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RETURN To an Address presented to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, requesting him to cause to be sent… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1890

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 53 Vic. Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway. 369
To an Address presented to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, requesting him to
cause to be sent down to the House copies of all Orders in Council, reports, papers,
and documents relating to the application to the Government, or any of its members, by "The Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway Company," for
aid in the construction of the said railway.
By Command.
Provincial Secretary.
Provincial Secretary's Office,
4th March, 1890.
Victoria, B.C., January 27th, 1890.
Sir,—The undersigned, representing the Provisional Directors of the Victoria-Saanich and
New Westminster Railway Company, beg respectfully to represent as follows :—
1. The Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway Company was incorporated by
the Dominion Parliament during the session of 1889, and a copy of the Act of Incorporation,
marked "A," is hereto annexed.
2. A map of the Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway and Railway Ferry,
showing the country through which it is designed that the main line and chief branches shall
be built and operated, with the route of the railway ferry, to connect Swartz Bay and Shoal
Harbour, Vancouver Island, with Point Roberts Mole (as well as Garry Point and Garry
Point and Canoe Pass Moles), on the Mainland of the Province, is hereto annexed, marked "B."
3. A by-law, called the " Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway Interest Bonus
By-Law, 1889," was sanctioned by a vote of the majority of the ratepayers of the City of
Victoria on the 13th day of August last, and was reconsidered and finally passed by the
City Council on the 14th day of the same month.
4. Under the authority of this by-law the City of Victoria grants an annual cash subsidy
of twenty thousand dollars (f 20,000) a year for twenty-five (25) years, to meet the interest at
four (4) per cent, per annum on five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) of railway bonds, to
aid in the construction of the Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway. This subsidy
is equivalent to a grant of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per mile for fifty (50) miles of railway
— about the length of the main line,—or five thousand dollars ($5,000) per mile for one hundred
(100) miles of railway, which would include the main line and minor branches of the proposed
5. Now, the object of this communication is to ask the Provincial Government to assist in
carrying out the great national undertaking for which the Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway Company was incorporated, and for which purpose the City of Victoria made
such a noble grant.
6. The assistance that we ask is small, and not unusual, when the magnitude and importance
of the undertaking to which it would be applied is understood :—
(1.) All that we apply for is a guarantee of interest to bond-holders on a sum not exceeding five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) of railway bonds at four (4) per cent,
per annum for twenty (20) years, payable half-yearly, subject to the proviso that
when the earnings of the company shall yield a net profit of ten (10; per cent, per
annum for three successive years, then the guarantee shall cease and determine : 370 Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway. 1890
Provided, also, that the interest shall  only be paid by the Government in case of
default made by the company in meeting its half-yearly payments :
(2.) In addition, we ask for a very moderate subsidy to aid in the establishment and
maintenance of a first-class railway ferry between Swartz Bay and Shoal Harbour, on
Vancouver Island, and Point Roberts Mole (as well as Garry Point, Lulu Island, and
Garry Point and Canoe Pass Moles), at and near the mouths of the Fraser River, on
the mainland of the Province For this important Provincial, Federal, and National
object we ask only for a subsidy of five thousand dollars ($5,000) per annum for ten
(10) years.
7. It is but proper, perhaps, in making this application to the Government for financial
aid towards enabling the Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway Company to commence the construction of the railway early in the ensuing spring, and secure its completion and
opening to the public for traffic within two years, with a first-class railway ferry connecting the
insular and continental sections of the railway, that a statement be made of some of the reasons
why this railway and ferry scheme has been proposed, and why it deserves Provincial aid.
8. Without referring to our early Federal relations, the statement or explanation referred
to in the last paragraph might be considered defective, and so we take occasion to briefly touch
upon those relations in support of the subject of this communication. It may, therefore, be
shortly remarked that it was a matter of general expectation among the citizens of Victoria,
immediately before confederation with Canada, that when the trans-continental railway was
built and opened for traffic, it would' include one section on Vancouver Island, connecting
Victoria and Esquimalt as a Pacific terminus, with the continental sections by bridge or ferry,
if Bute Inlet route were selected, or by ferry in case the Burrard-Fraser route were adopted.
Provision not having been made in the proposed Terms of Union agreed upon at Ottawa, it
was publicly proposed to defer union with Canada till the proposed terms were amended so as
to make Esquimalt-Victoria the Pacific terminus, and, of course, the insular section of the
railway, and the railway bridge or railway ferry, would follow.
9. Lord Lisgar, Governor-General, was appealed to on the subject of the Pacific terminus,
and a reply was communicated to the public that when Columbia was admitted into the
Dominion, and represented on the floors of Parliament, the question of the Pacific terminus
would be decided. The agitation to defer union was consequently quieted, but the contention
for a terminus, or a railway and ferry connection with the continent, still remained.
10. When Columbia was first represented in Parliament, and whilst "An Act respecting
the Canadian Pacific Railway" was under discussion-in the Commons in May, 1872, the
question was put to the Government as to their intentions respecting the Pacific terminus and
railway on Vancouver Island. Mr. Langevin (now Sir Hector Langevin) replied that the
intention of the Government was to go (via Bute Inlet understood) to Esquimalt, but, of course,
if it was impracticable, they could not go; and should the railway be carried to Burrard Inlet,
a ferry will be established and a line of railway will be carried to Esquimalt as part of the
11. In April, 1876, during a discussion respecting the construction of the railway in
Columbia, Sir Hector Langevin referred to the pledge given in 1872 in the following words :—
" When the Government, of which he was a member, was called upon in this House by the
"present member from Victoria to state whether he had determined upon the western terminus
"of the line, he was instructed by the Cabinet to announce—as he did openly—that they in-
" tended to make Esquimalt the terminus, Moreover, an order in Council was passed to that
12. Now this recital respecting the terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the
question of a section of that railway being built on Vancouver Island, and of the establishment
of a Railway Ferry to cross the Strait of Georgia to connect the insular with the continental
sections is brought out to show that there is an equitable claim still unsatisfied for the insular
section of the railway referred to as well as for the Railway Ferry; for, undoubtedly, no insular
section of the Canadian Pacific Railway or corresponding insular section of any other railway
has yet been built and operated, nor is there a Railway Ferry established. The Victoria-
Saanich and New Westminster Railway Company alone offer to provide both.
13. The Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway is a mere local railway. It is not a railway of
Federal or National importance. It has never carried a mail, nor a passenger, nor his baggage,
nor an express, nor a ton of merchandise, nor hauled a car loaded with freight, as part of an 53 Vic.
Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway.
Eastern or Western express train or freight train moving merchandise or passengers to the
East or West across the continent on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Nor has any known
public effort been made to use it for such a purpose, although power was granted to the Company in the "Settlement Act, 1884," to establish a Ferry. In point of fact, the farther one
travels on the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway the longer is the distance between Victoria
and the Mainland at Vancouver or New Westminster. A mere glance at the annexed map,
marked " B," shows this fact to be indisputable. In round numbers it is 75 miles from Victoria to Nanaimo, and 40 miles from Nanaimo harbour by steamer to the Mainland at the city
of Vancouver, making the total distance 115 miles. To New Westminster by the same route
it is at least 10 miles further, or 125 miles from Victoria. Contrasted with the Victoria-
Saanich and New Westminster Railway route the difference is surprising. Passengers or mails
from Victoria via the Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway route, when opened for
traffic, may be regularly delivered on the Mainland by not travelling more than 48 miles, or 67
miles less than via Nanaimo-Vancouver route. They may be regularly delivered in New
Westminster in 66 miles, or 59 miles less than via Nanaimo and Vancouver. The contrast
need not be continued farther, as the data supplied in the distance table and time table prepared by the Company's engineers establish indisputably the superior advantages of the Victoria-
Saanich and New Westminster Railway and Ferry for Provincial, Federal and National
14. The present means of communication from Victoria to Vancouver and New Westminster (and vice versa) is by ordinary steamers, the trip occupying from five to eight or ten hours,
and sometimes a day or longer, owing to the state of the weather or other causes. No locked
cars, loaded with merchandise at Montreal, Toronto or elsewhere, are brought to Victoria nor
sent from it. Bulk is broken at Vancouver or elsewhere, and the contents of the cars are
delivered at Victoria in cases, bales, casks, etc., etc., from the deck of steamers. This is a very
different state of things, indeed, from what the citizens of Victoria were led to expect in the
past, up, at least, to the time of the passage of the " Settlement Act, 1884," and for a considerable time afterwards. The Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway Company,
however, propose to establish and operate, within the time limited by their charter, a Railway
Ferry, with the capacity to carry 40 loaded cars at one trip, and thus avoid the delays and
disadvantages incident at the present time to the transportation of mails, passengers and freight
between Victoria and the Mainland.
15. The Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway is designed to connect with the
Canadian Pacific Railway at Vancouver and at New Westminster, and with the American
system of railways at Blaine in the State of Washington. The map marked " B," hereto
annexed, showing the route of the Railway and Railway Ferry, indicates where the connections
will be made.
16. Thp following distance table and time table were prepared by the Company's engineers,
Messrs. H. P. Bell, C.E., and C. E. Perry, C.E., and appear in their Report, and may be
depended on as approximately accurate in'every particular. "Victoria to Mainland, 47.7
miles," is added so as to bring out the fact more distinctly that the route selected for the Railway and Railway Ferry is the shortest line between Victoria and the Mainland that the
geography of the country permits.
Land Miles.
Water Miles.
Land Miles.
Swartz Bay... 20.8
Pt. Roberts... 26.9
New Westminster.
Blaine, W..T	
Eraser Crossing...
73 9
,,      to Blaine, W. T  	
30     77.7
,,      to Fraser River Crossing..
47 7
Victoria to New Westminster   2 hours, 37 minutes—allowing 33 minutes for stoppage.
,,      to Vancouver  2     ,,     56     ,, ,,        33 ,, „
„     to Blaine, W.  T  2     „      37     „ „        20 372 Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway. 1S90
17. The Company's Engineers state in their report, after having made a careful survey of
all the routes, that express trains from Victoria to Swartz Bay, and from Point Roberts Mole-
head to New Westminster and Blaine, may run regularly at a speed of 45 miles per hour, and
on the Vancouver branch at a speed of 30 miles per hour to make allowance for ascending
maximum gradients in crossing the height of land near Vancouver. The grade of the latter
may be materially reduced and the length of the branch shortened.
18. The time table, based on the exact knowledge of the Engineers, shows that the actual
travelling time, exclusive of stoppage between Victoria and New Westminster, is but two (2)
hours and four (4) minutes; to Blaine, two (2) hours and seventeen (17) minutes ; and to Vancouver only two (2) hours and twenty-three (23) minutes. This time is confined to express
trains, carrying only passengers and their baggage, and the mails and express. Including
stoppages, the time occupied in going from Victoria to. New Westminster or Blaine need be
only two (2) hours and thirty-seven (37) minutes to either place, and to Vancouver but.two (2)
hours and fifty-six (56) minutes. Such a saving of time cannot be made on any other route
between Victoria and Mainland cities.
19. The Company propose to open the Railway Ferry to traffic, with a first-class steel ferry
boat with a speed of not less than twenty (20) knots or nautical miles per hour, and designed
to carry only passengers, mails and express. With such an express ferry boat the trip between
Swartz Bay and Shoal Harbour and Point Roberts Molehead may be made regularly within one
hour and ten minutes. It is proposed that the Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway express train from Victoria shall reach the Mainland, at Point Roberts Mole, only forty-
eight (48) miles distant, in the brief space of one hour and thirty-five minutes; and so if an
Eastern Canadian Pacific Railway express train were ready to start from Garry Point, Canoe
Pass or Point Roberts Mole, on the arrival of the Victoria express, with the mails, express
and passengers of a Jap-Chinese steamship, the eastern bound express train could be one hundred (100) to one hundred and fifty (150) miles or more in the interior before the steamship
could reach her moorings at Vancouver, although she started from Esquimalt at the same time
as the Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster express with her mails and passengers for the
20. The mail and passenger boat "Princess Josephine," plying between Dover and
Ostende, has to contend with the boisterous weather and navigation of the Strait of Dover at
the junction of the English Channel and North Sea, and yet makes her twenty-one knots per
hour regularly. The ferry route, however, between Swartz Bay and Shoal Harbour and Point
Roberts Mole is not subject to such boisterous weather. The length of the Ferry is only 23
nautical miles, or 26| statute miles. Of that distance the only open or exposed water is lOf
miles, between the lighthouse on Mayne Island, and the mouth of Active or Plumper's Pass,
across the Strait of Georgia to Point Roberts Molehead, and that may be safely navigated in
any weather or may be crossed at any time in darkness or in fog if governed by compass and
time. The other portion of the Ferry route is thoroughly protected by islands all the way from
Swartz Bay and Shoal Harbour to Plumper's Pass light-house. The most dangerous navigation
between Victoria and the Mainland is found between Victoria harbour, on the Strait of Fuca,
and Sidney Island and Henry Island in Canal de Haro, a stretch of about twenty-five or thirty
miles by ordinary water route, and that will be entirely avoided by the Company's proposed
railway from Victoria to Swartz Bay and Shoal Harbour, where the Railway Ferry commences
on Vancouver Island.
21. The Company, in addition to the mail boat, intend to put on a freight ferry boat with
capacity to carry not less than forty (40) loaded freight cars at one trip. Her speed may not
possibly be as great as the mail boat, unless the demand for fast freight increases sufficiently to
warrant it. Thus the mail boat will do one class of business and the freight boat another. By
this means it is hoped that no interruption in the transport of mails, passengers and express
will be likely to occur.
22. The Company, since its incorporation, as authorized by the special Act, have surveyed
and located a branch line to Esquimalt harbour, where a deep water terminus has been selected.
Without this being done, the design of the Company would have been incomplete. It is in
tended that the docks at the deep water terminus will have capacity to receive and accommodate
safely the largest oceangoing or Jap-Chinese steamships afloat or in course of construction.
Freight trains may there deliver their merchandise for export, or may be loaded up with imports and dispatched over the Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway Ferry en route
to Eastern Canada, the United States or elsewhere.    In short,  the Railway and  Ferry once 53 Vic. Victoria -/Saanich and New Westminster Railway. 373
fairly opened to traffic, as it no doubt will be within a brief period, Esquimalt and Victoria will
indisputably be securely established as a greater commercial emporium in the future than they
have been in the past.
23. Although the citizens of Victoria, as already mentioned, expected a Railway Ferry
over which freight trains might pass, yet it was not so expressed in the Terms of Union. Had
it been so expressed, we cannot but believe that it would have been accomplished ere this late
period. There is, however, their equitable claim for a Railway Ferry, based on the public
pledges of the Dominion Government and upheld to this hour by the discriminating portion of
the inhabitants of this city. If that be not a sufficient inducement to grant the aid asked,
then there is the higher claim. The city of Victoria, at the very least, is entitled to be placed
on an equality for doing business with the new city of Vancouver and the old city of New
Westminster. To effect that just object it is desirable that the Provincial Government may
be pleased to grant the aid asked for in this application. The sum total of the aid sought in
this application is a very small amount indeed, and is, we think, but a just claim for a fair
distribution of Provincial funds and for a wise use of public credit in aid of railways, and
especially to a Railway and Railway Ferry, which is not a mere local or provincial undertaking
for the special benefit of Victoria and Vancouver Island, but when opened to traffic will be of
immense advantage to New Westminster District and its cities, and at the same time be of the
greatest Federal and National importance.
24. The Jap-Chinese steamships pass the harbours of Victoria and Esquimalt, and thus
this city is no longer the chief emporium of trade and commerce, in the literal sense of that
phrase, as it was formerly. No like thing was ever known here till lately. Thus the commercial prestige of the city has been seriously impaired, and consequently will have to be fully
restored, as nothing else can content the discriminating portion of her people. The Victoria-
Saanich and New Westminster Railway and Railway Ferry will, however, when opened to
traffic, be a potent agent in contenting her citizen^
25. When opened to traffic it will prove to be the most powerful instrument ever applied
in this part of the Province to settle trade and commerce in permanent channels and on imperishable foundations. The wealth and industry of the south-western sections of the Province
will then have secure places to build up, the uncertainties of the present being removed.
26. It may be remarked that it is the belief of the Company that the guarantee asked for
in this application will only amount to a pledge of the public credit as security for the interest
on its railway bonds to the bondholders to the extent applied for, as it is the intention of the
Company to provide for the half-yearly interest from its own funds; but if some unforeseen
circumstances compelled the Company to make default in its payments the Government would
have a lien on the entire railway property of the. Company until recouped.
27. Further, before bonds can be issued the shareholders will have to pay into a chartered
bank not less than twenty-five per cent, of the capital stock ($1,500,000), which is $375,000.
[See section 36, chapter 29, "Railway Act, 1888."]
28. Next, no bonds can be issued until 25 per cent, shall have been expended on the work
(see section 93, sub-section 4, " Railway Act, 1888,"); and as it is, in addition, put in section
10 of the special Act annexed hereto, " Such bonds, debentures and other securities may be
" issued only in proportion to the length of railway constructed or under contract to be con-
" structed," and then not exceeding $25,000 per mile.
29. Sub-section (b), section 90, "Railway Aot, 1888," says that aid in any form of benefit
shall be held and used for the purpose of such grants or donations only, thus setting up a bar
to misapplication.
30. This application is respectfully submitted, but if any further information be required
by the Government it will be cheerfully submitted if requested.
31. As it is the desire of the Company to commence construction with the opening of
Spring, we shall be glad if you will favour us with an early answer to our application.
We have, etc.,
(Signed)        A.  DeCosmos,
(Signed)       J. Stuart Yates,
To the Hon. John Robson, M. P. P.,
Premier and Provincial Secretary,
Victoria   B. C, 374 Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway. 1890
Provincial Secretary's Department,
Victoria, 31st January, 1890.
Sir,—By direction of the Honourable the Provincial Secretary, I have to acknowledge
the receipt of a communication, dated the 27th instant, from the Provisional Directors of the
Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway Company, requesting the assistance of the
Government in the construction of the said railway, and to state that the matter will receive
I am, &c,
(Signed)        A. Campbell Beddis,
Deputy Provincial Secretary.
J. Stuart  Yates, Esq.,
Secretary, Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway Company.
Provincial Secretary's Department,
Victoria, 4th February, 1890.
Sir,—Your communication of the 27th ultimo, re the Victoria-Saanich and New Westminster Railway, has been considered in Executive, and I am to inform you that the proposition
therein cannot be entertained.
I am, &c,
(Signed)       Jno. Robson,
J. Stuart  Yates, Esq., Provincial Secretary,
Secretary, City.
victoria, b. c. :
Printed by Richa>   Wolfenden, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty.


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