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Canada and its provinces : a history of the Canadian people and their institutions by one hundred associates.… Shortt, Adam, 1859-1931; Doughty, Arthur G. (Arthur George), Sir, 1860-1936 1914

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i ii II i — The Authors' Edition
of l Canada and its Provinces' is limited to
875 Impressions on All-Rag Watermarked Paper
Volume   Twenty-two printed at the Edinburgh
University Press, May 1914.
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:>muiww qjiahdi^ Km CHARD M°BRIDE CANADA
1914 Copyright in all countries subscribing tc
the Berne Convention
PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION.   By R. E. Gosnell  . . -349
HISTORY OF EDUCATION.   By Alexander Robinson . .     401
Vancouver Island and British Columbia before their Union—
Education in British Columbia before Confederation—Education
since Confederation.
THE FISHERIES.   By D. N. M«Intyre . . . -445
Physical Characteristics and the Fisheries—Fisheries Legislation
—The Vertebrates—The Arthropods—The Molluscs.
FOREST RESOURCES.   By A. C. Flumerfelt       . . .487
The Trees—A Valuable Provincial Asset—The Forestry Commission—Timber Areas—The Saw-milling Industry—The Pulp Industry—The Panama Canal and the Lumber Trade—The Forests
and the Future.
HISTORY OF FARMING   By R. E. Gosnell . . .525
The Pioneer Farmers — Agricultural Possibilities of British
Columbia—Agricultural Exhibitions—Conditions affecting Agriculture—Legislative Acts and Agriculture.
MINES AND MINING.   By E. Jacobs . . . -555
THE YUKON TERRITORY.   By J. B. Tyrrell      . . .585
THE NORTH-WEST TERRITORIES.   By J. B. Tyrrell . .     639 ^■^=^^=^-,^^.0^-, f7-|^0--~fr|n^Trr|-rTtTi1r|f|^^ ILLUSTRATIONS
From a photograph by Savannah
654 »affl-a>g aMvaMM»«1fW|ggM!n, sm_w PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
J ^■-■■•■'•-••■■■■■■sj--"^^ PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
STRICTLY speaking, public administration includes
every function of government, but as many of these
functions as exercised in British Columbia are dealt
with in other articles in this section of this work, for present
purposes it is proposed to discuss those which more particularly relate to community regulation, apart from private
or special material interests. Included among such features
as should have consideration are the constitution of the
government, the administration of justice, social economics,
taxation, and municipal organization. The laws and regulations thereunder relating to education, forestry, land and
agriculture, mining, fishing, and general economic subjects
are dealt with elsewhere, and only very incidentally come
within the purview of this article.
The Administration of Justice
Historically, the administration of justice in the territory
which now includes British Columbia considerably antedates the formal organization of the Vancouver Island and
mainland colonies. In a vague way British common law
had effect throughout the Oregon territory and New Caledonia from a time which shaded off into the obscurity of
native sovereignty. When Great Britain and the United
States, so to speak, established a modus vivendi in regard
to the disputed territory, Canadian laws were extended
contemporaneously and made to apply to British subjects.
Likewise United States laws extended to United States
subjects. Where, however, disputed territory ceased to be
disputed territory was wholly uncertain until after the treaty
of 1846.   The jurisdiction of the provisional government of 350 PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
Oregon, which was the first attempt at political segregation
on the north-west coast, had no exact metes and bounds.
As until the founding in 1849 of the colony of Vancouver
Island, which was limited in its area, there were no settlers
north of the 49th parallel, the application of Canadian law
was supererogatory in the extreme. The only white population were the servants of the Hudson's Bay Company, and
the latter was a law unto itself. There were no justices of
the peace or officers of the law apart from the officers of the
company. Violations of the company's rules were punished
by the company, but it is difficult to say what would have
happened in the case of the perpetration of serious crime by
servants of that corporation. To have brought a criminal
within the operation of the Canadian law would have meant
his deportation to Eastern Canada, and that was out of the
question. In such a case we may assume that the Hudson's
Bay Company did deal, or would have dealt, with it in its
own way. As between the Indians and the white men, it
resolved itself into a matter of summary vengeance. If an
Indian killed a Hudson's Bay Company's servant, he was
killed in turn. It was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a
tooth—the only kind of justice which appealed to the Indian's
moral intelligence. Among themselves the natives settled
everything according to this primitive code, and it must be
remembered that they still possessed sovereign tribal rights.
H. H. Bancroft has written a volume on popular tribunals, in
which he related a great many instances of the crude methods
of administering justice on the Pacific slope in early days,
but few of these relate to the country north of the 49th
parallel. From the beginning, except in a few instances, law
and order were respected under British rule.
The first official act recognizing the local right to administer justice on British soil was in 1849, when at the
instance of Sir J. H. Pelly, governor of the Hudson's Bay
Company, the colonial secretary of Great Britain, under
authority of 1 and 2 Geo. iv, cap. 86, appointed fourteen
justices of the peace—all Hudson's Bay Company officials—
on Vancouver Island and on the unorganized mainland.
When Vancouver Island was formally erected into a colony,
so much of the Georgian legislation in question as related to
Vancouver Island was repealed, special provision being made
for administration according to British laws and local ordinances. It will be remembered that one of the first official
acts of Governor Blanshard was to appoint Dr J. S. Helmcken
a magistrate at Fort Rupert for the purpose of keeping the
peace among the miners and bringing the Indians to justice.1
Helmcken's tenure of office was brief, however, and the
governor himself complained that his own position was little
better than that of an ordinary magistrate. Blanshard's
successor, Governor Douglas, recommended his own brother-
in-law, David Cameron, for judge of the supreme court of
civil justice, and in 1856 Cameron was promoted to the chief
justiceship, his position being not unlike the schoolboy who
was head of a class of which he was the only member. One
cannot but appreciate as almost ironical the ' feeling of
dismay ' expressed by Douglas when called upon to introduce
representative government and convene a legislative assembly. Notwithstanding that he had previously appointed his
brother-in-law to the bench, he told Henry Labouchere
(afterwards Lord Taunton), secretary of state for the
Colonies, that ' possessing a very slender knowledge of
legislation himself, he was without legal advice or intelligent
assistance of any kind.' In this he was hardly fair to
Cameron, who, though not learned in the law, is stated to
have made a very ' sound judge,' and apparently satisfied
requirements until his retirement in 1865. His duties, it is
true, were not arduous and his legal problems not intricate.
Governor Douglas, too, without any previous experience of
governmental affairs, achieved a success in his gubernatorial
capacity that belied his own self-depreciation.
Government on Vancouver Island
Government on Vancouver Island was then of a simple
character. It however carried with it very considerable
responsibility, particularly so from its one-man character.
Blanshard, before his resignation as governor, appointed an 352 PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
executive council of three, in accordance with instructions
from the home government. In a sense this body might be
regarded as a cabinet, although, by virtue of Douglas's dual
capacity as chief of the Hudson's Bay Company in the Western
Department and governor of Vancouver Island, government
was purely autocratic. The council was advisory and to a
certain extent an executive, but the influence of the governor
was supreme. Even after a legislative assembly had been
called into existence, the situation was not greatly altered.
The control of parliament over expenditure is its strength,
and in reality its raison d'itre, but in Vancouver Island,
until the Hudson's Bay Company's charter was extinguished,
the only revenues under the exclusive control of the assembly
were those arising out of licence fees, and these were exceedingly limited. Revenues arising out of the sales of lands,
timber, etc., were appropriated by the governor as the representative of the company. His only duty to the assembly,
in that respect, consisted in submitting a statement of
receipts and expenditures. The governor practically made
the laws, his ordinances being subject only to imperial veto.
The assembly and the council, the members of the latter
appointees of the governor, all of them being Hudson's Bay
Company's officials, constituted parliament. The situation
resembled not a little the old Family Compact days of Upper
Canada. In 1859, when Douglas proposed to build parliament buildings on the west side of James Bay and to connect
them with the old town by means of a bridge—the most considerable undertaking of the colony up to that time—and
the assembly protested against the usurpation of its authority,
he calmly told the members, in effect, that as they had not
appropriated the funds and were not responsible for the undertakings—the moneys being advanced by the Hudson's Bay
Company—they had nothing to say in the matter. The
buildings were erected, and, as subsequent events proved, the
action of the governor, as well as the selection of the site, was
a wise one.
In the article on colonial history,1 legislation and administration, such as they were, have been outlined, and it will be
1  See ' Colonial History, 1849-1871,' in this section.
pffijgj-j^fflp^TOm-aana^ GOVERNMENT OF THE MAINLAND COLONY    353
unnecessary here to review them at any length. The first
period of colonial history was marked by provisions for
regulating the liquor traffic by a system of licensing, for
the establishment of a few public schools, for the erection of
places of public worship, for means of defence—never called
into requisition—for establishing a fiscal system—one of free
trade pure and simple—for appropriating the limited revenues
at the disposal of the legislature, and for administering justice
in a primitive but effectual way. The land laws were
practically fixed by the tenure by which Vancouver Island
was held by the Hudson's Bay Company.
Government of the Mainland Colony
The government of the mainland colony of British
Columbia was for several years a more simplified form of
administration than existed even on Vancouver Island. It
was wholly a one-man government, and James Douglas was
the one man. The situation gave to him, as chief executive,
powers only limited by instructions from, or veto by, the
secretary of state for the Colonies. There were besides, it is
true, such officials as the chief commissioner of Lands and
Works, the chief justice and the attorney-general or legal
adviser to the crown ; but in all matters of public policy and
important affairs of state the governor was supreme. It was
not intended, of course, that this autocratic, or bureaucratic,
form of administration should continue to exist indefinitely,
and provision was made at the outset for some form of representative or executive council as soon as conditions in the
colony warranted it. In 1861 protests were made to the
imperial authorities against its further continuance. Douglas
could justify his course on the grounds that as the great
majority of the population was made up of miners, shifting in
their abode, and not to be counted upon as permanent residents
of the colony, and as the number of farmers and landowners
was infinitesimally small, there was really no material out of
which to create a representative government responsible for
its trusts. He pointed out—and this is important to remember
—that New Westminster, the only place of any commercial 354 PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
importance, had been organized as a municipality, the first
in the Pacific colonies, and that his policy as governor was to
encourage local self-government at other points in the colony
as soon as the number of permanent residents should warrant
it. There were several other such places in prospect—Yale
and Hope, and in Lillooet and Cariboo—and it was natural
that these urban centres would increase as the interior of
the colony developed. With this view the colonial secretary
concurred for the time being. In 1863, however, Cariboo
having secured a considerable population, definite instructions
came from Downing Street for the formation of a legislative
council, the first session of which was held in 1854. This was
only partially representative, being made up of heads of
departments, one-third; magistrates from various districts,
one-third; and persons elected from various electoral districts,
one-third. After the union of the two colonies in 1866 this
was the form of government which existed until 1871.
In their general features the administrations of the
colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia were
those of crown colonies, with the preponderance of power and
influence vested in the government and executive appointees
with direct responsibility to the imperial authorities. The
personnel of the legislative assembly of British Columbia
changed from session to session, and this is more or less true
of the legislative council.
The Development of Municipal Government
Governor Douglas's idea of developing municipal government throughout the province, the various municipal bodies
to form a nucleus of a central parliament, giving to the people
a popular form of government based on political option, so
to speak, was almost ideal in conception ; but, as subsequent events proved, it would have been exceedingly slow of
realization. Owing to the peculiar physical circumstances
of British Columbia, with its widely separated and sparsely
settled areas, it took many years for municipal government
to develop and extend. Until comparatively recent years
there were only three municipalities on Vancouver Island,
t^gspfawtwTflrera^a MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT
one of which was rural; while on the mainland there were
only five in 1886 and eight in 1896, three of which were
urban. All of these were created by letters patent or by
special act of the legislature, among which in order of priority
were: New Westminster (i860), Victoria City (1862),
Langley township (1873), North Cowichan township (1873),
Nanaimo City (1874), Surrey township (1882), Chilliwack
township (1883), Vancouver City (1886), Delta township
(1888), North Vancouver (1891), Sumas (1892) ; but these,
in so far as their charters are not repugnant to the Municipal
Clauses Act, come within the jurisdiction of that act, and all
municipalities formed after April 23, 1892, are regulated by
the provisions of the Municipal Clauses Act, and this leads up
to a brief consideration of the character of the administration
which was involved as a consequence.
The same physical conditions which prevented the growth
of municipal institutions developed a local form of administration almost unique in the Empire—that of a government
agency, one of delegated functions. Mining camps and other
settlements, widely segregated over so vast an area, communication between which was difficult and expensive, demanded at central points some individual with administrative
authority in order to facilitate business which affected crown
interests. Accordingly, government agencies were created
for the various districts, which were necessarily wide administrative constituencies. The government agent in the more
remote districts such as Kootenay and Cassiar exercised
functions of a diversified character. In addition to being
government agent, in which capacity he represented the government in a general way, receiving its instructions as well as
all local revenues, supervising all public expenditure of whatever nature, etc., he might be, and usually was, stipendiary
magistrate, gold commissioner, mining recorder, water commissioner, issuer of marriage licences, assessor and collector,
and often acted as policeman. In other less inaccessible
districts these duties were more or less divided, and as time
went on subdivision of labour became greater. The government agency system is the system still in vogue and, in the
circumstances of a province so exceptional in its configuration,
has worked out most successfully. There have been only a
few instances in which officials responsible for many delegated
duties have abused their authority, and in the great majority
of instances they have been men not only of integrity and
intelligence, but of unusual resource and courage.
Although municipalities have greatly multiplied during
recent years, there is still but a very limited area under
municipal control. From the outset, therefore, administration in respect of all matters of governmental authority has
been very much concentrated in the central executive, with
a corresponding responsibility regarding the collection and expenditure of revenues. All public lands are under the direct
control and administration of the government, as are also
mines and timber. These three capital assets are of immense
importance and extent. Therefore the labour and expense
of administering them through the various departments are
much greater than in any of the other provinces. The
fisheries of the territorial waters in and about the province,
through recent arrangements made at Ottawa with the
minister of Marine and Fisheries there, are also practically
under the control of the local government. Outside of the
municipalities, the government through its assessorial branch
of the department of Finance, taxes all lands and other
taxable assets. The roads of the province, some eighteen
thousand miles in extent, are built out of public funds; and
as there are no county councils, all trunk roads, whether
running through, alongside of or between municipalities,
are built and maintained at the expense of the government.
All bridges, ferries and wharves, public buildings (including
court-houses, lock-ups and gaols), reformatories and asylums,
and, in a large part, hospitals, are provided for in the estimates of public works. Even in educational matters, the
sole control of schools was in the hands of the minister of
Education. Until quite recently, schoolhouses were built
and maintained, and the salaries of teachers paid, out of provincial funds. This state of affairs existed until 1888, when
the city councils of Victoria, Vancouver, New Westminster
and Nanaimo were required to contribute one-third of the
salaries of the teachers.   In 1891 all city schools were classi-
sres^-^gwffs-tt-yg^^ POLITICAL CONSTITUTION 357
fied in three grades, and a per capita allowance made for
school purposes according to grade. The principle of local
control was extended from time to time, until in 1906 it was
recognized in its entirety. Except in certain localities, too
sparsely settled or too remote, all expenditure is met and
controlled by the local school boards, the province contributing upon a per capita basis. It will be seen that throughout
all branches of administration special conditions have differentiated British Columbia from all other provinces of the
Dominion. The municipal system will gradually extend, but
from the very nature of things by far the greater part of
the area of the province must for all time remain under the
direct control of the central executive.
The municipal system was introduced in i860, when New
Westminster was given local self-government. Victoria,
though much older, was not incorporated until 1862. These
cities were organized under letters patent or special charter,
and it was not until 1892 that legislation governing municipalities was definitely codified. Development followed pretty
much on the lines of municipal administration in the other
provinces, but more especially those of the Province of
Ontario, that is, so far as the legislation of Ontario could be
made applicable to the special conditions of British Columbia.
The Political Constitution of British Columbia
The political constitution of the province is derived from
the British North America Act, and is identical with those
of the other provinces in all respects as to general powers and
limitations of authority. TheTermsof Uniononlyaredifferent,
and are, as described by Lord Monck, governor-general of
Canada at the time of Confederation, \ in the nature of a
treaty.' It is not necessary to detail these terms, which had
respect to the building of an inter-oceanic railway, the construction of a dry-dock, the number of representatives in the
Dominion parliament, the pensioning of certain officials, the
trusteeship of the Indians, a mail service to San Francisco,
etc. They were peculiar in several respects, inasmuch as
while they did not give responsible government to the pro- 358
vince, they authorized it ' when desired by the inhabitants of
British Columbia,' and in the meantime provided that a
majority of the members of the legislature should be elective ;
also that the existing customs tariff and excise duties of the
old colony should continue in force until the completion of
the Canadian Pacific Railway, unless otherwise decided by
the legislature ; and also that the Dominion government
should use its influence to secure the continued maintenance
of the naval station at Esquimalt. However, responsible
government came into being coincidentally with the union,
and the legislature at its first session adopted the customs
tariff and excise duties of Canada, thus definitely and satisfactorily disposing of these two matters.
For Dominion electoral purposes the province was divided
into five electoral districts, with six representatives in the
House of Commons and three in the Senate—New Westminster, Cariboo (including Lillooet), Yale (including Kootenay), Victoria (including the immediate surroundings), and
Vancouver Island (including the remainder of the island and
the adjacent islands).
Finances of the Province
The financial relations, upon which so much stress has
been laid of recent years, were based upon the following
allowances : $31,000 per annum, on account of the difference
between the actual amount of indebtedness at the date of
the union and the indebtedness per head of the provinces of
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the population of British
Columbia being taken at 60,000 ; $35,000, annual allowance
for purposes of government; $48,000, annual per capita grant
at eighty cents per head of population ; and $100,000, annual
allowance in lieu of lands in railway belt—$214,000 in all.
There were some readjustments in the meantime, but, with
the exception of the statutory increases of the per capita
grant, these amounts were received annually until the general
readjustment of 1907. In 1901 the total subsidy was $305,969.
In 1908, as the result of the general readjustment of subsidies
in 1907, and an additional allowance of $100,000, the province
received $522,077. The amount of subsidy in 1912-13 was
$723,135. It is claimed by the provincial government that
the allowance of the Dominion government for local administration was wholly inadequate in the first instance, and that
even now, with the additional allowances made in 1907,
amounting to $245,000 per annum, it is still quite insufficient
to meet the requirements of a province so physically handicapped as is British Columbia.
In colonial days the cry of Sir James Douglas and subsequent governors was for money to open and administer the
country, and when fervent appeals were made to the imperial
authorities for aid in the way of subsidies or loans, they were
told that a country reputedly so rich as British Columbia
should be self-supporting ; but Downing Street did not understand the situation—with such physical obstacles to be overcome, financing the province was a difficult problem. After
Confederation it still remained a problem. Until the end
of 1903-4, the total deficits for thirty-one years amounted
to nearly $10,500,000, while the surpluses for three years
amounted to only $138,728. The bonded debt at that
period, accumulated during thirty-four years, amounted to
$12,500,000, while there was a floating liability of another
$1,000,000. The credit of the province was very much
strained, and, owing to a long period of political turmoil and
astonishingly frequent changes of administration, public confidence was badly shaken. This was the darkest hour just
before the dawn of revival. Undoubtedly political conditions had had much to do with the slowness with which
business in British Columbia responded to the active movement in other parts of Canada.
The return of good times was coincident with the incoming
of the McBride administration in 1903. The low state of
finances necessitated a temporary loan of $1,000,000 and
demanded that the utmost economy should be observed to
restore confidence. Taxation was increased and new sources
of revenue were created. Almost immediately deficits were
changed into surpluses, and until the end of 1910-11 approximately $11,000,000 of surpluses had been accumulated,
practically offsetting the deficits of  the  previous thirty- 36o
five years. The public debt at the end of 1911-12 was
$9,239,425, and could have been wiped off, if desired, with
the cash that had been in the banks to the credit of the
This, however, must not be regarded as a normal condition of affairs. Just at the time when the Mc Bride government came into power attention began to be concentrated
upon British Columbia. Arrangements had been made to
build the Grand Trunk Pacific, and land and timber in the
northern interior and on the coast were much sought after.
The Canadian Pacific Railway acquired the Esquimalt
and Nanaimo Railway and began an active programme of
improvement on Vancouver Island. The success of commercial fruit-growing in several districts, notably the Okanagan valley, gave a fillip to the industry and created a boom
in agricultural lands. By 1907 there was such a furore of
speculation in respect of timber special licences that the
government reserved all timber from further alienation.
Real estate speculation and the purchase of government lands
also became active all over the province. The depression of
the latter part of 1907 and a portion of 1908 created a
temporary lull, but by 1909 activity was strongly renewed.
Then came the government announcement of a vigorous railway policy of guaranteeing the Canadian Northern Railway
Company bonds for the construction of six hundred miles of
railway in British Columbia and of liberal aid to the Kettle
Valley Railway.   This, with the construction of the Grand
1 On March 31, 1912, the bonded debt of the province stood as follows
4J per cent Debenture stock, Loan Act, 1887 .... $381,:
3 per cent Inscribed stock, Loan Acts, 1891, 1893, 1895,1899 and
1902  9,921,936.
3j per cent Diking debentures, Loan Acts 1897, 1898 and 1899 . 475^
5 per cent Treasury debentures, Loan Act, 1903      ... 8,<
Deduct accumulated sinking fund   .        .        .        .        .        .2,193
Railway guarantee bonds (Nakusp and Slocan Railway Aid Act,
1894) 647,072.
tjjgga-swwBWffii  '-^^■^•^ft^^M^fffg^^ FINANCES OF THE PROVINCE 361
Trunk Pacific through the Rockies to Prince Rupert, stimulated activities of all kinds to an unusual degree. Then
followed the railway policy of 1911, providing for a further
extension of the systems referred to, for a line of railway
from Vancouver to Fort George having the Peace River
ultimately in view, and for various extensions of the Canadian
Pacific Railway system. The prospective early opening of
the Panama Canal led the Dominion government to adopt a
policy of extensive improvements of harbours and the building of a dry-dock, requiring many millions of dollars to
complete. These big undertakings, together with the extensive, almost gigantic programme of road-building and public
works on the part of the local government, had an unwonted
effect on business of all kinds, much of it unduly speculative.
The consequent revenue arising out of timber licences, land
sales, sales of government lots in town-sites, land registry
fees, the formation of companies, the Chinese per capita tax,
and from many other sources, was enormous, increasing
several millions each year. This state of affairs, as already
observed, was abnormal and does not by any means represent stable conditions, when the speculative element shall
have been eliminated from business and land and real estate
transactions. The local government, to provide for pressing
needs and prospective development, engaged, as already
stated, in many large and expensive undertakings, with the
result that in December 1913 it had almost completely
exhausted its bank deposits, which had been as much
as $9,000,000. The problem, therefore, of administering a
province of such extent and rugged exterior is a serious one
from the financial point of view, and must be such for all time
to come. For instance, there are now 18,000 miles of roads
built, and it is estimated that to completely connect up the
various settlements by trunk roads alone will take 18,000
miles more, at a cost of $50,000,000. As population and
revenue increase, the expenditure required to meet the wants
of a population in a province so extensive and mountainous
increases in a still greater proportion. That has been the
experience since Confederation under all administrations. As
an illustration of this as well as of the expansion of revenue 362
and expenditure, we find, by taking every tenth year from
the outset, the following :
Net Revenue
Net Expenditure
I872      .      .
1882      .      .
1892      .      .
1912      .      .
During the first session of the provincial legislature authority was taken to float a loan of $300,000, under which
apparently no action was taken, as the McCreight ministry
only lasted one year, but in 1875, under the British Columbia
Loan Act of the previous year authorizing a loan of $300,000
at seven and one-half per cent, $82,850 was added to the
revenue. In that year the government was in very hard
straits for money, and got advances from the Dominion
against the subsidy account for $339,150 for public works
and for the construction of the dry-dock, which the province
was unable to finance even on a guarantee of five per cent
on £100,000 by the Dominion and a bonus of £30,000 from
the imperial government. Of this amount $150,000 was
pledged to the Dominion against the annual allowance under
the Terms of Union. It was what is known in local history
as I pawning the subsidy.' The government also borrowed
over $30,000 from the Bank of British Columbia and $30,000
from Sir James Douglas, for which interest at the rate of eight
per cent was paid. These financial improvidences, as they
seemed to be at the time, brought about the defeat of the
government; and as the finances were in a parlous condition and creditors were clamouring, the Elliott government,
which came into power in 1876, passed an act to borrow
$350,000 at seven per cent, which it proceeded to do. In
this year also, to provide further for revenue, the government
made a departure new in Canada—the imposition of direct
atttt*S^>!XX*=atf&ZXVa SXii^SriiiSSX^SXi^M^^^^^^^^^^ :«sa.xaKs B-gKff* FINANCES OF THE PROVINCE 363
The rates under this first general assessment act, the
foundation of the present system, were : one-third of one
per cent on the assessed value of real estate ; one-fifth of one
per cent on personal estate ; and one-half of one per cent on
incomes of $1500 and over. What was called a school tax
of three dollars per head was imposed on each male person
of age. This afterwards was officially changed in name to
' revenue tax' and was more familiarly known as the " poll
tax.' It was abolished during the legislative session of 1913.
Tolls on the Cariboo Road, which had been abolished in 1871,
were reimposed, though eventually they were taken off. A
wild-land tax of one per cent on the assessed value of the land
was imposed in 1873. In 1876 this was changed to an annual
tax of five cents per acre on all unoccupied land, which by an
amendment of the following year was declared -to mean land
on which there were not existing improvements equal to the
value of $2.50 per acre. All this legislation was unpopular
and led to the defeat of the government, but has remained
in various modified forms on the statute-book ever since.
To revert to the subject of loans, in 1877 another was
authorized to the extent of $750,000 at six per cent, which
was supplemented by private loans to the amount of $45,500.
In 1887 a million dollar loan at four and one-half per cent
was issued. In 1891 legislation was passed making provision
for consolidating the public debt and issuing stock bearing
interest at three per cent. Subsequent to that all ordinary
loans were issued in accordance with the Inscribed Stock
Act, 1891. In 1891 the province went to the London money
market for $700,000 ; in 1893, for $600,000 for parliament
buildings ; in 1895, f°r £420,000 ; in 1899, for £340,000 ; and
in 1902, for £721,000. In addition to these there were
floated locally $100,000 at three and one-half per cent in
1897 to complete the parliament buildings, and $1,000,000
in 1904 bearing interest at five per cent and payable in ten
equal instalments.
Further obligations were assumed in 1897, 1898 and 1899
in the guarantee of bonds, amounting to $744,000, for the
diking and reclamation of certain flooded areas in the lower
Fraser valley.   This was a charge against the land, but a few 364
years later a considerable portion of the arrears was wiped
off. The province, in 1890, also guaranteed the interest on
bonds of the Shuswap and Okanagan Railway at four per
cent for twenty-five years ; on the Victoria and Sidney Railway bonds at two per cent for twenty-five years to the amount
of $300,000 ; and in 1894 the interest and principal on the
Nakusp and Slocan Railway bonds to the amount of $647,072
for twenty-five years at four per cent. The Shuswap and
Okanagan and the Nakusp and Slocan Railways were leased
by the Canadian Pacific Railway, and a working arrangement
made with the British Columbia government by which
forty per cent of the gross proceeds of traffic should go to the
province, but as the arrangement was afterwards construed to
be on the basis of the ' long haul,' the province got the worst
of the bargain, and was considerably the loser. However, in
1912, by an arrangement with the Canadian Pacific Railway
by which there was a general readjustment of outstanding
differences, the railway company relieved the government of
all further liability re the Shuswap and Okanagan Railway
and refunded the government its outlay in connection therewith. The guarantee on the Victoria and Sidney Railway
bonds proved to be a total loss.
Such is the history of borrowing and guaranteeing of bonds
up to 1905, since which time the province has not been under
the necessity of borrowing, but, on the other hand, has had
large surpluses in the bank drawing interest.
In the meantime, however, British Columbia has assumed
liabilities in connection with the Canadian Northern and
Pacific Great Eastern Railways that ten years previous
would have been startling to propose. In respect of these
lines the province followed the example of Manitoba as well
as of other provinces and the Dominion of guaranteeing bonds
at four per cent, taking a first mortgage on the lines assisted
as security. By virtue of legislation of the years 1910, 1912
and 1913 bonds to the extent of $56,900,000 were guaranteed
upon 1385 miles of railway and terminals. Cash subventions
were given to the Kettle Valley Railway (otherwise the
Canadian Pacific Railway) amounting to $1,450,000 for
300 miles of railway, extending from Midway on the Kettle
him7rmin\?Wrfir{^mPtat FINANCES OF THE PROVINCE
River to the Canadian Pacific Railway main line at Hope,
via Hope Mountain, over the last section of which line the
Great Northern Railway will have running rights, giving the
latter line entrance to Vancouver entirely through Canadian
territory. Incidentally, as part of the railway policy of
1912, the government bought back from the Canadian
Pacific Railway 4,000,000 acres of land, included in the
subsidies to the Columbia and Western and the British
Columbia Southern Railways, at forty cents an acre. The
Canadian Pacific Railway agreed to be taxed on the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway land grant on Vancouver Island,
which under the Settlement Act of 1884 was to be free for
ever so long as unalienated. The Canadian Pacific Railway
Company also agreed to extend its line northward from
Nanaimo seventy-five miles without further consideration,
and, as already stated, to relieve the province from further
liability in connection with the Shuswap and Okanagan
Railway, refunding the outlay of the government in respect
of it. It also agreed to restore the Kaslo and Slocan Railway, which had been abandoned by the Great Northern
Railway Company and the road-bed practically destroyed,
and to run it continuously for a cash bonus of $100,000.
It may be explained that the Kaslo and Slocan, from
Kaslo on Kootenay Lake, taps the rich silver-lead district
of Slocan. It had been operated by the Great Northern
Railway Company, which purchased it from the original
owners. The railway carried a land grant rich in timber.
This was disposed of, and after the fires of 1911 had swept
the district the company tore up the rails and abandoned the
line, leaving a number of the mines without transportation
facilities. It may also be explained that former governments
had given large land grants to the Columbia and Western
Railway line (from the Columbia River through the Boundary country to Midway) and to the British Columbia
Southern (CroWsnest Pass Railway from Nelson, on Kootenay Lake, to Lethbridge), and the repurchase of these grants
eliminated many complications which had arisen in respect
to administration and brought the lands back into the ownership of the province. 366
At one time it was considered good policy to get railways
at any price, and land grants were largely the price. Grants
were made to the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway, the
Columbia and Kootenay, the Kaslo and Slocan, the Columbia
and Western, the British Columbia Southern, and the Nelson
and Fort Sheppard Railways, and in each instance it was a
bargain to be repented of, although indirectly it hastened
railway construction and was productive of considerable
Government under the Act of Constitution, 1871
Returning now to the formation of government in 1871,
the legislative body which confirmed the Terms of Union also
framed and passed an act of constitution which has been
amended several times since, but without material alteration,
except as to the number of the members of the executive and
the indemnity of members of the legislature. By the Act
of Constitution, 1871, the members of the executive were
fixed at five, but in the first instance three ministers were
appointed—colonial secretary, afterwards changed to provincial secretary, attorney-general and chief commissioner
of Lands and Works. In course of time a department of
Agriculture, associated with the department of Finance, a
department of Education, in conjunction with the office of
the provincial secretary, and a department of Mines were
created. In 1909 the Lands and Works, so long associated,
were separated, each being given a separate minister. The
extent of the duties of a department which included the
administration of lands, timber and forestry, water rights,
public works and the survey of crown lands was too great
for one minister to encompass, and a separate minister of
Lands was given charge of the lands, forestry, water and
surveying branches. Owing to the railway mileage under the
exclusive control of the province—that of the Canadian Northern Pacific and the Pacific Great Eastern, and the British
Columbia Electric—still more recently a portfolio of Railways
was created, which pro tern, is being filled by the minister of
Public Works.   The department of provincial secretary, to
which is attached the department of Education, includes many
branches of administration—the civil service, health and vital
statistics, the mental hospital (insane), all education offices,
the provincial museum, hospitals and the Old Man's Home.
An office still more prolific of duties is that of the attorney-
general, who, in addition to his multifarious duties as chief
law-officer of the crown, is fishery commissioner for the province, is in control of the regulation of the liquor traffic, is
head of the land, court and joint stock company registries,
and has under his supervision the inspection of factories,
electrical energy, tramways, clubs and insurance. The inspection of trust companies, assessment and taxation and
the adjustment of succession duties belong to the minister
of Finance The portfolio of Mines, over which the prime
minister presides, stands by itself.
At the outset the legislature had a single chamber and
there were twenty-five members, representing more or less
cumulatively the following districts—Cariboo, Lillooet, Yale,
Kootenay, New Westminster and Coast Districts, New Westminster City, Victoria City, Victoria District, Esquimalt,
Comox, Cowichan and Nanaimo. This number has increased from twenty-five, through various redistribution bills,
to forty-two. At first the Island of Vancouver dominated
in number of members and influence, but gradually the
mainland, with its greater area, possibilities, and population,
gained the ascendancy ; and now that the old sectional feeling
of Island and Mainland has been eliminated entirely, representation bears a fair relationship numerically as between the
two sections of the province. At first the sessional indemnity
was $250 per member, with fifteen cents mileage both ways.
The indemnity has since been gradually increased until it is
now $1500 per member and mileage.
In many respects British Columbia has been the most
progressive of the provinces of the Dominion. Though the
most westerly province, for so many years practically isolated
from the rest of Canada and slow and difficult to develop
physically, the various administrations have kept well abreast
of the times. In legislation pertaining to municipal affairs, to
agricultural development—particularly in respect of methods If
in the fruit-growing industry—to mining, to forestry, to educational institutions, to the fisheries, to water conservation,
to the regulation of the liquor traffic, to the care of the sick,
aged, and indigent, to the inspection of public utilities, to
the system of penology, and to the treatment of the mentally weak, it is doubtful if any other part of the Empire
has, taking all things together, made equal advancement.
Without too many traditions to hamper them, later administrations at least have been peculiarly receptive to sound,
well-tried methods. If governments have not been strong in
any one particular, it has been regarding land policy; but
even here the peculiar physical conditions of the province
have made it difficult to apply principles of settlement and
development applicable to the new provinces in the Middle
Among the most conspicuous of the public functions in
respect of social economics is that of the provincial board
of health. Some years ago, during a smallpox epidemic in
Victoria, the public authorities found it difficult to deal with
it effectively on account of imperfect legislative sanction,
and the government had to resort to what was perhaps an
extraordinary exercise of executive authority to cope with the
situation. As a consequence, an act was passed in 1896 of
a very sweeping nature constituting a provincial board of
health with almost unlimited powers. The provisions are
very elaborate and so framed as to meet any possible emergency. The board consists of the lieutenant-governor in
council and a secretary, who must be a member of the medical
profession. It has been very active at all times of threatened
epidemic and has carried on a strong campaign against the
spread, and for the prevention, of tuberculosis. Provisions
for general sanitation are wide and very comprehensive.
A notable feature of the work, added to the agenda of usefulness by the Schools Health Inspection Act of 1910,
is the medical inspection of public schools. This is now
being thoroughly done under a well-organized system, and
most satisfactory results are reported. At a meeting of the
Canadian Medical Association held in London, Ontario, in
June 1913, in the public health section the committee on
"-^-y-a-^y-fi^^ ^"^ ™gwgg Hi
medical inspection of schools reported that the work along
these lines was further advanced in British Columbia than in
any other part of the Dominion.
On similar lines, and at about the same time, provision
was made for the inspection of mining, logging and railway
camps throughout the province. Exceptional conditions
exist in British Columbia, and especially during the past few
years there has been an unusual amount of railway construction work. During the summer months, too, lumbering is
always active, and many men are brought together. Such
camps are the most frequent source of typhoid fever, and
there are also the important considerations of food and
general comfort of the men ; also medical and first aid in
case of sickness or accident. It is the duty of the medical
inspector, appointed by the government for the purpose, as
far as possible to inspect all these camps and especially to
investigate promptly all complaints. His authority extends
to remedying grievances and to demanding well-cooked food,
cleanliness and all reasonable creature comforts. In such a
wide and broken country it is not easy always to provide
hospital facilities, and men injured by accident or ill with
disease have often to be conveyed many miles ; but at all
convenient points hospitals, with the usual appliances, have
been lQcated, and in the more sparsely settled and remote
districts bonuses are granted to resident physicians in order
that medical assistance may be available.
The indigent are always cared for—if in a municipality, by
the municipality, and if outside, by the province—but the
number of destitute in British Columbia is so small that the
caring for the poor cannot be regarded as a problem. The
province, however, has made special provision for its aged.
About 1893 an old man's home was established at Kamloops.
A residence of fifteen years in the province is required to
qualify for admission. The latest report shows ninety-four
inmates, and it is a point of honour with the government
that these men, many of whom were active factors in the development of the province in the early days, shall have every
comfort and solace that old age demands. The city municipalities also maintain old men's and old women's homes. 37»
The most modern attitude has been assumed towards
the insane. A provincial asylum in British Columbia was
established over forty years ago, and for over thirty years,
before traditions were upset by science, followed in the groove
of all such institutions. It was decided several years ago
to establish in connection with the asylum an agricultural
colony. One thousand acres of rich bottom land in Coquitlam,
a few miles from New Westminster City, were secured, and
the patients, under skilled direction, have cleared, drained
and cultivated about six hundred acres of this area. Farm
buildings of the most modern type were erected, and the farm
was equipped with the latest and best types of machinery
and appliances. The farm was stocked with thorough-bred
horses and cattle. The Farmer's Advocate, a standard agricultural journal, has described it as one of the most complete
and perfect establishments of its kind in existence. New
asylum buildings have been erected on an eminence overlooking the cultivated area. In the short time the new order
of things has existed wonderful results have followed in the
health of the patients and in economic advantages. In 1912
the profits of the farm were $40,258, ' a splendid interest on
the investment,' says the report, and the per capita cost per
annum has been reduced to $177.71 or 48 cents per head per
diem, the lowest on record in British Columbia.
Hospitals for the sick receive special attention, and no
other part of the continent is better supplied. The erection
and maintenance of hospitals have been reduced to a system
and nothing is left to haphazard or voluntary contribution
on the part of the public, though that is not wanting when
occasion justifies. Prior to 1902 there was no method of
assisting hospitals apart from the sometimes whimsical will
of the legislature. In that year a measure was introduced
placing all public hospitals on a uniform footing. These institutions were aided on a per capita basis, that is, according
to the number of patients. Special cases have special consideration, for which provision is made. In towns where
there is no hospital building the government usually contributes a share of the expense. Thus there is co-operation
between the people and the government on a definite equit-
able basis, and while the hospitals are under local control
they are not subject to government inspection. Where
circumstances justify it, denominational and private hospitals
are sometimes assisted.
Reforms are being worked out in respect of prisons, reformatories, juvenile courts and the like, much on the lines of
the most recent methods of dealing with the erring classes.
Prison farms are being established. The reformatories, in
which criminals in the making were housed in batches behind
walls and iron gratings, to become still more incorrigible,
have been changed into industrial schools with fields and
workshops. Girls' industrial schools, on a similar foundation,
are also being inaugurated. One city at least has a juvenile
The control of the sale of liquor in municipalities, that is
to say, the licensing power, is in the hands of police commissioners ; but outside of municipalities control is virtually
in the hands of the provincial police. All licences are issued
by the superintendent of police upon the reports of local
subordinates. Very strict regulations are in force regarding the accommodation provided by each hotel, and as
to the sale of liquor to minors or persons visibly under the
influence of liquor, to interdicted persons, or after prohibited
hours. Under the act each locality in rural districts has
virtually local option, inasmuch as a licence can only be
obtained through a petition signed by a majority of the adult
residents (including women) within a certain radius. The
old-fashioned method of interdicting habitual drunkards,
or dipsomaniacs, by formal appeal to a magistrate has been
abolished, and a very simple method adopted in its stead,
whereby any person may interdict, or jj Siwash,' as the
process is locally known, by having the police give notice.
All saloons have been abolished, and hours of opening and
closing fixed at 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., except Saturdays, when
the hour for closing is 10 p.m. No adulteration of liquors
is permitted. The penalties for violation are very severe.
All social clubs are licensed and subject to inspection. The
strict regulation of the liquor traffic is of comparatively recent
date.   Up to almost the close of the last century saloon and
hotel bars were open night and day and gambling was permitted. In the city municipalities since that time there has
been a gradual approach to a new order of things. Outside
the municipal limits very few restrictions, indeed, were placed
on the sale of liquor, and it was this fact that induced the
attorney-general to take the licensing power out of the hands
of local boards and place it in the hands of the police independent of local influence.
Various acts have been passed for the safety and protection of the public and of employees. Adequate provision
has been made for the inspection of factories and of boilers
throughout the province ; for the inspection of electrical
energy in its various applied forms; for the inspection of
tramways and the regulation of tramway traffic ; for the
periodical inspection of trust companies, of which there are
a great number in the province; and for the inspection of
insurance companies. Among acts of this character is the
Coal Mines Regulation Act, providing for the safety of miners
working underground, declared by Mines and Minerals, of
Philadelphia, to be a model for all coal-mining regulations.
There are, of course, workmen's compensation and liability
acts. All contracts with the government or municipalities
contain a clause prohibiting the employment of Chinese or
Japanese, and another stipulating that the wages paid shall
be the wages current in that district. Just recently it has
been decided that the issuance of special licences to holders
of timber lands should contain a clause prohibiting the employment of orientals, and the prohibition is now (1913) in
effect. Similarly, in No. 2 district—the mainland coast of
British Columbia—fishing licences are not issued to Japanese
or Chinese. Against both of these regulations the Japanese
government has entered protest, and it is possible a phase of
the Californian question may arise as a consequence. Automobile traffic is also subject to very strict regulations. The
speed limit within city municipalities is ten miles an hour
and twenty in the country. Chauffeurs must be licensed
and are not permitted the use of intoxicants. The owner of
the car is responsible for his chauffeur, whether with him in
person or not.   Any one in charge of an automobile occasion-
1 '^^HF^^^ Tty7t fl!lipSMaw»iS "«»»""» BaHBaiaagJiB«gawtaa«»arBiw .-. PROVINCIAL AND MUNICIPAL TAXATION    373
ing an accident must report without delay to the nearest
constable or police headquarters.
Provincial and Municipal Taxation
It will now be in order to consider provincial and municipal taxation. As was previously intimated, finances always
being a serious problem in British Columbia, taxation was
necessarily of an unusual order. In one of the chapters on the
general history of the province x it was stated that taxation
in the colony of British Columbia amounted to $100 per
head. This was the result of a sparse population in a big,
rough country, hard and expensive to administer. In a
statement presented by E. G. Prior, the premier of the province, to the government at Ottawa in 1903, it was shown
that at that time, taking municipal, provincial and Dominion
impost, each person on the voters' list was on an average
taxed to the extent of $100 per annum. We have already
seen that in 1876 the Elliott government, to extricate the
country from the financial slough into which it had fallen,
found it necessary, in addition to a loan of $300,000, to resort
to a system of direct taxation, which has been continued ever
since. Land offered an easy source of ready money, and was
for many years sold indiscriminately to purchasers instead
of being administered upon some definite plan of settlement
and development. Land, in a province 360,000 square miles
in extent, was apparently plentiful and the treasury was
always hungry. Changes in the Assessment Act and other acts
affecting revenue were frequent. In the years from 1892 to
1913 inclusive there were seventy-five such acts. An attempt
was made in 1878 to compel every Chinese person over twelve
years old to take out a licence, for which ten dollars was to
be paid quarterly, a measure which, for constitutional reasons,
had to be abandoned. In 1880 the Assessment Act of 1876
was amended, raising the rate of the taxes which were not
paid before June 30. In 1881 the school tax of three dollars
was abolished, or rather its name was changed to ' revenue
tax,' and under this name every male resident over eighteen
years of age was made to pay it.   The Roman Catholics
1 See p. 170. 374
objected to paying a school tax which went into the consolidated revenue for public purposes, while at the same
time they paid for the private tuition of their children in
Catholic schools. The protest against the school tax by
Catholics, which was largely sympathized with by members
of the English church, was the nearest to an agitation for a
separate school system to which the people of British Columbia
ever came. If we except the royalty Governor Douglas endeavoured to collect on gold produced in the colony, the first
mining tax created was in 1883, when one dollar per acre
was imposed on mining claims in the province upon which
$200 had not been expended in a single year.
The tendency was towards increased taxation and the
creation of new sources of revenue. In 1887 the rate on real
property was raised to two-thirds of one per cent; one-half
of one per cent on personal property; three-fourths of one
per cent on incomes of $1500 and over ; the rate on wild land
was raised from five cents to eight and one-half cents per acre.
If the taxes were paid before June 30 the rates were to be one-
half, one-third and one-half respectively, and seven and one-
half cents on wild land. In 1887, to°, die Assessment Act
took cognizance of railways, and their property was assessed
and taxed as realty, personal property, or wild land according
to its character. In 1888 there was a consolidation of all
previous acts. Minor amendments followed in 1889 and 1891.
The rate of wild land was raised to two and one-half per cent
on the assessed value. The first separate railway assessment
act was passed in 1894, when the line, including sidings, etc.,
was assessed at $3000 a mile, the subsidy land being assessed
as wild land and other real property as real property. In
1897 the Assessment Act was again changed, the rates going
up to four-fifths of one per cent on real property, three-
quarters of one per cent on personal property, and after
allowing an exemption of $1000 on income a variable rate
of from one and one-quarter to one and three-quarters per
cent up to $20,000 and over. Three per cent was charged
on the assessed value of wild land. Taxes paid before
June 30 were allowed the usual reduction. The products of
metalliferous mines were taxed one per cent on certified
^rrrr-TffaM^^     aawM^^wwffirwfflMWiiM ■■— PROVINCIAL AND MUNICIPAL TAXATION   375
returns of the value of the ore. In 1899 the taxation on
mortgages or other encumbrances on real estate or personal
property was abolished. This tax had been the subject of
much agitation and protest. Equitably just in theory, in
practice it meant that the mortgagee charged the mortgagor,
the unfortunate borrower, with the tax. It was a political
issue for several years, but upon the incoming of the Semlin
administration Joseph Martin, the attorney-general, cut the
Gordian knot by simply doing away with it altogether—a
simple and expeditious method. The previous government
needed the money it brought and hesitated to apply the ax.
During the session of 1900 coal was taxed five cents per ton
and nine cents per ton was imposed on coke. This was regarded as an act of grace on the part of James Dunsmuir,
coal-mine owner, who was then premier. This tax was increased in 1908 to ten cents per ton on coal and fifteen cents
per ton on coke. In 1900, too, a graduated income tax was
adopted, with exemption on $1000, ranging from one and
one-half per cent up to $5000 to three and one-half per cent
on amounts to $40,000, and four per cent on all over that
amount. There were the usual reductions for prompt payment. It was during this session that the famous two per
cent tax on the gross output of mines, less cost of treatment
and transportation to smelters, was imposed. It created a
great deal of dissatisfaction among mining operators, and
tremendous efforts were made to bring about its repeal or
modification. Mining in the interior at that time was not in
a prosperous condition. An eight-hour law had been passed
during the Semlin regime, which greatly incensed the operators ; miners were in a striking mood, and the price of silver
and copper was low,-—hence the depressed feeling which prevailed. But in time the eight-hour law and the two per cent
tax, both of which stood, were quietly accepted. Politics forbade the repeal of the former; the need of revenue justified the
latter. The following year, 1901, 'income' was segregated from
' personal property ' and became a separate item of taxation,
and for the first time corporations came on the boards for consideration. The legislature of 1903 imposed a tax of twenty-
five cents per acre on all unworked, crown-granted mineral 376
claims. Provision was also made for an annual sale of lands
for delinquent taxes, and where such sales were unsuccessful
and no purchasers offered for the property, the land so offered
became absolutely vested in the crown.
When the McBride government came into power the
financial situation had become acute, the deficit for 1902-3
having been $1,348,552, the largest on record in British
Columbia. The province had practically reached the limit
of its borrowing powers, and the government bankers not only
refused to enlarge the already very large overdraft, but demanded payment of loans made. It has already been seen
that a short-term loan of $1,000,000 was arranged to tide
over the crisis. It was necessary in the circumstances to increase still further the rate of taxation and invent new sources
of revenue. To meet the situation the strictest economy
was enforced in all departments, and appropriations were
pared down to the lowest possible limit and a new assessment
act passed. The rates were fixed as follows : one per cent on
real property ; five per cent on wild land ; one per cent on
personal property ; on income in excess of the exemption of
$1000—on class ' A,' not exceeding $10,000, one and one-half
per cent up to $5000 and two and one-half on the next
$5000 ; class \ B,' on $10,000 and not exceeding $20,000,
two and one-half per cent up to $10,000 and three per cent
on the next $10,000 ; class \ C,' on $20,000 and upwards,
three per cent to $20,000 and three and one-half per cent on
the remainder. These taxes, if paid before June 30, to be
subject to a discount of ten per cent. Certain specified corporations, such as banks, fire and life insurance companies,
guarantee loan and trust companies, telegraph, telephone,
gas and water companies and electric lighting and power
companies, were taxed one per cent on their gross revenue.
The effect of the change in policy, together with, of course,
the improvement in business conditions, was almost immediately seen in the large increases of revenue and the realization
of surpluses. So soon, indeed, did good results follow that
in 1905 it was felt that a reduction in taxation might take
place, and a special tax commission was appointed to inquire
into the incidence of taxation and other matters affecting
:irjfirBTOwri^ ^^^^^^^^^^s^'^^ jammm PROVINCIAL AND MUNICIPAL TAXATION    377
revenue. As a result of its recommendations some changes
were made in the Assessment Act. Coal land and timber,
which were formerly embraced in wild land, were made
separate items of taxation. Coal land being worked was
taxed at one per cent on the assessed value, and that simply
held as coal land without being worked was taxed at two
per cent. On timber land the tax was two per cent. Real
property was reduced to the rate of three-fifths of one per
cent and personal property to two-thirds of one per cent.
Incomes were changed to : class' A,' up to $2000, one and one-
half of one per cent; class ' B,' over $2000 and not exceeding
$3000, one and three-fourths of one per cent; class ' C,' over
$3000 and not exceeding $4000, two per cent; class ' D,' over
$4000 and not exceeding $7000, three per cent; class \ E,'
over $7000, four per cent.
Several new departures were made in 1907. Salmon
canneries were taxed two cents per case on the salmon pack,
in addition to a tax on the cannery and machinery, which are
assessed at $10,000 for a one-line cannery, $15,000 for a two-
line cannery, and $30,000 for a four-line cannery. The assessment on railways was raised and fixed at $10,000 per mile
for the main line and branches, and for sidings, spurs and
switches $3000, and the rate thereon at one per cent.
In 1910 another amendment to the Assessment Act was
passed whereby the rates of taxes were again reduced—real
property to one-half of one per cent; personal property to
one-half of one per cent; and incomes under class - A ' up to
$2000 one per cent, class ' B ' up to $3000 one and one-fourth
of one per cent, class ' C' up to $4000 one and one-half of
one per cent, class ' D ' up to $7000 two per cent, and class
\ E' over $7000 two and one-half of one per cent; and the
tax on wild lands to four per cent on the assessed value.
Banks, instead of being placed under the category of income,
were charged a flat rate, the head office in the province being
taxed $1000, and for every other office or branch in the province (including those in municipalities) $125. Fire insurance companies were taken out of the class of corporations
assessed under the Assessment Act and a special tax of two
per cent on the gross premiums on business done in the pro-
i ffl
vince was levied by the Fire Insurance Act under the supervision of the superintendent of insurance.
This brings us up to a period when, on account of the
inflow of revenue, it was considered an opportune time to
examine the situation comprehensively with a view to a
general reduction of imposts. Accordingly in 1911 a royal
commission was appointed to inquire into the question of
taxation as it affected the revenue of the province. After
due investigation a report was made, and the recommendations have, as a matter of policy, been accepted by the
government, but with one exception have not yet been
carried into effect. During his budget speech of 1913 the
minister of Finance made the following announcement :
The Royal Commission on Taxation made four important recommendations : namely, the abolition of
the poll tax ; the exemption of improvements from
taxation ; the abolition of the personal property tax and
readjustment of the income tax, and various minor
changes to which I need not refer in detail. The government, after careful consideration, decided that to adopt
all these recommendations at once would involve too
great an immediate loss of revenue. By the bill before
the House, which I introduced the other day, we propose now to abolish the poll tax, which involves a loss
of revenue to the extent of about $350,000, and it is
proposed in two years' time to exempt improvements
from taxation. In four years it is proposed to abolish
the tax on personal property and rearrange the incidence of income tax, endeavouring as far as possible to
adopt the whole of the recommendations of the tax
commission. Our aim is as soon as possible, by easy
stages, to reach a point where direct taxation will be
eliminated and our revenues will be obtained from
natural resources of the province.
In addition to the other forms of provincial taxation, the
Public School Act provides for a school tax to be levied in
rural school districts, which tax, for convenience, is collected
by the provincial collectors and turned over to the local
school boards. The rate, of course, varies in each district
according to requirements.
*i\m£ „***.•*«-. ««» %■*»«. giBgMM-a swwaaaiigaFaifig swaiaagaaM PROVINCIAL AND MUNICIPAL TAXATION   379
There are also royalties on timber, which up to 1913 were
fifty cents per thousand feet on timber cut from all lands,
except the old crown-granted lands, and twenty-five cents per
cord on wood cut from similar lands. However, the latest
legislation has brought into existence a scale of royalties
too elaborate to be detailed here, but considerably increasing
the rate.
The province enjoys a very large revenue from probate
and succession duties. Succession duties are incident upon
estates valued at over $5000 and according to the relationship
of heirs, of which there are three classes. The nearest relationship involves a duty of from one and one-half per cent to five
per cent on amounts over $200,000 ; the second relationship
involves a flat rate of five per cent; and the third, ten per
All taxes and all revenues, including the proceeds of loans,
are paid into and form part of the consolidated revenues of
the province to be appropriated for public purposes.
The following exemptions are allowed under the Assessment Act: on mortgages, as personal property; on the
unpaid purchase-money of land, as personal property; on
household furniture and effects in dwelling-houses ; on homesteads under the Dominion Land Act, and on pre-emptions
under the provincial Land Act, for two years from date of
entry and to the amount of $500 for four years thereafter;
on farm produce and on live-stock and machinery on the
farm up to the value of $1000, and on all income from the
farm. There are also certain exemptions from personal
property tax on certain forms of property which are taxable
or contribute revenue in other ways.
For the purpose of taxation the province is divided into
assessment districts, an assessor and collector being appointed.
He makes an annual revision of the rolls and is bound
to fix the assessed value at the actual cash value of the
property. Each taxpayer has the right of appeal against
the assessment to the court of revision. In addition to
the liability of property for taxes there is also a personal
liability. The latter provision, however, is seldom, if ever,
taken advantage of. 38o
General Legislation respecting Municipalities
Turning now from provincial affairs to municipal affairs,
the general legislation in force respecting municipalities
is contained in three statutes passed during the session
of 1896, known as the Municipal Incorporation Act, the
Municipal Election Act, and the Municipal Clauses Act
and amendments, dealing respectively with municipal corporations, elections, and government and internal management. The provisions contained in these acts conserve
the corporate rights, powers, and liabilities of municipalities
then existing.
As was stated in a former part of this article, municipal
administration in the Province of British Columbia is carried
on along very much the same lines as in the other provinces
of the Dominion, more particularly Ontario, upon whose
statutes a good deal of the western legislation is founded.
Very material departures, however, have been made to suit
local conditions.
Under the first-mentioned act a city municipality—and in
British Columbia there are no classifications as to cities, towns
and villages—to include a tract of land of not more than
two thousand acres in area, may be incorporated by letters
patent upon petition signed by the owners of more than one-
half in value of the lands within the proposed boundaries,
if within such boundaries there are resident at the date of
the first signature to the petition not less than one hundred
male British subjects of full age; and a township or district
municipality upon petition by the like proportion of owners
(including holders of pre-emptions of at least one year's
standing), if not fewer than thirty British subjects of full
age have been residents of the area proposed to be included
in the municipality for not less than six months before the
date of the first signature to the petition. There are also
provisions for securing an extension or reduction of corporate
limits or for the dissolution of a municipal corporation upon
petition of the ratepayers.
The Elections Act, as its name would indicate, codifies
r^TWKafM1BaF,>^ «™«Bea ^^^^^^t^^^^^m^mrvintim, m LEGISLATION RESPECTING MUNICIPALITIES   381
the provisions relating to elections. The annual election is
held on the second Monday in January, and the polling on
the Thursday following in the case of a city municipality,
and on the Saturday following in the case of a district
municipality. The details of voting are practically the same
as in all the other provinces. A candidate for a mayoralty
must be a British subject and must have been registered as
the owner of property to the extent of one thousand dollars
in assessed value above any registered encumbrance or judgment. An alderman must be a British subject with a similar
property qualification to the extent of five hundred dollars.
In district municipalities, to qualify as reeves and councillors
the candidates are required to be the possessors of five hundred
dollars and two hundred and fifty dollars respectively, over
and above encumbrance. All civic officers and employees
are elected at regular meetings and hold office at the pleasure
of the council. Municipalities are divided into wards to allow
equal representation as nearly as may be on the basis of
assessed values, and a redivision on this basis is necessary
when the amount of assessed property in any ward exceeds
in proportion to its representation in the council more than
forty per cent of the assessed property in any other ward.
The qualification for electors is as follows: any male or female,
being a British subject of the full age of twenty-one years, who
in city municipalities has paid on or before November 1, and
in district municipalities before November 30, prior to the
date of nomination, all rates, taxes, fees, imposts, etc., is
qualified to vote at the municipal elections, (a) who is a
landowner of the assessed value of at least one thousand
dollars; (&) who is the holder of a trade licence, the annual
fee for which is not less than five dollars ; or (c) who is
a householder.
The Municipal Clauses Act, continuing and elaborating
the policy of the former municipal acts, has for its object
the creation of a comprehensive system of municipal government and management, altogether self-supporting. Councils
under authority of this act have very wide legislative and
executive powers, the scope of which corresponds in a great
measure with that of municipalities in Ontario.   Munici- II
palities have almost complete self-government within the
limits of the municipality, but as a partial limitation of
this authority the government may from time to time
appoint auditors for the municipalities to audit the accounts,
and the government may also appoint a commission to
inquire into the conduct of any part of the public business in a municipality and the administration of justice
The development of the municipal system in British
Columbia for the first thirty years after Confederation was
rather slow, but since about 1900 it has been greatly accelerated as a result of business expansion generally in the interior,
and of mining development and the construction of railways.
There are at the present writing (1913) sixty-one municipalities
in existence, twenty-eight of which are rural and thirty-three
urban, but the total area contained within their boundaries
forms only a very small part of the total area of the province.
All territory outside these municipal areas is under direct
provincial jurisdiction as to taxation and otherwise.
Municipal Finances
The revenue for the year ending December 1912 on the
rural municipalities amounted to $5,801,476, and the expenditure to $5,646,817. The revenue of urban municipalities
amounted to $10,528,026, and the expenditure to $9,976,981,
giving a total municipal revenue of $16,329,502 and an
expenditure of $15,623,798. The bonded indebtedness was :
rural, $15,448,311; and urban, $39,786,456, making a total
municipal bonded indebtedness of $55,234,767. The taxable value of rural municipalities amounted to $159,404,751,
and of urban municipalities to $280,876,475, or a total of
$440,281,226. These figures show a remarkable expansion
since 1897, when the first municipal returns were made
public. At that time there were twenty rural municipalities
and eleven urban with a total revenue as follows: urban,
$1,501,607; rural, $225,872. The expenditures were: urban,
$1,400,500; rural, $202,033.   The bonded indebtedness was:
r--^*^*-*»^»**»**t^^«» stts-ra-wa -swKa^aiigggyg
»<^8t»«reM«gt«llg>MMt MUNICIPAL FINANCES
urban, $5,044,684 ; rural, $508,963.   The taxable value of
property was :  urban, $35,633,743 ;  rural, $I2,338,609.1
For the purpose of taxation land and improvements are
estimated at their value, a measure of which as to land is
actual cash value ; and as to improvements, the cost of
placing at the time of the assessment such improvements on
the land, having regard to their then condition. Land and
improvements are assessed separately. The rate levied shall
not exceed one and one-half cents in the dollar, in addition
to what is required for the board of health, hospital purposes,
school purposes and for payment of interest on sinking fund
or any debt of the municipality. Wild lands within the limits
of a municipality may be taxed, but not to exceed four per cent
of their assessed value. Councils have power to levy a special
rate of not more than one mill in the dollar for board of health
purposes and not more than five mills in the dollar for school
purposes; and the councils, in addition, have the right to
apply any portion of the ordinary revenue for school purposes. All details as to assessment, return of rolls, appeal
to the court of revision, etc., are similar to those which obtain
elsewhere in Canada. Every male resident over twenty-one
years of age is liable for statute labour, which may be one
day's labour for every five hundred dollars assessed value of
real property in the municipality, but which, in the discretion
of the council, may be reduced by by-law in rural municipalities. In cities and rural districts the statute labour may
be commuted for two dollars per day.    Municipalities have
1         Financial Standing of t)
se Larger Cities in 191s
Revenue      j   Expenditure
Assessed Value
Vancouver .
New Westminster
598,797 :
Kamloops   .
Prince Rupert
Kelowna    .        .
Nanaimo    .
2,514,000 384
the power to abolish statute labour by by-laws, and, if
abolished, the council must expend on the road in which the
assessed property is situated an amount equal to thirty per
cent of the tax collected on that land. Among the list of
exemptions are buildings for public worship, burying grounds,
public and private hospitals, municipal property, property
vested in His Majesty, orphanages, and institutions for
destitute children.
The recent interest taken in the question of the exemption
of improvements from taxation, and which the single-tax
advocates claim as the thin end of the wedge of their theory,
is not new to the municipal organization in British Columbia.
The Municipal Act has for many years prevented the municipalities from taxing improvements for more than fifty per
cent of their value and has also permitted the municipal
councils to exempt improvements altogether from taxation.
The rural municipalities—Coquitlam, Langley, Oak Bay,
Peachland, Salmon Arm, Summerland—were the first to
exempt improvements from taxation, and now the urban
municipalities of Vancouver, Victoria and Prince Rupert have
followed their example. The total amount of taxes collected
by the urban municipalities in 1910 was $33,137,239, and the
total collected by the rural municipalities in that year was
Public administration, on the whole, has been creditable
to the province. Many mistakes were made at the outset,
as was inevitable ; and the progress of affairs was greatly
hampered by lack of funds to meet the requirements of a
province heavily handicapped by physical conditions, want
of interior communication and practical isolation from the
rest of the world. Taking the long list of administrations
since 1871, there have been few scandals or abuses which reflected on the personal honour of members of the executive,
and none serious in their character. The administration of
justice has been firm and effective. In most respects, if not
all, administration has been progressive. HISTORY OF
Before Confederation
THE searcher for the I beginnings of things' relating
to the administration of justice in the region west
of the Rocky Mountains finds himself, somewhat to
his surprise, in the city of Montreal at the opening of the last
century, and face to face with the hot rivalry of the old fur-
trading companies. The story of their strife for the supremacy of the West is told in other places in these volumes.1
Montreal was the head-centre of j certain Associations of
Persons trading under the name of the North-West Company
of Montreal,' commonly styled the Nor'westers. These were
long-a thorn in the flesh to the older Adventurers of the
Hudson's Bay Company. The factors and traders of the
Nor'westers were the first to establish posts beyond the
Rockies, and it was one of them, Alexander Mackenzie, who
first reached tide-water on the Pacific coast ' from Canada
by land ' in 1793. To strengthen their position in the constant disputes with the traders of the Hudson's Bay Company
the Nor'westers stole a march on their rivals. All-powerful
in Montreal, controlling the executive council of Lower
Canada through their partners and friends in that body, and
in high favour with the governor, they were able to procure
presentments from Montreal grand juries complaining bitterly
of the outrages perpetrated by the employees of the older
Adventurers upon the poor traders from Canada. These
being laid before the home authorities by the governor of
Lower Canada resulted in the passage in 1803 of the first act
for the administration of justice in the West.
The courts of Upper and Lower Canada were given juris-
1 See ' The Period of Exploration' in this section, pp. 61-2.
diction to try persons accused of crime in the Indian territories to the north and west of the two Canadas ; and the
governor of Lower Canada was empowered to appoint
justices of the peace throughout this region for committing
offenders until conveyed to Canada for trial; and these
justices would naturally be the factors and superior employees of the Nor'westers. Still the strife went on, and
in 1821 this was the contemporary statutory record: ' The
Animosities and Feuds arising from such Competition have
also for some years past kept the Interior of America to the
Northward and Westward of the Provinces of Upper and
Lower Canada and of the territories of the United States of
America in a state of continued Disturbance ; and many
Breaches of the Peace and Violence extending to the Loss of
Lives and considerable Destruction of Property have continually occurred therein.' This is part of the preamble to
an act of that year which followed the amalgamation of the
two rival companies. The provisions of the earlier act were
extended and strengthened, and henceforth the Hudson's Bay
Company not only held the exclusive right to trade, but also
controlled the administration of j ustice throughout all the West
to the Pacific coast. But though notable trials took place in
Montreal and Toronto under these statutes, the annals are
silent as to the exercise of jurisdiction by the Canadian
courts in any case from beyond the Rockies.
When next the curtain rises James (afterwards Sir James)
Douglas is chief factor on the Pacific coast for the Hudson's
Bay Company, holding also Her Majesty's commission as
governor of Vancouver Island. In 1849 the old statutes, the
tenor of which has just been indicated, had been repealed
so far as Vancouver Island was concerned ; and the crown
was empowered to make provision for the administration of
justice in the island and for that purpose to establish courts
with such jurisdiction in matters civil and criminal as Her
Majesty might think fit, and to appoint the necessary j Judges,
Justices, and such ministerial officers for the administration and execution of justice in the said Island as Her Majesty
shall think fit and direct.' Beyond the appointment of Dr
Helmcken (son-in-law to Governor Douglas) as a justice of
ajBfflg«BiaaB8Bffl«B >*»
the peace, nothing was done toward establishing a regular
court until the end of 1853. In March of that year Governor
Douglas, writing home, expressed a feeling of diffidence as
to his ability to discharge the duties of his office,' while I have
no assistance whatever in the administration of public affairs,
and while every function of the government, whether military,
judicial, executive or clerical must be performed by me alone.'
He intimates, however, that he will do his best, | trusting that
you will forward from time to time such instructions as
may be necessary for my guidance, and a selection of legal
works containing the forms of process observed in the Vice-
Admiralty Courts and developing the principles on which
their decisions are founded.'
On December 2,1853, the governor undertook to establish
the Supreme Court of Civil Justice of Vancouver Island,
and to the office of judge of that court appointed his brother-
in-law, David Cameron,1 at a salary of £100 per annum.
Confirmatory of the governor's action, Her Majesty, by
order-in-council of April 4, 1856, formally created the court
under the name chosen by the governor ; and by royal
warrant on May 5 Douglas was authorized to issue letters
patent to David Cameron as Chief Justice of the Colony of
Vancouver Island. Certain doubts as to criminal jurisdiction
were removed by a later commission of April 2, i860.
There are no published reports of litigation in those early
days, and we get occasional glimpses only of Chief Justice
Cameron's work. The early settlers seem to have been in
constant feud with the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company, and complaint was made of unfair treatment in certain
libel proceedings heard before the chief justice, but of his
desire to make proper disposition of such little business as
came before him there seems to be no doubt. In 1865 he
was retired on a pension of £500 per annum, being succeeded
by the Hon. Joseph Needham, who held the position of chief
justice of Vancouver Island until his resignation in March
1870, upon his transfer to the chief justiceship of Trinidad.
Meanwhile the rush of gold-seekers to the upper reaches
of the Fraser River had necessitated the establishment in 390      HISTORY OF THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM
1858 of a new colony upon the mainland. Theretofore, under
the name of New Caledonia, the regions west of the Rocky
Mountains had remained, so far as concerned the administration of justice, subject to the provisions of the old statutes
of which mention was made in the opening paragraphs of
this article. These were now repealed as to the new colony,
to which the name British Columbia was given. Douglas
was its first governor and for some years its sole lawmaker.
To his assistance was sent out an English barrister, Matthew
Baillie Begbie, of Lincoln's Inn, with a commission dated
September 2, 1858, as ' a Judge in our Colony of British
Columbia.' Douglas was now governor of both colonies,
and he was told that although Judge Begbie was ' invested
with the very important office of judge, he will nevertheless
have the kindness, for the present at least, to lend you his
general aid for the compilation of the necessary laws and
other legal business. This is the more proper duty of an
attorney-general; and should the colony advance, as seems
at present possible, the services of such an officer will no
doubt be urgently required.' The governor and the judge
both found it more convenient to reside at Victoria, the capital
of the island colony, and the governor issued the necessary
proclamation to enable the judge to transact in Victoria most
of the legal business of the mainland colony other than actual
trials. At Fort Langley, on the banks of the Fraser River,
on November 19, 1858, the governor and the judge took the
necessary oaths of office ; and the law of England as of that
date was proclaimed as the law of the new colony. It may
here be mentioned that after the union of the island and
mainland colonies into the present Province of British
Columbia in 1866, this date (November 19, 1858) was fixed
as the date on which the civil and criminal laws of England
" so far as the same are not from local circumstances inapplicable ' should be taken to have been introduced into
the province.
By proclamation of June 8, 1859, Governor Douglas constituted the Supreme Court of Civil Justice of British
Columbia and ordained that it ' shall have complete cognizance of all pleas whatsoever, and shall have jurisdiction in
Itgg^BggBffl-fiffl^^PfFg.gtrgJ^gti' g ^n
* I
■si s
-y'gWAsa^yjreyria^^ BEFORE CONFEDERATION 391
all cases civil as well as criminal arising within the said
colony of British Columbia.'
For thirty-six years Sir Matthew Begbie (to give him the
tide bestowed upon, him in 1874 and by which he is best known
in British Columbia) was the most outstanding figure in the
judicial history of the West. It is difficult to overrate the
worth of his services to the province. Holding court with
more or less regularity on the lower mainland, first at Fort
Langley, afterwards at New Westminster, he journeyed from
time to time into the mining camps of the interior. We catch
glimpses of the roaring waters of the Fraser canon, and we
can see the fine dust of the old Cariboo road settling down
upon the little cavalcade as the judge with his pack-train
pushed through to Clinton, Barkerville, Quesnel Forks and
other mining camps. He seems to have intuitively appreciated the spirit of the West and to have known just
where to draw the line between the licence that is seemingly
inseparable from life in mining camps and the lawlessness
that it is the duty of courts to suppress. Lawlessness he did
suppress, and with a thoroughness which made his name the
synonym for law and order throughout the province. The
stories told of him are innumerable. One, indicative of his
zeal in upholding the dignity of the court over which he
presided, is perhaps worth embalming. A miner who had
indulged too freely in the somewhat dubious whisky of the
camps proceeded to make ' rough house.' In the morning
he acknowledged his guilt before Judge Begbie, who apparently was inclined to look leniendy upon the escapade, no
serious damage having been done ; whereupon this dialogue
The Judge : ' I '11 just fine you five dollars.'
The Culprit: ' All right, jedge, I 've got it right here
in my pants.'
The Judge :' And three months in gaol!    Have you
got that right there in your pants ? '
On November 17,1866, the two colonies were united under
the name of British Columbia. The two courts, however,
were not at once amalgamated. In 1869 the name of the
island court was changed to the Supreme Court of Vancouver \
Island, and its chief justice was to be known as the Chief
Justice of Vancouver Island, while the mainland court was
to be knownas the Supreme Court of the Mainland of British
Columbia, and its judge was to be styled the Chief Justice of
the Mainland of British Columbia. The two chief justices
were empowered to act for each other on request. Provision
was also made that upon the death or resignation of either of
them the two courts should be merged into one and that the
surviving or continuing chief justice should be the Chief
Justice of British Columbia, and thereupon a puisne judge
was to be appointed to assist in the administration of justice.
In the following year (1870) Chief Justice Needham
resigned, as already indicated, and the contemplated merger
took place. Henry (afterwards Sir Henry) Pering Pellew
Crease was commissioned as the first puisne judge of the
Supreme Court of British Columbia on March 11, 1870.
After twenty-six years of honourable service he received
knighthood at the New Year of 1896, resigning his judgeship
shortly afterwards.
After Confederation
This was the position when British Columbia entered the
Confederation on July 20, 1871. The Supreme Court of
British Columbia possessed the usual wide jurisdiction of a
superior court both at common law and in equity. There
had been some doubt as to the jurisdiction in bankruptcy,
but this had been removed by local legislation before Confederation. In 1877 it was held that the court possessed
jurisdiction in divorce and matrimonial causes under the
English act of 1857, passed, it will be noticed, the year before
the date fixed for the introduction of English law into British
Columbia. This jurisdiction continued to be exercised, with
some misgiving, until 1908, when the Privy Council finally
put an end to all doubt upon the subject and affirmed the
jurisdiction of the British Columbia court. It may be added
that the work of the court along this line, though increasing
in volume with the growth of population, is not as yet excessive ;  but the court is much hampered by the fact that
--^■wresi-aiiarattff ^^agtSg-WBg 5i^gS?tfgafltgy?rTr,-riM#iiiM rum mrwi 1-&1
the procedure must follow the lines of the English legislation
of 1857, subsequent English amendments and improvements
not having been introduced into British Columbia. Jurisdiction upon this subject is thought to be exclusively with
the Dominion parliament, and the difficulties in the way of
legislation upon it from that quarter are well known.
As to the pleading and practice of the court generally, it
may be said that the example of the courts in England has been
followed from the beginning. The common law procedure
acts formed the basis until 1879, when the practice under the
English judicature acts was introduced, with, of course, some
local modification, and that is the position to-day. Until
1879 the judges had had almost complete control of the court's
procedure, being expressly empowered to make ' Rules of
Court' to that end as might from time to time seem advisable. In 1879 the provincial legislature took from the judges
this power and conferred it upon the lieutenant-governor in
council. At the same time they made provision for dividing
the province into judicial districts, a decentralizing measure
which, as the judges complained, would send some of them
into banishment to remote sections of the interior. One
cannot read the judgments in the ' Thrasher' case in 1882,
as reported in the British Columbia Law Reports, without
seeing that there was a battie-royal between the legislature
and the judiciary of the day. In the end the legislature won
a notable victory, the Supreme Court of Canada on June 10,
1883, certifying to the governor-general in council its opinion,
upon all points upholding the validity of the provincial legislation. It may be added that to this day the procedure and
practice of the courts in British Columbia are in the hands
of the lieutenant-governor in council, subject of course to any
express provision the legislature may from time to time see
fit to make. The decentralizing policy embarked upon in
1879 has had no practical fruition, the various Dominion
governments having steadily refused to recognize the right
of a province to affix conditions as to the place of residence,
etc., of the judges, whose appointment rests with the federal
authorities under the British North America Act.
As early as i860 provision was made on Vancouver Island
I m
H t
' for rendering the administration of justice in minor criminal
cases more speedy and certain,' and in 1866 an act was
passed ' to facilitate the recovery of small debts and other
demands.' Upon the mainland a proclamation of Governor
Douglas known as the Goldfields Act of 1859 gave wide jurisdiction to gold commissioners in all mining disputes. To a
large extent this jurisdiction still subsists under the present
mining laws of the province, although what may be called the
more purely judicial jurisdiction rests largely with the county
courts of the province, concurrently, of course, with the
Supreme Court. As early as 1859 jurisdiction was conferred
by Governor Douglas upon local magistrates to hold courts
for the recovery of small debts, and from this has gradually
grown the present system of small debts courts.
Prior to Confederation there were so-called county courts
presided over by stipendiary magistrates, but it is not deemed
necessary to enter upon details. Under the British North
America Act the appointment of county court judges rests
with the federal authorities, and from time to time new
county court districts have been designated under provincial
legislation. In 1867 the English acts respecting county courts
were adopted in British Columbia so far as applicable to the
colony, and this policy has been followed to the present time.
County court practice as well as Supreme Court practice
follows in the main the English model.
A word as to the legal profession in this province may not
be amiss. Henry Pering Pellew Crease was the first practis- .
ing barrister, and he did not arrive in Victoria from England
until toward the end of 1858. Judge Begbie was therefore
obliged to permit of some latitude, and for a time any one
entitled to practise before the Supreme Courts of the various
United States was allowed to represent suitors before the
courts of the two British colonies. This state of affairs was,
however, but temporary, and from the beginning members
of the legal profession have been considered as officers of the
court over whom the court could exercise summary jurisdiction. In this respect, however, the history of the legal
profession in British Columbia does not differ essentially
from that of the older provinces.   All barristers and solicitors
^^■wsawifStffBtg^ittga AFTER CONFEDERATION 395
are members of the Law Society of British Columbia, which
exercises a wide disciplinary jurisdiction over the profession
subject to a modified right of appeal to the Supreme Court of
British Columbia. A person upon undergoing the prescribed
course of study and service and passing the necessary examinations may become either a barrister or a solicitor, or both ;
but of course only a barrister may appear in court.
The jury system still bears the imprint of early days in
the province. British subjects were somewhat scarce in the
mining camps, and the difficulty was met by a proclamation
in i860 under which the sheriff was empowered to summon
in addition to such British subjects as were available such
other grand and petit jurors as he saw fit," whether British
subjects or not, without regard to any property qualification.' Twelve jurymen were and have always been required
in criminal cases, but seven or, more might sit on civil cases
if the judge certified that twelve could not be procured conveniently. Civil cases are now regularly tried before a jury
of eight, who must, however, be British subjects except in
remote districts where the old rule still obtains. If at the
end of three hours' deliberation the jury fail to agree, the
court may receive the verdict of three-fourths ; but this rule
does not apply in actions for the recovery of penalties or
forfeitures by or on behalf of the crown.
In 1907 the work of the Supreme Court had so increased
in volume that it was deemed necessary to establish a Court
of Appeal for the province. Theretofore the judgments of
single judges were subject to review before the full court,
comprised of not less than three of the other judges of the
Supreme Court. Appeals from the various county courts
were also heard by the same tribunal. The act establishing
the Court of Appeal did not come into force until September
I, 1909. Since that date the judges of the Supreme Court
of British Columbia are judges of nrst instance only.
At the present time, therefore, the courts of the province
in the order of authority are as follows :
I. The Court of Appeal, consisting of the chief justice,
who is at present styled the Chief Justice of the Court of
Appeal, and four puisne justices styled Justices of Appeal.
So soon as the present chief justice of British Columbia
ceases to hold that office, the chief justice of the Court of
Appeal will assume the title of Chief Justice of British
Columbia. In explanation of this provision it may be
stated that the present chief justice of British Columbia
(the Hon. Gordon Hunter) held that office prior to the establishment of the Court of Appeal, and he still retains his position as head of the judiciary of the province. As already
intimated, the appellate jurisdiction of this court is wide,
covering : appeals from all judgments and orders of the
Supreme Court, whether final or interlocutory; appeals
from the county courts, whether final or interlocutory, in
all cases, speaking roughly, where the amount involved is
over one hundred dollars, and by special leave in cases
involving less than that amount; appeals from the opinion
of a judge of the Supreme Court on \ constitutional questions ' referred to him by the lieutenant-governor in council;
appeals from every decision in any of the following matters:
certiorari; quo warranto ; mandamus ; prohibition ; case
stated under the Summary Convictions Act; or any point of
law arising on an appeal to the county court under the last-
mentioned act. It is also the Court of Appeal for the province in all criminal cases under the criminal code of Canada.
The Court of Appeal sits four times a year ; in January and
June in Victoria and in April and November in Vancouver.
2. The Supreme Court of British Columbia, consisting
of a chief justice and five puisne justices styled Judges of
the Supreme Court. The jurisdiction of the court both civil
and criminal has been already sufficiently indicated. In
addition to its general jurisdiction throughout the province
as a Superior Court of Record—a jurisdiction, it may be
mentioned, exercisable by each individual judge as and for
the court—there are certain appeals under provincial legislation which are heard before the Supreme Court judges.
These are chiefly from departmental officers, such as gold
commissioners, mining recorders, and registrars of land titles.
The court, it may be added, sits daily in Victoria and Vancouver, and there are regular sittings twice a year or oftener
at various other places throughout the province. AFTER CONFEDERATION 397
3. County Courts, of which there are now nine: Victoria,
Nanaimo, Vancouver (three judges), Westminster, Yale (two
judges), Cariboo, Atlin, Kootenay, and West Kootenay.
These courts cannot hear any action for malicious prosecution, libel, slander, criminal conversation, seduction or
breach of promise of marriage, or against a justice of the
peace for anything done by him in the execution of his office.
Subject to these exceptions the county courts have jurisdiction in all personal actions where the amount involved
does not exceed $1000 ; in actions of ejectment where the
value of the premises does not exceed $2500 ; in equity cases,
such as administration, execution of trusts, proceedings upon
mortgages, specific performance, the winding-up of partnerships, suits relative to water rights, probate, etc., where the
amount involved does not exceed $2500. In addition to the
above these courts have a wide jurisdiction under provincial
mining acts, and upon appeals from summary convictions
and from Small Debts Courts. The county court judges also
sit in the County Court Judges Criminal Court under the
criminal code of Canada. The administration of criminal
justice is indeed largely in their hands, as only capital cases
and cases in which the accused elect to be tried by jury
come before the Supreme Court judges at the various assizes
throughout the province.
4. Small Debts Courts, with jurisdiction in personal
actions up to one hundred dollars. These courts are presided
over by judges appointed by the provincial government, and
there are many of them throughout the province.
In addition to these regularly constituted courts there
are, of course, many stipendiary magistrates and justices of
the peace, exercising a more or less limited jurisdiction under
the criminal code of Canada as well as under the provincial
Summary Convictions Act. In these matters British Columbia differs in no essential respect from the other Canadian provinces.
M ^ga-^-atffltiffl-g -a-ata aaagawga &
HISTORY OF EDUCATION l-^s-ait^a^-^^-y.
a awth-aws^^^a^^ .^TT| y^,.. HISTORY OF EDUCATION
IN 1849 Vancouver Island and its dependencies were
separated from the as yet unorganized Indian territories on the mainland and became a separate colony
under the Hudson's Bay Company. An attempt was then
made by the company to provide an education for the
children of its employees and for those of the few settlers
who had been induced to take up land in the district surrounding Fort Victoria. The first teacher (who also performed the duties of chaplain) sent to the colony was the
Rev. Robert J. Staines, a graduate of Trinity College,
Cambridge, who with his wife landed in Victoria in 1849.
Victoria was then in a most primitive condition. According to a report of one of the officials of the Hudson's Bay
At this time there were no streets in Victoria and the
traffic had cut up the thoroughfares so that every one
had to wear sea-boots to wade through the mud. Planks
were laid through the mud in order to get the teacher
and his wife safely to the fort. They looked around
wonderingly at the bare walls of the building and
expressed deep surprise, stating that the Company in
England had told them this and that, and had promised
them such and such. Mr Staines had been guaranteed
£340 a year for keeping a boarding-school and £200 as
chaplain. The services were carried on in the mess-
room of the fort, which was made to serve for almost
every purpose. Here also was erected a temporary
pulpit and prayers were held every Sunday. At this
time Staines purchased some land on the same condi- 402
tions as others. But he too became much dissatisfied
with things, with Douglas and his administration as
Governor of the Colony.
The few settlers then living on Vancouver Island were
at variance with the governor and officials of the Hudson's
Bay Company, and Staines espoused the cause of the settlers.
The lot of this handful of people finally became so intolerable, as they alleged, that it was resolved in 1853 to send
Staines to England to endeavour, if possible, to secure from the
imperial government some measure of justice. Staines's fatal
habit of procrastination cost him his life. The ship that was
to carry him from Sooke to San Francisco sailed without
him. He embarked on the next ship, a vessel heavily laden
with lumber. When off Cape Flattery a storm struck her,
throwing her on her beam ends. Her crew were at once
swept overboard. Staines was in his cabin and, after vainly
endeavouring to cut his way through the side of the ship, he
perished from cold and exhaustion.
Two years passed before a successor to Staines arrived
in Victoria. On September 13, 1854, the Rev. Edward
Cridge accepted the terms and conditions specified below, and
sailing from England landed at Victoria on April 1, 1855.
The Hudson's Bay Company are desirous of sending
out a clergyman to Vancouver Island to be stationed
in the vicinity of Victoria the principal establishment
in the island. He will have charge of a district or
parish and in addition will hold the appointment of
chaplain of the Hudson's Bay Company and will attend
to the spiritual wants of the free settlers and of the
officers, clerks and servants of the Hudson's Bay Company stationed at Victoria and at the various farms in
the neighbourhood.
The church is in progress of construction, m the
vicinity of the fort, and will probably be completed by
the time the clergyman may be expected to arrive at
the island. The Hudson's Bay Company propose that the
remuneration for these services shall consist: first, of
a parsonage and glebe of one hundred acres, of which
thirty acres will be cleared and put into a cultivable
shape ; secondly, of a stipend of £300 per annum
charged, with the sanction of the Colonial Office, on VANCOUVER ISLAND AND BRITISH COLUMBIA 403
the fund arising from the sales of land—of which funds
the Company are trustees ; thirdly, of an allowance of
£100 per annum from the fur branch of the Company,
for acting as Chaplain to the Company and attending
to the wants of the servants.
Until the house is finished, quarters will be provided
for the clergyman in the fort. And till the land is put
into a proper state of cultivation, rations will be allowed
to him and his family, as provided for the officers of the
Company. When the land is taken possession of by
him, he will be expected to provide for himself.
The Company think it very desirable that the clergyman should, as is done at Red River by the Bishop of
Rupert's Land, take charge of a boarding-school, of a
superior class, for the children of their officers, and would
wish that he would take out with him a gentleman and
his wife capable of keeping a school of this nature.
The fur-trade branch would find a school-house and
residence for the master and his family and will vote an
annual grant of ^100 in aid of the school. Should they
give satisfaction to the gentlemen in the country they
might expect from thirty' to forty pupils, and the usual
payment for each pupil would be £20 per annum for
board, lodging and education.
A free passage will be allowed from London to Vancouver Island for the clergyman, his family and servants,
and also to the school-master and his family.
It is understood that the engagement shall be for five
years, at the expiration of which a free passage home
will be granted, should the clergyman wish to return ;
or on the contrary, a fresh engagement may be entered
into. It is also to be understood that in the event of
misconduct, the engagement may at any time be cancelled, on the recommendation of the Governor of
Vancouver Island, and with the sanction of the Secretary
of State for the Colonies.
The part of the agreement stipulating that a schoolmaster and his wife should come out with Cridge appears
not to have been carried into effect. Mrs Cridge, however,
opened a private school for the children of the Hudson's
Bay Company's officials and had the unique honour of
having organized the first Sunday-school in British Columbia. 404
Public schools, but not free public schools, were opened in
Victoria, Craigflower and Nanaimo under Cridge as acting
superintendent of education, as appears from a report drawn
up by him on August 27, 1861, and submitted to Governor.
Douglas.   The report is as follows :
Sir,—I have the honour to submit, for the information of His Excellency the Governor, the accompanying
report on the state of the Colonial Schools :
1st. Victoria School, Mr W. H. Burr, master. The
sixth annual examination of this school took place on
the 16th of July ultimo, at which fifty-three pupils were
present, and fifteen boys received prizes, donations of
His Excellency the Governor.
The subjects of examination will be found in Schedule
No. 2. Very satisfactory progress was manifested in
some of the advanced subjects, particularly in Bookkeeping, and the school at large was being well founded
in the elementary subjects, especially in reading and
I consider the school in a generally satisfactory condition, and, seeing that there is but one teacher to fifty
pupils, doing its work well. The chief defect observable is some want of uniformity and punctuality in
attendance, the remedy for which perhaps rests more
with the parents than with the teacher.
The school room is also too small for the number of
pupils frequently in attendance. The house, which consists of eight rooms, as well as the premises generally,
is in fair repair.
Of the ten acres of which the School Reserve consists,
a portion of six acres is enclosed, and four acres under
cultivation by the teacher.
As some inconvenience has been alleged with regard
to the distance of this school from the town, I would
observe that it is situated at a distance of 300 paces
beyond the boundary of the town, and there is a good
foot-path to within that distance of the school, constructed last year for the benefit of the scholars, by
the Commissioner of Police, A. F. Pemberton, Esq., by
private subscription and by the labour of prisoners.
The remainder of the road is in the winter rough and
inconvenient, but at a very little expense a good pathway
could be extended the whole distance.   It would be for
I    I
i V v
vr--»^'--^^,»--*ii^'WMg-*-»-»-^	 VANCOUVER ISLAND AND BRITISH COLUMBIA 405
the benefit of Education that this should be done before
the winter, either by the Government or by subscription. The almost nominal rate ($5 or 20s. per annum)
at which instruction at a really useful school is given,
might be an inducement to parents and others to contribute to its improvement in this and other respects.
2nd. Craigflower School, Mr H. Claypole, teacher.
The sixth annual examination of this school was held
on the nth of July, ult., at which twenty-one pupils
were present. Prizes, the gifts of His Excellency, were
awarded to three boys and two girls.
Great pains has evidently been taken with the scholars
during the past year. They are well grounded in the
elementary subjects, and some of the elder pupils displayed considerable aptitude in Geography, Grammar
and Arithmetic.
This school is well situated for the population growing
in the neighbourhood, and is, I feel sure, conferring important advantages on die community. The school-house,
which contains six rooms, and the premises generally, need
considerable repairs. The School Reserve consists of five
acres ; no portion is at present under cultivation.
yd. Nanaimo School, Mr C. Bryant, master. Of the
children in this school there are eighteen not exceeding
seven years of age. I have not had an opportunity of
visiting it recently, but from frequent communications
with die teacher, and information derived from other
sources, I have reason to believe that Mr Bryant continues to display the same assiduity in the discharge of
his duties as heretofore.
From the teacher's report it appears that the school-
house, which consists of four rooms, needs some repairs.
The following schedules will afford more detailed information on the points to which they refer.
The period to which these returns relate is the year
ending July 1861.
Attendance—number now on the books
"Male Female     Above 10   Under ro
Victoria School.        .53 3 35 2I
Craigflower       .        .    15 8 n 12
Nanaimo ...    22 10 5 27
60 1
Admitted during the year
Victoria School .        .        •        •        .        •        • 24
Craigflower       ....... 5
Nanaimo ........ 24
Total    .        . Jj3
Removed during the year
Victoria School .        .        .        .        .        .        .22
Craigflower       .        .        .        . .        .5
Nanaimo ........    9
Total    .        . 36
Average attendance
Victoria School .        .        .        . . . .42
Craigflower       .        .        .        . . . .16
Nanaimo .        .        .        .        . . . .24
Total    .        . 82
Subjects—number of pupils in each
Reading,     Grammar,
Writing,    Geography.   Geometry       Latin
Arithmetic     History
Victoria   ...    30 15 o o
Craigflower       .        .    10 10 2 1
Nanaimo ...     9 3 o o
Total .    49 28 _2 _i
Book-keeping   Drawing     Scriptures
Victoria       ... 4 20 38
Craigflower o o 20
Nanaimo     .        .        . o o 20
Emoluments received by the Teachers during the past year
Salaries Fees from Pupils Voluntary Contributions
£35   I0    I -£9    3    0
12   12     0 OOO
25    7    6 0    0    0
Victoria . £150
Craigflower 150
Nanaimo .      150
£450        £7$   9
£9   3   0 I
Although it is beyond the province of this Report to
enter into the wide question of an educational system, I
venture to submit one or two remarks on the present
state of the Colonial Schools. While it is plain that they
are conferring a great benefit on a large proportion of
the community, that they are doing so at a small charge
on the Public Revenue, and that the absence of any
one of these schools would be severely felt, it is also
plain that they are at present in an imperfect and
elementary state. This arises partly from the growth
of the pupils and the short time during which, in many
cases, they remain at school; but chiefly from the insufficient supply of teaching power.
It cannot be expected that while from 25 to 50 scholars
are under the care of a single teacher without assistants
or monitors, the schools should be in so efficient a state
as might be desired.
It is therefore gratifying under these circumstances
to be able to report that they are working in a really
useful manner.
In this report from the acting superintendent mention
is also made of two private schools in Victoria—both under
the patronage of the then Lord Bishop of British Columbia
—a collegiate school for boys and a ladies' college. The
collegiate school was conducted, so says the prospectus, upon
the plan of the grammar schools of England and was designed
to qualify for the learned professions, commercial and mercantile pursuits, and for the universities. In addition to
religious instruction, the course of education comprised a
thorough English education, arithmetic, penmanship, mathematics and book-keeping. Modern languages, including
French, German and Spanish, were also taught, as well as
ancient Hebrew, Greek and Latin. The elements of natural
philosophy were also in the curriculum ; likewise drawing,
including landscape, figure and line drawing, together with
the principles of architecture and design. The fees were five
dollars, six dollars and eight dollars per month, according to
the age of the boys.   A reduction was made to families
sending more boys than one to school.   All fees were payable t
in advance.   There were two vacations in the year.
The course of study of the ladies' college, although less 408 HISTORY OF EDUCATION
ambitious, was probably more closely adhered to in the
class-room. It comprised religious and moral training,
English in all its branches, modern languages, music, singing,
drawing, painting, etc. The only extras were modern languages, music, singing, drawing, and painting. The fees,
graduated again according to the age of the young ladies,
were five dollars, six dollars and ten dollars per month.
The extras cost an additional two dollars per month each.
It was not until 1865 that the legislative assembly of
Vancouver Island attempted to pass any comprehensive
legislation dealing with the public schools. In that year, on
May 15, there was passed an act that remained in force until
repealed by the ordinance of 1869. Its main provisions were
as follows :
From time to time the governor was to appoint a general
board of education consisting of nine persons, three of whom
constituted a quorum ; this general board was made a body
corporate and all school property was vested in it; the board
was to meet once a month and report to the governor as to
the state and condition of the common schools ; the governor
had power to appoint a superintendent of education, at a
salary of fifteen hundred dollars per annum, who was ex
officio the secretary of the board ; the superintendent was
to continue in office for one year from the date of his appointment, unless removed from office for neglect of duty, improper conduct or incompetency, but was not entitled to any
additional allowances for travelling expenses or other charges ;
the general board had the power, with the approval of the
governor, to establish as many school districts as it deemed
expedient, to prescribe the course of study and to select and
prescribe such books as were deemed most suitable, and to
authorize the purchase and distribution of such books ; the
governor was given power to appoint such persons as he
might think fit to be teachers of the schools, as well as to
appoint from time to time a local board of education of not
less than three persons in any school district, if he should think
it expedient to do so, for the information and guidance of
the general board of education. This last-named board was
given power to visit and to report on the state of the schools
within its district. The general mode of transacting business
by the local board and the nature of the reports to be furnished were made subject to the order and direction of the
general board of education. The duties of the teachers
were also prescribed by this general board. The superintendent's duties were to visit the schools and to report on
them by the order and according to the instructions of the
general board. All schools established under the act were
to be conducted upon non-sectarian principles ; books inculcating the highest morality were to be selected, and all
books of a religious character teaching denominational dogmas
were to be excluded ; the clergy of every denomination, at
stated intervals to be fixed by the general board of education,
were allowed to visit the schools and impart in a separate
room religious instruction to the children of the respective
persuasions. Finally, every school was to be open to the
children of persons of all denominations, and the power of
expulsion in cases of gross misconduct was to be at the discretion of the local board of education, or, in the absence of
a local board, at the discretion of the teacher.
Such were the main provisions of the first school act
passed for Vancouver Island, an act which virtually centred
all authority in the governor. The governor appointed the
general board of education, the superintendent, the local
board, even the teachers of the several schools. On the
other hand, it must be remembered that all schools established
under the act of 1865 were entirely free and non-sectarian.
Even the cost of providing for the incidental expenses of the
schools was met by the general board of education. The
grant made by the legislative assembly for maintaining district schools during 1865 was $10,000. For each of the two
preceding years the legislative grant was $5000.
An honest attempt now appears to have been made to put
the act into operation. The general board of education was
appointed, and Alfred Waddington1 became superintendent.
1 In early life Waddington had been interested in mining on the European
continent. After emigrating to California from England, he came to Victoria in
1858 and engaged in various pursuits until 1862, when he conceived the idea of
constructing a wagon road from Bute Inlet to Fort Alexandria on the Fraser
River, a wagon road that was to form the first link in an overland railway.    In 4io
The first meeting of the board was held early in June 1865,
and one of its first acts was to ask the secretary of the colony
for a detailed statement of the school property on Vancouver
Island to be conveyed to, and vested in, the board. Information on this point appears to have been supplied later by
the superintendent, who gives the following list:
1. The ten-acre school reserve, Victoria District, with
the buildings and fences.
2. Five acres at Craigflower, donated by the Puget
Sound Company, with the buildings and fences.
3. Four acres at South Saanich with buildings and
4. A quarter of an acre near the Royal Oak, Lake
District, with buildings and fences.
5. The Vancouver Coal Company made a written
offer of a very eligible site at Nanaimo on condition
that a school should be erected in two years.
6. A church and school reserve near Elk Lake, and
others perhaps elsewhere.
The board of education also entered into a contract
with Hibben and Carswell for a supply of school books. The
first order was for a supply of 3174 books, including readers,
spellers, copy-books, histories, geographies, etc. One half
of these books was to be brought via Panama, and the other
half via Cape Horn. When the boxes arrived they were
held at the book-store in Victoria subject to the order of the
board. The books were sold to the pupils by the teachers,
who afterward forwarded the proceeds to the superintendent.
In October 1865 the board prepared an interesting statement of the probable expenditure for education on Vancouver Island for the year ending December 31, 1866. From
it we learn that the following schools were expected to be in
operation during 1866 : two divisions in the Boys' Central
School, Victoria ; two in the Girls' Central; and schools of
one division in each of the following districts :   Victoria
the' prosecution of this plan he spent nearly his entire fortune struggling against
difficulties, until the Chilcotin Indians massacred his camp of road-makers,
seventeen in number, and destroyed his stock of tools and provisions. He died
in February 1872 at Ottawa, whither he had gone to press upon the attention of
the Canadian government his great scheme for the construction of an overland
railway through British territory. VANCOUVER ISLAND AND BRITISH COLUMBIA 411
District, Craigflower, Esquimalt, Cedar Hill, Lake, South
Saanich, Cowichan, Nanaimo, and Salt Spring Island. To
pay salaries of teachers in these several districts, provide for
incidental expenses, erect new buildings where needed and
repair old ones, the board estimated that the sum of $25,500
would be necessary.
But the financial affairs of Vancouver Island were fast
approaching a crisis. Perhaps never in the history of the
island had the outiook been so ominous as in the early months
of 1866. In August of that year the secretary of the colony
wrote to the superintendent as follows :
I am desired by the Governor now to notify you, for
your own information, and also for the information of
the Board of Education, and the different school teachers,
that there does not appear any probability of the ways
and means being at the disposal of the Governor to
meet the expenditure on account of education, and that
His Excellency is therefore compelled at once to state
that he will not guarantee the payment of any further
expenditure under that head whether on account of
salaries, rent or other matters beyond the 31st of August,
A copy of this letter was forwarded by the board to each
of the teachers, who, with commendable zeal and with only
one exception, expressed their willingness to continue their
duties and wait for the return of brighter days.
It will now be necessary to give some account of the
progress of education in the sister colony of British Columbia,
or the Mainland, as it was familiarly called. In 1862 the
Rev. Robert Jamieson, a minister of the Presbyterian Church,
opened the first school at New Westminster, which, though
intended for the public, was supported by tuition fees. In
a letter to the British Columbian, July 2, 1864, William
Clarkson thus sets forth the facts :
He [Jamieson] offered to conduct a school on strictly
non-sectarian principles and thus make it acceptable to
all and the forerunner of a regularly organized system
on the same basis. This continued for nine months
until Mr Jamieson in March 1863 called a meeting of
the parents of the sixteen children then attending the
school and handed over the whole affair to us, recommending Mr McIlveen as a well-qualified teacher and
advising an application to the Governor for aid. We
then made regulations for conducting the school and
denned the duties of a committee for its management
and sent a memorial to Governor Douglas stating what
we proposed to do, and applying for ^100 for one year,
engaging to raise another £100 amongst ourselves by
school fees.   This money we got from the Governor.
It is not known what fees were charged by Jamieson, but
under McIlveen the fee was two and one-half dollars per
month for each pupil. As John Robson wrote, such a tax
fell very heavily upon families having a number of children
attending school and placed education entirely beyond the
reach of some. He trusted that the government would see
the necessity of carrying out the views of the public as expressed at a recent meeting and so place the school upon a
broader, more liberal and healthy basis. In October 1864
Governor Seymour notified the trustees that he would sanction the payment of four shillings per month to the master
for each child regularly attending the school whose parents
paid six shillings a month. In the same letter the governor
stated that he would write to England for a supply of the
best modern school-books. Commenting on this the British
Columbian, in October 1864, declared that the feeling of
dissatisfaction on account of the absence of proper text-books
for the common schools was by no means confined to His
Excellency, and that the reason why other books than those
then in use had not been prepared was easily explained. The
public had for three years past been anxiously waiting for
some sort of a school system ; and as such a system would
doubtless make provision for the books to be used, it had not
been deemed prudent to incur the expense of importing a
supply, the use of which might not be authorized by subsequent legislation.
The reference above to ' common schools ' is misleading.
There was no school in the colony except that at New Westminster.   In November 1864 Yale and Douglas were offered EDUCATION BEFORE CONFEDERATION    413
schools on the same terms as those enjoyed by the New Westminster school, but they did not accept the offer. The
country was then just beginning to experience the hard times
which usually follow a ' boom,' and it is probable that neither
place could raise the necessary funds.
The great difficulty in these early days appears to have
been to keep the school non-sectarian. The files of the
British Columbian for 1864 and 1865 are filled with correspondence and editorials on the subject. John Robson championed most vigorously the cause of the non-sectarian school,
and it is no exaggeration to say that British Columbia owes
its non-sectarian schools largely to his influence.
In January 1865 resolutions were passed at a public
meeting in New Westminster advocating that education
should be established on a religious, but non-sectarian, basis.
Replying to this resolution on March 16, 1865, Governor
Seymour stated that the gentlemen who attended the meeting
might be sure that any regulations drawn up by the government should have for their basis the general principles advocated by these gentlemen, together with the utmost deference for the religious convictions of every denomination of
The Supply Bill for 1864 shows a grant for education for
the Mainland of £500 ; that for 1865, £1000 ; and that for
1866, the year of the introduction of decimal currency and
the year of the union of British Columbia and Vancouver
Island, the sum of $5000.
BY an act passed by the imperial government on August 6,
1866, Vancouver Island and British Columbia became
one colony under the name of British Columbia.   The
fourth section of the act provided that the form of government existing in British Columbia should extend over Van- 414
couver Island. It was further provided that notwithstanding
the union, the laws in force in the separate colonies of British
Columbia and Vancouver Island at the time of the union
taking effect should, until otherwise provided by lawful
authority, remain in force as if the act of union had not been
passed or proclaimed.
At the time of the union, therefore, Vancouver Island
was endeavouring, although with insufficient funds, to carry
out the provisions of the Free School Act of 1865, while
the Mainland, without any school legislation whatever, was
struggling to support a school at New Westminster under an
arrangement whereby the governor sanctioned the payment
out of the public funds of four shillings a month to the schoolmaster for each child regularly attending the school whose
parents paid six shillings a month.
The first session of the legislature of the united colony,
the same being the fourth session of the legislative council
of British Columbia, met at New Westminster on January 24,
1867. In Governor Seymour's speech he promised to address
the legislative council during the session on the subject of
education, a promise which he implemented on February 24
by submitting the following extraordinary message :
In fulfilment of a pledge given by the Governor, in
the Address with which he had the honour to open
the present Legislative Session, he now lays before the
Council his views on the subject of education at the
public expense.
He has to refer to two different sections of the colony
in which the question has been treated in different ways.
In Vancouver Island the attempt has been made to make
the education of the youth in the colony a burden on
the community. The Governor lays before the Council
statements of the present condition of the relations
existing between the Government and the Public Schools
of the Island, and leaves the question as to the indebtedness on the one side, or unreasonable expectations on the other to be freely dealt with by the Council
—one from which the Governor stands aloof. He will
merely state that in the opinion of his predecessor the
system was^ not successful, and that other objects
besides the intellectual advancement of the children of
^mlSmmm 1
frfl l
the colony were sometimes allowed entrance into the
consideration of the Board of Education.
On the Mainland the Governor has been compelled
to acknowledge that the population is yet too small and
scattered for any regular system of education to be
established. Where parents have been willing to pay
towards the instruction of their children, he has, with
the consent of the Legislative Council, assisted them
from the public funds. The schools have not been
under the direction of the Government, and pupils have
been led or sent from those that asked assistance from
the public to those enjoying the dignity of independence,
or back again as the parents might elect.
The Governor is of opinion that the colony is not yet
old enough for any regular system of education to be
established ; nor would he wish, under the present
constitution, to press his own views upon the Legislature, though he has no desire to conceal them. He
thinks that any man who respects himself would not
desire to have his children instructed without some
pecuniary sacrifice on his own part. The State may
aid the parent, but ought not to relieve him of his own
natural responsibility, else it may happen that the
promising mechanic may be marred, and the country
overburdened with half-educated professional politicians or needy hangers-on of the Government.
As the Governor is aware that there is no subject upon
which more words have been wasted than that of gratuitous instruction and the duty of the governing authority
towards the people in the matter, he will at once proceed
to consider the relations in which the Government may
properly stand towards the parents. In his opinion,
all that the State can do is to enable children to overcome the almost mechanical difficulties which seem to
bar their passage over the threshold of knowledge, and
having effected this to leave to parental affection and
knowledge of individual character the choice of the
arms with which the child shall at a future period fight
the battle of life. It is vain for the State to attempt
to drive on in an even line the idle and the industrious
—the boy of ready aptitudes and him whose brain
becomes pained and confused in endeavouring to master
the simplest problem. The Governor conceives it to be
the duty of the governing power to assist in the giving
to all elementary instruction, and then to offer inducements to those who are able to come to the front in the
intellectual struggle with their fellow men.
But he will not, while addressing the Council, conceal
any portion of his thoughts. He believes that the
community in which he resides is one where complete
toleration in religious opinion exists. It is not therefore, under these circumstances, for the state and its
salaried officers to interfere with the belief of any one.
The Government has not undertaken to prove to the
Jew that the Messiah has indeed arrived ; to rob the
Roman Catholic of his belief in the merciful intercession of the Blessed Virgin ; to give special support
to the Church of England; to mitigate the acidity of
the Calvinistic doctrines of some Protestant believers,
or to determine, authoritatively, the number of the
Sacraments. Therefore, the Governor is of opinion
that when the time comes for the establishment of a
large common school, religious teaching ought not to
be allowed to intrude. It is vain to say that there are
certain elementary matters in which all Christians,
leaving out the Jews, must agree. It is merely calling
upon a man, picked up at random, allured by a trifling
salary, to do what the whole religious wisdom, feeling
and affection of the world has not yet done. The paring
down of all excrescences which a man on a hundred
and fifty pounds a year may think disfigure the several
religions, and the reducing them to a common standard,
becomes a sort of Methodism which may locally be
named after the schoolmaster who performs it.
In a colony with which the Governor was recently
connected he left the following school system. There
was a public school open to all denominations, where
the schoolmaster did not presume to open to the children
any sacred mysteries. The charge upon the children
attending regularly was half a dollar a month. But
there were Denominational Schools, also, to which the
Government contributed, but in a moderate degree.
It was found that these Denominational Schools, though
more expensive to the parents, absorbed the greater
number of the children. Such is the system he would
desire to see in any concentrated community.
In  the  meantime  Superintendent  Waddington,   under
instructions from the board of education, was endeavouring
to carry out on the Island the provisions of the Free School
Act of 1865. But the financial position of the board was
already desperate. The last of the one hundred and fifty-
six letters written by the superintendent during his two years
and three months' tenure of office is dated at Victoria,
September 6, 1867. The free schools established by the
board on Vancouver Island ceased to exist.
It is interesting to note before leaving the subject that
the superintendent of education submitted, in July 1867,
the following list of the number of children attending the
common schools of Vancouver Island :
Central School, Victoria, Boys
Victoria District School, Mixed
Esquimalt        „        „        „
Craigflower      „        „        „
Lake                 „       „       ,,
South Saanich „       ,,       ,,
Nanaimo          „       ,,       „
Cedar Hill (closed)      .        .        .        .        .11
Cowichan       „
Salt Spring Island (no school)
He further notes that there were 404 children enrolled in
January 1866, but adds that since August 1866 rather more
than one hundred children had left the colony. During the
two sessions of the legislative council that met at New
Westminster in 1867 and 1868 nothing was done to promote
the educational interests of the united Colony of British
Columbia beyond voting the sums of $10,000 and $6000, respectively, for school purposes. During these two sessions
the council, although successful in passing several important
measures, was torn by dissensions regarding the question of the 4i8
final location of the capital.    Finally, on April 2, 1868, the
following resolution was passed by a vote of fourteen to five :
That this Council, having been requested by His
Excellency the Governor to assist him with their advice
in coming to a decision as to the selection of a seat of
government for the united Colony of British Columbia,
is of opinion, after careful consideration of His Excellency's message and its enclosures on the subject, that
Victoria is the place most suitable for the seat of government of the united Colony.
On April 28 of the same year Governor Seymour forwarded
a message, in which, after acknowledging receipt of the above
resolution, and admitting that Her Majesty's government
appeared to lean to the same opinion, he stated that he would
' cause to be proclaimed on the Queen's birthday, the selection of the Capital within the town which bears Her Royal
The next session of the legislative council met at Victoria
on December 17, 1868. On March 13, 1869, Governor Seymour gave his assent to ' An Ordinance to establish Public
Schools throughout the Colony of British Columbia,' the main
provisions of which were :
The Common School Act, 1865, of the former colony of
Vancouver Island was repealed. The governor in council
was given power to describe school districts, to define their
boundaries, and from time to time repeal, alter, or amend the
same ; to hear and determine all applications for grants of
public money for the assistance of common schools, and to
apportion the sums of money granted by the legislature for
that purpose, provided that the assistance granted to any
teacher should not exceed five hundred dollars per annum ;
to appoint teachers to the common schools, and, upon good
cause being shown, to remove the same or appoint others in
their stead; to provide for the examination of teachers; to
provide that the text-books used in the schools should be
of a proper and non-sectarian character; and to provide
for the visitation and the inspection of schools, provided
that the expense of such inspection should not be borne
by the school funds.    Other provisions gave power to the
governor in council to refuse to create school districts in
cases where the number of children likely to attend did
not exceed twelve or where the amount likely to be collected
would not exceed three hundred dollars per annum for the
school teacher. Provision was made for the annual election
of three trustees who were to constitute a local board, with
the exception that in Victoria and New Westminster the
municipal councils were constituted local boards for their
respective cities. Local boards were given somewhat extensive powers, among others that of calling a special meeting
of the freeholders and resident householders of the district
for the purpose of deciding how the balance of the money
over and above the government grant of five hundred dollars
should be raised, whether by voluntary subscription, tuition
fees or general rate, provided that the tuition fee should not
be fixed at more than two dollars per month for each scholar.
It was also made lawful for any clergyman of any denomination, before and after the regular school hours, to visit the
public school of the district in which he lived and to impart
such religious instruction as he might think proper to the
children of his own denomination.
The ordinance of 1869, while it provided slightly more
for the decentralization of authority than did the Common
School Act of 1865, was yet inferior to the latter in several
important details. Under the act of 1865 all schools were
free and non-sectarian ; under the ordinance, while the
schools were non-sectarian, they were not free. But the
most serious defect of the ordinance consisted in the omission
to provide for any executive officer. No mention was made
either of superintendent or government inspector.
While the legislature was still in session a report was
made by the chairman of the board of education (under the
act of 1865) from which it appeared that there was still
owing to the teachers for past services the sum of about four
thousand dollars. John Robson moved in the house that a
humble address should be presented to His Excellency the
governor recommending that certain arrears due to school
teachers should be paid out of the sum voted in the estimates
for school purposes.   This resolution was lost by a vote of
VOL. XXII k 'fi&
j$ 420
seven to eight. And so for another year the teachers went
During the following session, however, a select committee
of the house was appointed to inquire into the petition of
the school teachers for arrears of salaries. This committee
recommended that the prayer of the teachers should be
granted, inasmuch as the claims had been incurred under
the sanction of the late board of education and had been
reported by the chairman of that board to be due and
unpaid. The report of the select committee was adopted by
the legislative council with the exception of the recommendation of the claims of the late Superintendent Waddington.
Some idea of the manner in which the provisions of the
school ordinance of 1869 were being carried out by the
government may be obtained from the answers given by the
secretary of the colony in 1870 to a series of questions submitted in the house, as follows :
Q. What (if any) provision has been made for the
examination of Public School Teachers, as well regarding efficiency as character ?
A. No special provision has yet been found possible
for the examination of Public School Teachers as to
efficiency or character.
Q. What (if any) provision has been made for the
visitation and inspection of Common Schools ?
A. No provision has yet been made for the visitation and inspection of Common Schools, there being
no provision in the Ordinance for the appointment or
remuneration of an Inspector or Inspectors.
Q. What (if any) regulation has been made for the
due returns being made of the receipts and expenditure
of Common Schools ?
A. Returns of the revenue and expenditure of each
year are required of each Local Board by the Government.
Q. What (if any) rules and regulations have been
made for the management and government of Common
Schools ?
A. No regulations have been made for the management of schools, other than those of the Local Boards
under the Ordinance, which, however, possess full power. EDUCATION BEFORE CONFEDERATION    421
Q. What (if any) provision has been made for the
Annual Report of the Common Schools of British
Columbia for the past year ?
A. An Annual Report is required by the Government
of all Local Boards.
The following return was, however, brought down during
the session of 1870 showing the number of schools in operation during the preceding year :
School District
Salarv per annum
each School
and Ex-
Covenant Grant
Local Aid
Victoria City
Victoria District .
At the rate of
i $1,540
Lake   .
No return
No return
Cedar Hill  .
1 0
New Westminster
No return
Sapperton   .
No return
Yale    .
No return
The government soon found it necessary to amend the
school ordinance of 1869. Accordingly, during the session
of 1870, an amendment was introduced providing for the
appointment of an inspector of schools, whose salary was to
be paid out of the general revenue of the colony and whose
duties were to visit and inspect the common schools and to
report for the information of the governor in council regarding the management, efficiency, and general conditions of the r
schools ; the character and qualifications of the teachers ;
all complaints which might be made regarding the condition or management of any school; and, lastly, the textbooks in use in the school. A further amendment granted
power to the governor in council to appoint not less than
three and not more than five fit and proper persons to be a
board of examiners for the purpose of examining school
teachers and granting them certificates of qualification.
But no amount of tinkering with the school ordinance
of 1869 could give it life. In the city of Victoria the tax
called for under the act to supplement the teachers' salaries
was paid for one year, but was voted down the next, with
the result that the effort to keep open the schools was abandoned in September 1870. From that time until 1872 there
was no public school in the city. The government soon
learned that only an absolutely free school system would
meet the requirements of the colony.
BRITISH Columbia joined the confederation of the eastern provinces in 1870. During the session of 1871 a
bill was introduced into the legislative council which
altered the constitution of the province and practically introduced the principle of responsible government. On April 11,
1872, was passed ' An Act respecting Public Schools,' which
with some important amendments remains the school act of
the present day.
Under the act of 1872 the Common School Ordinance
of 1869 and the Common School Amendment Ordinance of
1870 were respectively repealed ; the sum of forty thousand
dollars for 1872, and for each subsequent year such sum
as might be voted by the legislative assembly, was set aside
out of the general revenue of the province and designated
the Public School Fund ; and a board of education to consist
of six fit and proper persons was appointed by the lieutenant- EDUCATION SINCE CONFEDERATION      423
governor in council. The lieutenant-governor in council
had also power to appoint a superintendent of education,
who was ex officio chairman of the board of education and
who was to hold office during the pleasure of the lieutenant-
governor and receive an annual salary of two thousand
dollars and such additional allowance for travelling expenses
as the lieutenant-governor in council might grant. A person
was not eligible for the position of superintendent unless he
had been an experienced and successful teacher of at least
five years' standing and held a first-class certificate from some
college, school, or board of examination in some other province or country where a public school system had been in
operation. The lieutenant-governor in council was given
power to create school districts in addition to those already
in existence, provided that no school district should be
created in which there were less than fifteen children of
school age—between five and fifteen years; to grant, on the
application of the school trustees of any district, such sums
of money as might be required to pay the salary of the
teacher, and to defray the cost of erecting the schoolhouse,
the cost of all furniture and apparatus necessary for the use
of the school, and also the incidental expenses connected with
the school; and to grant such sum as might be deemed proper
to aid in the establishment of a school in any section of the
province not a school district in which there were not less than
seven and not more than fourteen children of school age.
It was the duty of the board of education to meet at
least once in every three months ; to adopt all lawful means
in its power to advance the interests of the public schools ;
to prescribe a uniform series of text-books and to authorize
the purchase and distribution of these books among the
different public schools ; to make rules and regulations for
the conduct of the schools ; and to examine and give certificates of qualification to the teachers. These certificates
were to be of three classes : a first-class "certificate, valid until
revoked by the board of education; a second-class certificate,
valid for three years; and a third-class certificate, valid for
one year. The board of education was also given power
to appoint the teachers in the several school districts, to fix 424 HISTORY OF EDUCATION
their salaries, and upon good cause shown to remove them;
to take charge of all apparatus to be used in the schools
and to distribute this among the schools on the application
of the trustees; to establish separate schools for females
where such board might deem it expedient so to do ; and to
establish high schools in which classics, mathematics, and the
higher branches would be taught.
The duties of the superintendent of education were : to
visit each school at least once in every year; to examine
at the time of his visit the state and condition of the school,
as regards the progress of the pupils in learning, the order
and discipline, the system of instruction pursued, and the
character and condition of the school buildings ; to persuade
and animate parents and teachers to improve the character
and efficiency of the public schools ; to see that the schools
were conducted according to the law and that no unauthorized
books were used ; to make annually a report of the actual state
of the schools of the province ; to prepare suitable forms for
making all reports; and to investigate all complaints regarding the method of conducting the election of school trustees.
Provision was also made by the act of 1872 for the election of three school trustees in each of the several districts,
and the powers, responsibilities, and duties of these trustees
were defined at length. All public schools were to be conducted on strictly non-sectarian principles. The highest
morality was to be inculcated, but no religious dogmas or
creeds were to be taught.
The first board of education appointed under this act
consisted of W. F. Tolmie, M. W. T. Drake, A. Munro, A. J.
Langley, R. Williams, and E. Marvin. John Jessop was
appointed superintendent of education. Jessop was one of
the early pioneers of the province. He was born in England
in 1829 and left his native country at the age of seventeen
and proceeded to Toronto, where at the Normal School he
secured his teacher's certificate in 1855. After serving for
some years as a teacher in Ontario Jessop left for British
Columbia, taking the Hudson's Bay Company's route through
Fort William to Winnipeg. With a party of seven others
he walked from Winnipeg to the Rocky Mountains, which he EDUCATION SINCE CONFEDERATION      425
crossed at Boundary Pass. Late in the year 1859 he reached
Victoria. The next year he visited Cariboo and engaged in
gold-mining there, but was unsuccessful. He returned to
Victoria in 1862 and opened a private school. At the time
of his appointment on April 18, 1872, he was principal of the
Boys' Central School.
School affairs were now placed on a sound basis for the
first time in the history of the province. There was the
permanent board of education, consisting of six members
acting under authority of the Public School Act, and their
superintendent of education, or executive officer. There
was also the fund of forty thousand dollars upon which the
board of education could draw for the payment of the salaries
of the teachers, the erection and repair of the schoolhouses,
and the payment of the incidental expenses of the several
school districts. From 1872 to the present time (1913) we
have an uninterrupted series of annual reports submitted
by the superintendents to the legislatures in which will be
found compiled the school statistics of the respective years
to which they refer.
In the superintendent's first report, for the year ending
July 31, 1872, we read that, although only three months had
elapsed since the appointment of the board of education, yet
seventeen regular meetings for the transaction of business
had been held. Rules and regulations for the government
of public schools and rules for the examination of public
school teachers had been adopted ; sixteen certificates of
qualification had been issued to school teachers after examination ; seven candidates had failed, seven certificates had
been granted on diplomas and certificates submitted to, and
approved by, the board ; but third-class certificates only
had been issued.
Schools in the following districts had been in operation
during at least part of the year ending July 31,1872 : Victoria
City and District, Esquimalt, Craigflower, Metchosin, Sooke,
Cedar Hill, Lake, Saanich, South Cowichan, North Cowichan,
Salt Spring Island, Nanaimo, Comox, New Westminster,
Langley, Yale, Chilliwack, Granville, Sumas, Clinton, and
The superintendent reported the number of pupils attending the public schools from which returns had been received
at 399 ! from districts that had not sent in returns at 115 ;
leaving 1244 not attending the public schools. There were
about 350 children attending the several private and denominational schools. More than 900 children did not attend
any school, of whom some 200 lived in the upper country out
of reach of schools of any kind.
Of the sixteen teachers engaged in the schools of the
province twelve were English, two Canadian and two American. Eight held certificates from the board of education
and eight were teaching under temporary arrangements.
The highest salary was one hundred dollars, and the lowest
forty dollars, a month.
There were in the province twelve schoolhouses that
might be regarded as public property, nine of which were
wooden or frame buildings and three log buildings. Only six
schools were properly furnished with maps, four were partially
furnished, while six were without maps of any kind. In all
the schools there was a great lack of blackboards.
The superintendent then proceeded to introduce to the
favourable consideration of the government a scheme of his
own to meet the educational needs of the province east of the
Cascades. He recommended the erection of a large central
building near Cache Creek capable of accommodating one
hundred pupils, both male and female. The schoolhouse
was to consist of a large schoolroom thirty by thirty feet,
kitchen, teachers' rooms, bedrooms, and two large dormitories, one thirty by thirty feet and the other eighteen by
thirty feet. The boys and girls were to have no communication with each other, either during meal or study hours.
The teaching staff was to consist of two married men with
their wives, all to be competent teachers. The salaries were
to be fifteen hundred dollars, with board and lodging, for
each couple. One of the teachers selected was to be a man
with some knowledge of medicine, who, with an experienced
nurse for matron, would be quite competent to treat most of
the ailments incident to childhood.
It may be of interest to recite the further history of this £
school. The building was erected in 1873 at the junction of
Cache Creek with the Bonaparte River, and was formally
opened on June 2, 1874. Eighteen pupils of both sexes were
then enrolled, a number which rapidly increased to thirty-six.
In fact, the superintendent reported that the success of the
boarding-school experiment was already beyond doubt. It
was the settled conviction of almost every person in the upper
country that there was no other feasible method of bringing
educational facilities within reach of the widely scattered
families in the interior. He went on to say that the success
of the school was so assured that he felt no hesitation in
recommending that a sum of money should be placed in the
estimates of the next year for the erection of another building
near Soda Creek.
The schoolhouse at Cache Creek was soon too small for
the numbers desirous of entering it, and it was decided to
enlarge it so as to double its capacity. This was effected by
extending the front of the original building in a southerly
direction towards Cache Creek sufficiently far to form a new
and larger schoolroom with a dormitory for boys on the second
floor. The old schoolroom was converted into a dining-room.
The superintendent hoped that this arrangement would also
result in the sexes being kept more apart than they had
hitherto been. But alas for the vanity of human wishes !
In a letter to the provincial secretary, written on July 7,
1876, the superintendent reported that the ex-principal of the
school could not be prevailed upon to hand in his accounts;
that instead of obtaining a full and businesslike financial
statement, he could only gather from the neglected and incomplete books that the liabilities of the school amounted
to more than $2200, while the assets made up a total of only
$1300. He added that the building, which was so well provided with every requisite two years before, was now almost
destitute of kitchen and dining-room furniture, and that the
great amount of breakage of crockery, lamps, lamp chimneys,
table forks, etc., must have been the result of carelessness on
the part of the authorities in charge. The entire building
had a dilapidated and neglected appearance. The attendance, which in June 1875 was forty-four, had fallen to fifteen
in May 1876, and the moral reputation of the establishment
had suffered grievously. As usual, a convenient scapegoat
had to be found. The superintendent declared that the reputation of the institution had been nearly ruined and its
financial condition brought to the verge of bankruptcy by
the inability of the secretary-treasurer to attend properly to
the duties of his office. It would have been more reasonable
to attribute its failure to the inexperience in business matters
of the principal of the school and to the dangerous experiment of housing under one roof forty-four boys and girls,
some of them of mature age.
During the session of 1876 a select committee of the
house, appointed to inquire into the condition of the Cache
Creek boarding-school, reported that it was advisable that
boys and girls should not be educated in the same establishment ; that the children should not be required to perform
menial duties ; that no balls or political meetings should be
held in the school building ; that the teacher should superintend the conduct of the scholars out of school hours ; that
the boys should be presided over by a master and a matron
who were husband and wife; and that the girls' school should
be presided over by a mistress, and if necessary by a matron
in addition. But the usefulness of the institution was gone.
The Colonist of April 20, 1877, contains an item to the effect
that the boarding-house principle of the Cache Creek school
should be discontinued and the school converted into an
ordinary day school if the number of children in attendance
was sufficient to comply with the law, a suggestion which was
carried into effect a few years later. Thus ended the career
of an institution which with proper supervision might have
solved the problem of educating the children in the sparsely
settled districts of the upper country.
In the meantime the other school districts of the province
were making substantial progress. On February 21,1873, the
government passed certain amendments to the act of 1872,
giving to school trustees the power under certain restrictions
of forcing parents and guardians of children from seven to
fourteen years of age to send their children to school. The
trustees were also given authority to appoint from among EDUCATION SINCE CONFEDERATION      429
those persons properly qualified the teachers of their respective
schools, and with the consent of a majority of the board of
education to dismiss these teachers.
In his report for 1874-75 Superintendent Jessop observed
that, through the liberality of the government, a large public
school building in Victoria was fast approaching completion.
This building was situated on the west end of the valuable
school reserve of ten acres lying at the head of Yates Street
and View Street and was within easy reach of almost every
family within the city limits. The reproach which the capital
of the province had endured for years with respect to the
scantiness and inconvenience of the public school accommodation would be entirely removed ; for when the above-
mentioned building was completed in all its details it would
be far superior to anything of the kind on the Pacific coast.
It was true that some of the schoolhouses in San Francisco
were more pretentious in appearance, but none of them had
such extensive and beautiful grounds or such magnificent
views of city, country, and surrounding waters.
The first competitive examinations for entrance to a high
school were held in twenty-one of the public schools during
the spring and early summer of 1876. Of the total number of
one hundred and sixty candidates only sixty-eight passed,
and of this number more than three-fourths were from the
Victoria schools. Of the ninety candidates belonging to
schools outside Victoria only fourteen were successful. From
the schools of the province outside Victoria, Cedar Hill, and
North Cowichan, only five pupils succeeded in gaining admission. The first set of high school entrance papers contained questions on arithmetic, English grammar, spelling,
and geography.
During the session of 1876 an act was passed to amend
and consolidate the public school acts already passed by the
legislature, the chief innovation being that authority was
given to the lieutenant-governor in council to appoint a
deputy superintendent of education. It was also enacted
that no clergyman of any denomination should be eligible
for the position of superintendent, deputy-superintendent,
teacher or trustee.
On April 27, 1876, the Elliott government introduced the
famous School Tax Bill, being an act to provide for the maintenance of public schools in the province. Premier Elliott,
who introduced it, stated that the government had been asked
to give the bill another name owing to the hostility aroused
by it among the Roman Catholic section of the community,
but that he felt he could not be guilty of such a subterfuge.
The most important section of the act provided that every
male person above eighteen years of age resident in the province should pay an annual tax of three dollars for the support
of the public schools.
The Roman Catholic residents protested against the bill
most vigorously. They declared that the so-called unsect-
arian school system was a flagrant violation of conscience,
but that the Catholic portion of the community had reluctantly submitted to a general system of taxation, a portion of
which was set apart for the support of the so-called un-
sectarian schools. But now that it was intended to levy a
special school tax they viewed with distrust and alarm a
measure which they deprecated as both unjust and oppressive. A system of education, they averred, could never be
unsectarian. If it excluded the profession of Christianity,
it was anti-Christian ; if it did not comprise the belief in
God, it was godless and atheistic ; if it included the reading
of the Protestant version of the Bible, it was Protestant.
They prayed, therefore, that the Catholic portion of the community should not be included in the School Tax Act.
In spite of all opposition the bill passed into law by a vote
of seventeen to six. In after years the title of the act was
changed. It is now known under the name of the Revenue
Tax Act and its original connection with the school system
of the province is well-nigh forgotten.
Superintendent Jessop had administered the School Act
with indefatigable industry. But his enemies were numerous
and unscrupulous. Moreover, the Elliott government had
been defeated, and the Walkem administration, which succeeded, reduced his salary from $2000 to $750 per annum.
He promptly resigned on August 26, 1878, and his resignation
was shortly afterward followed by that of the full board of
education. He was succeeded by Colin C. McKenzie, a
graduate of Cambridge University and at the time of his
appointment the principal of the Boys' Central School
of Victoria. He held the position of superintendent until
April 1, 1884, and after his retirement was elected, in 1890,
to represent Nanaimo in the provincial legislature.
Under Superintendent Jessop the total expenditure on
the schools had increased from $25,435 in 1872 to $43,334 in
1878; the enrolment of pupils from 1028 to 2198 ; the average
daily attendance from 575 to 1395 ; and the percentage of
regular attendance from 55 to 63. In 1872 the expenditure
on the public schools was 5*9 per cent of the total expenditure
of the province, while in 1878 the school expenses had risen to
9-7 per cent of the total provincial expenditure. The highest
salary paid any teacher in 1878 was $125 per month, the
lowest $20 per month, there having been two teachers employed during the year at the latter figure. The average
monthly salary of all teachers employed was $59.14.
At its session in February 1879 the government revoked
all previous education acts and in lieu thereof passed the
Public School Act, 1879, by which certain provisions of the
old act were abolished, others modified, and certain new provisions added. Under the new act of 1879 the board of
education ceased to exist, the duties formerly belonging to
that board being now transferred to the superintendent of
education. This official was given power to prescribe textbooks, to make rules and regulations, to establish separate
schools for females, and to close schools having an average
attendance of less than ten. Trustees were granted power
to dismiss teachers by giving them thirty days' notice of
dismissal, instead of, as formerly, by obtaining the consent
of the board of education. High schools were now placed
under control of the local board of trustees, instead of, as
formerly, under the board of education. The act of 1879
contained also certain new provisions such as : for the
appointment by the lieutenant-governor in council of paid
examiners to examine teachers and grant certificates of
qualification to teach ; for the temporary appointment of a
paid inspector to visit schools and report on them ; for the 432
granting by the superintendent of temporary certificates ;
for the teacher's furnishing monthly information to the
superintendent respecting his school; for the teacher's
furnishing monthly information to parents respecting each
of their children attending school; and for the teacher's
giving thirty days' notice to the trustees of his intention to
Rules and regulations for the government of the schools
were revised and modernized ; a series of regulations issued
for the examination of public school teachers ; and the subjects
of examination for each class and grade of certificate set
forth. In fact the Public School Act, 1879, with the Rules
and Regulations issued shortly afterwards, remains, with
some important amendments, the School Act of the present
McKenzie resigned his position as superintendent of
education during the early months of 1884, and he was succeeded on April 1 of that year by S. D. Pope. Pope had
formerly been principal of the Victoria High School, but for
several years immediately before his appointment as superintendent had been teaching with much success one of the
rural schools in Saanich. He was a graduate of Queen's
College, Kingston, and obtained his B.A. degree in 1861 with
honours in classics and mathematics. Before coming to
British Columbia he had taught in the schools of Oregon.
Pope held the office of superintendent until April I, 1899,
when he resigned, being succeeded by the present incumbent
on the ioth of the same month.
Prior to 1888 the entire cost of maintaining the public
schools, including teachers' salaries, incidental expenses, the
erection of new schoolhouses and repair of old buildings,
was met directly from the provincial treasury. Since 1888
it has been the settled policy of the successive governments
to throw on the several municipalities and school districts
an ever-increasing proportion of the cost of education.
Thus in 1888 the municipal councils of the four coast cities
—Victoria, Vancouver, Nanaimo, and New Westminster—
were required to pay one-third of the salaries of all the
teachers employed in their schools, a proportion which in EDUCATION SINCE CONFEDERATION      433
1891 was increased to one-half. The cost of erecting new
schools, paying the incidental expenses, repairing old buildings, etc., was in 1891 for the first time thrown upon the four
coast municipalities. In 1893 the trustees of these four cities
secured the right of fixing the salaries of teachers in their
employment, a privilege formerly exercised exclusively by
-the executive. The government assisted these city schools
by a per capita grant of ten dollars, based on the average
actual daily attendance of public school pupils. In 1901 all
the city school districts in the province were required to
provide for their respective schools, the assistance from the
government being limited to per capita grants of thirteen
dollars, fifteen dollars, and twenty dollars, graduated according to the school population of the various cities. In the
act of 1905, amended in 1906, a further extension of the principle is to be noted. Rural municipalities and rural school
districts were now required to pay a part of the cost of education within their respective limits. By that act the basis of
the per capita grant was changed, and the government grant
was regulated according to the number of teachers employed.
At the present time (1913), therefore, the provincial aid consists merely in the payment of part of the cost of the teachers'
salaries, but in no case is this government grant more than
$580 for any individual teacher. The salaries of teachers
employed in the ' assisted ' schools and in those of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Belt (about 225 teachers in all)
are still paid in full by the provincial treasury. The government, besides, still pays the cost of erecting the first school-
house in those rural school districts as yet unprovided with
a building.
The question of providing for secondary education early
occupied the attention of the government. The first high
school established in the province was opened in Victoria in
1876. Eight years afterward a similar institution was established in New Westminster. During 1886 a high school was
opened in Nanaimo and in 1890 another was granted to Vancouver. High schools are now in operation in Armstrong, Chilliwack, Cumberland, Duncan, Golden, Grand Forks, Kamloops,
Kaslo, Kelowna, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Nelson, New West-
1 i:
minster, Peachland, Penticton, Revelstoke, Rossland, Salmon
Arm, Summerland, Vancouver (North), Vernon, and Victoria.
These high schools are under the control of the local boards
of school trustees of the respective cities and rural municipalities. A high school cannot be established in any district
in which there are less than twenty pupils who have passed
the departmental high school entrance examination. The
course of study corresponds largely with that of high schools
in the other provinces.
In January 1901 a provincial normal school was opened
in Vancouver under the principalship of William Burns.
The new building was formally opened in January 1910.
The staff consists of six teachers. About one hundred and
sixty pupil-teachers are in attendance.
The staff of inspectors consists of twelve members, a high
school inspector residing at Victoria and eleven public school
inspectors stationed at various important cities throughout the
province. There are, besides, municipal inspectors in charge
of the schools of Vancouver, Victoria, New Westminster, and
South Vancouver. The general inspectors are appointed by
the provincial executive, the municipal inspectors by the
school boards of the respective cities and rural municipalities.
A free text-book system was adopted in 1908. At first
it included only the common and graded schools, but has
since been extended to the high schools. In both instances
only the chief text-books needed by pupils are supplied.
From year to year, however, the list of free text-books has
been increased, and it is probable that all the authorized
text-books will eventually be supplied. The cost, including
distribution, amounts to about sixty thousand dollars a year.
The gradual growth of the schools, as well as the cost to
the government of maintaining them, is fully shown by the
record of attendance and expenditure given in the following
Comparative Statement of Attendance and Cost of
Public Schools from 1872-73 to 1910-11
for Education
1872-73   •
33,3 H
I9II-I2   .
* Half-year.
t Including only those in -which a school was in operation during the year.
t The consolidation of school districts by the formation of rural municipality
districts has reduced the number from 257 in 1905-6 to 167 in 1906-7.
To the above must be added the cost of erecting new
buildings and repairing old ones as well as the additional
amounts paid by the cities, rural municipalities, and rural
school districts to supplement the government grants. Thus
for the year 1911-12, for example, the cost to the government
of education proper was $876,415.08, the cost of erecting
new buildings $275,299.62, making the total amount expended by the provincial government $1,151,714.70. In
addition to this amount the cities, rural municipalities, and
rural school districts expended $2,730,773.77, making the
grand total cost of education for that year $3,882,488.47.
The University of British Columbia
As early as 1877 Superintendent Jessop had pointed out
the necessity of taking steps to establish a provincial university in which the youth of the country might receive a
higher education that would fit them for their various vocations in life. At that date, and for many years afterward,
the question was purely an academic one. It was not until
1890 that the government attempted to pass legislation
dealing with the establishment of a provincial university.
In that year an act was passed, entitled the British Columbia
University Act, which provided that all graduates of universities who had resided in the province two months previous
to the passing of the act should constitute the first convocation, and that this convocation should meet within four
months thereafter. The act provided for the appointment
by the lieutenant-governor in council of a chancellor and
vice-chancellor. The senate was to be composed of the
chancellor, vice-chancellor, seven members to be elected by
convocation, and the following other members: three members to be appointed by the lieutenant-governor in council;
one representative member from each of the four cities of
Victoria, Vancouver, New Westminster, and Nanaimo, appointed by the representative municipal councils of these
four cities ; the speaker of the legislative assembly; one
member elected by the teachers' institute ; one member
from the medical council; one representative from the law -,"-$B|
society ; the principal and professors of the university ;
and the superintendent of education. There were to be
in the university four faculties : a faculty of arts and science,
of medicine, of law, and of applied science and engineering.
The university was to be strictly non-sectarian. Women
were to be admitted to all the advantages and privileges
accorded to other students of the university.
The first convocation was held in Victoria on August
26, 1890. The provincial secretary, John Robson, presided,
and there were present seventy duly certified members of
convocation: twenty-three from Victoria, twenty-four from
Vancouver, sixteen from New Westminster, and seven from
other points in the province. Three members of senate were
elected, and convocation then proceeded to discuss certain
amendments to the act which it was proposed to introduce
at the next legislative session. But even at this initial
meeting it was evident that it would be impossible for convocation to effect anything of importance. The unfortunate
jealousy between Mainland and Island rendered futile all
efforts to establish the university on a satisfactory basis.
By section 17 of the act as amended in 1891 it was enacted
that a meeting of the senators of the university should be
held within one month after their election by convocation.
The senators had been elected on June 2, 1891, and the
chancellor, Dr I. W. Powell, of Victoria, issued circulars
calling a meeting of the senate for July 2. On that date
there was no quorum, and a week's adjournment was proposed to enable the senators from the Mainland to attend.
How a meeting that had no existence could adjourn was a
puzzle to some of the senators from the Island, and it was
maintained by many that a meeting of the senate not having
been held within the time specified, the powers conferred by
the act had lapsed. The question was referred by the chancellor to the attorney-general, who gave it as his opinion that
the senate having failed to meet on July 2, no question could
be decided fixing an adjournment to a future date, and that
no further questions could therefore be dealt with by the
senate. Such was the untimely end of the first University
Act. S
In 1896 an important amendment was made to the School
Act whereby the boards of school trustees of the four coast
cities were allowed to petition to obtain charters of incorporation as boards of governors of their respective high schools
in order that they might be in a position to affiliate these
high schools with eastern Canadian universities. Under this
important concession, which was obtained largely through
the untiring zeal of A. H. B. Macgowan of the Vancouver
school board, the high schools of Vancouver and of Victoria
became affiliated with McGill College, an affiliation which
was extended and confirmed by an act passed in 1906 to
incorporate the Royal Institution for the Advancement of
Learning of British Columbia. Under this act, amended in
1907, power was granted the Royal Institution to establish,
at such places in British Columbia as M°Gill University
might designate, colleges for the higher education of men
and women. The Royal Institution at once entered into
negotiation with the school boards of Vancouver and Victoria,
and the university classes in these two cities were transferred
to the control of the Royal Institution. The instruction given
to students of the colleges preparing for degrees is of a similar
standard to that given in like subjects at McGill University
in Montreal, while the courses of study and the examinations leading to degrees are such as are prescribed by the corporation of the same university. An immense impetus was
given to the cause of higher education by this important act.
In Vancouver undergraduates under capable instructors are
taking up the work of the first, second, and third years in
arts and the first and second years in applied science, while
the classes in Victoria embrace those of the first and second
years in arts. For the year ending June 30, 1912, there were
enrolled at Vancouver 174 students and at Victoria 28, or
202 in all. The expenses of conducting these university classes
are met by grants from the provincial government, from the
respective boards of school trustees, and by voluntary contributions from public-spirited citizens.
In the meantime steps were taken by the Honourable
Dr Young, the minister of Education, to establish the University of British Columbia.    In 1907 an act was passed "•?$«
setting apart by way of university endowment lands in
the province not exceeding two millions of acres in extent,
and during the session of 1908 another act was passed to
establish and incorporate a university for the Province of
British Columbia. The university consists of a chancellor,
convocation, board of governors, senate, and the faculties of
the several schools of instruction. The chancellor is elected
by the members of convocation, and the first convocation
consists of all graduates of any university in His Majesty's
dominions resident in the province two years prior to the date
fixed for the first meeting, as well as of twenty-five members
selected by the lieutenant-governor in council. The board
of governors consists of the chancellor, the president of the
university, and nine persons appointed by the lieutenant-
governor in council. The senate is composed of the minister
of Education, the chancellor, the president, the deans and
professors, three members to be appointed by the lieutenant-
governor in council, the superintendent of education and
principals of the normal schools, one member elected by the
high school teachers, one member elected by the teachers'
institute, and fifteen members elected by convocation from
among its members. It was further provided that the
university is to be non-sectarian and that instruction is to
be free to all students in the arts classes.
Under authority of legislation passed in 1910 by the
provincial parliament, the government in April 1910 named
the special royal commission empowered to select a site for
the provincial university. The personnel of the commission,
whose decision as to site was final, consisted of Dr R. C.
Weldon, dean of the Law School, Dalhousie University ; the
Rev. Canon G. Dauth, vice-rector, Laval University, Montreal ; Dr Walter C. Murray, president, University of Saskatchewan ; Dr Oscar D. Skelton, professor of economics,
Queen's University ; and Dr Cecil C. Jones, chancellor of
the University of New Brunswick.
The commissioners reached Victoria in May 1910, and on
the 26th of that month held their first meeting in the government buildings for organization and the preparation of an
itinerary.   Then followed an exhaustive examination of the
i !   «'
province, during which they visited Nanaimo, Vancouver,
North Vancouver, New Westminster and the adjoining
districts, Chilliwack, Kamloops, Vernon and the Okanagan
Valley, Revelstoke, Nelson, and Prince Rupert. On June 28
the commission met in Victoria and prepared the following
unanimous report:
Victoria, B.C., June 28,191a
To His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor in Council :
Sir,—The University Site Commission begs to submit
the following report .—
In accordance with the provisions of the ' University
Site Commission Act, 1910,' your Commissioners have
visited and made a careful examination of the several
cities and rural districts in the province suggested as suitable University sites, and have selected as the location
for the University the vicinity of the City of Vancouver.
Accompanying the main report was the following supplementary report:
The University Site Commissioners are strongly of
the opinion that the University should not be placed
on a site which may in time be completely surrounded
by a city. They respectfully suggest that not less than
250 acres be set apart for the University campus and
700 acres for experimental purposes in agriculture and
forestry. This is exclusive of a forest reserve for forestry
operations on a large scale.
The Commissioners are of the opinion that the most
suitable site is at Point Grey, unless the soils there and
those of the delta land adjacent are found to be unsuitable for the experimental work of the College of
Agriculture. Should Point Grey prove impossible the
Commissioners suggest: first, a site along the shore
west of North Vancouver, provided the tunnel and
bridge are constructed ; second, St Mary's Hill overlooking the Pitt, Fraser and Coquitlam Rivers, provided residences are erected for the students. Central
Park, though conveniently situated, will probably be surrounded by the cities of Vancouver and New Westminster,
and because of this and of the absence of outstanding
scenic advantages is undesirable.
While the Commissioners are firmly convinced that m
it is of the highest importance to have all the faculties
of the University doing work of University grade located
together, they believe that the diverse conditions of
agriculture in this Province make it advisable to divide
the work of agricultural education between the College
of Agriculture at the University and Schools of Agriculture of secondary grade located in different centres.
The College of Agriculture should conduct researches,
provide courses leading to a degree, and supervise the extension work and Schools of Agriculture. These schools
should be established in conjunction with the Demonstration Farms in typical centres, and should provide
short courses (extending over the winter months) of
two or three years for the sons of farmers. Each school
might specialize in one or more branches, such as horticulture, dairying, etc.
Similarly, Technical Evening Schools might be opened
in the different coal-mining centres for the preparation
of candidates for mining certificates, and in the metal-
mining districts for the assistance of prospectors and
The Commissioners have been greatly impressed by
the marvellous richness, variety, and extent of the
natural resources of this Province, and by the very
generous provision made for the endowment of the
University ; and they are of the opinion that if the
University adopts a policy of offering salaries ranging
from $3800 to $5000 to its professors, it will attract
men of the highest ability, who, by their scientific investigations and outstanding reputations, will not only
materially aid in developing the resources of the Province, but will also place the University on an equality
with the best universities in America.
In the autumn of 1910 the executive, after careful reexamination of the three proposed sites, finally decided to
locate the university at Point Grey. During the session of
1911 an act was passed authorizing the lieutenant-governor
in council to grant some two hundred acres of land at Point
Grey as a site for the university. Contracts for clearing and
grubbing the site have already been let, and it is hoped that
the first building will be completed and university classes
organized in the autumn of 1915. 442
The first meeting of convocation was held in the assembly
room of the South Park School, Victoria, on August 21, 1912.
The Honourable F. L. Carter-Cotton, the representative of
Richmond Riding in the legislature, was elected chancellor
of the university, and the following were chosen as members
of the senate : Dr R. E. McKechnie, Judge Howay, N.
Wolverton, J. S. Gordon, Mrs J. W. deB. Farris, F. C. Wade,
W. P. Argue, Dr W. D. Brydone-Jack, J. M. Turnbull, E. W.
Sawyer, Mrs M. R. Watt, C. D. Rand, Chief Justice Hunter,
J. M. Pearson, and E. P. Davis.
The government had in the meantime been engaged in
securing information that would enable it to choose a suitable
president for the university. The minister of Education in
the early part of the session of 1913 announced that the
executive's choice had fallen on Dr F. F. Wesbrook, a distinguished graduate of Manitoba University who had pursued
his post-graduate studies at some of the larger universities
of England and Germany. Dr Wesbrook brings to the discharge of his duties a ripe scholarship, a pleasing personality,
and an invaluable experience of university work in all its
phases acquired while serving as dean of the medical faculty
of the University of Minnesota.
Note.—Information for this article on Education has been obtained by consulting Bancroft's History of British Columbia; Begg's History of British Columbia;
Gosnell's Year Books ; the Annual Reports of the superintendents of education;
the files of the Colonist from 1858; and especially the foumals of the British
Columbia House of Assembly. Special thanks are due to His Honour Judge
Howay, of New Westminster, who furnished the author with much information
regarding the history of Education on the Mainland.
•?,arOT--»i . ^8»
ALTHOUGH the coast-line of British Columbia is en-
/ \ tirely comprised between the 49th and 55th parallels,
A. \. its sinuosities have been reckoned at over twenty
thousand miles in extent, or, taking account of but the
major indentations, seven thousand miles in extent as against
five thousand for the Atlantic coast-line of the Dominion.
The mainland is deeply indented with hundreds of fiords of
great length ; the waters of these fiords are deep, and to
them nature has offered effective shelter in opposing to the
winds and storms of the Pacific a barrier in the series of
archipelagoes included in the Vancouver Island and Queen
Charlotte Island groups. The area of waters so enclosed,
comprising the great gulfs, straits, fiords, inlets and canals,
termed by mariners the Inner Passage, embraces the \ most
extensive spawning and feeding grounds in the world for
halibut, herring and numerous other food fishes.' -1
From fifty to one hundred miles west of the main islands
of these archipelagoes the continental shelf drops off to
extreme depths, but from that margin inward and eastward
the ocean bed forms a plateau at from twenty to two hundred
fathoms ; this plateau forms the great feeding and spawning
banks for many varieties of fish.
Ocean currents and tidal drifts have an important influence upon fish and the food of fish.   The North Pacific or
1 Dr E. H. Prince, ' British Columbia Fish and Fisheries,* in the Pacific
Fisherman, January 1906, p. 31.
■Jg 446
Japanese current, striking in easterly along the 50th parallel,
divides as it reaches the continental shelf, one branch sweeping north, to be turned due west again where that shelf runs
out once more into the Aleutian Archipelago ; the other
branch flows south as the California current, and forms a
settled drift about fifty-five miles west of the Vancouver
Island shore. These currents play to the coastal waters of
British Columbia a part exactly similar to that of the Gulf
Stream in its relation to the North Sea, whose limited waters
have proved so rich in fish life as to feed for centuries a large
portion of the population of North-Western Europe.
While nature has formed an ideal spawning and feeding
ground for fish in these central waters, another notable fact
is that the chief rivers of the Pacific take their rise in the
watersheds of the province—the Fraser, the Skeena, and
the Nass flowing entirely through Canadian territory; the
Columbia and the Stikine taking their rise within, while they
debouch beyond, its boundaries. This is, of course, closely
correlated with the fact that the network of lakes which form
the sources of these great rivers are, with the exception of the
Great Lakes, the largest on the continent.
The importance of these latter facts in their relation to
estuary fishing must be regarded. It has been largely the
richness of the estuary fishing that has prevented or delayed
the exploitation of the equally rich waters that wash the
coasts of the province. It was the ease with which the salmon
were taken in these straitened passes that diverted attention
from the fisheries of the ocean.
While British Columbia is beginning to recognize the value
of its fisheries, it is true also that the earliest industry, the
fur trade, was largely possible because the rivers of the territory afforded abundant food for the Indians, half-breeds, and
whites who pursued the fur-bearing animals. A glance at
the journals of any post of the Hudson's Bay Company
will reveal the extent to which dried salmon were relied on
to sustain the employees during the year. Thus, chiefly
because the salmon or estuary fishing was the most accessible,
the history of British Columbia fisheries has been largely
that of the salmon fisheries. FISHERIES LEGISLATION
As early as 1825, however, it is apparent that the prospective value of the fisheries of the North Pacific was recognized by the respective governments of Great Britain and
Russia, for in a treaty between these two nations, known
as the Convention of 1825, there is an indirect reference
to this.1
Beyond an occasional expedition to northern rivers for
salmon when the supply ran short in southern waters, Russian
territory was in little danger of receiving many visits from
fishing vessels of the young British colony.
Although three schooners from Victoria accompanied an
American fleet from Port Townsend in 1864 to engage in
cod-fishing off the Shumagin Islands, few records remain that
show any great activity in the exploitation of this source of
food supply.
THE early journals of the Hudson's Bay Company and
the records of the different posts throughout the
province refer annually to the dried salmon obtained
as food for their hunters, but reference is made to no other
variety of fish. In 1863 it was apparently found necessary
to protect the fisheries of the lakes of the province, since
one section of the game act of that year prohibits netting
any of these waters. It is probable, however, that such
action was taken by the authorities of the colony through
anxiety to prevent the trout with which the lakes teemed
from being taken in an unsportsmanlike manner, rather than
from any fear that too great a commercial exploitation was
1 ' In order to prevent the Right of navigating and fishing, exercised upon the
Ocean by the Subjects of the High Contracting Parties from becoming the Pretext
for an illicit Commerce, it is agreed that the Subjects of His Britannic Majesty
shall not land at any Place where there may be a Russian Establishment, without
the permission of the Governor or Commandant; and, on the other hand, that
Russian Subjects shall not land, without permission, at any British Establishment
on the North-West Coast.'—Convention between Great Britain and Russia, 1825.
No further reference to the fisheries is contained in any
legislation of the colony of British Columbia. The terms of
the union upon which British Columbia, in 1871, entered
the confederacy of the Dominion of Canada, over and
above the provisions of the British North America Act,
which defined the charges which should devolve upon the
federal government, placed upon the Dominion the obligation to defray the charges for ' Protection and Encouragement of Fisheries.'
The respective powers granted the provinces of Canada
as opposed to those of the Dominion by the British North
America Act were not clearly denned. In no quarter was a
clear definition of these respective powers more desired than
in British Columbia. The other provinces, however much
they might desire the actual control of the fisheries and
fishing, could not hope, were they to assume this, to throw
any of the burden of the protection and encouragement of
those fisheries, in other wo-fds, of the administration of them,
upon the Dominion, hence they approached the question
in a very different manner from that of British Columbia.
While opinions differed as to the interpretation of the respective powers of the provinces and the Dominion in regard
to fisheries, the reference of the case of the Dominion of
Canada versus Ontario to the Privy Council in 1898 made
several points clear. Briefly speaking, the Council decided
that the Dominion of Canada has :
(1) Exclusive legislative jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to ' Sea Coast and Inland Fisheries.'
(2) Exclusive competence to enact fishery regulations
and restrictions.
(3) The right to impose ' a tax by way of licence as a
condition of the right to fish.'
The legislatures of the provinces have :
(1) All proprietary rights in respect of fisheries which
they held before Confederation. This includes control of
the manner by which a private fishery is transferred or disposed of, and the rights of succession in respect of it.
(2) The exclusive power to make laws in relation to
matters coming under the caption, ' Direct taxation within FISHERIES LEGISLATION
the Province in order to the Raising of a Revenue for Provincial Purposes.'
This has been interpreted by the Judicial Committee of
the imperial Privy Council as empowering the provinces to
lay a tax on provincial fisheries in addition to any imposed
by the Dominion parliament.
As early as 1875 the then Dominion commissioner of
Fisheries, W. N. Whitcher, advised the extension of the
Canadian Fisheries Act to British Columbia. Prior to this,
the act, under which the fisheries in other provinces were
regulated, had no application west of the Rocky Mountains.
When the act was extended to cover the Pacific fisheries
it was found inapplicable in many ways. The inspector
appointed in 1877 reported as follows :
With regard to the provisions of the Fishery Act, at
large, there are many portions which are necessarily
inapplicable to this Province. The application, indeed,
would in some cases neutralize all fishing operations;
for instance, of the salmon, at present the most lucrative.
I have, therefore, assumed that such portions, only, of
the Act, as are obviously of general application, with
such other portions as, on more minute inquiry, may be
found to be of particular application, shall be locally
adopted. Without, therefore, interfering captiously and
injuriously as I conceive, with existing practice, I shall
continue as hitherto, to exercise a watchful surveillance
for the common benefit; reporting from time to time,
the result of my observations, and under your sanction,
extending such further protective portions of the law,
as may be found necessary or expedient.
The first offence to which the attention of the department
was drawn was the use of explosives in Burrard Inlet for
killing fish. The inspector, in January 1877, reported that
after visiting the inlet and making full inquiries, he found
that the practice had prevailed ; but in view of the official
notice he had received, and (as he himself stated) ' now that
the law is known, the practice has been abandoned.' This
prohibition formed section 3 of the General Fishery Regulations for the province approved by His Excellency the
governor-general on July 18, 1889.   These early regulations,
II i
indeed, consisted of only three sections :   (1) Salmon ;   (2)
Trout;  (3) Explosives.   The following were the provisions :
Section 1—Salmon
(1) Fishing by means of nets or other apparatus without leases or licences from the Minister of Marine and
Fisheries under the provisions of Chapter 95, Revised
Statutes of Canada, and section 4 thereof, is prohibited
in all waters of the province of British Columbia.
Provided always, that Indians shall at all times have
liberty to fish for the purpose of providing food for themselves, but not for sale, barter or traffic, by any means
other than with the drift nets or spearing.
(2) Meshes of nets used for capturing salmon shall
be at least six inches extension measure, and nothing
shall be done to practically diminish their size.
(3) a. Drifting with salmon nets shall be confined to
tidal waters, and no salmon net of any kind shall be used
for salmon in fresh wa-ters.
b. Drift nets shall not be used so as to obstruct more
than one-third of any river.
c. Fishing for salmon shall be discontinued from 6
o'clock A.M. on Saturday to 6 o'clock A.M. on the following Monday, and during such close time no nets or other
fishing apparatus shall be set or used so as to impede
the free course of the fish, and all nets or other fishing
apparatus set or used otherwise shall be deemed to be
illegally set and shall be liable to be seized and forfeited,
and the owner or owners, or persons using the same,
shall be liable to the penalties and costs imposed by
the Fisheries Act.
(4) a. Before any salmon net, fishing boat or other
fishing apparatus shall be used, the owner or persons
interested in such net, fishing boat or fishing apparatus
shall cause a memorandum in writing setting forth the
name of the owner or persons interested, the length of
the net, boat or other fishing apparatus, and its intended
location, to be filed with the Inspector of Fisheries, who,
if no valid objection exists, may, in accordance with
instructions from the Minister of Marine and Fisheries,
issue a fishery licence for the same, but any net, fishing
boat or fishing apparatus used before such licence has
been obtained, and any net,  fishing boat or fishing
apparatus used in excess or evasion of the description
contained in such licence shall be deemed illegal and
liable to forfeiture, together with the fish caught therein,
and the owner or person using the same shall be also
subject to fine and costs under the Fisheries Act.
b. All salmon nets and fishing boats shall have the
name of the owner or owners legibiy marked on two pieces
of wood or metal attached to the same, and such mark
shall be preserved on such nets or fishing boats during
the fishing season in such manner as to be visible without
taking up the net or nets ; and any net or fishing boat
used without such a mark shall be liable to forfeiture.
(5) a. The Minister of Marine and Fisheries shall
from time to time determine the number of boats, seines
or nets, or other fishing apparatus to be used in any
of the waters of British Columbia.
Section 2—Trout
No one shall fish for, catch or kill trout from the 15th
day of October to the 15th day of March, both days
inclusive, in each year.
Provided always that Indians may, at any time,
catch or kill trout for their own use only, but not for
the purpose of sale or traffic.
Section 3—Explosives
The use of explosive materials to catch or kill fish is
These regulations were on March 14, 1890, amended in
four particulars : (1) The six-inch mesh for drift-nets was
reduced to five and three-quarter inches ; (2) a proviso
enabled the minister to order the use of a mesh larger
than five and three-quarter inches where in his opinion
it was necessary; (3) the weekly close time was changed
to six p.m. Saturday to six p.m. Sunday; (4) the use of
seines was prohibited throughout British Columbia. On
November 7 of the same year a prohibition of salmon seines
was legalized by regulation.
In the summer of 1890 a commission of inquiry was
authorized to investigate certain matters relating to the
vol. xxir o 452
fishery regulations, with special reference to salmon-fishing
for canneries. The commissioner was Samuel Wilmot, who,
in August 1890, made a full investigation of the Fraser River
fisheries, visiting the seventeen canneries on the river and
obtaining the views of the leading men engaged in the industry. Wilmot's investigation resulted in further changes
in the law.
In June 1892 nine new clauses or sections were added,
limiting the number of licences to be granted to individual fishermen, to canners, dealers and parties engaged in
freezing salmon, or in shipping them on ice or in curing
them. One provision limiting licences to resident British
subjects caused much bitter feeling, as it excluded a large
number of men who came north to the Fraser River after
the season on the Columbia and Sacramento Rivers was over.
These United States fishermen were much chagrined to find
the salmon-fishing in British Columbia confined to British
subjects. Many canners were anxious to encourage this
foreign labour, and it was publicly asserted that various
means were resorted to in order to evade the regulation.
Personation in order to obtain licences, and nefarious naturalization of ineligible persons were among the charges made,
and much resentment was aroused among the British fishermen. Grave abuses indeed continued, and to correct them
a system of registration was adopted. This brought to light
the fact that a considerable number of aliens still obtained
fishing privileges in the British Columbian salmon fisheries.
The proposed rigid enforcement of the registration scheme
and the ' resident British subjects' requirement in 1899
caused apprehension.
The Fishing Gazette in March 1899 said
The enforcement by the Dominion government of
the law compelling all fishermen on the Fraser River to
register with the proper authority at Victoria on or
before April 1 is causing serious apprehension. Without
this registry they cannot fish the coming season, and
every person registering must be a British subject.
Unless this law is amended it will cut down the number
of boats from an estimate of 6000 to about 2500, for "l^EIIWPlif1
fishermen who have gone from California and Oregon
to the Fraser River to fish cannot do so under the
present law, and this means a large cut in the 1899
pack of British Columbia.
Much dissatisfaction continued to exist among those
engaged in the salmon fisheries, and the recommendations
made at the close of Wilmot's inquiry were severely criticized.
Great objection was made to them, and the whole report was
unfavourably regarded by many of the salmon canners and
their agents, who complained bitterly of the representations
made by Wilmot (regarding the wholesale destruction of
fish and the universal custom which prevailed, contrary to
law, of throwing all offal from the canning establishments
into the river) as well as the conclusions arrived at generally
in his report.
With a view to determining the accuracy of the report, as
well as to obtaining data and information on many other
points respecting the river and deep-sea fisheries of the
province, upon which, until Wilmot's report was made, the
department had been inadequately informed, a minute of
council, based upon the recommendations of the minister of
Marine and Fisheries, was approved on December 23, 1891.
This minute of council appointed a commission consisting
of D. W. Higgins, speaker of the British Columbia legislative
assembly, William Armstrong, sheriff of New Westminster,
and Samuel Wilmot, superintendent of fish culture, ' to
inquire into and report upon the fisheries and fishery regulations of the province of British Columbia.' Charles F.
Winter, of the headquarters staff of the Fisheries department,
was detailed for duty and accompanied the commission as
The commission was convened and held its first session
at the court-house in New Westminster on February 19,
1892 (Samuel Wilmot being elected chairman), and proceeded to take evidence from day to day and hear testimony from the fishermen and all other parties vitally interested in matters affecting the fisheries of the province.
The sittings were continued at Victoria, Nanaimo, and Vancouver, the final executive sessions being held on March 19, 454
1892. The recommendations of the commission became, in
the main, the regulations that existed until 1908, although
amendments added to their range and extent.
In 1895 the commissioner of fisheries was authorized to
carry on an inquiry and hold sittings at New Westminster,
Steveston, and other centres of the Fraser River salmon
fisheries. The investigation was completed and a number of
recommendations made which were at a later date embodied
in further amended regulations.
In 1898 the decision of the Privy Council in the case of
the Dominion of Canada versus Ontario was rendered, and
in this decision the property rights of the province in fish
were defined. As dissatisfaction among the canners continued to be expressed, representations were made to the
provincial government urging it to assert such jurisdiction
as it might possess, and even to endeavour to conclude an
arrangement with the Dominion under which the province
would assume sole jurisdiction over the fisheries.
In 1901 the Provincial Fisheries Act was passed, which
provided for the making of regulations for the better conduct
of the fisheries, for the construction of hatcheries, and for
the appointment of a commissioner of fisheries, a deputy
commissioner, and other necessary officers. In January of the
same year the provincial government appointed John Pease
Babcock, a well-known fishery expert of California, to the
position of deputy commissioner, and negotiations with the
Dominion were entered upon, which it was hoped would
lead to the acquisition of control by the province.
At this time it was pointed out that of the total revenue
paid into the Dominion treasury by the fisheries of Canada
in 1900, British Columbia contributed $53,000 out of a
total of $79,000, or 66 per cent of the whole, whereas the
total expenditure on fisheries in that province represented
not one-sixth of the total amount expended in Canada for
this service.1 The Dominion government was not disposed
at this time to enter into the desired arrangements, and it
1 Memorial to the Premier and Council of the Government of British Columbia
from sixty of the seventy-four canners operating, dated April 10, 1901. House
of Commons Debates, Hansard, Tuesday, April 30,1901. ^»
was determined that the Privy Council should be asked to
define more clearly the respective powers as to fisheries
of the Dominion and the province, and pending the result
of such a reference a modus vivendi was concluded under
which a moiety of the licence fees collected in British Columbia
by the Dominion should be paid over to the provincial
government. As feeling continued acute among the canners
and fishermen, a commission consisting of Professor E. E.
Prince, George R. Maxwell, M.P., Aulay Morrison, M.P.,
and Ralph Smith, M.P., was appointed. Sixteen sittings
were held in 1901, and certain minor changes in the regulations were carried out; these, however, did not allay the
In this year also the Dominion constructed a second
hatchery at Granite Creek on Shuswap Lake, one of the
sources of the Fraser, with a capacity of 10,000,000 eggs;
and the next year John Pease Babcock reported to the provincial government upon a hatchery system for the Fraser
River. He urged that a hatchery should be constructed at
Seton Lake to form a part of a system that would have a
main unit on the Harrison Lake-Lillooet Lake watershed.
The provincial authorities adopted in part his recommendations, and a large hatchery, completed in 1903, was constructed at the point recommended.
But while more attention was directed towards the
artificial propagation of salmon, the belief was growing that
a crisis in the great salmon industry had been reached.
Owing to the fact that the main schools of salmon passing
from the sea to the Fraser River to spawn traverse a portion
of the State of Washington, where no protective regulations
along the lines enforced in Canada were carried out, the
Fraser River salmon industry had been seriously injured.
That the permanence of the runs had been affected was contended by Babcock for the provincial government, and it
was felt that artificial propagation alone could not keep pace
with the fishing, which had largely increased on both sides
of the line.1 An understanding with the State of Washington
was believed necessary, and as with the increased demand
1 Reports of the Commissioner of Fisheries of British Columbia, 1902,1903-4. 456
for salmon exploitation of the fisheries throughout the province had proceeded, the necessity for a general inquiry by
a competent commission was recognized.
In July 1905 an order-in-council was passed by the
Dominion government appointing a commission to inquire
into fishery matters in general in British Columbia. It was
composed of Professor E. E. Prince, Dominion commissioner
of fisheries, Campbell Sweeny, Vancouver, J. C. Brown,
New Westminster, Richard Hall, Victoria, the Rev. George
W. Taylor, Nanaimo, and John Pease Babcock, deputy
commissioner of fisheries for British Columbia. In December
1905 the commission presented an interim report recommending :
1. That in the interest of the British Columbian
fisheries a satisfactory adjustment of the differences
between the Dominion and provincial governments be
as far as possible hastened.
2. That the territorial or non-territorial character of
Hecate Straits waters be declared as soon as possible.
If these waters are held to be Canadian, then foreigners
are fishing there illegally.
3. That immediate measures are necessary to limit the
number of canneries on Rivers inlet, Skeena river, etc.,
or the fisheries there will be in danger of depletion. The
inspector (Mr Williams) should be instructed that the
number of boat licences at present be : Rivers inlet
550 ; Skeena river 800 ; Nass river 200.
4. That a more efficient patrol of British Columbian
waters be arranged in order to suppress the existing
extensive poaching.
5. That a survey of the fishing grounds in British
Columbia be carried out under the present Biological
Board of Canada.
6. That all natural and artificial obstructions be reported on and removed from British Columbian salmon
7. That the present snag-boat be transferred to Nass
river, and a more powerful snag-boat take its place on
the Skeena river.
8. That the prohibition of the export of fresh
herring from British Columbia in 1905 and 1906 be
In 1906, in addition to other recommendations, the commission urged that the regulations should be amended so as to
allow trap-nets west and south of Discovery Island, or along
the south-west coast-line of Vancouver Island. The latter
recommendation was given effect at once, so that a portion
of the Fraser River salmon run could be taken before reaching the American waters of Puget Sound. The commission
completed its sessions in 1907 and rendered a report, recommending the size of nets to be used on the Fraser, that the
weekly close seasons should be increased, that fishing should
be permitted to Mission Bridge, and that the patrol service
should be greatly increased.
The commission met delegates from the State of Washington, and a formulated statement of views and recommendations was adopted providing for a longer weekly close season,
subject to a condition that the Washington special fish commission should make similar recommendations to the State legislature of Washington. Unfortunately the recommendations
of the Washington committee were not ratified by the legislature, with the result that no alleviation of the unsatisfactory
conditions on Puget Sound was secured.
When the commission reported no immediate action was
taken by the government at Ottawa to carry out in regulations the recommendations of the body. According to the
canners the chief trouble in Dominion administration of the
fisheries of British Columbia has always arisen from the fact
that invariably the responsible minister at the head of the
department has been an Eastern man, with no knowledge
of conditions in the West, although he might have a comprehensive knowledge of conditions on the Atlantic seaboard.
Usually, too, he was surrounded by officials largely chosen
from the Maritime Provinces or Quebec, who had only the
faintest conception of actual conditions on the Pacific coast,
where the fisheries are totally different and their operation
almost entirely dissimilar. The canners further maintained
that, although much might be said for central control in
other directions, the situation in regard to fisheries was
different. Removal of the jurisdiction to Ottawa and the
placing of  it  in  the  hands of  ministers or officials not 458
intimately acquainted with its details, so far from preventing,
rather encouraged the ' playing of parish politics ' or the
favouring of political friends at the expense not of political
foes, but of those actually engaged in the industry. Dependent upon others for his knowledge of conditions, the minister
at Ottawa was apt to be misled by misrepresentations from
political friends with a selfish interest, and at the same time
he was not so directly susceptible to the influence of, or in
touch with, public opinion in the district affected.
When no action was taken upon the findings of the commission of 1905-7, although no reference had as yet finally
decided the powers of the provincial government, a more
decided policy was adopted by the province following the
appointment of W. J. Bowser to the portfolio of attorney-
general and commissioner of fisheries in the government
of British Columbia. At his instance an act known as the
Canneries Revenue Act was passed in the legislative session
of 1908. This act required any person operating a salmon
cannery first to obtain a licence from the provincial commissioner. Discretionary powers were granted the commissioner
as to whether or not a licence should be issued. In this
way the province took power to prevent an undue number
of canneries beginning operations within a limited area.
The Dominion government followed suit in a series of regulations enacted later in the same year, which required the
possession of a Dominion cannery licence before operating
and also embodied the major portions of the recommendations of the commission of 1905-7. As a result of these
regulations practical effect was given to the recommendations
of the commission urging cannery limitations in the north,
but nothing was done to embody the suggestion to limit the
number of boats that would be allowed to fish in northern
With the growing demand for salmon the canners continued to increase their packs, and presently it began to be
feared that were additional protective measures not adopted
in the waters of the north, exclusively British, and where
no international complications ensue as in the Fraser-Puget
Sound district, these resources would be depleted. FISHERIES LEGISLATION
During the season of 1909, when it became apparent
that the canners of the Nass, the Skeena, and Rivers Inlet
were preparing to increase largely the number of their boats,
the provincial government once more stepped in. By an
order-in-council, passed early in 1910, a limitation of 855
boats for the Skeena, 750 for Rivers Inlet, and 240 for the
Nass River was set. These boats, moreover, were assigned
among the existing canneries. The Dominion government
again followed the lead of the province, and in 1910 a commission, composed of John T. Williams, inspector of fisheries
for Northern British Columbia, and John Pease Babcock
visited the different salmon-fishing districts of the north
and recommended a boat-rating differing little from that
placed in effect by the province in the previous year.
The gradual entry of the Japanese into the coast fisheries,
which they practically control, so far as the actual fishing is
concerned, has been an object of concern to all who have
given any thought to the question. In the salmon fisheries
of Northern British Columbia, out of 1900 men employed in
gill-netting in 1911, over 1000 were Japanese, while the same
proportion is observed in the salmon fisheries of other portions of the province. They possess similar control of other
branches of fishing. The matter engaged the attention of
both the Dominion and provincial authorities, and in 1911,
after a conference between the Hon. J. D. Hazen and the
Hon. W. J. Bowser, the Dominion and provincial heads of
the Fisheries departments, it was resolved that an inquiry
should be held for the purpose of recommending some
changes in the salmon fisheries regulations designed to
encourage the settlement of white fishermen in Northern
British Columbia.
In the summer of 1912 W. A. Found, superintendent of
fisheries for the Dominion, was dispatched to the coast,
and with the present writer, deputy commissioner of fisheries
for the province, toured the entire northern district. A
report was prepared and recommendations were submitted
to the two departments. The report, which was adopted
by both departments as an inducement to white fishermen
to settle in the northern districts of the province, offered
vol. xxn p ill
special privileges, licences to fish for salmon independently
of the canners, and advantages over and above those held
by the fishermen, largely Japanese and Indians, who operated
for the canneries with cannery gear and who were financed
by the packers.
The arrangement, which at present (1913) has only been
in force a few months, has been fairly successful, and it is
expected that it will induce additional participation by
whites in the fisheries of the north. The recommendations
of the two officials further provided that, while the total
limitation of the boats allowed to fish in the northern rivers
should be continued as a protective measure for the fish,
the assignment of boats to canneries should be gradually
decreased as the immigration of white fishermen grew in
While both the Dominion and the province had been seeking since 1901 a definite decision as to their respective jurisdictions, no formal action was taken until June 1910, when
it was decided to refer the following questions to the Supreme
Court of Canada for consideration :
1. Is it competent to the Legislature of British
Columbia to authorize the Government of the Province
to grant by way of lease, licence or otherwise the exclusive right to fish in any or what part or parts of the
waters within the Railway Belt, (a) as to such waters as
are tidal, and (b) as to such waters as although not
tidal are in fact navigable ?
2. Is it competent to the Legislature of British
Columbia to authorize the Government of the Province
to grant by way of lease, licence or otherwise the exclusive right or any right to fish below low water mark in
or in any or what part or parts of the open sea within
a marine league of the coast of the Province ?
3. Is there any and what difference between the open
sea within a marine league of the coast of British Columbia and the gulfs, bays, channels, arms of the sea
and estuaries of the rivers within the Province, or lying
between the Province and the United States of America,
so far as concerns the authority of the Legislature of
British Columbia to authorize the Government of the
Province to grant by way of lease, licence or otherwise FISHERIES LEGISLATION 461
the exclusive right or any right to fish below low water
mark in the said waters or any of them ?
In November 1912 formal argument was heard and the
Supreme Court decision in February 1913 negatived the
contentions of the province. Leave to appeal was granted
by the Privy Council in May 1913, and on December 2 of the
same year a judgment was delivered reaffirming the decision
of the Supreme Court. As a result of this decision, it is
finally established that, while the province is not debarred
from collecting licence fees under its powers of direct taxation, it has no right to regulate the fisheries in tidal waters.
In 1912 an agreement was entered into between the
Dominion and the province under which the sole right to
lease areas of foreshore, including those within public harbours, for the purposes of oyster culture, was assumed by
the province. The divided jurisdiction had prevented the
proper fostering of this important source of food supply,
and it is expected that, with assured tenure, improved methods
of cultivation will be practised.
In the same year attention began to be directed more
particularly to the deep-sea fisheries, and three trawlers
were brought to the coast from Great Britain. While the
inshore fisheries are rich enough to warrant exploitation by
this approved manner of fishing, it is feared that the rocky
ocean bed will militate against successful trawling. Attention has, however, been directed to the profitable field offered
for this kind of fishing by the great banks of food fishes existing off the Aleutian Islands in the open ocean. These banks
are nearer the ports of British Columbia than they are to
Japan, yet their exploitation of late years by fishing vessels
from the latter country has been very extensive. While but
few trawlers operated from Japan in 1910, in the year 1911
seventy-seven, with a total tonnage of 13,500, were laid down
in Japanese shipyards. Almost an equal number were built,
or purchased, abroad, to engage in this fishing. Hakodate,
the nearest Japanese port, is nearly five hundred miles farther
from the centre of these fisheries than is Prince Rupert.
The latter port, the most northerly transcontinental railway 462
terminus on the continent, seems destined, with the proper
exploitation of the fisheries of the North Pacific by British
crews from British Columbia, to develop into the most important fishing centre in the world.
THE Pacific coast salmon, observed by Steller, a German
naturalist in the employ of Russia, as early as 1731
on the Siberian coast, were again encountered by
him in 1741, when he accompanied Vitus Bering on his
fatal voyage towards the western coast of America. Almost
simultaneously the genus was described by Kxascheninikov,
another early investigator. Steller described them perfectly
under their native Russian names, and this nomenclature
was adopted by Walbaum in 1792. The fish wrongly called
salmon at the outset has to-day ousted the rightful salmon
of the name, for the genus oncorhynchus in its five species
is the salmon of commerce, and in its canned form is known
as salmon throughout the world.
The Pacific coast salmon is not the salmo solar, the salmon
which the Romans found running to the rivers of Gaul and
Britain in great quantities, and which, preserved in snow,
was sent to the imperial city and throughout the Empire.
The salmon of the Pacific coasts of North America and Asia,
all five species of which run in great quantities to the rivers
of the coast, are of the genus oncorhynchus or hook-nose.
It differs from the salmo solar in points of structure, although
the external form of both is similar. The anal fin in the
oncorhynchus has from thirteen to twenty rays, while that
of the salmo salar has never more than twelve. These five
species ascend the rivers between the months of April and
December in great numbers, crowding the shallows at the
heads of the streams, some travelling a full two thousand
miles from the ocean.
While the structural differences between the Atlantic and
the Pacific salmon are not very apparent, the chief distinction IP
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in their life-history arises from the fact that, in the case
of the Pacific, of all the host which ascend the stream to
spawn none return. The distance to which they go has no
bearing upon this fact. As soon as they have discharged their
breeding functions, all begin to weaken, and soon die. It is
the young, returning to the sea in from a year to fifteen
months after being hatched, that perpetuate the genus.
Commercially the salmon is the most important of American
fishes, the annual pack of the Pacific coast being valued at
from $15,000,000 to $25,000,000. The value of the salmon
pack of British Columbia for the year 1911 has been estimated at $9,851,897 and in 1912 at $9,540,368.
The five species of oncorhynchus, all of which are abunda it
in the waters of British Columbia, in the order of their i n-
portance are as follows :
Oncorhynchus nerka (sockeye or blue-back salmon).
Oncorhynchus tschawytscha (quinnat, tyee, king or spring
Oncorhynchus kisutch (coho or white salmon).
Oncorhynchus keta (dog or chum salmon).
Oncorhynchus gorbuscha (humpback or pink salmon).
Sockeye Salmon
The sockeye run in all the mainland rivers, in some of the
rivers of the west coast of Vancouver Island, and in the
Nimpkish River near the head of the east coast of the island.
The abundance of this fish in the Fraser varies greatly with
given years, distinguished by the canners as the ' big years '
and the ' poor years.' Their movement is greatest every
fourth year. In the cycle of four years commencing with
1913, the latter is a ' big year' and the run is poorer in the
three years immediately following. The causes which have
led to this most remarkable feature have given rise to
much speculation, and many theories have been advanced
to account for the runs. None, however, are satisfactorily
established. The periodicity in the run of sockeye which is
so pronounced in the Fraser has no marked counterpart in
any other river in the province or on the coast.
The sockeye weighs as a rule from three to ten pounds, 4*34
though specimens weighing seventeen pounds are recorded.
The adults in salt water are free from spots, their backs are
a clear blue, and below the lateral line the colour is an immaculate white. The flesh is of a deep and unfailing red.
In form and colour they are considered the most beautiful
of their family. They enter the Fraser River as early as
April, but are not taken until July i, and their capture is by
regulation confined to nets of five and one-half inch mesh.
The main run in the Fraser is looked for towards the latter
part of July and is at its height during the first ten days of
August. The spawning period of the sockeye extends from
August, in the head-waters, to as late as October or November
in the waters nearest the sea, the spawning* taking place in
lake-fed or in lake-feeding streams.
Spring or Quinnat Salmon
This class ranks second in importance in the waters of
the province, and was the first, and for many years the only,
salmon used for canning. The species attains an average
weight of from eighteen to thirty pounds in British Columbian
waters, though fish weighing from sixty to one hundred
pounds have been reported. The head is rather pointed
and of a metallic lustre ; the back is a dark green or bluish
colour, while below the lateral line it is silvery. At spawning
it becomes almost black, hence it is often spoken of on the
spawning grounds as ' black salmon.' It is the most powerful
swimming fish that seeks the rivers of British Columbia,
usually journeying to the extreme head of the stream that
it enters. It seems to prefer the most rapidly flowing streams,
apparently avoiding the lake-fed tributaries. The colour
of the flesh is from a deep red to a very light pink—at times
almost white. This uncertainty of colour militates against
its use for canning purposes. All specimens are examined
by the canners before being accepted from the fishermen, the
fish with unusually pale flesh being almost invariably rejected.
The quinnat enters the Fraser, the Nass, and the Skeena early
in the spring, and the run continues more or less intermittently
until July.    In the fall there is no pronounced run. THE VERTEBRATES 465
Coho Salmon
This species is found in all the waters of the province
and of recent years has become a considerable factor in
canning operations. The bulk of the catch, however, is
shipped in ice to Eastern markets. Its average weight is
from three to eight pounds, though heavier specimens are
not uncommon. In colour it is very silvery, greenish on the
dorsal aspect, with a few black spots on the head and fins.
In August and September the runs take place in the rivers
of the north-west coast, and in September and October in the
Fraser. Like the sockeye, the coho salmon travels in compact schools. It does not seek the extreme head-waters, but
frequents both the streams and the lakes to spawn.
Dog Salmon
These fish run in most of the rivers and coast streams late
in the fall. The average weight is from ten to twelve pounds,
but much larger specimens are not unusual. They spawn
close to the sea. They are dark silver in colour, the fins being
black, but during the spawning season they become dusky,
with lateral lines of black. There is more or less grey and red
colouring along the sides. The heads of the males undergo
the most remarkable distortion, while the teeth in front
become large and dog-like ; it is from this latter characteristic that the species has derived its popular name. Until a
few years ago these fish were not considered of any value,
but they are now captured in great numbers by the Japanese,
who dry-salt them for export to the Orient. Latterly a
market for the canned product has been developed.
Humpback Salmon
This is the smallest of the species of salmon found in
British Columbian waters, averaging in weight from three
to six pounds, In colour it is bluish above and silvery below,
while the back and the tail are covered with oblong black
spots. In the fall the males are so greatly distorted as to give
them their popular name. The fish run in abundance in the
" big years,' and then only every second year, coming in with %ffig^-^£
the last of the sockeye run. They are but litde valued,
though a considerable demand has sprung up within the past
few years.
With the development of the markets for cheap fishery
products a demand has come for all the varieties of salmon,
with the result that the fishing season has now been extended
to cover the runs of all five species. This lengthening of the
season is of marked benefit to the regular salmon fishermen,
and, with the development of other fisheries, it is believed
they may find regular employment during the entire year.
Life-History of the Pacific Salmon
With the exception of the quinnat1 little was known of
the life-history of the Pacific salmon until 1912.
In 1903 John Pease Babcock conducted a series of investigations into the movements and life-history of sockeye fry,
and established the fact that there are two well-defined
migrations of the young sockeye seaward, one within three
months of the absorption of the yolk-sac after spawning,
the second a year later; in other words, that sockeye fry
proceed to sea at an age of three months or fifteen months.
It was not until Dr C. H. Gilbert, of Leland Stanford,
Jr. University, gave to the world in 1912 the result of his
researches into the age of salmon through scale readings,
after the system discovered and perfected by scientists in
the employ of the Scotch Fishery Board, that progress was
made.    His chief deductions were as follows :
The sockeye spawn normally either in the fourth or fifth
year, the spring salmon in the fourth, fifth, sixth, or seventh
year, the females of each species being preponderatingly
four-year fish.
The young of both sockeye and spring salmon may
migrate seaward shortly after hatching, or may reside in
fresh water until their second spring. Those of the first type
grow more rapidly than those of the second, but are subject
to greater dangers and develop proportionately fewer adults.
1 Claudesly Rutter, Natural History of the Quinnat Salmon; a report on investigations in the Sacramento River, 1896-1901. ^asa
Coho salmon spawn normally only in their third year.
The young migrate either as fry or as yearlings, but adults
are developed from those that migrate as yearlings.
Dog salmon mature normally in either their third, fourth,
or fifth year, the humpback always in their second year.
The young of both species pass to sea as soon as they are
The term ' grilse' as used for Pacific salmon signifies
conspicuously undersized fish which sparingly accompany the
spawning run. They are precociously developed in advance
of the normal spawning period of the species. So far as
known the grilse of the spring salmon, coho, and dog salmon
are exclusively males, except in the Columbia River, where
both sexes are equally represented. The larger grilse meet
or overlap in size the smaller of the fish that mature one year
later at the normal period.
Grilse of the sockeye are in their third year, of the spring
salmon in their second or third year, of the coho and dog
salmon in their second year.
The great difference in size of the individuals of a species
observed in the spawning run is closely correlated with age,
the younger fish averaging constantly smaller than those one
year older, although the curves of the two may overlap.1
The Salmon Canning Industry
The first attempt to can salmon on the Fraser was made
in 1876. Alexander Ewen built a cannery a little below New
Westminster, and later in the same year two other plants
were constructed adjacent to this. Ewen's is generally considered to have been the first cannery in British Columbia.
It may be stated on good authority, however, that while
the honour of being the pioneer in the salmon canning industry on the Pacific coast is given to an American, William
Hume, who in 1864 constructed a plant on the Sacramento
River in California, salmon was actually canned in British
1 Charles H. Gilbert, Professor of Zoology, Leland Stanford, Jr. University, Age
at Maturity of the Pacific Coast Salmon of the Genus Oncorhynchus: published
by Bureau of Fisheries, Washington, D.C, 1912.—Report of the Commissioner
of Fisheries for British Columbia, 1912. 468
Columbia at least two years previously. Captain Edward
Stamp, of the British mercantile marine, who settled at
Alberni on the west coast of Vancouver Island in i860, and
engaged in the lumber business, at some time between the
years i860 and 1862 preserved in two-pound tins a quantity
of salmon ; tins of the product opened in 1896 were of
excellent flavour and perfectiy preserved.
In 1877 the three canneries operating on the Fraser were
increased in number to five, and in the same year a cannery
was located at Inverness on the Skeena River. In the
following year eight canneries operated on the Fraser, an
additional plant, the Oceanic, was constructed on the Skeena,
and a plant was completed and placed in operation at Mill
Bay on the Nass River. The industry grew rapidly, until
in 1883 thirteen canneries were operating on the Fraser,
which in that year produced a pack of 199,000 cases. Five
plants were operating on the Skeena, two on the Nass, and
one, which had been erected during the previous year, on
Rivers Inlet.
In 1883, too, the fact that the salmon, on their way from
the open ocean through the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the
Fraser River, circled around in Puget Sound and the Gulf
of Georgia before entering the river, caused canneries to be
established at Seattle, San Juan, Bellingham, Blaine, and
Port Townsend, and resulted in the birth of a vexed international question.
For several years previous to 1883 representations had
been made to the Dominion government of the need of the
artificial propagation of salmon in the province, but it was
not until 1884 that the Dominion commenced the construction of a hatchery at Bon Accord on the Fraser River. This
hatchery was completed in the following year. The industry
made no particular progress for several years, but in 1893
twenty-two canneries operated ; in 1898 these had increased
in number to thirty-five and a year later to forty. The pack
of salmon had proved fairly satisfactory, the notable periodicity in the run of salmon to the Fraser effecting a large pack
in one out of four years, with a very much smaller one in
the three succeeding years.
On the Pacific coast the halibut industry is ranked next
in importance to the salmon. The halibut belong to the
flounder family. Three varieties of this fish are found on
the Pacific coast—the arrow-toothed (Atheresthec stomias),
the Monterey or Bastard (Paralichthys calif omicus), and the
common halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus). The last mentioned is found all along the coast from Bering Strait as
far south as San Francisco, its centre of abundance, according to some authorities, being the Gulf of Alaska in the
vicinity of Kadiak and the Shumagin Islands, where the
extensive banks furnish a favourite habitat for the big flat
fish. It is only latterly, however, that these banks have
been fished to any extent, as an abundance of the fish have
been taken much nearer the coast's markets. A large bank
formerly rich in halibut exists off Cape Flattery in the mouth
of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. With increased fishing this
bank has become depleted, and the fishermen are compelled
to go farther afield to the banks of South-Eastern Alaska,
to Dixon Entrance, to Hecate Straits, and to the fringe of
shallow water around Vancouver Island. The method of
fishing for halibut is by hand-line from dories operating from
a steam or gasoline mother vessel. The industry had its
inception about 1885, when a few schooners from Port
Townsend in the State of Washington began to fish off Cape
Flattery. For many years it languished, as the local demand
was limited, and the existing means of transport did not
permit of shipment to the Eastern markets, which at that
time were well supplied from the Atiantic fisheries ; but
with increased centres of population farther west and the
decline of the Atiantic catch, the perfecting of cold-storage
plants and transport and fast freight service, the Pacific
halibut has become a staple in the fresh fish markets of the
East. The production grew from 6,877,640 pounds in 1899
to 21,706,000 in 1909 for the entire Pacific coast. Of this
one-half was taken by vessels operating from Canadian
ports, while a large proportion of the catch of American
vessels was taken by them in Canadian territorial waters. *¥
Much of the Canadian catch has been handled by an American
firm, the New England Fish Company, which has a bonding
privilege under which it is allowed to ship its fish through
Canada to the Eastern United States markets, which it
enters free of duty.
Halibut are taken practically all the year round, being
found extensively from September to March in Dixon
Entrance and Hecate Straits, while during the months of
May and June many are taken along the inshore shallows
of the east coast of Graham Island and the west coast of
Vancouver Island.
Many members of the halibut family, coming under the
name of flounders, are found in these waters, all possessing
more or less value as food fishes. Certain varieties of these
fish are locally known as ' turbot,' while others are marketed
as ' soles,' though there are no true turbot or soles in the
North Pacific. The catch of these fishes is limited to the
local demand. Among the varieties are the following: large-
eyed flounder, large-scaled flounder, hook-toothed flounder,
long-finned flounder, short-finned flounder, bastard turbot,
spine-checked turbot, black-tailed sole, black-dotted plaice,
and many others which are locally marketed as sole.
(Thaleichthys pacificus, Richardson)
This small fish—about the size of a smelt—occurs in
great abundance from the Nass River in the north to the
Fraser River in the south, appearing from early March to
the middle of April. The schools entering the northern
estuaries—especially that of the Nass—are very large;
they crowd in so thickly that the Indians, from an early
period, have been accustomed to make large catches by
crude methods, the chief of which is the use of a long pole
with numbers of nails inserted about one and one-half inches
apart and projecting like the teeth of a comb. By drawing
this implement through the dense school of fish the Indian THE VERTEBRATES 471
impales a great number, which he shakes off into his canoe ;
in a short time he is able to obtain a boat-load in this primitive manner. Seines are used in some localities, as also
are small-meshed gill-nets.
The tissues of the oulachan teem with oil—so much so
that it is called the ' candle-fish,' for by simply inserting a
piece of pitch through the centre of it when dried, it may be
used as a candle or torch, the pitch burning like the wick of
a well-filled lamp. The Indians are accustomed to press out
the oil into vats. It is greatly esteemed by them, although
it quickly turns rancid and is very offensive in odour. They
consume it in the same way, and to the same extent, that
butter is consumed by more civilized people.
{Clupea pallasii, Cuvier)
The superabundance of herring on the coast of British
Columbia has been recognized from early times, but as the
local demand was insignificant, no herring fishery can be
said to have existed until about thirty years ago. At intervals,
and in a desultory way, many people engaged in the herring
industry, and quantities of the fish were converted into oil
and guano. Within the last ten years, however, the value
of this fishery resource has gradually been realized.
Herring occur practically all along the coast as far as
Alaska. In sheltered areas, like the waters near Nanaimo,
Ucluelet, Barkley Sound, Virago Sound, and near the Queen
Charlotte Islands, the schools appear to form solid phalanxes.
At Nanaimo they are plentiful from early in November until
the New Year, vast schools appearing in February, while
even as late as June immense quantities have been seen
moving out in the Strait of Georgia.
There are many methods of putting up herring, but the
greatest demand is for the article in pickle, and there is no
reason why the province should not put up as large a pack
of the best herring as Scotland, which produces annually from
250,000 to 350,000 tons, valued, when pickled and ready for
market, at no less than from $5,000,000 to $6,000,000.
i i
The possibilities of the herring industry are large, and,
properly conserved and exploited, it will become a valuable
source of revenue to the whole province. At present the
industry is largely in the hands of Japanese, who dry-salt
the product for export to the Orient.
(Acipenser transmontanus)
The sturgeon fishery of British Columbia was neglected
until late years, but in 1897 the Fraser River inspector reported that \ the sturgeon fishery has become a very important industry—the more important as it affords employment
to a large number of resident fishermen who would otherwise spend their time in an idle or unprofitable manner.
The proceeds of the industry are upwards of $50,000, the fish
being dressed and shipped to United States markets.'
It is doubtful if the sturgeon has, in any numbers, ever
frequented the northerly rivers of the province, and it is on
the Fraser River alone that any fishery of much commercial
value has been developed. Sturgeon may be found in the
river during most months of the year, but it migrates to
the sea from the fresh water, especially about the middle of
April, or even as early as February. The Indians formerly
were accustomed to take sturgeon by means of trawls with
long lines and baited hooks. Gill-nets were licensed by the
government some years ago, and for three or four years
there was quite a boom in sturgeon-fishing. In fact, so
remunerative did the fishing prove, that a large body of
men immediately engaged in it, with the result that in
three years the catch fell to one-fifth of what it had been
a short time before.
Vast numbers of small sturgeon are seen by the Fraser
River salmon fishermen at the present time, and this leads
to the belief that, with the enforcement of the present Dominion regulations, the fishery will in due time be restored
to its former state. This is greatly to be desired, since the
industry is carried on after the close of the salmon-fishing,
and good earnings can be made. THE VERTEBRATES 473
Pilchard and Anchovy
(Engraulis mordox and Anchovis delicatessima)
These two valuable species are found more or less abundantly in Southern British Columbian waters. The first
named is caught along with the herring on the eastern and
western shores of Vancouver Island. It is said also to be very
numerous in Barkley Sound and adjacent inlets. In its small,
immature stages it is the ' sardine ' of France. Investigation
along the Pacific coast reveals the resorts of these fish, and
shows that a canned sardine industry, which would successfully compete with the greatly esteemed European article, is
That the true anchovy is a British Columbian fish has
long been known ; but the migrations of this valuable species
are at present not ascertained. Once known, however, the
British Columbian anchovy could be prepared as a paste to
compete in markets that are now supplied by the Mediterranean.
There are two varieties of smelt common in the markets—
the Osmerus thaleichthys and the Hypomesus pretiosus. They
are both in brisk local demand.
Black Cod or Skil
(Anoplopomidae fimbria)
This delicious and much sought after fish abounds in the
northern waters of the province, especially along the western
shores of the Queen Charlotte Islands. It favours deep
waters, especially depths of from seventy to ninety fathoms,
though it is also found at from twenty to two hundred and
fifty fathoms. It is never caught in the surface waters and
avoids shallows. It is taken chiefly in the winter months.
The black cod is a delicious food fish, of firm and flaky texture, being white in colour and rich in flavour. Owing to
its rich, oily nature it is far more appetizing than the drier
and firmer true cod. On the table it bears a distinct resemblance to a large whiting—that is, the true European whiting 474
—a fish wholly different from the inferior so-called whiting
of the western waters. It is caught with very long lines,
each carrying from twelve to one hundred and fifty hooks
fixed on snoods at regular intervals. Great care has to be
exercised in taking the fish off the hooks, as it is very tender
Investigation is absolutely essential in the case of this
species also. The determination of the spawning season
and the nature and location of the spawn and fry are important factors in the framing of regulations to preserve and
develop the industry.
Minor Varieties
A number of edible fishes abound along the rocky shores
of the province, which are used chiefly to supply the local
markets. The cultus cod is the principal of these minor
fish ; it weighs from four to ten pounds and is caught by
means of baited hooks and by drag-seines. The red cod has
more the features of a bass than a cod-fish, and in California
is frequently called ' sea-bass.' Its weight ranges from three
to twelve pounds. Several other bass-like fishes are largely
sold ; one species, generally styled the red rock cod, being a
most excellent table fish.
There are no soles in British Columbian waters, the fish
that is offered as such being a species of flounder. This,
however, is a choice table fish. It is small, seldom exceeding
a pound or so in weight.
Several species of whale are found in the North Pacific
and in the Bering Sea, of which may be mentioned the
sulphur-bottom (Sibbaldius sulfurees), the bow-head (Balaena
mysticetus), the sharp-head firmer (Balaenoptera davidsoni),
the right whale (Balaena japonica), and the humpback (Mega-
pera versabilis). The sulphur-bottom, which is the most
common in British Columbian waters, grows to an enormous
size, an average specimen weighing about sixty tons. A
whale of this size should yield six tons of oil, worth $450, three
and one-half tons of body bone, $175, three and one-half
tons of guano, $105, and three hundredweight of whalebone,
worth $48, or a total of $778, which, after deducting expenses
estimated at $206, would give a net profit of $572. A humpback, which is a smaller whale averaging about twenty-seven
tons, should give a profit of $140 ; while a fin-back, weighing
fifty tons, is credited with a gain of $338. The right whale
is much more rare than any of the others named, but offers
a grand prize to the hunters, for it is worth $10,000.
The Pacific Whaling Company has been operating since
1906 with great success, the average catch being six hundred
whales per season. The company has adopted modern
methods, and, instead of the old style of sailing ships and
whale-boats, employs fast steamers, which dash alongside
the whale, and dispatch it with a well-directed shot from
a machine-gun. The carcass is then towed to the whaling
station, where it is hauled on to a suitable stage by machinery
and cut up, so that every portion of the huge mammal is
utilized. This method of whaling was established first in
Norway and later in Newfoundland and Quebec. The profits
of whaling by this system are large, averaging from fifteen
to forty per cent.
The Pacific Whaling Company has two stations on the
west coast of Vancouver Island, at Sechart and Kyuquot,
equipped with modern plants, and two in the Queen Charlotte
Islands, at Naden Harbour and Rose Harbour. On arrival at
the station the whale is raised from the water on an adjustable
platform, for cutting up. Incisions are made in the carcass,
running from head to tail, and about a foot apart. This divides
the blubber into long narrow strips, which are then torn or
stripped off by means of large hooks attached to wire ropes,
which are operated by a steam winch. The blubber is then
cut into small squares and put through a mincing machine,
from which it goes to the steam-heated ' trying-out' tanks,
where the oil is extracted. The residue of the blubber and the
lean meat are converted into guano and glue. The body bones
are crushed, ground, and sold for fertilizer, while the whalebone is carefully cut from the jaws, trimmed, and shipped to
Dundee, Scotland, the home of the whaling industry. 476
Whalers operating in the Sea of Japan and Bering Sea do
a considerable trade in whale meat, which is extensively used
for food in Japan. Instead of converting the ' beef' into
fertilizer, it is salted, and in this form commands a better price.
The importation of whale meat into Japan amounts to over
two million pounds annually, representing a value of over
$50,000. Pickled whales' tails are esteemed a delicacy in
Japan, and large quantities are shipped to that country from
the British Columbian coast.
About two-thirds of the whales captured are cow-whales,
either with suckling calves or with young unborn. The
females, which yield more oil than the males, are broader
across the body and slower in movement, and are more easily
captured than the males. This, and the fact that whales are
hunted at all seasons, should induce the authorities to adopt
reasonable restrictive measures for the preservation of these
valuable creatures. The indiscriminate slaughter of whales
in the North Sea, the Atlantic and the Gulf of St Lawrence
has practically destroyed the industry in those waters, and
without protection the same thing is likely to result in the
North Pacific.
Seals, Walruses
(Odobaenidae, Otariidae, Phocidae)
The fur-seal (Callorhinus ursinus) was formerly exceedingly abundant along the coast of British Columbia. The
great breeding-ground of the fur-seals was, and is, the Pribyloff
Islands, off the coast of Alaska, but a well-marked migration
was noticeable in the spring and summer of each year from
southern waters north along the British Columbia coast to
these so-called rookeries. This seal was first made known to
science by Steller in 1751, and little was known about its
habits until 1869, when C. M. Scammon1 and W. H. Dall2
made various observations of its habits, which were followed
by an exhaustive report by H. W. Elliott.8
1 C M. Scammon, The Marine Mammals of the Northwestern Coast, p. 141.
** W. H. Dall, Alaska and Its Resources, pp. 492-8.
8 H. W. Elliott, Report on the Pribyloff Group, 1873 ; Condition of Affairs in
Alaska, 1875, pp. 107-51. THE VERTEBRATES
Fur-seal hunting was for many years one of British
Columbia's most profitable industries, but, owing to the restrictions imposed upon Canadian sealers as a result of the
Bering Sea Award, and the treaty between Great Britain,
Russia, Japan, and the United States (1911), under which
pelagic sealing is entirely prohibited, it is a thing of the past.
It is sufficient to say that such rights as Canada may have in
the matter were entirely asserted through the active operations of the sealers of British Columbia. At the present
time (January 1914) a commission is sitting to consider the
claims to compensation of the Canadian sealers under the
award made by the United States under the treaty.
The common or harbour seal (Phoca vitulind) is very
plentiful in the inlets, bays, and estuaries of the province.
Whatever economic value this seal may ultimately have, it
is at present a detriment to the fisheries, as it preys largely
upon the salmon and other fishes when entangled in the nets
of the fishermen. Many petitions have been received by
the Dominion and provincial governments from canners
and fishers asking that a bounty be placed upon the hair-
seal (Zalophus californianus) and also upon the sea-lion
(Eumetopias stellari).
Game Fish
So far the fishes of British Columbia have been treated
from an economic point of view, but from a sportsman's
standpoint the field is a not less interesting one. The whole
interior of both Vancouver Island and the mainland possesses
a wonderful series of water communications, lakes, and rivers.
These, as well as the lesser streams, are abundantly stocked
with fish, principally salmon and trout. There are also
whitefish in the northern waters. While the best known and
favourite fishing resorts are on Vancouver Island, there is
no locality where a fisherman may not prosecute with zest
his time-honoured sport; and even on the sea-coast, during
the salmon run, he will meet with gratifying success. The
waters of Kootenay and Southern Yale are already becoming
noted as fishing resorts, and when lines of communication 478
are opened up, the rivers and the lakes of the whole interior,
affording as they do fish of uncommon size and number, will
attract numerous fishermen. The scenery, too, is everywhere
on a grand scale, and all natural conditions are healthful and
British Columbia Trout
The waters of the province are rich in trout. No other
section of the Dominion offers better fishing than can be
found here. Of the varieties of trout found in the rivers,
streams, and lakes the steelhead trout (Salmo gairdneri),
because of its abundance, great size, and ' game' and commercial qualities, is the best known and most highly considered. From its being more or less anadromous in its
habits, it is locally and in many coast sections classed with
the Pacific salmon. The steelhead more closely resembles
in form, colour of flesh, and habit the Atlantic salmon than
any other fish found on the Pacific coast. It, like the salmon,
spawns in fresh water only, but, unlike the salmon, it survives
after spawning, and returns to the sea. It feeds freely at
all times in either fresh or salt waters. The steelhead is of
importance commercially and is commonly found in the local
markets from early fall until late spring. A considerable
quantity is shipped to the Eastern market in cold storage.
It has a ready sale, and because of the demand for it in the
fresh state the entire catch is marketed in that way. In
British Columbia the steelhead averages about twelve pounds
in weight, though specimens of from twenty to twenty-four
pounds are not uncommon. As a ' game fish ' it is considered by many fishermen to have no equal in fresh water.
It readily takes a fly or spoon bait, and ' puts up a stiff fight,
taxing the skill of the angler and the strength of his tackle
to bring it to net or gaff.'
There are numerous species of trout to be found in the
upper Fraser and Thompson Rivers, and in many of their
tributary lakes, that cannot be distinguished by any technical
character from the steelhead, but which, because of many
differences in habits, form, and colour, have been given many THE ARTHROPODS
different names. Of these, perhaps the best known to anglers
is the very game fish that abounds in the Kamloops, Shuswap, Okanagan, and Kootenay Lake regions, to which David
Starr Jordan gave the name of Kamloops trout (Salmo Kamloops). The smaller specimens of this trout readily take the
fly, but the larger specimens are seldom secured except by
means of trolling.
In addition to the salmon and trout which abound in
British Columbian waters, there are the Great Lake trout
(Cristivomer namaycush) and the Dolly Varden trout (Salve-
linus malma), which are easily distinguished from the true
trout by their red or orange spots. These two species—which
have been called charr—while abundant in most of the
interior waters, are not considered of great importance to the
angler, because only the young ones are taken by means of a
fly. Both these fish attain a large size, the Great Lake trout
not uncommonly weighing as high as thirty pounds, while
the Dolly Varden often weighs from fifteen to twenty pounds.
The quinnat or spring salmon and the coho or silver
salmon, despite everything that has been said to the contrary,
afford splendid sport, and will readily take the fly when it is
properly presented to them.
(Homerus Americanus)
DURING the past few years efforts have been made to
establish the Atlantic lobster in Pacific coast waters,
and several consignments have been imported and
planted at various points. As far as can be ascertained, and
from the opinions expressed by those charged with the work,
there seems little doubt that this valuable crustacean will
thrive in its new surroundings, and that the nucleus of an
additional branch of the British Columbia fishing industry
has been formed with its introduction.   Great difficulty, 2
however, will attend the conclusive proof of the success of
these experiments, as the lobster is very migratory in its
In June 1905 lobsters to the number of 1025 were shipped
from Halifax to Vancouver in charge of an official who was
thoroughly trained in handling them. These were safely
deposited at various points, but what ultimately became of
them is not as yet definitely known. In the spring of 1906,
1620 more lobsters were shipped from Halifax to British
Columbian waters with practically no loss. The officials
looked after the planting of these lobsters with the utmost
care, and in order that they might have some idea of how
the crustaceans would stand the introduction into new
waters, large crates were put down and the lobsters deposited
in these. After some weeks they were examined and were
found to be in a perfectly healthy condition. They were
then distributed at different places on the coast.
(Cancer magister)
Fine crabs are to be obtained in large quantities along the
coast, and there is a brisk demand for them. This industry
is by no means exploited to the full, however, as the Indians,
by whom the bulk of the crab-fishing is done, are occupied
with the salmon-fishing throughout the summer and fall.
The demand for crabs in the local markets far exceeds the
supply, despite the fact that they are to be found in such
abundance. Saanich Arm and the lagoon at Esquimalt are
teeming with crabs, and often in the summer pleasure
parties go out for the express purpose of catching them. A
hundred or so are often taken by these parties in a single
afternoon. Some idea may be thus obtained of the numbers
that are to be caught by practical fishermen.
(Pandalus Danae)
As in the case of crabs, very little attention is given to
the systematic capture of prawns, in spite of the constant
local demand for them. All that are offered to fish dealers
are quickly bought up, for the prawns that are taken in
British Columbian waters are of exceptional quality. Most
of the prawn-fishing is done around Vancouver; very little
is done off Vancouver Island, though it is not because the
fish do not exist there, but simply because fishermen cannot
be found to undertake their capture. Nearly all the prawns
sold by the fish dealers in Victoria are obtained either from
Vancouver or Seattle, and it is only occasionally that local
fishermen bring them in. When they do, their catch is
readily taken off their hands by local dealers.
The Oyster
THE native British Columbia species (Ostrea lurida) is
found at points from the Alaskan boundary to the
southern limits of the province. It is much smaller
than the Eastern Canadian oyster and in colour and flavour
greatly inferior. It has a considerable local market, and at
points close to the more settled portions of the province is
cultivated, notably at Boundary Bay, south of Vancouver,
and at Oyster Harbour, near Ladysmith, on Vancouver
Island. Good specimens reach two inches in length by an
inch and a half in breadth, with a straight dorsal and a semicircular ventral margin. It is hermaphroditic in character,
unlike the eastern oyster, having no primary separation into
males and females.
The Eastern Canadian oyster (Ostrea virginica) has been
transplanted to Pacific Coast waters, and a considerable industry has arisen in transplanting spat or oysters of a year's
growth from the Atlantic to the Pacific, where they are allowed
to grow to maturity before marketing. The chief points
where this industry is carried on are Boundary Bay and 482
Esquimalt Harbour. It has long been believed by practical
culturists that the Atlantic oyster would not reproduce in
Pacific waters.
In 1911 Dr Joseph Stafford of MeGilI University satisfied
himself that transplanted Atiantic oysters ripened their cells
in Pacific waters; that they can and do spawn, and that the
eggs develop into active, free-swimming young.1 He has not
as yet recorded the discovery of any spat from these, or
matured product from such spawning.
Among the many fishery resources of the province that
are not appreciated at their real value is that of the clam
industry. There is an unlimited market in the United
States for these shell-fish, both canned and fresh. The
existence of vast clam-shell beds at numerous points along
the British Columbia coast—indeed, wherever Indians have
established themselves—shows how much the native population relied upon the succulent food.
The clam supply in British Columbia is most remarkable ;
productive areas stocked with clams of various species occur
practically at all points. There are several establishments
for canning them located at various points in the province.
It has long been known that the abalone occurs plentifully in certain areas along British Columbian shores, especially along the coasts of the Queen Charlotte Islands. The
soft animal contents are valuable as food, while the shell
itself is important for ornamental purposes. The beautiful
iridescent covering of the mollusc has been always in great
demand, especially by German button - makers, curiosity
dealers and others. ■ These molluscs occur at from six feet
below the surface to great depths, and in the deeper waters
are taken by fishermen wearing diving suits and helmets.
The abalone is in much demand in China for soups.
1 Dr Joseph Stafford, The Canadian Oyster, p. 126: Commission of Conservation publications, 1913. THE MOLLUSCS 483
Edible Mollusca in British Columbian Waters
The following is a list of the more important species of
edible mollusca found in British Columbian waters:
Ostrea lurida
Native oyster
Pecten caurinus
Pecten hastatus
Pecten rubudus
Mytilus californianus
Mytilus edulis
Cardium corbis
Saxidomus giganteus
Macoma inquinata
Macoma nasuta
Rexithaerus secta
Siliqua patula
Razor clam
Schizothoerus nuttalli
Large clam
Mya arenaria
Soft-shell clam
Paphia staminea
Hard-shell clam
Panopaea generosa
Penitella penita
Penitella ovoidea
Zirphaea Gabbi
Purpuxa crispata
Purpuxa lima
Purpuxa Saxicola
Littorina sitkana
Littorina scutulate
Acmaea per sonata
Acmaea patina
Acmaea pelta
Acmaea mitra
Haliotis Kamtschat-
Abalone or ear-s
Cehitone (Cryptochiton,
Katherina, and others)
Octopus punctatus
ONE of the most remarkable geographical facts concerning the Province of British Columbia is the
extraordinary length of its shore-line. From Vancouver to the boundary of Alaska the coast, behind the barrier
of its thousand islands, is honeycombed into one long succession of narrow, tortuous inlets, winding fiords, rocky bays
and estuaries. Each inlet, in its turn, reveals itself as a
network of smaller waterways whose twisted channels lead
off to right and left among the impressive mountain masses
that form the great Coast Range. The extent of water-front
is thus prodigious. Along the whole of it, from high-tide
mark to hill-top, behind the shore-side hills, up every mountain
slope—everywhere, in varying shades of sombre green covering the face of nature, is the British Columbian forest, ripe
with many centuries of growth, a forest whose area contains
millions of acres of the finest merchantable timber—the giant
timber of the Pacific Slope.
At Vancouver there is recorded an annual rainfall of
some seventy inches. The farther north we go the heavier
we find the precipitation, until at Knight's Inlet that region
begins in which one hundred and seventy inches of rain fall
each year with unvarying regularity.
In winter snow whitens the upper levels of the hills and
even falls and lies for weeks in the lower woods ; but there
is nothing rigorous about the wet winter weather, and, because
of the mild climate and the abundant fall of rain, coniferous
trees grow as they grow nowhere else upon the continent.
The depth of soil covering the rock formations is often surprisingly shallow, yet scientific investigations have established the fact that the rate of tree growth in these moist 488 FOREST RESOURCES
sections of the Pacific Slope is double the average rate for
the whole of North America.
Add to the forests of the mainland coast the heavily
timbered areas of Vancouver Island, and you have pictured
an immense stand of merchantable timber that has impressed not only the imagination of many a descriptive writer,
but also the precise statistical forester.
Yet barely more than half the forest wealth of the great
western province is comprised within the region west of the
Cascades. One-fifth of British Columbia's timber lies within
that forty-mile zone, known as the Railway Belt, that stretches
alongside the transcontinental line of the Canadian Pacific
Railway, from Vancouver eastward to the Albertan boundary.
Another great area includes the East and West Kootenays ;
still another lies in the triangle bounded by the railway
belt, the North Thompson River, and the neighbouring province ; and, finally, heavily timbered areas on either side
of the route of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, between
Fort George and T6te Jaune Cache, comprise the valuable
forest of Central British Columbia. The geographical distribution of these vast bodies of timber is peculiarly fortunate
—for the coast forest irresistibly invites an export trade by
its extraordinary accessibility from the sea ; the Kootenay
and railway belt timber stands almost at the door of the
great prairie market; and the central forest is so situated
as to supply the coming needs of the new northern farming
sections both of British Columbia and of Alberta.
SINCE Archibald Menzies   first gave to the world a
description of the Douglas fir, from observations made
during the voyage of Captain Vancouver in  1792,
botanists have taken much interest in this most valuable
of softwood trees, and it has become highly prized for its
quality, rapid growth, and hardiness in the reafforestation THE TREES 489
of many areas in European countries. The wide range possessed by this conifer, extending as it does over two thousand
miles from north to south, as well as the popular carelessness
with tree nomenclature, is well illustrated by the number
of different names, such as red fir, yellow fir, Oregon pine,
red pine, red spruce and Douglas spruce, that are in use in
various sections of the American West to describe the only
two varieties into which the species is divided : namely, the
gigantic variety produced under conditions of rapid growth
in the moist climate of the Pacific coast, and the hardy but
smaller tree that has been developed in the Rocky Mountain
The Douglas fir was early recognized by the settlers of
the West as of supreme excellence for almost every purpose
for which wood is utilized. It served admirably, in the form
of fuel, to supply the primitive needs of man's existence, and
equally well it provided the soundest of structural timbers
and the finest of clear lumber. With the growth of western
lumbering this fir has been manufactured into almost every
form known to the saw-mill operator, to say nothing of its use
in the shape of bridge timbers, beams, mining props, railway
ties, and poles. In a minor way it provides veneer for door
panels, yields turpentine, fruit tree spray, shingle-stain, tar,
charcoal, and pitch, when distilled ; and to a modest extent
it may be utilized as pulp, though the density of the harder
portion of its ! rings' and the difficulty of bleaching make
the pulp produced from it unsuitable for the finer grades of
United States statistics show that the Douglas fir has
grown steadily in importance as a commercial wood. Less
than a billion feet of it were cut in the Western States in
1899 ; considerably over five billion feet are now cut annually ;
and its value, both in the form of standing timber or ' stump-
age ' and as manufactured lumber, has enormously increased.
It is undoubtedly the most important of all American woods,
and it is peculiarly fortunate for the Province of British
Columbia that by far the greatest portion of its merchantable stand of timber consists of this valuable tree. Utilization of this great asset of the province is still in its infancy, IT
but the fact that the provincial cut of Douglas fir increased
twenty-six per cent in 1909 and again thirty-two per cent
in 1910 indicates the rapid growth of present demand and
the development inevitable in the near future.
On the coast the immense sea-going canoes of various
Indian tribes, each hewn from a single stupendous log, and
some capable of carrying fifty men, have long been a favourite
subject for the tourist's camera. In the barnlike buildings
of the Indian villages in certain districts hewn planks of
almost incredible length and width astonish the visitor by
their size and the flawless perfection of the wood. The conifer
from which canoes and planks have alike been hewn is none
other than the celebrated giant red cedar of British Columbia.
The evenness of texture and the extraordinary straight-
ness of grain possessed by this tree caused the white settler
of the early days to value it for many useful purposes. Sawn
into lengths and split into thin, wide sheets, it furnished him
with roofing for his buildings ; he could split long planks from
it with a few skilful blows of his ax ; it yielded him, with
little labour, rails for his simple fences ; and for every purpose for which a wood impervious to moisture was necessary,
he found the red cedar invaluable. Cedar is unaffected by
dampness—it does not rot; and in the tangled wreckage of
forests that reached maturity and fell while yet the present
growth was in its infancy, we find to-day, moss-encrusted but
still sound at heart and valuable, the trunks of cedars that
have lain in contact with surface humidity for centuries.
The lumberman, of course, has found -the red cedar one of
his most useful materials, no other wood bearing comparison
with it for the production of shingles, while the brilliant
polish that it takes renders it of great value for finishing and
cabinet work. Its lightness of weight is another remarkable
The supply of western cedar in the United States is already
insufficient, and we find that, though the State of Washington
—cutting over half the cedar used in the Union—sawed 184
million feet of it in 1909, trade demands necessitated the
importation of two and a half million dollars' worth from
Canada.   A further indication of approaching shortage is the
fact that, on an average, cedar stumpage in the States more
than trebled itself in value during the eight years preceding
the depression of 1908.
British Columbia is the possessor of large forest areas in
which the stand shows a considerable percentage of merchantable cedar, and the province already cuts four-fifths of the
cedar lumber of Canada—its output being 167 million feet
in 1911.
The two more important species of British Columbia
conifer having been dealt with in some detail, it will be necessary merely to catalogue the other varieties that compose
its forests. These are : the yellow cedar, the western white
pine, white fir, yellow pine and larch, the Sitka spruce—
which has so great a future before it in the manufacture of
high-grade pulp upon the Pacific coast, apart from its value
for boat-building, boxes, sashes and similar purposes—and
the western hemlock, so long decried because of the unfortunate name that classed it with an inferior species of the
eastern forests, but now coming to be recognized as a useful
substitute for the Douglas fir, and as a pulpwood of no
mean order.
BECAUSE of the excessive cheapness and consequent
reckless alienation of natural resources, the early days
in every new country are fraught with danger to the
public interests of the community whose establishment has
been begun. The federal government of the United States,
through the flagrant abuse of. homestead laws—designed to
benefit the bona fide settler—and the Timber and Stone Act
—which was intended to give him timber for his simple
needs—handed over to the speculator and the 'timber baron'
four-fifths of the public forests and transferred to railway
companies millions and millions of acres of public lands that
otherwise would have been the perpetual endowment of the
Western States.   The legislator of those days failed to realize 492
the future value of natural resources ; he gave no recognition
to the value of state-ownership, and his one idea was to settle
up a country quickly at any price and to shut his eyes to any
abuses that this policy might encourage.
Australia, after undergoing, in a smaller way, much the
same process as the United States, awoke one day to find her
progress as an agricultural country restricted and confined
because her fertile lands had been transferred, almost by
provinces at a time, to the control of sheep-owning barons
—the famous ' squatters.' By a happy chance, however,
British Columbia escaped a similar misfortune. She was
spared the alienation of her marvellous crown forests, because
nobody recognized their value or wanted them until comparatively late in her history, when the government had
already evolved a forest policy.
In the days before the building of the Canadian Pacific
Railway, the forests of the province, like the water in the
streams, were free for all to use. It is true that one or
two of the small saw-mills of that time, desiring to secure
for themselves exclusive rights over particularly convenient
areas of standing timber, had obtained rights in the form of
timber leases, which the government of those days had been
only too willing to grant at peppercorn rentals. But when
the connection was made between isolated British Columbia
and the rest of Canada by the transcontinental line, new life
was given to every form of local commerce, and the logging
and saw-milling industries emerged from their previous insignificance. The government soon began to realize that
standing timber had ceased to be valueless, and we find that
in 1888 coherent legislation concerning the public forests
was attempted for the first time. It was then established
that crown timber was no longer to be given away; it was
to be sold at the flat rate of fifty cents a thousand feet, board
measure. Owners of saw-mills, or persons who would contract to build and operate saw-mills, were allowed to obtain
exclusive cutting rights over any area of forest they desired,
by the payment of a holding charge of ten cents an acre
annually. Hand-loggers and other small operators could
obtain a licence to cut any chosen timber for a small fee. A VALUABLE PROVINCIAL ASSET 493
Under this system every encouragement was given to the
lumbering industry, and the cheapness of timber leases placed
a certain restraint upon the indiscriminate alienation of
Two important principles that were introduced—the one
in 1895, the other in 1896—will serve as illustrations of the
various steps by which the legislature of the province gradually brought itself into line with modern statesmanship in
the matter of forest policy.
In the former year the legislature decided to recognize
the existence of the investor in standing timber—the man who
wanted to hold timber for a rise in value, as distinct from the
operating lumberman. The motive behind this enactment
was of course the idea of obtaining additional revenue from
the forests, and this same motive is disclosed by the fact that
non-operating holders of crown stumpage were required to
pay higher holding charges. The public ownership of timber-
lands, as the basic principle of enlightened forest policy, was
established by the act of 1896. Thereafter timber-lands of
the crown were permanently withdrawn from sale; only the
crop of timber upon them could be alienated by means of
timber leases or cutting licences.
From time to time, in subsequent years, the terms on
which crown timber could be obtained were varied in the
matter of the holding charge. During the last few years of
the leasing system the holding charge for non-operators was
twenty-five cents an acre annually, and that for operating
lumbermen fifteen cents, while considerable sums were obtained as bonus when leases were put up to competition.
But it was becoming apparent to the government of the
province that timber leases were not in the best interests of
the community. Timber under lease was handed over to
the lessee in return for an annual rental and a stumpage
charge that were both fixed for twenty-one years ahead ;
these charges were small, and the value of timber was obviously destined to show a large appreciation in the near future.
Therefore it was plain there was little chance of disposing
of the timber at anything approaching its true value and
that the discovery of some better method was most desirable. I
At this juncture, in the year 1905, the government re»
solved upon a remarkable measure of policy that challenged
and defeated criticism as a master-stroke of bold statesmanship. Though the lumbering industry had been progressing
gradually with the growth of population in the province, its
demands for many years to come could obviously be expected
to make but slight impression upon the vast forests available.
The hundreds of billions of feet of standing merchantable
timber in the forests were remaining in the hands of the
government and were unproductive of any revenue. In fact,
the protection of this vast property from fire and illegal
cutting threatened to impose a serious tax upon the public
treasury. Moreover, the absence of revenue from the crown
forests had a serious bearing upon the progress and development of the growing community. Population was flowing in
and money was needed for the opening up of new districts,
for road and trail building, surveys, bridges, and other expensive public works. How, then, could revenue be extracted
from the forests ?
As has already been remarked, the legislation that achieved
this end was of remarkable boldness : the government threw
open all timber-lands. Any one who cared to stake a square
mile of forest was encouraged to do so, and the exclusive right
to cut timber on that area was given to him. The timber, in
fact, was sold on credit, and all the government required was
that interest should be paid each year on the capital value
of the property conveyed. In other words, a rental was
charged, and what are known as ' special timber licences'
were issued. From year to year, under this arrangement,
both rental and payment on timber that is cut (royalty)
may be varied in amount by the government at its discretion,
and this fact brings out the remarkable feature of this novel
policy : namely, that it necessitated no true alienation of the
timber, the government retaining its right to share in any
future rise in value. The confidence felt by the investor in
this form of tenure is shown strikingly by the history of the
years following 1905, for within two years 15,000 square miles,
or 9,600,000 acres, of timber-lands had been taken up in this
way by investors and lumbermen, while over 12,000 sales of
i -s*§si
these valuable licences had been recorded between private
parties in little over three years.
By the end of 1907 the government had secured sufficient
revenue from forest sources to provide the funds necessary
for provincial development, and had reached the conclusion
that from every point of view sufficient timber had been
placed under special licence and that it was desirable to
maintain the remainder in reserve. Unforeseen contingencies
might arise, timber-holding trusts might some day come into
existence, whose machinations might need thwarting by the
throwing—or the threat of throwing—reserve timber-lands
upon a market that had been ' cornered.' For many reasons
it was decided to call a halt, and a reserve was proclaimed.
As an indication of the magnitude of the forest resources
of British Columbia, it is worth while recording here the
change that took place in the public revenue through the
eagerness of the investor to obtain cutting rights during the
years 1905 to 1908.   Here are the figures in question :
1901 . $ 115,594, being  7 per cent of the provincial revenue
1905 . 486,516, „ 17
1908 . 2,424,668, ,, 41
1910 . 2,448,150, „ 31
1911 . 2,636,186, ,, 25
1912 . 2,753,579, „ 25
1913 . 2,999,328.
British Columbia thus receives more than double the
amount that either Ontario or Quebec obtains from forest
IN 1901 the holders of timber leases had obtained from the
legislature the right to renew their leases upon the
expiration of  each twenty-one-year term, subject of
course to whatever conditions might be in force at the time
of expiry.   When timber-lands to the vast extent of 9,600,000 496
acres had been taken up under licence between 1905 and 1908,
there arose an agitation among the licence-holders for a
similar privilege of unlimited tenure, for, so far, their licences
had merely secured them cutting rights during a period of
twenty-one years. It was at this juncture that the government decided that the complicated nature of the situation
with respect to the tenure of crown timber-lands and the
necessity of putting into practice the new doctrine of conservation as applied to forest resources demanded the appointment of a special board of investigation, and it therefore appointed—in July 1909—the Timber and Forestry
Commission, composed of the Hon. Fred. J. Fulton, then chief
commissioner of Lands, A. S. Goodeve, M.P. for Rossland in
the Dominion House, and the present writer.
The commissioners began their labours by making a tour
of the province and holding sittings in all the chief centres
of lumbering activity, thus eliciting a great deal of evidence
from lumbermen, timber owners, and the public generally.
They journeyed to Toronto and Ottawa for the purpose of
studying the progress made in forest administration by the
Dominion and Ontario governments ; and by visits to conservation congresses and to Washington, D.C., they were
enabled to obtain from the Hon. Gifford Pinchot and other
prominent officials an effective idea of the up-to-date methods
of forest policy and organization developed of recent years
in the United States. After having studied the whole subject for eighteen months the commissioners presented their
report to the government towards the end of 1910.
One of the first questions submitted for the commissioners'
consideration was the desirability of extending the period
under which timber could be held by licensees, and after
mature consideration of all the complex bearings of the
matter they had no hesitation in endorsing the proposed
abolition of any arbitrary time-limit, being led to this opinion
by the fact that the forest would receive the best treatment
at the hands of licensees who were not obliged to cut the
timber off hurriedly within a fixed time, regardless of market
conditions; also, increased security of tenure would be of
the greatest assistance to licensees in the financing of their
holdings, and would" therefore promote the welfare of the important lumbering industry. The time-limit was therefore
The next pressing matter dealt with by the commission
was the protection of the forests of the province from fire, a
matter that had not yet received the serious attention that
it deserved in the American and Canadian West. Owing
to the small amount of rain that falls in the summer, the
forest floor in many regions of the Rocky Mountains and the
Pacific Slope becomes tinder-dry for several months. With
the settlement of the country the danger from fire has been
constantly increasing. The public, accustomed to regard
forest fires as a natural phenomenon, has been extremely
and even cynically careless. Year after year, railway locomotives passing by valuable areas of timber have showered
sparks into inflammable material allowed, in direct violation
of the forgotten law, to accumulate upon the rights-of-way;
farmers, with the sole idea of clearing land in the cheapest,
easiest way, have fired their slashings at the height of the
hot season, in absolute neglect of the safety of adjoining
forest; campers, prospectors, hunters have given no second
thought to the fires they left to spread and devastate perhaps
a whole watershed ; and even the lumbermen, whose self-
interest might have been supposed sufficient to safeguard
the neighbourhood of their operations, have used fire, explosives, and spark-emitting donkey-engines without the slightest
precautions of common sense.
The inevitable result was seen year after year in the
appalling destruction of forest property. Conflagrations
raged unchecked unless they threatened settlements; blackened wastes replaced hundreds of thousands of acres of the
finest merchantable timber, and in many regions of the province investments in standing timber were merely a gamble
against the fire hazard. A most striking example of the
results of fatalistic negligence occurred at Fernie, when a
fire that had been burning for many days near the town
and that had been neglected was fanned by a sudden windstorm into a cyclone of flame that obliterated the town and
caused the loss of many lives. 498
In other portions of the continent—in Ontario and Idaho,
and especially in the national forests of the United States
—it was being demonstrated that a moderate expenditure
of money upon the maintenance of a force of patrol-men,
combined with a campaign for the education of the careless
public, was a most effective preventive of forest fires. In
Idaho the lumbermen banded themselves together in associations, secured the passage of what was then considered a
drastic law, and handled the whole question of forest protection themselves. They showed most effectively that, at
an average cost of about two and a half cents an acre, they
could reduce the annual destruction by fire to a negligible
amount. The association movement spread to Washington,
then to Oregon, and is now stirring timber owners in other
Western States to action.
In British Columbia the different ideas of governmental
activity that exist under the British flag caused the lumbermen to look to the authorities for protection of their timber,
and even before the appointment of the Forestry Commission the provincial administration had already begun in a
tentative way the establishment of a fire-patrol organization. Through the efforts of the commissioners the active
interest of the government was enlisted in the good cause,
and the preventative service in consequence began the season
of 1910 supported by a vote of $75,000. That was but the
first step, however. Nature herself intervened, and in the
presence of the disastrous series of conflagrations that marked
that fatal summer the government doubled its force of firewardens and quadrupled its expenditure upon fire-fighting.
In 1911 the number of wardens was again doubled, and by
the employment of divisional inspectors and supervisors a
much higher degree of organization was obtained. The
numerous gangs of workmen employed on government roads,
in every district of the province, are all subject to the call
of any warden, and in this manner the nucleus of an effective
fire-fighting crew can always be obtained at comparatively
short notice. The work hitherto maintained by the government has been intentionally of an emergency nature, for
both government and lumbermen realize that it is fitting THE FORESTRY COMMISSION
that owners of standing timber should contribute towards
the expense of forest protection service.
The commissioners recommended that the cost of fire
prevention throughout the province should be shared equally
between the holders of timber-lands and the provincial
treasury, and the suggestion was accepted by the government and embodied in the Forest Act of 1912. Under this
act a Trust Deposit Fund is created by equal contributions
from these two sources, one cent an acre being levied annually
on all timber-lands. The levy may be increased or diminished
from year to year as circumstances require.1 The fund is
under the control of the provincial Forest board and provides
not only for the upkeep of a large patrol force, but also for
the construction of permanent improvements designed to
increase the efficiency of this force. The experience of the
voluntary associations in the Western States and, in a still
greater degree, the results achieved on the national forests,
bear striking witness to the value of field telephone systems,
of look-out stations on high elevations, and of the systematic
cutting-out of trails and fire-lines. The field telephone, in
particular, has been brought to a high pitch of usefulness by
electrical firms acting in conjunction with the officers of the
forest service. Permanent lines are strung through the
woods and their upkeep attended to by neighbouring ranchers
in return for permission to use the system themselves ; so
that at a comparatively small cost the patrol-man who discovers a fire while making his rounds is provided with the
means of summoning assistance without delay. Camps of
fire-fighters in remote localities are also kept in touch with
headquarters by the laying of light wire along the ground, a
method that in dry weather is effective up to ten or twelve
miles. These details are given to show how vastly more
effective the employment of up-to-date methods can make
the ordinary patrol-man, for prompt arrival and quick communication with the base from which supplies and men must
be obtained is the secret of successful fire-fighting.
Governments, foresters, enthusiasts of the conservation
movement, and even, of late years, the larger timber owners
1 This levy is now (1914) 1J cents per acre. 500
of this continent, have begun to realize that the old fatalistic
attitude in the face of forest destruction was unwarranted
and stupid. It used to be the general belief that when the
merchantable timber in any forest area had been cut, that
area could be regarded as finished and done with for all
practical purposes, for the slash and inflammable debris
created by the cutting operations would inevitably catch
fire sooner or later, kill the young growth, and so make
reproduction within the next century an extremely doubtful
matter. The creation of this fire hazard was regarded as an
inevitable feature of all logging, since it was held that the
disposal of the slash in the interests of the forest was too
costly an operation for any lumberman to attempt. It is
obvious that the continuance of this reckless policy would
in time remove the continent of North America from the
short and insufficient list of the important timber-producing
regions of the world. One by one, however, American and
Canadian governments have begun to face the thorny question of reform, and to make the first half-hearted attempts
to save some fragment of forest wealth for the coming
Courageous and vigorous action has been taken by only
three of these governments. In the comparatively easy
matter of timber sales in the national forests, the federal
government of Canada insists that all logging debris shall
be disposed of by the operator; in Minnesota lumbermen
are required to carry out the regulations of the State forester
in this respect; while in British Columbia, where the heavy
stand of timber and dense undergrowth would render the
cost in many districts prohibitive to the lumbermen, the
government—in a true spirit of statesmanship—has undertaken to dispose of logging debris through the medium of
the Forest Protection Fund, to which, as already stated,
both government and timber owners contribute equally.
The upshot of the matter is that, by the creation of the
Forest Protection Fund—which can be automatically increased beyond the annual quarter of a million dollars, provided by the first levy, to any amount found necessary for
a thorough-going policy of fire protection—the timber-lands THE FORESTRY COMMISSION 501
in British Columbia will henceforward be given a protection
that no other forests of the world—except those of certain
highly developed European countries—receive. The vast
accumulations of debris that already exist in the province
will be dealt with through the fund ; the creation of fresh
dangerous areas will be prevented ; and backed by a law
that provides for the condemnation of fire-traps as public
nuisances, for the clearing up of all rights-of-way, trails
and roads, and for other precautions too numerous to mention
here, the general abatement of dangerous conditions throughout the province will be vigorously undertaken. The effect
both upon standing timber in British Columbia and upon
the lumbering industry will be considerable, for no factor has
hitherto had so powerful an influence in depressing the value
of western stumpage and in rendering difficult the financing
of saw-mill enterprises as the investor's fear of the fire hazard.
In this respect the investments in British Columbian timber
will henceforward be classed as ' gilt-edged.'
Having devoted sufficient attention to the pressing matter
of fire protection, the commissioners proceeded to consider
the many other problems submitted to their consideration.
The studies that were made of the experiences of other provinces and states, however, soon forced upon their attention
one main outstanding fact, namely, that excellent in theory
as the forest policies of governments have sometimes been
on this continent, and poor as they generally are, the
damning feature of nearly every one of these policies, good
and bad alike, has been the apathy shown by legislatures
in providing means for effective administration.
Even the admirable Forest Service in charge of the United
States national forests was for long starved into impotence
by Congress, and many a State government has supported
a well-meaning Forestry board by a grant insufficient to pay
their postage bill. The conservation movement of recent
years has at least achieved this result—that governments
are beginning to recognize that the forests of this continent
are doomed unless large sums of money are spent on them,
and that expert advice and the organization of competent
forest services, composed of men of an efficient and trust- 502
worthy stamp, are essential for the proper expenditure of
this money.
Congress now votes nearly six million dollars a year for
the administration of the 170 million acres of national forests,
and with this example before it the commission recommended
that the government of the province should regard the royalty
that is received by the treasury upon the cutting and removal
of timber from the crown forests as forest capital, so that as
much of this royalty as should or could be profitably reinvested in the maintenance or improvement of the forests
should be retained for that purpose. The commission was of
the opinion that it was as improper to withdraw capital from
the forest business of the province as it would be to impoverish
any commercial undertaking by a similar proceeding.
No better way of reinvesting royalty in forest property
could be devised than the creation of the best expert forest
service that the province could obtain, and the commission
recommended that the continent should be ransacked in order
to discover and secure the best men available. There was a
general chorus of sincere approval throughout British Columbia
when the government announced—in introducing the Forest
Bill—that Gifford Pinchot had taken the greatest interest
in the quest for good men, and that the services of Overton W. Price, vice-president of the National Conservation
Association, the man who, under Pinchot, had achieved the
splendid organization of the United States Forest Service,
had been secured as consultant forester.
Pinchot's interest is such that he proposes to give the
work of forest investigation in the province his personal
supervision as far as his other duties will permit.
Under such auspices and with such determination to
provide the province with the best forest service that money
and thought and careful work can provide, the prospects of
forest conservation in British Columbia are extremely bright.
Devastation has so far barely eaten up the fringe of the great
forest areas, and with the control of logging operations and
the work of reafforestation placed in strong, capable hands,
the use of the forests will cease to be synonymous with
destruction and abuse.
The expenditure of the fiscal year 1913-14 is
General administration
Forest protection       ....
Total    .
The income of the Forest Protection Fund is as follows:
Timber holders and owners
Refunds from railways
The forest revenue, as shown in the public £
the years 1912 and 1913, is composed as follows :
Twelve Months to
December 1913
Twelve Months to
December 1912
Licence rentals	
Royalty and tax	
Lease rentals	
Scaling fees	
Licence penalties	
Timber bonus	
Transfer fees	
Hand-loggers' licences	
Taxation from crown grant timber-lands
Totals   .
489,377 !
$2,832,788     j       $2,603,119
166,540                   150,460
$2,999,328     j       $2,753,579
In Private Ownership
AS has been mentioned in the preceding remarks, timber-
X"\.   lands—previous to the year 1888—were sold like any
other lands, no value being placed upon the timber.
For eight years subsequent to that date sales continued
to be made, but any timber cut from the lands sold was 504
subject to the payment of fifty cents per thousand feet
royalty. Timber-lands were also included in various railway
grants as late as 1901.
Wild—that is to say unimproved—lands in British
Columbia are subject to an annual tax of four per cent on
their assessed value, the tax being designed to prevent the
Iocking-up of large areas for investment purposes and to
compel utilization. Recognizing that so heavy a tax would
encourage tree-slaughter and be contrary to the true principles
of conservation were it applied to timber-lands in private
ownership, the government permits all bona fide holdings of
standing timber to be taxed at half the wild-land rate, namely
two per cent. At the time of writing (1913) the classification of
the six million acres granted to the five subsidiary companies
of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the southern interior of
the province is still incomplete, owing to the many delays
incident to the prolonged litigation—only brought to a conclusion of recent years—with these companies ; and it is
therefore impossible as yet to say what area included in these
six million acres is covered with stands of merchantable
timber.1 There are, however, over 800,000 acres of private
timber-lands subject to taxation and a further 375,000 acres
free of taxation still unsold in the possession of the Esquimalt
and Nanaimo Railway Company on Vancouver Island.
Leasehold Timber-lands
Some few leases were granted at a rental of five cents an
acre by authority of the lieutenant-governor in council before
the legislature made formal provision for this form of tenure
in the act of 1888. After that date timber leases continued
to be granted at various rentals, varying from ten to twenty-
five cents per acre, and for periods ranging from fifteen to
thirty years, until the abolition of the leasing system in
1905. We find, therefore, that in 1912 timber leases covering
tjI3,ooo acres were in existence.
1 Repurchase of the bulk of these lands by the government has now (January
1914) been completed, and examination of their timber value is being conducted
by the Forest branch. TIMBER AREAS
In 1901, and again in 1908, the legislature offered to give
the right of perpetual renewal, in consecutive periods of
twenty-one years, to all leases that were surrendered by
holders within a year from the date of the enactments, and
a large number of lessees took advantage of this privilege.
We find, therefore, that of the leases now in existence those
covering a total of 386,458 acres possess the right of renewal,
while the balance will lapse and determine upon the expiration
of their original periods. Any lease entering upon a renewal
term does so upon the conditions ruling at the time of renewal,
the idea of the legislature being to secure to the crown, from
time to time, a fair share of the appreciation in value of the
timber held under this form of tenure.
In connection with timber leaseholds, mention should be
made of 354,399 acres leased to four companies, under an
act passed in 1901 but which was repealed shortly after, for
the purpose of encouraging the establishment of the pulp
and paper industry in the province. These pulp leases were
issued for twenty-one years at the nominal rental of two
cents an acre. Although the legislature intended merely to
provide supplies for pulp and paper mills, it was inevitable
that a considerable stand of the choicest merchantable timber
should be included in the areas demised, and the absence of
any provision for the cutting of this merchantable timber
has caused the present government considerable difficulty in
dealing with the matter, several of the pulp companies having
equipped large saw-mills to operate upon the timber in question. So far, the only solution attempted has been to require
these companies to take out special licences covering any
areas from which they may desire to cut merchantable timber.
Some 32,252 acres have also been leased upon similar terms
to a tanning company, for the purpose of stripping hemlock
Licensed Timber-lands
By far the most important holdings of timber in the
province are, however, the areas taken up under special
licences during the three years 1905-6-7, when the crown
forests were thrown open to staking—no less than 8600 506
square miles of timber-land being held under this form of
tenure in the regions west of the Cascade Mountains, and
6400 square miles east thereof. The annual rental or fee
charged for the renewal of the holder's option on this licensed
timber is subject to change from year to year in order that
the crown may participate in the holding profit or increase
in value of the standing timber, but so far (1913) it has not
varied from the original amounts imposed, namely, $140 per
square mile on the coast and $115 per square mile in the
These holding charges, which work out at less than
twenty-two cents and eighteen cents per acre, are thus very
reasonable, varying from less than one cent to less than
three cents per thousand feet per annum, in accordance with
the density of the stand. Upon payment of the holding
charge and upon compliance with the government's regulations a special timber licence may be renewed annually as
long as merchantable material remains upon the land it
covers, provided the holder has taken care to claim this
privilege in accordance with the provisions of the statutes.
Timber-lands hitherto Reserved
At the end of 1907 the government decided to stop the
issue of fresh licences and to place the remaining crown
timber-lands under reserve until such time as it had come to
a decision concerning their disposal. The Forest Bill of 1912
provided for timber sales. Any stand of timber that it was
considered desirable in the public interest to sell was to be
examined, cruised, and surveyed by the Forest Service, and
after due advertisement the licence covering the sale area
was to be sold to the highest bidder. Bids were to be made
either in the form of cash-down bonus covering the whole
berth, or on the improved Ontario system of bonus per
-thousand feet of timber payable, in addition to the ordinary
royalty, at the time the timber was cut.
Circumstances may make one or other method preferable
in any particular case, but in general the bonus per thousand
feet clearly gives the better results to both government and TIMBER AREAS
purchaser, since the government gets paid for all the timber
sold while relieving the purchaser from the fire risk—no bonus
being taken from the latter's pocket except for timber that he
actually cuts.
Concerning the area, stand, and general valuation of the
timber at present held in reserve there are the most varied
opinions even among those most familiar with the many
districts of the province in which the scattered areas of this
reserve exist. The chief of the difficulties that at present
precludes any authoritative statement upon the subject is
the fact that only a small proportion of the timber taken up
under special licence during the furious activity of 1905-6-7
has as yet been surveyed. In August 1910 only 1500 of the
15,000 licences had been definitely located on the map, and
though surveyors were busily at work during 1911, the government found it necessary to extend the time-limit—within
which survey is to be compulsory—to 1918. It is hoped,
however, that, by bringing pressure to bear on dilatory
licensees and by surveys made by the government itself, the
boundaries of the reserve timber will be definitely ascertained
some years before that date.
Meanwhile, therefore, it is necessary to rely upon the
analysis of a vast number of opinions expressed by experienced
men, each of whom has spoken with familiarity of conditions
in districts known to him, and to hazard, in consequence, a
general impression that the reserve timber-lands comprise
about one-quarter of the total forest area under provincial
Railway Belt Timber-land
The belt, forty miles wide, that stretches across the province alongside the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway
was transferred, at the time of Confederation, to the jurisdiction of the Dominion government. Somewhat over one
and a quarter million acres of the timber-lands in this railway
belt are now held under licence upon terms that are essentially
different from those of the provincial licence tenure, Dominion timber licences being sold by auction and the holding
value of the timber being realized by way of bonus at the
vol. xxn x
jp 508
time of sale instead of by annual rental as in the provincial
licence. A nominal rental of five dollars a square mile east of
Yale and five cents an acre west of that point is alone imposed.
Royalty on timber cut is fifty cents per thousand feet.
According to the estimate of the Dominion forester, about
half the available timber in the railway belt remains still
unalienated in the hands of the federal government. The
total stand within the belt is held to be between forty and
fifty billion feet.
Total of British Columbia Timber
Summarizing the above discussion, we may estimate the
acreage of timber-lands and the total stand of merchantable
timber within the whole province to be composed as follows :
Av. Stand
per acre
ft B.M.
Total Stand
ft. B.M.
Vancouver Island
crown grant timber .
crown grant timber .
E. & N. Ry. Co. 1
C. P. R. (unpublished
Timber leaseholds
Special licence timber
Mill  timber on   pulp
Reserve    timber-land,
conjectured    to    be
% total forest area
under provincial jurisdiction, say roughly
To this must be added the forty or fifty billion feet of the
railway belt, giving a grand total—for the whole province— THE SAW-MILLING INDUSTRY
of say 250 billion feet. The gradual lowering of the standard
of what is known as merchantable timber will probably increase this amount to the three hundred billion feet that
finds favour with Dr Fernow and other foresters as a reasonable estimate of the forest wealth of British Columbia.
The United States is usually credited with 2500 billion
feet of standing merchantable timber, Canada with about
one-fifth of that amount. Over half the stand of the United
States is in the Rocky Mountain and Pacific forests, and
considerably over half the Canadian stand is in the Province
of British Columbia. Comparison of the populations and
habitable areas of the two North American powers shows
very clearly that Canada is, and will always be, far richer,
proportionately, as a forest country than the United States.
In fact the latter country is already discovering that within
another thirty years a very serious situation will arise within
its borders owing to the reckless overcutting that is at
present inevitable, and her export trade in lumber is doomed
within the lifetime of the present generation. British Columbia is in a far different position, and is destined—like
Sweden and Russia—to be an exporting country for as long
as our powers of prediction can foretell. In the remarkable
climate of the section of the Pacific Slope that the province
possesses, nature provides the forests with a recuperative
power far greater than that of other forest regions ; and the
well-known fact should never be lost sight of, in any estimate
of the potentialities of our forest wealth, that the rate of
tree growth on the British Columbia coast is twice the average
for the continent.
OF recent years a marked tendency has been observable
among the holders of  crown grant leasehold and
licensed timber-lands alike to amalgamate their holdings, and both the general press and the lumber trade journals
have recorded a large number of important mergers.   As 5io
a result of this movement, the financial journals of North
America and of England have devoted considerable attention
to the valuable nature of stands of timber in British Columbia,
and a great many large-scale flotations have been successfully placed on the market. Capital has thus become interested in lumbering operations in the province in amounts
ranging from ten million dollar issues down, and the stimulus
received by the lumbering industry has already produced
visible results in the erection of new mills, some of them both
in size and up-to-date equipment being among the finest
in the world. Though many of the heaviest stands of timber
are so accessible from tide-water that they may be logged
with the simple equipment of yarders and road donkeys, yet
the larger companies have prepared for the development of
their enormous holdings by heavy expenditure upon logging
Other improvements are under way in the gradual replacement of coal and wood burning engines by oil burners
to eliminate the danger of fire, and the utilization of electrical
energy in woods operations has passed the experimental
stage, though of course the large initial outlay required will
always restrict its use to operations on a very extensive
scale. All over the Pacific Slope immense stands of merchantable timber occur on slopes too steep for profitable logging
by ordinary methods, and considerable attention has been
directed to the invention of overhead or ' sky-fine' systems
of haulage, by means of which logs can be cheaply conveyed down gradients of any steepness. Several of the
systems are now being installed in the province, and there
is no doubt whatever that in many sections sky-line systems will oust other methods by reducing logging costs to
a minimum.
Owing to congestion of work caused by general increase
in lumbering activity, the Forest branch of the department
of Lands has fallen somewhat behind in the collection of
statistics, and it is therefore impossible to give many details
concerning the lumbering industry that would have been of
interest. There are approximately 270 mills in the province,
fifty-nine of them being devoted to the production of shingles. THE SAW-MILLING INDUSTRY 511
The statistics of the Manufacturers' Association are as
XOX2         j
Lumber cut:
Coast mfrs.
Mountain mfrs.   .
Shipments by rail:
Coast mfrs.
Mountain mfrs.   .
million ft.
million ft.
million ft.
million ft.
912      '
The coast manufacturers sell about 250 million feet a
year locally and ship about 70 million feet by sea to foreign
countries. In addition to these amounts, some 47 million
feet of logs are exported to mills on Puget Sound from lands
that do not come under the stringent provisions of the Timber.
Manufacture Act, which prohibits the export of logs from
crown timber-lands.
Taking the whole province and including, therefore, the
Dominion railway belt, the statistics collected by the Forestry
branch at Ottawa show that British Columbia captured
from Quebec the second place among the lumber-producing
provinces of Canada in 1909 ; while in 1910 the value of her
cut was double that of Quebec, and its quantity—no less than
1620 million feet—was practically equal to the cut of Ontario.
It is obvious, therefore, that Ontario is on the point of losing
for ever her old-time supremacy ; and yet the remarkable
fact is that British Columbia has practically only begun the
exploitation of her forest wealth.
That the exhaustion of the East and the consequent westward shifting of the source of timber supply for the North
American continent is already imminent, and that nevertheless the lumbering industry of British Columbia is but in its
infancy, may be seen very clearly by comparison with the
Western States.   The State of Washington, with little more 512
timber than British Columbia, has become the foremost
lumber producer of the Union; and Oregon, with much the
same stand, has already shot up to the fourth place on the
list. The annual cut in the United States is about forty
billion feet, and statistics for 1910 show the following items:
Lumber cut:
million ft.
Oregon         ....
California    ....
Idaho .....
Montana     ....
As against these totals, British Columbia has only been
cutting from 1000 to 1600 million, and we can see how favourably the province is situated from the fact that the total
cut of Canada, many of whose eastern regions have already
passed their zenith as producers, is less than the combined
cut of the first two of the Western States on the list just
A serious feature in the situation of late years has been
the chronic over-production of inferior grades of lumber in
some of the Western States. The market for this is limited
at present, and to get rid of their surplus stock at any price
the American manufacturers have been disorganizing the
prairie markets by dumping into them shipments at sacrifice
rates. The recent more rigorous enforcement of the customs
regulations has, however, given a much needed protection
to the British Columbian manufacturer, and it is no longer
possible for firms south of the international boundary to
evade the payment of duty by artificially roughening the
dutiable grades of imported lumber. THE PULP INDUSTRY
IN dealing with the various tenures under which timber-
lands are held in the province, mention has already
been made of the 354,399 acres that were leased to four
pulp companies under agreements made in 1901. The leases
were for twenty-one years at the nominal rental of two cents
an acre, the legislature being desirous of giving every possible
encouragement to the establishment of the pulp and paper
industry.   The four concessions are as follows :
Powell River Company
Ocean Falls „
Swanson Bay       „
B. C. Wood Pulp and Paper Co.
It became apparent, however, in the years following 1901,
that the time was not then ripe for the establishment of the
new industry, and the companies holding these concessions
were for long unable to finance their enterprises and complete
the erection of their mills. With the coming of good times,
however, after the great depression of 1907-8, investors began
to realize the value of the immense stands of first-class pulp-
wood in the possession of these British Columbian concerns,
and no further difficulty was found in securing the necessary
capital. At the time of writing (1913) three large plants
have been equipped for operation in connection with the
original concessions, while a fourth plant is in process of
reconstruction. Moreover, a new mill on Howe Sound has
been built without the aid of any grant of timber-lands from
the government, and is now operating.
The plant of the Powell River Company is pronounced
by experts to be the most perfect one of its kind upon the *.
continent. Its present output capacity is 225 tons of
newsprint paper a day, and so pleased are its owners with
the prospects of western trade that preparations are being
made for doubling its capacity. The plant itself, to date,
has cost $3,000,000, and the total investment of the company
is in excess of $5,400,000. Apart from the purely commercial
side of the undertaking, a particularly pleasing and politically
important feature of it is that with a monthly pay-roll of
$100,000 and a force of some 1200 men—every one of whom
is a white man—a new settlement is being created upon a
hitherto sparsely populated section of the coast, and a new
bulwark against the oriental invasion is established. The
operation of the plant, moreover, marks a step forward in
practical forest conservation, for not only is the company
operating largely on inferior species, such as hemlock and
balsam, and thus making a clean cut in its operations in the
crown forests, but also, by combining the logging of merchantable timber with the cutting of pulpwood, the appalling
waste that is the inevitable feature of most western logging
operations at the present stage of development is very considerably reduced.
The investments made by the other pulp companies of
the province are also considerable. At Ocean Falls over
$1,500,000 has been expended upon a combined saw-mill
and mechanical pulp-mill, the saw-mill waste being utilized
for pulp as well as the inferior logs in the booms. At Swanson
Bay over $1,000,000 is represented by another combination
of saw-mill and sulphite pulp-mill; while the soda pulp-
mill of the British Columbia Pulp and Paper Company at
Port Mellon has cost in the neighbourhood of $400,000.
Plans are now being drawn up for the building of a new
mill in connection with the limits at Quatsino. On Howe
Sound is the recently opened mill, which has cost to date
(1913) in the neighbourhood of $600,000. This mill manufactures sulphite pulp.
We have thus a total of $6,500,000 expended in the province within the last three or four years upon pulp and paper
mill construction alone. In Washington and Oregon there
are already six mills in operation, three of them being in PANAMA CANAL AND LUMBER TRADE    515
the neighbourhood of Oregon City ; but British Columbia
occupies a strong strategical position, as compared with all
possible competition on the Pacific Slope, on account of the
valuable water-powers that she possesses, and in view of the
fact that cheap power is a factor of the highest importance
in the development of the newsprint industry. China, Japan,
and the Orient generally, Australia and South America offer
most promising markets for an export trade in both pulp and
manufactured paper, and though the selling range of coast
companies will be limited by freight rates to the western
portion of the continent, the influx of population to the Rocky
Mountain and coast regions is providing a considerable and
constantly increasing market.
SINCE we have arrived within a year of the opening of
the stupendous canal that is cutting in half the land
surface of the western hemisphere, it is natural that
the probable effects of that canal upon the world's commerce
should already be the subject of lively discussion. Pessimists
there have been who claimed that the enormous cost of
construction—four hundred million dollars or thereabouts—
would compel the American government to levy tolls so high
that the commercial advantage of the new route over the
long sea passage would be nullified in the case of bulky products such as lumber. As time has progressed and discussion has cleared the air, it has, however, been becoming plainer
and plainer that the high-toll principle cannot possibly be
adopted by the American government. Doubtless the protection of their own mercantile marine—in so far as that marine
may survive the steady process of decay that has already
reduced it to comparative insignificance—will keep alive the
agitation in the States for discrimination in favour of American
vessels; but it is ludicrous to suppose that any attempt will be
made to exact tolls on foreign shipping that would discourage
vessels from making the short cut by Panama.   The American
people, intentionally or unintentionally, have spent three
hundreds of millions upon a great work for the general benefit
of mankind. It is extremely doubtful whether the canal can
be made to pay—as a mere commercial undertaking; and
there is certainly no hope of putting it on a paying basis unless
a large tonnage be handled steadily. With high tolls the
tonnage could not be obtained, for a very considerable proportion of the available commerce will consist of lumber and
wheat from the Pacific coast and the western prairie regions,
and other commodities that must be handled cheaply.
We may draw a reasonable inference also from the actions
of the great federated transcontinental railways of the States.
For years they sought to discourage the Panama idea, and by
their control of shipping on the Pacific coast they contrived
to starve. the development of trade via Tehuantepec and
Panama. Subsequently they were the prime movers in a
campaign directed against the canal proposal itself, and more
recently the alarmist rumours concerning the high tolls that
have been put forward as a necessary feature of the canal
have evidently been set on foot by them. The great railway
interests have, however, been forced to accept the inevitable,
and—as is evidenced by their heavy expenditure upon the
improvement of Western terminal facilities—they are now
joining with zeal in the vast work of preparation that is in
busy progress in all the ports of the Pacific coast, from
Prince Rupert in the north to San Diego in the south.
The following table of distances illustrates forcibly the
advantageous effect upon the West of the opening of the
Port of Victoria, B.C., to Plymouth, England :
By the Cape of Good Hope       .        .   18,780 miles
„   „   Suez Canal  ....   15,560   „
„ Cape Horn ....   15,180   „
„ the Panama Canal       .        .        .     8,560   „
The distances from British Columbia ports to Europe will
therefore be halved by the new Panama route and a saving
effected of from seventeen to twenty-three days in the case
of steamers.   II
The opening of the canal will change many currents of
the world's commerce, and its most powerful effect will be felt
upon the hitherto somewhat isolated Pacific coast. Upon no
industry will this effect of the canal be more pronounced than
on the lumbering industry. Lumber—except in its highest
grades—is a product whose transport to any considerable
distance is only commercially feasible when low freight rates
exist; in fact, the freight rate is all-important. It is owing
to this fact that logging operations in the Pacific North-West
have entailed—and continue to entail at the present day—
much appalling waste of what will in the near future be
considered valuable wood. The present crop of timber is
being picked over and jj culled' rather than harvested, and
yet, in spite of this initial waste in the woods themselves, the
lumber yards of western mills are glutted with the residue of
sales—the inferior grades of rough lumber which the local
market cannot absorb and which cannot be shipped to distant
points because their low value will not support high freight
rates. This era of waste—waste doubly pitiful in view of the
timber shortage that will grip the world before the end of the
present half-century—can only be terminated in one of two
ways : either by the rise in value of all timber, which will
automatically cause waste to cease, or by the opening up
of new markets that can be reached at low transportation
Western lumbermen realize that the Panama Canal will
provide these rates, and put an end to enforced destruction of
good material upon the scrap-heap and the incinerator. At
present the freight rate on fir from coast to coast is $24 or
$25 a thousand feet board measure, or roughly, twice the
price at which the product sells at the place of production.
Cut off as it is, in this way, from the big markets of the
Atlantic, the lumbering industry of the Pacific coast finds its
expansion clogged and hindered by chronic over-production.
The rich future before the industry has attracted enormous investments, and impatience to realize on these has
created a mill capacity in every western forest region that
is far in excess of the existing demand. Only by mutual
agreements to limit output can any stability be given to trade
I 5i8
conditions; and this unsatisfactory state of affairs—so galling to enterprising Westerners—can only be removed by the
completion of the stupendous work at Panama.
It is as yet impossible to put into dollars and cents the
exact effect that the opening of the great canal will have
upon freight rates, but this may be said, that even in 1911,
with all the expenses incident to the handling and rehandling
of lumber when breaking bulk, shipments of fir lumber were
made from Portland, Ore., to New York City, via the Isthmus
railway, at little over half the transcontinental freight rate
by rail. One beneficial effect of the canal, therefore, will be
the providing of an outlet for the over-production of Washington and Oregon saw-mills, for the operators in these States
will be no longer under compulsion to dump their surplus
stocks, in times of depression, into the Canadian prairie
market. Of late years the necessity of raising a little ready
money at any sacrifice has caused these operators to demoralize the lumber market in Western Canada by selling
the lower grades of lumber at a loss, no less than 114,000,000
feet having been sent across the line in 1910 and 264,000,000
feet in 1911 ; and we have seen the distressing spectacle of
a transcontinental and government-assisted railway under
construction ignoring the saw-mills of the forest province
in which its line was being built and buying its materials
abroad. The more stringent enforcement of the customs
regulations under instructions from the government at
Ottawa has done something to check this undesirable state
of affairs, but only Panama can effect a permanent cure.
THERE is peculiar force in the dictum that even in
private hands forest wealth is community wealth ;
for it is calculated that four-fifths of the value of
manufactured lumber represents the wages of labour, and in
consequence circulates through every artery of commerce.
Lumber, moreover, in British Columbia is the chief of the THE FORESTS AND THE FUTURE
products that bring in and earn outside money, and we have
seen that this already means approximately $25,000,000 a
year to the province even now, while the cutting of the present
crop will yield a total of four and a half billion dollars, without
taking the least account of the inevitable rise in value that
will take place while that cutting is being carried on. In
addition to all the reasons mentioned, it is because nine-
tenths of the provincial forests have been carefully retained
as crown property that they have their enormous importance
for the people of British Columbia, and it is because of this
happy fact again that the government has been led to pay
such attention to the checking of fire losses and to recognize
that fire protection on a very large scale is one of the best
investments that it can make—hence the big campaign that
the government has now commenced through the agency of
the Forest Protection Fund.
Fire protection, however, is but a preliminary—though
an essential one—to the great work of conservation. It must
be recognized that at least as great a campaign is required in
the interests of practical reafforestation.
Experts of the United States Forest Service, basing their
calculations upon studies made on the rate of growth of
timber on the Pacific coast, have demonstrated that it is
possible, even now, to grow Douglas fir from seed at a commercial profit. One at least of the large lumbering concerns
of Oregon is reafforesting its cut-over lands as a business
matter and employing trained foresters for the purpose.
Others will soon be following this example. In the case of
that great holder of Western stumpage—the British Columbia government—reafforestation on a very large scale will
be recognized as a function of the state, just as it is in the
national forests of the neighbouring Republic.
Some very reliable figures are available in the case of
Douglas fir. Assuming that the standard of what is merchantable will, as years go on and the fast-diminishing supply
of the world's timber becomes more valuable, permit of the
utilization of trees twelve inches in diameter at breast-high
and of logs as small as eight inches in diameter, the measurement of the United States Forest Service shows that an 520 FOREST RESOURCES
average yield per acre under fairly favourable conditions in the
region west of the Cascades is (for new growth) as follows :
At   40 years   12,400 feet board measure
, 50 ,
,  28,000 „   „
„ 60 ,
,  41,000 „    „
, 70   ,
,   51,700 „
„ 80 ,
,   6l,I00 „    „
, 90 ,
,  70,200 „    „
„ 100  ,
,  79,800 „    „
„ no  ,
,  90,300 „
, 120  ,
,  I0I,500 „    „
» 130  »
,  113,000 „    „
Figures such as these are extremely encouraging, for we
see from them that even in sixty years a heavy crop of Douglas
fir timber may be grown. Picturesque as they are, and superfine as is the quality of the clear lumber that they yield, the
giant timber of the present crop may be cut without the
dismal feeling that by thus destroying the growth of centuries
we are irretrievably impoverishing our forest resources. The
fact is that most of the coast forests are over-ripe and, if
anything, are deteriorating and need cutting. Nature, with
a little careful assistance from the forester, will replace the
tremendous trees at which we marvel by smaller ones, but
the density of the even-aged forests that we shall obtain
in the future will produce, on an average, an even heavier
stand of merchantable timber to the area than unassisted
nature has been able to achieve so far. It is thus easily
within the power of the government to secure the permanence
of our timber supply.
History is dismal reading to the forester. Many an ancient
civilization by butchering its forests struck at the roots of
its own prosperity—namely, water supply and the farming
industry dependent thereon—and withered away. Others,
like China, have by the same action exposed their agriculture
to floods and droughts, the horrors of which form an unfailing
source of telegraphic news for our daily papers. In more recent
times the destruction of the forests has created deserts in
Europe, deserts which some countries—Austria and France, for
instance—have been reclaiming of late years with great success, THE FORESTS AND THE FUTURE
but at an enormous expense. Germany alienated a very large
proportion of her forest land, and during the last half-century
has been spending money by the million to repurchase and
reforest the wasted remnant. Within the present generation
vast areas of timber in the United States and in Canada have
been ruined by repeated fires. But, though in certain regions
the same devastation has made inroads upon them, the forest
resources of British Columbia are still largely intact, and it is
before, and not after, the approach of ruin that the government has awakened to the vital importance of protecting
them and ensuring their permanence.  HISTORY OF FARMING r? "^SB
THERE is a popular misconception that the tilling of
the soil was the primal occupation of man; and
agriculture, in eulogiums of a literary or postprandial nature, is often referred to as the earliest and most
honourable of all human pursuits. It may, indeed, be described as the earliest form of civilized occupation, but hunting and fishing were before it in prehistoric times as a means
of existence. Man lived long on the animals which formed
part of his primordial environment, clothed himself with
their skins and used their bones and sinews as implements
of the chase and of domestic utility, eras before he turned to
the soil for sustenance. This was, in a sense, the order of
events in British Columbia at a very recent period. The
North-West Company and its successor, the Hudson's Bay
Company, first exploited the territory out of which the
province has been carved for the furs of animals, and subsequently established farming as an auxiliary to their main
It is worth recording that Daniel William Harmon, fur
trader, was the first farmer of British Columbia, as well as
the first historian of its northern interior. An entry of his on
Wednesday, May 22, 1811—note the time of year—at Fraser
Lake, reads : [ As the frost is now out of the ground, we have
planted our potatoes, and sowed barley, turnips, etc., which
are the first seed ever sown this side of the Rocky Mountains.'
On May 10, 1815, he again records his efforts at cultivating
the soil in the Fraser Lake district: ' We have surrounded
a piece of ground with palisades, for a garden, in which we 526
have planted a few potatoes, and sowed onion, carrot, beet,
parsnip seeds and a little barley. I have also planted a very
little Indian corn without the expectation that it will come
to maturity. The nights in this region are too cold and the
summers are too short to admit of its ripening.' It is added
that I the soil in many places in New Caledonia is tolerably
good.' So much for the seed-time ; now for the harvest.
On October 3, 1816, Harmon writes : ' We have taken our
vegetables out of the ground. We have forty-one bushels of
potatoes, the produce of one bushel planted in the spring.
Our turnips, barley, etc., have produced well.' His last
reference to agricultural operations is as follows (February 18,
1818) : 'A few days since we cut down and reaped our
barley. The five quarts which I sowed on the first of May
have yielded as many bushels. One acre of ground, producing in the same proportion as this has done, would yield
seventy-one bushels. This is sufficient proof that the soil
in many places is favourable to agriculture.1' In this connection the diarist's observations are almost prophetic :
I It will probably be long, however, before it will exhibit the
fruits of cultivation.' It was prophetic because only now,
almost a century later, is this district assuming importance
on account of its agricultural possibilities. The only agriculture carried on in that vast northern interior up to the
present time, except in a very few instances, has been by the
Hudson's Bay Company around its widely scattered posts.
Alexander Caulfield Anderson, to whom reference will again
be made, in a prize essay written in 1872 says :
At Alexandria long before the general settlement of
the province wheat was cultivated on a limited scale.
From 1843 to 1848 between 400 and 500 bushels were
raised annually at the Hudson's Bay Company's post
and converted into flour by means of a mill, with stones
18" in diameter wrought by horses. As much as 40
bushels to the acre, by careful measurement, and of
the finest quality were raised on portions of the land
cultivated during the interval mentioned. ... As high
as the Fraser Lake barley yields abundantly, and the
potato, with, of course, other culinary vegetables, which
come to perfection.
In a footnote he tells us that' in 1839 the return at Fraser
Lake from 15 bushels of cut seed exceeded 700 bushels of
potatoes of the Ladies' Finger variety.'
The fur companies, first the North-West Company and
then the Hudson's Bay Company, were, therefore, the
pioneers of farming in British Columbia, and, if we except
the fanning carried on at the mission in California, the first
on the Pacific coast. The old North-West Company, about
1814, shortly after Astoria was taken from the Pacific Fur
Company, carried on some farming at their fort, then changed
in name to Fort George.
But Dr John McLoughlin, the Napoleon of the western
fur trade, was the great pioneer in agriculture. He had a
wider vision than the profits on pelts, and, impressed by the
richness of the soil in the old Oregon valleys and the possibilities of trade in agricultural produce on the Pacific, even
at the early date at which his rule at Fort Vancouver began,
projected a scheme which found favour in Lime Street,
London, and the Puget Sound Agricultural Company became
an adjunct of the fur-trading company. We learn that in
1837 a large farm produced fruit, grain, vegetables, and cheese.
The farm was stocked with cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and
swine. Three thousand acres of land were fenced in, and
no less than thirty thousand bushels of grain and fourteen
thousand bushels of potatoes were harvested. Two flour-
mills ground the wheat, and the flour and other products
were shipped to Russian America and elsewhere. There
were large farms at Nisqually and Cowlitz, and a little later
three small farms were established on the southern end of
Vancouver Island, which in a lesser way duplicated the
operations in Oregon. It is no part of the purpose of this
article to inquire into the genesis of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, or the dubious relation which it bore to
the Hudson's Bay Company. What is relevant to the subject is that it did come into existence for a specific purpose
and did fulfil an important mission. It was the forerunner
and exemplar of everything agricultural on the north-west
Pacific coast. It was, for a period at least, very successful.
The farms in the neighbourhood of Victoria were perhaps m
not as profitable as those in Oregon and Washington, but
nevertheless they formed, until 1858, the chief, if not the
only, basis of supply for Vancouver Island. In connection
with the farms were small industries such as brick-making,
saw-milling, flour-milling, etc. It may truly be said that
the agricultural business of the Hudson's Bay Company
had a great influence on subsequent development on the
Pacific. It demonstrated the capabilities of the entire
Oregon territory, which at one time included the greater
part of British Columbia, and thus placed the industry on a
sound basis. The operations in Oregon and in Washington
proper were much earlier and on a much larger scale than
those in British Columbia, and, as the agricultural conditions
on both sides of the line on the Pacific are similar, the experience gained in these States on the one side guided the
farmer on the other side.
A great deal respecting the genesis of farming and horticulture, too, is attributable to the servants of the Hudson's
Bay Company, individually. The officials were, as a rule,
men of keen intelligence and observation. Dr McLoughlin,
James Douglas, Dr Tolmie, W. Huggins, Alexander Caulfield
Anderson, John Work, John Tod, Roderick Finlayson,
J. W. McKay, and many others, brought with them their
native love of the soil. They were naturalists to a greater
or less degree. They planted trees and shrubs. They saw in
the general conditions of soil and climate, in plant growth
and in the natural adaptabilities of the entire country, so
far as the relatively small areas of fertile land were concerned, a splendid field for agriculture and particularly
for horticulture. British Columbia was Scotland and England reproduced on a huge scale, and similar to them in
many of its physical characteristics ; and the officials who
settled on Vancouver Island after retiring from the service
first gave the province the impetus towards efficiency in
horticulture and small farming. It was they who imported
seeds and plants and flowers, made orchards, and demonstrated vegetable and grain and stock possibilities. Before
Vancouver Island had cast off the sovereignty of the Hudson's
Bay Company and the mainland of British Columbia had AGRICULTURAL POSSIBILITIES
become a sister colony in the Empire, that corporation had
indicated a wide agricultural and horticultural field for development. It had gardens and orchards and fruitful fields,
even though limited in extent, under cultivation, and those
who came in numbers in 1858, 1859, and i860 to search for
gold could not but be impressed with the greater potential
wealth of the soil. Many were disappointed in their search
for gold, and as a consequence took up land, and thus the
nuclei of an industry were formed.
IN the files of British Columbia newspapers from the
earliest date of their publication can be found frequent
and very intelligent reference, editorially and otherwise, to the subject of agriculture and fruit-growing. Finding
settlers to utilize the arable land available continued to be
a problem for a long time. Even to-day the problem is
a live one. This is demonstrated by the fact that a royal
commission is investigating the facts bearing, among other
things, on that very question. The progress of agriculture
in British Columbia, from the very nature of the physical
conditions of the country, to be referred to later at some
length, was necessarily slow in comparison with the progress
of the eastern parts of British North America ; but we find
that at a very early date, apart from the beginning made by
the Hudson's Bay Company and its officials, in the delta of
the Fraser and in several districts in the vicinity of Victoria
on the Island of Vancouver some progress had been made.
The Rev. R. C. Lundin Brown, in a prize essay printed
in pamphlet form in 1863, speaks of the agricultural prospects
as follows :
Although as an agricultural country alone British
Columbia will not become great, she has, nevertheless,
as we have seen, arable and pasture lands sufficient
to maintain a large mining and commercial population. 530