Shebandowan, and Eainy Lake and
Eiver—the proper name of which, by the by, is j Bene,' after the man who discovered it—
a magnificent stream 300 yards broad, and a couple of hundred miles long, down whose
tranquil bosom he floats into the L$ke of the Woods, where he finds himself on a sheet of
water which, though diminutive as compared with the inland seas he has left behind him,
will probably be found sufficiently extensive to render him fearfully sea-sick during his
passage across it. For the last eighty miles of his voyage, however, he will be consoled by
sailing through a succession of land-locked channels, the beauty of whose scenery, while
it resembles, certainly excels the far-famed Thousand Inlands of the St. Lawrence. From
this lacustrian paradies of sylvan beauty we are able at once to transfer our friend to the
Winnipeg, a river, the existence of which in the very heart and centre of the continent, is in itself one of Nature's most delightful miracles, so beautiful and varied are
its rocky banks, its tufted islands; so broad, so deep, so fervid  is the volume  of its
waters, the extent of their lake-like expansions, and the tremendous power of their
rapids.  At last, let us suppose we have landed our traveller at the town of Winnipeg—
the half-way house of the continent, the capital of the Prairie Province, and I trust, the
future I umbilicus' of the Dominion.   Having had so much of water, having" now
reached the home of the buffalo, like the extenuated Falstaff, he naturally ' babbles
of green fields,' and careers in imagination over the primeval grasses of the prairie.
Not at all.   Escorted by Mr. Mayor and the Town Council, we take him down to
jour quay, and ask him which he will ascend first, the Eed Eiver or the Assiniboine,
two streams—the one 500 miles long, the other 480—which so happily mingle their
waters within your city limits.    After having given him a preliminary canter upon
these respective rivers, we take him off to Lake Winnipeg, an inland sea 300 miles
long and upwards of sixty broad, during the navigation of which for many a weary
hour he will find himself out of sight of land, and probably a good deal more indisposed than, ever he was on the Lake of the Woods, or even the Atlantic.   At the
north west angle of Lake Winnipeg he hits upon the mouth of the Saskatchewan, the
gateway and high road to the North-West, and the starting point to another 1,500
miles of navigable water, flowing nearly due east and west between its alluvial banks.
Having now reached the foot of the Eocky Mountains, our 'Ancient Mariner'—for
by this time he will be quite entitled to such an appellation—knowing that water
cannot run up hill, feels certain his aquatic experiences are concluded. He was never
more mistaken.    We immediately launch him upon the Athabaska and Mackenzie
Eivers, and start him on a longer trip than he has j7et undertaken, the navigation of
the Mackenzie Eiver alore exceeding 2,500 miles- If he survives this last experience,
we wind up his peregrinations by a concluding voyage of 1,400 miles down the
Fraser Eiver, or, if he prefers it, the Thompson Eiver to Victoria, in Vancouver,
whence, having previously provided him with a first-class return ticket for that purpose, lie will probably prefer getting home via the Canadian Pacific.   Now, in this
enumeration, those who are acquainted with the country are aware that? for the sake 85
of brevity, I have omitted thousands of miles of other lakes and rivers which water
various regions of the North-West—the Qu'Appelle Eiver, Belly Eiver, Lake Manitoba, the Winnipegosis, Shoal Lake, &c. along which I might have dragged and
finally exterminated our way-worn guest, but the sketch I have given is more than
sufficient for my purpose; and when it is further remembered that the most of these
streams flow for tbeir entire length through alluvial plains of the richest description,
where year after year wheat can be raised without manure or any sensible diminution
in its yield, and where the soil every where presents the appearance of a highly-cultivated suburban kitchen garden in England, enough has been said to display the
agricultural riches of the territories I have referred to, and the capabilities they possess of affording happy and prosperous homes to millions of the human race."
Lord Dufferin did not allude to the artificial waterways of Canada. Compared
with some of the lakes and rivers, the canals are, indeed, unimportant; but they will
stand comparison with any works of their class. As engineering achievements, I
believe I am correct in saying that they are unrivalled. They are certainly as much
superior to the canals of the United States, a.$ the latter are in advance of anything
I have seen in England. These canals exist only in the province which lie in the
valley of the St. Lawrence, still they are of immense value as links in a great chain of
navigation, on which during part of the year the products of field and forest are
floated to market.
However valuable the natural waterways of Canada may be, they are open to
one serious drawback. They are, as may be supposed, exposed to climatic influences,
and the low temperature I have referred to, has the effect ir. the still, brilliant
nights of early winter, of sealing them up until the sun again begins to return to the
summer solstice.
The early settlement of the provinces was effected by means of the rivers, and
bays, and lakes. There were no railways in those days: the hardy pioneers, axe in
hand, landed on the forest-clad banks, and cut out homes for themselves and their
children. In the four or five winter months they became completely isolated from
the outer world, and from all but their nearest neighbours. In consequence, the
progress of settlement was but slow, and it was confined mainly to a narrow margin
of land along the navigable water channels. It was not until railways were introduced that the progress of the provinces was so marked. These lines of communication, performing their functions independently of climate, connecting all parts of
the old settlement, and penetrating wide tracts of land not previously accessible,
have given Canada an enormous impulse, and established the conviction that the
great interior, to be prosperous, if colonized at all, must eventually be traversed not
simply by one railway, but by many railways. The great water-ways will do their
part during the open season in assisting to colonize the vast unoccupied regions that
are fitted for the homes of men, but they alone would be utterly insufficient. If
existing railways have proved so advantageous to sections of the country provided
with navigable water channels, and at no great distance from tide water, such a^ the
settled portions of the province of Ontario, railways become indispensable to the
western fertile regions not so favourably situated. In the great internal cultivable
territory, therefore, it is clear that a system of railways must be considered necessary, in order to provide for its occupation by the many millions it is capable of supporting.
We have already had some experience in railways in Canada, as their construction has been progressing for the past twenty-five or thirty years, and we have found
i| important to regard with attention the principles which should govern their
establishment in new districts. I shall not enter into mistakes which have undoubtedly been committed in the past, by which a great deal of money, public and private,
has been sunk and wasted; but in the remarks which follow, it will be observed that
due regard is had to the experience gained in those matters, and to the importance
of avoiding such fatal mistakes as the building of lines which would injuriously
compete with each other, or the sinking of money prematurely in the completion of
any lines long before they are wanted. 96
In carrying railways through unsettled regions, we are called upon to solve a
problem differing in essential circumstances from that which has to be considered in
laying down lines in old districts already, well populated. In the latter case the
work is designed practically to diminish distance by the use of high speeds. A heavy
expenditure to attain high speed is justifiable, as traffic already exists which will
immediately render expenditure productive of revenue. In an unoccupied country,
the circumstances are entirely different. Traffic, without which there can be no
revenue, has to be created, and the question is complicated by the consideration that
the railway itself is indirectly the chief means by which traffic is expected, in process of time, to be developed. There is a marked difference in the necessities of the two
cases. In the inhabited country the railway is an after-thought, and high speed is the
prime necessity which calls the line into being. In the unoccupied country a certain
means of communication is of first importance, and if high speed cannot be obtained
without involving an outlay that would prove burdensome, those concerned must, for
a time, be contented with a less perfect low speed line until the population becomes
sufficiently numerous and wealthy to call for highspeed. Such being the case, it
seems wise to keep in view from the very first three important considerations :—
1. Certainty of communication at all seasons.
2. The expenditure of no more unproductive capital than may be absolutely
3. The possible necessity for a high-class railway ultimately, and th e importance
of securing it without any waste or misapplication of capital in carrying into execution preliminary or intermediate works.
By a high class railway in the third consideration, must he understood a line so
perfect that not only high speed may be attained with safety and certainty, but that
the actual cost of conveying passengers, as well as products of all kinds,  may be
reduced to the lowest possible rates.   I may say that I have no faith in what are
sometimes erroneously called cheap railways.   The true cheap railway  is the one
that can with profit do its work cheaply.   I would advocate the utmost   economy in
expenditure, but at the same time the kind of perfection referred to should be kept
prominently m view.
The Pacific Eailway has been projected for the double purpose of connecting the
Atlantic and Pacific sides of Canada, and the opening up of the interior for settlement.
This project has been the subject of much discussion in Canada; it has entered into
the realm of politics, and opposite parties, although agreeing with respect to the
great desirability of the line, have not agreed as to the means of securing it. As an
individual, simply, I may hold views that do not harmonize with those of either
party, or of any person, but I shall nevertheless, from an individual and perfectly
independent standpoint, endeavour briefly to lay my views before you.
The whole country between the settlement in the Ottawa valley and the coast of
British Columbia has as yet very few civilized inhabitants. There are, according to
various estimates, probably from 8,000 to 12,000 souls in occupation of portions of
British Columbia, and within the past few years settlers have begun to pour into the
Prairie region in the province of Manitoba. There are also a few hundreds establshed
on the north shore of Lake Superior. Taken altogether, there are probably not
more than 40,000 within a very considerable distance of any part of the 3,000 miles
of railway projected. It is perfectly evident, therefore, that the construction
of the Canadian Pacific Eailway, in the present condition of the country, is a very
serious undertaking, and one requiring grave consideration. I have no doubt
whatever that it will at no distant day be a work accomplished ; that it will form not
only a connecting link between the old half-dozen provinces on the Atlantic and
the still greater number of provinces which have yet to come into existence in the
west, but that it will constitute an important part of a great Imperial highway
extending between the heart of the Empire in England and its important outlying portions and dependencies on and beyond the Pacific.
The Pacific Eailway being projected for a double purpose, it may not be without
profit to consider its objects and to view it firstly as a colonization line, secondly, as a-
through national line.
_j 97
Firstly. The experience which we have gained ift Canada has tended to establish
several sound economical principles in connection with the building of colonization
railways in new territories. Some years ago, a scheme based on these principles was
projected which commended itself to my judgment, and which, in part at least, has
since been sanctioned by the Government. It was termed the Territorial Road
Scheme; and as it may possibly be capable of application with advantage to other
countries, such as those Colonies where much land yet remains to be occupied, it
may not be without interest to members of the Institute. I shall venture, therefore,
briefly to notice it.
First of all it is assumed that railways will ultimately be required and built in
every district where the natural resources of the country, although for the present
dormant, are capable by the application of human industry, of producing traffic which
would render steam power as a means of transit necessary and profitable. Supposing
we have to colonize a territory fulfilling these conditions, the first step is to discover
by thorough surveys the very best position for the future railway system which the
prospects or possibilities of the country would seem to demand. The system of lines
thus to be projected may consist of a single trunk line with branches at proper
intervals, or it may be a number of lines running in the direction which traffic would
seek, or in which, in the public interest, it would be desirable to lead it. It is considered important to take this step in advance of settlement, because even a few
settlers frequently acquire considerable influence in a new country, and, as is
sometimes the case, they may succeed in warping or twisting a trunk line away from
the most advantageous position to another and inferior position, in order to suit
their advantitious and purely local circumstances. Thus, general interests which, in
the future may be of the greatest importance, may suffer through comparatively
insignificant local interests unduly magnified for the moment. Having fixed upon
the lines upon which the railways, some time or other, are to be built, the next step is
to select at proper intervals tho most suitable points for the stations, and from these,
and these only, to project all the branch roads of every class that are likely to be
Thus, the road system of the country to be colonized is proposed to be projected,
and the position of the several lines definitively fixed; but as the line of railway may,
in some instances, be used for many years as an ordinary road before it is finally
converted to the requirements of steam communication, and as it could scarcely be
designated a railway until it becomes one, the term | territorial road " was suggested*
This term it was proposed to apply to all trunk lines destined ultimately to become
Having established the position of the territorial roads and the points on them
for future railway stations, the next step is to lay out at the latter points sites for
villages and towns. Along the territorial road lines it is designed to erect a telegraph,
and to make, in the first place, a common, cheap road, such as are usually made to
meet the first requirements of settlers. It is also proposed as time rolls on to give
employment to such of the poorer settlers as may stand in need of it in improving
the road, having in view always its ultimate purpose, and thus to form the groundwork
of the future railway by a series of progressive stages corresponding indeed with the
progress of the settlement. It is designed that the line shall be used as a cart or
waggon road in it-j rudimentary state; the rails to be laid and the railway to be
completed only when the demands of traffic or the exigencies of the country require
steam communication.
The scheme undoubtedly has much to recommend it. Settlers would know
beforehand where the railway and road system of the country would be created, and
they would govern themselves accordingly in selecting their locations. The trade
of the country would grow up in the proper channels designed for it. There could
be no railways built where they are not wanted, and they need not exist as railways
until they are actually needed. Thus, ruinous competition would be avoided, and
accumulated losses on unproductive capital might be.greatly reduced or altogether
saved. Traffic would, from the first, centre at the future stations, and, as a conse-
20;—13 98
quence, at these points, settlements, merely villages at first, important towns in time,
would spring up! A concentration of labour, year by year, on the territorial road
would give the pioneer settlers needful employment, and would, in course of time,
prepare it for the superstructure of the railway; while the occupation and cultivation
of the land, and the development of other natural resources would prepare the
country for railway services.
The scheme for the development of the highways of a new country appears
peculiarly applicable to the circumstances of the case under consideration, if we shut
out from* our view all questions except simply the colonization of the interior of
Canada. After the position of the lines has been determined on—and this should only
be done after exhaustive examinations have been made—the next effort should be to
complete telegraphic communication along the precise line of the future railway.
The cost of a telegraph is so trifling compared with its advantages that it should be
made the precursor of other means of communication. The telegraph erected, a
bridle-path from post to post would probably be the first means of transport; then
would follow a waggon or post road; finally, a perfect line of railway when the
traffic of the country or the interests of the nation required more rapid means of
The territorial road system was suggested 15 years ago at a period anterior to
the agreement made with the Province of British Columbia, to build a continuous
line of railway from one side of the continent to the other. If, for the moment, we
view the transcontinental railway simply as a colonization line, the economical
principles of the scheme then advocated appear as applicable to-day as they were
^ 5fc 5fJ >jC 5fC 5K 5fc
Since these views were first advanced, the circumstances upon which they
were grounded have - materially changed.   Apart from the political and special considerations which enter into the discussion, we have acquired more accurate geographical and general information; and it would now appear that the habitable
territory claiming attention is considerably more extensive than was at one  time
supposed.   In consequence, a much more comprehensive railway and road system
would seem to be required, and ought to be projected.   Instead of a single line
of railway through the fertile belt, at least two trunk lines, with cross connections
and numerous branches, may ultimately be needed to serve the  greater  breadth of
country.    This does not, however, render it less important to regard the economical principles which ought to regulate the establishment of all the highways of the
territory.   The interior of Canada has, without any doubt whatever, a vast area of
fertile soil; yet it cannot be denied that there are many drawbacks to contend with.
It may be said that the climate, especially in the winter season, is one.   The great
distance of this fertile area inland is undoubtedly another, and perhaps the most
serious; and this circumstance makes it the more imperative that,  to afford the
fullest opportunity for successful colonization, the lines of communication should
be established on sound principles.   The principles of the territorial road system,
to which I have referred, appear to me of so fundamental a character that they are
quite as applicable to-day  as when they were first promulgated.   The map which I
have prepared shows the possible position of the leading railway lines which, based
on the information we have recently acquired, may be projected for the future
service of the country.  In the west, lines are shown to reach the Pacific tide water
at Port Simpson, at Burrard Inlet, and at Bute Inlet, with an extension to Vancouver Island, running to Esquimalt, Alberni, Fort Eupert and Quatsino.   In the
interior,  the Bow Eiver,  Saskatchewan, Athabasca, Peace Eiver, Lake La Biche,
Swan Eiver, Assiniboine,  and Eed Eiver districts are proposed to be served by
main lines or branches; while, to the east, lines arc carried to Port Nelson, Moose
Factory, Lake Superior, Ottawa, and to Saguenay bolow Quebec.   Of course this is
a mere projection, and it is presented to illustrate the comprehensive view which, in
my opinion, should be taken of the question. All these lines, or modifications of them,
I consider eligible for territorial roads;' not that they should be built all at once, or
even all, at once surveyed, but simply to complete the scheme of great thorough- 99
fares which, in course of time, may be established and used. They may at once be
designated territorial road lines, and when they come to be surveyed they 'should be
laid out with great care and forecast; a territorial road being understood to mean
simply a railway in an incipient stage, capable of being used as a means of intercourse at all stages, its highest condition of development being a means of steam
It may be assumed to be the desire of the Government and people of. the Dominion that the great undeveloped interior of Canada should be colonized in the most
successful manner possible. It could not bo held to be successfully colonizod unless
peopled by inhabitants like themselves, hardy, self reliant, vigorous, and determined ;
nor unless the many thousand miles of railway required were constructed, in. such a
way as to leave them, when finished, in a condition to do their work efficiently and
without loss. This certainly would not be the case if, through too hasty and ill-considered construction, or through any other cause, liberal Government grants, as well
as private resources, were swallowed up, and the lines left burdened with debt which
no future traffic could support or remove.
The system of highways to which I have referred is one of evolution, and would
necessarily be of slow growth; it is, nevertheless,, in my judgment, one which could
not fail to succeed. It is, however, purely, a colonization scheme. I am prepared
to,admit that there are many weighty reasons why some one of the lines projected
across the continent should be pushed to completion more rapidly than colonization
purposes actually demand. I have already mentioned that the enterprise known as
the Canadian Pacific Eailway has been designed for a purpose beyond that of settling
the vast interior of the country. One of its objects is to unite the Pacific and
Atlantic coasts with a continuous line of railway without passing over foreign sea
or soil.
How can I very briefly—for I fear I have exhausted your patience—how can I
in fewest words set forth the immense importance to the Empire of having a line
through Canada in operation as 'speedily as possible ?
Esquimalt, the naval station on the Pacific, and possibly the great Pacific arsenal
of the future, is some four month's steaming distance from England. I venture to
state that by the projected Canadian Eailways it would be possible to carry despatches from London to this station on the Pacific in thirteen or fourteen days, and
that communication with New Zealand could be made in less time than has ever yet,
so far as I have learned, been practicable.
In the construction of this railway the great Australian provinces, must surely
be interested. It must be of some moment to every British station in the North
and South Pacific Oceans. It would open up a new route to India! There would
probably be less nervousness felt from day to day, and from month to month, here,
in the heart of the Empire, about the Eastern Question if we had an overland route
through Canada. And in this view the consideration of a very simple yet important
Western Question may in some degree diminish the interest felt in a very complicated
Eastern Question.
If it be admitted that the speedy completion of a railway across Canada is of
general importance to the Colonial Empire, the question arises—which line could be
most speedily constructed, and which, when established, would best subserve Imperial
interests ? This is the important question for present consideration and decision. As
far as the colonization of the vacant parts of Canada is concerned, it is of no great
consequence which of the lines ultimately required be first completed.
The resources of Canada are perfectly competent to establish in some such
manner as that I have described all the highways wanted for opening up the country,
but it would occupy many years to effect this in a satisfactory manner. If other and
higher than local interests demand a through line of railway sooner than it is locally
required, it seems a reasonable suggestion that those higher interests should in some
way or other assist in obtaining it. As a member of the great Colonial family,
Canada very largely participates in the higher interest, and as such it cannot be
doubted that she is perfectly prepared to bear her full share of the cost of establishing the communications of the Empire,"
My Lord Duke, ladies, and gentlemen,—I must beg your permission, before this
passes out of my hands, to offer a personal explanation and apology. When first I
was paid the compliment of being asked to read a paper on Canada, I felt I should
best serve the Institute by declining, and thus leaving an opening for some one else
more competent to do it. Subsequently, the Council was good enough to urge me to
undertake the duty. I should have been glad had it fallen into worthier hands, as I
feel that I have been unablo to do the subject I have endeavoured to bring before you
anything like justice. To make matters worse, a day or two ago, when preparing
my paper, I received a cable massage from the Canadian Government, urgently
requiring me to leave by the first steamer. As a consequence I have been much
hurried. I am conscious that my papor is ill-prepared; and as I sail in 24 hours, before
these lines can be read to you, I shall, all being well, be approaching mid-Atlantic and
speeding as fast as steam can take me to that country I have attempted, though
imperfectly, to describe. You will probably think this, by cutting short my remarks, a happy interruption. I confess I have found the subject much too large for
the limits of one paper. There are many points I should have wished to touch
upon. I have not even mentioned that the construction of the Pacific Eailway has
already made considerable progress; that the locomotive is now to be heard snorting
north of Lake Superior; that the steam whistle is screaming on the shores of Lake
Winnipeg; and that the telegraph, the Pioneer of the Eailway, has advanced so far
that you may send a message from almost any street corner in London to Edmonton
near the base of the Eocky Mountains. I should especially have desired to make
you better acquainted with the four millions of Canadians with whom I have intermingled for nearly a life-time, and to have told you, if you need any assurance on that
point, about their devotion to the old flag, their attachment to the Empire and to the
Queen. Canadians glory in their connection with the little island across the water;
they are proud of the progress they have made; and they may be pardoned for
measuring their progress by comparisons. True, they may be considered an agricultural people, yet their outside trade is not trifling. They witness their shipping on
the high seas with a tonnage greater than Germany possesses, double that of Spain,
and nearly three times that of Eussia. If with a small section, a mere corner of
Canada, and that but, sparsely populated, they have already a shipping trade which
makes them almost the third maritime country in the world, what may they not
hope for in another half century ? It cannot be doubted that Canada possesses the
elements of a great future; and that in a comparatively few years she may add
incalculable strength to the British Empire. Canadians cannot strictly be called
Englishmen, but they are proud to be British subjects; and they are by no means
unwilling to join in the trials and struggles of the mother-country. They share in
the advantages of British connection ; and they would feel themselves unworthy of
their name did they shrink from bearing their fair share of the burden and responsibility of consolidating and maintaining the prestige and power of the Empire.   101
The full blue lines represent projected main railway routes, (territorial lines)
which, possibly, may hereafter be considered necessary for the service of the country.
Their purpose and character is alluded to in the General Eeport and Appendix H.
The large blue letters on the map indicate as follows:—
A indicates Port Simpson, on the Pacific Coast.
B do Bute Inlet, do
C do Burrard Inlet, do
D do Quatsino, do
E do Alberni, do
F do Esquimalt,* do
G do Port Nelson, on Hudson Bay.
H do Moose Factory, on James Bay.
I do Toronto, on Lake Ontario.
J do Ottawa, the Seat of Government.
K do Montreal, on the Navigation of the St. Lawrence.
L do Three Eivers, do do
M do Quebec, do do
N do Saguenay, do do
O do Fort George, on the Eiver Fraser, British Columbia.
P do The Cariboo Gold District, do
Q do The Omineca Gold District, do
E do The Yellow Head Pass, Eocky Mountains.
S do The Peace Eiver Pass, do
- T do Battleford, on the Eiver North Saskatchewan.
U do Junction of projected lines, near Cumberland House.
V do Northcote Station, near Lake Winnipegosis.
W do Selkirk Station, in Manitoba.
X do Fort William, on Lake Superior.
T do Nipigon, on Lake Superior.
Z do The Pine Eiver Pass, in the Eocky Mountains.
The blue line from (C) Burrard Inlet, via (E) Yellowhead Pass, (T) Battleford,
(V) Northcote, (W) Selkirk, to (X) Fort William, on Lake Superior, is the line
located. Between (W) Selkirk and (X) Fort William it is in part, under construction.
A telegraph is contracted for over this line from the Pacific coast to Lake Superior.
It is erected and in operation over more than one-half the whole distance.
The dotted blue lines running to the right and left of the adopted route between
(R) Yellowhead Pass and (W) Selkirk, represent branches projected for colonization
purposes. With regard to which see the General Eeport and Appendix H. All the
hranch and main lines are intended to have the uniform gauge of the country
(4 feet 8* inches), The trunk lines are designed ultimately to be perfect in essential
points in order to secure cheap transportation over long distances; the branches,
however, being for local and light traffic may be more superficial in character.
The following will show the advantages and possibilities of some of the projected routes.
Taking a common point on the Asiatic coast,—Yokohama, in Japan,—the distances to points on the western shore of North America are :—
Nautical Miles.
Yokohama to San Francisco    ,   4 470
do Esquimalt (F)    4^265
do Burrard Inlet (C)   4,374
do Port Simpson (A)   3,865 102
The estimated distance from these points to Atlantic tide water and various places
is as follows:—
Statute Miles.
San Francisco to New York 1  3,390
do Boston 1 3,448
Burrard Inlet (C) to New York, via Canadian Pacific, E. V.
X., J. and Montreal (K)....  3,241
do Boston, via Canadian Pacific, E.V.X.J.,
and Montreal (K)  3,197
Montreal (K), via E, V, X  2,862
do Quebec (M), via E. T. U. H. L  2,880
do Saguenay (N), via E. T. U. H  2,774
do Port Nelson (G), via R. T. U .'.. 1,744
Port Simpson *(A) to Montreal (K), via Peace River, U. W. .
Y. &J  2,966
do Montreal (K),vid Peace River, U.H.&J 3,044
do Quebec (M), via Peace River, U. H. & L. 3,088
do Saguenay(N), via Peace River. U. & H. 2,782
do Port Nelson (G), via Peace Eiver, &U. 1,752
The distances across the Atlantic may thus be stated:—
Nautical Miles.
New York to Liverpool  3,040
Montreal to Liverpool, via St. Paul  2,990
do via Belle Isle  2,790
Quebec to Liverpool, yia St. Paul  2,845
do via Belle Isle  2,645
Saguenay to Liverpool, via St. Paul «  2,810
do via Belle Isle  2,610
Port Nelson to Liverpool  2,960
From the above the following table is  compiled,  distances  by land being in
statute miles, by water in nautical miles; and the total distances in statute miles:—
Yokohama to Liverpool.
Vid San Francisco and New York	
Vid Burrard Inlet (0), R.X J. and Montreal (K):
by St. Paul	
by Belle Isle	
Vid Burrard Inlet (0), R. U. H. L. and Quebec (M) :
by St. Paul	
by Belle Isle	
Vid Esquimalt (F), B. O. X. J. and Montreal (K):
by St Paul	
by Belle Isle	
Vid Port Simpson (A), S. U. X. J. and Montreal (K) :
by St. Paul	
by Belle Isle	
Vid Port Simpson (A) U. H. L. and Quebec (M) :
by St. Paul	
by Belle Isle	
Vid Port Simpson (A), U. H. and Saguenay (N) :
by St. Paul	
by Belle Isle	
Port Simpson (A), U. to Port Nelson (G) |	
Port Nelson (G) to Liverpool	
10,238 fl03
The foregoing shows the importance of the projected Canadian system of railways as great through lines of communication, and points to special advantages
which possibly may be possessed by Saguenay on the St. Lawrence, below Quebec
and Port Nelson, on Hudson Bay. Surveys alone can determine the entire practicability of the portions of these lines through unexplored districts, but it would
appear that a railway from Port Simpson to Saguenay, if established as sketched on
the map, would, as compared with the line via New York and San Francisco, shorten
the distance between Europe and Asia, according to the above estimates 1,570
miles. Saguenay would have this advantage during the season of navigation only;
in winter, any traffic by this route would find its way "via Quebec, over the Intercolonial, to Halifax.
Port Nelson could scarcely be considered as a terminal point for transcontinental
traffic; but as a shipping port for the products of the interior during some of the
summer months, it may hereafter prove of value.* This is evident from the fact
that a point in the heart of the Saskatchewan District, would, by way of Port Nelson,
be nearer Liverpool than Chicago is by way of New York. A railway from Battleford, a point on the Saskatchewan, 557 miles west of Red Eiver, to Port Nelson,
would he about 770 miles in length, while Chicago is some 950 miles distant from
New York, and New York is about 80 miles further from Liverpool than Port Nelson.
It may further be shown how advantageously Port Nelson is situated to the
great fertile tract extending from Peace Eiver easterly, and how important a railway
such as that projected on the map may hereafter prove, if it be found practicable to
carry products via Hudson Bay to England during even a limited portion of the year.
By this route, Lac La Biche, on the 112th meridian, and in the middle of an extensive
district reported to be of rare fertility, would, by the projected line to Port Nelson
be relatively nearer Liverpool than Chicago.
* Port Nelson River, or, as now termed, Nelson River, is the outlet through which drains the whole
of the rivers and lakes included within the basin of Lake Winnipeg, extending from the Rocky Mountains on the west to within one hundred miles of the shores of Lake Superior on the east, and covering
a drainage area of about 360,000 square miles.
Port Nelson is about eighty miles nearer to Liverpool, via Hudson Straits, than is New York. It
is at the mouth of a river of the first class, carrying a body of .water double that of the north and
south branches of the Saskatchewan combined, and it reaches the sea through a narrow depression in
the Laurentides, having a descent of about twenty inches in a mile, or, in round numbers, seven
hundred feet in a little more than four hundred statute miles from the spot where it debouches from
Lake Winnipeg.
Port Nelson, moreover, is about the same distance from the edge of a vast fertile region in the
North-West, exceeding two hundred millions of acres in area, as Quebec is from Toronto.
For more than two hundred years from two to five sailing vessels, on an average, frequently with
war ships convoying them, have sailed annually from Europe and America to Port Nelson, or other
ports in Hudson Bay, and returned with cargoes the same season via the only available route, Hudson
In view of the growing interests of the North-West, from whatever point these may be regarded,
the time for enquiry has arrived, whether communication with the Atlantic Ocean, with Port Nelson
as a starting point, may not be made safe, speedy and economical. The enquiry has become a natural
consequence of the extended knowledge now made public respecting the vast area in the North-West,
suitable for grain growing and for pasturage, which the Government surveys have supplied. It is also
encouraged by the great changes which have taken place during the last ten years in the prosecution
of the sealing industry, which have established the fact that properly constructed vessels of large capacity
are, in skilful hands, perfectly adapted to push their way through ice-encumbered seas. It has been
pressed forward by the new industry, so rapidly rising into importance, which gives additional wealth
to the prairies of the west and south-west in the United States, by the European demand for their live
products as well as for their grain.
The establishment of a cheap and speedy means of communication between the North-West and
the open Atlantic t>*# Hudson Straits, would not only secure the rapid settlement of Manitoba, but
open to successful immigration a fertile area twenty times as large as that Province. The proximity
of this vast extent of country to its own seaboard would, under such conditions, also secure the carrying
trade of its own productions under one and the same flag.—Evidence of Prof. Hind before a Com,'
mitlee of the Commons of Canada, 1878. 
Lives lost in connection with the Survey, during the Years 18*71, 1872, 1873, 1874.
1875, 1876, 1877 and 1878.
Alexander Sinclair
William Matheson
Indian, name unknown
do do
do do
do do
do do  [April
Arthur Hamilton... iMay
Edward J. C. Abbott    do
George Knout    do
George Rochette    do
Frederick Ohadwick  Nov.
William Caldwell. ' do
T. D. Taylor Hi do
Lost in forest fires.
Drowned in North Thompson,
do Lake Temiscamingue.
do do
do do
do do
do Lake Huron,
do do
do do
Michael Clancy.
13 [Broke through ice.
Joseph Hughes..... July
Arthur Torrie.    do
Neil Patterson	
John P. Robson	
Nathaniel L. Price.
Wm. Tappige .'Oct.
John Spence •
Joe Paskall	
•Thomas Robinson	
*Edward Jaynes	
•Samuel Nicholson	
*John Tarbut	
* George Skippen I do
•Richard Corcoran > do
W. P. Scott  Dec
Nov.     Photo-Lith. by the Borland Desbarats Lithographic Company Montreal


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