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Report in reference to the Canadian Pacific Railway Canada. Department of Public Works 1879

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GENERAL REPORT by the Engineer-in-Chief  5
The Pacific Telegraph Line  6
The Georgian Bay Branch, etc  6
Railways West of Winnipeg   11
The necessity of a Comprehensive Railway Scheme  13
The Physical Character of the Prairie Region  ,  15
The Route through British Columbia  17
The Line between Lake Superior and Manitoba  18
The Estimate of Cost JL  21
The Contracts entered into  23
Between Parallels of Latitude 59  and 60   26
do                               do       58   do   59  28
do                               do      57   do   58   31
do                                 do       56   do   57   34
do                               do       55   do   56  39
do                                 do       54   do   55  46
do                               do       53   do   54       52
do                               do       52   do   53  64
do                              do       61   do   52    82
do                               do       50   do   51  93
do                              do      49   do   50.... „,.,  112 II.—DESCRIPTION OK CONTRACTS -!§.	
Contract No. 5a Pembina Branch, St. Boniface to Selkirk    126
Contract No. 32.—Spike ■ ,  126
Contract No. 32a.—Station Houses, Prince Arthur District |||... 127
Contract No. 33.—Pembina Branch, St. Boniface to Emerson    127
Contract No 34.—Transportation of Rails to Manitoba  129
Contract No. 35—Spike  129
Contract No. 36.—Ties for Pembina Branch  129
Contract No. 37.—Georgian Bay Branch  130
Contract No. 38.—Converting Neebing Hotel into Offices  131
Contract No. 39.—Transportation of Rails in British Columbia  132
Contract No. 40 Engine House, Selkirk ,  132
Contract No. 41.—Main Line, English River to Eagle River ■&•• 132
Contract No. 42,—Main Line, Eagle River to Keewatin    135
List of Contracts and Expenditure involved      137
III.—ANNUAL REPORT by Engineer-in-Ohief  139
Surveys in Woodland Region , "l!.-1 139
Surveys in the Mountain Region  139
Telegraph Line  140
Grading and Tracklaying  140
The Pembina Branch , , ,  140
The Georgian Bay Branch  141
Engine House at Selkirk  141
Tenders for new sections ,  141
Tenders for the whole line    141
Expenditure for year ended 30th June, 1878 B... 142
OANaiDiAN Pacific Rail wax,
Office of the Engineer-in-Chief,
Ottawa, April 5th, 1879.
The Honble. Charles Tupper, O.B.,
Minister of Public Works.
Sir,—I had the honour on the 8th of January last to furnish a report setting forth
the progress made in surveying and construction up to the 31st December, 1878.
I now beg leave specially to submit for your consideration the following remarks
on the undermentioned subjects, some of them to my mind so important in their
character as to claim earnest attention:—
1. The Pacific Telegraph line, with suggestions for completing and operating it.
2. The Georgian Bay Branch and the navigation of French Biver.
3. The construction of railways west of Winnipeg by private companies.
4. The expediency of laying down a comprehensive scheme of Railways.
5. The physical character of the country and necessity for further information.
6. The early establishment of Colonization Railways in the Prairie Region.
7. The Western Terminus and the route through British Columbia.
8. The establishment of the trunk line between Lake Superior and Manitoba.
9. The cost of the Railway from Fort William to Selkirk.
10. The Contracts entered into.
As early as 1874, it was considered of primary importance to construct, as
speedily as practicable, a line of telegraph through the interior of the country, to
connect British Columbia with the Eastern Provinces. Contracts wore accordingly entered into with the design of effecting, before the end of 1876, complete telegraphic communication from Fort William, Lake Superior) westerly to the
Pacific coast. The original design was that the telegraph should follow the general
route of the railway. From Fort William to Ottawa, however, the surveys were
incomplete, and on this section it was not possible to construct the telegraph as
prescribed by the statute, along tho line of railway. Tenders were received but
no further  steps were taken in respect to  this distance.
The telegraph has been constructed complete for operation from Fort William to
Edmonton, 1,200 miles. The line, however, has not been brought into use beyond
Its operation, generally, has been limited to the distance between Battleford and
Fort William, 970 miles and a branch from Selkirk to Winnipeg.
The connection with the seat of Government was obtained via the branch line to
Winnipeg, and the lines through the United States.
The section between Edmonton and the British Columbia telegraph system
remains incomplete. The contractor undertook to erect 550 miles of telegraph in
two years.   At the end of four and a-half years, about 80 miles only are completed.
If the importance of a through telegraphic communication between Ottawa and
British Columbia, claims the same recognition which, five yeara?ligo, it obtained,
there should be no further delay in completing the system entirely through Canadian
The section from Fort William to Edmonton, a distance of about 1,200 miles, being
ready for use, there remains to be completed the eastern and western connections,
viz.:—about 600 miles east of Fort William and 470 milwiWest of Edmonton. The statute provides that the telegraph shall be constructed along the line of the
Railway after the location is established. On the eastern section the route is not
established. On the western section, although the line by the Rivers Thompson
and Fraser was adopted last year, that location has not given entire satisfaction,
and the desire has been strongly expressed that further explorations be made to
determine if a route more generally satisfactory can be found.
East of Fort William, it would be practicable to connect the Pacific Railway
telegraph with the telegraph system of Ontario, by submerged cables across Lakes
Superior and Huron to Tobermoray, or some other suitable point north-westerly
from Owen Sound. The cable would not be continuous, but would probably have
intermediate land lines across the peninsula at Sault St. Mary and the Manitoulin
It has been suggested that the construction of the Georgian Bay Branch Railway could be discontinued, and the money required for that work be applied towards
the cost of a Great Territorial Road on the line of railway from Lake Nipissing to
the north side of Lake Superior. The amount available by the non-prosecution of
this branch will admit of a land line of telegraph being constructed, precisely in the
position where it will be of permanent advantage. The line being located for tho
railway and cleared, the cost of the telegraph itself would be comparatively small,
probably not more than $120,000, while the cable line might cost from $400,000 to
$500,000. Moreover it may be said, that a cable connection would rather postpone
than promote the establishment of the continuous railway from the section under
construction north of Lake Superior to Lake Nipissing.
Whatever be the ultimate location of the railway west of Edmonton, if the
speedy establishment of through telegraphic communication be desirable, the telegraph may, without further delay, be taken by the route traced to Yellow Head Pass,
and thence to the most convenient point ot connection with the British Columbia
telegraph system in operation, which is itself owned by the Dominion Government.
Tho arrangements in force for operating the 1,200 miles constructed, are -
satisfactory, and frequent complaints have been received with regard to them.
■ The line is at present operated in three sections under the following arrangements :—
(1.) Fort William to Red River, 410 miles.
The line to be maintained until September, 1883, at the cost of contractors
(Messrs. Oliver, Davidson & Co.) The contractors receive $10 per mile per annum
lor operating. Government messages free. The operating arrangements to cease
on six months' notice.
(2.) Red River to Livingston^, 294 miles.
To be maintained and operated until 1st August, 1881, by the contractors,
(Messrs. Sifton, Glass & Co.) at the rate of $16 per mile, in all $4,770 per annum.
The contractors receiving profits.
(3.) Livingstone to Edmonton, 517 miles.
The contractor (Mr. R. Fuller) to receive $13,000 per annum for maintenance
until 15th July, 1881. There is no arrangement for operating; the contractor receives
all that the line earns.   The tariff of charges is considered exorbitant.
There are two modes by which the Pacific telegraph line ma/ be rendered useful
to the public-—
First.—By completing the eastern and western sections in the manner indicated,
and by operating the whole directly under a Department of the Government, as in
Great Britain, at a uniform low scale of charges.
Second.—By inviting proposals from existing telegraph companies, or companies that may possibly be formed, to purchase or lease the 1,200 miles constructed
from Fort William to Edmonton. The company to complete the whole line from
Ottawa to the Pacific coast, and to operate it at fixed uniform charges, not higher
than the present tariff in Ontario and Quebec.
Should it not be considered expedient to follow either of the courses submitted, I
have respectfully to recommend that steps be taken to regulate the charges on the
line now in operation from Fort William to Edmonton. That portion east of Selkirk
in particular will, in a short period, be in constant requisition.   At present it is the only means of communication across the country it traverses, and all parties connected with the construction of the railway, will require to use it constantly. Indeed
the whole of the line from Fort William to Edmonton will be of undoubted service
to the public if its operation be placed on a satisfactory basis.
The Canada Central Railway is bein£ constructed under a subsidy to a point
near the south shore of Lake Nipissing. At that point the line known as the
"Georgian Bay Branch begins, and it extends westerly, south of Lake Nipissing, then
follows the French River to Cantin's Bay. Its length is 50 miles. At Cantin's Bay
the navigation of Lake Huron is not reached, but from this point the French River
can be rendered navigable to its mouth by a single lock and by dredging the channel
where necessary.
A proposal has been made to make the whole of the French River navigable
from Lake Huron to Lake Nipissing, and abandon the construction of the Georgian
Bay Branch Railway.
I have examined into the feasibility of this project, and surveys have been
made in order to determine the most eligible point for connecting the Canada Central
Railway with Lake Nipissing.
The contract for constructing the Georgian Bay Branch was made in August,
1878. Up to this date, the work executed by the contractors has been confined to
clearing, so that the expenditure on the line of railway has been of limited amourft.
About twenty years ago surveys of French River were made by Mr. T. C. Clarke,
under the authority of the late Province of Canada, with the view of establishing
the practicability of forming an artificial navigation from Lake Huron to
Montreal, by way of Lake Nipissing and the River Ottawa, and it was then
proposed to raise the level of Lake Nipissing some ten feet to render the scheme
The immediate object was the reduction in tho work of cutting through a wide
ridge between Lake Nipissing and the Matawan, a branch of the Ottawa, and in order
to make Lake Nipissing the summit water supply. 10
Accordingly, in the survey recently made the raising of the level of Lake NipiB-
sing has been kept in view, so as to create no obstacle to completing the Ottawa
Canal Scheme in future years should traffic demand it.
The survey has established that the best point for touching Lake Nipissing is at
South-east Bay where excellent shelter and deep water are found with an open channel.
The shore can be approached by railway without difficulty, and the line may be extended thence towards Lake Superior without interfering with the project of raising
the level of Lake Nipissing.
It will require more extended examinations than have yet been made to "arrive
at a comparative estimate of the cost of making a canal or a railway to Lake Huron.
Mr. Clarke estimated the cost of the works on French River at less than $900,000, but
in this he appears to have made no provision for harbour purposes. Mr. Walter
Shanly, who, in 1863, revised Mr. Clarke's report, formed the opinion that the work
was under-estimated*
As far as the information which I possess warrants me in forming an opinion—
and the opinion is not definite—I consider that, taking the prices of work at this
date, we are warranted in adding 50 per cent, to Mr. Clarke's figures, in order to
obtain a rough approximate of cost. By this process the cost may be named as not
far from $1,400,000.
The estimated cost of the Georgian Bay Branch Railway, equipped with rolling
stock, including works necessary to connect it with the navigable waters of Lake
Huron, is placed at $1,900,000. Accordingly, so far as we have the means of judging, it may be said that it would involve a less expenditure to form an artificial
navigation from Lake Huron to Lake Nipissing than to establish the Branch Railway.
It has been suggested that in place of constructing the railway or canal to Lake
Huron, the amount required for either work should be expended in constructing a
portion of the main line of the Pacific Railway in the direction of Lake Superior
from the proposed terminus of the Canada Central, on South-east Bay. But I can see
no immediate object to be gained in establishing a fully appointed railway to a point
in the wilderness fifty miles north-westerly from South-east Bay.   It seems to me that the more prudent course would' be to expend the estimated cost of the
work, or a le3S sum, in establishing a great Territorial Road on the site of the main
line of the Pacific Railway from Lake Nipissing to the north side of Lake Superior.
This estimated cost of the Georgian Bay Branch Railway, fully equipped and
provided, is $1,900,000. Of this amount the existing contract for bridging and
grading is about $800,000. The latter or a smaller amount might at present be
judiciously expended on a Territorial Road, in clearing the line and in carrying
out such works of ditching and grading on the site of the railway as are ordinarily
executed on the common waggon roads of the country. This policy presents itself
to my mind as prudent, and as suggested by the necessities of the situation.
The formation of such a road will establish the great national Railway on a continuous line from Manitoba to Ottawa. Some years hence it can be completed, as
circumstances may dictate, when the traffic from the north-west warrants the
expenditure, or the public interests demand this railway connection between the
central and eastern portions of the Dominion.
Moreover, the course recommended to be followed will admit of the immediate
construction of the overland line of telegraph. It will pierce for hundreds of miles
a roadless forest, and will extend to lumbermen and mineral prospectors facilities for
carrying on their operations; and it will open up the means for colonizing suck
portions of an untrodden wilderness as may be found capable of settlement.
Applications are now being made to Parliament for Private Bills, giving
authority to companies to construct railways in various directions in Manitoba and
the North-West Territories.
A question of the greatest possible importance is thus brought into prominence
to claim the serious attention of the Government.
In my humble judgment it will prove to be a grave mistake if railway companies receive the necessary powers to establish lines as they have been constructed   in other parts of Canada; without forecast;  without due consideration 12
of the actual requirements of the country as a whole; without regard to a
systematic arrangement; without, in any way, recognizing the principle that, in
whatever respect it be viewed, a railway, whatever its length or position,
should be considerered as an integral portion of a whole system.
I refer more particularly to the Province of Ontario. Here there has been no
regard for any principle of practical economy, by which a general railway system,
as a whole, should be mapped out.
The experience gained in Ontario, in this respect, establishes tho necessity of
avoiding, on an infinitely larger scale, the mistakes that • have been unfortunately
committed in that portion of Canada bordered by the lakes. No part of the public
treasury should be expended in the construction of lines of railway in the North-
West, conceived at hap-hazard, and suggested rather by individual and local considerations than by broad public policy.
If public money should not be so used, it is perfectly clear that Parliament should
not give authority to private companies to expend borrowed capital in an equally
unwise manner.
The future railway system of the whole unoccupied territory will undoubtedly
demand, sooner or later, an expenditure of many hundreds of millions of dollars;
and from whatever sources the enormous capital may be obtained, it must
be obvious to the least reflecting mind that it should be wisely expended, so that,
as far as practicable, while the public interest is advanced, all possible loss to the
investor should be guarded against.
If the railways of Ontario had to be established de novo, a careful study of the
requirements of that Province would enable any intelligent engineer of ordinary experience to project a new system, which at one-half the cost would far better serve the
public, would meet every demand of traffic, would more fully satisfy every expectation,
and which would not result in disappointment and loss to those who have been
induced to invest their means in that which has proved, to many, to be unprofitable
The railways of Ontario havo cost, according to official returns, nearly one
hundred and eighty millions of dollars.   If they could have been constructed for one- 13
half the cost, the other half of this enormous sum, $90,000,000, may be assumed to
be a wholly unnecessary outlay. If a well considered and less costly system
would have equally met the wants of Ontario, the excessive expenditure can only be
considered as superfluous, and so much of it as remains permanently unremunerative
as hopelessly wasted. If public money, the public debt might have been so much the
less, or other interests might have been served and developed to the extent of the unwise expenditure. If private money, obtained from parties at a distance, on fair promises, or on prospects represented as encouraging, there is staring the investors in
the face the deplorable and unimpugnable fact that much of it will be absolutely lost.
It is to be feared that the same policy extended to the North-West, will end in
like consequences, but on a ten-fold greater scale. The greatest possible care should
therefore be taken to render such results impossible.   ,
I conceive that the prudent course will be not to allow the passage of Private
Railway Bills for Manitoba and the North-West, until a general railway scheme
be deliberately and carfefnlly matured.
I have felt it my duty, as far as practicable, on more than one occasion to draw
attention to this extremely important consideration. In previous reports I have ox-
pressed the opinion that not simply one railway to connect the Atlantic and Pacific
coasts will be required, but that hereafter, a vast breadth of country will call for
the establishment of a complete and elaborate system of main and subsidiary lines.
Will it not be the true policy, to meet this contingency and lay down a broad,
general system which will satisfy public requirements ? Is it not in fact an imperative duty to devise a scheme of railways and highways for the whole territory,
which in the best possible manner will meet the wants of the future, with the least
expenditure of capital in construction ? A system which, when established, can
be cheaply and efficiently operated.
I deem it proper to express the opinion which has firmly forced itself on my
mind, that the Government should control the location, not of the Trunk lines only
but of all lines. 14
Having constantly in view the advantageous settlement of the more important fertile tracts of territory, the great leading lines should not be unnecessarily
lengthened or diverted from the most suitable location in order to meet some merely
sectional want or subserve individual advantage.
The subsidiary railway system should not be left to chance, or be given over to
private control. All lines should be conceived in the interest of the whole system and
the whole country. A railway and road system of the entire habitable territory
should be designed so as to meet, in the best possible manner, the future requirements
of the country and its future occupants. Each line of communication should be in the
right place and of the proper character; and whenever constructed, each link should be
established so as to form a part, ultimately, of a general system.
The opportunity now presents itself of establishing the traffic communications of
a vast and naturally rich country, on a sound, economic basis. If the opportunity
be neglected or evaded, it will never again recur.
lt is, therefore, of the first importance that the Government should control the
location and construction of all lines, so as jealously to guard that the streams of
traffic that will be created will not be diverted from Canadian channels; and at the
same time to exact that no railway shall be established which shall not aid in the
settlement and prosperity of the country; and that no line shall interfere with
another, or encroach on the territory another line has been constructed to serve.
If the opportunity now presented of establishing a railway system on sound principles be allowed to pass without laying down a wise policy, it will not be difficult
to predict the results. The evil effects of neglect will not end with this century. On
the other hand, if the true interests of the country be consulted and the proper
policy be adopted, Canada will enjoy the beneficial effects for all future time.
The policy followed in this matter will in no small degree determine the future
of the vast territory of cultivable land which has recently come under the control of
Canada, and it will affect, for good or for evil, millions of British subjects. There
are two classes of men to be considered—the investor and the settler. Naturally we
look to the Mother Country for some of its surplus capital to aid in establishing our great continental highways. Is it not incumbent on us, as far as we can, to make
the investment of that capital safe and profitable ? By opening up this fertile
territory we provide, on British soil, an outlet for the many who are crowded amid a
redundant population. We find employment for those who suffer from enforced
idleness, and we open up the prospect of prosperity to all who are willing to wait for
the certain reward of patient toil, frugality and industry. There will no longer be
need for such to turn to a foreign soil, however hospitable it may be. The one
change necessary will be simply that of locality. To the struggling man of the old
world, who has strength and courage, we can offer the means of making for himself
a home. To all such we can offer land to till that will yield a generous reward
to labour, but that land is far in the interior of the continent. It must first be made
accessible and the means provided for carrying to market what the soil will produce.
Moreover in laying down the avenues of traffic which the settlement of the land will
necessitate, we should take every precaution to keep the country unburdened by a
weight of debt which would bear heavily in any quarter. If, on the one hand, we
feel called upon in the interests of the whole Empire to open up the vast territory
for the millions who are to occupy it, on the other hand, it is clearly our duty to
follow the course which will accomplish this result in the most satisfactory manner.
Accordingly I have respectfully to recommend that the necessary steps be taken
to prepare a scheme of railways calculated to meet, in the most economical and
efficient manner, the future requirements of the territory as far as they can now
be foreseen.
I am deepl sensible of the weighty responsibilities and the difficulties
inseparable from this undertaking. In designing a general scheme of lines of com- j
munication for so vast a field, it will be necessary in the first place to have
correct information of the general character and natural resources of every portion
of the whole territory; and it must be carefully examined and generalized and its
merits and possibilities earnestly weighed.
I have endeavoured to collect all known information respecting the country
within   the   limits of the Prairie Region.   To   make   it   easy of reference, the 16
whole region has been subdivided into blocks, bounded by each separate parallel
of latitude and longitude. I have placed side by side the descriptions of scientific
travellers and all statements made on reliable authority which are available.
Thus all facts collected have been systematically arranged, and the result is set
forth in the appendix. A map has also been prepared on which an attempt has
been made to indicate generally the character of the soil, separating that of more
or less value from tracts which are comparatively worthless.
It will be seen that much yet remains to be discovered respecting large areas,
and it is this information which I suggest should be obtained in the coming season by
careful explorations of the sections where our knowledge is deficient. This or some other
similar method of systematically arranging the facts as they are collected can alone
give moderately correct ideas of a country so vast in its dimensions. Some misconception, I fear, has already arisen respecting the character of portions of the Territory.
Large tracts have been declared worthless on very slender data, and equally extensive
areas have been pronounced to be of the greatest fertility on insufficient grounds.
The course I suggest will dispel all erroneous opinions. Moreover correot information is indispensable to enable us to mature a scheme of colonization railways for
the ultimate development of every considerable tract of cultivable and habitable land.
As it will not be possible to mature a proper scheme of railways for the
whole country until more complete information is gained and as the settlement of
vacant lands will in the meantime be proceeded with. I beg leave to submit for
your consideration the following regulations and conditions which in view of the
ultimate establishment of colonization railways, should I think be at once enforced
I. That in all free grants for homesteads, the right of way for railway track,
(main lines or branches) space for snow-fences, land for stations and approaches
from either side, be reserved and that no compensation be payable to the ^owner
or occupant of the homestead.
H. That in disposing of farm lands by sale, the same reservations be made. The
compensation to be reckoned at the original price per acre which the purchaser may
have paid the Land Department of the Dominiou. 17
IH. That in the event of any branch lines being undertaken by private companies the following provisions be enacted.
(1.) That the location be approved by the Government and determined by Order
in Council.
(2.) That in all Bills providing for the incorporation of companies for the construction of railways, it be enacted that the powers granted do not take effect until
the company has subscribed sufficient capital, or obtained sufficient municipal assistance, or otherwise satisfied the Government of their having acquired ample
■ resources to complete and equip the length of line they may have undertaken, or
until a proclamation be issued authorizing them to proceed.
(3.) That in all Bills, as above, the Government shall reserve the right to acquire
the railway at ten per cent, above its actual cost, not including any assistance
granted by the Government in the first place.
During last Session of Parliament I was called upon to express my views with
regard to the ■ question of a terminus on the Pacific coast and the location of ,the
western end of the lino.
I submitted the opinion that it would be desirable to gain full and complete
imformation' regarding a northern route by Peace or Pine River, and the vast
territory through which a northern route has been proposed, with respect to
which little is now  known.
The Government, however, deemed it essential that construction should com
mence without further delay in British Columbia, and I was directed to state the
route, which under the circumstances, I would advise should be placed under contract.
Accordingly, I recommended that if no postponement for further examination
could be admitted, and if tho immediate commencement of the railway was imperative,
that the choice should fall on the route by the Rivers Thompson and Fraser to
Burrard Inlet. 18
I submitted the opinion, that more than one line through Canada to the Pacifio
might ultimately be called for; that as far as colonization of the vast central territory
was concerned, it was of little consequence which was first constructed, but that
the line which could be most speedily established and which would best subserve the
general interests of the Empire, was entitled to the preference.
Much has been said for and against every route that has been projected. But on
carefully considering the engineering and commercial features in each case, the conclusion was forced upon my mind that the Railway itself would be least difficult to
construct, that when established it would be easiest operated and that general interests
would be most consulted by following the route to Burrard Inlet.
The route to Burrard Inlet was chosen and tenders for the construction of the
work, between Yale and Lake Kamloops, were invited, but nothing further has been
It cannot be said that the selection of Burrard Inlet as a terminus has given
general satisfaction in British Columbia. On the contrary, a claim has been advanced
in that Province that another route and terminus are preferable. It is therefore to be
considered if additional explorations should be made, and more complete information
obtained with regard to the northern country; so that it may be definitely determined
if a route more desirable can be found.
Accordingly, I suggest that the unexplored region, lying between Fort Connelly
and Fort McLeod, in British Columbia, and those large tracts of vacant territory east
of the Rocky Mountains in the latitude of Peace River, which have never yet been
traversed by scientific travellers, be explored and accurate data obtained respecting
the feasibility of a railway through that region to the Pacific coast.
I have always attached great importance to the endeavor to secure the best
location attainable for the railway. I have elsewhere described the efforts which
have been made from the commencement of the survey, to obtain a lino favorable for
cheap transportation.
I 19
In my report of January 26,1874, the subject was fully discussed.   I then said:—
" One of the questions which will undoubtedly force itself on public attention
when the Prairie Region begins to raise a surplus for exportation, will be the cheap
transportation of products to the east. Looking to this view of the question, the
importance of a location which will secure the lightest gradients in an easterly direction is manifest.
I The gradients and alignments of a railway have much to do with its capacity
for business, and the cost of working it. It is well known that by attention to these
features, in locating a line, it is quite possible, in some cases, to double the transporting capacity of a railway, and very largely reduce the cost of conveying freight
over it.
| That portion of the Canadian Pacific Railway between Red River and the
navigable waters of Lake Superior, is precisely one of those cases where the utmost
attention should be paid to its engineering features. The reduction of the cost of
transportation on this location to the lowest figure is a question which affects the
future of the country, as upon it, to a large extent, depends the settlement of the
western prairies.
§ The more this portion of the railway can be made to convey cheaply the products of the soil to the navigation of the St. Lawrence, the more will the field be
extended Within which farming operations can be carried on with profit on the fertile
I The information obtained suggests that it will be possible to secure maximum
easterly ascending gradients between Manitoba and Lake Superior, within the limit
of 26 feet to the mile,, a maximum not half so great as that which obtains on the
majority of the railways on the continent.
II think the line should be located so as to have the best possible alignment,
with no heavier gradients than the maximum referred to. But the importance of
securing the benefits of an unbroken steam communication at the ea "liest possible
moment are so great that I consider that it would be advisable, in the first instance,
to construct the cheapest possible line. While adhering to the permanont location in
the main, 1 would, with a view of accomplishing the desired object, rcoommend the 20
construction of a cheap temporary line, avoiding for the present all costly permanent
works that would retard its completion. In order to gain access to the country as
speedily and cheaply as possible, it might indeed become necessary to overcome
special difficulties by adopting temporarily, for short distances, deviations from the
true location with heavy undulating gradients and sharp curvature. I have no
reason, however, to think that this expedient would frequently be required. I am
satisfied that for the greater part of the distance between Lake Superior and Manitoba,
the permanent location may be substantially adhered to."
The whole of the railway between Fort William and Selkirk, in length 410 miles,
is now under contract. It is with no little satisfaction that I am enabled to point to
a table of the gradients which have been definitely established in this length. Under
the contracts which have been entered into, these favorable gradients are to be
carried into execution without having recourse to the temporary expedients which I
thought necessary to suggest five years ago.
Summary of Gradients, Fort WilUam to Selkirk.
Ascending Easterly. Feet per Mile.   No. of Miles.
Rise -10 to -20 per cent about   5 to 10       38-52
do   -20 to-30    do         10 to 16       17-11
do  «30 to-40    do         16 to 21       42-97
do   -40 to-50    do         21 to 26-4    80-11    178.71
Level f|  108-06    108.06
Ascending Westerly.                             Feet per Mile. No. of Miles.
Rise -10 to   -20 per cent about   5 to 10 28-51
do   -20 to   -30    do   |||||.  10 to 16 10-91
do   -30 to   -40    do         16 to 21 9-74
do   «40 to   -50    do         21 to 26 12-83
do   -50 to   -60    do         26 to 32 6-82
do   -60to   -70    do         32to37 10-65
do   -70 to   -80    do         37 to 42 12-76
do   -80 to 1-00     do         42 to 52-8    31-01    123.23
Total miles         410-00    410.00 21
In determining the gradients the rule has been laid down to equate them with
the curvature, so that when sharp curves were called for by the physical features of
the country, the inclinations of the line would in those cases be proportionately
The practical effect of a sharp curve on a maximum gradient is to make the
gradient heavier by reducing the effective power of a locomotive making the ascent,
thus preventing the passage of full loaded trains over the line. The object has been,
whatever the curvature, to secure a degree of inclination which in no case would
exceed, on tangents, 26-4 feet per mile ascending easterly, or in the direction of
heavy traffic. The contract profiles of the line over the 410 miles from Fort William
to Selkirk establishes that this object has been substantially secured. Only at one
point (eighteen miles out of Fort William) has the locating engineer neglected to
enforce this rule. I greatly regret that such is the case as it will involve an expenditure to remedy the defect greater than would have been called for in the first place,
when the cost would have been comparatively trifling.
With the exception referred to corrected, the portion of the Pacific Railway
between Lake Superior and Manitoba is thus finally established with extremely
favorable engineering features, and it may be claimed that when completed under
existing contracts, it will be available for conveying the products of the soil from the
Prairie Region to Lake Superior, at the cheapest possible rates.
As this portion of the Pacific Railway must, for a long time to come, form the
great outlet of much of the Prairie Region, the favorable character for cheap transportation which has been secured for it cannot be over-rated. Indeed upon this
important condition very largely depends the successful settlement of the vast fertile
plains and the permanent advantage of the future settlers.
I beg leave to submit a closer approximate estimate of the cost of the portion of
the line from Fort William to Selkirk than hitherto has been practicable. 22
Grading,  bridging,   tracklaying  and  ballasting,  under   existing contracts, say          $12,000,000
Rails and fastenings ,         3,000,000
Rolling stock station and terminal accommodation, engineering and
contingencies        3,000,000
Total Estimated Cost      $18,000,000
In this Estimate I have made allowances for necessary Station and Terminal
services, and also for an equipment of Rolling Stock. The latter on the same scale as
on the Intercolonial Railway.
This brings the approximate cost, as far as it can now be ascertained, in round
figures to eighteen million dollars for the whole 410 miles, averaging close on $44,000
per mile. The estimate is somewhat higher than was expected ; the increase is owing
to the extremely rugged and rocky character of the country traversed east and west
of Rat Portage. The average cost reckoned by sections, ranges from $27,210 to
$83,059 per mile. But for the rocky district covered by contracts Nos. 42 and 15, the
average per mile would have been $31,390. The variable character of the country
traversed by the line and the difficulties met on each of the six contract sections
may be judged from the following calculation of averages:—
Estimated Average Cost per Mile by Sections.
Length. Per Mile.
Contract No. 13  3260 miles, — average $28,626
Jo     No. 25  80-24   do do 32,087
do     No. 41.. 118-03   do do 31,387
do     No. 42  66-48   do do 80,364
do     No- 15  36'27   do do 83,059
' do     No- 14  70-38   do do 27,210
Average for the whole 410-00 miles  $43,902 23
The several contracts for the supply of material or the execution of work to
the present date, number in all forty-two; of these, Nos. 1 to 31, inclusive, were
referred to in my report of February, 1878; and described (p. 383) in an Appendix. ■
Since that date the following have been entered into :—
Contract No.   5a For extension of Pembina Branch  from St. Boniface to
do 32a For the erection of station-houses, Prince Arthur District.
do 33   For grading, bridging and track-laying, Pembina Branch,
from St. Boniface to Emerson.
do 34 For transportation of rails to Manitoba.
do 35 For furnishing spikes.
do 36 For supplying ties in Manitoba.
do 37 For the Georgian Bay Branch.
do 38 For converting Neebing Hotel into offices.
do 39   For the transportation of rails from Esquimalt and Nanaimo
to Yale, B.C.
do 40   For the erection of Engine-house, at Selkirk.
do 41   For grading, ballasting and track-laying, English River to
Eagle River (Tender A).
do 42   For grading, ballasting   and track-laying, Eagle River  to
Keewatin (Tender B).
A description of these several contracts, with rates and prices, the amounts paid
to 31st December last, and an approximate estimate of the expenditure envolved, will
be found in the appendix.
I have also attached my report on surveying operations and construction for the
past year.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Engineer-in-Ohief.  25
APPENDIX  No.   i.
The Prairie Region has been arbitrarily defined in previous reports as extending
from the eastern boundary of British Columbia to a line drawn northerly and
southerly from Lake Winnipeg. This great central area of Canada is not all prairie,
but a considerable portion of it, especially towards the south, is of a prairie
character; in other parts much of the Territory consists of woodland. It is, however, held convenient to retain for the whole extent the term of' Prairie Region.'
The information in the following pages, compiled under instructions from the
Engineer-in-Chief, by Mr. Thomas Ridout, C.E., is designed to embrace all important facts found on record, respecting the physical characteristics of this Territory.
Itjis not claimed that the accompanying map is absolutely correct; an attempt
has been made simply to show all the routes followed by scientific travellers, and to
distinguish the general character of the soil, as described by them, and set forth in
the following pages. The portions of the country left untinted on the map, so far
as known, have not been visited by Explorers, and no definite knowledge of them
has yet been obtained. 26
The whole Territory is divided into sections, each section
one degree of Longitude in breadth by one degree of Latitude
in length.
The numerals in the margin, in a fractional form, thus -^~
indicate the particular section in each case.    The numerator
referring to the Latitude and the denominator to the Longitude.
Thus " 59 " means the space lying between the 59th and
60th parallels of Latitude, while " 100 " refers to the space
between the 100th and 101st meridian.
The numbers printed in red on the accompanying map
indicate the several sections.-
100 Nothing reliable known.
101 Nothing reliable known.
102 Nothing reliable known.
103 Nothing reliable known. 27
104 Nothing reliable known
105 Nothing reliable known.
106 Nothing reliable known.
59   I ■ i^fllS^I^^^-' -'::' V ^ ^^ -''/ftS^M
107 Nothing reliable known.
59 I ^i^iiS3%)^s^li^ft^
IOo        Nothing reliable known.
59 ^^^^^^^"^^S'^^^^H
IO9        Nothing reliable known.
59 I ^^f^^^ftSi^^^^^fl
I IO        Nothing reliable known.
111 The Slave River flows to the north through the centre of this section,
draining the waters from Athabasca Lake and Peace River into the Great Slave
Lake, down the Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean.
The following information is limited to the country bordering on the
river which is the line of travel generally followed :—
Eichardson Arctic Search Expedition, Vol I., p. 137 and 148.
I Granite knolls show themselves at frequent intervals on the banks of Slave
river. In several places ledges of rock cross the river and form rapids. Limestone cliffs also appear."   No description is given of the interior of this country.
I At Salt River, a tributary of Slave River, about 100 miles north of Fort
Chepewyan, seven or eight copious salt springs deposit, over a clayey plain,
much pure common salt."
112 The Peace River touches the south-west corner of this section. See
section ^j-.
113 The Peace River crosses the south-east angle of this section. See section -j^.
114        Nothing reliable known.
SJ 28
Nothing reliable known.
Nothing reliable known.
Nothing reliable known.
Nothing reliable known.
Nothing reliable known.
from thk 100th to the 120th meridian, and between the 58th and 59th
parallels of latitude.
I OO Nothing reliable known.
i§. H
101 Nothing reliable known.
58 |§
102 Nothing reliable known.
58 |g
103 Nothing reliable known.
5§_ H
104 Nothing reliable known.
105 Nothing reliable known.
■ I
106 Nothing reliable known. 29
IOy Nothing reliable known.
5?. '7
108 Nothing reliable known.
5?. I :-rr
IOQ Nothing reliable known.
110 The River Athabasca flows into Athabasca Lake in this section, and is on
the route travelled by Sir Alex. Mackenzie and others to the Arctic Ocean
vid the Mackenzie River, and to the Pacific vid Peace River.
Sir Alex. Mackenzie.
In the journal of his celebrated travels in 1792, and following years, referring to this place, says that "'Athabasca' in the Knisteneaux language
implies a flat, low, swampy country."
Sir John Jmmardson, Arctic Search Exp., Vol. \,p. 132-133.
Lake Athabasca is estimated by Capt. Lefroy to be 600 feet above the sea.
I Much of the country in the immediate vicinity of Chepewyan is composed
of rounded knolls of granite nearly destitute of soil, and many of them smooth
and polished. These rocks extend along the north shore, and rise in the interior
to a height of 400 to 600 feet.
Plumbago of excellent quality has been found on the shores of this lake.
A delta, intersected by several channels, exists at the junction of Peace River
with Athabasca Lake and its outlet.
Macoun Geol. Rep., 1875-76, p. 91.
In writing of the country at the mouth of the River Athabasca,
states that for 25 miles south of lake the land is from 2 to 6 feet
above the water, and is subjected to floods.
I All this immense delta, including Lakes Claire and Mamawa and their
bordering marshes, and all that part of tho Peace River Valley below Peace
Point may be called a delta, or the Delta of the Rivers Peace and Athabasca.',
111 Macoun Geol. Sep., 1875-76, p. 168 and 165.
The Arthabasca flows northerly through the eastern portion. Mr.Macoun,who
travelled up th||n.ver in a canoe, states that above the Delta, the true bank of
the river, about 12 feet high, was composed of red sand, and clothed with a
forest of Banksian pine and aspen, the former being most conspicuous.
The width of river is from 250 to 300 yards. The river at certain periods
of the year adds new material to the land along its margin, and thus builds up
its banks. This seems to be of constant occurrence on Peace and Arthabasca
Rivers,after entering the Delta. Willow, Balsam, Poplar and Spruce make up the
forest in the above order according to the age of the land. At about 50 miles
from the Lake the- banks rise to 40 feet above the river, and the forest here is
of Banksian Pine and Aspen.   The opinion is expressed that the 'eastern bank 30
of the river here is useless for agricultural purposes, as the Banksian Pine
always indicates a poor, sandy soil. The Islands have rich soil and are well
suited for hay and vegetables.
Fort Chipewyan.
Tho vicinity shows glaciated, laurentian rocks,with small growth of Banksian
Pine. At French Mission, two miles from Fort, the soil is poor, a mixture of
sand and humus, but every thing planted seems to flourish.
112 The Peace River  traverses   the   northern portion of this section, and
passes through the Delta, as described in section ^j-.
1 X3 Macoun Geol. Rep. 1875-76, pp. 162-163.
Rapid Bouill^ Peace River.
" Fine white gypsum crops out, and continues as the lowest rook in the
section for the next 20 miles." After passing the rapid the river is more confined, the islands less numerous and the bank higher.
114 Sir Alex. Mackenzie.
Falls of Peace River.
The river here 400 yards broad; falls 20 feet high. The country from mouth
of river to falls is low, and except in a few open parts covered with grass, is
clothed with woods. Where the banks are low the soil is good, and where
elevated display face of yellowish clay. On the line of falls on either side of
river very extensive plains are said to exist, which afford pasture for herds of
Macoun Geol. Rep., 1875-76,^?. 88-89,161.
At the Little Red River " the country is not more than 50 feet above the river,
and presents the appearance of a vast plain, extending to the north to the
Cariboeuf Mountains, said to be 40 miles distant."
The falls of the Peace River are a short distance above the mouth of Little
Red River. "At present (15th August) the fall is 15 feet, but at high water cannot be half as much."
" 16th August, vegetation indicates even warmer climate than at Fort
Vermilion." " Summer frosts never do any harm here, and soil is of first-class
" Between Little Red River and Rapid Bouill6, country along bank seems to
be low, alluvial plains with soil of surpassing richness."
115 Macoun Geol. Rep., 1875-76,^. 160.
Fort Vermilion to Little Red River.
"The river is over 1,000 yards in width," becoming wider and filled with
islands, and it is often difficult to tell its breadth. 31
116 Macoun Geol. Rep., 1875-76,^. 159.
Fort Vermilion.
The soil is of the very best description, evidently alluvium, but depth not
determined; on immediate bank of river, subsoil is of clay and gravel&ften of
a reddish colour. About -J- mile from the river the land rises about 50 feet with
increased luxuriance of vegetation. Although 2° north of St. John, barley and
vegetables were much further advanced. Barley sown on 8th May was cut 6th
August, having been in the ground just ninety days ; grains large and of
beautiful colour. Turnips and early rose potatoes large, with indications of
heavy crops. The whole country round this point la plain, elevated from 50
to 100 feet above the river. From frequent enquiries as to character at distance
from river, it is believed to be exactly like that seen at Fort Vermilion. The
country intervening between this and the Caribceuf Mountains, seemed level or to
slope gradually up towards mountains, and as far as eye could see was covered
with aspen forest with occasional groups of spruce. " No frosts had occurred
at Vermilion since May; often whole seasons pass without frost from early
in May till late in October."
Peace River is here over 3,000 feet wide.
117 The Peace River traverses the southern and eastern portion of this section.
All travellers through this region appear to have followed the river, and their
observations are confined to the immediate banks.
Sir Alex. Mackenzie.
In this section the " Old Establishment," probably old Fort Vermilion, was
situated. Here Sir Alex. Mackenzie wintered in 1792-3, and consequently had
a good opportunity of knowing the country in this quarter. He describes the
river banks in this locality as being 30 feethiga. " On either side of the river
are extensive plains, and opposite our present situation are beautiful meadows
ancl^groves of poplar." He relates that " in 1788 a small spot was cleared,
and sown with turnips, potatoes, carrots and parsnips; the first grow large
andthe others thrived well."
118 Nothing reliable known.
58 ^^^K^^^i^S I
119 Nothing,reliabte known.
from 100th to 120th meridian, and between the §7th and 58th
100 Nothing reliable known.
101 Nothing reliable*known. 32
102 Nothing reliable known,
57. H
103 Nothing reliable known.
104 Nothing reliable known.
105 Nothing reliable known.
— ^
IOO Nothing reliable known.
107 Nothing reliable known.
108 Nothing reliable known.
Nothing reliable known.
HO Nothing reliable known.
III        The Athabasca runs through the eastern half of this section.
Macoun Geo. Rep., 1875-76, pp. 169-170-171, and 93.
The river banks about 50 feet high. Country for 50 miles below the
Forks on both sides of the river is evidently very good; confirmed by fbotanical
observations; dry limestone soil of excellent quality and well suited for agriculture.
" Noted every species of plant. Out of 217 species, 186 were representatives of Ontario flora, 'showing there was not a single species to indicate a
northern latitude. Of the remaining 31 species, all except two belong to the
prairie and forest lands along the Saskatchewan. The familiar eastern species
were in their usual locations, and nothing but the everlasting spruce and aspen
forest reminded the traveller that he was nearly 800 miles north of Ottawa."
" Spruce forest means a damp soil with moss as principal undergrowth ;
while aspen represents the dry open forest, and whenever the spruce forest is
destroyed the other takes its place."
Seventeen miles below the Forks found bituminous shales and tar oozing
from the bank of river. " Mr. Moberly states that tar beds extended up the Athabasca to near mouth of Lac la Biche River." We also passed tar springs on
Clear Water River, ten miles above Forks. 57.
112 Nothing reliable known.
Nothing reliable known.
114 Nothing reliable known.
[IC Nothing reliable known.
57. ■    .      ■    '• ^ '      Jm
11*5 Nothing reliable known.
The Peace River passes through the north-western portion of-this section.
Sir Alex. Mackenzie.
Left the " Old Establishment" in May, 1793, and proceeded|up the Peace
River on his journey to the Pacific. He states that at 17 miles above Old
Establishment the banks of river are steep and hilly, displaying a face of several
strata of reddish earth and brown stone, bitumen and greyish earth, and below
water a red stone.    He also saw several salt springs.
The whole country was very beautiful with exuberant vegetation'and groves
of poplar; on the east, a range of hills, several covered with white spruce .and
soft birch.
At 50 miles further, the forest consisted of spruce, birch and the largest
poplar he had ever seen. Beyond this, he describes very little of the character
of Peace River country, his journal being taken up more with the incidents of
travel along the river and intercourse with the Indians.
Il8 The river winds into the south-eastern corner of this section.
Macoun Geol. Rep., 1875-76, p. 158.
Battle River Post on the Peace River.
The land in this neighbourhood is astonishingly rich and fit to produce anything.   From this westward the country is not known.
Nothing reliable known. FROM THE lOOTH TO  THE   1218T  MERIDIAN,   AND   BETWEEN THE   56TH AND   57tH
100 Nothing reliable known.
B -       ■ !Si3K>silil^^^BBl
101 Nothing reliable known.
102 Nothing reliable known.
103 Nothing reliable known.
IC4 Nothing reliable known.
561        Bsi^^^^^^^^^H
IOC Nothing reliable known.
106 Nothing reliable known,
56        ;    ;     Kf^i^^^^^^^BH
107 Nothing reliable known.
56 iiiBBflBl^^l
108 Macoun Geo. Rep., 1875-76, p. 175.
Passed along Buffalo Lake at south-west corner of this section, and
describes the country as peat bog, and marsh.
56 iBBh' '
109 Macoun Geol. Rep., 1875-76, pp. 94, 173, 175 and 111.
Passed through this section diagonally along the general line of travel.
Banksian Pine, indicating a sandy soil appear on the Clear Water River
in this section.
The country rises very rapidly after leaving the' Athabasca, and the river
passes through canyons, forming large rapids, the limestone rock rising vertically to a height of from 60 to 100 feet above the stream, the hills in the
neighbourhood becoming 500 feet high. The scenery here is finer than any
thing seen since leaving the River Thompson, of British Columbia. The rook
of this locality is in appearance like the Niagara limestone, as seen at Owen
Sound.   Sulphur springs also are found here. 35
Portage La Loche
" Is the height of land between the McKenzie and Churchill Rivers." The
portage is less than 12 miles long ; on level plateau above the river the vegetation changes and the surface is either swampy and covered with black spruce
or dry and sandy with Banksian pine. This being on the great thoroughfare to
the north, horses are generally kept on this portage for the transfer of
goods, &c.
Methy Lake
Is 600 feet above the Clear Water; the country wet and cold; many boulders
on surface; land generally unfit for cultivation ; potatoes grown, but had been
killed by figst this year, 1875, on 9th September (in Manitoba, however, they
had been killed 21st August).    Barley had been grown the preceding year.
| In the country between Portage La Locbe and Buffalo Lake occur peat
bogs of good quality, and extensive marshes."
Mr. H. J. Moberly, of the Hudson's Bay Company, who has resided at
Fort McMurray, Forks of Athabasca and Clear Water, for many years, furnished Mr. Marcus Smith with a ske+ch map of the country between the 109th and
ll5th meridians, and from Lac la Biche north to the Forks of the Athabasca
and Clear Water Rivers, which tract he has traversed in several directions.
The information conveyed by this map is rather general and difficult to
locate with accuracy, but perhaps it may serve to give some idea of the character
of this region.   It will accordingly be referred to in some of the following
Moberly's Map
Shows a large swamp, without timber from Methy Lake westward about
20 miles in width.
B ^^^^^^^^H
I IO Macoun Geol. Rep., 1875-76, p. 173.
The Clear Water River.
Running across the northern portion of this section " is very crooked, with
gently sloping banks, which rise to at least 200 feet, and are clothed with
aspen on both sides." Ascending the river the balsam fir becomes quite common, and more spruce appears. All the land seen for some distance above the
Forks was fit for agriculture; Grindstones are obtained here by the H. B. Co.
Moberly's Map.
The Pembina'River is shown to run north-westerly through this section, and
to empty into the Clear Water about 15 miles east of the 1 Forks." Poplars and
cypress occur to the west of the Pembina River, a large swamp, without timber,
occupying the central portion of section, and on the western side a small lake,
cypress, pine, and some small swamps. 55_
III Macoun Geo. Rep., 1875-76, p. 171-172.
Forks of the Athabasca and Clear Water Rivers.
" Mr. Moberly, the officer in charge of Hudson's Bay Post, at this place,states
that his wheat and barley were superb, and that the country round the Forks
was well suited for farming purposes. About a mile above the Forks on
the Clear Water, is a beautiful prairie on which great quantities of hay were
cut with a reaper. The Hudson's Bay Company could raise enough wheat here
to supply the demands of all their Posts in the North. The frost occurred on
the 9th September. Mr. Moberly mentioned a spring 15 miles south of the
Forks, on the Athabasca, with very strong brine, and also another the same
distance below the Forks.
The Hudson's Bay Company are now (1876j building a steamboat at the
Forks to navigate Athabasca River and Lake and the Peace River as far as the
Chute, and Slave River to the portages. Another steamer below the portages
on Slave River would give uninterupted navigation to the Arctic Sea, while
another on Peace River above the Chutes could run to Hudson's Hope, thus
forming navigation of over 2,000 miles.
Moberly's Map
Shows swamp, without timber about 12 miles in diameter, south-east of
the Forks, and, on trail running south from Hudson Bay Post at the Forks, 20
miles of poplar and cypress, with a few swamps and creeks ; a large swamp
without timber about five miles south of the Athabasca, and extending for 15
miles southerly to an extensive area of Rocky hills, enclosing swamps, which
occupies the southern portion of section. The sides of these hills sy-e thickly
wooded with pine and poplar.
112 Moberly's Map.
In the northern part of this section, a large swamp without wood is shown
a few miles north of the Athabasca. Old Fort River passes through the
southern part, flowing westerly into the Athabasca; and, on the west side of
the river, a belt of dry land in the south-west angle of section.
Moberly's Map.
In the north-east part of section,
southern portion "
High Ridges
' Timber Mountain" is shown, and in the
or the Buffalo Mountains."
Nothing reliable known.
Nothing reliable known.
Nothing reliable known. 1
JI/ Messrs. Horetzky and Macoun entered this section at the south-east corner,
and 'travelled north-westerly, striking the Peace River a few miles below the
mouth of Smoky River.
Horetzky Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, p. 46.
| Peace Rtver was reached after traversing 75 miles (by account) of a very
fine country, generally easy and level and of excellent soil, in great part
timbered with poplar, spruce and some tamarac."
Valley of Peace River at least two miles wide and some 750 feet deep.
Marcoun—Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, #p. 70, 82.
Between Lesser Slave Lake and Peace River, at mouths of Heart and
Smoky Rivers:—
" Distance about 70 miles, through a level country gently rolling in parts,
but without a BW.. For last thirty miles most lovely country, being part prairie
and part aspen forest." " Level country on this portage is said to extend across
Smoky River to Rocky Mountains, 180 miles." Vegetation similar to that
round Edmonton.
Selwyn. Geol. Rep., 1875-76, p. 56 to 60.
Hudson Bay Post, on left bank of river, two miles above mouth of Smoky
I The bank of Peace River is here 40 feet high, of coarse rounded gravel
and sand. From top of bank a well-grassed level plane extends for.250 yards,
to base of rounded grassy hills, which rise steeply to 500 or 600 feet above river,
and then stretch away in a vast rolling prairie dotted with groves of spruce and
" Looking across Peace River to tho south and south-east, general outline
and elevation of the country does not differ from that on the north side, but
in place of open, grassy hills and lightly wooded dells, an uniformly and
apparently pretty thickly wooded country extends on all sides as far as the eye
can reach."
I Main channel of river at the Fork is 400 to 500 yards wide."
" Sixteenth and seventeenth August were the hottest days experienced;
thermometer reached 92° and 94° in the shade."
Smoky River.
At 25 miles up the river, he ascended to the plateau 600 feet above the river;
and saw " 15 or 20 miles up the river valley; general course S, 25° E., to
where the valley appeared to branch, and on all sides there waflja perfectly
level horizon of forest country."
" Smoky River is not as wide at low water as Pine River." " The valley
from one plateau to the other is nearly two miles."
Reported Trail from Peace River to Jasper House.
I On our way down the Peace River we met a party of Crees and Half-
breeds from Edmonton and Jasper House, who had come to hunt and pick
berries. They informed me there was a good horse-trail all the way to Jasper
House, which can be reached in about ten days. Except at the crossings, the
country is stated to be level throughout and lightly timbered."
Returning to Dunvegan, by trail inland, found the country mostly
level and all fine prairie land, the width from Peace River to foot of hills
being from a quarter, to three quarters of a mile. 38
118 Horetzky Pac. Ry Rep., 1874, p. 47.
From opposite mouths of Heart and Smoky Rivers, by trail on north side
of Peace River to Dunvegan.—
50 to 60 miles over level country, generally prairie, which extends to the
north for some distance, but cut up by the deep beds of numerous streams.
" On the south side from Smoky River upwards to opposite Dunvegan the
country has much the same appearance, but from this point it gradually becomes
more thickly timbered and rougher and maintains this character to the Rocky
Mountains portage."
Only a small portion of this section borders on Peace River, and little is
positively known respecting the greater part of it.
119 Horetzky Pac. Ry Rep., 1874, p. 47.
Fobt Dunvegan.
" Is situated on the north side of Peace River upon a level terrace 30 feet
above mean river level. The height of country behind and round Dunvegan
is about 700 feet over the river, which here has an altitude of about 900 feet
above the sea." " From the Rocky Mountain portage down to Smoky River (a
distance of, say, 250 miles) tho Peace River flows through a depression in the
country ranging in depth from 800 to 600 feet. The underlying formation is
limestone, and the whole of this region appears to be composed of an immense
layer of clay and alluvial soil, resting upon a horizontal bed of that material.
Sandstone is also found in large quantities, and grindstones of excellent grit are
to be found in the river bod."
" The climate of this region and of the Peace River Valley generally, ia
somewhat similar to that of Red River, but the extremes of heat and cold
are not so great, and the climate is dry and salubrious and is tempered by the
westerly winds which here prevail and are mild; snow rarely reaches and
seldom exceeds two feet, and does not pack."
See also Horetzky's remarks in previous section -j^-.
-  Nothing definite is known respecting the northern half of this section.
120 Macoun Geol. Rep. 187.5-76, pp. 154, 155.
St. John, 26th July.—" Much warmer than Hudson Hope. Soil richer and
vegetation far more advanced." " Oats stood fully five feet high, and barley of
nearly equal growth;" wild grass, three feet.
Region north of River. " We found level of country, 700 feet above bottom
of valley." Plateau either dead level or slopes away from river. Travelled nine
miles north and found whole country covered with luxuriant vegetation. Soil
must be exceedingly rich to support such growth year after year ; and early
summer temperatures high, for vegetation to be so far advanced at this period.
All the cultivated land at St. John is immediately above spring flood level.
There is no reason why cereals should fail on plateau above, as soil is, if anything, better; the ripening would, however, be one week later, as also the same
difference in disappearance of snow.
Potatoes were dug at St. John in quantity, large and dry, on 2nd August.
Barley and oats ripe about 12th August.
I The flora of this region is almost identical with that of Ontario."
These remarks apply to the southern end of this section. 39
121 Selwyn's Geol. Rep., 1875-76, pp. 45 to 56.
Hudson Hope to St. John by River 38 Miles,
The general character of valley is uniform; on south side hills are thickly
wooded ; on north side alternately patches of prairie and coppice of aspen and
poplar ; they rise abrubtly in broken slopes and steps 600 to 800 feet above the
river. On 9th August, barley was ripe, with large grain and full, vegetables
also in advanced state.
Little Lake,
One of the sources of Pine River North, seven miles to the north-west
of St. John.
''After rising 724 feel above river we came upon a fine level of slightly
undulating country, covered with richest herbage of astonishing luxuriance. I
have seen nothing in the Saskatchewan region that at all equals it. The soil
and climate are here better, the former a rich loam, resting on gravel and sand,
underlaid the dark shales of the cretaceous formation, a similar country extends
for many miles both up and down the river."
Macoun Geol. Rep., 1875-76, p. 152.
Peace River at Hudson Hope
In valley 700 feet below plateau, has from this a general easterly course
for 200 miles. Slopes of right bank clothed with thick forest of tall spruce,
ascending gives place to aspen forests, which either covers the country or passes
insensibly into prairie. Left bank destitute of trees except in hollows, always
" On 22nd July, 1875, vegetation very rank, although little rain of this
season, and had been all spring. Wild peas and vetches grow to amazing
height; vetches, roses, willows, herbs and grasses of genera, Poa, Triticum and
Bromus, have almost tropical luxuriance. Potatoes, onions, turnips, carrots,
cabbage, and other vegetables grow in the gardens, and at this date potatoes
planted 28th April were of very fair size and fit for use."
" Growth extremely rapid,owing partly to length of day, cloudless sky and
heavy dews, also, possibly, in part to great range of temperature during the
24 hours, from about 45° at sunrise to 80° Fahr., at Doon." Was informed that
I in 1874 that there was no frost from 1st May until 15th September. In 1875,
sowing commenced in last week of April,and first frost came on 8th September."
100 Nothing reliable known.
101 Nothing reliable known. 40
102 Richardson Arctic Search, Expn., vol. L,pp. 81-84.
The canoe route passes through the south-west corner of this section. The
country is composed of granite rocks, " and the river has the character peculiar
to the district, that is, it is formed of branching lake-like expansions, connected
by falls or rapids."
103 Richardson Arctic Search, Expn., vol. I., pp. 90-94.
The route passes^throughl Woody Lake to Frog Portage, crossing whioh the
Missinipi or Churchill.River is reached. " No change of formation takes place
in passing from the Saskatchewan River system to that of the Missinipi."
" Frog Portage is the most northerly point of the Saskatchewan Basin, and
lies in 55° 26' N. latitude, 103° 20' W. longitude."
The primitive formation continues along the Churchill. " The country in
this neighbourhood is hilly, and a few miles back from the river the summits
appear to rise 400 or 500 feet above its surface. The resemblance of the whole
district to that of Winnipeg River is perfect, and the general aspect of the
country is much like that of the north shore of Lake Superior, though the water
basin is not so deeply indented."
104 Richardson Arctic Search Exp., vol. I., p. 95.
The Churchill flows south-easterly through this section, expanding into
several small lakes—through the same primitive formation.
IO11) River and rock formation similar to that previously described in -j^.
106 Richardson Arctic Search Exp., vol. I., p.p. 98-99.
The aspect of the country changes on entering the lakes of the Churchill
in this section. " The rising grounds have a more even outline, and one long
low range rises over another, as the country recedes from the borders of the
water, where it is generally low and swampy. The trees near the water are
almost exclusively birch , and balsam-poplar or aspen; the spruce-firs occupying the distant elevations." " The prevailing rock is a brownish-red, finegrained sienite, resembling a sandstone."
107 Richardson Arctic Search Exp., vol. I., pp. 100-103.
Primeau's Lake, on the Churchill, is situated in the north-east corner of
this section. fsfPhe channel between the eastern and western portions of the
lake winds among extensive sandy flats, covered with ' bents,' and in some places
there was a rich crop of grass." The rock here is the same brownish red, slaty
sienite. Lac Isle a la Crosse lies on the western side of this section. " On its
shores there are fragments of a white quartzose sandstone, but I noticed no
limestone. The country consists of gravelly plains, having a coarse sandy soil
and numerous imbedded boulder stones." 41
I Beaver River, the principal feeder of tho lake, flows from Green Lake,
near the valley of the Saskatchewan, in the 54th parallel of latitude.
" The winter path from Isle a la Crosse to Carlton House, ascends this
river to its great bend, whence it loads to the Saskatchewan plains, through an
undulating country, but without any marked acclivity. I consider it probable,
therefore, that Isle a la Crosse Lake and Carlton House do not differ from each
other in their height above the sea by more than two hundred feet.
| On Beaver River the strata are of limestone, and a ' line drawn from the
north side of Lake Winnipeg to the south side of Isle a la Crosse Lake, runs
about north 58° west and touches upon the northern' edge of the limestone in
Beaver Lake; that line may, therefore, be considered as representing the general
direction of the junction of the limestone with the primitive rocks in this district of the country."
Macoun Geol. Rep. 1875-76, pp. 176-177.
Entered this section by Lac la Crosse, and passed south through th© central
part, ascending the Beaver River.
Isle la Crosse Lake.
Deep River and Isle la Crosse Lake are both surrounded with aspen forests,
(which in north always indicates good soil, but spruce forest means damp soil'
with moss as principal undergrowth; where spruce is destroyed, aspen takes
its place.) The sou at the Fort is poor, compared to the Peace River; principally a loam mixed with a good deal of white sand. Further from lake tho
soil improves, being mostly clay loam. Apparently, much greater rain fall
than on Peac6 River, and possibly less heat and crops may be later in coming
to maturity. On 22nd September, potatoes were still quite green ; all kinds of
vegetables grow well, and are of large size. Wheat, barley and oats succeed
but former is not considered a sure crop. Fall wheat ought to grow here
as snow lies on ground until melted by the hot suns of April.
Beaver River.
Along the first few miles ; young poplar, a few Banksian pine, and groves
of spruce, and after passing rapids the country is sandy and unfit for cultivation
108 Macoun Geol. Rep. 1875-76, p. 176.
Entered this section from the north, passing across the north-east corner
£by Clearwater Lake and Deep River to Lac la Crosse.
The country here changes for the better, and the' forest around Clearwater
Lake becomes nearly all aspen.
| The Chipewyan Indians here raised potatoes. They are the only Indians
east of the Mountains who built houses and have fixed abodes. It would not be
difficult to induce them to settle on land."
109 Moberly's Map.
Shows  a lake in the north-east portion.    The Pembina River flowing
through the northern part, on the west side pf section, with cypress and poplar
to east of river    A large swamp is shown on the south-east, and extending
4 42
110 Moberly's Map.
Shows an extensive swamp in northern part and Rocky Hills, extending into
the north-west; between this swamp and the Hills,Mr. Moberly travelled through
20 miles of cypress and pines, interspersed with small swamps. The Pembina
River is shown to flow easterly through the centre, having prairies with poplar
and cypress trees on either side. The " Old Horse Track," from Lac la Biche
to Portage la Loche, crosses the Pembina here, passing through 28 miles of
prairie and poplar.
In the south-eastern part Jack-fish Lake is shown, a trail passing to
west of it through cypress and pine for 20 miles. The Thickwood Mountains
occupying the southern part of section.
111 Moberly's Map.
Rocky Hills are shown to stretch across the north-east angle, and Marten
Mountain to occupy the south-western half of section; in the v&lley between
these ranges of hills is situated the water-shed of the Old Fort and Pembina
Rivers, the former flowing westerly, and the latter south-easterly. The top
of Marten Mountain is mostly swamp. The sides of these hills are thickly
covered with pine and poplar.
H2 Moberly's Map.
Marten Mountain covers nearly the whole of the eastern half of this
section, and large swamps without wood lie on its western base, extending to
the Athabasca.   The southern portion is also swampy.
II3 Moberly's Map.
A few miles to the west of the Athabasca, large swamps are shown to
stretch for 30 or 40 miles north and south. And the Buffalo Mountains extend
over the N.-W. portion of section, with swamps again to the south.
Messrs. Horetzy and Macoun passed across the south-west corner of this
section to the Lesser Slave Lake.
Horetzky Pac. Ry. Rep. 1874, p. 46.
Between Athabasca and Little Slave Lakes—" an entirely wooded, swampy
and in places, very hilly country, utterly useless for agricultural purposes, and
for a line of road excessively rough." On approaching the lake there is an improvement in the soil.
Macoun Pac. Ry. Rep. 1874, p. 69.
Between Deer Mountain and Lesser Slave Lake, " the descent to the northwest is very rapid, being over 1000 feet in ten miles, and thence to the lake
the ground falls rapidly; mountains are seen to the south-west. The whole
valley seems covered with a forest of pine and spruce, interspersed with
poplar.   This stretch is a dreary country.
Found coal like that of Edmonton, in the ledges of this mountain. 43
115 The above named gentlemen passed along the southern shore of Lesser
Slave Lake.
Horetzky Pac. Ry. Rep. 1874, p. 46.
Lesser Slave Lake.
" Soil in vicinity of Lesser Slave Lake of very good quality, vegetables of
various kinds are raised and there is luxuriant pasturage along the southern
and western margin for many miles, but land is wet."
"From this post to Lao la Biche, by north side of Lesser Slave Lake (distance in air line, say 175 miles), the country is by all accounts thickly wooded
and not hilly, although some swamps exist."
Macoun Pac. Ry. Rep. 1874,#p. 70, 81.
I Lesser Slave Lake about 75 miles long and six miles wide.
I The south shore is low and flat, and extensive marshy meadows extend
round the south-western end, covered with most astonishing growth of grass,
chiefly blue-joint, higher than a man's head.
" Many plants common to Western Canada, none indicate an arlic or sub-
artic character.    Soil alluvial.
"The north shore is bolder, presenting fine appearance, a number of
apparently bare hills rising from margin of lake, as seen from the Post, but
were found to be covered with prairie plants; this is accounted for by their
southern aspect."
| Coal was found along tne banks of Swan River, a tributary of Little
Slave Lake."
IIO Messrs. Hoi-etzky and Macoun passed through this section north-westerly
from the west end of the above lake to north-west angle, striking the Heart River.
See sec. j^-, for Messrs. Horetzky and Macoun remarks.
117 See sec. ffij- for Mr. Selwyn's description of Smoky River.
118 The Peace River passes through the northern part of this section. None
of the travellers referred to have been south of the river in this part, but their
remarks on the adjoining sections will, probably to some extent apply to this one.
119 Mr. Horetzky passed through the northern portion of this section.
Horetzky Pac. Ry. Rep. 1874, .p. 48.
Macoun Pac. Ry. Rep. 1874, pp. 72, 83, 84.
"Between Dunvegan and St. John, by trail on south side of river, about 120
miles by land.   Trail passes in some places 20 miles from river."
Many miles of beautiful farming country, alternating with spruce, aspen
and cypress. " The plants observed here grow around Edmonton, and where-
over wheat will come to perfection."
Some of the country along this route is very fine, partly timbered, and in
some places dense.    Soil excellent, and vegetation vigorous.
In bank of stream, 16 miles from Dunvegan, a thin layer of coal or
bituminous shale was found. 44
120 The northern part traversed on trail from Dunvegan to St. John.
See Messrs. Horetzky and Macoun's remarks in previous sec. -j^-.
Hunter Pac. Ry. Rep. 1878, p. 79.
Mr. Hunter terminated his exploration from west in 1877 in this section—
entering it for a few miles about lat. 55° 30'.
Eastward from forks of Pine River up the east branch, and thence eastward—Camp 61, at foot of pretty high ridge; camp 2,300 feet above sea, and
distant easterly from lower forks of Pine River 30 miles. " From the time we left
the east branch we had evidently been.travelling along the southern limit of
the plateau, for near at hand on our right rose hills and ridges 700 to 1,000 feet
above the general level, while the country to the north looked comparatively
even. In the vicinity of Buffalo Creek the land is good and the pasturage very
From this point Mr. Hunter retraced his steps to British Columbia.
121 Selwyn Geol. Rep. 1875-76, pp. 52, 53, 54.
Mr. Selwyn travelled up the Pine River as far as Table Mountain, about the
centre of the section.
Pine River
Valley,  between table lands on  either side from  1  to 1J miles wide
patches of open prarie, but generally both banks are thickly wooded.
Forks of Pine River.
" Upper terrace 400 feet above river. No high mountains visible."
"We camped on west branch, 3J miles above the forks; the river here
narrows. Half a mile abovo the camp found four seams of good bright coal of
6, 8, 24 and 6 inches thick respectively. Following day ascended Table
Mountain four to five miles distant. Alt. of camp 1,382 feet; height 228 feet
above St. John."
Table Mountain,
3,400 feet above sea. " View from it was magnificent. To the right the
Peaks at the gorge of Peace River easily recognized."
Selwyn Geol. Rep. 1875-76, pp. 61-64.
Mr. Selwyn also visited Moberly's Lake, situated in the northern par),
of this section.^15 miles distant from Hudson's Hope.
Trail ascends by seveial steps to Plateau ; an undulating country of sandy
or gravelly ridges, covered with small pine,and swampy depressions, with spruce
and tamarac and well-grassed flats, thickly wooded with aspen, alder and
Ascended hill at south-west corner of Jake," 2,000 feet above Hudson's Hope
and only little less elevated thar|ijp?able Mountain on Pine River."
" The hills around lake are richly grassed, Pea vine, Astralagus and various,
nutritious grasses standing above one's knees on horse-back. 45
"There are large areas of open prairie land, and more which are wooded with
willow, aspen and poplar coppices. On the higher slopes pine prevails, and in
low grounds spruce, tamarac and poplar."
" Charlotte (guide) tells me that the snow fall is hero comparatively light,
and that horses do well through the winter on these hills.
" I consider this a region far more fitted for settlement than much of the Saskatchewan country.
'• We are now in the middle of September, and the thermometer has only
once reached 32°, and potatoe tops at Hudson's Hope are still green.
" As a contrast to this it will be seen,in my report on Saskatchewan country
in 1873, that in region about Edmonton and Victoria, 2° further south, and
about same elevation, the thermometer fell on 4th September to 28°, on 6th to
24°, on 11th to 20°, and again on 23rd to 20°."
Mr. Hunter explored through centre of this from west to east. See sections
"$& *° i^V-    -^-e a^so ascended Table Mountain.
Hunter Pac. Ry. Rep., 1878, pp. 79-80.
"In passing on return I ascended Table Mountain, from the top of which
an aljbesive view was obtained as follows :
I S. round to S. 80° E. many low hills rising from the plateau 500 to 1,500
feet. S. 80° E. to N. 60° E. hills gradually flatten. N. 60° E. to N. 15° W., a comparatively level country.
" N. 75° W. very high ueaks, distant 40 to 50 miles (these are no doubt the
southern peaks of the high range in tbe great bend of the Peace River).
I N. 15° W. to S. 70° W. a flat country for 30 or 40 miles, beyond which
rise  high, rough mountains well patched with snow.
" S. 25° W. up the valley of the middle branch towards the source of the
Misinchinca, high snowy mountains. All the country to the south rough and
1 Height of Table Mountain 3,500 feet above sea."
122 Hunter Pac. Ry. Rep., 1878, pp. 78-79.
Explored eastward along the Pine River about the centre of this section
I On 18th August, about two miles from camp 44, and 22 miles from the
summit, an open alluvial flat was reached on the left bank of the Pine River,
and a change in the character of the valley became apparent. Up to this point,
which is probably the extreme western limit of the "fertile belt" no land
suitable for settlement or cultivation was seen east of the mountains."
| From Camp 44 to the Canyon, a distance of 43 miles, Pine River Valley is
from 1 to 2 miles wide. A very largo proportion of the low land in this distance
is fit for settlement, and the pasturage in the valley and on the north hill
slopes is of the richest description. Grass and pea-vine in pi-ofuse luxuriance,
with clumps of poplar and pine, cover thousands of acres, rendering this part
of the country peculiarly attractive.
| From the Canyon to the Lower Forks the cultivable land is less extensive,
but the pasture is equally abundant and rich. The country abounds in large
game such as bear, cariboo and moose.
I Hill slopes in many places distinctly marked by the unbroken terraces,
rising in some instances 1,000 feet above level of river."
The Rocky Mountapfei cross the western portion of this section. 46
IOO Sir John Richardson, 1848, Arctic Searching Expedition p. 67.
" The granite and gneiss rocks which form the east shore of Lake Winnipeg
strike off at its north-east corner, and passing to the north of Moose Lake go on
to Beaver Lake, where the canoe route again touches them. At some distance
to the westward of them the Saskatchewan flows through a flat limestone
country, which is full of lakes."
^X Sir John Richardson, 1848, Arctic Searching Expedition p. 77.
*0* Sturgeon River touches on the western part of this section.    " Entire bed
of river consists of limestone sometimes lying in nearly horizontal layers, more or
less fissured. In lower part of river the banks are sandy, a considerable deposit
of dry light soil overlies the limestone, and vegetation is vigorous."
j5-L Sir John Richardson, 1848, Arctic Searching Expedition, p. 79-82.
102 pjne Xsland Lake, a dilitation of the Saskatchewan, lies in the southern part
of this section. Here " the limestone (silurian) rises in successive outcrops to
the height of 30 feet above the water, the strike of the beds being about southwest by west, and north-east by east, or at light angles to the general direction
of the gneiss and granite formation, which lies to the eastward."
" At the outlet of Beaver Lake, (in eastern portion of this section) and at
several succeeding points on both sides of the canoe route, the thin slaty limestone forms cliffs 30 to 40 feet high ; but about the middle of the lake there
is a smaU|||and of greenstone. Beyond this we again touched upon the
granite rocks, which we had left at the north-east corner of Lake Winnipeg,
bearing from this place about east 82° south."
The Missinipi or Churchill River did not open this year (1848) until
6th June, but it seldom continues frozen beyond the 1st of June.
At Ridge Portage the rock is gneiss, resembling mica slate. Ridge
Rapid, lat. 54J°, " is said to be the highest point to which sturgeon ascend in
this river; and it is most probably the northern limit of the range of that fish
on the east side of the Rocky Mountains."
A tenacious clayey soil is formed by the action of the weather on the
slate. And "the inequaSes of the country here, as well as its vegetation, are
very similar to that on the Kaministiquia, where the same formation exists."
The woods consist of birch, pine, aspen, larch and balsam-poplar."
103 Nothing reliable known.
— S^^^^^^^B^^^B^fl
104 Nothing reliable known.
105 Nothing reliable known.
106 Nothing reliable known, 47
107 Macoun Geol. Rep. 1875-76,-pp. 180,181.
Mr. Macoun passed through the central portion of this section, from north
to south, vid the Beaver River, and Green Lake, and thence by land towards
He describes the country adjacent to Beaver River here as well suited for
settlement. The banks of the river were clothed with willow, alder, dogwood
and poplar; the soil of excellent quality, and covered with vetches in open
places. Proceeding south he further describes the banks all alluvium 10 feet
high, and the land on both sides very rich.
Green Lake.—This region is fit for settlement throughout, the soil being
first class and quite dry; found excellent potatoes, barley also succeeds well,
but wheat is as yet doubtful. Frost on the 8th September killed all the
potatoes, showing it is colder than further north. There are myriads of white-
fish in river and lake.
On the trail from Green Lake to Carlton, 140 miles; the first day, passed
through fine tract of country, rather wet in places but having good soil; this
part is evidently a water-shed.
108 Nothing reliable known.
109 Moberly's Map.
Shows a large swamp occupying the N.-E. portion of this section and south
of it two lakes known as Goose and Cold Lakes, on tho south side of the latter
there is an Indian village, from which extends a cart track to Carlton.
ii ;;;:;-.>; 7-%
HO       Mr. Marcus Smith, Deputy Engineer in Chief, Q. P. R.
During his journey of 1877, entered this section on its southern side, crossing it north-westerly towards Lac la Biche.
The following is obtained from his journal:—
In neighbourhood of Middle Creek (202 miles, reckoned from Carlton,)—
The country to the south, west, and north is all forest of poplar, black pine
and spruce. Soil poor, but plenty of pea-vine among the brush, the surface
lumpy and broken.
Moose Hill Creek, 20 feet wide, in deep valley. 1£ mile beyond this,
trail branches off to Lac La Biche, on a splendid road over sandy country for
8 miles.
The general trail, from Fort Pitt to Edmonton, enters this section on the
south, at Middle Creek, traversing the southern portion a few miles to the
north of the Saskatchewan.
Selwyn Geo. Rep., 1873-74, p. 36.
Observed in this part " Two species of pine and spruce trees at intervals
along route, small poplar thickets everywhere, with numerous swampy creeks, 48
pools and lakes between ridges and hills of sand and gravel, occasionally large
boulders on the surface, nearly all of gneiss and granite.
Moberly's Map.
The Thickwood Mountains cross the north-east part of this section and the
trail passes here for 25 miles through pines, cypress and fallen timber.
III Sandford Fleming, C.M.G.Engineer-in-Chief, Canadian Pacific Railway Report,
1874, p. 38.
Notes on the character of the country traversed across the continent in 1872
by Mr. Fleming.
" As we came within 100 miles of Edmonton, the country became more
hilly, and the hill sides were covered with heavy wood. The flora continued
the same as on the eastern prairies, but it was here somewhat more luxuriant;
a good deal of low birch and scrub pine, pinus Banksiana, is met in this
Marcus Smith, 1877.
Entered this section on the east, about latitude 54° 20\ and continued
north-westerly. He first passed through thick poplar bush for seven miles, small
lakes to right and hills 200 to 300 feet high to the north about six miles distant.
Thence passed dry sloughs; and at 224J miles a small lake half a mile to the
north ; then entered on a level plateau, clothed with a uxuriant growth of
grass and vetches, with occasional clumps of poplar and spruce, but a scarcity
of water.
At 234 miles the grass and vetches reached the saddle girths of horses. A
rich, grassy.plain extended for four miles further, and then, crossing a valley
200 feet wide by 20 feet deep, entered poplar bush for two miles, and emerged
at foot of hill, ascending which, reached: !»8 summit at altitude 1680 feet, and
passing some lakes, came upon a beautiful park-like country covered with richest
grass, pea-vine and vetches, with occasional clumps of poplar and spruce;
at 247 miles another small lake, and clumps of trees consisting of poplar,
spruce.'Banksian Pine, and Tamarac.
Beaver River.—At 256 miles, crossed below junction of the two streams, 90
feet wide, and now two feet deep, subject to rapid rises. The banks were twelve
feet high, and the meadows along them produced the most luxuriant grass of
various descriptions, with vetches three to four feet high. The adjoining country
rose to 60 feet above river. After crossing high ridge entered a narrow valley
covered with Banksian pine, and passed along good road through fine grass,
among clumps of poplars, to Gull Lake (263 miles). Thence passing on flats south
of lake for five miles to ridge, from which he obtained a most extensive view of
the surrounding country. To the east and south-east no hill could be seen; to
the west the country was rolling but no hills; a little to north of east appeared
range of hills, estimated 30 to 40 miles distant. Thence travelling north of
west crossed valley with chain of ponds, and through thick poplar bush, entered
country rich in grass and vetches. The waters from Breech Clout Lake (287
miles) flow to the north-east; thence continued through beautiful meadows to
belt of poplars (291J miles) country here falls rapidly. At 297 miles crossed
Beavers Creek, 30 feet wide and rapid. Thence most of the way passed through
thick poplar wood to H. B. Post.
From Lac la Biche Mr. Smith travelled to the Saskatchewan at Victoria.
The first 31 miles is over rather rough country to Beaver River, here 100
feet wide, and deep, country continuing rough to Snake Hills,'_and thence over good 49
road, cut through tho bush for 39 miles to Fish Lake; here there were several
houses; thence by excellent road through woods for 5 miles to a beautiful
rich valley, where Indians were making hay. At Good Fish Lake lives Mr.
Joseph Howse, who furnished us with good milk and vegetables.
Thence across wet marshy meadow to a wooded hill, and, passing for
two miles over elevated plateau, reached an extensive marsh at 60 miles.
The country from the woods south of Good Fish Lake to this point is moor
like, with numerous marshes and occasional belts of poplar; afterwards it
becomes rolling, with some deep valleys. After crossing White Mud River, 40
feet wide, running easterly, we ascended a high plateau covered with scrub
pine, which continued for 4 miles to open ground and good grass (96 miles).
Two miles further crossed Smoking Lake River, 15 feet wide, running
S.W., and thence through fine open valley; and at 99J- miles, came to Indian
encampment (over 100 lodges) waiting for their subsidy under tho treaty.
Thence passing over hill to the-left we reached Victoria.
Selwyn Geol. Rep,, 1873-74, p. 36.
Passing along trail mentioned in previous section through southern portion
Thence 16 miles to Egg Lake, Snake Hills bearing W. 40° S., and thence
nine miles to Saddle Lake, out little change in character of country. Wood is
less plentiful, only scattered poplar and willow coppice, a few spruce, pine and
larch. Rich black soil, a few boulders of gneiss and granite, good pasturago
everywhere, two species of vetches or pea-vines being very abundant and
Thence 40 miles to Victoria; country sandy, in places thick forest of small
pine and spruce.
I . LAO  LA  BICHE    .
112 Is situated in the north-east corner of this section.
Marcus Smith, 1877.
Lac la Biche, 304 miles from Carlton. Mr. Trail, H. B. Officer at this
post, stated that there were about 40 families settled on this lake, principally
half-breeds and French-Canadians.
The Catholic Mission is on lake shore about 9 miles N.W. of Post; here
met Bishop Ferraud, from whom much valuable information was obtained
concerning the country to tbe north and west.
Barley and wheat thrive well here, as also vegetables. There is a grist
mill near the Mission. Abundance of whitefish in this and neighbouring lakes.
The timber ofthe country is Spruce, Tamarac and Poplar, all of good size. The
divide between Beaver River and the Athabasca water-shed is not more than 3
miles from Lac la Biche.
Selwyn Geol. Rep. 1873-74 #. 37.
Victoria, H. B. Post and Wesleyan Mission (situated near southern boundary
of this section) is 813 miles from Fort Garry and 1,900 feet abovo sea. Soil at
Victoria rather light, sandy black loam. Wheat and barley sown in May, and
very fine, the latter now being harvested ; all garden vegetables grow luxuriantly, but sharp frost had cut potatoe vines; wheat, however, did not suffer. 50
30 miles—Boggy, water holes, sandy hills and thick woods. In low
ground poplar and birch, on ridges spruce and pine.
Surveyor-General, Dominion Lands, Report, 1878—W. F. Ring, D.L.S., p. 18,
Victoria.—" There is merely a small settlement here on a flat point on
the north side of the River Valley, and comparatively little land is cultivated.
The soil is lighter than that of Edmonton, but gives good crops." It is heavier
further back from the river. A strip of good land of many miles in width
extends along the trail north of the Saskatchewan.
113 The Hudson's Bay   Company have   constructed a waggon road from
Edmonton passing to the north through this section, but we have no reliable
information concerning the country through which it passes.
114        Messrs. Horetzky and Macoun travelled through this Section from south
Horetzky Pac. Ry. Rep. 1874, jj. 46.
"91 miles of very fair country, of an easy character, and land partly of
prairie and timber, latter abundant from Lao La Nonne to the Athabasca."
This would seem to refer to the southern half of this section. The traveller then
crossed vid the Deer Mountains towards Lesser Slave Lake, and describes his
journey as through " an entirely wooded, swampy and, in many places, very
hillyjjcountry, utterly useless for agricultural purposes."
Macoun Pac. Ry. Rep. 1874, p. 69-80.
Country more broken and hills steeper, more heavily wooded and soil
poorer. From Pembina River land is comparatively level up to the ridges
which border the Athabasca. The timber is principally spruce, balsam and
aspen; also Banksian pine, birch and willow, wifii tamarac in few places.
Timber generally large; on burnt land wild peas and vetches.
Many plants common to Ontario and Quebec were first seen here, since
leaving the Lake of the Woods.
"The Athabasca is large, being wider and deeper than the Saskatchewan,
and flows through a pretty wide valley, general elevation of country above river
is 300 feet."
For some distance after passing the Athabasca, the country is a series ot
sand hills, ridges and swamps; then less broken, but half swamp; up to Deer
Mountain,which is by aneroid about 3,500 feet above the sea,the country becomes
more Arctic in appearance, and near the mountain top vegetation showed high
Coal like that of Edmonton was found in blocks in bed of Pembina River. 51
Pcdliser Exp., p. 123.
Dr. Hector's winter journey, 1859, Edmonton to Fort Assiniboine on tho
" Crossed the Pembina River, which is about 80 yards wide, has a large
valley and some fine patches of open land along its banks. The timber is much
finer all over the country we are passing through than any in the neighbourhood
of Edmonton. The Pembina is the most southerly stream of the Prairies that
flows to the Arctic Ocean."
" The Athabasca is a river 300 yards wide, rather larger than the Saskatchewan at Edmonton, with a much wider and deeper valley." The banks rise
to a height of 180 feet, and beyond the country seems to be level, but very
heavily timbered. Along this portion of the river there is, however, much fine
and partially open land, reminding me of the district around Fort Carlton, to
the south of this place are many birch trees of good size, and sometimes on
the rising grounds the forest is wholly composed of this tree, which is the only
hard wood the country produces, and therefore of great value.
115 PalMser's Exp.,pp. 123-124.
Dr. Hector's journey up the Athabasca from Fort Assineboine :—
Passed several high cliffs of sandstone to west of the fort; higher up the
river found " coal in a sandstono cliff 110 feet high; it occurred as a wedge—
shaped mass three to five feet thick, running*-for several hundred yards." Balsam,
poplar, pine, birch and silver spruce grow along the banks- " Passing McLeod's
River, a large tributary from the south-west 100 yards wide, the river banks
are still densely wooded and are now becoming high and rocky, formed of
ledges of sandstone with a sprinkling of cypress pine;" banks appear to be 300
feet high.
116 PaWser,p. 124.
The Athabasca strikes across this section to the south west angle.
"The valley of the river has widened considerably, as if we had passed
through the sandstone country, and the timber is again very fine, some ofthe
birch trees being of good size." "Passed Baptiste's river, a tributary of the west,
which is 90 yards wide."
117 Nothing reliable known.
118 E. W. Jarvis, Pac. Ry. Rep., 1877, p. 146.
Mr. Jarvis passed over the south-west corner of this section and describes it
as a terribly broken country, crossing high parallel ridges and the intervening
valleys, in all of which the water runs north-east, or in a similar course to tho
Smoky River and the Athabasca.
Nothing reliablo known of the eastern or western parts of this section.
119 Nothing reliable known. FROM THE lOOTH TO THE 119TH MERIDIAN, AND BETWEEN THE 53BD AND 54TH
100 Hind's A. & S. Exp., Vol. 1, pp. 454-459.
Mr. John Fleming's journey down the Saskatchewan from Fort a la Corne,
18th August, 1858.—" From the Pas, the Saskatchewan flows through a low
flat country, wooded with scrub poplar, balsam and spruce; the character of
the country gradually deteriorates, the banks becoming lower and lower and
the timber-more scrubby and scanty; the alluvial flats are in many places only
orie or two feet above the water, and they are at some points covered with driftwood, showing that they are flooded at certain seasons."
" Opposite the Moose Lake branch, by ascending a tree, I succeeded in
getting a view of the surrounding country; the banks are, here, three feet
above the river, supporting a thin strip of grey willows along the water's edge,
and about half a chain back from the river there commences an extensive
marsh or swamp, with rank reeds and rushes, interspersed with ponds of open
water and dotted with clumps or islands of balsam, spruce and willow as far as
the eye can reach."
From Moose Lake Fork, for about sixteen miles further down, a slight
improvement is observed on the immediate banks, occasional groves of young
ash, elm and ash-leaved sugar-maple are seen, but the flats behind are generally
very low, and covered only with grey willows and sapling poplar.
Between Marshy Lake and Cedar Lake are seen all the characteristics of
■ a great alluvial delta.
Muddy Lake is a dilatation of the river. On an island in this Lake I
found an exposure of light-colored limestone in horizontal beds along the
water's edge. This was the first outcrop of rock in situ met with on the Main
Cedar Lake, thirty miles long by a breadth in widest part of twenty-five
miles, is 60 feet higher than Lake Winnipeg, and is 688 feet above the sea.
The northern coast is deeply indented and very low, and the country continues flat for a long distance back. At some points and on many islands there
are exposures of limestone in horizontal beds. "The mainland and islands are
well wooded with balsam, spruce, birch, poplar, tamarac, cedar and Banksian
pine, but a considerable portion of the land is reported to be swampy and
unavailable for agricultural purposes."
101 The Saskatchewan crosses the northern portion of this section.
Hinds A. & S. Exp.,  Vol. 1, pp. 450-454.
Mr. John Fleming's journey, 16th August.—The Saskatchewan below
Between the mouths of the Bigstone and Tearing Rivers, the Saskatchewan
flows occasionally among alluvial islands; its banks are now low, only two to
three feet above the water, covered with grey willow and sapling poplar. Tho
river gradually increases in breadth and volume of water. " Above camp this
evening its breadth was 980 feet, and mean depth of 20 feet."
No material change in the character of the river and adjacent country.
The tract of country back from tho river is rather low and wet.
The Pas or Cumberland Missionary Station, is situated at the confluence
of the Saskatchewan and Basquia Rivers, a tributory about 200 feet; wide at its
mouth.   The Root ;River also falls in  three-quarters of a mile above. The 53
river banks at the Pas are 10 to 12 feet high, composed of light-colored drift
clay, holding pebbles and boulders of limestone; the surface soil is a dark,
gravelly mould, well adapted for cultivation, but the surrounding country is
said to be low and swampy with marshy lakes. " Barley and other crops
growing here looked well and were just ripening.".
102 Hind's A. & S. Exp., Vol. 1, pp. 446-449.
Mr. John Fleming's journey, 12th August.—| The general character of the
country we passed this day is excellent, the soil being rich and the timber of
fair quality. The depth and breadth of the river is variable, being impeded by
mud flats and shoals, lip At noon, came to the mouth of a tributary (100 feet
wide) from the north. We continued on to the. "pemmican Portage," leading
to Cumberland House. We came to-day nearly 29 miles, so that the distanoe
between Fort a la Corne and Cumberland, by the winaings of the river, is
upwards of 150 miles."
I The country round Cumberland is low and flat; the soil in some places
is a stiff cBty, but in general it consists of a gravelly loam a few feet in thickness, covering a horizontal bed of white limestone, and supporting a light
growth of poplar aud birch; occasionally, groves of spruce (the so-called pine
of Rupert's Land) are seen here and there. The land being so little raised
above the lake and river, a great deal of it is submerged during the spring
floods, and some parts upon which the water remains becomes marshes and
swamps, but many of them could be drained and improved without much
I There are 10 aeres enclosed and under cultivation at Cumberland. I
observed a field of barley and another of potatoes, both looking well, and there
is an excellent garden; the soil appeared rich and fertile, bearing an exuberant
growth of rhuburb, cabbage, peas, carrots and other vegetables."
I°3 Kind's A. & S. Exp., Vol. \,p. -445.
Mi-. John Fleming's journey, 11th August.—" Passed through an excellent
tract of country all day, the soil on both sides of the river consisting of a very
rich alluvial deposit, ten feet in thickness above the surface of the water, well
wooded with large poplar, balsam, spruce and birch, some of the poplars
measuring two and a-half feet in diameter; and, as far as I was enabled to
ascertain, the land continues good for a great distance on either side, but more
especially on south side of river. In many places the river is studded with
large alluvial islands, supporting a most luxuriant growth of poplar and willows.
Travelled a distance of about 47 miles to-day."
Hind's A. & S. Exp., Vol. \,pp. 441-444.
From Fort & la Corne, down the Saskatchewan to the Grand Rapids and
Lake Winnipeg— by Mr. John Fleming, 9th August, 1858 :—
Saskatchewan (or "River that runs swift")—at Fort a la Corne, is 965
feet in breadth; mean velocity of current three miles an hour; its immediate
banks are high ; the sides" of the valley, which are higher, being at no great
distancp from the.river; the breadth of river continues very uniform, but its
banks become gradually lower, the hillsides of the valley at the same time 54
diverging. "About twenty miles below Fort a la Corne, the banks of the river
are low, and the general character of the adjacent country considerably changed.
The high cliffs before seen at the great bends give place to rich alluvial flats,
supporting a forest of fair-sized balsam, spruce and poplar, and the valley
becomes so broad that the high banks are nowhere observed." Made 23 miles the
first day.
August 10th.—Passed during the day the " Big Birch Islands," and many
others; they are all alluvial deposits and some of them are overflowed in spring.
" The banks of the river are now quite low, and the country on either side is
very flat, but it still continues well adapted for agricultural purposes and settlement, the soil being a rich alluvial loam of considerable depth, well watered
and drained by many fine creeks, and clothed with an abundance of timber for
fuel, fencing and building.   Made 53 miles to-day."
Hind's A. & S. Exp., Vol. 1, pp. 397, 399 to 406.
" The Saskatchewan, opposite Fort la Corne, is 320 yards broad, 20 feet deep
in the channel, and current of three miles an hour; mean depth 14 feet, but it
has been crossed on horseback during a very dry season."
" The main Saskatchewan drains an area of 240,000 square miles,|and mean
discharge of water per second, 59,289 cubic feet."
" The river usually opens from 9th to 20th April, and closes from 6th to
13th November."
Nepo wewin Mission.—" The area of fertile land here is limited to the points
ofthe river, and does not exceed 400 to 500 acres."
Fort a la Corne to Birch Hills, across the country.—The trail " passes
through a thick forest of small aspen until near the summit, when a sandy soil
begins, covered with Banksian pine and a few small oak. This sandy area
occupies a narrow strip on the banks of the river from a half to four miles
broad. South of it the soil changes to a rich black mould distributed over an
undulating country, where the pine gives place to aspen and willow in groves."
I On the slopes the grass is long and luxuriant, affording fine pasturage. The
general aspect of this country is highly favorable for agriculture, the soil deep
and uniformly rich, rivaling the low prairies of Red River and the Assiniboine.
Our course lay along the banks of Long Creek, which is six feet wide, flowing
through a broad shallow depression, where wild hay is very abundant; ponds
and lakes are numerous, pointing to a more humid climate than that south of
the Qu'Appelle.
" The valley of Long Creek appears to furnish a very large area of land of
the best quality, and will probably yet become the seat of a thriving community."
The South Branch of the Saskatchewan runs northerly and joins the North
Branch in this section.
Hind's A. & S. Exp., Vol. 1, pp. 392-395.
On voyage down the South Branch of the Saskatchewan :—
The "surrounding country gave evidence of an excellent soil and timber
sufficient for the first purposes of settlers.   Much of the timber, however, has
been burnt and the country is fast becoming an open prairie."   The current of
the river is here six miles an hour, with a fall of two feet in a mile.    The hill-
banks become higher as we approach the forks, showing fine exposures of drift.
" Six milos from the Grand Forks yellow clay cliffs 120 feet high appear."
" Balsam spruce two feet in diameter are not uncommon." 55
On the voyage of 250 miles down the South Saskatchewan, an extraordinary absence of animal life was noticed.
" The very small number of tributaries received by the South Branch
between the Elbow and the Grand Forks is a remarkable proof of the aridity of
the region through which it flows. For nearly 200 miles it receives but one
affluent from the east, and on the west side, where the water-shed is of much
greater breadth, but where we would expect to find a more arid climate, it
receives eight insignificant brooks. From Lumpy Hill to the Grand Forks,
a distance of about 60 miles, four streamlets cut its eastern bank. The watershed on the east side has not an average breadth exceeding twelve miles, and
two of the tributaries proceed from ponds in valleys cutting the low dividing
ridge, which, like those of the Qu'Appelle, are tributary to Long Lake or the
main Saskatchewan."
The water of the South Branch is yellowish brown in colour; while that of
the North Branch is a shade lighter and clearer. The former more resembled
• the waters ofthe Mississippi; the latter, those of the St. Lawrence; temperature
of South Branch, 67° ; of North, 62°. The South Branch is 180 yards broad,
and the Nbrth only 140, and the currents three and a-half miles an hour. Ascended the North Branch seven miles ; current here being from six to seven
miles an hour. The valley as far as seen resembles the last ten miles of
the South Saskatchewan.
I°5 Hind's A. & S. Exp., Vol. 1, p. 396.
Above the point reached, the hill-banks expose drift, in which are imbedded
large masses of cretaceous rock, containing fish scales. Fragments of lignite
are numerous, but no rock was seen in position. Breadth of valley is about
one-half mile, and 150 feet deep; the low points are covered with aspen, the hill-
banks with white spruce, aspen, Banksian pine and poplar. Below the Grand
Forks there is an extensive flat.
Surveyor-General, Dominion Lands, Report, 1877—A. L. Russell, D.L.S., pp. 13,16
and 17.
At Prince Albert and immediate vicinity " there are nearly one hundred
houses with a population of about 500 souls, principally English. This settlement is on the North Saskatchewan about 35 miles above the ' Forks.' Is in a
thriving condition possessing two fine general stores, a splendid steam Baw and
grist-mill, also a water-power grist-mill, blacksmith shops, &c, Church of
England Bishopric, and Presbyterian Mission and schools. The land here is
very nearly equal ifilrichness to the famous Red River Valley, the proportion
of clay being somewhat less and the land more undulating."
" The crops are occasionally injured by early frosts, Dut last year a most
abundant harvest was gathered." " Over 1,200 acres were under crop last year
among the settlers on the river front, and many large fields were to be seen on
Red Deer Hill and various other parts of our work. I noticed wheat, oats,
barley, turnips, cabbage, carrots, onions, &c, &c, of equal excellence to.those
grown in Ontario."
Abundance of water and a fair supply of wood in this neighbourhood. 56
The road leading from Prince Albert to the Indian settlement, 14 miles
S.-E., passes through a fine farming country.
Prince Albert to the Forks of the Saskatchewan River, 36 miles.—
"Excepting where a belt of pitch pine, about three miles in width, crosses
the road on a poor sandy soil, the trail passes through a country well adapted
to settlement.
106 Macoun Geol. Rep., 1875-76, p. 183.
Star Mission to Carlton, 50 miles.—The trail here crosses the south-west
part of section.
" Nearly all the way, country is quite level and fit for farming purposes.
Most of it is prairie, with an abundance of good water. When within 20 miles
of the Saskatchewan, passed three salt marshes, but only one of any extent.
The land is much better five miles from the Saskatchewan than close to it;
have found it so in all cases. Near the river land was broken and contained
much sand, but this was not noticed away from it." Computed distance from
Fort Chepewyan to Carlton is 660 miles.
Surveyor-General, Dominion Lands' Report, 1S78—W. F. King, D.L.S.,p. 19.
The 12th correetion line in this section is nearly all through a very sandy
country, covered principally with Banksian pines. There are numerous
muskegs in which water is strongly impregnated with iron, and which form
the source of Beaver Creek.
107 Macoun Geol. Rep., 1875-76, p. 182.
The trail from Green Lake to Carlton, 140 miles—crosses the north-eastern
portion of this section.
Second day " we crossed sandy tract, covered with Banksian pine," and numerous lakes of pure crystal water. " On 30th September, passed through thick
forest of spruce, birch, aspen, poplar and occasionally Banksian pine of large size.
Soil, rich sandy loam, which became drier as we proceeded, showing unmistake-
ably that we had passed the water-shed. We passed many fine timber tracts,
country generally suited for agriculture. Next day no change except a gradual
one to drier climate." "Aspen woods began to give place to prairie. Where fire
had destroyed timber, prairie flowers were seen," " until the flora had lost its
forest character and become almost identical with that of plains. At White-
Fish Lake, the flora was that of prairies, shewing that line of permanent prairie
was reached." After crossing stream, country became broken, and then number of swampy lakes.
Mr. Hines, a practical man, in charge ot mission, " early in spring (1875),
had plowed land for the Indians. Wheat sown 10th May, was reaped 10th
September, and barley, sown five days later, was reaped six days earlier. Showing
that it takes nearly a mouth longer to ripen grain in this region than it does
on any part of Peace River, hence a greater danger here of summer frosts. The
prairie soil is sandy loam mixed with gravel; the poplar lands inclined to clay,
and the bottom lands black loam." Mr. Hines stated that soil of whole region
was as good as that which he was cultivating. 57
I08 Pailiser, pp. 68-69 (winter journey).
Through southern and western portions of this section.
Jack Fish Lake, 20 miles long by 12 wide, its waters slightly saline,
banks 100 feet high of sandy argillaceous.drift.
The road to the west lay over very irregular ground, broken by abrupt
ridges; in the hollows were small swampy lakes. Passed some sand hills,
which rise from a level plain of considerable extent; crossed Turtle River, 40
feet wide, a tributary of the Saskatchewan; again crossed several sand hills,
thence across English Creek and followed along the west side of a wide shallow
valley, through which it flows from its source among low undulating hills.
The Red Deer Hill (at western side of section) is an abrupt terraced slope,
the top of the hill is a level plain, presenting a different aspect to any I have
yet seen, being covered with thick low brush and a few clumps of trees, and
is traversed by deep steep gullies.
Sandford Fleming, Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, p. 38.
"The country on the North Saskatchewan is but little wooded, biH it
abounds^in grasses and the soil appears to be good, in some places somewhat
sandy and arid. The contour of the land is irregular, with hills of considerable
elevation, at the base of which lakes are frequently to be met, generally not of
extended area."
Selwyn Geol. Rep., 1873-74, p. 34.
Along the,trail on the north of the Saskatchewan,—"The soil for many
miles in neighbourhood of Jack Fish Lake, is of finest quality a rich black
loam on a blueish-grey clay." From this lake westward, a fine fertile country,
tolerably level, with patches of aspen wood, and several saline and fresh water
lakes.   "At English Rivor met with the first spruce since leaving Fort Ellice."
The Red Deer Hills rise from 200 to 300 feet above plain, of light sandy
loam, stony and gravelly.
109 PaUiser,p. 70.
I Fort Pitt stands on the left bank ofthe Saskatchewan."
The river here is 430 yards wide. The south bank of the valley rises to
500 feet. 1 Shewing sections of upper and middle cretaceous strata, tho
country to the south of the river is hilly, with good pasture, but no wood.
There is a total absence of wood in the neighborhood of the Fort, but an
abundance of timber at a short distance to north-west. There is very fine
pasturage and it is a favorite place for rearing horses. " Grain is said not to
succeed well, but I suspect they have chosen a bad spot for their field; turnips
grew well, and the place is famous for the quantity and quality of potatoes."
Sandford Fleming, Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, p. 38.
"From Fort Pitt, continuing along the North Saskatchewan, the soil
improves, and we met white spruce, tamarack and poplars, with thick and
luxuriant grasses.   Fires had passed over much of the country." 58
Selwyn Geol. Rep., 1873-74, #. 35.
Fort Pitt.—Soil in the neighborhood of Fort, rich black mould three feet
deep, underlaid with coarse rounded gravel; on hills at back of Fort, soil
brown sand and sandy gravel not suitable for cultivation ; fine crops of barley
and potatoes at Fort; wheat not grown.
From Fort Pitt to Frog Creek, along the trail on the north of river, " the
country is of the usual hilly cn&acter, with intervening swampy flats and
pools. Spruce trees are here tolerably abundant; there are also clumps of
pine and a few larch trees. The soil is generally sandy and gravelly, with a
thin layer of light black loam on the surface."
Mr. Marcus Smith,
In his journey of 1877, describes the country as seen from French Knoll to
the north as thickly covered with poplar and some clumps of spruce, which
latter was first seen at English River. The land to the west in this section, on.
road travelled, was poor, but some pea-vine grew among the brush.
Lt.-Col. MacLeod, C.M.G., Commissioner of Police, North-West Territories.
Travelled from Fort Pitt southerly through this section. He describes it
as fair soil with pasture, but water saline.
Henry A. F. MacLeod, CE.
Mr. MacLeod is intimately acquainted with this country, having had charge
of the Pacific Railway surveys through this territory.—"The south-eastern
corner is light sandy soil with good pasturage. The southern and western portion is good fertile soil, with wide marshes producing hay; towards the north,
near Fort Pitt, it is fair soil. The willow hills descend gently to the plains on
the north, and are more abrupt on their south sides. To the south of Fort Pitt
the ground is also hilly, the hills are partly wooded, and the plains generally
open.   The water supply is good."
Surveyor-General, Dominion Lands' Report, 1878—W. F. King, p. 15.
The telegraph trail from Battleford to Edmonton passes North of Battle
River through the southern portion of this section. The country here is a
" wide stretch of plain," " covered with buffalo grass," with scarcity of water,
IIO Palliser,p. 70.
From the Saskatchewan, at the mouth of the Vermilion westward.—Course
lay across a wide stretch of prairie, passing many herds of buffalo, thence
crossing a range of hills for five or six miles through a very broken country, made
a rapid descent of 300 feet to an extensive plain covered with bluffs of poplar,
which seemed to stretch for 10 or 12 miles, until it is again bounded by the
same range of hills. Other similar extensive plains, some of them swampy,
bounded by hills, were crossed in this section.   The pasture is rich.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
I The southern portion is good fertile soil, to the Four Blackfoot Hills,
where the soil is gravel and clay, giving good pasture. The couutry is hilly,
rolling, open prairie.   The supply ot surface fresh water is small." 59
Surveyor-General, Dominion Lands' Report, 1878—W. F. King, p. 15.
Following the telegraph trail westerly, across the southern part of this
section, the first 20 miles passes through a wide stretch of plain, covered with
buffalo grass, with scarcity of water, but " near Grizzly Bear Creek, about 100
miles from Battleford, we again get into a tract of 40 miles or more of good
soil, rolling country with wooded hills and innumerable lakes."
111 PalMser, p. 71.
Crossed this section westerly about 15 miles south of Saskatchewan.
"Entered a district of country exactly corresponding to the White Lakes
between Fort Pitt and Carlton, forming what is known as the Chain of Lakes."
From one of these lakes the Vermilion River rises, and flowing to the southeast, till far out in the plains, it makes an abrupt turn to north north-east to
join the Saskatchewan,
I We left this chain of lakes, and crossed a very hilly country until wo
came to an immense swamp, on the further side of which is the hill known as
1 La Sutte Noir.' " To the north, between this trail and the Saskatchewan, the
country is described as hilly, with clumps of wood and fine pasture.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
I The southern portion is good fertile soil, improving to rich alluvial to
the west; there are numerous marshes producing good hay. The country to
the east is an even open prairie, the central part hilly and partially wooded,
and the western part an undulating open prairie. The supply of fresh water is
limited to the east, and abundant to the west."
Suveyor-Generai, Dominion Lands' Report, 1878—W. F. King, p. 15.
Continuing westerly along telegraph trail through southern portion of this
section—the first 20 miles or so ofthe soil is good, and the country rolling, with
wooded hills and lakes, for the remaining distance the country becomes poorer.
112 Palliser, p. 71.
The trail crossed this section westerly, about 15 miles from its northern
Leaving " La Butte Noir," crossed a plain with long grass and clumps of
willows for 14 miles. " Wo then came to poplar clumps, and at last fairly
entered the woods. North and west of this there are no plains except of small
size, completely surrounded with wood." Crossed several creeks, "continued to
the west and a little south, over a countiy that is evidently very swampy at
certain seasons, until we rounded the Beaver HiUte, when we camped in a clump
of pine "—20 miles from Edmonton.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
" The southern portion is rich alluvial soil, extending westerly to the
Beaver Hills, where the soil is good and fertile. There are numerous marshes
producing good hay. The surface is an undulating,.rolling prairie, and hilly to
the west, heavily wooded on the Beaver Hills and open to the east. The water
supply is good."
5$ 60
Surveyor-General, Dominion Lands' Report, 1878—W. F. King, p. 15.
Continuing westerly along the telegraph trail through southern portion or
section, " another good tract occurs as we approach the Beaver Hills, 175 miles
from Battleford. Going through this fertile stretch we reach Hay Lakes, at a
distance of about 195 miles from Battleford."
1T3 Sandford Fleming, Pac. Ry. Rept, 1874, p. 38.
"At Edmonton the question of coal first presents itself; some fragments
were dug out of the river bank. Although they burned in a blacksmith's
forge, evidently they were of an inferior quality; better samples were
reported by the officers of the Hudson Bay Fort as having been found higher
up the river."
"Looking back over the 1,000 miles of prairie country travelled since
leaving the wooded district east of Manitoba, it is worthy of note, that absolutely level plains formed no great proportion of the vast area which came
under our observation. We were agreeably surprised to find that by far the
B|»rger proportion was undulating and in this respect not unlike much of the
Province of Ontario, while eminences of considerable elevation, not greatly
inferior to the Mountain at Montreal, were occasionally met with. In many
places small groves and fringes of trees adorned the prairie and gave the landscape an agreeable, park-like appearance."
Selwyn Geol. Rep., 1873-74, pp. 37, 38.
Vermilion Creek to Edmonton, 35 miles.—Stretches of open prairie well
grassed, alternating with belts and patches of woodland; the greater part well
adapted for settlementa
Edmonton House stands on left bank of the Saskatchewan, about 100 feet
above river. At back of fort "gradual ascent of another 100 or 150 feet to
general prairie level." " Banks of river valley from 190 to 250 feet high, and at
most places densely wooded. Seven to ten miles back from valley, on either
side, is a line of high ground rising from 200 to 300 feet above a willow covored
At St. Albert R. C. Mission, 9 miles west of Edmonton, there is a fine farm
and garden, with splendid crops of wheat, barley, potatoes and turnips; barley
just cut, wheat not quite ripe, and some ears frosted; wheat hitherto uncertain,
" but a more hardy kind, or fall sowing, might be tried and produce better
Mr. Selwyn also traversed this section, southerly from Edmonton on
road to Rocky Mountain House, and describes the country as having a rich,
black soil, swampy lakes, open, richly grassed prairies and patches of copse
wood, with spruce and poplar trees.
Selwyn Geol. Rep., 1873-74, p. 50.
" There can be no question that in the region west of Edmonton, bounded on
the north by the Athabasca River and on the south by Red Deer River, there
exists a vast coal field, covering an area of not less than 25,000 square miles: 61
and beneath a large portion of this we may expect to find workable seams of
coal at depths seldom exceeding 300 feet, and often, as in the case of the thick
seams above described, very favorably situated for working by levels from the
Macoun Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, p. 92.
" The climate in the neighborhood of Fort Edmonton and St. Albert Mission is favorable to the growth of all kinds of grain except maize." " In both
localities, I saw wheat, oats and barley of excellent quality, and much taller
than it is seen in Ontario."
Messrs. Horetzky and Macoun passed north-westerly through this section
from Edmonton towards Lac la Nonne.
Horetzky's Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, p. 46,
Describes it as a very fair country of an easy character, and land partly
of prairie and tinlber.
Macoun's Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, p. 68.
"Between Edmonton and Lac la Nonne.—
Forty-nine miles by cart road; land rolling and rising into hills stretching
to the west; none of it is difficult, but the latter part is much broken by hills,
swamp and lake. About 40 miles from Edmonton is the height of land
between the Saskatchewan and Athabasca.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
"The southern portion is good fertile soil, with marshes producing good hay.
About Forts Edmonton and Saskatchewan there is rich alluvial soil, with
marshes producing good hay. About St. Alberts the soil is good and fertile,
with marshes producing good hay. The surface is undulating, rolling and
hilly. The valley of the Saskatchewan is deep and wide, as well as the valley
of White Mud. The southern portion is heavily timbered with poplar and
spruce, with occasional open prairies. The northern part is partially wooded ;
there is an abundant supply of good fresh water; coal is found on the banks of
the Saskatchewan, and gold is washed on the bars ofthe river."-
Surveyor-General, Dominion Lands' Report,   1878—W. F. King, pp. 15-16-17.
I At this point (Hay Lakes) we leave the telegraph 1
to Edmonton."
The Beaver Hill fertile region, however, appears to run a long way west of
Hay Lakes, probably to the edge of the forest, and to south-west it runs to
Battle River, to join the fertile belt, which runs along the upper part of that
river. The Hay Lakes lie in Lat. 53 ° 11', and in Longitude by C.P.R. 30'
50" east of Fort Edmonton, the distance from that place being about 33 miles
by trail. On this trail, seven miles from Hay Lakes, we enter thick bush, in
which spruce may occasionally bo seen, as well as a lewspruce and tamarac
muskegs, a sign of the proximity of the forest.
This bush extends nine or ten miles along the trail;  crossing the " White
Mud River, a small creek 16 miles from Fort Edmonton, we enter a beauli8li|
fertile tract, a gently rolling country with numerous clumps of poplar and
frequent lakes, this extends to the Saskatchewan River at Fort Edmonton."
Mr. King, in the autumn of 1877, ran several meridian and township lines
in the neighbourhood of Edmonton and St. Albert Settlement, continuing his
surveys as far as the 114th meridian.
to go northward He describes the country as of varying character, some more or less open,
other thick poplar and spruce bush, and also swamp. " The 114th meridian
runs through a flat country, drained by the Upper Sturgeon, and by the Rosebud River, which flows into the western end of Big Lake. Between this latter
river which is a few chains south of the 14th Base, and the Upper Sturgeon
River which is crossed by the meridian about 7J miles north of the Base, the
country is nearly all good prairie land, with heavy clumps of poplar, &c. North
of the Sturgeon the country is open, and the soil is not so good. South of the
Base the line runs through muskegs for nearly three miles, when, emerging
from the valley of the Rosebud River, the Stony Plain is reached, which is,
notwithstanding its misleading name, a very fertile region many miles
wido.   It is bounded on the north by a strip of large spruces.
" The 14th base, Lat. 53 ° 35' 52", leaving the Rosebud River to the south,
runs into the Rosebud Hills, in which also there are many localities exhibiting
good soil."
" The Edmonton Settlement extends along the Saskatchewan about 8
miles, principally on the north Bank, although a few settlers have taken up
claims on the south side of the river. There are also several settlers along
the trail from Edmonton to Big Lake. The soil throughout this Edmonton
Settlement is excellent, and there is plenty of wood everywhere, while there is
good pasturage a few miles away from the river."
" The settlement here is chiefly on the north side of the river, opposite
the Fort. The soil is very fertile, and settlers have large fields under cultivation. They have a -water mill, just built (June, 1878) on the Sturgeon River,
about 8 miles north from the settlement, in the centre of a most fertile,
though at present unoccupied tract of land. A few miles north of this there is
a large extent of fine spruce bush in the vicinity of Egg Lake, from which a
large amount of building timber is procured." " The Fort Saskatchewan tract
of good land extends southerly across the Saskatchewan to the Beaver Hills,
and easterly across the Sturgeon River, as far as Vermilion Creek, 14 miles "
114 Sandford Fleming, Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, p. 39.
" On leaving Edmonton we passed through a country interspersed with
hillocks, and we likewise occasionally met with swamps, many of which
were covered with swamp hay. Gradually the country becomes more wooded,
and the undulations assume a more marked character. More creeks were
crossed, running in most cases through narrow valleys. The vegetation was
particularly luxuriant, and the grass through which we passed was, in some
places, from five to six feet high."
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
" Following tbe line of the Canadian Pacific Railway the soil is good and
fertile. To the east of Lake St. Anne and to the north of Lake of Isles the soil
is also good and fertile. To the north of White Lake the soil is fair; the surface
is hilly and undulating; the eastern portion is partially wooded, and the
western heavily, with fine poplar and spruce. There are numerous marshes
producing good hay, and the water supply is abundant. Coal is found in large
quantities on the banks of the Pembina River and the Saskatchewan. Gold is
washed on the bars of the Saskatchewan." 63
115 Sandford Fleming. Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, p. 39.
" In crossing the River Pembina some 70 miles west of the River Saskatchewan, we found thick outcropping beds of coal. It proved much better
than the Edmonton specimen, and we heard from our guides that abundance of
this fuel was present at other localities, some of it of still better quality.
Occasionally the country becomes more open with groves of spruce, aspen
and poplar, increasing in size. Nevertheless, much of it is densely wooded,
while in other places the timber is thin and of inferior quality."
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
"To the east of Dirt Lake and to the south the soil is good and fertile,
with marshes producing good hay. South of the Lobstick River the soil is
fair, with marshes producing good hay. To the west the soil is fair, with
muskeags. The surface is hilly and rolling, and heavily timbered with fine
spruce and poplar. The supply of good water is abundant. Coal is found in
large Quantities in the banks ofthe Pembina River."
116 Henry A. F. MacLeod.
The central portion is poor, sandy clay and gravelly soil, with muskegs,
except some of the flats of the McLeod River, and the valley of Medicine Lodge
Creek, where the soil is fair. The surface is hilly and rolling and heavily
timbered with fine spruce and poplar. Water supply abundant. Coal plentiful in the banks ofthe McLeod."
117 Henry A. F. MacLeod.
1 The central portion to the east of Lac a Brule is poor, sandy clay and
gravelly soil, with muskeags, except some extensive flats on the Athabasca
River and Prairie River, where the soil is fair. It is reported that bands of
horses have been wintered on these flats. The Rocky Mountains rise immediately to the west of Lac a Brule, and on each side of Fiddle River. The
mountains are rock with a light coating of soil and moss in places. The surface
is hilly to the east, mountainous to the west and south. The country is heavily
timbered with fine spruce and poplar, except the flats above mentioned, which
are open prairie. Water supply abundant. Coal is found in the banks of Coal
Palliser,p. 124.
Dr. Hector crossed this section from north-east to south-west, ascending
the Athabasca.—
After leaving Baptiste Creek, " seemed to be passing through a range of
hills, but although I ascended the bank for 250 feet, I could see nothing of the
• suriounding country, on account ofthe dense woods." After passing Old Man's
Creek, "the banks (of the Athabasca) became low and covered with spiuce,
with large swampy flats at a little distance from the river." 64
Continuing to ascend the river, the valley is very wide with large alluvial
flats, and the land rises into hills on either hand. On the terraces which rise
to 370 feet, the soil is dry and gravelly, supporting a growth of cypress and
Reached the point (on the western side of this section) where the River
Athabasca emerges from Lac a Brule, lying at the base of the Rooky Mountains,
which rise from its western shore at loast 3,000 feet; " its eastern shore is formed
of immense sand hills."
118 PaUiser pp. 124, 125.
Above Lac a Brule entered a wide valley in the mountains, and reache <*
the base of Myette's rock.
Jasper House (on the eastern side of this section) "is beautifully situated
in an open plain, about six miles in extent, within the first range of the mountains."
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
" To the south-east the valley ofthe Athabasca is entirely in the Rocky Moun
tains.   The bottom of the valley is generally a flat from one to two miles wide
The soil is light, sandy, clay and gravelly, with muskeags in places. The sides o
the valley are steep and generally rocky, in some places covered with a few feet o
light soil, affording good pasture during the summer months. The big horn sheep
is plentiful here.   The valley is heavily timbered with spruce and poplar, except
a few small prairies about Jasper Lake and to the north of Henry House.
Water supply is abundant.    Coal is reported in large quantities to the north
of Jasper House."
IOO Lake Winnipegosis occupies the eastern portion of this section.
Hinds, A. & S., Exp., Vol. 1, ^.433.
Mr. Dawson, in the spring of 1858, ascended Swan River in a canoe.
"About Swan Lake the country is highly interesting." "To the north an
apparently level and well wooded country extends to the base of the Porcupine
Range." " Ascending from Swan Lake for two miles the banks of Swan River are
low, they then gradually become higher until they attain a height of 100 feet
above the river. The current is here remarkably swift." " Landslips occur in
many places where the banks are high, exposing an alluvial soil of great depth,
resting on drift clay or shale of a slignty bituminous appearance."
"About thirty miles above Swan Lake the prairie region fairly commences."
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
"In the south-west of this, being the northerly end of the Duck Mountains,
the country is hilly, the soil fair, and is heavily wooded with large spruce and
poplar, and some marshes producing hay.   Fresh water plentiful."
Vh 65
G. C. Cunningham, Pac. Ry. Rep., 1877, p. 186.
Mr. Cunningham had charge of this part of Pacific Railway Survey.—On
the line of the railway between the 40 and 50 miles from Mossy Creek,
observed some spruce trees 3 ft. 6 in. in diameter. On Duck Mountain there is
a magnificent growth of white spruce; the quality of the timber is almost equal
to that of first quality pine, and is remarkably sound. Up to 70 miles the line
skirts the base of Duck Mountain, which is heavily timbered. After crossing
Rolling River, at the 70 miles, entered a more prairie like district, and the
timber, as a general rule, is very light, with intervening stretches of prairie ;
but in the river valleys and gullies, timber bluffs, affording white spruce and
tamarac, occur.
Swan River Valley.—" The valuable part of this valley, or rather basin,
begins at the eastern slope of Thunder Hill, and extends in a north-easterly
direction to the Swan Lake. It is bounded on the north and north-west by the
Swan Lake and Porcupine Mountain, on the west by Thunder Hill, on the south
by Duck Mountain, and on the east by an elevated ridge lying between it and
Lake Winnipegosis. Its extent is about 60 miles in length by 20 miles in
width; the soil is rem&rkably rich and productive. Throughout it consists of
large^plains clothed with tall succulent grass, alternating with strips and clumps
of timber well grown and admirably adapted for building purposes. Near
Swan Lake may be seen spruce, tamarac, oak, elm, maple, birch and poplar,
each species being represented by trees of very considerable growth."
101 The Porcupine range of hills occupies the central part of this section.
Swan River crosses the south-east corner of this section.
Hind, A. & S. Expn., Vol. \.,p. -434.
Mr. Dawson's description.—" There the river winds about in a fine valley,
the banksof which rise to the height of 80 or 100 feet. Beyond these an apparently unbroken level extends on one side for a distance of about 15 or 20 miles
to the Porcupine Hills, and for an equal distance on the other, to a high table
land called the Duck Mountain. From this, south-westward to Thunder Mountain, the country is the finest I have ever seen in a state of nature."
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
" The valley of Swan River contains good fertile soil partially wooded;
with marshes producing good hay. The south-east corner is fair soil, hilly and
heavily wooded with good spruce and poplar.    Water is abundant."
See also Section -^ for Mr. Cunningham's description of Swan River Valley.
102 Henry A. F. MacLeod.
"The south-east corner is fair soil, thickly wooded with poplar and small
spruce. Surface hilly with marshes producing good hay. Fresh water abundant."
io3 Henry A. F. MacLeod.
" The south-eastern part about Nut Hil&p fair soil, improving to the southwest, which is good fertile soil. The woods are light at the south-east and
north; at the south-west corner there is an open plain; the surface is even and
undulating.   Water supply good," ii
104 Henry A. F. MacLeod.
" To the east and south, the soil is good and fertile; to the south-west it is
fair; the country is open plain to the south-east, and partially wooded to the
south-west.   Surface even and undulating.   The supply of fresh water is good."
Surveyor General, Dominion Lands, Rep. 1877, A. L. Russell, D.L.S., p. 12.
Along meridian ranges 16 and 17, West.—This Meridian line enters the
south side of the section above Big Quill Lake and runs from 3 miles south of
the C. P. R. line, through rising ground densely wooded with large poplar, and
numerous ponds, up to the 10th base line, a distance of about 13 miles.
The 10th base line runs westerly from the above-mentioned Meridian.
" The wooded and pond country continues for about 27 miles, when the country becomes more open and inviting."
105 The South branch ofthe Saskatchewan runs through this section from southwest to north-east. Mr. Hind travelled down the river, and the following are
extracts from his description relative to this section.
Hind, A. & S. Exp.,  Vol. 1, pp. 388-391.
At eighty miles above the Grand Forks the River is 200 yards broad, but
deep and swift; the volume of water much less than at the Elbow. No
doubt evaporation during its course through arid planes is competent to
occasion a large diminution. Recent water marks shew a rise of five and eight
" On both sides a treeless prairie is alone visible;" prairie level, 80 feet
above river; about 10 miles lower down, river j mile broad; prairie,
as before, treeless. A few miles further down, the hill banks begin to increase
in altitude to about 100 feet.
At 50 miles above the Grand Forks, " the woods," as they are termed,
begin ; they consist of a few aspen clumps on the hill and banks of the deep
valley; the face ofthe country is changing fast and is becoming more undulating, patches of aspen shewing themselves on the prairie ; occasionally the remains of heavier growth are visible, clusters and blackened trunks 10 and 14
inches in diameter. The balsam-spruce begins to appear in gi-oves. The
river winds in valley, three-fourths of a mile broad, between high wooded banks
with aspen and spruce groves; the flats are covered with rich profusion of
vetches, grasses and rose-bushes. Traces everywhere of a former fine aspen
forest, with clumps of elm and ash.
" During the whole afternoon we passed swiftly through a good country,
well fitted for settlement, as far as we could judge from soil and vegetation."
" Low islands are numerous in the river, and extensive alluvial flats spread out
in the expansion of the valley."
Mr. Hind also traversed this section by land south-westerly from the Birch
Hill to Lumpy Hill, and thence south-easterly.
Hind A. & S. Exp., Vol. \pp, 406-411.
The Birch Bills range is said by Indians to extend to the rear of Fort
Pelly, and forms the dividing ridge between the water which flows into the
main Saskatchewan and the Assineboine, or Red Deer and Swan Rivers, " The valley of Long Creek offers by far the most attractive features for
settlement of any part ofthe country through which we have passed since leaving Prairie Portage."
Birch Hills to Lumpy Hill-
Followed through broad valley,.rich in alluvial meadows, ponds and
lakes, with hills on south-eastern side gently sloping towards it and covered with
the dead trunks of burnt aspens. Tho soil is similar to that of Long Creek,
Passed near source of Carrot or Root River, which rises within 12 miles of south
Branch, and drains an extensive area of wooded country, and passing on its
Jcouyse through numerous lakes, falls into the main Saskatchewan at the Pas.
Lumpy Hill is about 400 feet above the general level; from its summit an
undulating open country, dotted with lakes and flanked by the Birch Hills is
visible towards the east; south and south-west is a lake region, also north and
north-east. These lakes are numerous and large, often three miles long and
two broad.
The view extends to the borders of the wooded land; beyond is a treeless
Much of the soil on the south and east of the Lumpy Hill is sandy and
poor. We had now reached the limit of the good land, and were about to enter
upon a comparatively sterile country.
Low hills and long ridges diversify the general level of the prairies, as
seen from Lumpy Hill.   " This eminence consists of drift sand and clay."
From Lumpy Hill to Big Hill.—The trail taking an easterly direction,
passed over a series of hills and intervening valleys, constituting a height of
land. Thence the vegetation still continues luxuriant; lakes are numerous;
aspen groves and flowers abundant. As we approach the great prairie, the
country becomes more undulating, and the soil light colored and poor.
The aspens are still large, although many of them have been destroyed
by fire.
After traversing a very undulating country, in which are low ranges of
hills and conical mounds with limestone boulders on their summits, arrived at
Big Hill, on the top of which large granite or gnessoid and limestone boulders
are strewn.
1 The limit of the so-called wooded country is about 70 miles from the
North Branch, and 30 miles from the South Branch."
Leaving this hill, the trail winds through a dreary labyrinth of dome-
shaped hills, many of them covered with boulders; small aspens alone are
found on low ridges or near ponds. A better country is then entered, but still
undulating, containing many lakelets fringed with aspens; the soil is light and
the herbage scanty.
Sandford Fleming, Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, p. 37.
I Before reaching the South Branch of the Saskatchewan, the country is an
agreeable mixture of woodland and prairie with several lakes of moderate
dimensions, and with a rolling succession of knolls. The landscape was unusually pleasing, the soil excellent, and we saw abundant wild flowers. Very
many of the lakes are brackish, yet they often adjoin fresh-water lakes; the
latter we found invariably at a higher level. At the foot of a ridge they are
more frequently saline; on mounting the slope they prove to be fresh. At one
place, we witnessed a fresh-water spring at the edge of a lake, the latter so
saline that the horses would not drink the water."
Mr. Selwyn crossed the south-west portion of this section along the road
from Touchwood Hills to Carlton.
Selwyn Geol. Rep., 1873-4, p. 30.
He describes the country to Big Hill, or Mount Carmel, as [more undulating, and for the most part open prairie; wood and water very scarce. 68
Big Hill, or Mount Carmel, "is 140 to 160 feet above road at base, and is
composed of driffi As far as eye can reach, similar hills and ridges without
definite arrangement or parallelism are seen."
From Big Hill to the Saskatchewan opposite Carlton.—
Low drift hills interspersed with many lakes and pools, clumps and patches
of copsewood, with intervening grassy plains.
Henry A. F. MacLeod,
" The southern part is light gravelly soil, improving to the south-east where
it is good and fertile. To the east of Gotland the soil is light, improving to
the west, where it is good and fertile.
About the centre the soil is good, giving excellent pasturage; and in
the neighborhood of Duck Lake the soil is good and fertile. To the south-east
and north the country is partially wood, and to the south-west prairie land; the
surface is hilly and undulating. Fresh water in limited supply to the south,
but abundant to the north."
Surveyor General, Dominion Lands, Rep. 1877, A. L. Russell, pp. 12, 15, 16.
The 10th Base line (latitude 50° 11"), continues westerly through
the southern part of this section ; for the first 10 miles the country is " open and
inviting," " when we gradually descend into an almost barren, rolling, alkaline,
sandy plain, where a few stray buffalo were occasionally seen."
Surveyor General, Dominion Lands, Rep. 1878, Mr. A. L: Russell, p. 13.
Describes the northern portion of this section as admirably adapted
to agricultural and pastoral purposes, well watered with streams and ponds,
and fair share of rather small sized poplar.
" The land to the south-east, of Prince Albert Settlement, across the
South branch of the Saskatchewan, is superior in many respects to that lying
between tho two branches, which is rather rolling, light in places, and broken
by ponds; whereas that to the east and south has gentle slopes and a uniformly
excellent soil of about 8 to 10 inches of dark rich loam underlaid by a not too
stiff clay."
I During the six years I have spent in surveys in various parts of Manitoba
and the North-West, I have never seen greater luxuriance of growth than that
here, nor do I consider the soil of that Province, which is frequently a stiff
clay, as inviting to the farmer as the more friable soil of this section."
" Except along the main streams, where spruce, tamarac and jack pine are
met with, very little timber suitable for building purposes is to be found,
although a sufficiency for fencing exists almost everywhere,
" A large quantity ofthe best wood along the main Saskatchewan River is
annually culled out for the Hudson's Bay Company's steamboats. Already
Settlers are taking up land at the " Forks," and east and south thereof, in view
ofthe possibility of future railway facilities in addition to the means of communication afforded by the Saskatchewan.
Prince Albert to Canada Pacific Railway Line, 90 miles.—" The first 20
miles (a part of which is in sec. -^fe) pass through an excellent farming country,
which continues good as far as the lower (Garrieppy's) crossing (of the Saskatchewan, about Lat. 52° 50', Long. 106°) where on the east bank are several
settlers, who speak favourably of their claims." Thence south-west for the next
10 miles to the Big Hill, " Minitohinasse," the road passes through the belt of
timber skirting the river.
From the Big Hill to the Canadian Pacific Railway Line, the road runs
through a hilly country with occasional groves of wood and lakelets, but for
the most part the land is too sandy and broken for agricultural purposes. 52
The South Branch of the Saskatchewan traverses the south-eastern portion
of this section.
Hind's A. &. 8. Exp., Vol. 1, p. 387.
Mr. Hind travelled down the river.
Beyond the Moose Woods the banks ofthe river are 60 feet high ; breadth
of stream, 250 yards, with current of three miles an hour. " On the east bank
the prairie is occasionally wooded with clumps of aspen, on the west side it is
treeless and shows many sand hills."
Pailiser, pp. 57, 58.
The Pailiser expedition travelled from the Elbow of the South Saskatchewan
on the west of that river to Carlton House, and passed diagonally through this
section from the south-west to Carlton.—
From point opposite Moose Woods to Stone Indian Creek, level plains, very
poor soil, profusion of boulders, ridges of poplars lying north-west or north and
soutfi, between swampy hollows.
Thence to Fort Carlton, five miles through rich grassy land of first-rate
quality, lightly wooded with clumps of willow and poplar.
Pailiser, pp. 63, 64, and notes on map.
Saskatchewan near Carlton.—
River is 440 yards wide at high water, at low water it is 12 feet deep; the
channel is clear, valley 195 feet deep; the alluvium bottom is often three times
the width of the stream, affording much rich land. The country along both
sides, where back from the river bank, forms exceedingly rich pasturage
abounding in vetches, interspersed with small lakes and clumps of aspen and
poplar. Distehution of the wood is most beautiful, but the timber is of no value
except for firewood.
Round the swampy margins of some of the lakes there grows an abundance
of goose grass, on which horses fatten almost as well as on grain. Poplar is the
principal wood near the fort; down towards the Forks of the Saskatchewan,
large forests of pine and spruce occur, and up the river about 30 miles there is a
gully from which birch is obtained for cart axles, &c, for which hard wood is
required. Their best timber is, however, brought from Shell Creek, 60 miles to
the north.
Thickwood Hills, 25 miles north-west from Carlton.—After ascending
the left bank of Saskatchewan, which is 200 feet high, we passed to west through
rolling country covered with poplar clumps and small lakes. Thence northwest reached a lake at foot of a conical knoll, its waters proved to be saturated
with salt, and on the shores crystals of sulphate of soda were lying heaped up,
many of them of large size.
Ascending the conical hill, which is called by tho Crees " Mamtoe s .Best,
it is quite covered with grass to the top, and is probably composed of a patch of
cretaceous strata, such as was seen at the Elbow of the South Saskatchewan. Indeed the whole eastern sl'ope of the Thickwood Hills, with its broken country
strewn with boulders and worn into conical knolls and deep pot holes, forcibly
reminded me of the country where that river intersects the Coteau des Prairie.
Thence following cart track, reached a large clear lake several miles in length, and surrounded with dense pine forests. " The
margin   has   been   encroached   upon   by a dense,  growth   of   sphagnum 70
moss, with dwarfed "and contorted spruces and larches, for the most
part dead, the whole forming what is known as a muskeg, favorite habitat
for cranberries." " As swampy lakes of this description form the mass
of what should be dry land in- the district between Lake Winnipeg and Hudson
Bay, they give the name to the Indians of that region, a sub-tribe of the Crees,
known as Muskegoes or Swampy Indians." " Besides the ' Abies Alba,' which
is the largest and best timber of this country, I observed a few larches, called
here juniper, but they always die before reaching any size." The country
between Muskeg Lake and the mountain is very broken.
Ascending the Thickwood Hills, " Passed through dense thickets of poplar.
On gaining the highest level, I found that the hills were really a lofty table
land, which has an irregular surface covered with swampy lakes and thickets,
and it is only the rugged escarpment to the east that gives them the appearance
of a range of distant hills."
Capt. Pailiser, in his journey from Carlton to the Forks of the Medicine
and Red Deer Rivers, travelled through this section on the south of the Saskatchewan.
Pailiser, p. 83.
Carlton to the Elbow of the North Saskatchewan.—Passed over fine
rich country and level plain 210 feet above the river to Birch Gully. The
valley of the North Saskatchewan at the Elbow is not luxuriant, aspen and
poplar being the only trees. From Birch Gully to Cross Woods, an irregular
country, the large timber was all burnt off    Only stunted willows remained.
Sandford Fleming Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, p. 38.
" The crossing of the South Saskatchewan is about 250 yards wide; the
banks are about 170 feet high; the eastern bank, however, has the greater
elevation; aspens, balsams, poplars and small white birch are found on its
banks; the valley of the river, however, extends over a mile in width. The
North Saskatchewan is 18 miles distant, and it is here that Fort Carlton is
established. Between the two rivers the country assumes the appearance of
a level plateau elevated about 300 feet above the stream. The soil, although
light, is of good character; the North River at this spot is somewhat broader
than tho South BranM. The streams unite near the 105th degree of longitude
and discharge into Lake Winnipeg. Only one rapid of any great importance
is met in this distance."
Mr. Selwyn entered this section on the east side by trail leading through'
Carlton, and thence westerly towards Edmonton.
Selwyn's Geol. Rep., 1873-74, pp. 32-33.
Crossing of South Saskatchewan.—The river is here 200 yards wide, with
strong current, and the extreme width of the valley is two miles; descent to
river hy steps or terraces, and also at other places abrupt wtih cliffs 150 feet
of brown earthy clay or loam, with occasionally imbedded boulders; ironstone
nodules, some of large size, are abundant among .boulders. No unmoved rocks
in this vicinity.
Carlton House is situated on North Saskatchewan, 19J miles from
crossing of South Branch.
The Fort stands on a terraced flat of limited extent, about 200 feet below
the level of the plain.   Between it and the river a second narrower terrace or 71
alluvial flat borders the river; a short distance above the Fort, on the left
bsnk, the terraces terminate, and a single steep slope rises from the margin of
the river, to the plain; while on the opposite side the terraced character of the
valley appears to have been modified by successive land slides, producing a;
wide broken surface of irregular hills and hollows, which are for the most part
thickly wooded. The river at Carlton is 400 yards wide, with an extreme
depth of about 10 feet.
Carlton to Thickwood Hills.—For first two miles soil very light and sandy;
at Creek-on-prairie extensive grassy swamps; thence 16 miles over very hilly
and broken country to Redberry Creek, falling into Redberry Lake, the water
of which is salt. This is at the base of Thickwood Hills, which form the
ascent to the Third Prairie Steppe.
These hills are rough and stony, and boulders again become numerous.
The country is well wooded and- grass abundant.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
The southern portion is poor gravelly soil, affording good pasturage,
improving to the south-east to good fertile soil, and to the west, about the South
Saskatchewan, to fair soil; the central and northern part, to near Carlton, is
good fertile soil; the southern portion is open prairie, and to the north partially
wooded. The surface is hilly to the south-east, and even and undulating to the
west and centre; the supply of water is limited, except in the two Saskatche-
wans. The valley of the South Saskatchewan is not very large at the railway
crossing, but increases in width and depth to the upper trail crossing ; that of
the North Saskatchewan is wide and deep.
Surveyor-General of Dominion Lands Report, 1877—A. L. Russell, D.L.S., pp. 12-13
Third principal Meridian, Longitude, 106° West, runs from the 10th base
line in Latitude 52° 11' for 67 miles north.*
I For about twenty-four miles the line runs through the same sandy rolling plain.
I On the thirteenth mile we crossed the Canadian Pacific Railway Line
where it deflects to the north, two miles south of an alkaline lake, 2f miles
across. This lake has a very striking appearance, the shores being fringed
with a crimson coloured weed, which disguises a wide, miry sandy margin
I At the Latitude of the eleventh Base the main Southern trail to Carlton is
crossed, and here the land gradually improves, and fresh water ponds and groves
of timber abound.
"The South branch of the Saskatchewan River is crossed at 1J
miles north of the 12th Base line, about one mile below the lower
(Garrieppy) crossing. The river here i3 400 yards wide, with steep banks about
thirty feet, and a current of two miles an hour. The lower crossing is on the
shortest road to Prince Albert Settlement, and is seldom used by other than those
going thence.
| Shortly alter crossing this stream, we entered on a tract of great fertility
and crossed the holdings of some English-speaking farmers, who praised the
country and are entering heartily into the tillage of the soil and stock-raising."
* This may be considered the corrected Meridian : it is about tea miles east ofthe Meridian
line, 106" W. Longitude, shown on the accompanying map. The descrepancy arises from the
fact that the true Longitudes of localities- had not been determined when the original copy of
this map was prepared. The correct position of the Meridian has only recently been established. r
Surveyor-General of Dominion Lands' Report, 1878—J. 8. Dentiis, jun., D.L.S.,
p. 21.
Tenth baseline continues westerly through this Section in Latitude 52° 11".
" The South Branch ofthe Saskatchewan was crossed on this line at 25 miles
from the 106th meridian. The .river here is some 12 chains in width, with a
very strong current; the banks are low and edged by a mud deposit of the
river, not of any width that would be of use for cultivation." The soil along
this Base line through this Section "is of a very poor nature, being light and sandy
and in most cases alkaline."
Surveyor-General of Dominion Lands' Report, 1878—W. F. King, D.L.S.,p. 19.
Twelfth Base Line, Lat. 52 ° 53' 26", westward from 106th meridian to
" I began the J 2th base from the 106th meridian, on the eastern side of
the South Saskatohewan,||bd ran it down to the water. Next day we crossed
the river, which is hero 400 yards wide, and produced the line through a thick
belt of tamaracs that extends along its western bank. Ascending the hill to
the west the line ran into thick poplar bush. The country here for
some distance is a network of lakes, the shores of which are covered with
thick growths of willows, &c. The soil is sandy. This sort of country extends
for some two ranges, with only about three miles intervening of ordinary
prairie. After this, in the third range, the country becomes open, but the soil
is somewhat light for cultivation. In the fourth range west of this principal
meridian, the line strikes the North Saskatchewan at the end of the twentieth
Section from the meridian, and at about three miles north-east of Fort
Surveyor-General of Dominion Lands' Report, 1878—M. Aldous, D.L.8., p. 24.
sides of the South
principal Meridian
" St. Laurent.—This settlement extends along both
Saskatchewan River, from its intersection with the   3rd
south to ' Gabriel's Crossing,' a distance of over twenty mile
" "W hen camped near' Batoche's Crossing,' convenient opportunity occurred
of taking a cross section of the South Saskatchewan River, which it will be interesting to compare with one taken of the North Saskatchewan at about the
same time last season.   The results were as follows :—
"Velocity (mean) ML        1-875 miles per hour.
Width (from water to water)     613       feet.
Greatest depth        9 "
Mean depth        4-58     "
Sectional area 2,811       square feet.
Discharge ,S  about8,000       cubic feet per second.
" Results of Cross-section of North Saskatchewan River, taken Septembor,
1877 :—. '
" Velocity....<s|,  = 1-9125 per hour.
Width (from water to water).... =     907        feet
Greatest depth  = 8.3      "
Mean depth   — 6-1       i
Sectional area  =    616-8 square yards.
Discharge  = 15,620   cubic feet per second.
Hi -1
" That portion of the South Branch which has come under my observation
is very free from obstructions, not a single sand bar was noticed in the whole
distance traversed, while, taking a similar distance on the North Branch, there
will be found fifteen or twenty shifting sand bars. The water this season was,
I estimate, eighteen inches lower than at the same date last season. Taking
this into consideration, the measurements would go to show that the amount of
water flowing through the South Branch is about seventy per cent, of that flowing through the North Branch. Notwithstanding this difference of volume, it
is my opinion that navigation on the South Branch can more easily be effected
than on the North Branch.
" The entire population of St. Laurent consists of French Half-breeds, who,
with few exceptions, hve by buffalo hunting. They simply farm sufficient land
to provide themselves with grain and vegetables for tneir winter use; they,
nevertheless, fully understand the advantage of securing land, being well aware
that, in a very few years, the buffalo will be exterminated, and that then they
will be compelled to turn their attention to agricultural pursuits.
" There are numerous large hay meadows in the rear of the settlement,
from one to two miles from the river. This hay is cut and stacked in the autumn
season, and furnishes abundance of fodder for their large bands of horses during
the winter months.
" Tlfe land on the east side ofthe river is generally of an excellent quality
and such as can be farmed to advantage, while on the west side, except in small
tracts, it is very light and sandy, and unfit for cultivation."
Surveyor-General of Dominion Lands' Report, 1877—A. L. Russell, D. L. S.,
pp. 14-15.
Duok Lake—" This settlement lies about nine miles west of St. Laurent,
and twelve miles south-east of Carleton House. Apart from an extensive
trading establishment and a few Indians located here, there are not, probably,
over fifty settlers, principally French Half-breeds." The good land hereabouts
is rather limited.
Carleton House—" Last in order of population, but first as regards
importance throughout this country, is Carleton House; the headquarters of
the Hudson's Bay Company, in this most important District."
"Carleton House is situated on the east bank of the North Saskatchewan, about
forty miles south-west of Prince Albert, in Latitude 52° 52J' N. There is no
settlement in this vicinity; the land, except on the very limited interval, being
inferior in quality. The Hudson's Bay Company's steamer ' Northcote' made
five trips to this point and one to Edmonton during the past summer."
107 Captain Pailiser entered this section about latitude,52° 15", and travelled
Pailiser, pp. 83, 84.
Crossed Eagle Hill Creek, valley 130 feet deep, but little wood, small birch
and poplars, and berry-bearing bushes; thence 15 miles over undulating prairie,
with numerous salt lakes, to the base of Eagle Hill, 600 feet high; elevation
above sea, 2,328 feet; eastern ascent steep and difficult; descent of their
western flanks scai-cely perceptible.
Eagle Hills to Ear Hills.—Plain, witffifjittle wood or water; soil impregnated with sulphates of soda aud lime; very poor grass; small prairie flats
between ridges of Ear Hills, but barren, nothing but small bushes on hills.
Captain Pailiser also crossed S. E. angle of this seotion.   See section ^fe,
6 m
Mr. Selwyn passed through northern part of this westerly, towards
Jack-fish Lake.
Selwyn Geol. Rep., 1873-74, p. 33.
From " Bear Paddling Lake," for 30 miles, the country is almost bare of
wood; ridges and hills of sand and gravel. Soil generally light and poor;
several grassy-edged lakes and pools, many of them salt, and boulders of gneiss
scattered over surface.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
" The southern portion, and extending to the Eagle Hills, is fair soil,
improving to the north-east to good soil; on the Eagle Hills it is light gravelly
soil, affording good pasture. To the north ofthe Saskatchewan, the soil is good
and fertile; the surface is even and undulating to the east and north, and hilly
to the south-west; fresh water supply good. The valley of the Saskatchewan
is wide and deep.
Surveyor-General Dominion Lands' Report, 1878—J. S. Dennis, jun., D.L.S.,p. 21.
The 10th base line continues westerly through this Section in Lat. 52° 11'.
" The soil on the pai-t surveyed of this Base, with the exception qf some few
miles in the Eagle Hills, is of a very poor nature, being light and sandy, and
in most cases alkaline," unfit for agricultural purposes, and almost destitute of
wood and water.
I Oo Captain Pailiser entered this section about latitude 52° 15' and passed
through to the north of Ear Hills, and across the valley to the Wigwatinon.
See sec. -f^j for description to Ear Hills.
Pailiser, page 85.
Countiy in neighborhood of Ear Hills is irregular, of rounded mamelons
of almost pure sand, with numerous saline lakes ; the soil and vegetation very
inferior, probably the same character extends up to valley of Battle River.
The valley of Wigwatinon running north-east and south-west, 200 feet below
prairie level, is dotted with saline lakes; north end of valley clothed with
aspen, the finest we have seen in the country; also, small quantity of a kind of
sugar maple, and a large grove of ash-leaved maple. As a rulo this region is
desolate and barren, the whole country to the north has the same irregular
features; soil for most part sandy; to the south and west a flat expanse of
prairie extends to the horizon.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
"The central portion of this section is covered by the Eagle Hills, and the
north-western by the Wolf Hills. The former are high hills with light gravelly
soil, affording good pasturage, and the Wolf Hills are sandy knolls, also good
pasturage. There is some fair prairie land about Railh. At Battleford, and on
the north side of the Saskatchewan the soil is good and fertile, without woods.
The hills are partially wooded with poplar.   Water supply good."
Mr. Wm. Ogilvie, D.L.S.
Mr. Ogilvie, who has been engaged in surveys and explorations in various
parts of the North-West Territories during last year, 1878, under the Department of the Interior, travelled through this section from Battleford southwesterly, and thus describes it:— 75
" Leaving Battleford in a southerly direction and continuing so for about
five miles, the soil sandy and grass light, many alkaline ponds, some patches of
light poplar woods around and near the ponds; thence in a south-westerly
direction about four miles, to the bottom of a ridge, which runs in an easterly
and westerly direction, and rises about 200 to 300 feet; the soil pretty fair,
clayey loam, and gravelly ridges ; grass good. Along the slope of the ridge
mentioned are many ravines in which wood and spring water are found: the
wood small poplar. Thence in a generally southerly direction, about 10 miles
over gravelly loam, grass pretty good; here are some ponds, mostly alkaline;
one about two miles long and about one-fourth of a mile wide, runs north and
south. Thence westerly over gravelly ridges, and flats of good loamy clay soil for
about 10 miles; fresh water ponds, and bed of dry creek. No wood near or in
Col. MacLeod and Capt. Clark also travelled southerly from Battleford
through this section.   See sec. -j^g-.
Battleford, the seat of Government of the North-West Territories, is situated near the junction of the Saskatchewan and Battle Rivers.
The Government House, Stipendiary Magistrate and Registrar's Offices stand
on the height on the south side of Battle River, about 200 feet above the water.
The Post and Telegraph offices, Traders' establishments and other Settlers'
houses, are built between this height and the river.
And the Police Barracks on a plateau about 100 feet in height between
the rivers.
The population is probably nearly 100. The banks of Battle River and the
south bank of the Saskatchewan, in this neighbourhood, are sufficiently low to
afford easy approach to the navigable water; whereas, the bank on tho north
side of the Saskatchewan is much too high and steep for that purpose.
When the water is at a good height, the Saskatchewan steamers can enter
the mouth of Battle River, and ascend to the Ford opposite Government House,
but this cannot be done at low water.
Navigation of Saskatchewan.—The navigation of the Saskatchewan, in
the vicinity of Battleford, is of the same character as the greater part of the river
from a point a short distance below Prince Albert to Fort Pitt, that is to say,
rendered somewhat difficult by shifting sand-bars. From Fort Pitt to Edmonton,
the river is better suited for navigation, the water being deeper, and the channels
From the point, referred to, near Prince Albertdown to the " Grand Rapids "
ofthe Saskatchewan near Lake Winnipeg, the obstructions to navigation consist
principally of shallow rapids, having but little tall over beds of boulders.
The Hudson Bay Company have two steamers on this river, running
between the Grand Rapids and Edmonton, one of these is constructed of steel and
the other of wood; the former of about 70 tons and the latter of about 150 tons
burthen, both drawing from 1J to 2J- feet of waterv
Surveyor General Dominion Lands' Eeport 1878—J.S. Dennis jun. D.L.S., pp.21,22.
The 10th Base continues westward for 25 miles to the Meridian, range
18 and 19. The soil is of a very poor nature, bei ng light and sandy, and in most
cases alkaline; none of it is of any uso for agricultural purposes.
11 experienced great difficulty in making progress on the 10th Base owing
to the want of wood and water, the country along that line being almost
destitute of both.   On one section of it water had to be carried for the party,
and wood for posts and fuel, in our carts for a distance of 32 miles."
6J 76
" The country along the Meridian (See note page 71) from the 10th
Base to the 11th Correction Line (about 37 miles), is of a better nature than
that on the 10th base for although the soil is light it is well watered, and the
pasturage is excellent, it is however, destitute of wood."
"The 11th Correctional line runs (in about Lat, 52.° 43'from the Meridian,
ranges 18 and 19 to Battleford, about 16 miles) through the hills on the south side of
Battle River Valley, and is in bush nearly all the way. The soil is generally
exceedingly poor,' and although improving a little in the immediate vicinity of
Battleford, is even there very light and sandy."
Along the 11th Base line, Lat 52° 32' 13", from the Meridian between ranges
18 and 19, about 17 miles in this section, Mr. Dennis describes the country as
decidedly more attractive, with good water, but a scarcity of wood.
Capt. Pailiser crossed this section about its centr , travelling westerly.
Pailiser, p. 85-86.
From Wigwatinon Valley to Nose Creek.—A few miles west, came to a
valley about 10 square miles in extent, with soil of excellent quality, of rich
black vegetable mould two and a-half feet deep, on fine jj§11ow sand; thence
passed over sand hills and a succession of poplar-covered ridges, with some fine
sugar trees; irregular country to north and northwest. " After an abrupt
accent of 240 feet, a fine level prairie stretches away to the south as far as the
eye can reach."
Neutral Hills could be seen twenty miles distant. They are the recognized boundary between the Cree and Blackfoot tribes. At nine miles east of
Nose Creek, came on what was once forest land, but now, only dotted with
small clumps of poplar and several salt lakes. The soil in many parts consists of one foot of black vegetable mould, excellent nutritious grasses, and many
plants seldom found but in forests. The greater part of the country with these
features is fit for immediate settlement. The spring here is early and the
summer not too dry.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
" The north-eastern corner is partly covered by the Wolf Hills, where the
soil is light and sandy and partially wooded. The rest of the north-eastern
portion is good fertile soil, open, with marshes producing good hay. The water
supply is good.'
Mr. Ogilvie.
Passed south-westerly towards Neutral Hills.
Continuing description from section -j^-.
" Thence south-westerly over the same kind of soil about 10 miles to a
creek, which appears to me to be Eagle Creek or a branch of it; good fresh
water in it, but no current. Thence southerly over the valley of a dry creek,
in which is some very good native hay; on, over gravelly ridges and good
clayey black loam for about 15 miles; crossed a deep, wide ravine, with
strongly alkaline ponds and boulder-covered sides, some shrubs and a few small
poplars and good grass. Thence south-westerly, over dark gravelly loam and
good grass, no water; a large ravine to right or north-west for about five miles,
containing some large alkaline ponds and a few poplar trees; ravine turns away
to right, then on, over gravelly ridges and good large loamy clay flats, with excellent grass, and many ponds of fresh water in them, no wood. At about 12
miles it changes to more gravel but without water, and continues so for about 12 77
miles, to some large ponds strongly alkaline, which I was informed were fresh
enough to be used in years of ordinary rainfall. Thence westerly, over gravelly
ridges and light flats; then grass for about six miles to a place known as ' Spirit
Surveyor-General Dominion Lands, Rep. 1878—J S Dennis, jun., p. 22.
Along the 11th Base line, (Latitude 52° 32' 13".) " From the Meridian range
18 and 19 to the 110th Meridian, the country is decidedly more attractive. For
the first thirty miles there is a scarcity of wood, but good water abounds."
I From the exceeding richness of its grasses and the special fitness of the
kinds produced, I am led to believe that it exeells as a grazing country any
thing I have seen in Manitoba or the North-West Territories."
I IO        Captain Pailiser crossed this section about Lat. 52° 35', passing westward.
Pailiser, pp. 85, 86.
For description of country between Nose Creek and Battle River, see
section ^fe.
Battle River, at first crossing, is a stream 48 yards Wide, by two to five
feet deep, with a very tortuous channel, through a wide vailey with steep
banks, 150 feet high, with good alluvial flats, and, except towards Elbow, the
plain on either hand is also rich. The country around is rich and very suitable
for agriculture; fine growth of woods, chiefly poplar, with few spruce and firs.
From Flag Hill, an eminence 400 to 450 feet above plain, extensive view
of undulating country, with patches of poplar and small lakes.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
The northern portion is good fertile soil, with marshes producing hay; the
surface is hilly, rolling and open prairie; the water supply is good.
Mr. Ogilvie
Travelled westerly through this section to the " Nose " on the western
side, and thence proceeded south.
Spirit Woods.—" Where is plenty of good spring water, poplar wood, and
an abundance of wild choke cherries.
I This is the most remarkable place I have seen in the territories, as it
appears to the eye to be the top of an extensive ridge of pure sand, and yet, in
places, one has only to cut through the sod of tho grass which grows on it to
find an abundance of good fresh water.
" Thence southerly about 12 miles, over sand and gravel, poor grass, to
Sounding Lake, around which there is a good deal of poplar wood; thesoil on
the east side of the lake is generally sandy; on the south side there is some
good soil in the valley of a creek which runs into it, where the grass is good,
and some hay could be got; bordering this creek are some very high gravelly
I From Sounding Lake to the " Nose," about 20 miles in a straight line,
the country is very rough; the soil generally gravelly, fair grass, many
ponds, most of them alkaline; some fresh springs.
" North and west of the " Nose," the soil for eight or ten miles seems to be
fair black gravelly loam; good grass and good fresh water ponds, with frequent
patches of poplar," 78
III Captain Pailiser crossed westerly through the centre of this section.
Pailiser, p. 87.
Second Crossing of Battle River. (Lat. 52° 28' 25", and Lon. Ill0 29 '45".)
" Many curious sections of soft sandstone and clay strata were here exposed. In
the bed of stream we found pieces of coal, and it was also observed in bed further
up the stream."
" The northern exposure of the-river valley, as usual, was the wooded side,
containing poplar, spruce, fir, ash-leaved maple, and birch," while the other
side was almost entirely bare of wood.
From Battle River westward, the country is equally favorable for agriculture as that in section -j^-, but perhaps a little more irregular; the pasturage
was excellent.
Captain Pailiser also crossed the south-west corner of this soction, on his
expedition from Edmonton to the Forks of the Red Deer River and the South
Pailiser, p. 134-135, and map.
Travelling south-easterly, crossed Eagle Creek, the pasturage continuing
good. A few miles south the edge or line of the " woods " was reached; here
they were obliged to cut small loads of wood for use on the prairie course to
the south.
Having reached the edge of the woods, Capt. Pelliser defines, at page
89 of his journal, a line of demarkation between the Ancient Forest Lands and
the True Prairie District, as follows:
" Let us imagine a line drawn from 60 miles south of Fort Carlton, which
is on the verge ofthe Great Prairies, to the Wigwatinon, and thence produced to
the site of the ' Old Bow Fort.' This line marks tho boundary of two natural
divisions of the country, viz.: The Ancient Forest Lands and the True Prairie
District. To the north of line generally there is timber, a good soil for agricultural purposes up to 54° north latitude, and superior pasturage; to the south
there is no timber, the soil is sandy, with little or no admixture of earthy matter,
and the pasture is inferior. Exceptions of course may be found, as, for example,
in the neighborhood of swamps and gullies, where the soil and pasturage are
After leaving the "Edge of Woods," entered upon -an arid country; hard
white clay soil, with no vegetation; to the west there is scanty but nutritious
grass. Approaching the Squirrel Hills, the country becomes "rolling and
broken, the swells often rising 200 feet above the general level."
112 Capt. Pailiser crossed this section to the south of Buffalo Lake.
Pailiser, p. 87.
The soil continued rich and the vegetation luxuriant, "and we are of
opinion that few places in the Saskatchewan could be found that offer greater
facilities to settlers." No fine timber, it having all been destroyed by fire.
There were several swamps and small lakes with brackish water; the water of
Sullivan's Lake was, however, clear, and not in the least saline.
In the valley of Tail Creek poplar was the principal wood. Col. MacLeod
Traversed the western side of this section, and describes that portion south
of Red Deer River as a prairie country of fair soil and good pasture. That to
the north, a fine fertile soil and sparsely timbered with poplar, in some places
of good size; had seen coal at Tail Creek on Red Deer River.
113 Capiain Pailiser crossed this south-westerly, towards the forks of Medi
cine and Red Deer Rivers.
PaUiser, pp. 88, 89.
Dead Man's Creek.—Spruce in fair abundance, and luxuriant vegetation
in low valley of creek.
Found coal-beds in this creek, which were on fire, and far along " the banks
of Red Deer River, where coal appeared, the spontaneous fire was in activity."
Passing through eight miles of irregular and woodyd country, descended
into Red Deer Valley, 200 feet deep:   River 130 yards wide.
" On both banks the coal strata are seen, in many places 15 feet thick, but
the quality of the coal is not superior to that found at Edmonton; it burns
without flame, but keeps ignited for considerable time and gives out good heat,
leaving ashes similar to that of wood."
This neighborhood is generally described as a broken country; rich soil and
pasture; partially wooded, fair growth of wood in valley, which increases towards
the source. Red Deer River is reported navigable from this point down to
junction with the South branch of Saskatchewan, which is also free from
obstacles thence to North branch of Saskatchewan.
Dr. Hector, of the Pailiser expedition, travelled during winter from Bear's
Hill, situated in the north-east corner of this section, south-westerly to forks of
Medicine and Red Deer Rivers.
Pailiser, p. 119.
Bear Hill is a low-wooded eminence. To the south of it crossed a plain for
about nine miles, then through poplar and willow thickets, hilly and swampy,
along the cart trail. Crossing Battle River, passed through a range of low hills,
and found very little timber in this part of the country. " This is not a true
plain country, as it is covered with a small growth of willows and alder. Even
at this season much of this district looks inviting." In the south-western part
of this section the country is described as a rich plain.
Mr. Selwyn crossed the north-western part of this section during his journey
from Edmonton to Rocky Mountain House.
Selwyn Geol. Rep., 1873-74, p. 39.
From BearaHill to Battle River, no change in character of country, which
he previously describes as of "rich black soil, swampy lake3, open, richly-
grassed prairies, patches of Copse wood, with spruce and poplar," a drift covered
surface being the prevailing feature.
Passed through the southern part of this section, and describes it as a very
fine, fertile soil, with some muskeags and partially wooded with clumps of small
trees. 80
114 Captain Pailiser crossed the south-eastern part of this section.
Pailiser, pp. 88, 89.
Crossing of Red Deer River to Cache Hill, near forks of Medicine and Red
Deer .Rivers, very fine land, rich plain, great variety of plants, but timber
destroyed by fire.
From Nick Hill is seen a low, flat prairie, extending far away to north and
west; the wooded border of Red Deer River is the only line of vegetation to
relieve its barren surface. At the junction of Medicine and Red Deer Rivers
there is plenty of fine timber, which could be rafted down the Red Deer River.
The north-western portion of this section is described on Palliser's map as
a " thick wood and swampy country," and the north-east as " successive ridges
lilkrnning north-west, having theiKrest slopes clothed with poplar, and their east
with pine."
Mr. Selwyn crossed this section south-westerly, on the trail from Edmonton
to Rocky Mountain House.
Selwyn Geol. Rep., pp. 39, 40.
Blindman's Creek.—Here rocks are well exposed in cliffs 50 feet high. Soft,
friable sandstone (brown), one to ten feet thick, with layers of thin-bedded sandy
shales, and near top of section 14 inches of hard, flinty-looking rook. Near the
base, resting on sandstone, a thin layer of lignito.
From Blindman's Creek to Rocky Mountain House, 37£ miles.—At 13
miles the road, the worst travelled over since leaving Fort Garry, enters a
flat and thickly-timbered country, and for ten miles skirts and crosses swampy
meadows, muskeags and belts of thick spruce forest. It then rises by gentle
ascents, passing through thick poplar and dwarf birch woods to summit of
ridge, " immediately beneath which, nearly 300 feet, and stretching away to the
Westward, lies the valley ofthe Saskatchewan, The view up of the valley is
bounded by the serrated pdges and snow-clad peaks ofthe Rocky Mountains."
Following along the*brink of cliffs, in a southerly direction, a gradual descent
of two or three miles is made into the valley of the Clearwater River, a large
tributary which joins the Saskatchewan about a mile below the Post. The road
crosses the Clearwater one-quarter mile above junction, and passing over the
alluvial flats in the angle between the two rivers, strikes the Saskatchewan
opposite the Fort.
Thus the journey of 1,055 miles was completed. Mr. Selwyn returned East
by water down the Saskatchewan.
The general character of country surrounding Rocky Mountain House is of
rolling, irregular surface, with dark green pine forest.
115 Dr. Hector, of the Pailiser expedition, crossed this section from the Rocky
Mountains along the North Saskatchewan to Rocky Mountain House.
Pailiser, pp. 113,114,
Describes it as a broken, wooded country, pines on the ridges, with large
spruce and larch, and swamps in the low grounds.
Rooky Mountain House is on the Eastern side of this section, and stands
3,195 feet above the sea. ■
Dr. Hector
this section.
of the
through .
p. 113.
" The river, after leaving the mountains, turns a good deal to the north,
and quite suddenly the country becomes comparatively level on either hand ;
still, however, at a little distance back, forming hills 800 to 1,000 feet above the
river, the outer or Brazeau's range formed a line of lower mountains 15 or 20
miles to the east, and the space between forms a wide valley, the irregularities
of which are nearly obliterated by the magnificient developement of the shingle
" The country " in this great valley " is very beautiful; the timber is a
good deal cleared away by fire, but still large bluffs remain, while in the openings on the high grounds there is rich pasture and poplar and willow breaks."
This is a famous place for the mountain sheep.
**7 This section is in the Rocky Mountains.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
" The valley ofthe Maligne River is entirely in the Rocky Mountains. It
is narrow and deep, with steep sides, precipitous in places. The rock is covered
in places with sand, gravel, clay and moss. There is a fair growth of spruce
and poplar in the lower parts of the valley, which disappear near the source
of the river.    The herbage is very scanty.    Water supply abundant"
Il8 Henry A. F. MacLeod.
I The valley of the Myette, in the north-east corner, is entirely in the
Rocky Mountains. There is generally a flat in the bottom of the valley,
varying from half a mile to a mile wide; the soil is light and sandy, with
muskeags in places; the sides of the valley are steep and rocky; it is heavily
timbered with spruce and poplar, except a small open prairie about three miles
east of the summit."
The-boundary of British Columbia passes through this section. FROM THE   lOOTH TO  THE   116TH MERIDIAN, AND BETWEEN THE 51ST aiND 52ND
IOO The north-eastern part of this Section borders on Lake Winnepegosis.
The Duck Mountain occupies a large portion of its western half, and Riding
Mountain enters it from the south. See section -j^- for Mr. Hind's description of
Duck and Riding Mountain's.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
"The north-eastern portion, along the lineof the'C.P.Ry., consists generally
of good fertile soil, heavily wooded, with occasionally good spruce, and intersected with marshes producing good hay. The surface of the ground is flat,
and tbe supply of fresh water iB abundant."
Cunningham, C. P. Ry. Re ., 1877, pp. 186-187.
Describes the N.E. portion of this section as a fine fortile soil, evidenced
by " the luxuriant and varied undergrowth of the forests, together with the
various kinds of grasses produced." " A plentiful growth of fine timber, spruce,
tamarac, poplar and biich," among which were " many white spruce 2 feet 6
inches in diameter, and of thoroughly sound quality."
Frank Moberly, Engineer in charge of Expedition, Pacific Railway Report, 1872, p.56.
From the level of Fort Pelly there is no difficulty in descending by the valley
of Swan River, to the low ground east of the Duck Mountains; from Swan River,
the country lying north of Duck and Riding Mountains, was found on examination to be nearly level, thickly wooded with spruce, poplar, and some maple, a
few small lakes and marshes were also found; soil sandy loam and admirably
fitted for &rming."
" Generally speaking the country extending from about Port Pelly by
Swan River, and between the Riding Mountains and Lake Manitoba to Prairie
Portage near Fort Garry, is for tho most part well wooded and the soil of
excellent quality.''
The Swan River flows through the northern part of this Section, and the
Assiniboine enters it from the west at Fort Pelly, flowing through it a little to
the east of south.
Hind's A. & S. Exp., Vol. I, pp. 435-436.
Mr. Dawson travelled from Fort Pelly southerly along the flank of Duck
Mountain, "through a country admirably adapted for farming purposes.
With the exception of narrow ridges, it possesses a rich black fertile mould,
supporting very luxuriant herbage, and on the mountain an ample supply of
timber, consisting chiefly of aspen of large dimensions.
| The Riding and Duck Mountains consist of a succession of slopes and
terraces on their south-western side/the ascent being almost imperceptible to
the thick impenetrable forest which covers the highest plateau."
Ii 83
Col. MacLeod.
Travelled through this Section on the west of the Assineboine to Fort
Pelly. The southern portion he describes as a poor soil partially wooded;
proceeding north it becomes a fair soil with clumps of trees.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
" The south-western portion is poor, light soil, partially wooded; the central and western portion fair and partially wooded; above Livingstone the soil is
poor and covered with boulders, lightly wooded.
In the valley of Swan River there is some good fertile soil partially wooded,
with open marshes producing good hay. The valley of the Assineboine is
wide and deep at the south, becoming smaller as it approaches Fort Pelly; the
surface is Mlly and undulating.
Frank Moberly, Pac. Ry. Rep., 1872.
See his description in Section ^-!S.
ffl ^^^^^Ki^
102 Hind's A. and S Exp., Vol. l,p. 431 and maps.
Proceeding   from   south-west    towards   Fort   Pelly,   describes   south
west portion as an undulating open prairie, numerous marshes and ponds, and"
good land in the valley.   To the north of Little White Sand River a gravelly
loam, with groves of poplar and underwood of cherries, roses, &o.
Col. MacLeod.
Crossed the northern part from Fort Pelly. towards Touchwood Hills, and
describes it'as a fair soil, partially wooded, with some swamps producing good
hay; and on the west side, on the trail, a fine rich soil, heavily wooded, with
pools or swamps producing good hay.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
I The north-eastern part is fair soil, improving to the west to good fertile
land, heavily wooded to the north-east with spruce and poplar, diminishing in
size and quantity to the south. Near White Sand River, where there is no spruce
the surface is hilly and undulating, with intervening marshes producing good
hay. The valleys are small and narrow and the supply of fresh water
Surveyor-General Dom. Lands' Rep., 1876—A. L. Russell, D. L. S., pp. 18,19.
The 2nd Principal Meridian, Ion. 102°. From lat. 51° for about 32 miles
the country is better than that immediately south, and the next tpiniles to the
end of the survey " is excellent sandy loam well wooded and watered."
I Here the production of the meridian ceased. A rapid Hip to Fort Pelly
(about 16 miles north), however, enables me to state that all the way to
that place the soil is good, and wood and water comparatively well supplied.
In the vicinity of Fort Pelly and- northward the land is lighter; water is,
however, plentiful, and poplar of a large size, as well as spruce are here first
met   with.   The   approach to Swan River Barracks   near  Livingstone (11 miles north of Fort Pelly) presents a very forlorn appearance, being thickly
covered with granite boulders of various sizes."
" At Fort Pelly the soil is almost pure sand, potatoes, corn and some other
cereals grow to a good size, when they escape destruction by grasshoppers and
summer frosts."
Eighth Base Line Westward.
This Baseline in latitude 51° 28'34" was produced 49 miles westward from
longitude 102°. " We find that throughout the whole of this distance poplar
bush, from 2 to 12 inches in diameter, and willows predominate. The land is
good and water throughout abundant, and in places more than desirable, as the
numerous lakelets, ponds and connecting marshes attest. These characteristics,
are doubtless due to the retention of the surface water by clayey subsoils. A
noticeable fact in connection with this country is that both in running waters,
and in surface ponds having no apparent outlet, the water is invariably hard."
At the 4l8t mile a gradual ascent of the Beaver Hills is commenced.
103 Selwyn Geol. Rep., 1873-74, pp, 26, 27.
Mr. Selwyn travelled north-westerly through this section from the S.E.
corner towards the Touchwood Hills.
Pheasant Hills to left appeared to be thickly wooded.
No marked change in the country, but lakes and lake basins more abundant, and water in many of them slighly brackish. The lakes are gradually
drying up. Soil light, vegetable mould on whitish colored silt, passing down
into well rounded gravel, and the general luxuriance of grass indicates a fertile
Approaching Touchwood Hills, the country in parts is very picturesque,
undulating and sometimes hilly, patches of woodland, with lakes and pools.
Poplar, larger than seen since Fort Ellice, with undergrowth of willow. Some
lakes quite salt, others only slightly brackish, but quite drinkable.
Hind A. and S., Exp., Vol \,pp. 421, 422.
Mr. Hind crossed the southern portion of this section, travelling easterly
from Long or Last Mountain Lake.
On approaching File Hill, " a more humid tract begins, dotted with marshes
and ponds." " The soil improves in character and the country becomes very
picturesque and attractive."
'' The view- from the summit of a mound revealed a rolling, treeless prairie,
stretching on all sides and bounded only by the horizon. The wooded range
of Pheasant Mountain appeared low in the south-west." " Numerous lakes,
ponds and marshes, covered with wild fowl, are visible in every direction. The
soil in low situations is good, supporting long grass, which afforded fine pasturage for our cattle. The ridges and mounds are gravelly, and a few boulders of
the unfossiliferous rocks are seen here and there."
Henry A. F. MacLeod:
" The south-east portion consists of an open undulating plain, fair .soil, and
good pastriSge. In the neighbotBood of the Touchwood Hills the soil is good
and fertile, with marshes producing good hay, and partially, wooded.
On the Touchwood Hills, which are not high, tho soil is light and gravelly,
partially wooded, and affording good pasturage. To the north-east the soil is good and fertile, and more to the west poor
and stony.   To the north-west good fertile soil.
The northern portion is thickly wooded, decreasing in quantity and size to
the west, where the country is open. The supply of fresh water in the south is
limited, but to the north there is a larger quantity."
Surveyor-General Dominion Lands' Report, 1876—A. J. Russell, p. 18.
The 8th Base line, see section ^fe, is continued into this section for about 6
miles " From the 41st to the 49th mile the line gradually ascends the northeast slope of the Beaver Hills, where the barometer indicated an approximate
altitude of 1,800 feet above the sea." This Base terminated at the 49th mile from
longitude 102°, and from that point a line was surveyed north for a distance of
about 24 miles to the 9 th Base.
. | On turning to north at the 49th mile, the line shortly emerges from the
thickly-wooded hillside to a more open country, gradually descending all the
way to the White Sand River, where a stretch of almost open prairie of about
13 miles is crossed, containing very little timber of useful size.
I The soil, although sandy, is still of good quality, and possibly of more
value than rich moist lands, which are more subjected to summer frost.
The first frost noticed by us was on the 31st of August, at the " Crooked Lakes,"
where a film of ice of the thickness of paper formed round the marshy shore."
The ninth Base line, latitude 51° 49' 47", commencing six miles west of
longitude 103° and running westward to Big Quill Lake.
" From about five miles south of this Base, and westward along the
same for 14 miles, the line ran through alternate openings and poplar bush,
crossing several lakelets and coming to an end at the eastern shore of the Fishing Lake, several miles in length.
" The soil throughout this section is good sandy loam, and much of the
timber of useful dimensions. On the tenth mile we crossed a well defined
cart trail leading north-westward to Quill Lake."
Surveyor-General Dominion Lands' Report, 1877—A. L. Russell, p. 12.
The ninth Base continued westward from Fishing Lake. " The line hero
passed through a section of country well supplied with both wood and water,
having a soil of sandy loam of fair quality, lying between the Quill Lakes and
Touchwood Hills. The streams running into the Quill Lakes are all fresh
water, whereas the lakes themselves are strongly alkaline. Shallow depressions,
with no Visible outlet noticed by us. Big and Little Quill Lakes are apparently on the same level, being connected with one another by a narrow
io4 Sandford Fleming Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, p. 37.
"About 110 miles to the northwest of Fort Ellice the Touchwood Hills are
met. These are mere undulating eminences, partly wooded, with remarkably
1 o-ood soil, and apparently well adapted for settlement; they gradually descend
on tho western side. Some difficulty was found in this neighbourhood in
obtaining water, that which we could find was often brackish and scarcely
drinkable, and seemed to be only the remaining deposit of last winter's snow.
| Scarcely any rivers are met; it is observable, however, that several run
ning streams are found farther north 86
" The route on whioh we were travelling explains this feature of physical
geography, for we were on the water-shed between the Assiniboine and the
South Saskatchewan. We found that pis part of the route is generally without timber, but it contains spots where slight wooded knolls are met. Appa-
> rently level, in reality there is a considerable ascent as the country is travelled
Mr. Selwyn passed through north-westerly, crossing the Touchwood Hills.
Selwyn Geol. Rep., 1873-74, pp. 27, 28, 29.
Reached the base of Touchwood Hills, and diverged to left to Little Touchwood Hill mission, 15 miles south-west. Passed through hilly country covered
with thick copse wood, and numerous lakes. Fort surrounded with extensive
woods, large white birch and poplar, 2 feet in diameter, suitable for joists,
flooring, boards, &c. Soil, rich light brown loam, would doubtless produce good
The plateau of Touchwood Hills is an undulating country, with a series of
drift hills, intercepted with lakes and aspen groves, soil of best quality and
herbage luxuriant. Breadth of this beautiful plateau is 4 miles, and about
500 feet above the salt prairie to the west.   Heart Hill is 700 feet above plain.
No timber visible west of Range, except small aspen and burnt willow.
great salt plain.
The great salt plain stretches away to the westward, utterly void of timber;
at 12J miles from the old Hudson Bay Post, came to first drinkable water on
Innumerable circular and oval pits occur amongst hills .ind on plains, some
contain water, but most were dried up at this season, (August), and others
larger contain saline and brackish water lakes.
" This plateau forms the watershed between the Qu'Appelle, to S -W.,
and Saskatchewan and Assineboine to N.E." The small proportion of surface
drainage, rapid evaporation and considerable percolation through sandy drifts,
is sufficient to account for saline character of lakes.
Many of them are three, four and five miles long, by one and two miles
broad, occurring frequently in chains, in which case the highest contains quite
fresh or only slightly brackish water, while the lowest is intensely salt and
" From 12J miles from Touchwood Hill Post, made 27 miles to-day passing
all day over great salt plains and treeless prairie."
In depressions of last six miles dwarfed poplar and willow bush five feet
high, soil blackish loam, rather sandy on sub-soil of white-looking gravel.
Limestone and gneiss blocks thickly scattered over surface.
Made 36 miles; wood and water scarce and far apart; country more undulating, most part open prairie.
Mr. Robert Bell, of the Geological Survey,
Travelled from the Qu'Appelle Mission in section -^j to tho Touchwood
Hills. 87
Bell Geol. Rep., 1873-74, pp. 81, 82.
Fort Qu'Appelle to Touchwood Hills, 48 miles due north to mission at
little Touchwood Hills.
From the bank on the north side ofthe valley at Fort Qu'Appelle the surface is very uneven up to the mission.
The surface soil consists almost every where of rich black loam, with
gravelly clay sub soil; clumps of trees and bushes scattered everywhere. In
approaching Little Touchwood Hills numerous lakes of fresh water were seen.
Clayey soil prevails on the Little Touchwood Hills, which are covered by
a growth of poplar woods, trees in some parts being large and valuable for
building. The main road between Fort Ellice and Carlton is 12 miles north-east
from mission, and track leading to it lies mostly in woods and passes several
small lakes.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
"In the neighborhood of Touchwood Hills the.soil is good and fertile, with
marshes producing good hay, and partially wooded. On the Touchwood Hills,
which do not rise very high above the plains, the soil is light and gravelly,
giving good pasturage and partially wooded. To the north-west there is an
open saline plain with poor, light soil and fair pasturage, extending some five
miles to the north of the trail. There is a fair supply of water about the
Touchwood Hills, but on the plains to tho north-west fresh water is scarce.
Surveyor-General Dominion Lands' Report, 1877—A. L. Russell, pp. 12, 13, 15.
The ninth Base line runs for about 11 miles in this Section as far as Big
Quill Lake.   See Section ^j.
Meridian between Ranges 16 and 17 W., commencing at the ninth Base, and
running north.—
" The first six. miles are on the sandy alkaline strips between Big and
Little Quill Lakes. Some fair sized timber is found here, but the soil is poor,
and continues so through a more open country until within three miles of the
C.P.R. line."
On travelled road from Touchwood H. B. Post, at about longitude 104°
north-westerly towards Carlton,—
I The new stores now building for the H. B. Co. on the main road at
Touchwood Hills, will be more convenient for the travelling public than oho3e
now occupied, which stand about a mile from the road.
The Touchwood Hills terminate about 28 miles west of this Post, and for
24 miles of this distance the road passes through a very hilly country heavily
timbered and dotted with small ponds. The summit of the Big Touchwood
Hills is about 15 miles from the Ht B. Co.'s store.
The soil near the road is generally sandy and gravelly. I passed hereMn
company with several Manitoba farmers, who were of opinion that but littlo
land fit for farming could be seen from the trail; much good land I am informed nevertheless exists in various places throughout these hills.
After leaving the Touchwood Hills the road enters on a long, desolato
alkaline plain, with no wood, and only a couple of ponds where water can be
obtained." 88
105        Mir. Hind crossed the north-east part of this Section, travel
Touchwood Hills.
Hind A. and S. Exp., Vol. 1, p. 412.
ing towards the
Referrring to this part of the country,—" In the prairie valleys, and often
when surrounded by conical hills, the ponds are fringed with boulders, while
water marks show that in the spring a large area is flooded. This is particularly the case at the foot of the Touchwood Hills." " The lakes and marshes
all contain salt or brackish water."
Henry A- F. MacLeod.
" At the north-east corner the soil is light and gravelly, with marshes producing good hay. The country undulating and rolling, partially wooded; fresh
water in small quantities."
Long or Last Mountain Lake extends into the southern portion of this
Section, and the country there probably is similar to the northern part of the
Section -3^.
See extract from Hind, Vol. 1, p. 421, in section fife.
The South Saskatchewan crosses the north-west corner of the Section,
where is situated the " Moose Woods."
Hind A. and S. Exp., Vol. 1, p. 387.
The region called the Moose Woods " is a dilatation of the Saskatchewan,
flowing through an extensive flat six miles in breadth, cut into numerous islands.
This flat is bounded by sand-hills, some of which are nothing more than shifting
dunes. The woods are in patches, and in the low land consist of balsam, poplar,
white wood and aspen; small aspen clumps cover the hills; but no timber of
importance has yet been seen." The river flows through a broad alluvial flat
for 25 miles; its water very turbid like that of the Mississippi.
Mr. Hind also touched on the Southern part of this section during his exploration from the Qu'Appelle Lake to the Elbow of the South Saskatchewan—(see
section fife), but does not appear to have penetrated the interior, which is
marked on his map, " Barron Treeless Prairie."
The South Saskatchewan runs northerly through this section. Mr. Hind
travelled down this river from the Elbow.
Hind A. & S. Exp., Vol 1, pp. 366, 380 and 389.
South Saskatchewan from Elbow to junction with North Saskatchewan, or
I Grand Forks."—
The river from the Elbow, fully 600 miles from the point where the main
river disembogues into Lake Winnipeg, is half a mile broad, and with a swift
current of 2 to 2\ miles an hour, not more than 350 miles from the
Mountains, where it takes its rise.
The banks are 60 feet above the water, composed of cretaceous sandstone covered with 7 feet of drift; for many miles this uppor cretaceous rock
continues to form the river bank. " The banks of the river slope gently from
the prairie on the south-west side to an altitude of about 250 feet above it.
They then assume the form of steep declivities."
Rocky 89
" On the north-west side the sandstone cliff rises abruptly from the river to
a height varying from 30 to 60 feet, when it meets the foot of an undulating
slope which extends to the prairie level.
" Trees, consisting chiefly of aspen and mesaskatomina, are found in
patches on both sides.
"The river continues for many miles about 700 yards broad, with numerous
sand-bars, and low alluvial islands. The drift above the sandstone is gravelly,
and many small sand-dunes occur on the hill bank sloping into the prairie,
into which they have progressed to a considerable distance.
"A treeless prairie, boundless and green, except where the patches of drifting
sand occur, is visible on either hand from the top of the bank.
"At about forty-five miles from the Qu'Appelle valley or the Elbow, the river
banks and the whole country are much lower, the banks being not more than
100 feet high, becoming lower as we proceed north; they are treeless areas,
and so is the prairie on either side, with a few ^detached exceptions. The
river is half a mile broad, depth 9 to 10 feet, with current 2\ miles an hour.
"About 60 miles from the Elbow small forests of aspen begin to show
themselves on the banks, after passing through a low country, which is an
expansion of the river valley." The ash-leaved maple also begins to appear,
but the "woods" are not continuous, and the prairie on either side remains
I Approaching Moose Woods we passed for several hours between a series of
low alluvial islands from 10 to 12 feet above the water. They sustain some fino
elm, balsam, poplar, ash, ash-leaved maple, and a vast profusion ofthe mesaskatomina. The river valley is bounded by low hills leading to the prairie
plateau 4 to 8 miles back.
" The country here furnishes an excellent district for the establishment of a
settlement. The spot where we encamped is an extonsivo open undulating
meadow, with long rich grass," 10 feet above the water, but does not appear to
be flooded in the spring.
Captain'Palliser travelled by land from south to north through this Section,
west of the South Saskatchewan.
Pailiser, pp. 56, 57, 58.
Elbow to Red Deer Lakes.—On the north side of the river occur hills of
drift, plentifully strewn with boulder^ instead of the loose sand which prevailed on the south bank; some fair clumps of wood, with good grass, varying
from one-half to two miles in extent; several deep gullies present rich and
grassy slopes.
All on the upper plain is, however, as bare and arid as that on the other
side of the Saskatchewan. " We then passed through some swamps with long
grass, but little timber of any size."
The continuation of the " Coteau des Prairies," constantly in sight, extending in a northerly direction since leaving the river.
The Red Deer LA^pi are six to eight in number, from one-half to two
and a-half miles wide, in valley tmckly strewed with boulders.
Northern side, as usual, without wood, while southern slopes support
thick growth of poplar and willow.
This valloy crosses the Saskatchewan 12 miles below Elbow, and is said to
join the Qu'Appelle by the Last Mountain lake, with scarcely any obstruction.
A canal between Assiniboine and Saskatchewan might be feasible at some
future day.
7 90
From Red Deer Lakes to point opposite Moose Woods.—Ascending to the
prairie, passed many salt lakes, fringed round the edges with thick incrustation
of salt, showing the rapid evaporation in these arid regions. The country is
of irregular sandy ground, covered with low coppice, and here and there rising
into hills clad with poplar.
108       [See section ^fifa for Col. MacLeod's and Capt. Clark's description.
Col Macleod.
Has made three journeys over the Great Plains from " Cypress Hills crossing the South Saskatchewan, where it receives the waters of the Red Deer, to
Battleford," and states:—
" The whole country is a high rolling prairie with gravelly ridges running
in every direction. Grass of varying quality is to be found everywhere, Mid
water varying with the season.
" There is not a tree or shrub to be seen except in the river ' bottoms,'
where groves of good sized cottonwood are to be found. I know a person
named Fitzpatrick who took a drove of cattle from Fort McLeod, where
they had wintered, straight across the country to Battleford; he told me he
experienced no difficulty, either from want of grass or water, and his animals
arrived in good condition.
" Messrs. Baker & Co., have twice driven cattle from Fort Shaw, Montana,
to Battleford and neighbourhood, crossing at the mouth of Red Deer River,
and travelling north-westerly to Neutral Hills, thence north-easterly to Battleford ; and I was informed by their agent that they experienced no^difficulty
north of the Saskatchewan. It is through this tract of country that the large
herds of buffalo range in the summer, very good evidence that there must be
quantities of grass."
Capt. C. DalrympU Clark, of the Mounted Police, also states:—
11 have crossed the Great Plains marching from Battleford to Cypress
Hills, crossing the Saskatchewan at the mouth of the Red Deer [River. It was
during the month of October, and the grass everywhere- was good. We had
with us about one hundred horses and twenty head of cattle, and no difficulty
was experienced with regard to either grass or water. Water was found at
convenient distances, and only once was a dry camp made, and then it was
discovered next morning that water was at' hand. I should call the Great
Plains a fine grazing country; in many places the traveller comes across the
buffalo or bunch grass. This grass is most nutritious, and always preferred to
other grass by both horses and cattle.
I Ridges of gravel are come across, and from about 15 miles south of
Battleford not a tree or shrub is to be seen till the river is reached, where cotton
wood of fair size is abundant.
"The approaches to the river are difficult to find, and when found, very
often impassahle for waggons, they are formed by immense coulees which run
out into the plain sometimes for miles."
HO See section fifo for Col. MacLeod's and Capt. Clark's description.
Mr. Ogilvie.
Mr. Ogilvie travelled south from " the Nose," through the western portion
of this section, to Red Deer River. 91
"From the "Nose "due south for about 20 miles, good grass, frequent
ponds ot good water, some hay meadows; then gravelly ridges and light flats;
with some alkaline and fresh ponds ; some very high knolls for about 30 miles,
when we come to low land near a creek; some pools of slightly alkaline water,
but no current; the flats strongly impregnated with alkali, in some places it
lies on the ground an inch or more deep, and is whirled about by the wind like
snow; thence over gravelly ridges and generally light soil, but good grass,
to Red Deer River.   In all this distance there is uo wood."
Fitzpatrick, referred to in Col. Macleod's description, section fife, crossed the
north-west portion of this section.
Captain Pailiser entered this section on the north and travelled southerly
to the south-east corner.
PaUiser, pp. 135-136.
Crossing the Squirrel Hills, travelled over a wide arid flat plain, inter-
persed with mud swamps and salt lakes and scanty growth of grass, and came
in sight of very marked range of hills with an abrupt escarpment to the west,
near which found large stream flowing north-east.
Hand Hills are a plateau with rugged and steep side to the north-west
and south; to the east it slopes gradually. The Rocky Mountains can be seen
from these hills. The plain all round the base of these hills is bare and arid,
but the high level of the hills bear a very fair and almost rich pasture, being
680 feet higher than the plain, and 3,400 feet above sea; also contains lakes of
pure fresh water, and gullies with small growth of poplar.
Red Deer River sweeps round the base of these hills through a level plain,
at a distance of from seven to ten miles; its immediate valley is a depression,
varying from 240 to 300 feet in depth; plains extend in all directions where
there is no grass and no fresh water; even in the river valley there is no grass
and very little wood.
Dr. Hector describes the Red Deer River in this neighborhood as 130 feet
wide, and flowing through a valley averaging 1,200 yards across.
Coal and ironstone, silicified wood and lignite, with gypsum and fresh
water shells found in strata; in the valley only a few bluffs of poplar, thevoge-
tation being principally sage and cactus, the latter in flower; on the plain to
west of hills, and between river, the pasture is scanty.
At Bull Pond Creek there was good grass and fine water, with a few willows. Sections of sandstone here seen.
Berry Croek is thefljargest river valley of the tributaries to Red Deer
River which we have seen, but its waters are now but a chain of disconnected
pools, thence towards Red Deer River, wretched soil everywhere, horses miserably off for grass.
Plain to the north of river very brcken, came to valley from north 5 or 6
miles in width, and full of buffalo. There were many acres of grassy plain
affording fine pasture in the valley.
Fitzpatrick, referred to in Col. MacLeod's description fife, passed through
this section with drove of cattle from Fort MacLeod to Battleford; found grass
and water everywhere. 92
112 Col MacLeod.
Touched the north west corner of this section on his journey " from Foi t
MacLeod to Red Deer River at a point where Tail Creek empties into it;" he
describes the country as a prairie of fair soil, with pasture.
Capt. Crozier of the Mounted Police.
Travelled along southern boundary.   See sec.
, Capt. Pailiser travelled southerly from Cache Camp through the western
portion of this section, passing Slaughter Camp to Lake Oscar.
Pailiser pp. 90, 91.
The country passed over after leaving Cache Camp is poor pasturage, the
soil sandy, with a proportion of white earth, " then a few small lakes and stony
soil, and small supply of wood. At about midway ofthe section a rolling prairie
-  "        j 1 a j
broken by low ridges and outcrops of sandstone, pretty good pasturage;
prairie with small swampy
nearing Slaughter Camp passed over a
lakes; thence south over an arid plain, passing a lake called Oscar on the map
about lat. 51°, two miles long, and more than a quarter wide; found its waers,
salt, and camped a few miles south without either wood or water.
Col. MacLeod.
Traversed this section through >its eastern portion, and describes it as
prairie of fair soil, with pasture.
114 Dr. Hector, of the Pailiser Expedition, crossed through this section in
about lat. 51° 20', from Slaughter Camp to old Bow Fort.
Pailiser, p.' 98.
Leaving Slaughter Camp, "the prairie's surface rises into undulations,
which increase in decision and altitude till at length they form a low broken
range of hills." On the plateau are groups of large granite boulders; then
poplar and willow begin, being the first wood seen since leaving Cache Creek
Camp. Continued over a broken rolling country. " There is a very marked
increase in the variety and luxuriance of the flowering plants, and the pasture
is abundant and well mixed."
" We then crossed a magnificent plateau traversed by rocky gullies, and
glowing with a rich profusion of brightly colored flowering plants."
Then crossed Deadman's Creek, and travelled along the valley of the Bow
River, until the site of Old Bow Fort was reached.
Dr. Hectoffiplso explored, in the winter of 1858, from the " Forks " up the
Red Deer Sa^lirjHhence southerly to Deadman's River and returned north to
Cache Hill.
Pailiser, pp. 120-122 and 146.
He describes the country to the west as becoming mountainous, densely
wooded with good timber, comprising fine pine, also much good pasture in the
valleys. 93
Dr. Hector also passed over the S. W. angle of this section, travelling
north-westerly " reach Tent Creek, which flows to the north, the banks of
which were composed of the same dark shales with ironstone nodules, that
were seen on the North Saskatchewan. The country now became very broken,
and we had to cross several lofty ridges ; after 13 miles we reached White
Earth Lake, latitude 51°, 8' ; we then struck to the north and making a
rapid descent for about 800 feet, struck the Bow River, after crossing which,
by following up the left bank for several miles, we reached the old Bow Fort."
Col. MacLeod.
Describes the country in the southern portion of this section as a fine
fertile soil, heavily wooded with good timber.
115 Old Bow Fort is situated in the south-eastern corner of this section on the
Bow River.
Pailiser, pp. 98-93.
Dr. Hector, on his journey in 1858, explored thence, through the
mountains ma Castle Mountain and Mount Murchison. to the North Saskatchewan, and thence to fiocky Mountain House.
The Old Bow Fort " is situated in latitude 51° 9', longitude (by means of
two sets of lunar observations) 115°, 4\ 22", and its elevation above the level
of the sea (by boiling point thormemoter) 3,963 feet." " The scenery around is
mild and beautiful. Its site is at the base ofthe Rocky Mountains which tower
above it to the height of 3,000 or 4,000 feet, the white summits of which, from
a sprinkling of snow that had recently fallen, formed a pretty contrast with
the dense sombre forests at their feet. The Bow River flows by in all the wild-
ness of mountain character, foaming at intervals over' ledges of rock in its
valley, and then rushing onwards between high banks, clad with luxuriant
SO -
IOO Riding Mountain occupies the north-eastern portion  of this section; the
Little Saskatchewan crosses its south-eastern angle, and   Bird Tail Creek flows
through the western part.
Selwyn's Geol. Rep., 1873-74, pp. 24-25.
Mil V/il 111 un      at-war* yta 1 1 s\ri •rwrj^.ttt' A.*ml-*tr
Mr. Selwyn travelled westerly through the southern portion of this
section. He describes the country between the Little Saskatchewan and Shoal
Lake as a light soil, but black, and well suited for cultivation. Blocks and
boulders of gneiss and limestone are very abundant on the surface of the
Shoal Lake " is a fine sheet of fresh water, several miles in length and
about half a mile wide." " Around the lake the soil is light, sandy and gravelly,
but improves again at a short distance." Thence to Bird's Tail Creek, " tho soil
is certainly poor, the grass coarse and wiry looking, and especially on the ridges
where beneath a rather thin black mould is a poor white gravelly sub-stratum,
it presents a brown and withered aspect." 94
Hind's A. & S. Exp., Vol. \,pp. 435-436, Vol. 11, p. 56 (andmap).
Describes the northern portion as a dense forest of poplar. " Ponds and
lakes are very numerous on the flanks of Riding Mountain, but as far as our
opportunities enabled us to judge, the whole country, with the exception of
narrow ridges, possesses a rich black fertile soil, supporting very luxuriant
The Riding and Duck Mountains consist of a succession of slopes and
terraces on their south-western sides. General slope about 1 in 200, and covered
with an impenetrable forest of balsam, poplar and aspen. The summit, a fine
table-land of heavy clay soil, supporting a forest of very large white spruce,
poplar, birch, aspen,  and the north-eastern sides precipitous clitt's of clay.
Sandford Fleming, Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, p. 36.
" The country passed over, as the traveller proceeds westward, alters its
character. The level prairie landscape met in the neighbourhood of Red River
gives way to more rolling land, while the soil is sandy loam, generally of good
quality. The flora, as may be inferred, is no longer the same. Before and
after reaching Fort Ellice, we were occasionally at a loss for good water. All
the rufaiing water is fresh and wholesome, but there are long stretches between
the streams in some localities; the ponds which exist on the surface are frequently saline or brackish."
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
" The central portion of this block was examined along the trail to Fort
Ellice, and along the trail from Shoal Lake to Shell River. The eastern part
is an open undulating plain with fair soil. About Shoal Lake there is some
good fertilo soil, partially wooded, and the western part is poor stony soil,
partially wooded. There is a good supply of fresh water in the streams and
some of the lakes.
The trail crosses several deep and wide valleys. The north-western portion is fair soil, affording good pasturage, partially wooded. The land here is
considerably higher than to the south."
Surveyor-General Dominion  Lands  Report,   1877—Extracts from  Surveyors'
Report, pp. 51 to 56.
The whole of this section has been surveyed and, with the exception ofthe
northern part, laid out in Townships, and the land is now nearly all taken up
by settlers; the Little Saskatchewan flows through the eastern part and Birds
Tail Creek through the western. It is described as generally of fertile soil,
well watered but having also some saline ponds, with clumps and groves of
poplar and to the north-east heavily timbered with poplar, white birch and
spruce of good size.
IOI The Assiniboine flows southerly through the eastern portion of this section,
and the Qu'Appelle enters about its centre from the west, and joins the Assiniboine two miles above Fort Ellice.
Capt. Pailiser entered this section near the south-east angle, south of the
Pailiser, pp. 46, 47.
From Forked Creek to Fort Ellice north-westerly, foUowing direction of
Assiniboine—sandy soil, swampy lakes, poplar bluffs, good pasture, gullies running-only short distance into plain, about 200 feet deep and one-half mile wide,
their sides covered with dense but small timber. 95
Fort Ellice, two miles from'junction of Assiniboine and Qu'Appelle, is built
on a thickly wooded bank, at the foot of which flows Beaver River, 200 feet
At junction of Qu'Appelle and Assiniboine, the valleys of the two rivers
are well wooded, but timber of little value; soil in neighbourhood is well fitted
for growth of wheat, barley, potatoes, etc.; good pasturage. No trees of the
pine family occur in this neighbourhood.
From Fort Ellice south-westerly towards the boundary line—Crossing
Beaver River, where it emerges from large swamp, came to succession of well
marked ridges, north-west and south-east, their summits clothed with poplar,
with creeks and swamps between them.
Pipestone, or Snake Creek, is of considerable size, with banks 16 feet high.
Crossed several hills of sandy drift, mixed with boulders, principally limestone.
The Pailiser expedition also explored westerly from Fort Ellice, south of
the Qu'Appelle. See section
Mr. Hind also traversed this section from the south to Fort Ellice, and thence
westerly along the Qu'Appelle.
Hind's A. & S. Exp., Vol. 1, pp. 308-314.
" We arrived at the Assiniboine about ten miles south-east of the Two
Creeks." The approach to this river is made by descending a steep slope,which
forms the boundary of the prairie, two or three miles from its present excavated valley.
" The plateau thus formed is covered with erratics of granite, gneiss and
"The broad subordinate excavation in which the river flows is about one
mile across, and from 200 to 250 feet deep.
" The narrow plateau, covered with boulders, points to a former condition,
when a much larger river flowed in a wider and shallow valley, 200 feet above
its present level. Thence passed through good grazing country on the high
prairie level, on which there was a scarcity of water."
At the second of the two creeks cretaceous rocks were again recognized; a
soft yellowish green substance resembling soapstone was observed in exposure
of shales.
Country in the neighbourhood of Beaver Creek is undulating and attractive,
but soil sandy, only supporting short stunted herbage.
Westward from Fort Ellice—In this section the country is rolling, soil a
sandy loam, with much vegetable matter in valleys, numerous aspen groves and
small lakes.
Sandford Fleming, Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, p. 37.
| For a limited distance to the westward of Fort Ellice the land is light
and sandy, but it again shortly becomes richer and less light, and the country
is more rolling and broken. For some distance it may be described as being
a series of shallow basins enclosed in a larger periphery."
Mr. Selwyn entered this from the east, travelling north-westerly towards
Selwyn Geol. Rep., 1873-74, pp. 25, 26.
Camp at Birdtail Creek, to Fort Ellioe. Approaching Assiniboine
River, pass over five miles of stony plain with light sandy soil underlaid with
gravel. Descent from plain towards river by two distinct plateaux. Edge of
second overlooks Assiniboine valley 240 feet, above river, at 100 feet below level of plain, numerous springs of good water. Leaving fort, pass over two miles of
rather rough country, poplar groves interspersed with swampy flats and stony
rises; reached the valley of the Qu'Appelle River, which we crossed two miles
above its junction with the Assiniboine. The Qu'Appelle River is only about
15 yards wide and 2J feet deep, with a hard gravelly bottom.
On north side of it sand is the prevailing feature both along valley and on
hills, and intermixed with it are numerous large blocks and boulders of gneiss.
A similar sandy and .arid-looking country appears to extend for a long-distance
in a westerly direction up the Qu'Appelle Valley.
"After crossing about 15 miles of mostly open plain, rather thinly grassed,
with occasional willow and poplar clumps, the trail crosses a large swampy
flat, covered with long green grass to the right, and several rounded hills and
ridges of drift consisting of small rounded pebbles mixed with sand."
From one of these, " Spy Hill," though not more than fifty or sixty feet
above the plain, an extensive view is afforded of the surrounding country.
Low drift hills and ridges, with intervening swampy flats, and a few
lagoons, lakelets and scattered clumps of small poplar and brushwood are seen
on all sides as far as the eye can reach. " Camped at ' Big Cut-Arm Creek,'
having travelled 28-92 miles, the whole distance through a country similar to
that above described.   The soil generally light, sandy and gravelly."
The valley of " Big Cut-Arm Creek " is about 800 yards wide, and from 90
to 100 feet below the prairie level; the streams about 25 feet wide and 2 feet
deep, with strong current. To west of the creek the soil is light and sandy,
with subsoil of white gravelly sand; first part is rather thickly wooded with
stunted poplars in patches; no other trees whatever; grass poor and brownish,
except in depressions; the latter part, an open plain devoid of timber. Had
to carry wood for night's camp.
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
The central and eastern portion is poor, stony soil, with groves of small
In the neighbourhood of Fort Ellice the soil is poor and sandy, partially
wooded. To the north there is some good, fertile soil, partially wooded, and to
the north-east, fair soil and good pasturage.
The valleys of the Assiniboine and Qu'Appelle are wide and deep, and the
surface generally is flat and undulating.
Surveyor-General Dominion Lands Report, 1876—A. L. Russell, pp. 17, 18.
Meridian and Base lines have been run in this section up to the XXXth
Range about 14 miles west of Fort Ellice.
The Second Pbinoipal Meridian, longitude 102.—The country to
south of Qu 'Appelle River on this line, " the land is good sandy loam, slightly
undulating. There is plenty of wood, water and a fife supply of timber, that
in the valleys of the streams being abundant and of fair size, whereas what
grows on prairie level is almost invariably inferior in that respect and interspersed with clumps of willows; a few oaks, birches and some large poplars
were seen at Scissors Creek.
The banks ofthe ravines and streams running into the Qu' Appelle River
exhibit exposures of shale and thin layers of ironstone. These were the only
outcroppings of geological interest met with during the season.
" At about two miles north of the river (Qu'Appelle) the land becomes of
second-class quality, being more rolling and sandy for about 11 miles, when it
again improves." .52-
102 Mr. Selwyn travelled north-westorly through the northern part of this
Selwyn Geol. Rep., 1873-74, p. 26.
" Open undulating plain far as eye can reach; soil somewhat better; a
hole dug two feet deep snowed one foot black mould, underlaid with fine brown
silt with a few pebbles.
" From open prairie, above Pheasant Hill Creek, could be seen to northeast and south an undulating, often hilly, treeless prairie; the ridges and hills
often waterworn; gravel chiefly of gneiss, and encrusted with carbonate
of lime."
Captain Pailiser travelled westerly from Fort Ellice to the south of the
PaMser, p. 50.
From. Fort Ellice westward " a succession of short prairies, interrupted by
belts of wood ; passed by several small lakes and pools; thence across a thickly
wooded ridge, having a considerable elevation, and running in a south-easterly
The soil on this ridge " consisted wholly of comminuted fragments of the
cretaceous Long Creek shales, and the wood principally young aspens."
Thence, after passing through very young woods over very irregular
ground, " entered upon an open and level country of detached plains of considerable size, covered with clumps of very fine poplars, some measuring two feet
in diameter; then, after passing for a few miles through woods, we emerged
on an extensive plain, bounded to the south by the ' Weedy Mountains,' which
seemed to bo a continuation of Moose Mountain.
" After crossing this plain for 12 miles, over a surface broken into high
abrupt ridges and mounds, and strewn with boulders, we reached a creek of
considerable size flowing to the north, and which issues from a marshy lake
lying along the northern edge of Moose Mountains."
Mr. Hind explored westward through this section south ofthe Qu'Appelle.
Hindis A. & S. Exp,, Vol. 1, p. 314.
Through rolling country, soil sandy loam, with much vegetable matter m
valleys,   numerous aspen groves and small lakes.
Continued through good land, aspen groves, numerous ponds, and entered
on treelees prairie; west boundary marked by sandy ridge north-west by
south-east, known as Weed Ridge. Beyond this ridge country is very undulating, boulders of Silurian limestone and gneiss.
" The sterility of th6 Great Prairie, between the Qu'Appelle and the 49th
parallel, is owing to the small quantity of dew and rain, and the occurrence of
fires. North of the Qu'Appelle the country seemed to be more humid, and
vegetation far richer and more abundant in many localities than south of that
great valley."
Passed over another prairie, also bounded by ridges north-west and
Reached Indian Hill Range, a spur of Moose Mountains. This range is
well wooded, and contains many beautiful lakes. 98
Sandford blaming, Pac. Ry. Rep., 1874, p. 37.
"The higher land on the ridges may be described as being somewhat
gravelly, while that of the low land is rich with peaty mould. Proceeding
towards the Touchwood Hills, we met gentle slopes crowned with the aspen,
with occasional small lakes, fringed by willows, many of them saline."
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
" The north-eastern portion consists of an open prairie with good fertile
soil; to the north and west the so^S^par, with good pasturage and open. The
surface is undulating, and the supply of fresh water limited, except at Cut Arm
IO3 Captain Pailiser continued westward south ofthe Qu'Appelle through this
Pailiser, pp. 50, 51.
" Passed over two more ofthe parallel ridges known as " Wolf Skin Mountain ' and ' Man's Head Mountain' respectively, separated by narrow strips
of plain ; then kept a westerly, though very tortuous course, having to wind
round innumerable swamps and marshy lakes; thence came to a wide ravine,
90 feet deep and half a mile across. The valley seemed to terminate abruptly
to the south, as there, a bank covered with thick woods of poplar and cherry
trees seemed to cross it at a distance of two miles. Encamped on a large lake
with a stony shore."
" The country all round this lake is extremely irregular, rising into high
hills, without any covering, but a scanty growth of grass ; boulders are also
abundant." Thence entered woods again which were scattered over level
Hind's A. & 8. Exp., Vol. I, pp. 318, 319.
The view from Indian .Head Range is exceedingly beautiful; it embraces
an extensive area of level prime to the north, bounded by the aspen woods on
the borders of the Qu'Appelle valley.
"Entered a very beautiful and fertile prairie at foot of the Indian Head
Range, our course leading us in a northerly direction to the Qu'Appelle mission."
" Six miles from the hills we arrived at a subordinate, shallow, and broad
valley, parallel to that of the Qu'Appelle.
"The aspect of its boundary suggested the shore of a lake, or bank of a
large river. The lower prairie consisted of a sandy loam, in which the Indian
turnip is very abundant."
" We reached the Qu'Appelle lakes after passing through a magnificent
prairie. In fact,the country north of the Indian Head and Chalk Hill ranges is
truly beautiful, and will one day become a very important tract."
Mr. Dickinson, of the Hind Expedition, crossed through the north-western
part of this section, south of File Hills, in his journey from the Qu'Appelle to
Fort Pelly.
Hind's A. & 8. Exp., Vol. \,pp. 430, 431 and 422.
" The first fifteen miles through a very sterile region, the soil being a
light, sandy^clay, and in many places consisting of pure sand, covered princi- pally with a low growing creeper bearing berries like the juniper, the grass
is very short and scanty, and the aspens, which are the only trees, are very
"North of Wolverine Creek the country improves very much as to its soil
and vegetation, but it abounds in marshes, swamps,and'ponds of various sizes,
around which grow willows and young aspens, and this character continues for
about sixty miles."
| The Pheasant Mountain runs north-east and south-west, and may be
from |feeen to twenty miles long. Like its western companion, File Hill, it is
wooded with aspen and full of ponds and lakelets."
lifeShe Greater and Lesser Touchwood Hills, the Pheasant Hill and the File
Hill, all appear to be rich humid tracts, which will become important centres
when civilization, in conjunction wiw population, reaches these solitudes."
Henry A. F. MacLeod.
1 The north-east corner consists of an open plain, fair soil, good pasturage,
fresh water scarce."
104 PaUiser pp. 51, 52.
Entering this section on the east side about 15 miles south of the Qu'Appelle, travelled westerly to the trading post near Squirrel hills] over level
plain with clumps of woods.
Thence to the Qu'Appelle Lakes, 18 miles to the north'; "for the first four
miles the track, which is almost due north, passes through open woods, with
large lakes; making a considerable descent. After that, with the exception of
a few clumps we saw no more wood, but crossed a level open plain. We
commenced to ascend steadily;" reached the Qu'Appelle River, descended into
its profound valley, and riding along the river arrived at the Mission House.
Capt. Pailiser then returned to the trading post near Squirrel Hills and
continued the exploration westward.
At Squirrel Hills, good wood, water, and grass; thenoe westerly | our
road, during the early part of to-day was mostly through a country moderately well wooded, over good land well suited to agricultural purposes, where
there were also lakes and hay-producing swamps; but towards evening we
began to observe symptons that showed us that we were again nearing the
line of desert country, or the northern extension of the North American Arid
Basin, towards evening passed many spots where the soil was poor and stony, and
the growth of grass deficient."
On the following morning, from near " a small lake, had an extensive view
of the C6teau de Prairie, extending away to the north-west." There is now
no more wood, except in the valleysjof the rivers. " Our course was due west,
and as far as the eye can reach, nothing but desolate plains meet the view."
" In the evening, reached the "Creek where the Bones lie," where we
found water and very little grass; a few willows also grew here, but no wood
fit for fuel."
Hindis A. &. S., Exp., Vol. 1, pp. 320 to 330 ana" 421.
The Qu'Appelle Fishing Lakes are " narrow bodies of water, occupying an
excavated valley about a mile broad, 250 feet deep; and differing in no important particular from the same valley at its junction with the Assiniboine, 120
miles distant by the river or 134 by the trail."
" Most beautiful and attractive, however, are the lakes, four in number,
which from the rich store of fish they contain, are well named the Fishing
_J 100
"A belt of timber fringes their sides at the foot of the steep hills they
wash, for they fill the entire breadth of the valley. Ancient elm trees, with long
and drooping branches bend over their waters; the ash-leaved maple acquires
dimensions not seen since leaving the Red River." Hops are here luxuriant,
also the frost grape.
" The Qu'Appelle Mission is situated between the second and third Fishing
Lakes," where the water is a quarter mile broad.
" On the south, a vast level prairie extends to Indian Head Hills; fertile,
inviting, but treeless. Towards the north, the country is studded with groves
of aspen, over a light and sometimes gravelly soil."
In the garden ofthe Mission, "Indian corn was growing,as well as potatoes,
turnips, beans, and other culinary vegetables."
" The grass-hoppers had not yet (17th July, 1858,) visited the Mission, but
vast flights had passed over it."
Mr. Hind proceeded hence, westward, up to Qu'Appelle Valley; and
describes the prairie on either side to west of the lakes, as treelees and arid.
The valley continues about one and a quarter miles broad; and banks
which now become treelees, 300 feet high.
The river is 60 feet broad and flows at the rate of one and a-half miles an
hour through a rich alluvial flat producing superb pasturage; no rock exposures.
" Drift and a yellow gravelly clay covers the country to a great depth."
The Northern part of this section was traversed by Mr. Hime, ofthe A. &
S. Expedition, who describes it (see page 421) as a rolling prairie " interspersed
with willow and aspen clumps and gravelly ridges until File Hill is approached,
where a more humid tract begins, dotted with marshes and ponds." " On nearing
File Hill the soil improves in character, and the country becomes more
picturesque and attractive."
Bell's Geol. Rep., 1873-74, p. 72; also 80-81-82.
Mr. Robert Bell, ofthe Geological survey, explored the Qu'Appelle valley
from its junction with the Assiniboine to the Forks, or junction with the outlet
of Last Mountain Lake. The banks " are pretty uniform in their height, which
averages about 200 feet, but the land often rises 100 feet higher a short distance
back from the valley."
" The river is only from half a chain to a chain in width and sweeps from
side to side of the valley." " The current is swift, but there is no obstruction to
the descent of small boats from the Qu'Appelle Lakes to the Assiniboine-"
From Qu'Appelle Lakes westward to the Forks at the junction with Last
Mountain Lake, " the bottom of the valley is almost everywhere covered with a
luxuriant crop of tall grass, which was said to make excellent hay. North of
the valley the prairie is of a rolling character and is interspersed with clumps
of bushes ; the soil is a drab-coloured gravelly loam, with a black layer on the
surface in the lowlands. Boulders abundant in some parts, while in others the
surface is tolerably free from them."
Mr. Bell also travelled through about the centre of this section, entering it
from tho Dirt Hills, thence north-easterly to Fort Qu'Appelle, and onward
toward the Touchwood Hills and describes the country passed over as
First ten or fifteen miles " over a swelling clayey prairie, with rough
fissured hummocky surface. Thence throughout the remainder of the distance
the country is hilly, with groves of poplar trees and clumps of willow bushes,
and ihe soil has changed from brownish and drab clay to gravel, with black
loam on the surface in the valleys and around the dry ponds.
" The country for the last ten or twelve miles, before coming to the valley
ofthe Qu'Appelle, has become much more level, and the gravel is largely 101
mixed with drab-colored clayey loam, and has a good surface consisting of
black mould. The prairie here is 250 and 300 feet above the bottom of the
From Fort Qu'Appelle, about due north towards the Mission at little
Touchwood Hills, he thus describes :—" From the brink of the bank on the
north side of the valley at Qu'Appelle Fort, the surface is very uneven all the
way to the Mission." " The surface soil in the above distance consists almost
everywhere of a rich black loam, with gravelly clay subsoil. Clumps of trees
and bushes are scattered everywhere."
IO5 Pailiser, p. 52.
Capt. Pailiser continued his ourney westward, crossing this Section about
latitude 50° 25'.
" At Moose Jaw Creek we had both wood, water and grass." Its valley is
300 feet below the prairie level, sides steep and composed of sand with boulders
on surface. West of this, passed several small lakes surrounded with swamps,
and where grass was found for the horses. This portion is described on
Palliser's map as " bare rolling prairie, no woods, scanty herbage."
Hind's A. & 8. Exp., Vol 1, pp. 334 to 338 and 421.
Continued explorations westward across this Section along the Qu'Appelle
" We crossed to the north side of the Qu'Appelle, when we arrived at the
Grand Forks, and ascended the hill bank to the prairie. The Grand Forks consist ofthe junction of two deep and broad valleys, bearing a great resemblance
to each other; the south valley is that in which the Qu'Appelle River flows,
the other is occupied by Long Lake or Last Mountain Lake, 40 miles long
and from one-hall to two miles broad, being, in fact, an exact counterpart of the
Qu'Appelle valley and lakes.
"lt is narrow, deep, filled throughout with water, and is said to inosculate
with the South Branch of the Saskatchewan some miles below the Elbow."
f* From the Grand Forks to the Souris Forks (Elbow Bone Creek) the
country is treeless, slightly undulating and poor. The Indians say that the
Souris River of the Qu'Appelle, coming from the Grand Coteau de Missiouri,
inosculates with an arm of the Souris of the Assiniboine, and that a canoe in
high water might pass from one river to the other without a portage.
" If this be the case the diversion of the waters of the South Branch down
the Qu'Appelle valley would acquire additional importance, and give value to
an immense extent of territory, now comparatively inaccessible and insufficiently watered.
" A few miles west ofthe Souris Forks the Qu'Appelle is 19 feet wide and
one and a half feet deep, but the great valley is still a mile broad and 200 feet
" After passing these Forks the country is more undulating, small hills
begin to show themselves, the general character of the soil is light and poor,
the herbage consists of short tufted buffalo grass, and plants common in dry
arid plains."
Prairie fires are one great- cause'of the aridity of this region, and the
reclamation of immense areas is'not beyond human power.
I If willows and aspens were permitted to grow over the prairies, they
would soon be converted into humid tracts, in which vegetable matter would
accumulate and a soil adapted to forest trees be formed."
Beyond Moose Jaw Fork no tree, shrub or willow to be seen. The country
is entirely destitute of wood.
., 102
The Northern part of this section was traversed by Mr. Hime in an east
erly direction from Last Mountain Lake.—"Crossed a ridge supporting
clumps of poplar, and then struck into an open prairie country, which soon
became a series of high, gravelly knolls with numerous boulders on them.
" About 15 miles east of Last Mountain Lake, he ascended a high range of
gravelly knolls, running from north to south, and then came to a valley 150
feet deep," with a chain of ponds in the bottom; then " another ridge of gravelly
knolls was passed, and a descent made into the prairie," " rolling and interspersed with willow and aspen clumps and gravelly ridges."
Bell Geol. Rep., 1873-'74#p. 70-73.
Mr. Bell travelled through the north-western part of this section from foot
of Last Mountain Lake north-westerly towards Sand Hill Lake.
" Passed over an open, rolling prairie with ponds of fresh and of brackish
water. The soil is a gravelly drab-coloured loam of poor quality, usually
thickly strewn with boulders." jjjj Sometimes, also, on the higher grounds, the
boulders are formed into low ridges with scarcely any admixture of soil."
Struck the Little Arm River, " the valley of which is between 200 and 300 feet
deep in its bottom a strip of bright green wood is sometimes seen, forming a
pleasing contrast to the monotonous gray of the prairies above." This valley
enters the west side of Last Mountain Lake.
Mr. Bell also crossed the south-west angle of this Section.   See sections
Mand rffr-
106 Pcdliser, pp. 52, 53.
Captain Pallisor crossed this section westerly in latitude aoout 50° 28".
Crossed " over a succession of ridges or prairie rolls, among which are a
number of lakes. These ridges are composed of a light yellowish sand of a
very fine grain, the sides of many of which supported berry-bearing bushes
and a few poplars."
Camped at a small lake " around which was a swamp with grass for the
horses. Cooked supper with buffalo chips and a portion of the wood we
had brought from Moose Jaw Creek; the land we had travelled over not differing from the nature of that, which we had been traversing for several days
back."   Latitude at noon, 50° 28'; longitude, 106° 50'.
This part of the country is described on the Pailiser map as " bare rolling
prairie, no woods; soil of sandy clay, baked and fissured with the sun's heat."
Hind, A. & 8., Exp., Vol. 1, pp. 339 to 354.
Mr. Hind continued his -journey north-westerly through this Section, passing Buffalo Pound Lake. The Sand Hill Lake lies at the north-west angle
of section.
Buffalo Pound Bull.—"The whole country here assumed a different appearance ; it now bore resemblance to a stormy sea suddenly become ridged , the
hills of gravel and very abrupt; none exceeding 100 feet in height. "The
C6teau de Missouri, particularly " Dancing Point," is clearly seen towards
the south, while north-east the last mountain of Touchwood Hill range
looms grey or blue. Between these distant regions a treeless plain intervenes."
Eyebrow Hill Range—" A prolongation of the Grand Cdteau," foiu. miles
from the valley of Qu'Appelle, " 150 feet above the prairie, and forms the flank
of a table land stretching to the Grand Coteau." The source of the Qu'Appelle is in this range. | On the- flanks of the Grand Coteau the true prairie
may be said to terminate and the plains to commence." 103
Sandy Hills.—These " hills commence on the north side, about two miles
west of Sand Hill Lake." " They are drifting dunes; many of them present
a clear ripple marked surface without any vegetation, not even a blade of
of grass." "A peculiar feature is that many boulders or erratics are distributed over the western extremities of the small hills or ridges into which
the steep banks are broken, 70 to 120 feet above the level of the flats."
I They vary in height from 10 to 30 feet, in length from 60 to 140 feet, and
in breadth from 20 to 80 feet." Ponds occur in the great valleys among these
sand hills, which send their water both to the South Branch and to the
Eyebrow Hill Stream.—IA section of the bank of the Eyebrow Hill
Stream, in its course through the flats, showed fine clay brought by recent rains
from the hill banks, sand blown from tho dunes, and loam produced by the
blending of the two. Where it leaves the prairie the little river has exposed
a section of a drift ffli, round the base of which it sweeps. Gravelly drift is
seen to repose upon an ochreous stratified rock, seamed with veins of selenite.
It exhibits a stratum of yellow and red ferruginous clay, about six feet thick,
and below hard greenish sandstone in which gigantic concretionary masses are
numerous." "This isthe first rock seen in posffion above the Mission. Subsequent comparison with rocks on the South Branch showed it to belong to the
uppermost member of the Cretaceous series."
Bell Geol. Rep., 1873-74, p. 73.
Mr. Bell travelled through the northern part of this section to Sand Hill
Lake.   See also section fife.
" The Sand Hills begin on the north side of the valley, about two miles
west of Sand Hill Lake, and continue for several miles; the exceptional abundance of sand at this locality is probably owing to the existence of beds of
sandstone in the neighbourhood."
Mr. Bell also traversed this section to the north of Old Woman's Lake,
passing soffii-easterly towards the Dirt Hills.   See section fife.
North end of Old Woman's Lake to north-east point of Dirt Hills, 86
miles; surface generally of rolling character; soil in valleys and more level
parts seems to be derived directly from clays, pieces of clay iron-stone
were found upon surface; the higher grounds are occupied by gravelly earths
and boulders; the clayey ground is broken up by sun cracks, rendering it
hummocky, and difficult to travel over with a cart."
Mr Ogilvie,
Entered this section near its south-west angle, and travelled northwesterly between the Old Woman's Lakes to Buffalo Pound Lake on the
Qu'Appelle, and describes it as "a rolling prairie, sometimes rising into high
gravel knolls; most of the flats are good soil, and everywhere there is good
grass but very little water, most of it alkaline; the country continues so to
', within 12 miles of the Qu'Appelle River, which I struck about 15 miles above
the lake known as Buffalo Pound Lake."
IO7 Pailiser, pp. 53, 54.
Captain Pailiser traversed this section from about latitude 50° 30', northwesterly to the South Saskatchewan near the Elbow in latitude 51°.
Still obliged to use the wood brought from Moose Jaw Creek. Continuing
on, crossed "a small stream (Sage Creek) tributary to the Saskatchewan,
where we found wood, water and grass.   The creek is winding and depressed 104
considerably below the prairie level, and its sides are strewn with boulders.
The plants do not materially differ from those at Moose Jaw Creek. Here we,
for the first time, met with the sage, which is a low shrub, characteristic of the
great American Deserts."
"Although the country throughout was arid and sterile, still muddy
swamps very frequently occur." "The grass in this arid region, always so
scanty, was now actually swept away by fhe buffalo, who, assisted by the
locusts, had left the country as hare as if it had been overrun by fire; even at
the edge of Sage Creek we could obtain very little grass for our horses."
September 22nd—"Left Sage Creek early and breakfasted on the banks
of the South Saskatchewan. " These are lofty and sandy; the points of the
river are slightly wooded with willow, birch, and rough barked poplar."
The Valley of the South Saskatchewan.—The valley is about one
and three quarters of a mile wide and depressed 2558 feet below the surface of
prairie.   The river averages 600 yards in width.
The banks are of drift with an immense quantity of boulders, until the
CSteau is approached, when soft purple clays of the Cretaceous age appear
containing large quantities of gypsum.
On the banks, beside the poplar, the cotton wood and other vegetation
similar to the Missouri, including the cactus, were found.
Height of Land.—The country to the east of the Elbow was explored " and
found a small stream descending to the Saskatchewan from swampy lakes.
I These lakes also send off waters to the Qu'Appelle, flowing in the opposite
direction; and a very remarkable feature exists here, viz: that the summit
level which divides these two streams lies in a valley more than 100 feet deep,
and continuous with that of the Qu'Appelle only 90 feet above the Saskatchewan.
This valley runs north, north east and south, south-west. To the westward is a
country covered with sand hills, at the base of which are beds highly impregnated with iron, and containing small land shells."
Hind's A. de S. Exp., Vol. 1, p. 355.
Mr. Hind crossed the north east angle of this section, where is situated the
height of land between the Qu'Appelle and South Saskatchewan.
The Valley of Qu'Appelle at the Height of Land.—The valley here
is 110 feet below the first plateau; its breadth, although partially invaded by
sand dunes, is nearly one mile. Sand hills or dunes cover the country for a considerable distance on both sides.
Bell Geol Rep., 1873-74, pp. 73 to 76.
Mr. Bell crossed this section at its north-east angle and reached the South
Saskatchewan at" the Elbow;" thence 32 miles up the river to " Ochre Hills "
and thence south-easterly, passing north of the Old Woman's Lake. —
" As already mentioned, the valley of Big Arm River (Qu'Apppelle) is
continuous with that of a small brook which runs westward into the South
Saskatchewan at the Elbow."
In approaching the height of land between them, the valley becomes wider,
and tne banks are much less abrupt; the plain is sloping gently down on either
side. The dividing point of waters is marked by a low swelling across the
bottom of the valley. " About two and a-half miles east of
low ledge of sandstone is exposed."
At the Elbow of South Saskatchewan " found loose pieces of lignite; it is
probable that the bed from which these fragments are derived exists within the
first 20 miles above Elbow."
height of land a 105
Informed by intelligent Indian, he had seen similar pieces of lignite in
South Saskatchewan, near the junction of Red Deer River. " Lignite reported to
occur in large quantities in sit& in bank of Swift Current Creek," a tributary of
the South Saskatchewan, flowing from the Cypress Hills, and joining the river
about half way from the mouth of Red Deer River to the Elbow.
Mr. Isaac Cowie reported having seen lignite on hill, one mile and a-half
from Hudson's Bay Houses at Cypress Hills.
Red Ochre Hills, 32 miles up the river from Elbow.—Banks 200 feet, and
top of Red Ochre Hills 500 feet above the river. " This elevated ground stretches
for considerable distance to south and south-east, and presents an extremely
hilly appearance." Soil gravelly earth in this region; there are numerous
ponds and small lakes in the hollows among the hills, most of them being more
or less brackish or raiiseous to taste from the presence of the sulphates of magnesia and soda and other salts.
During the dry season of autumn, the water evaporates completely from
many of these ponds, leaving their beds covered by the dry white salts, which
look like snow, and are blown about in the wind. Around all the ponds, except
those which become completely dry, there is a rank growth of reeds, sedges
and grasses, the deep green colour of which forms a strong contrast to the dull
grey appearance of the stunted and scanty grasses of the hills, which, indeed,
in many places, are almost bare.
I From a point on the south-east bank of the Saskatchewan, about 40 miles
above the Elbow, we followed a south-easterly course to the northern extremity
of the most northern of the " Old Wife Lakes," which we reached at 24J miles
from the river bank, according to our odometer measurements. These lakes
are three in number, and appear to lie in a chain running north north-west and
south south east. They are said to be connected to each other by narrow straits,
and to have a total length of 30 to 40 miles."
The middle lake receives a stream called the " Old Wife's Creek," which
flows from the direction of Cypress Hil Is; but none of the lakes have any outlet.
The water is very clear and extremely nauseous to the taste. There is a
considerable quantity of white salt around the shores in the dry season.
The country around the northern extremity ofthe Old Wife's Lakes is not
so hilly as that between this point and the Saskatchewan.
108 Nothing reliable known.
IO9 The Red Deer and the South Saskatchewan Rivers enter this Section from
the west, and unite at the "Forks," about long. 109° 30', near its northern
Pattiser, p. 139.
Capt. Pailiser traversed this section easterly along the south side of Red
Deer River, passing over an arid, sandy plain with boulders to the " Forks."
Arrived (at the Forks, "and contemplated the view with some satisfaction, having now penetrated to that region from the west, in July, 1859, which
we had reached from the east in September, 1857, before we turned off to the
North to winter quarters at Carleton. Viewing the two river valleys from
the high lands at the junction, they presented a considerable difference in appearance.   Red Deer River was a serpentine stream, with broad alluvial pro- 106
montories containing willows and rough bark poplars; while Bow River
(South Saskatchwan), as far as I could see down stream, was betwen high
precipitous banks, and where the tops of a few willows were seen appearing
out of heaps of sand."
Found good grass for horses in Valley of Red Deer River. He then travelled south-westerly to crossing of South Saskatchwan; and passed over sandy
waste, a succession of sandy hills with great scarcity of water, and halted at a
salt lake, which was the only water that ;oujd be found. Very heavy travelling through the burning sand. " In the ovening, left the high broken country
and descended into valley running noi th and south."
Col. MacLeod and Capt. Clark.
Traversed this section north-easterly from the Cypress Hills to the Forks.
See sec. fife.
Col. MacLeod describes the country he passed through in this section as a
Erairie of poor sandy soil and pasture, scarcity of water, which was principally
HO Pailiser, pp. 139, 140, 141.
Capt. Pailiser traversed this section easterly, through its northern part,
along the banks of Red Deer River, and passed over a broken country with
sandy, soil and boulders ; also, large swamps, now nearly all dry.
Travelling " several miles along river, found favorable place to ford 250
yards, wide with firm bottom and water up to axletrees." On south side,
passed some fine wooded bluffs with large poplars, and ascended with difficulty out of the valley on to a high plain covered with boulders, but were
obliged to again descend to river for water.
Capt. Pailiser also travelled south-westerly, on the north ofthe Saskatchewan, and crossed the river at about lat. 50° 28', and proceeded south towards
Cypress Hills.   The following extracts relate to this portion -.—
I Continuing journey found the ground very much broken and travelling
very severe on horses; soil worthless; camped on swamp and killed several
" Arrived at the South Saskatchewan and camped at the only bluff of woods
to be seen in the valley, which is here far more expanded than below the
Forks of Red Deer; the banks also are very lofty; breadth of river 250 yards,
and from five to eight feet deep. Started several grizzly bears; this seems to
be a favourite haunt for them.''
On the south side of the Saskatchewan the ground rises to 240 feet above
the river; found fresh water and better grass. At six miles south-east of the
river came in sight of tho Cypress Mountains; water only in detached pools
and a little brackish.
" Made a long spell through a most desolate-looking country without either
grass or water, making straight for the Cypress Hills, which form a blue line
to south-east of considerable height."
Col. MacLeod
Crossed the south-east angle and describes this country as a poor sandy
soil and pasture; water scarce and principally brackish. 107
Capt. Crozier,
Traversed the northern part of this section on his journey between Fort
Calgarryand the Forks ofthe Red Deer and South Saskatchewan during the
spring of 1878. He states that it is entirely without timber except in the river
bottoms; and on approaching Red Deer River from the west the soil gradually
becomes light and more sandy, and the grass of a lighter growth; the country
is more rolling, and near Red Deer River is hilly, very sandy, and water
"The approaches to the Red Deer River are difficult, the banks on either side
being high and steep; pine and cottonwood are found on the river bottoms, but
by no means plentiful. As a general thing the soil on the river bottom is very
light and sandy. The bed ofthe river is filled with quicksands, and the crossing, unless the ford is well known, is very dangerous work. I think I am safe
in saying that the above remarks will apply to the South Saskatchewan, at
any rate, that part between the mouth of Bow and its junction with the Red
Mr. Ogilvie,
Travelling from the north, struck the Red Deer River in the north-west
angle of this section.
Red Deer River.—From the " Nose " to the Red Deer River, a distance
of 95 miles, there is no wood, but in the valley of the river there are some
poplar, choke cherries and a species of birch closely resembling the silver-
leaved birch.
a On the river the soil is generally light and gravelly, with many granite
boulders on its banks; the bed of the river is composed of red sand, and it is
literally covered with coal dust, which has been brought down the river from
seams near the Mountains.
"On the river are many exposures of cretaceous sandstone, but so soft
as to be of no economic value. Some of the exposures present a very picturesque appearance."
111 Mr. Ogilvie.
Crossed this section south-westerly from Red Deer River to Bow River.'
'• For about 20 miles the soil is generally gravelly, with some patches of
fair soil, and some ponds of water, generally fresh.   Near Bow River the
soil begins to improve, and close to it and in its valley some of the finest soil
is to be found."
Capt. Crozier crossed the northern portion of this section. See sec. fifi^.
112 Mr. Ogilvie.
Travelled north-westely up the Bow River to the Blackfoot Crossing, and
thence south-westerly to Fort McLeod.
Bow River to Blackfoot Crossing.—"The valley of the river is without
timber uDtil we come within about eight miles of Blackfoot Crossing, when
patches of poplar occur, and as we approach the crossing become continuous;
sometimes on one side, somotimes on the other and sometimes on both; in
places there are patches of small spruce. Up the river for 20 miles in a straight
line, the soil continues good, and report says that up at Calgarry and along the
% 103
lase of the Mountains it is equal to the best in the Territories, and is well
watered, while the facilities for getting down timber from the Mountains,
where it is said to exist plentifully, ai*e good,
" There are numerous exposures of coal on Bow River and in its vicinity,
many of which will in future be valuable.
" Close to Blackfoot Crossing is a fine spring, which preserves such a
uniform temperature that we may safely infer that it stands near the mean
annual temperature ofthe place. There is another, about 20 miles up the river
from this one, in the bottom of a very deep ravine, of which much the same
remarks may be made.
11 took the temperature of the former about the 1st of September, and
found it to be 44°; and again near the 1st of November, while we were having
a severe snow-storm, and found it to be 43^°. The temperature of the latter
I found, in the middle of October, to be 43J°. The temperature of both I found
to be entirely uninfluenced by daily changes of temperature, or changes of temperature due to changes of weather, and neither of them ever freeze. Now, as
the temperature of such springs is usually a few degrees above the mean annual
temperature, we may safely infer that the mean annual temperature of the
place is about 40° or perhaps a little more; the mean annual for Toronto being
about 44° and that for Ottawa about 40°."
Blackfoot Crossing to Fort MoLeod.—" Here we pass over some as fine
soil as can be found in the Territories; some of it would compare favourably
with some of the best in Manitoba, to which the growth of the grass everywhere testifies. There are some high gravel ridges .-ilong the watershed
between the Bow and Little Bow Rivers, about ten miles north from the Little
Bow River."
Col. MacLeod.
Travelled from south-east angle of this section, north-westerly along the
Bow River to the Blackfoot Crossing, and thence south-westerly towards Fort
McLeod.   See sections £fe and ■'
4 9
Capt. Crozier.
On his journey between Fort Calgarry and the forks of the Red Deer and
South Saskatchewan Rivers, during the spring of 1878, traversed the northern
portion of this Section, and describes it as " a country entirely without timber,
excepting at intervals on the bottoms of the Red Deer, Bow and Saskatchewan
Rivers. The water is in ponds or lakes and is mostly surface water, which, of
course, cannot be depended on during a dry season. I found the water very
scarce, even so early as March, but there had been very little snow the winter
before; as a general thing, no doubt there is abundance of water as early in
tho year as this."
I For about the first sixty-five or seventy miles from Fort Calgarry, the
country might be called a level prairie, and the grass of quite a heavy growth ;
after that, the soil gradually becomes lighter and more sandy, and the grass of
a lighter growth; the country is more rolling, and as you draw near the Red
Deer River it becomes hilly and very sandy.
| From personal experience, and from information I have received, I should
say the foregoing remarks, speaking generally, will apply to the whole of
the country known on Mr. Fleming's Map (1876) as 'The Plains,' excepting
that portion west of, say, a line drawn from the mouth of Arrojp River to
Fort Calgarry ; therefore I think a description may be given by saying, it is a
plain country, without timber, or, at any rate, with but little timber; the water
principally surface water, in lakes or ponds, and scarce during the dry season,'
and the soil richer and grass more plentiful the closer you are to tho mountains.' 109
Pailiser, pp. 144 and 145,
Dr. Hector, of the Pailiser Expedition, crossed the south-west angle of
this section, travelling north-westerloy, and passed over hills marked on the map
as [\arid hills."
| Made an ascent of 600 feet and the hills seemed to rise about 200 feet
more. They seemed to be formed of banded clays, as their chalky surface and
white, muddy flats are exactly the same as those to the north of the Hand
I Had a fine view from the top of one of the hills; at their base lay a flat
valley, four miles wide, with large swamps, and the channel of a stream winding through it. To the west this valley was bounded by a range of hills
similar to those we were now upon, and over them appeared the tops of the
Rocky Mountains, still looking very distant.
I A descent of 600 feet brought us to the bottom of a valley where there
was some good grass, and in the swamps ducks and geese; there was no timber
however, excepting a few low willows."
113  Pailiser, p. 91.
Captain Pailiser travelled southerly from Lake Oscar through the western
portion of this Section.
The distance from Lake Oscar to the South Saskatchewan (Bow River) is
two miles. Here " the river banks were about 120 feet high and the river
valley about one mile in breadth, bearing a fair growth of willow, poplar and
berry-bearing bushes. One rough-bark poplar measured nine feet"Beven inches
in circumference, also saw a fine hummock of spruce firs about two miles up
the stream. We found the river about 200 yards wide and its channel deep.
Lat. 50° 55". " On resuming our course to the southward, we found ourselves
once more within the Fertile belt; the land was good and rolling in character,
though frequently covered with boulders.
" The feeders to South Branch (Bow River) contained considerable growth
of timber of fair size. The valley and the country adjoining, which was
undulating, contained fertile land, with willow and poplar bush on its northern
1 We crossed Pine and Sheep Rivers. The latter was a stream about 90
yards wide and three feet deep, its valley about a mile wide and well wooded."
Proceeding south, " the coulees were not so abrupt as yesterday; the
timber was better generally, although none of it could be called valuable.
" Measured a balsam poplar nine and one-half feet in girth at height of
my shoulder. Saw plentv of spruce fir in two insignificant tributaries." Lat.
50° 6';   were now riding along the western flank of the Porcupine Hills.
I Crossed a tributary of considerable size, name unknown ; proposed to the
men to call it Arrow River, as it belonged to Bow River; "the proposition was
highly approved of, and the stream is now Riviere de la Fleche. Arrived at
Porcupine Hills and camped at considerable elevation. Saw some very old
stunted cedars; was disappointed at the timber. The whole place was more or
less destroyed by fires."
Pailiser, pp. 145, 146.
Dr. Hector entered this section from the east at about lat. 50° 18', and
travelled north-westerly to the north west angle to the point where Moose
Creek enters Bow River, and thence westerly.
Continuing description given in section fife, thence entered " the Western
range of hills at a small lake, with ledges of sandstone cropping out along its
margin.   The latitude here was 50° 23' 39"." 110
" We crossed the hills and descended to the west to extensive plains,
seeing Bow River in the distance. The pasture is now much finer than before,
but still no wood.
" At night reached a considerable stream flowing to north through a pleasant looking valley, with good grass but no wood."
After 11 miles to north-west we again struck Bow River. The pasture,
though still poor, is much improved on the plain, but the change is most
marked in the valley of the river, which is now rocky, with high cliffs of sandstone, like the upper part of the North Saskatchewan, and with a good growth
of pines and large poplars.
" The valley is wide, with large wooded flats, but the river itself is narrow
and rapid, and channel occupied with shingle islands. The water is beautifully
clear, of a light green tint, which shows that we are now to west of all
cretaceous clays, which render the river so turbid in loweggtoarts of its course."
Along the bank there is a great profusion of wild fruits, and " in this part
of the country there is great abundance of large game. Thence kept along the
top of the bank, which is nearly bOO feet high, and composed throughout of
sandstone, with beds of clay and carbonaceous streaks, like the strata at Rocky
Mountain House, and on the upper part of all the river, indeed, as the mountains are approached."
" Encamped in a most beautiful spot by the river, among large trees," dense
thickets of berry bushes."
" A few miles brought us to the ' Stony Indian' camp, (lat. 50° 43')
situated in one of the prettiest spots I have seen in the country, at the
mouth of ' Ispasquehow' or High Wood River," " which is a clear stream 40 yds. i
wide, rising in the Rocky Mountains, and flowing N. N. E. to the point where
it joins the Bow River. Like Bow River it has a valley depressed 200 feet
below prairie level; a little above the mouth" of this stream " Bow River can
be forded in low water, the depth at this time (August) being nearly two and
a-half feet." Then ascending through picturesque scenery to level of plain, and .
continuing along right bank; " the pasture is now very fine everywhere, and
timber plentiful in many places, as we have now entered the belt of fine country
that skirts the base ofthe Mountains."
" Crossed Capt. Palliser's trail on his trip to the boundray line in the previous summer, 1859."
: Col. McLeod,
Referring to Morleyville, which is situated on the Bow River in this
section, states:
" The Rev. Mr. Macdougall and others speak in the highest terms of the
beauty and fertility of the country about Morleyville near the head of Bow
River."   See also Col. McLeod's remarks in sec. fife.
Capt. Clark,
Who has travelled frequently through this country states:
"The country north of Fort McLeod, as far as the crossing of the Bow
River, is a fine grass one with plenty of water, and the land on the Bow River
is of very superior qualiBf. Cotton wood also grows on this river very thickly.
At Fort Calgarry, some ninety miles north-west of " The crossing," and on the
• same river, a very fine country is found; at this place there is a small settlement
of half-breeds, and there are several white settlers engaged in farming and
stock raising, and all speak in high terms of the capability of the country.
||||tffty miles south of Calgarry another small settlement has started up,
this is known as Morleyville, and the farming operations have at this place also
been a success.   It is a beautiful country around Morleyville with the grand Ill
scenery of the Mountains towering above the little settlement. This is the
home ofthe Stony Indians, a Christianized band. At Fort Macleod and all over
the Bow River district horses and cattle graze out during the winter, and as a
fair proof that the grass has not lost all its nourishment during this season of
the year, I may state that the Police horses, when out on herd, only receive
three pounds of oats per diem, and do well on that small amount.
At Cypress Hills, although cattle and horses graze out during the winter,
they do not do as well as those in the Macleod and Bow River country; this is
owing to the severe storms that sweep through these hills (Cypress.)
Coal is to be found in the Cypress Hills, and on a stream a few miles west
of them. It is also found in quantities on the St. Mary's River some 24 miles
east of Fort Macleod; and I know of a large vein near the crossing of the Bow
Capt. Crozier,
Has also travelled this section from Calgarry, which is situated near its
north-west angle, eastward.   See his remarks in sec. fip%. ,
Mr. Ogilvie,
Crossed the south-east angle.    See his remarks in sec. fife.
114 Pailiser, p, 146.
Dr. Hector entered this section a short distance south of the Bow River,
and travelled north-westerly.
I Dp the valley of Swift Water Creek in full sight of the Mountains, which
were covered with snow from recent storms. The country here is exceedingly
beautiful, having a rich black soil supporting good pasture, with a largo proportion of vetches; the low hills are covered with clumps of wood, having
almost the appearance of artificial plantations; thence passed over a high
plateau covered with long grass and willows.
116th August.—The night very cold, and in morning water was frozen
Pailiser, p. 92.
Capt. Pailiser entered this section near its south-eastern angle, and travelled north-westerly.
Passed " along a narrow ledge of land elevated some 20 or 30 feet from the
lands on our west, and more than 200 feet higher than the prairie, which dipped
suddenly into a great basin. The plateau we were riding along was never more
than 200 yards wide, and in some places not more than half that number of feet
across; this singular strip of|§able land extended for four miles due north and
south, and in the bottom of the basin were three long lakes divided the one
from the other by narrow rushy swamps."
Thence passed " through spruce, fir and small pines," and great quatttl|||||
of fallen timber, and continued travelling " through woods in a northerly direction, crossed two or three little creeks and grassy patches, of high land."
The Foot Hills of the Rocky Mountain—Begin in this section, and the
Fisher and Livingstone ranges of mountains rise in the western part. 112
IOO Pailiser, Expn., pp. 44 to 46.
EE|11eitle Mountain is 250 to 300 feet above general level, consists of drift,
accumulation of coarse sand, and shingle with boulders of angular limestone,
granite, gneiss and other azoic rocks. The forests which cover the mountain
are not of much value, being of poplar and stunted crooked oak. Country in
neighbourhood is very beautiful, and similar to that of East Pembina River.
From its summit an extensive view is obtained not only to the north, but
also away to south and west over American territory. Nothing but bare and
barren prairies visible.
Turtle Mountain to Souris River.—A long expanse of bare plain, then,
crossing a ridge of broken ground running westerly. The woods which skirt
the Souris commence four miles from the river. The country immediately
adjacent to north side consists of numerous conical sand hills.
The river cuts through a rich alluvial bottom, eight to ten feet deep, and
is subject to great floods. River is 50 yards wide and four feet deep in shallowest places. Fragments of coal were found in bed of river at crossing, derived
from bed of rounded shingle which underlies sand hills, or in some cases may
have been carried down stream from outcrop of lignite which occurs higher
Souris River to Snake Creek.
Loose sandy soil with swamps. Snake Creek of inconsiderable breadth,
five feet deep.
Snake Creek to Forked Creek.
Swampy, then bluffs of wood belonging to Valley of the Assiniboine but
five or six miles from that river. The land in this neighbourhood is rich with
some good wood. Thence level country, with occasional groups of sandy hills,,
bluffs of woods and small lakes.
Hind A. & S. Exp., Vol. 1, p. 291 to 299.
From last ridge of Blue Hills, Section £|.—" Before leaving the last ridge
of Blue Hills we came suddenly upon the borders of a boundless level prairie on
the opposite side of river, 150 feet below us, of a rich dark green colour, without a tree or shrub to vary its uniform level, and with one conical hill in its
Proceeding from Blue Hills to south bend of Souris River, exposure of
shale with bands of ferruginous concretions occurred at every bend; the first
specimen of lignite was seen at the mouth of Plum Creek. No trees or shrubs
between Blue Hills and Plum Creek. " On low points of Souris Valley some
fine oak, elm, balsam, and aspen are found for the first twenty miles." " A
little beyond Plum Creek we found numerous pebbles and boulders of lignite "
" from the size of a hen's egg to one foot in diameter," and three miles further
on occurs last outcrop of cretaceous shales. " The low hills about Plum Creek
are sand dunes."   Prairie east and west of Souris is. treeless.
Tele Sand Hills.—" Near Hudson Bay Company's house found extensive
deposits of bog iron ore, capped by shell marl/' covered with drifted sand; Bank
of river 25 feet high, with narrow fringe of fine timber, " The country becomes
very low after passing the last sand hill, and over a large extent of prairie to
the south drift timber is distributed."   The valley of Souris here varies from 113
one-quarter to one mile in breadth, the river twenty-five feet broad and very
shallow, flowing through a rich open meadow twenty to thirty-five feet below
general level of prairie, " which on either side is undulating, treeless, covered
with short stunted grass, and showing an abundance of last year's " bois de
vache|| "Before reaching the 49th parallel the Souris meanders for many miles
through a treless prairie.
" Turtle Mountain on east rises nobly from great plain." "Country west
of Souris is a treeless desert, in dry season destitute of water."
" The breadth of this arid and woodless tract is at least sixty miles north of
Red Deer's Head River on 49th parallel."
" A vast number of gneissoid and limestone boulders are strewed over the
hill banks of Souris " near the boundary line.
Surveyor-General Dominion Lands, 1877.    Extract from Surveyor's Report, pp'
51 to 56.
One iaA of townships has been laid out on the northern part of this Section,
intersected by the Assiniboine and Little Saskatchewan Rivers.
The country near these rivers is hilly and broken. The soil in the bottoms
is of rich quality; a good deal of the uplands, however, is stony and gravelly,
but there is also some fine fertile prairie land comprised in the townships.
IOI   Hind, A. & S., Exp. Vol., I, pp. 305-306.
From boundary north to Pipe Stone Creek passed over a perfectly level
vast treeless desert with httle valleys containing ponds; was informed by Half
Breeds that this great prairie west of the Souris continues treeless and arid for
60 miles, then crossed by a river, probably the Moose Mountain Creek, and
beyond this it continues for 80 miles further without tree or shrub; further
they could give no information. "Pipe Stone Creek at our crossing is 20 feet
broad 1 \ to 3 feet deep, with swift current. The valley is narrow but rich,
and beautiful in comparison with the desolate prairie lying to the south. Ash
leaved maple is the most abundant amongst the trees fringing its banks."
The hop and frost grape also flourish on edge of stream. " On hills in
neighbourhood boulders are uniformly distributed."
After passing Pipe Stone Creek " the prairie is either undulating and sandy,
or varied with low hills of drift, on whiffi boulders are scattered." In dry
season this region is destitute of water.
Dawson's Geology and Resources of the region in the vicinity of the 49th Parallel,
1875, pp. 290-291.
Souris River.—At the intersection of the bouudary line the Souris River
is nearly one mile in width, including some flat and very fertile alluvial land
and limited quantity of timber, chiefly elm, massed in fine groves.
The region between 1st and 2nd crossing of Souris River, by the boundary
line, is about fifty miles in width, gently undulating, with many shallow basin-
shaped hollows, which are filled with water in filing and produce a tall growth
of swamp grass and contrasts strikingly with short crisp grass of surrounding
prairie. Sril, perhaps, rather thin and gravelly, but deeper and richer in
vicinity of North and South Antler Creeks.
Along valley of the South Antler there is a good belt of trees for many miles.
Surface covered with strong sod of short grass. " The vegetation of this part
of Second Prairie Steppe appears slightly in advance of Red River valley,"
which " may arise as much from warm and dry character of soil as from any
absolute difference of temperature."
The above describes the eastern and southern portions of this section, and
the remainder is probably ofthe same pooi' character. il4
102 Pailiser, p. 49.
Moose Mountain, 340 feet high, similar in appearance to Turtle Mountain,
distribution of wood on this hill and its environs exact counterpart of Turtle
Mountain. (See section fife.) To south and west a plain of boundless extent,
unbroken by even a single tree.
Approaching SouriSpKver, the ground is covered with boulders of gneiss.
Valley very extensive, and from level of plain to alluvial bottom below is 139
feet. Channel of river 30 feet deep; stream 20 yards wide but very little water.
Found thin seams of lignite or coal of an inferior quality, neither in quantity or
of quality ever to be of commercial value. But Note on Palliser's map states,
" the coal is of a quality favourable for smelting."
La Roche Percee is of sandstone.
Dawson G. and R. of 49th parallel, 1875,-p. 291.
Tbe Souris at present crossing flows in valley with rounded grassy banks,
well fringed with wood, and continues to be so as far as " Wood end " (262 mile
point), or 80 miles by course of stream.
Between 2nd crossing of the Souris and the Missouri Coteau (from 215 to
290 mile points), the prairie |©11 shows gently undulating surface, with short
thick growth of grass. Soil, in passing westward, becomes more sandy and
stony, and some large tracts are so profusely covered with boulders as to be
rendered permanently unfit for agriculture. No sudden change of soil marks
passage from Cretaceous to Tertiary in this region, surfaces of both formations
ixvi ng marked by thick deposit ot marly drift. " About the middle of September, 1873, on the prairie between Turtle Mountain and the Coteau, grass was
dead nearly to roots, but last year (1874), ir. this region the grass was fresh
and good "    " The short prairie grass even when dry proves nourishing food."
Dr. Hector passed diagonally through this section from north-east to La
Roche Percee, and Mr. Dawson along its southern boundary.
103 Dawson G. ami R. of 42th parallel, 1875,^. 291.
The description of the southern portion along the boundary line is similar
to the previous section; undulating surface with short, thick, growth of grass,
soil becoming more sandy and stony. The second prairie plateau comes to an
end in 1 his section, against the foot of the great belt of drift deposits known
as the Missouri Coteau.
104 Dawson G. and R. of 49th parallel, 1875, p. 293.
The Missouri Coteau extends over the southern portion of this section.
The C6teau is thus described by Mr. Dawson:—
" The strip of broken country embraced under that name, from where it
crosses the boundai-y line to Elbow of South Saskatchewan, has an area of about
7,500 square miles, of which the greater part must always remain ununited to
agriculture, from its tumultuous and stony charaoter, but would be, however,
an excellent stock-raising district; though some ofthe steeper hills are scantily
clothed with vegetation, a good growth of short nutritious grass covers most
of the surface..   Swamps with excellent hay grass are scattered everywhere. "Inffta physical features the C6teau resembles Turtle Mountain, and like
that place would no doubt be thickly wooded but for prairie fires. The want of
wood is one of the most serious drawbacks. Animals fed on these hills during
summer would require to be wintered in some ofthe river valleys to the north,
or in wooded ravines of Tertiary plateau to the south."
Mr. Dawson, in referring to the alkaline lakes of the Coteau, gives an
analysis of their water, and states that " a small quantity of this saline matter
or alkali, is not found to be injurious to crops in Western States, where sufficient
moisture exists; nor does it appear to be detrimental to the growth of grass."
Bell, Geo. Rep., 1873 and 1874, pp. 80, 76 and 79.
From Dirt Hills towards the Qu'Appelle.—The first 40 miles was over a
swelling, clayey prairie with rough fissured, hummocky surface, and only one
strip of wood along a creek.
The Dirt Hills are a conspicious north-eastern projection of 'a range of
hills extending from Old Wife's Lakes to Long River (branch of the Souris),
and forming a sudden rise from the prairie . lying towards the Assiniboine
i This rise or C6teau consists, in reality, of the ruins of an escarpment.
To the south the country is extremely hilly, interspersed with ponds and small
lakes of fresh and bitter water, and destitute of wood. The hills appear to be
composed of gravelly earth, with boulders resting upon clays, similar to those
last described. The grass is short and sparse, and occasionaly, for miles, the
surface consists of almost bare gravel and boulders."
The highest point of Dirt Hill is 600 feet above plain immediately to north.
Four seams of lignite crop out in lower half of the " middle bluff, of six, four,
three and five feet respectively." "Nodules of sandstone and clay ironstone
are found at base of hill."
From the Dirt Hill, toward Wood Mountain, fife—" the whole country is
extremely rough, and the hills for the first eight or nine miles are particularly
steep, with numerous ponds of fresh water;" thence general descent to a strip of
country in a somewhat lower level, but also very hilly, having a chain of dry
salt lakes.
Col. MacLeod
Travelled along the boundary trail, and describes it through this section as
prairie, with poor soil and pasturage.
I05 Dawson G. and R. of 49th parallel, 1875, p. 293.
The great Plateau of the Lignite Tertiary occupies a large portion of the
southern half of this section, and is described by him as being south and west
of the Coteau, beginning at 350 mile point or near 105th longitude and extending
as a well-defined table-land as far as White Mud River, a distance of 115 miles
in vicinity of the line. " Its form is very irregular, but its area may be about
12,000 square miles. The soil of this plateau appears, as a rule, to be of a fertile
character, but the indications are that, except in a few favoured spots, the rain
fall is too small for growth of ordinary crops. Its elevation also, no doubt,
renders it more subject to early and late frosts than prairie to the east, though
the winter is probably not so severe as Bed River Valley."
I The plateau of the tertiary is for the most part only adapted for pastoral
occupation; but being covered with a good growth of grass is well suited for
this use." 1
The strip of country between the plateau and southern edge of the Cdteau
partakes, in some measure, of of its character, but has a less favourable appearance.
An important advantage of this plateau, is the existence, on its edges, of
sheltered valleys containing groves of poplar, and also the presence beneath it
of great deposits of lignite coal.
In one of these sheltered valleys a Half-breed settlement known as " Wood
Mountain" is situated fife; no cultivation of the ground has been attempted,
and is now only used by some hunters and traders for wintering shanties.
Bell, Geol Rep., 1873-74, p. 79.
Prof. Bell passed through centre of this section from east to west.
The country is similar to that described south of Dirt Hills in previous
section fife, being also very hilly and having a chain of dry salt lakes. Only two
regular valleys crossed before reaching the long, narrow Saline Lake at the
base of Woody Mountains, one thirty, the other forty miles from Dirt Hills.
He also crossed the north-east corner of section, and found the surface generally
of rolling character. The soil in valleys and more level parts appeared to be
derived from clays; pieces of clay ironstone found on surface. The higher
grounds are occupied by a gravelly earth and boulders, ground broken up by
sun cracks, rendering it hummocky and difficult to travel over it with carts.
Col. MacLeod
Also crossed south-west corner, and describes it as " prairie with poor
soil producing pasture."
Io6 Dawson's G. & R. of 49th parallel, 1815, p. 294.
" The region draining to the Missouri is based on the Tertiary and generally bears a close short growth of grass. Beyond Wood Mountain the low
ground both to the north and south of the plateau is based on the Cretaceous
olays, and is in most places dry and barren." | The drier slopes which are
scarcely capable of supporting a sod, show among the stunted grass a small
species of lichen , and many peculiar Southern or extreme Western plants were
here met with for the first time.''
The first part of the above description applies to the south-eastern portion
of this section, the Cretaceous clays occupy the south-western corner, and a
strip on the western side to the north of the Tertiary plateau, which spreads
over the remainder south and west of the C6teau. For description of Tertiary
plateau, see sec. fife.
The Wood Mountains are situated a little to south of centre of this section-
BelVs Geol. Rep., p. 79.
I The Woody Mountains consist of a rather bold north facing escarpment
of arenaceous clays and soft sandstones, with beds of lignite." The escarpment
is about 200 feet high.
"In one of the bluffs, eight apparently distinct beds of lignite were discovered. They are separated from each other by almost equal thicknesses of
marly strata," the two central seams eight and five feet thick, the oth<*jrs from
one to four feet. "The lignite of all the beds appears to be good quality;"
I besides nodules of clay ironstone, a bed of this mineral 8 or 9 inches thick
was observed near bottom of the bluff, and a thinner one about half way up."
M 117
Col. MacLeod.
States that "about Wood Mountain there are also some valleys which
produce good grass." The country here " is chiefly valuable for grazing purposes, but I am of opinion that hay would have to be laid up for wintering
stock." He also passed over country between Wood Mountain and Old Woman's
Lakes, and thence along the northern portion of section and describes it as a
prairie of fair soil with pasture, and that part lying to north-west of Wood
Mountain, he states, is a poor sandy soil, but producing some pasture.
107 Dawson, G. & R. of 49th parallel, 1875, p. 295.
The Southern portion of section is occupied by the Cretaceous formation
( see fife), and tne central by the Lignite Tertiary (see fife.)
" West of White Mud River an undulating prairie is passed over, resembling in its vegetation the surface of Tertiary plateau. It is deeply drift
Col. MacLeod.
" Passed over central part from Old Wife's Creek to boundary line,
and thence diagonally across south-west corner, and describes it a prairie
of poor soil, but producing pasture.''
Mr. Ogilvie,
Who passed over the northern portion of this section during 1878,
north of Old Wife's Creek, states that "its waters are fresh, and in the
valley the soil is generally good, but no timber. The country outside the valley
is a rolling prairie, sometimes rising into high gravelly knolls. Most of the flats
are good soil and everywhere there is good grass, but very little water, most of
it alkaline."
108 Dawson, G. & R. of 49th parallel, 1875, .p. 295.
The south-east corner is covered by the Cretaceous formation as described
in section fife, which extends along the Boundary line for about 16 miles.
I Bevond this point an outlying portion of Tertiary plateau stretches for 30
miles. It is much cut up by ravines and sometimes very stony, but is covered
in general by a close sod, with few swamps producing good grass."
Col. MacLeod
Passed diagonally from north-west to south-east through this section, and
describes it as piairie of poor soil, but producing some pasture.
Mr. Ogilvie
Travelled across northern portion. His description given in section -j^
applies to this also.
109 Dawson, G. & R. of 49th Parallel, 1875, p. 295.
From the outlying plateau ofthe Tertiary described in section ^fe, an arid
plain stretches westward for 50 miles, or nearly to Milk River. 118
" It also extends far north-westward towards the Cypress Hills and appears
to coalesce along their western front with a similar desert region, which,
according to Pailiser, extends to the north. It appears to be irremediably
sterile and useless, being based on Cretaceous No. 4, and in great part composed
of the debris of those rocks. In early spring it is evidently in many places
wet, but in summer dry, hard and fissured and scarcely supporting a sod. It is
traversed by the valleys ofthe East and West forks of Milk River, which rise in
the vicinity of Cypress Hills, but both the main streams and their tributary
coulees become nearly dry before the end of the summer."
The Cypress Hills extend into the northern portion of this section. See
section fife.
Col MacLeod
Passed over the northern half and describes that portion among the
Cypress Hills as of fine, fertile and fair soil, while the eastern side is a prairie
of poor soil with light pasture.
Mr. Ogilvie
Also crossed from the Cypress Hills north-easterly. "For about 20
miles from East End Post the country is rough, the'hills gravelly with many
granite boulders, and the flats generally fine soil, with many hay meadows.
. The pasture everywhere good and the water generally fresh."
In approaching Old Wife's Creek the country becomes rolb'ng prairie. See
Mr. Ogilvie's description, section fife.
" The valley of the White Mud River, running south-easterly out of the
Cypress Hills, is about two miles wide and contains some fine lands, but very
little timber on the part seen. I saw some exposures of Cretaceous sandstone
on it, and about 12 miles east of ' East End Post' is exposed a seam of lignite
coal about five feet thick, which I traced for several thousand feet."
I IO Dawson G. & R. of 49thparallel, 1875, pp. 295 & 296.
For 20 miles along boundary and stretching north to base of Cypress Hills,
an arid plain.   See section fife.
" The western limit of this plain is formed by a strip of more elevated
land lying between it and the Milk River, and about five miles wide. This is
again based on the Lignite Tertiary formation and shows an uniform short sod,
with some lakes and swamps, surrounded with fine hay grass, along its eastern
Westward from Milk River, the infertile Cretaceous clays do not recur the
country being based on the Lignite Tertiary.
To the base of the East Butte the surface, though not of the same desert
character as that east of Milk River, is covered by a short thin sod only, and is
in many places stony also.
The unfavourable appearance of all this region does not arise so much from
any deficiency in the soil itself as from the absence of sufficient moisture,
which is derived only from melting snow and spring rains.
Pailiser, Exp. pp. 141 & 142.
Describes the country to north of the Cypress Hills in this section as a
most desolate looking country, without either grass or water. On approaching
the hills, some rocky gullies were crossed in one of which was found a good deal
of maple, at the commencement of the ascent a small lake was passed, where
there was excellent grass, but no wood. 119
Cypress Hills.—" These hills are a perfect oasis in the desert we have
travelled, they connect with the high hills near the l|!lbow of South Branch of
the Saskatchewan, but at this point they terminate to the west and are
separated from the Rocky Mountains by a wide tract of arid country." They
are 3,800 feet above the sea, and are covered with timber (such as pine, spruce,
maple, &c., occurring in tho valley), much of which is valuable for building purposes. The soil is rich and pasture fine in the hollows, and the supply of water
abundant. There is also a great abundance of game and wild fruit in the
Ascended into the heart of the Cypress Mountains to a magnificent valley
running through them. In this valley is a height of land from which the waters
shed off both into the Missouri and into the Saskatchewan.
Col MacLeod
Describes the Cypress Hills as a succession of high plateaux running for
about 100 miles east and west, cut into by small streams, which have formed
large steep coulees of irregular width through the hills. There is an abundance
of good luxuriant grass to be found in all directions, as well as excellent water,
also a good supply of pine. He is of opinion that the Cypress and Wood
Hills are both of them principally valuable for grazing purposes, but that hay
would have to be laid up for wintering stock.
The country to south of hills is of poor quality, but furnishing sufficient
grass for horses and cattle passing through, with water varying with the season.
Capt. Clark
States that although cattle and horses grazo out during the winter
in the Cypress Hills, they do not thrive as well as those in the McLeod
and Bow Rivers country, owing to the severe storms that sweep through these
hills. I Coal is to be found in them and on, a stream a few miles^to the west.
The grass throughout these hills is excellent, and water abundant, clear
sparkling streams running in every direction, a good d°,al of pine is also found
in them. To the south the country becomes barren and the further south
tho more barren.   This is known as the Milk River District."
Mr. Ogilvie
Describes the country to the west of Cypress Hills, as generally
gravelly, and in some places rather sandy, very little water and that
mostij§|alkaline, al80 very little wood. Coal is revealed m some of the ravines
which run into the Saskatchewan. The Cypress Hills rise abruptly to a height
of 700 or 800 feet above the plains; on these hills are many large patches of
a kind of pine, here called Cypress which possesses little value except for fuel,
also some tamarac, but too small except for fencing purposes. The soil on
the top of the hills is generally of a gravelly loam, supporting good grass.
Ho was informed that there was here a large Settlement of Half-breeds, possessing herds of cattle, who thought the hills excellent pasture.
III The Three Butles, although in Ameican  territory, the boundary line
touching the base of the western one, form a most prominent feature of this
part of the country.   They rise according to—
Dawson, G. & R., of 49th parallel. 1875, pp. 296 and 297.
3,000 feet above the plain. "Their height and mass being sufficient
to cause the formation and arrest of clouds in their immediate vicinity, where
rainfall is consequently much more copious." 120
" From Sweet Grass Hills, toward the Rocky Mountains, the country improves in appearance and shows evidence of greater rainfall. The cactus,
grease-wood and Artemisia cease to appear. To the second branch of Milk
River, a distance of 55 miles, the country is generally much broken." " There
is usually a close thick growth of grass; the swamps and sloughs, which are
numerous, generally hold grasses and Carices to the exclusion of rushes, formerly most abundant.
"The watershed region from second branch of Milk River to the St. Mary
River is of a similar character."
Pailiser Exp., p. 143 (Dr. Hector's Journey).
Cypress Hills to forks of South Saskatchewan and Belly Rivers.—Across
the northern portionjof this section water only occurs as pools in the beds of
the creeks, and is of a very bad quality. Crossed range of hills that run to
north-east and deep ravine in which was no water, and then over high rolling
prairies, obtaining a fine view of Les Trois Buttes. " Although the grass in
these high plains is a little better than that in the chalky soil we had passed
over, we could see no trace of water except in a little swampy pool with good
grass round the edge."
Struck the South Saskatchewan 20 miles below the fork of the Bow and
Belly Rivers. The banks are 210 feet high and very steep; could only see one
clump of poplar on the margin; along the river are large flats. The banks are
composed of bands of clays, covered" with drift and boulders. Ascending the
banks, crossed some sand hills and at noon reached the point where the Belly
River joins the South Saskatchewan. " We crossed Belly River two miles above
its mouth, fording it with ease, whereas Capt. Pailiser, with the rest of the
party, in crossing 40 miles higher up stream, were obliged to swim their horses
and make rafts. Stream at our crossing 90yds wide and water only up to the
horses girths, but very rapid." The banks are high and steep, with large bluffs
of poplars on right bank.
Pailiser Expedition, p. 167.
From Cypress Hills toward the Belly River, across central and southern
portions of this section.
" Leaving Cypress Hills we travelled along a sandy plain interspersed
with a few insignificant swamps and pools, most of which were salt.
" Les Trois Buttes were 40 miles to the south, and from level nature of
intervening country and detached structures of these Mils, they appear like the
tops of three distinct rocks seen over a sea horizon.
" Pursuing our course along the boundary line, came upon a large perfectly
dry river bed, about 500 or 600 yards across. The waters from this singular
river once flowed into the Missouri." Height of banks from 180 to 240 feet.
" In bottom found small springs of excellent water.   Lat. 49° 25' north."
Col MacLeod
Crossed this section between the Cypress Hills and forks of the Belly and
South Saskatchewan, and describes it as a poor soil, but affording sufficient
grass for horses and cattle passing through, with water varying with the
Capt. Clark
Describes the country to the west of Cypress Hills through this section as
a rolling prairie, with good grass, but, at certain dry seasons, very little water. Mr. Ogilvie.
Passed across centre of this section and found the soil generally gravelly,
and in some places sandy; very little water, which is mostly alkaline, and
wood scarce.
Col. MacLeod.
" What is called the * barren lands ' of the United States extend into the
North-West Territories forming a triangle of which, speaking roughly, the
Boundary line, commencing about forty miles from the Mountains, and extending
to the Grand Cbteau of the Souris, forms the base, a line drawn from there to
the 'Elbow' of the Saskatchewan, a little south of the 50th parallel and
north-west of Fort Walsh, aside, and a line drawn from the last-mentioned
point to the place of beginning the other side; this last line will not include
however, some ofthe poor land which exists to the west of it. Throughout the
whole of this triangle sufficient grass is to be found for horses and cattle passing
through, with water varying with the season."
The above extract refers to ;sections fife, fife, fife, fife, fife, fife, fife, fife,
fife and a portion of fife.
112        For Mr. Dawson's description of southern part, see section fife:.
Pailiser Expedition, p. 144,
Passsed across north-east corner of section.—
" At Belly River, section showed sandstone clays, with lignite, resting on
dark-brown sandy clays."
The country since leaving Belly River was very arid; the rain falling
on the hard-baked clay soil at once evaporated.
Pailiser Expedition, p. 157,
Passed across central portion.—
" We had now traversed the level and plain through which the 49 th
parallel runs, and had suffered a good deal from the scarcity of good water and
grass. The few small swamps and marshes were all -more or less impregnated
with sulphates, and the grass in their neighbourhood scarcely sufficed to feed
our horses." In the evening of 9th August, arrived at tributary of Belly River.
Lat. at noon 49° 44".
Col. MacLeod.
The Eastern portion is similar to section fife, but an improvement begins
towards the west.
Capt. Clark and Mr. Ogilvie, agree in this.
113 Dawson's G. & R. of 49th parallel, 1875, pp. 297,298.
The water-shed region from second branch of Milk River to St. Mary's
River is similar to that previously described.    See section fife.
" The portion of fertile belt fringing eastern side of the Rocky Mountains,
in the neighbourhood of 49th parallel, is about 25 miles in width.    On crossing
St. Mary's River a very marked and rather sudden change for the bettor is
observed; the surface at the same time becomes more undulating and broken,
9 122
and is quite hilly before the actual base of the Mountains is reached; it is now
covered with a thick vegetable soil supporting a luxuriant growth of grass,
and, wherever the fire has spared them, trees are to be found in all stages of
growth. Many plants last seen in the neighbourhood of Pembina Mountains
and the Red River Valley, and which across the more arid plains have been
lurking in sheltered hollows and damp coulees, now reappear over the surface
of the country generally. The rivers and streams also entirely changed their
character, and, instead of flowing sluggishly with a milky opacity, now hold
clear blue water, run swiftly over stony and gravelly beds, and are filled with
trout. The thickets are generally of poplar, but in the immediate vicinity of the
Mountains show birch and coniferous trees also."
"I was informed by traders who had wintered in the vicinity of St. Mary River,
that the snow does not he here for more than about three months, the temperature also being much milder than further east. It would appear probable,
however, from the altitude of the country, that early and late frosts may
shorten the season, agriculturally, to a greater extent than indicated by the
above statement."
" Buffalo are said to frequent the foot hills of the mountains in winter in
great numbers." " For this part of the country the mountains form an inexhaustible source of wood for construction and fuel, though extensive areas are
known to be underlaid by coal. The timber in the mountains is chiefly
coniferous and not of large size, except in certain secluded valleys.
" A species of pine somewhat resembling the Banksian pine, but which I
believe to be Pinus contorta, is found pretty abundantly in some localities, especially on the gravel terraces and valley bottoms; it would afford good straight
timber, but does not obtain a great girth. The Douglas pine also occurs on both
sides of the water-shed, but is generally small.
" The largest timber observed was in some of the higher and more secluded
Valleys; the trees resembled the black spruce, but were probably Abies
Pailiser Exp., p. 158.
From Belly River to Rocky Mountains; " thence our course was to the
northward in order to strike the entrance of the Kootanie Pass. The ground
was much burned; the country was rich, undulating and grassy.
1 We were now in the mountains; the carts had arrived at the last point
which it was practicable for them to reach. The berries at this altitude of
about 800 feet were still eatable, although past the season below. Latitude 49°
36' north."
Pailiser Exp., p. 91.
In journey of 1858 passed in a southerly course through the western portion of this section. Traversing along the western flank of the Porcupine
Hills, crossed Old Man or Arrow River. The land to north of Little Belly
River (latitude 49° 32') was poor, flinty and sandy, but to the south greatly
improved, and was in some places rich and pasturage good.
"Observation Hill—a little to the north-east of Chief Mountain-
Ascended a road through the forest to a considerable height, when the hill
became grassy and steep. " From the top we could trace feeders of the South
Saskatchewan by their fringes of poplar and willow, or by their banks along
the sandy waste." " All waters, after running a few miles to eastward, bore
away to the northward. As far as the eye could reach to the north and east
was an apparently boundless sandy plain." 123
Col. MacLeod,
Whose headquarters have been for some time at Fort McLeod, thus
describes this and neighbouring sections:—" Commencing at the boundary line
and running north to the head of Bow River, there is a tract of country varying in depth from thirty to fifty miles from the Rocky Mountains, which produces very good grass, and surpasses, I have been told, any of the stock-raising
parts of Montana.
I Through this tract there is a large number of fine streams which, rise
in the Rocky Mountains and, joining together at various points, form the South
Saskatchewan, The bottoms of these streams and some of the valleys which
lead from them are of considerable extent, being in some cases several miles
wide. The soil is generally very good, and, as you near the mountains, excellent ; good samples of wheat, oats, barley, peas and corn have been alroady
produced. The yield and size of potatoes are very satisfactory, and other
vegetables have been produced in abundance.
" The climate is very mild, and the snow-fall small, except close to the
Mountains; cattle graze out all the winter.
" Good pine is found on the slopes of the Mountains and for some distance
from their base, while cotton wood trees of good size grow all along the river
' bottoms.'"
" When the prairie is not burnt off, the country I am speaking of is a favourite
haunt of buffalo. During the winter the Indians camp in the river bottoms,
which afford them shelter and fuel, and sally forth now and then to procure
their supplies of meat which, under the circumstances mentioned, is not hard
to obtain."
Capt. Clark,
States that " the nearer one approaches to the Mountains the finer the soil
becomes, tho grass more luxuriant, and the climate more genial.
| The country about Macleod and right up to the FootSills of the Mountains
may safely be termed an agricultural one, and indeed the success which has
•attended the few farmers and the police farm and gardens there, proves it to be
such.    The police garden at Macleod would be hard to beat in Ontarie."
I The river bottoms are, as a rule, very large and woll stocked with cotton
wood.    Pine grows in large quantities in the Foot Hills."
Mr. Ogilvie,
Entered this section from the north towards Fort Macleod, and thence
travelled eastward; and describes the country to the north of Fort Macleod
as a fine fertile land.
I Near Fort Macleod there is another high gravel ridge.
I On Old Man's River there are some patches of poplar, but too sparse to be
of any use to settlers.
"From Fort Macleod to Belly River, about 8 miles, the soil is generally of
fair quality.
I At Belly River I got a sample of wheat which was sown on the 20th of May
last, and being late did not get filling properly; but still it is as fine a specimen
of wheat as one would wish to see. I also saw at the same place a cellar of
potatoes which were certainly as good as any lot of the same quantity I have
seen in the Ottawa District. There is little poplar on the river, and as it runs
out of the Rocky Mountains I suppose timber for building purposes could be
brought down from there.   Coal for fuel is abundant along the river.
"From Belly River to St. Mary's, a distance of about 18 miles, the soil is
generally fair, grass good; no water or timber. 124
" In St. Mary's River valley aro some coal exposures, but little or no timber.
" From St. Mary's River eastward to Cypress Hills the road passes over
alternate patches of gravelly soil and good black loamy clay for about 20 miles,
when it gets generally light and gravelly; water alkaline."
114 Pailiser, p. 158.
Capt. Pailiser traversed this section westerly through the Kootanie Pass,
and the following extracts from his journal describe this part of his explorations :—
" Fell on the Kootanie track on the left bank of a small stream, a tributary
to Moocoman River. On each side were steep, thickly wooded mountains, the
undergrowth very dense. In the afternoon we crossed the flanking or Curtain
range ofthe Rocky Mountains, about.2,000 feet above the level ofthe plains, and
descended to a swampy well-wooded valley, and camped on one of the little
tributaries of the Bow River.
" August 16th.—For first three and a-half hours through wood and swamps.
Stopped to breakfast at base of the last and most lofty ascent, tha t which I conceive
to be the water-shed of the continent. Our path was zigzag through woods
which became stunted as we obtained an increased altitude, and alpttle before
sunset we reached the height of land, whence we saw the waters which descend
to the Pacific. Here the view of the mountains, especially to the northward,
was magnificent; we were now on a mass of mountain over 6,000 feet above the
level of the sea, contemplating snow-clad masses in the north-west horizon
of more than double that altitude."
The description of this, the British Kootanie Pass, is contained in journal
of 1858, Capt Pailiser having re-crossed the Rocky Mountains in the beginning
of September, 1858, by that Pass, on returning to Edmonton from his exploration of the Kananaskis Pass.
Capt. Clark.
States that " several Montana miners have and are prospeotag the Foot
Hills of the Mountains. In the winter of 1878 one of these prospectors (term used
in the west) showed a piece of metal which he claimed to have found when prospecting. I saw this piece of metal assayed in Helena, Montana, and it proved to be
no less than pure tin. Time and patience can alone prove how vast are the mineral,
resources of that great country, and in the mean time there is no reason why
it should not be ore of the finest stock-raising countries in the world."
See also Col. MacLeod's and Capt. Clarks descriptions in fifi
5 0
its- 125
A description of the several contracts entered into—with the rates and prices—
for the supply of materials and execution of work on the Canadian Pacific Railway,
since January, 1877, to the present time. A description of the contracts previously
entered into, will be found in the Report of February, 1877, pages 383 to 396. 126
Contract No. 5a.
Pembina Branch.—Extension from St. Boniface to Selkirk. Embracing all the
works necessary in connection with the grading, bridging, track laying and ballasting. Length 21J miles. Mr. Whitehead, was authorize!! under Order in Council
dated 11th of May, 1877, to proceed with the work as part of his first contract, (Contract No. 5. See page 385 Report of 1877.) Earth excavation to be paid for at 22
cents per cubic yard, and the other works as per prices in Contract No. 15. (See
page 390 Report of 1877.)
Name of contractor Joseph Whitehead.
Order in Council May 11th, 1877.
The quantities of work proformed with the specified rates are as follows :—
Description of Works.
Grubbing including side ditches	
Loose rock	
Earth excavation including borrowing
Excavation in off-take ditches beyond Railway
Earth excavation under water.
Extra pane
Square timber
16 X 12 in
12 X 12
12 X    9
12 X    8
L. feet
0. yds.
Pine plank B.M.
Hardwood plank  do
Wrought iron, including bolts, spikes, straps, &c.
Cast iron	
Track laying	
Points and crossing',	
Wages with 15 per cent added...
Approximate amount..
L. feet
S. feet
O. yds.
Per acre
Per L. ft.
Per O. yd.
Rates.    I Amount.
Per L. ft.
Per lb.
Per tie
Per mile
Per C. yd
Per set
$ cts.
30 00
80 00
0 06
1 75
0 22
0 45
0 66
0 33
0 30
0 28
0 28
0 25
0 20
25 00
20 00
0 13
0 10
0 40
290 00
0 33
10 00
$ cts.
6,165 90
8,052 00
12,625 50
1,023 75
42,210 52
24,682 95
122 10
326 77
530 64
6,015 90
1,601 04
160 72
1,725 25
498 00
216 75
995 06
1,078 48
264 70
13,191 60
6,597 60
15,015 00
20 00
897 62
144,017 75
Amount paid on account of work executed $141,500
Contract No. 32.
For 250 tons of Railway Spikes, delivered at Fort William and Duluth during
season of navigation, 1877.
Name of Contractors Cooper, Fairman & Co.
Date of Contract 12th May, 1877.
Date for completion 1st July, 1877.
AtFortWMiam     50
At Duluth  200
     250 tons @ $54,95  $13,737 50
This Contract has been completed.
Amountpaid, $13,737.50. 127
Contract No. 32a.
For building eight Station Houses between Sunshine Creek and English River.
The houses to be used by the Engineering staff during the construction of the works.
Name of Contractors LeMay & Blair.
Date of Contract 10th January, 1877.
Date for completion	
Amount of Contract $23,409.
On the 10th July, 1877, instructions were given by the Department that the
buildings west of Port Savanne should be discontinued, and the contractors paid for
the work done and material delivered.   The contract was therefore closed.
Amount paid, $17,730.45.
Contract No. 33.
Pembina Branch (portion of).—For completing the grading, with all the track-
laying, ballasting, &c, between St. Boniface and Emerson.   Length, 63J miles.
Name of Contractors Kavanagh, Murphy & Upper.
Date of Contract 21st June, 1878.
Date for completion 1st December, 1879.
The approximate quantities furnished to Contractors, moneyed out at the Contract rates, are as follows:—
Description of Work.
Approximate Quantities.
L. feet
L. feet
Per acre
{'■: dffi^j
Per 1. ft
Per c. yd
P. 1. ft.-
P. span.
Per c. yd
$     cts.
24 00
28 00
50 00
0 05
2 50
0 25
0 30
0 25
3,000 00
2,500 00
1,750 00
3 50
1 50
15 00
15 00
12 00
10 00
8 00
12 60
11 00
10 00
2 00
$     cts.
2,400 00
Grubbing, including side ditches and off-take
1,400 00
5,000 00
33,300 00
250 00
Earth excavation, including borrowing	
Excavation in off-take ditches beyond rail-
35,000 00
3,000 00
250 00
do                 80       do      	
6,000 00
2,500 00
do                 60      do     BE.	
1,750 00
Cribwork in'abutments and piers of bridges,
8,750 00
1,500 00
Bridge masonry, in hydraulic cement mortar-
do                  common    lime    mortar,
Culvert,masonry, in hydraulic cement mortar
do                  common   lime    mortar,
do           common lime  mortar,  lipped
Description of Work.
Brought forward.
Approximate Quantities.
Sqaared Timber in Frestle-iBork, Bridges,
Culverts, <j-e.
or tamarac.
16 X 12 in., white pine-
may be spruce.
do  ML	
do  „	
do  ,.„.
do     ^S-'—'.."aS	
oak scantling....... ..	
10 inches flatted timber, may be spruce.........
8    do do do 	
Piles, tamarac or oak, of size to square 12
inches at large end -	
Hemlock or spruce plank , b. m	
Pine plank b. m	
Hardwood plank b. m	
Wrought iron, including bolts, spikes, straps,
15 X12
15 X
Cast iron „,,.....„
Track laying	
Points and crossing..
L. feet
S. feet
Approximate amount of contract..
Per 1. ft
Per lb.
Per mile
Per c. yd
Per set
$   cts,
0 50
0 50
V 0 40
0 35
0 25
0 18
0 35
0 25
0 18
0 12
0 21
0 15
0 10
0 10
0 03?}
0 16
0 10
0 40
20 00
25 00
50 00
0 10
0 10
250 00
0 27
25 00
$ cts.
101,100 00
1,250 00
1,000 00
1,000 00
13,300 00
1,000 00
2,520 00
5,250 00
1,750 00
270 00
120 00
105 00
600 00
100 00
100 00
17 50
3,300 00
1,000 00
20 00
2,750 00
60 00
2,600 00
850 00
16,500 00
29,700 00
500 00
187,652 50
Amount paid on account of work executed..,  $54,100 00
By Order in Council, dated October, 1878, it was directed that in consideration
ofthe Contractors so expediting the works by the erection of temporary bridging and
otherwise, as to admit of the passage of slow trains before the end of the year, and
for afterwards completing the works in terms of the contract, they should be paid
the .sum of $15,000. The track was laid and trains passed over the line on the
December Contract No. 34.
For transportation of rails, fish-plates, bolts, &c, from Kingston, Ont., to St.
Boniface, Manitoba, and from Fort William, Lake Superior, to Emerson, Manitoba,
including all labour and charges:—
Name of contractor North-West Transportation Company.
Dates of contract May 29th and September 30th, 1878.
Dates for delivery September 15th, 1878, and summer of 1879.
From Kingston,        4,500 tons at $18 per ton     $81,000
From Fort William, 1,500   do do              27,000
Estimated cost  $108,000
Amount paid on account, $41,100.00.
Contract No. 35.
For 480 tons of railway spikes delivered on the wharves at]Fort William and
Duluth :—
Name of contractor Cooper, Fairman & Co.
Date of contract, June 3rd, 1878.
Date for delivery, during navigation, 1878.
At Fort William 135 tons, 2,240 lbs.
At Duluth (for Manitoba) 345 do
480 tons at $49.75 per ton  $23,880
This Contract has been completed.
Amount paid, $23,880.
Contract No. 36.
For 165,000 railway ties for the Pembina Branch, to be delivered as follows:—
75,000 at St. Boniface; 60,000 at Rat River, and 30,000 at Rosseau River.
Name of contractor William Robinson.
Date of contract i February 22nd, 1878.
Date for completion June 30th, 1878.
Estimated cost, 165,000, at $0.44 per tie $72,600
On the 29th October the contractor had only delivered 86,868 ties, and, as the
track-laying of the Pembina Branch was being delayed in consequence," the contract
was taken out of the contractor's hands, and a sufficient quantity furnished by
the Department at his expense.
Total number delivered, 157,943, value at contract rate, $69,494.92.
Amount paid on account, $35,016.08. 130
Contract No. 37.
Georgian Bat Branch—Extending from South River, near Lake Nipissing to
Cantin's Bay or French River. The contract embraces all the works necessary in
connection with the grading, bridging, tracklaying, and ballasting, according to
General specification.   Length 50 miles.
Name of contractors, Heney, Charlebois & Flood.
Date of contract August 2nd, 1878.
Date for completion July 1st, 1880.
The approximate quantities furnished to contractors moneyed out at the contract
rates are as follows:—
Description of Work.
Close cutting.	
Grubbing, including side ditches and offtake drains	
Fencing ,	
Solid Rock excavation	
Loose       do 	
Earth excavation, including borrowing	
Excavation in off-take ditches, beyond railway limits .....	
Under drains	
Bridges, Iron superstructure 150 ft. clear...
Approximate Quantities.
Howe Truss
Six-feet tunnels for streams (1 cubic yard
per lineal foot) I
Cribwork in abutments and piers of bridges,
including stone filling  i
Rip-rap I
Bridge    masonry,    in   hydraulic   cementl
Bridge masonry, in common lime mortar,
lipped with cement ..	
Culvert  masonry,   in   hydraulic  cement
mortar  !	
Culvert masonry, in common lime mortar,
lipped with cement	
Culvert masonry, dry ,;	
Brickwork, in hydraulic cement mortar	
do        in common lime mortar, lipped'
with cement JP.  j
Concrete made with hydraulic cement	
Clay puddle I
Carried forward „ ,.|
L. feet
do .
185 000   1
L. feet
Ii. feet
Per acre
Per L. ft
Per C. yds
do      I
Per L. ft
Per span '
do        I
Per L. ft
Per O. yd.'
do       I
$   cts.
40 00
60 00
1 50
0 06
1 30
0 60
0 22
0 25
0 20
9,000 00
5,000 00
3,700 00
2,580 00 j
1,400 00 I
4,990 00
2,376 00
1,720 00
1,320 00
880 00
4 00
3 00
2 00
13 00
12 00
9 00
7 50
6 50
11 00
10 00
7 00
1 50
$   cts.
32,000 00
900 00
7,500 00
3,000 00
240,500 00
1,800 00
242,000 00
750 00
2,000 00
18,000 00
2,376 00
14,520 00
880 00
2,400 00
104,000 00
67,500 00
1,750 00
375 00
742,251 00 131
Schedule of Quantities and Prices.—Concluded.
Description of Work,
Brought forward..
Square Timber in Trestle-work, Culverts,
16 X 12 in., white pine.
16 X 12 do
15 X   9 do 	
12 X 12 do        or tamarac
12 X   9 do do
12 X   6 do do
12 X   4 do do
9X9 do do
9X8 do do
9X6 do do
9X4 do do
6X4 do do
4X2       oak scantling	
Flatted timber, 10 inches	
do 8   do     	
Piles, tamarac or oak, of size to square 12
inches at large end	
Pine plank b. m	
Hardwood plank b. m	
Wrought  iron,   including    bolts,   spikes,
straps, &c	
Oast iron	
Approximate Quantities.
Points and crossings.
Approximate amount of contract..
L. feet
S. feet
0. yds...
L. i
Per M
Per lb-
Per tie
Per mile
Peat O. yd,
Per set
$   cts.
0 30
0 30
0 25
0 20
0 18
0 15
0 10
0 12
0 12
0 10
0 10
0 08
0 15
0 10
0 06
0 40
15 00
40 00
0 10
0 06
0 15
250 00
0 22 I
10 00 I
$ cts,
742,251 00
460 00
150 00
40 00
300 00
40 00
200 00
12 00
18,750 00
13,000 00
34,320 00
300 00
809,813 00
Amount paid on account of work executed .'.$1,400.
Contract No. 38.
For converting the Neebing Hotel at Fort William into offices for the Engineering staff, Prince Arthur District, including all labour and materials, according to plans
and specification.
Name of Contractor Edmond Ingalls.
Date of Contract July 26th, 1878.
Date for completion 26th September, 1878.
Estimated amount of contract, $3,261.00.
This contract has been completed.
Amount paid, $3,456.85. 132
Contract No. 39.
For transportation of rails from Esquimalt and Nanaimo to Yale, British Columbia, including all labour and charges.
Name of Contractor John Irving.
Date of contract July 18th, 1878.
Date for completion November 1st, 1878.
Estimated amount of contract:—
5,266 Imperial tons, or
5,898 tons of 2,000 lbs,, at $6.44      $37,983 12
On expiry of the term of contract, the work was suspended by order of the
Department, at which date 3,484 tons had been removed from Esquimalt, and 100
tons from Nanaimo. About 2,000 tons have been delivered and piled at Tale, and
the balance remain at Langley and New Westminster.
Amount paid on account $9,660.
Contract No< 40.
For Engine-house at Selkirk, embracing all kinds of labour, materials and plant
necessary for the due execution and completion of a ten-stall engine-house, according
to plans and specification.
Name of Contractors  .Gouin, Murphy & Upper.
Date of contract August 5th, 1878.
Date for completion September 1st, 1879.
Contract amount, lump sum 830,500
Should it prove necessary to carry the foundations to a greater depth than is
specified and shewn on the drawings, or to extend the drain beyond 100 feet from
the building, the following rates to be paid for the additional work:—
Excavation in foundations, earth—per cubic yard.  $0 25
do do rock        do      1 50
Masonry in foundations do     5 00
Extension of drain, including   excavation,   building and
refilling, per lineal yard      5 00
Operations had not commenced at end of 1878.
Contract No. 41.
Main Line.—Extending from English River to Eagle River. The contract
embraces all the works necessary in connection with the excavation, grading, bridging, tracklaying and ballasting, according to General specification. Length 118
Name of contractors Puxcell & Ob.
Date of contract  March 7th, 1879.
Date for completion   July   1st,  1883.
It is, however, provided in the contract, that should the works be so far completed
as to be ready for the passage of through trains on the 1st day of July 1881, and the
whole ofthe works be fully completed by the 1st day of July, 1882, the contractors
are to be paid at the rates in the second column. The amount accruing from the
increased priceB to be paid in one sum on the work being satisfactorily completed
within the short period, 133
The approximate quantities furnished to contractors,moneyed out at contract rates
are as follows:—
Description of Work.
1st Column.
Approximate Quantities.
2nd Column.
To be completed by To be completed by
1st July, 1883, and'lst July, 1882, and
ready for passage oflready for passage of
through trains by 1st through trains by 1st
fill 1882. July, 1881.
Close cutting   	
Platform of logs across muskegs, average 16 in, doep,
covered with brush	
Solid rock excavation,	
Loose rock excavation	
Earth excavation,including borrowing	
Earth borrowing, with haul of
1 to If miles. (See 20th Clause
of memo)	
Off-take ditches, outside rail
way limits	
Under-drains '
Bridge masonry  I
Culvert masonry  j
Paving I
Crib-work in abutment, and
piers of bridges	
Cast-iron pipes, 3 ft. diameter
inside, 1 in. thick, laid in concrete !	
Bridge superstructure, timber,
100ft, in clear	
Bridge superstructure, timber,
80 ft., in clear j
Bridge superstructure, timber
40 ft., in clear	
Piles driven, 12 in. X 12 in	
L. feet
C. yds
L. feet
Per acre,
Per L. ft
601     do
3001      do
22,000      do
4,400       do
Carried forward ,
L. feet
Per L. ft
Per span |
Per L. ft
$   cts.
21 00
33 00
68 00
175 00
0 01
1 50
0 90
0 25
»0 10
0 25
0 33
8 00
4 00
4 00
1 00
3 00
2 00
3 50
3,600 00
3,000 00
1,000 00
0 24
Rates.   I Amount.
$ cts.
22 00
35 00
70 00
180 00
0 01
1 55
0 95
0 26
*0 10
0 26
0 35
9 00
4 50
4 50
1 00
3 60
2 50
4 00
3,700 00
3,200 00
1,200 00
0 25
j 92,150
* Previous to signing the contract it was pointed out by the Engineer-in-Chief that the price for
earth borrowing, with haul from I to If miles was only 10 cents, while the rate should really be
higher instead of lower than for ordinary excavation. He further pointed ont that in preparing
certificates as the work was executed, he could only money out the excavation under this item at the
rate of 10 cents per cubic yard In executing the contract, the parties thereto signed the following:—
" We hereby acknowledge that the contract is entered into by us with a full understanding that the
terms of the tender are to be adhered to, notwithstanding the circumstances above referred to." 134
1st. Column.
2nd Column.
Description of Work.        ' Approximate Quantities.
To be completed by    To be completed by
t   Jnlv.    1883.   and 1st   Jnlv.   1882.   anil
Brought forward .
1st July, 1883, and
ready for passage of
through trains by 1st
July, 1882.
1st July, 1882, and
ready for passage of
through trains by 1st
July, 1881,
Square Timber in Trestle-work,
Culverts, Bridges, $c.
16 X 12 in., white pine	
8 X
or tamarac
do ...
do ...
8 in. flatted timber, white pine
or tamarac	
Pine or tamarac plank	
Hardwood plank	
Wrought iron, including bolts,
spikes, straps, &c	
Cast iron	
Ties M	
Carriage of rails and fastenings
—average haul 172 miles	
Track laying	
Ballasting , 	
Points and crossings	
Approximate amount of
Ft, B,M
$ Cts.
per M.
60,000  per lb.
12,200       do
300,000  per tie
per ton
per mile
pr, C.yd|
per set j
0 38
0 35
0 35
0 34
0 29
0 28
0 23
0 20
0 20
0 16
0 16
0 18
28 00
30 00
0 08
0 08
0 26
2 00
275 00
0 34
29 00
Rates.     Amount
$ cts.
0 40
0 38
0 38
0 35
0 30
0 29
0 24
0 21
0 21
0 17
0 17
0 20
30 00
31 00
0 08
0 08
0 25
2 00
800 00 I
0 35 I
30 00 .
2,203,896   2,300,196
Amount paid on account of work executed    Nil. 135
Contract No. 42.
Main Line.—Extending from Eagle River—231 miles west of Fort William—to
Keewatin, embracing all the works necessary in connection with the excavation,
grading, bridging, track-laying and ballasting.   Length 67 miles.
Name of Contractors Fraser, Manning & Co.
Date of Contract 20th March, 1879.
Date for completion 1st July, 1883, and ready for passage of through trains by 1st July, 1882.
The approximate quantities furnished to Contractors, moneyed out at contract
rates, are as follows:—
Description of Work-
Approximate Quantities-
Clearing I  Acres 250
Close cutting   |     do 30
Grubbing I     do 150
Platform of logs   across  muskegs,  average  16
inches deep, covered with brush       do 4
Fencing    L. feet 5,000
Solid rock excavation—line cuttings  | C, yds. I    900,000
Rock borrowing (see 19th clause of memo.) |    do 426,000
Loose rock excavation       do 65,000
Earth excavation, ordinary (see 17th and 18th
clauses of specification)       do     | 1,392,000
Extra earth borrowing—special rates, to cover
cost of long haul as well as excavation (see
20th clause of memo.) when haul exceeds one
Between the 241st and 273rd miles	
do 273rd and 289th   do    Jgqg&
do 293rd and 295th   do    -ggp!
Off-take ditches, outside railway limits	
Stream tunnels, through rock, 8 feet diameter
(two cubic yards per lineal foot)...	
Stream tunnels, through rock, 6 feet diameter
(one cubic yard per lineal foot)	
Bridge masonry	
Culvert masonry	
Paving §& -	
Crib-work in abutments and piers of bridges.
Rip-rap il. 1	
Cast-iron pipes, 3 feet diameter inside, 1 inch! I
thick, laid in concrete -    L. feet I
Bridge superstructure, timber, 100 feet in clear ...   Spans I
Piles arijiin, 12 X 12 in | L.feet |
Carried forward i	
L. feet
Per acre
Per L. ft.
Per C. yd.
Per L. ft.
Per C. yd.
Per la- ft.
Per span
Per L. ft.
$ cts.
25 00
35 00
76 00
1,450 00
0 06
1 85
2 00
0 75
0 31 !    431,520
0 37
0 35
0 33
0 50
0 40
18 00
12 00
50 00
4,000 00
0 30
j 3,869,400 136
Description of Work.
Brought forward.
Square Timber in Trestlework, Culverts,
Bridges, $e.
16 X 12 in., white pine..
16 X 10
16 X 9
14 X 12
12 X 12
or tamarac	
8 in. Hatted timber, white pine or tamarac
Pine or tamarac plank	
Hardwood plank	
Wrought iron, including bolts, spikes, straps, &c.
Cast iron ,	
Approximate Quantities.
Carriage of rails and fastening3-
190 miles	
Track laying	
Points and crossings	
-average hauli
Approximate amount of contract.
L. feet
Ft. B.M.
Per lb.
Per tie
Per ton
Per mile
Per C. yd.
Per set
Rates      Amount.
$   cts.
0 66
0 56
0 65
0 60
0 40
0 36
0 30
0 20
0 12
0 15
40 00
40 00
0 10
0 09
0 27
2 25
250 00
0 29 |
60 00
Amount paid on account of work executed    Nil 137
Summary of Payments   made   on account of Work done   up   to   31st December,
1878, and approximate-estimate of Expenditure involved.  -
Sifton, Glass'& Co	
Richard Fuller	
IF. J, Barnard	
(Oliver, Davidson^*: Co 33s!
Joseph Whitehead]	
[Joseph Whitehead	
Guest Sc Co	
Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Ooal Co	
Mersey Stiel and Iron Co- ..... 	
West Cumberland Iron and Steel Co	
IWest Cumberland Iron and Steel Co.	
Naylor, Benzon & Co	
Hon. A. B. Foster	
Sifton & Ward —
Purcell & Ryan ,	
Sifton & Ward !	
Joseph Whitehead (Completing Contract No. 14.)..
ISntton, Thompson & Whitehead \*""Bty
Canada Central Railway Co	
Anderson, Anderson & Co	
Red River Transportation Oo	
Moses Ghevrette	
Merchants' Lake and River Steamship Oo	
Patrick Kenny	
Holcomb & Stewart	
ISifton & Ward	
Oliver, Davidson & Go	
Carried forward	
¥ cts.
112,715 61
112,614 95
38,700 00
214,825 82
208,163 00
141,500 00
280,658 76
254,177 08
1,065,842 29
305,581 88
265,052 36
41,000 00
313.200 87
18,778 64
633,480 00
1,052,700 00
102,613 00
51,462 96
$ cts.
146,020 00
197,353 00
413,217 00
268,050 00
203,163 00
148,000 00
280,558 76
254,177 08
1,065,842 29
305,581 88
265,052 36
41,000 00
313,200 87
18,778 64
75,000 00
1,440,000 00
51,462 96
218,550 00
1,600 00
67,126 28
8,782 11
5,850 00
14,648 14
3,525 10
|  5,528,427
09 138
Summary of Payments made  on  account of Work  done   up  to  31st  December,
1878, &c.—Canada Pacific Railway.—Continued.
Names of Contractors.
Brought forward	
2b    Purcell & Ryan	
26 James Isbester.	
27 Merchants' Lake and River Steamship Co..
Red River Transportation Co	
29 Cooper, Fairman & Co. .-	
30 iRobb & Oo	
31 IPatentBoltandNutCo	
32 Cooper, Fairman & Co......	
32a  LeMay & Blairlls.	
33 Kavanagh, Murphy & Upper	
34 North-West Transportation Co	
35 Cooper, Fairman & Co.............................
36 William Robinson ,	
37 Heney, Oharlebois & Flood	
38 Edmond Ingalls	
39 John Irving	
40 Gouin, Murphy & Upper ,
41 ;Purcell & Co _..,
42 Fraser, Manning & Co.. I
Amount paid.
Expenditure hot under Contract.
Explorations, engineering surveys and supervision of construction	
Miscellaneous payments, not under contract	
Total , $
$    cts.
5,528,427 09
1,247,800 00
35,431 00
89,060 00
8,532 90
16,160 00
6,800 69
13,737 50
17,730 45
54,100 00
41,100 00
23,880 00
35,016 08
1,400 00
3,456 85
9,660 00
7,132,292 56
3,860,987 36
645,586 63
$    cts.
1,400,000 00
35,431 00
89,060 00
69 1
17,730 45-
30,500 00
2,300,196 00
4,130,707 00-
11,538,866 55 139
Office of the Engineer-in-Chief,
Ottawa, 8th January, 1879.
Sir,—I havo the honor to present my annual report on the progress made in
surveying operations and construction to the 31st December, 1878.
A revision of portions of the location between English River and Keewatin was
made during the past summer with a view to a reduction of work, some parts of the
distance, owing to the nature of the country, being unusually heavy. The object of
the Survey has been in part accomplished, but it has been found impossible to avoid
all the obstacles met, and in consequence very heavy works of excavation will have
to be undertaken on the section extending easterly from Keewatin to Eagle River,
67 miles.
The operations in British Columbia during the past season were confined to a
revision of the location between Emory's Bar, five miles below Yale, and the head of
Kamloops Lake, by two parties!
The work on the portion from Emory's Bar to Spence's Bridge has resulted in
an improvement in alignment and gradients, and a considerable saving in cost effected
more especially in the large amount of protection and retaining walls shewn in the
estimate of last year.
The surveyR of the past year have established that the River Fraser can best be
crossed about six miles below Lytton; this crossing is a mile and a-half above
the point crossed by the previous survey, and considering the magnitude of the river
and the extremely turbulent character of the current for a long distance, the crossing
found is favorable. The bridge will consist of one main span of 300 feet with two-
side spans of 100 feet oach. All the piers will be founded on the rocky banks of the
From Spence's Bridge to Kamloops Lake a material improvement has been
made. The line, as previously located, involved a large amount of protection work.
This has been avoided by throwing the line back from the river. The grades and
alignment have also been improved and the distance reduced three-quarters of a
A location survey has been made along the north side of Kamloops Lake, with a
viow to a compai ison with the former location on the south side. This has resulted
in shortening the line on this section three and a-half miles, in reducing the curvature 800 degrees, and in materially lessening the cost of the work. The deflection
from the original line occurs at a point five miles below Savona's ferry and crosses
the Thompson River with two spans of 200 feet. 140
The telegraph between Fort William and Selkirk, Rod River, 410 miles, has
been so far completed as to"admit of it being used during a portion of the past year.
There iR now a continuous line between Lake Superior and a point in the longitude of Edmonton, a distance of 1,197 miles. At present, however, it is only being
•operated as far as Battleford, 967 miles. There is also a branch telegraph in operation between Selkirk and Winnipeg, a distance of 22 miles.   .
In British Columbia about 80 miles of the telegraph is reported completed, ready
for operating from Cache Creek, eastwards. The partial chopping and clearing of
the line extends 25 mile's further, being to a point 55 milos north of Kamloops.
Fort William to English River, 113 miles.
The grading and bridging is sufficiently completed between the above-named
points to admit of tracklaying. The rails have been laid to the 102nd mile. The
ballasting is reported completed to the 63th mile, and is partially done for some distance beyond.
Keewatin to Cross Lake, 36 miles.
The work on this section is being prosecuted with considerable energy. Fully
one-haif of the rock excavation and a large quantity of earthwork has been done.
The contractors have a large amount of plant and supplies on tho ground, and there
is every indication that the work will continue to be prosecuted vigorously.
Cross Lake to Selkirk, 76 miles.
The grading and bridging is completed on this section, with the exception of a
short distance at the eastern end, embracing heavy embankments. Steam shovels,
aided by locomotives and cars/are engaged upon this work, and it will be completed
in the course of a few weeks. The rails have been laid for 75 miles east of Selkirk,
and ballasting has been done in detached sections, equal in tho aggregate to about 14
miles of completed line.
Pembina Branch, 85 miles.
The section between Selkirk and St. Boniface, ,22 miles, has been completed, in-
eluding tracklaying and ballasting. From St. Boniface to Emerson the grading has
been completed and the rails laid, b^t temporary structures have been used for the
river crossings. These structures will be replaced by others of a more permanent
character ultimately.   The line will be ballasted during next summer.
Subsidized Innes.
The Canada Central Railway oxtension is subsidized from Pembroke "to such
point as may be selected by the Government as the terminus of the Canadian Pacific
Railway, at or near the crossing of the Nipissing road at the south-east corner of
Lake Nipissing." The subsidy is limited to $1,410,000. The distance from
Pembroke to the crossing of the Nipissing road, the point named in the Order in
Council, is estimated to be about 130 miles; 37 miles of this, commencing at Pembroke, have been located for construction ; a location survey of the remainder has
^et to be made. Of these thirty-seven miles, twenty-five miles are under construction, and a considerable portion of work done 141
Georgian Bay Branch, 50 miles.
A contract was entered into on the 2nd of August last for the grading, bridging,
track-laying and ballasting required in constructing the line proposed to extend from
a point on the western side of South River, near Nipissingan Post Office, to a
point on French River about five miles east of Cantin's Bay, the distance being about
fifty miles. The contractors have made some progress in erecting stores, and in
forwarding supplies to points along the line, but construction so far has been confined to clearing portions ofthe line.
Engine House at Selkirk.
A contract has been entered into for the erection of a ten-stalled engine-house on
the station grounds at Selkirk, but the building has not yet been commenced.
A schedule of contracts upon which expenditure has been made during
year ended 30th June, 18*8, is appended.
the fiscal
Tenders for New Sections.
The sections between English River and Keewatin (185 miles) and between
Yale and Lake Kamloops (125 miles) have for some time been advertised for construction. The necessary papers for the former section are now being issued to
intending contractors, and it is proposed to receive tenders before the end of January.
This link of 185 miles placed under contract, the whole distance from Fort William,
Lake Superior, to Selkirk in Manitoba, 410 miles, will be under construction. The
terms of the proposed contract will, it is believed, secure a vigorous prosecution of
the work, and the completion at the earliest day practicable of this important link in
the Pacific Railway. The reception of tenders for the work between Yale and Lake
Kamloops, in British Columbia, has been postponed.
Tenders for the Whole Line.
During the past summer advertisements were widely published in England and
this country, inviting proposals from capitalists and contractors for constructing and
operating the whole line from the Province of Ontario to the Pacific Coast, the distance being about 2,000 miles. All information was furnished on application, and
tenders were to have been sent in by the first of this month. No offers within the
required conditions have, however, been received.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
F. Braun, Esq.,
Secretary Public Works,
Engineer-in- Chief.
Since the above was in type, one proposal for the whole line was opened on 30th January, 1879
when the tenders for the Sections, between English River and Keewatin, were opened,
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