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The Chung Collection

Guide to the province of British Columbia, for 1877-8. Compiled from the latest and most authentic sources… [unknown] 1877

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   The University of British Columbia Library
1877.  PREFACE.
•In submitting the following Guide to the Province of
British Columbia for the year 1877-8, the publishers wish, to
state that they have spared no pains to make it as correct,
reliable, and complete as possible, by getting all information
from head sources, to the latest dates, including the various
Prize Essays on the Province, Government Reports, etc.
The extent of the country has debarred them from'person-
ally visiting and taking local directions and census in the
more distant sections of the Province; all information on
these and other important subjects has, however, been readily
furnished by the several Government Officers and private
individuals,—to all of whom they avail themselves of the
present opportunity of tendering their grateful acknowledgments.
Intending immigrants will do well to study the information
and various statistics to be found in the following pages.  CONTENTS.
Desceiptive BtTBODUCTION TO the Peovince        1
Administration of Justice     38
Agriculture, climate, etc  21 to 38
Agricultural products imported into B. C   149
Agricultural and Horticultural Society    . .  281
Aliens enabled to hold and sell lands, etc     40
Altitudes of different points above the sea   265
Attorney General's Office     78
Assay Officers       80
Baynes Sound Coal Mine 107, 107
Beasts of the chase     42
Birds     42
Boundaries of B, C, Rivers and Lakes 2 to 5
British Columbia Benevolent Society 279, 280
British Columbia Pioneer Society   278
British Columbia,—List of works published  describing
the Province       76
British Columbia Officials 78 to 87
Burrard Inlet Directory 356, 357
Canadian Pacific Railway, Officers, etc 254, 255
Synopsis of Engineer's Report 256 to 263
Cascade Region (East,) description of, etc 72, 73
Cemetery, Victoria, Board of Managers   281
Chilcotin Country, etc     71, 72
Climate and Climatic Divisions of B, C 5 to 9
Coal, description of mines, &c 48 to 51
Coal mining, etc     97 to 103
Coal fields, distribution of, etc 48 to 50
Coal, amount raised and sold     98
Consuls at Victoria   285
Copper and copper mining     52
County Court Judges     86
Churches     40
Customs Department (officers)     77
Collectors and Revisors of Voters     80
Courts of Appeal under Assessment Act     81
Coroners     81 Vl
Cariboo Directory 366 to 373
Comox and Baynes Sound Directory    346,347
Cowichan and Salt Spring Directory 332 to 336
Deaths and Marriages, report of    133
Dominion Savings Bank, officers, etc   128
Douglas Coal Mine   105
Dominion Officials       77
Distances, tables of, &c 161, 162
Education, members of the Board     128
Esquimalt Graving Dock 125, 126
Excise collected on spirits, etc, in 1876   131
Exports, produce of B. C   151
Executive Council     78
Esquimalt Town and District Directory 329 to 332
Farming lands oh Vancouver Island      57
Fish, species of, etc 12 to 20
Fisheries, etc 43 to 46
Foresters. Ancient Order of   276
French Benevolent Mutual Societv   280
Fruits, wild, of B. C       41
Fruits, cultivated, of B. C     61
Furs and skins     21
Game, wild     42
Gold Mining Laws of British Columbia 197 to 211
Gold, yield of, from 1858 to 1876     97
Gold mining,—Cariboo, Kootenay, Omineca, Cassiar.46 to 48
Government Printing Office '79
Gold Commissioners       81
Government Agents     82
Harbour Dues, ports of British Columbia   158
Harbours of British Columbia     41
Harewood Coal Mine   106
Hospitals in the Province   279
Homestead Act     39
Hope, Yale, and Lytton'     68
Imports into the Province, and exports   150
Indian Department, officers of    214
Indians, laws relating thereto 211 to 214
Indians of British Columbia, description, &c 214 to 221
Indian Trade Language (Chinook) 222 to 250
I.O.O.F.,—Grand Lodge of B. C   275
No. 1     275
New Westminster Lodge, No. 3   275
Nanaimo Black Diamond Lodge, No. 5     275
Vancouver Encampment, No. 1   275
-Grand Lodge of B.
Victoria Lodge.
Columbia Lodge, No. 2 CONTENTS.
Iron, description of, and where found, etc 109, 110
Iron, Stone, etc 50, 51
Inland Revenue Department (^officers)     77
Jewish Ladies' Benevolent Society   280
Justices of the Peace 82 to 85
Kamloops-Shuswap District 65, 66
Kootenay Country 63, 64
Kamloops Directory 360, 361
Kootenay Directory   366
Land Laws of British Columbia 170 to 197
Land Commissioners     87
Land Grants, Roads, etc 33, 38
Land Revenue from the 1st Jan. to 31st Dec. 1876   125
Labour, cost for farming     57
Latitudes and Longitudes of different points   263
Law Society of British Columbia   280
Light Houses, Buoys and Beacons 159, 160
Lillooet-Clinton District 69, 70
Logging, saw-milling and timber 52 to 56
Local self-government 38, 39
Legislative Assembly     79
Lands and Works Department     79
Lunatic Asylum (officers)     87
Lillooet District Directory 364, 365
Masonic,—Grand Lodge of B. C -  273
Royal Arch Chapter   273
Victoria Columbia Lodge   273
Victoria and Quadra Lodge   274
Ashler Lodge,  Nanaimo   274
Union Lodge, New Westminster 274
Cariboo Lodge, Barkerville 274
Mt. Hermon Lodge, Burrard Inlet   274
Meteorological Table  264
Mines,—Report of Minister, relating to Cassiar, Cariboo,
Omineca, Kootenay, Fraser River, etc 88 to 96
Militia, Officers of 265, 266
Money (coin) passing rates     41
Naturalization of Aliens  266
New Westminster and District 60, 61
New Westminster, special description of 61 to 63
Newcastle Coal Mine  105
Nicola Country 67, 68
Notaries  Public   85, 86
New Westminster, St. Andrew's Society  276
New Westminster Goal (officers)     87
New Westminster Directory 347 to 351 Vlll
New Westminster District Directory 351 to 356
Nanaimo Directory  336 to 346
Nicola Directory 362, 363
North-West Coast Directory 373, 374
Officials of the Dominion in British Columbia 77, 78
Officials of the Post Office Department   160
Officials of the Province 78 to 82
Officers New Westminster Goal     87
Officers Lunatic Asylum     87
Okanagan Country 64, 65
Osoyoos Lake Country 75
Okanagan Directory   363
Pilots I 158
Post Office Department, etc 160 to 164
Rates of Postage, etc 166 to 168
Money Order Branch 163, 164
Denomination of Stamps issued   168
Suggestions to the Public 162, 163
Post Offices in British Columbia   165
Length of routes 161, 162
Political Constitution of British Columbia.     36
Provincial self-government      39
Provincial Representatives in Dominion Parliament.... 87, 88
Public Buildings in Victoria       286, 287
Public Schools, etc     40
Public Works Department (officers)     78
Provincial Secretary's Department     79
Public Works Reports, 1875-6, extracts from 114 to 126
Pilots   158
Queen Charlotte Island     58
Quarterly  statements of the Banks of British Columbia
and British North America   130
Religious,—Church of England   267
Roman Chatholic Churches and Schools 268, 269.
Reformed Episcopal Church 269, 270
Church of Scotland.   270
Methodist Church of Canada  270 to 272
First Presbyterian Church   270
Baptist Church   273
Representatives in the Provincial Parliament     88
Registrars under the Marriage Ordinance Act,, 86
Returning Officers     86
Return of Revenues of British  Columbia for the years
1875, 1876, etc 131, 132
Revenue of B. C. for 1877   132
Regulations governing Public Schools  127 CONTENTS.
Rivers of British Columbia  2, 3
Resources of the Province 4, 5
Royal Hospital of Victoria     278
Registrar of Titles, &c     79
Registrars of Births, Deaths, and Marriages 80, 81
Registrars County Courts     86
Schools,—extract from Superintendent's report... .126to 128
Schools and Churches in B. C     40
Schools (private) in Victoria   286
Sheriffs of British Columbia     86
Silver and silver mining 51, 52
Silver, recent discoveries   '.  112
Similkameen Valley, 74, 75
Stone Quarry at Newcastle   113
Statement Dominion Revenues and Expenditures, B. C.    129
St. Andrew's and Caledonian Society   276
Supreme Court (officers)     79
Tariff of Dominion of Canada 134 to 148
Telegraphic,—list of officers, rates,  etc     169
Timber,  varieties of, etc   7 to 12
Teachers of Public Schools 127,128
Travelling, cost of from Victoria to different points.. 58 to 60
Timber, description and value 52 to 57
Treasury (officers)     78
Union, Terms of with the Dominion of Canada.. .. 250 to 254
Vancouver Island, farming lands     57
Vancouver Island, agricultural productions     25
Vancouver Island, description of, &c     56
Vancouver Coal Mine 103 to 105
Vessels entered and cleared   149
Victoria,—description of 281 to 284
Members City Council, etc   284
Census of 1876   275
Fire Department 285, 286
Chamber of Commerce   285
City Directory 287 to 327
District Directory 327to329
Victoria Goal, (officers)     87
Victoria District Directory 327 to 329
Water power for Mills in B. C..   53
Wellington Colliery 100 to 108
Yield of Cariboo gold mines    92 to 94
Yield of wheat, &c, on Mainland     61
Yale and Hope Directory • 358 to 359
Yale District Directory 359, 360 CONTENTS.
Agents, Accountants, etc: page.
Plummer Robert, Bastion street   400
Robinson W. C, Bastion street  . •  382
Syme James, Government street   396
Teague John, Government street '••*..  383
Trounce Thos., Kane street   397
Davies J. P., & Co., Wharf street   405
Thompson Geo., Fort street   389
Bank of British Columbia, Government street   382
Wells, Fargo & Co., Government street   395
Blacksmiths, etc:
McKenzie & Meston, Government street   397
Miller James, Government street   402
Booksellers, Stationers, and News Agents:
T. N. Hibben & Co., Government street   388
Book Bindery :
R. T. Williams, Government, street    399
Boot and Shoe Makers and Dealers:
Mansell Henry, Government street   404
Cowper H. M., Government street   395
Webster & Co., Government street   393
Goodacre & Dooley, Government street   376
Tye Chong Yuen, Cormorant street   389
Kong Tiong Sing, Cormorant street    381
Black George, Burrard Inlet.   406
Carpenters, etc:
Hayward & Jenkinson, Langley street   381
Muirhead & Mann, Rock Bay   377
John Hilbert, Nanaimo 401
R. B. Thompson, Government street   395
Halpenny Mrs., Yates street.   393
Jackson Dr. Wm., Government street.   390
Shotbolt Thos., Johnson street   392
Dry Goods Dealers, etc:
Brown & White, Government street   387
Dry Goods Dealers, etc:
Wilson Thos., & Co., Government street   387
Romano John Quagliotti, Johnson street   398
Furniture Dealers, etc:
Mansell & Holroyd, Yates street     397
Sehl J., Government street   376
Weiler John, Fort street 398
Fish Curers. etc:
Herring S. W., New Westminster   407
Deas J. S., Deas Island   408
Grocers, etc:
Mitchell George, Fort street   402
Rickman & Ofner,  Government street   404
Rueff J., & Co., Government street   404
Saunders Henry, Johnson street •..   394
Hie Lee, Cormorant street    385
Massa M., Government street   403
Short Henry, Fort street   409
Hardware Merchants, etc:
Fellows & Roscoe, Yates street   397
Matthews, Richards & Tye, Yates street   393
Hotels, Restaurants, Saloons, etc:
Astrico A., Store street 402
Ah Poi &f Wung Pow, Johnson street    389
Billings Mrs., Fort street   394
Hon Gee, Store street .392
McNiffe Wm., Trounce Alley   389
Trehart C. H., Government street   395
McLease R., Soda Creek   407
Insurance Companies:
Accident Insurance Co., Government street         890
Phoenix Insurance Co., Government street   392
Scottish Amicable Life Assurance Co., Gov't St  .. .  400
Livery Stable Keepers:
Bowman W. G., Yates street   393
Dunlop J. T., Broad street   394
Lumber Merchants:
Sayward W. P., Rock Bay—Mill, Saanich Arm.   . ..  383
Moody, Nelson & Co., Rock Bay—MiU, Burrardlnlet 406
Match Manufacturers:
Manson & Hendry, Fort street   390
Liquor Dealers,—Wholesale:
Davies J. P., & Co., Wharf street   403
Moore, Hunt & Co., San Francisco, Cal   396 Xll
Casamayou A., & Co., Yates street   390
Carr Richard, Wharf street   391
Findlay, Durham & Brodie, Wharf street   379
Neufelder & Co., Wharf street   383
Oppenheimer Bros., Fort street     392
RhodesH., & Co!, Store street   378
Sproat & Co., Wharf street   400
Stahlschmidt & Ward, Wharf street   380
Tai Yune & Co., Government street   385
Turner, Beeton & Tunstall, Wharf street   375
Welch, Rithet & Co., Wharf street   384
Harvey James, Nanaimo   401
Machinists, etc:
Spratt Joseph, Store street   386
Crowther John, Yates street 394
Sears Joseph, Government street   396
Plumbers, Gas Fitters, etc:
A. & W. Wilson, Fort street 410
Printers, Job:
Rose Alex., Fort street  409
Royal Mail Stage:
Porter John -   409
Saddlers and Harness Makers:
Norris Frederick,   Government street   391
Sewing Machines:
Fletcher Thomas, Fort street 409
Gilmore A., Government street  395
Sam Kee, Yates street   385
Son On Lung, Store street   385
Wau Ying Lun, Yates street   391
Tinsmiths and Stove Dealers:
Drummond J. S., Yates street   291
Heal David, Yates street.  403
Keays G. C, Yates street  383
Kelly S.  L., Yates street 398
Taylor Charles, Johnson street   398
Tobacconists and Cigar Manufacturers:
Campbell F., Government street  402
Wing Lee & Co., Johnson street   381
Schaffer & Co., Wharf street  404
The following remarks and information on the Province
have been compiled from various sources, many items being
taken from | The Government Prize Essay, 1872," by Alexander Caulfi eld Anderson, Esq., J. P., and "British Columbia, Information for Emigrants," by Gilbert Malcolm
Sproat, Esq., Agent-General for the Province in England,
July 1st, 1873. Authorities quoted are referred to thus,
(Anderson), (Sproat). Full returns of statistics, &c, will be
found under their proper heads.
British Columbia sprang into existence, as a Colony, only
in 1858, consequently on the gold-discoveries, the rumors of
which in that year suddenly attracted numbers to its shores.
Previously it had been traversed and partially occupied only
by the Fur-traders, first of the North-West, and afterwards of
the Hudson's Bay, Companies; by whom its various divisions
were distinguished by diffierent names, most of which are still
retained for local designation. The adjacent Island of Vancouver, separated from the mainland by a narrow channel, in
its narrowest part scarcely exceeding a few thousand yards,
had been partially colonized some years before; and it might
have been reasonably supposed that these two adjacent and
almost contiguous lands, with interests so closeiy united,
would have been incorporated under one Government. But
the wisdom of Downing street willed it otherwise. Established as separate Colonies, each enjoyed for some years the
honor of paying its own highly-salaried Governor, under the
Imperial auspices; with the dignity of enacting its own special
laws, not always in strict observance of the interests of its
neighbor. Of course this could not last; and in 1866 the
common-sense of the two Colonies, though reluctantly elicited,
brought about a union. Subsequently, on the 20th July,
1871, the united Colony became confederated as a Province
of the Dominion of Canada.
The limits of the Province may be thus broadly indicated.
Co-terminous on the South with the United States Territory of GUIDE TO BEITISH COLUMBIA.
Washington, the 49th Parallel of North Latitude forms the
boundary from the Gulf of Georgia to the summit of the
Rocky Mountains, which it intersects in Longitude 114° West
there touching on the Dominion territory of the North-West.
Thence along the summit of the Rocky Mountains to the parallel of Mount St. Elias, to about Latitude 62° Thence
Southward as far as 54° 40', along the strip of coast-line, ten
marine leagues in width, formerly occupied by Russia, recently purchased by the United States, and now forming part
of the Territory of Alaska. Thence Southward to the entrance
of the Strait of Fuca, including Queen Charlotte and Vancouver Island, and the vast archipelago connected therewith.
The three principal streams of British Columbia are, the
Columbia, the Fraser, and the Peace. The last-mentioned,
rising in the angle formed by the Peak Range with the Rocky
Mountains and the Coast Range, after receiving the important gold-bearing tributary, Findlay's Branch, breaks through
the main line of the Rocky Moutains, and, passing onwards,
joins the great River Mackenzie; the united flood, after a
course of some two thousand miles, eventually falling into
the Frozen Ocean.
The Columbia, rising in the Rocky Mountains, pursues a
Southerly course, and, after receiving several important tributaries, and feeding the two extensive sheets of water called
the Arrow Lakes, enters the United States Territory in Latitude 49°, and after a course of nearly a thousand miles, falls
into the Pacific in Latitude 46° 20'.
Fraser River, comparatively the smallest, but in its relation to the Province by far the most important, flows entirely
through British Columbia, entering the Gulf of Georgia a few
miles North of the Boundary Line of 49°, and in about 122°
40' West Longitude; its course throughout being nearly parallel with that of the Columbia. The main, or central branch,
takes its rise in the Rocky Mountains in Lat. 53° 45" N.,
Long. 118 W., there heading with the Riviere de Miette, a
tributary of the Athabasca, which afterwards unites with
Peace River in its course towards the Frozen Ocean. Fraser
River was first discovered by Sir Alexander Mackenzie of the
North-West Company, who designating it as the Ta-cout-che
Tesse, or River of the Tacully nation, descended it for some
distance on his way to the Western Coast in 1793. Afterwards, in 1808, it was navigated to its mouth by Mr. Simon
Fraser and Mr. John Stuart of the North-Went Company;
from the former of whom it has its present name. Fraser
River, a few miles from its source, flows into a lake some
miles in length called Cow-dung Lake, below which,   consid- GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
erably increased by a tributary from the north, it enters
Moose Lake, a beautiful sheet of water some nine miles in
length. Thence the river continues rapidly to Tete Jaune's
Cache, being joined midway by a second feeder, likewise from
the North.
Tete Jaune's Cache, distant about 70 miles from the summit of the Rocky Moutains and 730 from the sea, is the limit
of canoe navigation on the Fraser. About three miles lower
down, the stream is joined by the Cranberry Fork, a tributary flowing from the South, which heads in with the North
Branch of the Thompson, to be presently noticed, and the
Canoe Fork of the Columbia.
Between Tete Jaune's Cache and Thle-et-leh, where there
is a post of the Hudson's Bay Company called Fort George,
the river is augmented by many tributaries; two of which, the
Mackenzie Fork and Bear River, are of considerable magnitude. This point is in Lat. 53° 53', Long. 122° 45 . An important branch here falls in from the Westward, proceeding
from' the Lakes of Stuart and Fraser. Quesnell's River, issuing from the great lake of the same name, flows in 100 miles
lower down ; and 40 miles below this is Fort Alexandria,
seated on the right bank in Lat. 52° 33 40 \
It is in the mountainous region comprised within the great
bend which the Fraser makes between Tete Jaune's Cache
and this point, that the rich gold-deposits, known as the
Cariboo mines, are situated.
At Lytton, about 180 miles from the sea, the Fraser is joined by Thompson's River, a copious tributary flowing from the
Eastward. This stream waters an important and extensive
section of the country; its northern branch heading with the
Cranberry Fork, before mentioned.
Yale, a small town at the head of steamboat navigation on
the Lower Fraser, is 57 miles lower down; and New Westminster, the former capital of the mainland, some 95 miles
below it. This last-named town, pleasantly situated on the
northern bank of the river, some fifteen miles above the entrance, and in Lat. 49° 12 47 , Long. 122o 53\ is, practically
the he id of ship-navigation on the Fraser.
For brevity's sake the names of the various extensive feeders, falling in at intervals from Fort George downwards, are
omitted. Of these the Chil-coh, watering the fertile tract occupied by the Chileotins, and entering on the right about 60
miles below Alexandria, is one of the most conspicuous. The
Harrison, joining also from the right. • is another. This
stream flows by a short course from a picturesque and extensive lake; and was at one time the chief route of communica- 4 GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
tion with the upper country; its continuation again striking
the Fraser some 40 miles above Lytton, at the beautiful vil-
liage of Lillooet.
In order to a due apprehension of the geography of British
Columbia, it is necessary to indicate the ranges of mountains
which divide its several portions.
The more Southerly part is separated from the Columbia
watershed by the Cascade Range, so called from the rapids of
the Cascades upon the Lower Columbia; the point where that
river bursts through the chain. This range may be considered as a continuation of the Sierra Nevada of California, and
it vanishes at the junction of Thompson's River with the
The Coast Range, (i. e. the chain of Mountains lying between the interior of the Province and the sea-board,) commences above New Westminster, and extends, parallel with
the coast, as far as Mount St. Elias at the northern extremity.
The occupation of gold-mining exists still as the principal industry of British Columbia and as an unfailing attraction to population—4^ millions sterling having been exported
within ten years—but other industries have appeared and
promise well. The chief of these has been coal. Within ten
years 330,395 tons of coal have been shipped from Nanaimo.
Many articles of provincial produce, besides gold and coal,
—namely, lumber (sawn wood,,) furs, hides, wool, fish, cranberries, &c.—figure now in the list of exports. A small settlement of practical experienced men is found in nearly every
district that is suitable for farming. Such men know, in
some degree, what their own land will produce or support,
and they also have a general idea of the extent of similar land
near to them. Availing^ myself of the wider sources of information thus opened, I hope to be able to give a picture of the
province which is neither underdrawn nor overdrawn. Truth,
not exaggeration, is the basis of these pages. The information that will be laid before the reader, on each point will be
fully borne out by that best of tests—Experience.
Every reader, perhaps, may not be aware that there is a
strange contrast between the surface, soil, climate, &c., of the
countries on the Atlantic side of the continent, and the countries on the Pacific Ocean side of the continent. British
Columbia, (English,) Oregon, and California ('American) are
the three principal -countries on the Pacific side. These are
fine countries, but of course each has advantages and disadvantages.    I know all of them, and in mv opinion  British GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Columbia, upon the whole, has been most favored by nature,
and is the best of the three countries for securing a homestead in—for the following substantial reasons:—
Taking the whole year round, or taking a series of years,
the climate is better for farming, and more healthy and enjoyable. The wheat, barley and hops of British Columbia beat
those of California, and her root-crops beat those of Oregon.
British Columbia has more coal and better coal, finer harbors,
superior fish, sounder trees. It is reasonably believed, and
partly proved, that her mineral lands, containing precious
metals, are very extensive. The public domain (which is at
the disposal of the people of the province,) is sold more cheaply; the taxation is immensely less; the laws are better carried
out; the people have as much political freedom as men can
These are facts which ignorance only can lead any person
to gainsay, and I state them, at the outset, so that they may
be examined and appreciated.
The country is divided into two perfectly distinct parts—
Vancouver Island and the Mainland. These were constituted
colonies, the first in 1849, and the second in 1858: they were
then united in 1866, under the name of British Columbia,
and so continued until the 20th July, 1871, at which date the
colony became one of the Provinces of the flourishing Dominion of Canada.
With greater correctness, perhaps, it may be said that the
province is divided into three instead of into two distinct
The Rocky Mountains form the eastern boundary of^the
province. Speaking in a general sort of way, it may be said
that a long and massive uplift on the Mainland, called the
Cascade Range, runs parallel to the Rocky Range, and divides
the country between it and the Pacific Ocean into two divisions, namely, the 'East Cascade Region,' and the 'West
Cascade Region.'
The islands of Vancouver, Queen Charlotte, &c, might
be considered to make a third division, though, climatically,
they belong to the West Cascade Region.—Sproat.
This is perhaps the main point in choosing a place for a
home. British Columbia may be said to be the very land of
health; for man, beast and tree. Thisj|fact will have a
weighty influence on her future. The climate is variable but
healthful and agreeable.    Nights cool.    The altitude, irregu- 6
larity of surface, serene air and absence of marshy plains,
promises health to the settler. No malaria or ague. Over a
great portion of the Province the climate is that of England,
but without the biting east winds. Over another portion the
climate resembles that of France. The larger lakes do not
freeze over; nor do the large rivers ever close entirely up.
Severe winters seem to come about once every eight or ten
years, but what we call 'severe winters' are less severe than
the ordinary winters in Eastern Canada or the Northern States
of the Union. Elevated districts, of course, have the climate
that everywhere belongs to them, but even the roughest
mountain climate in British Columbia is healthful.
sea—say, west of Cascade Range generally, and
in Vancouver Island, seldom over 80° Fahrenheit in sihade on
the hottest day in summer, and rarely falling to 20° Fahrenheit in winter. Genial, though rather humid; humidity in-
creases as you go north. Summer beautiful, with some rainy
days; autumn, bright and fine; winter, frosty and rainy by
turns; the spring very wet. Snow falls to the depth of several inches, rarely to the depth of a foot—melts quickly.
When the atmosphere is clear, heavy dews fall at nights, and
fogs are common during October and November; summer
mists rare, partial, and transitory; no tornadoes, such as sweep
over Illinois and other Northern States of the Union, and
occasionally visit New England. Brilliant weather in winter,
sometimes for a month at a time. I include Vancouver Island
above as part of the 'West Cascade region,' because the climate is similar. Of course, were the matter gone into
exhaustively, the Island climate would present insular peculiarities.
Climate different from the climate west of Cascade Range.
Heat and cold greater; almost continuously hot in summer,
but not so as to destroy vegetation. Little rain; warm rains,
perhaps, April and May—again, but not always, in August and
September. Winter, changeable; November, frosty; December, January, and February cold and v. intery, but generally
clear and sunny; little ice; snow, say a foot deep on an average
of years—melts quickly, winds melt it and often leave ground
bare for weeks. March and April variable; plains then begin
to show grass. Hill-sides, in some places, show green grass
in March.    Irrigation generally required in this region.
The above description applies to an immense territory in
the southern portion of the 'East Cascade region.'    The des- GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
eription must be modified as regards certain districts,
proximation to the Rocky Range, or to the rugged C
and other mountains, has its natural effect; trees abound,
more rain falls, snow is deeper. On the upper parts of the
Fraser River, the winter is capricious; very severe cold for a
few days, then fluctuating near freezing point; another interval of intense cold, and then perhaps spring comes all at once.
In the south-eastern corner of the province, a re-modification
takes place. The affect of approximation to the Rocky
Range is there mitigated by the the influence of approximation to the border of the' Great American Desert which
stretches south to Mexico. About the headwaters of the
Columbia, the climate is delightful; extremes are rare: snow
generally goes as it falls. The scenery is very grand, and it
is therefore probable that, when made accessible, this region
will be the resort of thousands of invalids. Again, where depressions in the Rocky Range occur, towards which we may
suppose that the Pacific Ocean winds are drawn in their passage eastward, approximation to the Range does not injure
the climate. For instance, near Jasper House, and for some
distance in the Athabasca Valley snow never accumulates,
there is constant grass; warm rains sometimes fall in January.
The same may be said of other parts.—Sproat.
The mainland of British Columbia, apart from the seaboard, may be divided into three sections, each differing from
the other in its attributes. The first extends from the mouth of
Fraser River to the head of the rapids above Yale: the second, from that point to Alexandria: the third, thence to the
Rocky Mountains.
The characteristics of the lower district are a surface
thickly wooded in most parts with trees of enormous growth,
chiefly varities of the Fir and Pine, and intermixed with the
Red Cedar (Thvja Occidentatts of Douglas, Gigant.ea.oi Nut-
talj and the Maple-plane (Platanus AcerifoliaA) Low alluvial
points fringe these thickets. These, as well as the numerous
islets along the river, are covered with Aspens, Balsam, Poplars, and Alders, of luxuriant growth. In the lower part are
some extensive meadows, yielding, in their natural state,
heavy crops of a coarse but nutritious grass, and under cultivation, enormous returns of cereals and other produce.
For a certain period of the year mosquitoes are troublesome
along the river, as high, nearly, as Hope: but there has never
been manifested any symptom of fever and ague, or other
similar endemic, so often generated in positions of a like description. 8
On the verge of the second, or central division a marked
change commences. The copious rains which fall in the
lower district are greatly modified after we pass the mountainous ridge through which the river bursts near Yale.
Evidences of a drier climate appear at every step. The character of the vegetation changes. About Lytton the Cactus
begins to appear. In spots along the Thompson the Artemisia, and other shrubs indicative of a hot and dry climate,
are found; and in lieu of the thickly-wooded luxuriance of the
lower region, a succession of open valleys, covered with fine
pasture and bordered by grassy hills in parts more or less
wooded, delights the eye of the traveller. Here and there
belts of forest intervene; amid which broad expanses of open
land lie scattered at intervals. This general description may
be regarded as applying to a very large tract of country, extending from Alexandria on the Fraser, in Latitude 52° 33',
to the Southern Boundary Line on the Okinagan River; and
thence at intervals towards the south-eastern angle of the
Province. Near the point just mentioned, where the Boundary Line intersects the Okinagan River flowing into the
Columbia, the country begins to assume, in its general
features, a very sterile character. An arid sandy region,
almost tropical in its temperature, replaces the rich scenery
through which we have been passing. Crossing the frontier
into the United States Territory, as we descend the Okinagan
towards the Columbia, this character becomes more general.
The alluvial bottoms alone, where there is natural irrigation,
are susceptible of culture: the main feature of the prospect is
a torrid waste of sand, in which the Wormwood and other
varieties of the Artemisia, the Cactus, and other vegetation
proper to similar wastes of remote volcanic and diluvial
origin, alone find nutriment. We have entered, in short, upon
the North-western angle of the Great American Desert : and
hence, within the Nevada range, to beyond the frontiers of
Mexico, the vast 'Sage Barrens' lie extended before the traveller. Let us recede, however, from this uninviting field, and
confine our view within the more attractive limits of our own
favored Province.
The third division of British Columbia, from Alexandria
to the Mountains, varies materially from the other two. The
agricultural region, properly so called, may be said to terminate in the vicinity of Alexandria; though there are many
smalljspots^beyond that point which may be advantageously
cultivated for culinary vegetables and harder cereals. Generally speaking it is a wooded country, through which many
open spots of excellent soil are interspersed, with large tracts
of luxuriant pasture—especially in the direction of Fraser and
Stuart Lakes, and in the Chilcotin country. From Fort
George, however, up the main branch of the Fraser to Tete
Jaune's Cache, none of these open places appear: and though
many cultivable patches along the river banks might in parts
be readily cleared, it is probable that the occurence of summer night-frosts would prevent the growth of any save the
hardier vegetables. Fraser Lake, however, and the neighboring lake of Stuart, have been for many years the scene of
agricultural operations on a small scale, at the Posts, formerly
of the North-West, and since the coalition of 1821, of the
Hudson's Bay Company. At the former place, especially,
these limited operations were invariably successful. Potatoes,
turnips, and other vegetables throve wonderfully. Barley
yielded invariably a heavy return; and though wheat was
cultivated occasionally only, on a very small scale, and rather
experimentally than as a crop, it ripened well in favorable
positions. The pasture in, these vicinities is of the most
luxuriant description, consisting of fine natural grasses intermixed with a nutritious kind of wild pea, or vetch. Cattle
and horses of course thrive well; but the necessity of providing fodder against the lengthened winter of these elevated
parts, discourages their being raised beyond a limited extent.
This upper region- however, is to be considered more
especially as the mining district: and any partial cultivation
that may be attempted to meet an extended market in connection with the mines, must be regarded only as subsidiary
to the main supply, derived from a remoter source.
The forests of British Columbia are productive of an inexhaustible supply of timber of the most serviceable kind.
Confining the description to very narrow limits, the following
varities may be mentioned:—
The. Oak, which is not found on the mainland, grows abundantly-in the southern parts of Vancouver Island, and the
islands adjacent. It is of the variety Q. Garryana, and,
though nowise equal to the British Oak, affords a very tough
and serviceable timber.
The Douglas Pine or Fir (A. Bouglasii). The uses of this
tree, which grows to a gigantic size, are chiefly for the manufacture of deals and scantling for building purposes, and also,
locally, for ship-building. It is peculiarly well adapted for
masts and spars, from its size, straightness, and tenacity.
There is a large and constantly increasing exportation of this
timber, from British Columbia, and the adjacent shores of 10
Washington Territory, in the shape of sawn lumber and spars
to various ports in China and the Pacific, and in spars and masts
of the largest dimensions to Europe. The quality of the lumber
procured in British Columbia, at Burrard's Inlet, a little
north of the entrance of Fraser River, is esteemed of superior
quality, and commands, we believe, an extra price in San
The Weymouth Pine (P. Strobus)—the White Pine of commerce. This valuable tree is common on the mountain-slopes
between the Coast and the Lower Fraser. It is especially
abundant in the uppei* part of Harrison's River, where it attains to a large size and is of unsurpassable beauty.
The Balsam Pine, yielding the '' Canada Balsam" of the
druggist: a tree of vigorous growth and very ornamental, but
the timber of little value.
The Hemlock Fir (A. Canadensis). Common throughout
the Lower District and along the Coast. The bark valuable
for tanning; the wood valueless for outside purposes, but
used sometimes for indoor finishing as a substitute for better
The Spruce Fir. Found in most localities throughout the
Province, up to the limits of the Rocky Mountains. An easily
wrought and useful wood,    (A. Menziesii.)
Pinus Banksia
a variety of the common Scotch Fir, is
found in dry sandy woodlands throughout the interior of
British Columbia, and up to the summit of the Rocky Mountain
passes. A useful and durable wood. Found also on Vancouver
Island; but more rarely, and of smaller size.
The Red Cedar (TJiuja Occidentalis, or Gigantea). A most
useful tree, found throughout the Province, up to the heait
of the Rocky Mountains, but especially abundant on the Seaboard and in the Lower District, where it attains to an enormous size. The wood of this tree is especially valued for its
extreme durability; and for this reason is now in demand in
San Francisco for the purposes of the Southern Pacific Railroad, for ties. Of this wood the natives make their beautiful
canoes; the broad sheets of the bark they use frequently for
roofing; and its fibres are woven into blankets.
The Cypress, or Yellow Cedar (Cupressns Thyoides), confined to the maritime precincts. The wood, of close texture
and applicable to many useful purposes, is of very superior
quality. The tree is not, probably, found south oi 49°, and
extends along the Coast into Alaska. The inner bark of this
tree contains an essential oil, which communicates its odor,
somewhat as of garlic, to the wood, the effect of which is to
protect it,  it is  said, against the attacks of   the Teredo.
This quality of resistance, added to great durability, adapts
it specially for sub-marine purposes, for which, imported from
Alaska, it is now I believe highly valued in San Francisco.
The cortical fibres, bike those of the last-mentioned, are spun,
and woven into blankets, but of a finer texture.
A variety of Yew (T. brevifolia) is found along the Coast,
and on the Fraser as high as the head of the Yale Rapids.
It is used by the natives for the manufacture of bows and it
is applicable to various useful purposes, but does not attain
to. the size of the English Yew. The Alder, useful for turning and carving, is widely distributed, and in the Coast
vicinity attains to a great size. The Plane-maple (Platanus
Acerifolia) is abundant in the Lower District and Vancouver
Island, and of very vigorous growth. A useful and highly
ornament d tree, yielding in early Spring a copious supply of
sap, which, though less rich in saccharine matter than that of
the Canadian Sugar-maple, gives a product not inferior in
quality. The Balsam Poplar, or Cotton-wood, and the
Aspen, growing abundantly along the Lower Fraser, are very
generally distributed, nearly to the summit of the Rocky
Mountain passes. From the Balsam Poplar, which attains
to very considerable dimensions, excellent canoes are excavated by the Indians of the interior, which have this advantage over those constructed of Cedar, that they do not split
through exposure to the sun, and consequently do not demand
the same assiduous care. But these periguas are nowise
comparable in form to the beautiful canoes of the Coast,
formed of the more delicate material, and with a far higher
degree of art. The Birch, which is the chief hard-wood of
the interior, is comparatively rare in the Lower District and
on Vancouver Island; but throughout the Upper Fraser, up to
the verge of the Rocky Mountains, it is common, and attains
in parts to a very considerable size. The b irk of this tree
was formerly employed at the interior posts for making canoes
for transport; but boats were afterwards substituted. The
natives do not employ it, however, for that purpose, like those
of the Eastern Continent. They construct their light hunt-
. ing-canoes of single sheets stripped from the trunk of the
Weymouth Pine,  where procurable: elsewere of the Spruce.
Peculiar to a portion of the Central District is the Red Pine
(P. Ponderosa); a very beautiful tree, growing chiefly in
gravelly opens, and attaining a large size. The timber is.
good, close-grained, and durable; but as its name indicates,
comparatively heavy. It is found commonly as far north as
the upper ford of the Bonaparte; but its nearest approach to
the Coast Range,  westward, is the head of Anderson Lake. 12
A variety of the Larch (L. Occidentalis) is found at various
points along the eastern portion of the Southern Boundary of
the Province. It grows to a large size, chiefly in cold moist
bottoms; but though a -beautiful tree, its timber does not
share the character for durability ascribed to its Eastern congener. Some other varieties of Pine besides those that have
been mentioned are found in the mountainous parts: but none
of these being of marked utility it is needless to enumerate
Of edible fruits there are many kinds. Of these perhaps
the most important is the Service-berry (Amelanchier Mace-
mosa, or Canadensis ?); a white-flowering shrub yielding a
fruit of great utility. Abundantly produced, and easily
gathered, this fruit is dried in the sun, and forms an important addition to the winter store of the natives, as well as of
the European residents, by whom it is no less prized. This
berry is very widely distributed between this and Manitoba;
and along the Saskatchewan the dried fruit enters largely into
the composition of the finer kinds of Pemican. Besides the
Raspberry of several kinds, including one identical in flavor
and nowise inferior in quality to the cultivated varieties; the
wild Strawberry: and the Cranberry, all widely distributed,
and the last an article of considerable export from the Lower
Fraser to San Francisco, where the fruit is in great demand.
As may be surmised from the enormous coast-line, and the
great extent of the inland waters, the Fish of British Columbia enter largely into the consideration of her resources. Of
all the varieties frequenting the inland waters, however, the
Salmon is the most important; and, as it will require a longer
notice than the rest, we reserve it for the last. The varieties
of Trout, in the next place, demand attention; and for want
of more legitimate nomenclature,, they will in most cases be
distinguished by the native names, adopting those of the Ta-
cully of the Upper Fraser, to the writer the more familiar.
The Peet is a red-fleshed Trout, frequenting the larger
lakes, such as Stuart's and Fraser's. It grows to a great size,
frequently exceeding 20 lbs. in weight, and in some positions,
I have^been assured, weighing as much as forty, though I
have never myself seen any nearly so large. They are usually
caught with hooks, baited with a small fish, during the season
of open water. In early spring the natives catch them by
making holes in the ice and roofing them over with pine-
boughs so as to exclude the surface-light. In this way the
fish, attracted by a lure, is readily detected and speared.
The Sha-pai is another variety, equal in all respects to the
last: but differing in appearance, its skin being marked with
faint orange-colored spots, and the flesh having a yellowish
Peet-yaz, or Salmon-trout, resembling the ordinary trout
caught elsewhere. There are, however, several varieties, differing in size and quality, as well as appearance, according to
their habitat.
The Talo-yaz (i. e. Little Salmon), is a peculiar variety of
Trout, of excellent quality, confined to certain lakes of the
Upper District, and found, I think, in the Great Okinagan
Lake—a sheet of water abounding also in the larger species.
In addition to the hook and spear, weirs are employed to
capture the various descriptions of Trout as they enter the
rivers from the lakes to spawn- The gill-net, too, set in
favorable positions, is employed for the smaller varieties.
The artificial fly and the spoon-bait, which the angler bent
on sport would employ, were of course unknown to the native
fishermen, whose devices I have mentioned.
The White-fish (Coregonus Alba), by many esteemed the
Prince of fresh-water fish, found generally throughout the
northern continent, is common to most of the lakes in the
upper part of British Columbia. It varies very much in size,
and no less in quality, in different localities: a variation arising
doubtless from the nature of their food. Thus the fish produced in Fraser Lake, though no larger, are in quality far
superior to those of the neighbouring lake of Stuart; while
those of the small lake of Yoka, in the depression of the Coast
range between the latter lake and Babine, are superior to
both. Far excelling these, again, are the fish caught in a
small lake near Jasper's House, on the Athabasca, a little outside of the northern frontier of the Province. The White-fish
of British Columbia probably average from two to three
pounds only: elsewhere, in parts eastward of the Rocky.
Mountains, they are found much larger.
The Loche (Gcdlus Barbatula), called also the "Fresh-water
Cod," is found commonly in the lakes and rivers. The liver,
like that of. the true Cod, is the sole, or chief, depository of
its fat.    A fish on the whole of very little mark.
The Pike or Jack-fish, common on the East side of the
Rocky Mountains, is not found in the British Columbia
waters—and, I need not add, is not regretted.
There are immense numbers of Carp of several varieties.
These, when they enter the streams from the lakes to spawn,
commencing in April, are caught by the natives with-ingenious weirs, and sun-dried in vast quantities. GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
The Sturgeon of British Columbia (Acipenser transmontanus
of Richardson) differs widely in all respects from the common
Sturgeon of the Atlantic (A. Sturio). This noble fish is
common both to the Columbia and Fraser River; but does not
by the former stream penetrate to the British Columbia frontier—interrupted, apparently, by the Kettle Fall, at Colvile,
near to which point some have been known to reach. The
fish appears in Fraser River in early Spring, following the shoals
of a certain small fish, called by the natives Oola-han, as they
resort to the lower parts to spawn. The Western Sturgeon
attains an enormous size: in the* upper parts of the Fraser
River, about Stuart's and Fraser's Lakes, having been caught
weighing as much as seven or eight hundred pounds. These
fish do not, there is reason to believe, always return to the
sea; but, finding abundant food in the upper waters, continue
to dwell and propagate there, frequenting chiefly the neighbourhood of the two lakes mentioned, and probably other
localities. Unlike the Salmon, which constantly deteriorate
as they ascend, the Sturgeon conversely improve; and are invariably fatter when caught in the upper waters, than in the
vicinity of the sea. On the Lower Fraser these fish are caught
by the natives in a singular but very efficacious manner. A
canoe, manned by two persons, one of whom acts merely to
keep the light vessel in position, is suffered to drift along the
deepest channel. The fisherman, seated in the bow, is armed
with a jointed staff which may be lengthened at pleasure, and
to the end of which a barbed harpoon attached to a cord is
loosely affixed. With this he feels his way, keeping the point
of his weapon constantly within a short distance of the bottom.
The fish, slowly swimming upwards, is detected by the touch;
and, instantly struck, is afterwards readily secured. In the
Upper Fraser the bait is chiefly employed; but in the larger
eddies strong nets are found very effective. At the effluence
of Lakes Stuart and Fraser, near which the Hudson's Bay
Company's posts are situated, long stake-nets are set during
Spring and Bummer, by means of which a fish is occasionally
caught, the more highly prized for its comparative rarity: for
while the Sturgeon grows to larger dimensions in these
vicinities, it is very much rarer than in the lower parts of the
The Salmon entering Fraser River are of several varieties,
making their appearance successively at various periods from
early Spriug till the end of Summer. As a general rule it may
be asserted that the earlier shoals are the stronger and richer
fish. -For clearness sake I shall confine my remarks chiefly
to two principal varieties, called by the lower Indians Saw- GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
quai and Suck-kia, by the upper Indians Kase and Ta-lo; by
which latter name I shall distinguish them. The first, equal
in size and quality to the large Salmon of Europe, enter the
Fraser in May; the latter, a very much smaller and not so
rich a fish, arriving a month or so later. In the lower part of
the river the natives secure them in. large quantities by means
of drift-nets. Higher up scoop-nets are chiefly used, which
are wrought from stages suspended from the rocks bordering
on rapid currents; and above Alexandria the Tacully tribe
construct ingenious weirs for their capture. The Kase, entering the river as before noted in May, are caught at Alexandria
in the beginning of July; though a shoal, resorting to a small
tributary called the Nascoh passes upward at an earlier date.
The Tado, arriving at Alexandria later, never reach the
neighbourhood of Stuart's or Fraser's Lake before the first
week in August; preceded shortly by the Kase.
To those conversant with the habits of the European
Salmon it is superfluous to mention that each shoal as it
ascends strives perseveringly and with unerring instinct to
reach, for its spawning-ground, the spot where itself was generated. The course of the Kase, apart from the minor shoals
which may diverge to their native tributaries by the way, may
thus be indicated from the Forks of Thle-et-leh (Fort George),
upwards. A division of the grand shoal here takes place;
one detachment ascending the eastern, or Tete Jaune Branch,
the remainder ascending the western, or Stuart Branch, as
high as the point called the Forks of Chinlac, 60 miles above
Thle-et-leh. A further subdivision here takes place; one
portion continuing to ascend the Stuart Branch, nearly to
Stuart's Lake, which, however, they do not enter. The other
detachment ascends the Fraser Lake Branch, turning off short
of that lake, and continuing its course up the large tributary
there falling in, called the Neja-coh, on which its spawning
grounds are situated.
The.Ta-lo, its van-guard reaching Thle-et-leh in company
with the rear-guard of the Kase, do not enter the Tete-Jaune
Branch, but continue undeviatinglyup to the Forks of Chinlac
before mentioned, where a separation takes place. One detachment, continuing up the Stuart's Branch, passes through
Stuart's Lake on its way towards Lake Tat-la: the other following up the other branch does not, like the Kase enter the
Neja-coh, but passing on to Fraser Lake continues through it,
and pursues its route by the tributary stream towards the Lac
des Frangais, on the inner verge of the Coast Range, and opposite to the Southern heads of the Skeena.
This process,  actuated by an infallible instinct, goes on 16
undeviatingly from year to year: and though at times there
may occur, from inscrutable causes, a partial failure of the
supply, the periods vary but little, and the regularity of the
system is never interrupted.
A brief notice of several other varieties of the Salmon resorting to Fraser River, may be made, some of which, diverging up the Thompson's Branch and other tributaries, do not
ascend to the Upper Fraser: and I will now advert to a peculiarity in their fate, which, strange as it may appear, distinguishes the majority from all other known varieties of the
There seems to be no question that the shoals re-
to the smaller streams debouching upon the Coast
return, after performing their procreative functions, to the sea,
as elsewhere. Indeed, I am disposed to think that those
varieties which resort to the smaller tributaries of the Lower
Fraser and the Columbia, probably fulfil their course in like
manner. But as regards the main body, resorting to the
distant head-waters of those great rivers, it may be incontestably asserted that they never return to thesea. At first incredulous
of this asserted fact, subversive of all my preconceptions on
the subject, it was only after the observation of years, under
circumstances which seem to preclude the possibility of error,
that I was constrained to arrive at the same conclusion.
Without prelonging my notes by entering on the particulars
of these observations, I may confidently repeat the assertion that, the function of spawning over, the fish, still struggling upwards, die of exhaustion. Upon the main, or
Eastern, branch of the Fraser, which as I have said is frequented only by the large variety or Kase, the strongest of
those fish attain as high as Tete Jaune's Cache, between 700
and 800 miles from the sea: there their further progress is arrested by a steep fall. At the foot of this fall, and elsewhere
below, the stream swarms, in September, with dead and dying
fish. The once brilliant Salmon, no longer recognisable save
from its general form, may^ here be seen, the function of
spawning completed, almost torpid from exhaustion; its nose
in many instances worn to the bone, its tail and fins in tatters,
nay, its very flesh in a state of half-animated decay, either
helplessly floating in the eddies, or with momentary exertion
still struggling to ascend. In no case is the smallest disposition to descend perceptible: its course is still onwards, until,
dying at last, it floats with myriads of others to be cast upon
the beach, attracting to a hideous banquet a multitude of
Bears and other carnivorous beasts from the adjacent
mountains. In like manner perish the other shoals upon the
head-waters of the several streams to which they resort. GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Before quitting this branch of the subject, I may supply
some memoranda which will convey an idea of the produc-^
tiveness, in favorable years, of the salmon-fisheries on the
Fraser. At the Post of Fraser's Lake, in 1836, 36,000 dried
salmon were purchased and stored for use; and at other Posts
proportionate quantities were likewise secured out of the
superabundant provision made by the natives. The year in
question, it is true, was one of great abundance. At Fort
Langley (some fifteen miles above New Westminster), large
quantities were formerly salted every year by the Hudson's
Bay Company, as well for home consumption as for exportation. In some seasons between two and three thousand
barrels were thus provided; the fish procured by barter from
the natives. For some years past private fisheries have been
established, where large quantities are annually cured: and
recently an establishment for preserving the fish in cans for
exportation has been started, which promises to be very
successful. The chief markets are South America, the Sandwich Islands, and Australia.
We may here mention cursorily that, while the salmon,  of
some particular variety, is common, perhaps, to every stream
issuing along the Coast from the Coast-range of Mountains,
as well as the many tributaries of the Fraser, it is not found
upon the waters of British Columbia tributary to the Peace
River, or indeed to any of the streams flowing eastward from
the Rocky-Mountain boundary of the Province.    Thus Peace
River,   and  its  co-tributary to  the great   McKenzie,    the
Athabasca, as well as the Saskatchewan, are destitue of this
valuable fish.    With our knowledge of the habits of the genus
it would be a facile undertaking to introduce the fish artificially
into these rivers, by spawn talien from the western watershed:
but it is questionable whether the  extreme length of the two
first-named streams,   at least, in their course to the ocean,
might not prove an insurmountable obstacle to their successful propagation.    Nevertheless, it is possible that the attempt
may at some future day be made.
A very valuable fish entering Fraser River to spawn, in
the early Spring, is the Ihalev-hthys (or preferably Osmerus)
Richardsonii—locally known as the Oola-han. It appears in
immense shoals, and is caught either with the scoop-net, or,
like the Herring on the seaboard, with the rake. This simple
device is merely a long light pole, flattened in one direction
so as to pass readily through the water, and with the edge set
towards the lower extremity with a row of sharply-pointed
teeth. The fishermen, entering the shoal, passes the implement repeatedly through the water, with a rapid stroke, each 18
time transfixing several fish. Thus a copious supply is soon
secured. The Oola-han is, in the estimation of most people,
one of the most delicious products of the sea. Smaller than
the Herring, it is of a far more delicate flavor, and so rich
that, when dried, it is inflammable. This fish is not confined
to Fraser River, but frequents likewise the Nass, a large
stream issuing on the frontier between British Columbia and
Alaska; another stream debouching into Gardner's Canal; and
probably rivers along the coast. Those caught at the mouth
of the Nass are of a quality even richer than those of Fraser
River. The natives, who assemble there in great numbers in
Spring to prosecute the fishery, besides drying them in large
quantities, extract from the surplus a fine oil, which is highly
prized by them as a luxury, and forms a staple article of barter
with the interior tribes. This oil, of a whitish color, and
approaching to the consistence of thin lard, is regarded by
those of the Faculty who are acquainted with its properties,
as equally efficacious with the Cod-liver Oil so commonly prescribed : and it is said to have the great advantage of being
far more palatable. With the exception of a few scores of
casks salted annually for local sale, and a quantity prepared
like the Red-herring, this fish has not yet, I believe, been
systematically cured, or become an article of exportation.
There can be no question, however, that, when more widely
known and properly prepared, it will be the object of much
extraneous demand.
As already remarked, all the larger Streams along the Coast
abound with Salmon. The Skeena, before mentioned, discharging at Port Essington, and the Bilwhoola, flowing into
the North Bentinck Arm of Milbank Sound, may be specially
noted; though equalled, doubtless, by many others. The
minor streams swarm during the season with a small variety,
known locally to the northward as the Squag-gan; inferior in
richness to the larger fish, and therefore not so well adapted
for salting, but nevertheless of excellent quality. I may here
mention as a peculiar trait that the Salmon of this Coast—at
least those ascending the larger rivers, such as the Columbia,
the Fraser, and others—unlike their European congeners, do
not rise to the artificial fly. In the inlets around Vancouver
Island and elsewhere, while they remain in the sea, and at all
"seasons of the year, they are readily caught by trolling. The
natives employ generally a herring as the bait: but the spoonbait is found by amateurs to be equally efficacious. It will
be inferred that the fish occupy continuously the narrow
waters, adjacent probably to the entrance of the streams of
their nativity, until they finally re-enter the rivers to  spawn: GUEQE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
and, admitting the apparently unquestionable fact that some
varieties, at least never return to the sea, it follows as a consequence that the whole term of their existence, from the time
when the fry descend the rivers until their final return to
spawn, whatever the interval may be before they attain maturity, is passed in these retreats. The quality of the winter
fish, caught in these localities in their full perfection, is incomparably fine. The size varies, appoarently, in different
positions. In the Saanich Arm, for instance, a little to
the north of Victoria, the weight may vary from fifteen to
thirty pounds or more: but it was mentioned about a month
ago (in March) in the British Colonist newspaper, that a fish
caught with the bait in the outer harbour of Victoria had been
brought to market, the weight of which was fifty-five pounds.
Fish of this size are, however, comparatively rare. Repeated
examination leads me to the conclusion that the Herring is
here the favorite food of the Salmon. It is the most successful natural bait; and I have almost invariably found one,
and frequently several, of these fish, in the stomachs of ordinary-sized Salmon; but smelts, and occasionally prawns, are
also found. It may be added that, while the Salmon refuses the
fly or any other bait after entering the fresh water, the closest
examination of the intestines of the ascending fish does not,
as far as my experience goes, reveal upon what nutriment they
then subsist. A mucous substance alone is discernible; and
it must be inferred that minute infusoria, the nature of which
the microscope might probably detect, is at this period their
sole source of nourishment.
But we have dwelt sufficiently on this theme, and must
proceed to notice the other products in which these waters are
notably prolific, ^.nd first of the Herring. This valuable fish
resorts in prodigious numbers, at the spawning season in
early Spring, to the bays and inlets of the Gulf of Georgia,
and elsewhere generally along the Coast. The method by
which the natives capture them at this season, mentioned before while treating of the Oola-han, suggests an idea of their
scarcely conceivable numbers. In appearance they do not
perceptibly differ from the European variety, though rather
smaller. At the period in question the quality of these fish
is inferior: but when caught during their prime, with the net,
on the banks which they permanently frequent, they are, to
my conception, fully equal to their congeners of the Atlantic
sea-board. This remark applies at least to some of the localities bordering on the Gulf of Georgia; and I fancy is generally true.    The spawn, attached to sea-weed, or to branches 20
purposely sunk in the shallows for its reception, is gathered
in large quantities by the natives, and dried for food.
The Cod caught in the narrow waters are inferior to the
Atlantic fish. There are, however, certain outlying banks
upon which they are found abundantly, of. a quality, it is said
approaching, if not fully equal to, the last.
The Halibut attains upon this Coast a very high degree of
perfection. On the outer shore of Queen Charlotte's Island,
especially, it is found of a very large size; frequently exceeding 100 pounds in weight, and not unseldom, I am assured,
of twice that size. Caught with the hook, these fish are dried
in large quantities by the natives, especially of the more
northerly parts of the Coast.
To these may be added the Smelt, the Rock-cod, the Flounder, Whiting, and a host of others, with which, in season, the
markets of Victoria are constantly supplied—chiefly through
the industry of Italian fishermen, who appear here to enjoy a
prescriptive monopoly of the trade. Oysters are very abundant.
Those dredged near Victoria are of small size, but well-
flavored; northward, in the vicinity of Comox, a larger sample
is procured. Of Cockles, Mussels, and other shell-fish there
is a copious supply. Crabs and Prawns are not wanting; but
there are no Lobsters, save a small kind found in fresh-water
streamlets. Oil-producing fish, such as the Ground-shark
and the Dog-fish, are common to the whole Coast: the latter
so abundant as to give lucrative employment to many fishermen and afford a boundless resource prospectively to others.
Of the Phocidae, the Hair-seal is the most numerous, while the
Fur-seal, the Sea-lion, &c, are found, chiefly on the outer
The whale-fishery has of late attracted much attention, and
has been prosecuted with a certain degree of success; though,
from want of experience probably, less than one might have
been justified in expecting. On the outer Coast Whales of
the largest description are numerous; which, by the native
inhabitants, who combine in parties for the purpose, are
harpooned and captured by an ingenious process which it is
unnecessary here to describe. In the inland waters of the
archipelago a variety known as the Hump-back Whale is very
numerous. These yield from 30 to 50 barrels, or more, of
oil; and so far have been killed by the whaling-parties with
the harpoon-gun and'shell. Many wounded victims, however,
through some mismanagement of detail, or perhaps unavoidably under the system, have thus escaped. The system, however, from its assumed wastefulness, is, I am informed, declared illegal by the general laws of the Dominion: in which GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
case it will of course be interdicted, and give place to other
schemes, less liable to objection. On the whole the pursuit
of the Whale in these waters, vigorously prosecuted, with a
competent knowledge of the business, will doubtless prove
ere long a lucrative and extensive branch of the Provincial
The Beasts of the Chase found in British Columbia are
sufficiently varied, and in parts very numerous. Of the fur-
bearing kinds the following list comprises the chief exports of
the Hudson's Bay Company, and recently of private traders
who have engaged in the business:—
Bears, Brown, Black, and Grimly;
Foxes, Silver, Cross, and Red;
Lynxes, Grey, and Spotted;
Otters, Sea, and Land;
Wolves, Black, and Grey, of the large kind;
Wolves of the smaller kind, known as the Cayote;
Before entering on the subject of the Climate of British
Columbia, it is necessary to remind the reader of the following facts: namely, that the winter temperature of positions on
the northern Pacific Coast, as compared with others on the
Atlantic sea-board, is equivalent to at least ten degrees of
Latitude in favor of the former. Thus the isothermal line of
the mean annual temperature of 50° Fahrenheit, which leaves
the Atlantic in about Latitude 41°, and. curving into Ruperts-
land as high as the 50th parallel, is assumed to cross the
Rocky Mountains in about Latitude 49°, strikes the Pacific
near Milbank Sound, in about Latitude 52°. This is of course
an-approximation, only, as regards intermediate points; but
the extremes are marked too strongly to escape even the most
casual notice. We are not, however, to enter into a disquisition as to the possible causes of this disparity; it is enough
to know that it exists; and that, for instance, while the winter
temperature of Quebec is proverbially severe, the corresponding season at the mouth of the Columbia, in the same degree
of Latitude, is as mild as that of the South of England. GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Upon the southern portion of Vancouver Island the climate,
as a whole, may perhaps be compared with the last, saving
that there is a greater degree of summer heat, with less humidity. The maximum temperature in the shade near Victoria, in parts of July and August, ranges from 80° to 90° of
Fahrenheit; and has on several occasions been remarked by
the writer as high even as 96°, carefully no ted" on an excellent
thermometer, by Dollond, placed in the shade, out of the influence of reflected heat. The mercury in winter sometimes
descends as low as 10°—i. e. twenty-two degrees below the
freezing-point of Fahrenheit—in seasons of extreme severity;
but this very rarely, and for a very brief period. Hence,
though some winters may afford good skating around Victoria,
and this occasionally for several weeks together, more generally the ice will last only for a few days, or not become sufficiently strong to bear.
At New Westminster on the Mainland, as elsewhere on the
Lower Fraser, there is a greater degree of humidity throughout the year, and the temperature, if more equably warm in
summer, does not probably attain to the same extreme of heat.
In winter, on the other hand, the lowest extreme, as might
be inferred from its inland position, is comparatively more
In the Upper Country the climate is dry, and continuously
hot in summer; especially from the vicinity of Thompson's
River towards the southern frontier, east of the Cascade
Range. The same characteristics, however, apply in a somewhat less degree to the portion lying northward, towards
Alexandria. Approaching the Okinagan, on the southern
frontier, the summer, temperature is almost tropical in its
character. The winter cold, on the other hand, is comparatively sharp; but there is nothing approaching the continuous
severity experienced on the eastern slopes of the Rocky
Mountains. Little snowfalls on the general surface; and in
many parts it is almost entirely absent for any lengthened
In the Upper District, beyond Alexandria, notwithstanding
the elevation above the sea, the climate is warm in summer;
in the higher localities, subject to occasional night-frosts.
But as a general rule these do not affect the lower levels,
where modifying influences exist. In winter, a moderate degree of cold prevails; alternated occasionally with severe
intervals produced by winds from the northward and eastward mountains. Thus the thermometer will, during such
intervals, sink to 15° or 20° below zero of Fahrenheit, and
sometimes even to the freezing point of mercury.    But such GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
degree of cold is exceptional, and rarely lasts more than three
or four days at a time, when a geneial change ensues.
This, briefly, comprises the main features of the climate of
the Province in its several divisions. For such as may desire
to consult more accurate data, some meteorological tables
will be inserted in the Appendix; meanwhile, in connection
with the general subject, I subjoin brief extracts from the
published reports of Officers of the Royal Engineers.
Speaking of Fort Alexandria, Lieut. H. S. Palmer says:
" At 11 a. m. on the 16th August (1862) the temperature of
the. air in the shade being 70°^5 Fahrenheit, that of the Fraser
was 58° Fahrenheit; and at 10 a. m. on the 29th of September,
the temperatures of air and water were respectively 58° and
46° Fahrenheit."
With reference to points in the vicinity of Alexandria he
says: " The altitude of this district is frequently quoted as
rendering it unsuitable to agriculture, but the highly satisfactory results obtained at Williams Lake and Beaver Lake,
two of the most advanced farms in the Colony, where at an
elevation of 2,100 and 2,200 feet, varieties of giain and vegetables are yearly raised, in great perfection and abundance,
indicate the fertility of the soil, and the absence of influences
materially discouraging to agriculture. There are, in the
section of country under discussion, large tracts of unoccupied
land, where the soil rivals that of the farms above-mentioned, and where much of the ground is literally fit for the
Of tire portion lying between Alexandria and Thompson's
River, Captain Parsons writes: "Bridge-Creek flows into a
large stream which is said to be a tributary of Horse Fly
Creek. Troughton's boiling-point thermometer showed a
temperature at the level of the house of 206° 0 on the 29th
August, and of 206° 40 on 31st August, indicating altitudes
of about 3,119 and 3,054 feet respectively, or a mean of 3,086
feet above the level of the sea; nevertheless the temperature
of the air in the shade at 8 a. m. of the 29th was 57°, and of
the water of the Creek 54°. On the 31st, at 7 p. m. the air
was 60° 75, and on the 1st September, at 7 a. m., it was 48°
of Fahrenheit. * * * * Lake La Hache is about 2,488 feet
above the sea. The temperature of the air at 5 a, m. on the
30th August was 42° 5, and at 7.30 a. m. 54°, at which time
the temperature of the water in the lake was 64°. On the
same day the thermometer (not blackened) showed 80° at
noon in the sun. * * -* * From the foregoing description you
will see the great altitude of even the valleys between Lake
La Hache and the Pavillion, while the casual thermometer- 24
readings mentioned will serve to indicate the temperatures
during the month of August and the first half of September.
The whole period was excessively hot in the day time, with
a pleasant mildness at night. There was no frost except at
the head of the Great Chasm on the occasion mentioned, but
it seems reasonable to suppose that about a month later night-
frosts would be found to prevail. * * * * Heavy dews were
prevalent, but it seems probable, both from report and the
appearance of the water-courses, that very little rain falls in
this part of the country. During six weeks, from the commencement of August, there were only two days on which
rain fell, and then it was accompanied by heavy thunder and
In the settled portions of Vancouver Island all the common cereals are produced abundantly. Wheat yields ordinarily from 30 to 40 bushels per acre; Oats produce frequently
as high as 60 bushels. Indian Corn, though not largely cultivated, and perhaps not an economical crop for this locality,
ripens freely by the end of September. Potatoes, turnips,
carrots, and. all the usual varieties of culinary vegetables,
grow to a great size. The climate seems to be specially well
adapted for the growth of Hops. These are cultivated sufficiently to meet the local demand; the surplus, if any, being
exported to San Francisco, where their superior quality secures
for them a ready sale. The average yield is from 1,200 lbs. in
ordinary years, to 2,000 lbs. per acre in favorable seasons.
On the peninsula near Victoria, and I presume in other choice
localities, the Musk-melon and the Water-melon attain perfect
maturity in the open air, without artificial aid; the Tomato
and Capsicum yield copiously; the Peach ripens its fruit as a
standard, and the Grape (of the Isabella variety) produces
abundantly and comes to full maturity in a favorable exposure.
Orchard fruits, exclusive of the Peach which is not generally
planted, are cultivated abundantly throughout the settlements,
and with marked success.
On the Lower Fraser the climate is adapted generally for
the same productions, and most of those enumerated are cultivated there.
About Thompson's River the continuous summer heat is
specially favorable for the production of such fruits as the
Melon. Indian Corn would probably be profitable as a general crop. Wheat and other cereals, with all kinds of culinary vegetables, flourish. In parts, where* the nature of the
locality demands it, irrigation is resorted to with, as may be
supposed, the most successful results. Approaching the
Southern frontier,   upon the  Okinagan, the Grape,  were  it GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
desirable, might be largely cultivated, and I do not hesitate
to say, with success. I have already noticed the proximity of
this portion of the Province to the Great Desert, the intense
heats from which extend an influence far around.
At Alexandria, long before the general settlement of the
Province, Wheat was cultivated on a limited scale. From
1843 to 1848, between 400 and 500 bushels were raised annually at the Hudson's Bay Company's Post, and converted into
flour by means of a mill, with stones eighteen inches in diameter, wrought by horses. As much as forty bushels to the
acre, by careful measurement, and of the finest quality, were
raised on portions of the land cultivated during the interval
mentioned. Of late years large quantities are annually raised
m the same neighbourhood, as well as elsewhere m the Central District, and it is needless to add with the advantage of
very different appliances for its subsequent manufacture.
As before casu illy remarked, the country from Alexandria
upwards is to be regarded rather in the light of a hunting and
mining region than as adapted for agricultural settlement.
Nevertheless, as high as Fraser's Lake, Barley yields abund-
antly; and the Potatoe, with of course other culinary vege-
tables, comes to great perfection. There are large tracts of
the most nutritious pasture throughout.
Before quitting this important subject, however, I judge it
well to pursue it a little further than I had at first intended.
And first, preferring to quote, where possible, an independent authority, I avail myself of. the following excellent
remarks which I find published in the British Colonist newspaper, from the journal of Mr. James Richardson, conducting
the Geological Survey of the Province for the Dominion
"The vegetable soil which has been mentioned seems to be
of a very productive character, and whether in the forest, the
field, or the garden, appears, combined with the favorable
climate, to yield large returns. In the Comox district, about
140 miles from Victoria, as already stated, the soil is spread
over a very considerable area of prairie country, commonly
designated an opening, extending from the Coast up the different branches of the Courtenay River for seven or eight
miles. The surface of this district, which is naturally free
from timber, with the exception of single trees and stumps,
chiefly of Oaks (Qaercus Garryanna) and strips of Alder
(Alnus Oregona) in the bottoms, may be some twelve square
miles, the scenery of which is picturesque and parklike. Its
margin is very irregular in shape, and it is surrounded by a
growth of very heavy timber, among which are the Douglas 26
Pine (Abies Douglasii) often attaining ten feet in diameter
and 200 feet in height, half of which is free from branches,
and the Cedar (Thuja Gigantea), often equally large. The
open country in its natural state is mostly covered with a
growth of ferns, which sometimes attain a height of ten feet,
with stems three-quarters of an inch in diameter, and roots
descending to a depth of three feet. These roots the native
Indians prepare in some peculiar way for winter food, and
excavate deep trenches to obtain them. The farmers are
under the necessity of grubbing up the fern roots before the
ground is ready for use, and they are often voluntarily assisted
by their pigs in this operation; these animals, it is said,
relishing the fern root as food. I was informed by Mr. John
Robb and Mr. John McFarlan, two partnership settlers of
the district, that the average yield of land, after it is cleared
and thoroughly under cultivation, is, of Wheat, from 30 to
35 bushels per acre; Barley, 40 to 45 bushels; Oats, 50 to 60;
Pease, 40 to 45; Potatoes, 150 to 200; Turnips, 20 to 25 tons.
Some of the Turnips exhibited by Mr. Robb at the agricultural show aje said to have been remarkably heavy; but those
of the Sweedish and yellow varieties, seen by me, I consider
rather small. The season, however, was said to be an unusually dry one." The yield of timothy hay is said to be
about two tons per acre. Clover thrives well, and rye grass
is valued for its after crop.
'' The yield of butter per cow, after calf feeding, is about
150 lbs. annually, the ordinary selling price being 40 cents
-per pound. Cattle generally require to be home-fed from the
beginning of December to the middle of April. Snow seldom
lies long. Heavy falls sometimes occur; but generally disappear in a few days. Once or twice snow has remained on the
ground for two months. Apples, pears, plums, cherries,
white and red raspberries, red, white and black currants, and
most kinds of fruit, thrives remarkably well. Some apples,
of which I obtained samples, measured thirteen inches in
circumference and weighed nineteen ounces. They were
high-flavoured and well adapted for eating and cooking. Of
the pears many measured eleven inches in circumference, and
were high-flavored and juicy.
" At Gabriola, prairie land, or openings, such as those already described at Comox, occur. More of them are met
with on Salt Spring Island, but in neither place of the same
extent as at Comox. {Mr. Griffith, one of the settlers at
Salt Spring, informed me that the fall wheat thrives well
there, and yields from 35 to 40 bushels per acre. Of other
yield seems to be about the same as at Comox. In
grains the
mm guide to British Columbia.
Mr. Griffith's garden there was a large plot of common winter
cabbage, the solid heads of most of which measured from
three to four feet in circumference. Red cabbage and cauliflowers were equally large and sound. Carrots and parsnips
were large, as well as onions; and there was abundance of
tomatoes, and several varieties of gooseberries,- which did not
seem to thrive so well at Comox. Mr. Griffith informs me
that at Salt Spring the bushes give in quantity and quality
a crop equal with the best English. The crops of all the
varieties of currants and raspberries in quantity and quality
vied with those of Comox.
" Mr. Griffith's orchard occupies about two acres, and has
been set out only three or four years. I saw different varieties
of apple, pear, peach, plum, and cherry trees, and the proprietor informed me that all kinds bore fruit last year. I The
apples are excellent in quality, and the pears, though not
large, were equal in flavor and juicyness to any I have ever
" Mr. Griffith has about 300 barn-door fowls, which are
fed on the grain of the farm, and enable him to supply a great
abundance of eggs to the Victoria and Nanaimo markets,
where they sell from 25 to 40 cents per dozen.
"At Fulford Harbour, Mr. Theodore Frago shewed me a
pumkin which measured 32 inches in length, with a diameter
of 15 inches at the small end and 22 inches at the other; and
he informed me that the larger ones had been used before my
arrival. The settlements of North and South Saanich, as well
as of other districts near and around Victoria, show a good
deal of prairie land 'oak openings,' as they are called in that
part of the country, from the greater abundance of trees of
this species than elsewhere. In these oak openings many
beautiful farms are met with, the soil and aspect of them resembling those of Comox. In addition to the grain, fruit,
and vegetables enumerated elsewhere, the hop vine has been
introduced in North Saanich and in the neighbourhood of
Victoria. In the former place, Mr. Isaac Cloake and Mr.
Henry Wain, with some others, have, each a hop^ orchard, as
it is there termed, of several acres in extent. Mr Cloake,
who spent nine years amongst the hop fields of Kent, England,
informs me that his hops are quite equal, if not superior, to
the English, which, acording to him, was tantamount to saying that they were the best on the face of the earth; and Mr.
Wain, who likewise had practical experience, stated that in
regard, to aroma they were equal to the best he knew. They
are of the variety known as the grape hop.    It was introduced 28
from  California, and  is said to have greatly improved in
British Columbia.
" The yield of hops is here from 1,000 lbs. to 1,700 lbs. to
the acre, and it brings in the Victoria market from 22 to 60
cents per pound. When railway communication is established
the article may become one of trade between the two Provinces, for if I am rightly informed, the hops imported from
England are superior to any raised in Canada.
" Other settlements of a similar character to those described
are established between Saanich and Nanaimo, which I had
no opportunity of visiting. Near and around settlements
possessing farms such as mentioned, in many places rocky
hills rise up to heights of 1,000, 2,000 and even 3,000 feet and
more, the surface of which is in some parts craggy, but in
others they present patches with a thin soil, covered with
a firm short bunch-grass, on which sheep and cattle thrive
well; for such of them as I saw were in good condition.
The temperature is cooler in such places than in the lower
and more level country, and during the heats of summer they
afford excellent pasture, which will much assist the industry
of agriculturists. Along the coasts and in the interior of
Vancouver Island, as well as on those of the archipelago
surrounding it, many localities for farms, similar to those
which have been here described, will be discovered, and
hereafter become the homes of thousands of a hardy and industrious people."
With reference to the judicious remarks above quoted, I
may observe that the winter feeding of cattle referred to by
Mr. Richardson does not imply the n >cessity of continuous
stall-feeding, which of course with large herds, such as some
possess, would be an impossibility. The under-growth of the
adjacent forests affords, even during the severest season, copious and nutritious browsing. A supply of fodder at night,
with the shelter of commodious sheds, serves to maintain the
majority of the cattle in condition; while the milch-kine and
younger stock receive such additional care as they may require. By this winter-tendance a two-fold advantage, beyond
the mere welfare of the herds, is obtained: 'the straw and
other offal of the farm are converted into manure for the future
enrichment of the soil, and the cattle, knowing their homes,
continue in all respects more tractable. The fern alluded to
is characteristic of most of the open parts of Vancouver Island,
and a portion of the Lower Fraser. The highest point at
which it appears on the Mainland is at Spuzzum, a few miles
above Yale. The whole of the Central District is free from
it.    Though rather troublesome to eradicate entirely, it pre-
sents no serious impediment to the cultivation of the soil.
By mowing in early summer—affording, if stored, an excellent
litter for cattle—its subsequent vigour is immediately
checked. A deep ploughing and cross-ploughing with a
strong team prepares the soil for a first crop of pease or oats;
but it takes some years of cultivation before the last vestiges
disappear. Swedish turnips, I may add, are generally cultivated, and in most parts attain to an enormous size, though
as mentioned by Mr. Richardson, at times subject to partial
failure, either from the attacks of the fly, or long continued
The comparatively humid climate of the Lower Fraser, adapts
the vicinity specially for the successful culture of green crops.
With this advantage, operating on a soil of teeming fertility,
enormous products are obtained. The dairy-yield, promoted
by the copious and succulent natural herbage that
abounds, is very great. At the mouth of the Eraser is an extensive delta, of which the soil, many feet in depth of pure
alluvium, is productive in an extraordinary degree. For instance, a few years ago, the newspapers, took notice of a
cauliflower, raised in this locality and. brought over by one of
the residents of Victoria, the weight of which I am almost
afraid to repeat. It was given, if my memory be correct, at
twenty-eight pounds; and certainly, whatever its exact weight
may have been, excited in Victoria general attention as a
vegetable curiosity. Portions, only, on the borders of this
exuberant tract have hitherto been pre-empted; and before
the whole can be rendered available for occupation a system
of dyking must be resorted to, (surveys have since been
made—Ed .) to exclude the overflow of the summer freshets.
This process, I am informed, has already been entered upon,
on a small scale, by individual settlers: by a systematic prosecution of the work, whereby a wide expanse may at once be
redeemed, is obviously n cessary in an economic point of view.
In a speech at a public dinner recently given at New Westminster, I notice that the Premier of the Province alluded
specially to this important undertaking as haying engaged the
attention of the local Government. But there are obstacles
to its immediate prosecution. By reference to the terms of
Confederation in the Appendix it will be perceived that, in
connection with the undetermined line of the projected railway from Canada, it is provided that, for two years from the
date of union, (July 1871) "the Government of British Columbia shall not sell or alienate any further portions of the
Public Lands of British Columbia in any other way than
under right of pre-emption, requiring actual residence of the 30
pre-emptor on the land claimed by him." I am not prepared to state, even approximately, what amount of valuable land might thus be made available, as no actual surveys
have been made; but it may be safely set down at many
thousands of acres, bordering on navigation, and with prolific
salmon-fisheries immediately adjacent.
With regard to the agriculture of the Central District there
is perhaps little to add to what I have already stated. In
connection with the Upper District, however, I may make
some remarks, applicable to it in common with other elevated
portions of the vast territory over which the Dominion Federation now extends. I have mentioned, as a drawback, in
parts, the occurence of summer night-frosts, rendering precarious the cultivation of the less hardy cereals, and vegetables of the more tender growth. In qualification of this
remark I may now state, that by a choice of position this evil
may be greatly obviated. It will be found that in many
localities the low bottoms, too frequently selected for their
apparently superior fertility, are subject to these frosts,
while the slopes which border them are entirely exempt.
For this condition, without wishing to philosophize, a satisfactory reason may, I think, be given. The cold air, occasioned probably through rapid evaporation suddenly checked
at night-fall, with its suspended vapour, decends to the lowest
level, displacing the warmer and lighter superficial air below,
which in turn ascends the acclivity. I do not question that a
due regard to this natural law would, in many parts where
summer frosts are found to prevail, save the farmer from frequent disappointment. The fertile bottoms, meanwhile,
specially favorable for certain classes of vegetation, should
be reserved for these: such as the turnip and other crops that
are virtually frost-proof.
The capacities for pasturage of the Central District are very
extensive, and of a character unsurpassed, perhaps, in any
part of the world. While the valleys, as shown, are fertile
for the production of all the cereals and other produce in
ordinary cultivation, the hills which bound them, extending
on all sides in endless continuity, sparsely dotted "with wood
in parts, are covered with herbage of the most nutritious
description. Along Thompson's River, and throughout the
Southern portions, there is a species of grass, called by the
Voyageurs Foin Bond, by the EngHsh settlers Bunch-grass,
which is specially noted for its valuable qualities. The
whole tract is well watered—in the intervals between the hills
by frequent streamlets, in the level depressions by small
lakes; while the groves and  scattered trees afford a grateful GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
shade by day, at night a shelter. Under this conjunction of
favorable circumstances it is not surprising that the herds of
cattle, roaming at large in the natural pastures, attain a condition approaching to that of stall-fed stock. Winter feeding
is in most parts quite unneccessary; and it is found that the
cattle in early spring, if short of their summer condition, are
still in order for the butcher. The Similkameen beef* for example, when occasionally a herd is brought to Victoria,
excites the attention of epicures by its excellent quality, and
commands always the highest market-price. In such parts,
on the other hand, as it may be found expedient to give occasional assistance to the cattle during winter, when snow is
on the ground, an advantage is indirectly gained, the herds
become more domestic in their habits, and are gathered afterwards, when necessary, with less difficulty. Horses, however,
even during the severest winters, require no such aid. Unlike
horned cattle, they instinctively scrape through the snow for a
subsistence; and such is the nutritious quality of the herbage
that they winter well. In this way the large herd of horses,
some two hundred in number, formerly maintained by the
Hudson's Bay Company at Alexandria, were constantly kept
in that vicinity: and the band at Kamloops, on Thompson's
River, including brood-mares and young stock, probably from
five to six hundred, in like manner shifted for themselves at
all seasons.
There are probably now, grazing at large throughout the
Central District, under the circumstances I have mentioned, a
good many thousands of head of cattle, chiefly of superior
breeds. Of these a large proportion belong to permanent
settlers; the rest to graziers resorting thither from Washington
Territory and Oregon, as to a lucrative market, and for facile
feeding. The capacities of the country are, however, so extensive, that the herds at present scattered through it have
no appreciable effect upon its resources, beyond the comparatively limited area of their feeding-grounds. It might be
supposed that, free to wander as they are, the cattle might
gradually become wild and unmanageable, as formerly in
California, or as still in the Southern Pampas. I have heard,
however, no complaint on this score. By a simple expedient
indeed—resorted to formerly at the interior posts, as well as
by the Indians for their horses, and practised, I do not
doubt, by the modern settlers—the herds can be readily
attracted homeward during the summer season. While the
hills are free from flies at night, during the heat of the day
*Large herds are now (1877) regularly brought to the Victoria, New Westminster and Nanaimo markets from the above and other interior settlements. GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
the animals eagerly seek refuge from their attacks. The
smoke from a smouldering fire, maintained near the homestead, readily attracts them; and, once accustomed, they
afterwards habitually resort to it. This, however trival the
relation may appear, is by no means an unimportant consideration, for the ulterior effect produced: and thus even the
gad-fly, pest though it be, is not without its uses. On the
whole it may be safely affirmed that there exist throughout
the region great facilities for rearing cattle on an extended
scale, so far only very partially availed of.
Sheep thrive well in the interior, but, so far, no large flocks
exist, but are gradually increasing. The paucity of their
numbers, indeed, has prevented the establishment of a woollen factory which was projected about three years ago. The
abandonment of this project is to be regretted, as its prosecution would at once have given an impetus to a branch of
pastoral industry which, failing a convenient market for its
product, has so far been only partially attended to—and then
rather for the butcher than the weaver. There are, however,
extensive tracts which I can recall to mind which seem
specially adapted for the pasturing of very extensive flocks.
For their successful nurture, moreover, the dry nature of the
uplands, the quality of the pasture, and the character of the
climate, would, as it seems to me, be conducive in a peculiar
As regards salubrity of climate there i3 probably no part of
the world that enjoys greater advantages. We are aware of
no endemic disease that manifests itself in any part; and even
upon the Lower Fraser, which from its comparative humidity
might be supposed favorable to the generation of fevers of the
ague type, we know of no single case that has originated there.
On the contrary, where the seeds of these troublesome complaints have been imported from abroad, their effects have
been re-produced, if at all, with less virulence, and the sufferers, ■ we have been informed, have gradually recovered.
Of course, as in all other countries, occasional epidemics run
their course: but so far as the intrinsic healthiness of the
climate, throughout, is concerned, nothing is left to be desired. The waim dry climate of the inland summer, it may
be observed, is specially favorable in cases of pulmonary
disease: and in a more marked degree as we approach the
Southern frontier. Lower down on the Columbia River, beyond the limits of the Province, where the climate is analogous in character, we have known cases of the recovery of
consumptive patients, of the most signal nature.
To sum the qualifications of British Columbia as a field for GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
settlement, I may succinctly state, that, though it may never
become a large exporter of cereal products, like the Western
States of America or California, it possesses within itself all
the requisites for success: and the power to support, in connection with its varied industries and its external relations, a
population, at least of several millions, in ease, happiness,
and comparative affluence. I would fain avoid the imputation
of seeking, possibly, to draw a picture too highly coloured;
but I am free, nevertheless, to state my own personal convictions in all sincerity. I conceive of no country presenting
greater solid attractions. The varied climate and capabilities
of the several sections, whereby diversity of taste is accomodated; the general salubrity and proved fertility of the whole;
the magnificent commercial prospects that loom in the not
distant future; and, not least, the genuine home-feeling which
impresses every English settler whose lot has hitherto been
cast within the Province—all combine to recommend it as a
future home for those who, weary of the Old World, are
bent on seeking a wider scene for the expansion of their
energies, amid "fresh fields and pastures new."
From the account given in the preceding chapter it will be
inferred that both the soil and climate of a very large portion
of British Columbia are highly favorable to encourage settlement . We may now add that vast tracts of land, and especially
of the Central District, lie waiting for the plough. It is of
course impossible upon a mere cursory review of the subject
such as this professes to be, to state, even approximately,
what number of cultivable acres there may possibly be: but
we may safely assert that, in addition to the many farms
already scattered along the main lines of communication, there
is immediate room for many thousands more in various
directions, all more or less easily accessible.
It would, be utterly fallacious to attempt to give an estimate
of the number of available acres scattered over the broad
surface of the mainland of British Columbia. The country,
as before remarked, is capable of supporting its several millions at least. On Vancouver Island, an estimate made by
the Surveyor-General gives more than 300,000 acres, of good
land, known to be available for agriculture; but this estimate
refers only to the Districts bordering on the sea, on the
southern and eastern shore. Elsewhere, and in the interior
are doubtless valuable and extensive tracts yet to be
developed. Its exhaustless gold-fields are, however, the great
feature of Vancouver Island—pointing to it as the future GUIDE TO BEITISH COLUMBIA.
manufacturing emporium of the Pacific. Its agricultural
claims, though very substantial, must be regarded as secondary to those of the mainland.
The terms upon which the settlement of unoccupied and
unsurveyed lands is permitted, are very liberal. Every male
person of eighteen years of age or over, being a British subject, born or naturalized, may enjoy the right to pre-empt,
under certain stated conditions, a tract not exceeding three
hundred and twenty acres in extent, to the northward and
eastward of the Cascade Range of Mountains; and one
hundred and sixty acres in extent in other parts of the
Province. Personal occupation during a period of four years,
(intervals of absence when necessary being permitted), and
improvements to the value of two dollars and fifty cents per
acre, are necessary to complete the pre-emptive right. On
proof of this, the title is finally issued by the Government,
on the payment of such sum, not exceeding one dollar per acre,
as may be determined upon by the Governor for the time
being. This payment, if required, may be extended, in equal
instalments over a period of four years after the pre-emptive
right is established, and the necessary surveys made. Power,
at the same time, is reserved to the Governor in Council to
make such free, or partially free, grants of the unoccupied
and unappropriated Crown Lands of the Province, for the
encouragement of immigration, or other purposes of public
advantage, as may seem advisable.
For pastoral purposes very great facilities exist, beyond
the limits actually pre-empted. In every part of the Central
District extensive ranges of hilly or partially wooded land
rich in the finest pasture, are accessible. These may be regarded as common-land: but each bona fide pre-emptor is
permitted to lease, in the vicinity of his farm, a tract of unoccupied land for pastoral purposes, to which, during his
lease, he possesses the exclusive right. Eligible portions of
such leased lands, however, are open to pre-emption, meanwhile, by intending settlers; the les,see, of course, being entitled to claim a corresponding deduction from the trifling
amount of rent he may be required to pay.
The upset price of Surveyed Lands, for agricultural purposes, is fixed at one dollar per acre; subject to public sale in
lots, at certain intervals, to the highest bidder. All lands
remaining unsold after such public exposition, can be purchased by private contract from the Government at the upset
A market is constantly available; on the sea-board through
the local demand  incident on the  various industries of the GUIDE TO BBITISH COLUMBIA.
towns, with the fleet and the mercantile shipping; in the interior through the mines. The products of the farm command, consequently, always a rehtunerative price. j
Owing to the high rate of wages current for European
labour, Indian labourers are largely employed. These can
be obtained at a comparatively cheap rate, and for most purposes connected with agriculture and fishing they are very
efficient. Being cheerful, obedient, and generally industrious, the services of the young men are of much local value.
I have before noticed the principal routes of communication with the interior, and it seems needless to dwell with
minuteness on this point. A brief summary may, however,
be given. There is a regular steamer-service twice a week, or
oftener when necessary, between Victoria and New Westminster; the running time being about six hours. Thence large
stern-wheel steamers navigate the Fraser as high as Yale; the
ascent occupying a day or more, according to the condition of
the water. From Yale there is a weekly mail-service by
stages, up to Barkerville, in the heart of the Cariboo mining
region. Transport along this line of road is performed with
waggons drawn by mules or oxen; relieved when required, by
a steamer which runs from Soda Creek, twenty miles below
Alexandria to Quesnel, forty miles above that point; or some
twenty miles highei when necessary. The navigation is then
interrupted by a rapid, the ascent of which is not attempted.
Above this point there is a clear navigation for steamers for a
distance of sixty miles, to within twenty miles of Fort George,
where another rapid, impracticable for steamers, occur.
From this point upwards, both by the Stuart and Fraser
Lake Branch, and in the direction of Tete Jaune's Cache,
there are stretches very favorable for steam-navigation, but
the occasional breaks are a great drawback. Neverthless,
with the extension of the mining operations these will doubtless in time be made available, in parts, so as to meet the
increased demand for transport; and inducements for settlements thus arise in the upper portion of the Province which
do not at present exist.
The route of access to the mining region on the heads of the
Peace River, known generally as the Omineca Mines, has the
great advantage of shortness of land-travel, and consequently
of economy, to persons desiring to proceed thither from
Victoria. By this route the first stage is, by steamer to Port
Essington, about three days' voyage. Thence the Skeena
River is ascended by boat or canoe, as far as the Babine
Forks; after which the remainder of the distance to the
mining locality (estimated at from 180 to 200 miles) is per
ls* 36
formed partly on foot, and partly by water on. the intervening
lakes. As I have perhaps before remarked, both lines of approach to these mines have their advocates; and each has in
some respect an advantage. For the introduction of live
stock it is needless to say that the route from the interior is
the only one at present used.
The Government of British Columbia, as of the other Provinces provided for under the "British North America Act,
1867," is administered by a Lieutenant-Governor, appointed
by the Governor-General of Canada. The gentleman now
filling this important position is the Honorable Albert Norton
Richards, Q. C.
The responsible advisers of the Lieutenant-Governor are
three in number; occupying respectively the offices of Provincial Secretary and Attorney-General, Chief Commissioner
of Lands and Works, and the Minister of Finance. Provision
is made by the Constitution of the Province that the number
may, if found advisable, be increased to five.
The Legislature is composed of a single House, styled the
Legislative Assembly, and consisting of twenty-five members
returned by twelve Electoral Districts, as under; viz:—On
Vancouver Island: Victoria j City, 4; Victoria District, 2;
Esquimalt, 2; Cowichan 2; Nanaimo, 1; Comox, 1. On the
Mainland: New Westminster City, 1; New Westminster
District, 2; Yale District, 3; Lillooet, 2; Cariboo District 3;
Kootenay District, 2. The expenses of the members during
the session of the Legislature are paid by the Province; and
there is an allowance for travelling expenses to and fro.
The franchise, confined to British subjects, born or naturalized, is so liberal as to be almost equivalent to manhood
suffrage. The elections are for four years;the voting doue by
Foreign residents may acquire all the rights of Bri ish subjects, within the Province, through a very simple and inexpensive process of naturalization.
The Province returns six members to the House of Commons at Ottawa; and three Senators are appointed by the
Governor-General to the Upper House. The expenses of
these Representatives are defrayed by the Dominion.
The only direct general tax levied in the Province is for the
maintenance of roads, and is expended within the Districts
where levied. This tax is an annual poll-tax of two dollars
each on every male resident above eighteen years of age. In
addition the owners of land are charged, for the same purpose, GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
four cents per acre on their land, beyond the limit of 10 acres.
A well-devised law for establishing free Schools, unsectarian
in character? throughout the Province, is now in force. A
Superintendent of Education has been appointed under the
Act; and a Board of Education, consisting of six members,
holds its sittings in Victoria. Local details are superintended
by Trustees, elected in each School district. Among other
definitions of the duties of the Board of Education under the
recent Act, is the following, embodying a provision of great
prospective importance: "To establish a High School in any
district where they may find it expedient so to do, wherein
the classics, mathematics, and higher branches of education
shall be taught; and such school shall be subject to the same
obligations and regulations as other Public Schools gen-
erally."    (See list of schools.)
The vigilance of the Magistracy, and the salutary rigour of
the Judges, have repressed that tendency to violence and
crime which is assumed, however erroneously, to be inseparable from young communities such as this. In brief, the
laws are here as vigorously administered, and there is as
much security for life, limb, and property, as in the oldest
Provinces of the Dominion—and this, if my meaning be duly
apprehended, is saying not a little on the question of law and
There is constant telegraphic communication between
Europe and Victori i, by way of New York and San Francisco.
The line, which crosses the southern part of the Gulf of
Georgia to Victoria by a submerged cable, has a branch extending to the verge of the Cariboo region.
In 1869 an Ordinance was issued, the declared object of
which is ' 'to develop the resources of the Colony by affording
facilities for the effectual working of silver, lead, tin, copper,
coal, and other minerals, other than gold"—the last being
specially provided for in a seperate Ordinance. Under the
provisions of the Act in question, it is in the power of any
person, or association of persons, to seek for any of the
minerals enumerated, under special licence over a given space;
and, if successful in their object, to obtain a Crown grant of
the locality, under conditions named. It is under this Act
that Mr. Dunsmuir and some others, have established their
right to what has since become a very valuable property.
Confining ourselves to the consideration of coal, and without
going into minute particulars, the chief requisites may be
succinctly stated.
1. A "Prospecting Licence" is first obtained, on application in due form to the proper authorities, not exceeding two 38
years in duration; subject to extension if asked for, upon satisfactory grounds, at the Governor's discretion. This licence
is obtained upon cause shown, and the payment of a trifling
fee; and entitles the holder to exclusive mining rights of
search, meanwhile, within the limits described, other than
for gold.
2. A Prospecting Licence for coal alone, may include within the general limits therein defined, not exceeding five
hundred acres to each individual applicant, of previously unoccupied land; or two thousand five hundred acres to an
association or company consisting of no less than ten persons.
The licence carries with it the right to make roads, use timber, erect buildings, and other privileges necessary to preliminary explorations.
• 3. If successful in the quest, the final grant is obtained on
the following terms, viz.: For any quantity up to and including one thousand acres, at the price of five dollars per acre:
provided always that on proof, to the satisfaction of the
Government, that the sum of ten thousand dollars has been
beneficially expended on any land held under Prospecting
Licence for coal, a grant of one thousand acres of the land
held under such Prospecting Licence shall be issued to the
company holding it, without payment of the upset price of
such land. In other words they receive, virtually a bonus of
five thousand dollars, in consideration of the preliminary expenditure of the larger sum. Under certain necessary modifications, the same general rules apply to mining explorations in quest of the other minerals named. I do not, of
course, profess to go into details; but I may venture generally
on this assurance—that the most liberal interpretation of the
provisions of the Ordinance is always given by the Government, whether as regards individuals, or associations.—Anderson.
This has always been wholesome. There is very little
"rowdyism" in British Columbia. Life, limb, and property
are secured by just laws well carried out. The courts do not
ask whether accused parties are Indians or white men. The
San Francisco, California, Bulletin said, lately—"It is well
that our citizens should note that our neighbours in British
Columbia do not deal so leniently with those who take life as
we on this side of the border Hne."
The people of a locality with over 30 male residents may GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
be formed into a "municipality," andelectfrom among themselves Councillors and a Warden to manage all local affairs.
The old system of Government has been quite done away
with. There is now one Legislative Chamber only—elected
for four years by the voters—three, or not more than six of
its members from the "responsible advisers" or "ministry" of
the Lieutenant-Governor—hold office while they have the
confidence of a majority of the chamber—municipal councils
are steppingstones to Legislative Assembly—no social obstacles whatever in any man's way—nobody asks where a settler
comes from, nor whose son he is. Among measures passed
lately were the Qualification of Voters Bill, which invites
every bona fide resident British subject to take an active part
in the great work of self-government; the School Bill, which
places a free education within reach of every child in the land;
the Municipal Bill, which enables every settlement to manage
' its own local affairs, and thus educate the people in the art of
self-government; the Inheritance Bill, which divides equally
amonst the children or nearest of kin the property of persons
dying intestate; the Road Tolls Repeal Bill, which throws
open, free as the high seas to all comers, the main trunk road
of the Province.
The political constitution of the Province, as part of the
great Dominion of Canada, is impressed with the stability of
the British system of Government, combined with the freedom, elasticity, and progressive energy of Republican institutions.
Most important Act. If a settler have a wife and children,
this Act must be dear to him; the farm and buildings, when
registered, cannot be taken for debt incurred after the registration; it is free up to a value not greater than 2,500 dollars
(500Z. English); goods and chattels are also free up to 500
dollars (100?. English); cattle "farmed on shares" are also
protected by an Exemption Act.
The Land 4ct of 1874 makes most liberal provision for the
acquisition by settlers of land, either as Free Homesteads, or
by purchase.    Land can be secured against seizure.
Heads of families, widows, or single men of 18 years and
upwards, may obtain free grants of 320 acres eastward of the
Cascade range of mountains, or of 160 acres in other parts of
the Province. 40
Aliens may hold and transmit land as fully as British subjects—may be naturalised after three years' residence—alien
women are naturalised by marriage.
are in the hands of the people—free to all, without distinction
of race or creed—strictly non-sectarian—highest morality inculcated—no religious dogmafe or creeds taught—uniform
text books—Public School Fund voted every year by the Provincial Chamber—General Board of Education for the whole
Province—a Superintendent of Education, who visits and inspects—School Districts wherever population is sufficient—
the people choose every year from among themselves 3 School
Trustees to manage schools—Trustees get money from "Public School Fund," on application endorsed by Superintendent
of Education—Trustees may make by-laws (approved by
Superintendent) requiring children to attend school—Teachers
(3 grades) paid from 40 to 100 dollars (81. to 20Z. English) a
month—appointed or removed by Trustees—must have certificates of qualification from the Board—Board fixes salaries.
The settler will well know how to estimate the capabilities
of this school system. The St. John's (New Brunswick)
Telegraph newspaper says, '' Let us take care that the young
sister Province on the Pacific does not lead New Brunswick
in education."
There are very good church schools and private schools,
for both sexes, in several of the larger towns. An education
befitting the children of gentlemen can be obtained for both
boys and girls at Victoria and New Westminster on reasonable terms.
To meet the wants of some districts of the Province where
the population is at present too scattered to allow of sufficient
schools being provided for the education of the children
of settlers, the Government have established a system of
Public Boarding Schools under the managament and control
of Trustees.
No State Church—no tithes, but religious wants not
neglected—Sunday well kept—Roman Catholic, Episcopalian,
Presbyterian, Wesleyan, Congregational, and Hebrew communities have churches and clergymen in the larger towns—
churches built also in some small towns and country districts
—other places are visited by ministers. GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
The soverign current at 4 dollars 85 cents
British money is not much used in British Columbia.
Business is done, and accounts kept, in dollars and cents, and
the coins principally used are United States coins, as follows:
20 dollar piece
dollar piece.
Dime (called a "bit").
The United States coins are more uniform in value in
British Columbia than British coins, as the United States
have a mint in California (which is close to the Province).
On Vancouver Island: Victoria, Esquimalt, Nanaimo, Barclay Sound. On the mainland: Burrard Inlet, Howe Sound,
Bute Inlet, Millbank Sound, River Skena, River Nasse.
These harbours, being open all the year round, and, generally
speaking, easy of access, sheltered and capacious, give a distinctive value to the Province, which the course of events on
the North American continent will every year make more
There are hosts of these everywhere, and they attain a size
and flavour such as cultivation only can impart in England.
The cranberry is an article of trade.
The cranberries grow in swampy places—plentiful near
New Westminster and Nanaimo. Picked in the proper
season (towards the end of September) cranberries will keep
well for more than a year, by being simply put into a watertight cask filled with water.
A correspondent at Nanaimo writes recently, " I think this
year one of the most prolific for wild fruit, every bush and
tree is literally weighed down; tons upon tons of all kinds
must rot on the bush—truly our land does flow with milk and
honey." 42
Various, and in parts very numerous—not dangerous, except the grizzly bear.
The principal ones for food are the black-tailed deer—
capital venison, sold by the joint 6 to 10 cents (3d. to 5c?. English) per lb.—very numerous everywhere, but not north of
Fort George—come upon low lands, or near the coast in
winter. Also the Large North-Western Stag, called "Elk"
—very numerous in interior of Vancouver and on the coast
of the mainland, up to about 52°, for about 200 miles inland
—very good food—as big as a small horse.
The Reindeer—(Cariboo)—mountainous regions, north of
51° on the coast or 49° inland—plenty in Chilcotin—is also
fine food.
Hares abound periodically on mainland east of Cascade
Range—found on the Bonaparte.
Grouse, of various kinds, are found almost everywhere on
the island and mainland—in the thick fern near a tiny stream
perched on crab-apple or young fir-trees, or drumming on a
pine top. Ordinary price of a grouse is 12J cents (Qd.
English}. Packs of prairie chickens in all the open valleys
of the East Cascade region. Quails have been introduced,
and are becoming numerous. Ptarmigan, on the high
mountains—a stray cock of the plains (sage hen) occasionally
about Osoyoos. Numerous wild geese—price 25 to 50 cents
(Is. to 2s. English) each. Wild ducks, 25 to 37J cents (Is.
to Is. 6c?. English) a brace. Snipe and pigeons plentiful.
The mouth of Fraser River a great resort of wild fowl.
Capital sport.
Plumage birds very beautiful—song birds not remarkable.
Several harmless varieties of snakes. A few rattlesnakes
in southern portion of East Cascade region. A rattlesnake is
not bad food, but there is no occasion to eat it.
Sea fish, and lake and river fish, most abundant—one of the
chief resources of the Province for consumption and exportation.
Salmon, very numerous at various periods, from early
spring to end of summer.. All the larger streams along the
coast abound with salmon; they also go 700 miles up the
Fraser. At the regular shops, salmon and other fine fish are sold
at 6 to 8 cents (3c?. to 4c?. English) per lb.; but the Indians
frequently sell salmon at 12£ to 25 cents (6c?. to Is. English) GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.
for a good-sized fish.    Salted salmon are sold at about 7 dollars (28s. English; for a barrel of 200 lbs.
Sturgeon, halibut, cod, herrings, oysters and crabs, are
plentiful in the sea-board districts, and are sold at prices that
would be considered absurdly cheap in England. Good fish
abound in the numerous lakes and rivers of the interior.
In speaking of the fisheries of British Columbia, one may
almost be said to be speaking of something which has no existence. With the exception of a few factories for putting up
salmon in tins on the Fraser River, (now, 1877, quite extensive fishing stations for canning are in operation both on the
Skeena and Fraser Rivers.—Ed.) and one or two whaling
enterprises ot a few years' standing, no attempt whatever has
been made to develop the actually marvellous resources of
this Province in the way of fish. I will, therefore, proceed to
give a list of the fish that are to be found in quantities that
would warrant the establishment of fisheries, adding a
brief description of the habits, locality, and commercial
utility of each class of fish.
Description of fish found in British Columbia and Vancouver Island:—Whale, sturgeon, salmon, oolachan or
houlican, cod, herring, halibut, sardine, anchovy, oysters,
haddock, and dog-fish.
There is no law governing fisheries in British Columbia.
Fishing is carried on throughout the year without any restrictions. This state of things is well suited to a new and thinly
populated country. The restrictions of a close season would,
be very injurious to the Province at present, and for many
years to come.
Whale.—On this subject the Hon. H. L. Langevin, C. B.,
" I saw one of the whalers, the 'Byzantium,' in Deep Bay.
She was an English brig, commanded by Captain Calhoun,
and on board of her was Captain Roys, the inventor of an
explosive ball, which is used in the whale fishery, and which,
on penetrating the marine monster, explodes, and throws out
a harpoon. The first whale against which this projectile was
used was killed in 1868. In 1869 and 1870, the company
made use of a small steam-vessel; and their success last year
induced them to devote to the trade a brig of 179 tons,
manned with twenty hands.
'' I was assured that, if that expedition proved a success,
there is room in our Pacific waters for at least fifty undertakings of a similar character.     I observe that, since my re- 44
turn, the whaling schooner 'Industry' has arrived at Victoria
with 300 barrels, or about 10,000 gallons of oil, after an
absence of ordy five weeks. One of the whale killed during
the expedition-was sixty feet long, and would certainly yield,
nearly seventy barrels of oil.
The Sturgeon abounds in the rivers and estuaries of British
Columbia. It attains a gigantic size; over 500 lbs. in weight.
The flesh is excellent, both fresh and smoked. No attempt,
that I am aware of, has ever been made to put the fish up for
market. Its commercial value is derived from the isinglass and
caviare which can be made from it. I am not aware of there
having been any attempt made to manufacture isinglass in the
Province. Caviare of excellent quality has been produced.
At present I should be inclined to believe that there is no
person in the Province capable of making isinglass, which is
therefore, a resource entirely undeveloped as yet.
Salmon.—The salmon in the waters of British Columbia are
excellent in quality, varied in species and most abundant.
In the rivers, which they penetrate up to their head waters,
they are caught by a drag-net in the deep waters, and by a
bag-net in the rapids. In the sea they are generally caught
with hook and line; a canoe at certain seasons can be filled in
a day by the latter method. The Fraser River salmon is
justly famous. They begin to enter the river in March, and
different kinds continue to arrive until October, the successors
mixing for a time with the last of their forerunners. There is
a greater degree of certainty in the periodical arrivals of each
kind in this river than at the coasts and islands. The salmon
is used fresh, salted, pickled, smoked, and kippered, and for
export is put up salted in barrels, and fresh in one or two-
pound tins; the latter process has only been commenced
during the past three years. The article produced is of a
most excellent description, and will doubtless prove a source
of considerable export trade when it becomes known in suitable markets. There would appear to be no limit to the
catch of salmon, but the question of market must always be
Oolachans or Houlicans.—This small fish, about the size
of a sprat, appears in the rivers of British Columbia and
about certain estuaries on the coast, towards the end of
April. Their run lasts about three weeks, 'during which time
they may be captured in myriads Eaten fresh, they are
most delicious, and they are also excellent when salted or
smoked. This^fish produces oil abundantly, which is of a
pure and excellent quality, and which, some think, will even-
The fish are caught with a
tually supercede cod liver oil. GUIDE TO BRITISH COLUMBIA-.
pole about ten feet in length, along which are arranged, for
five feet at the end, nails like the teeth of a comb, only about
one and a-half inches apart. The comb is thrust smartly into
the water, brought up with a backward sweep of the hands,
and is rarely found without three or four fish impaled on the
nails. I have seen a canoe filled with them in two hours by
a couple of hands.
Cod.—Several kinds of cod are found in the waters of British Columbia, which are excellent, both fresh and cured. It
has been often asserted, I cannot say with what truth, that
the true cod is found on the British Columbian coast. That,
however, remains to be proved. The true cod is found in the
waters near Behring's Straits.
Herring.—This fish also abounds during the winter months
and is of good sound quality. It comes into the harbours
about March. It is largely used in the Province, both fresh
and smoked, but nothing has been done in the way of export.
Halibut.—There are many halibut banks in the waters of
this Province. The fish attain an enormous size, and are
caught by deep sea lines. They are only used in the Province at present. They are of first rate quality, and an excellent article of food.
Sardines.—These are found among the herrings. I cannot
state if they are precisely the fish known to commerce under
that designation, or in what quantity they exist; but they are
firm in flesh and excellent in fla'vour.
Anchovy.—This fish is only second to the oolachan or hou-
lican, in its abundance. During the autumn it abounds in
the harbours and inlets, and may be taken with great ease in
any quantity.    Eaten fresh, they have rather a bitter flavour.
Haddock.—This fish, called in the country "mackerel," to
which, however, it has no resemblance, is a great favourite,
both fresh and cured. It is caught in the winter months, and
when smoked forms a luxurious addition to the breakfast
table. A very large trade will be done some day in exporting this fish to the southern ports of America, where fish is
highly valued in a smoked or cured state.
Dog Fish.—This species of fish can be taken with great
facility with a- line and hook in almost any of the numerous
bays and inlets of this Province. The oil extracted from
them is obtained in abundance, and is commercially of much
value. It is produced in moderately large quantities by the
Indians, and exported.
Oysters are found in all parts of the Province. Though
small in their native beds, they are finely flavoured and of
good quality.    When,  in course of time, regular beds are 46
formed, and their proper culture is commenced, a large
export will, no doubt, take place both in a fresh and canned
state. There is a large consumption of oysters in cans on the
Pacific coast.
The mining camps of British Columbia are as orderly as
English villages. Gold claims are taken up everywhere.
(See Mining Act.—Ed.)
When a creek has "prospected" well for gold, it is usual
for miners to form themselves into companies of from four to
eight, or upwards, to take up their claims in proximity to one
another, and to work the whole ground thus claimed for the
benefit of the company. If rich "pay-dirt" be struck, and
the mine be in a sufficiently advanced state, companies,
anxious to obtain the greatest possible quantity of gold in the
shortest possible space of time, will frequently employ additional working-hands, and work during the whole 24 hours.
The reader will remember that the mining season does not
last the whole year.
The gold bearing districts extend over several thousand
miles of country. Indications of gold are also found generally in Vancouver and Queen Charlotte Islands; but very
good paying diggings have not yet been found there.
Within twelve years nearly five millions sterling worth of
gold have been exported, and unless common and scientific
opinion is entirely wrong, the gold fields of the Province have
hardly yet been touched. (See extracts from Reports,
1876-7.—Ed.) In various spots, discovered by chance, gold
miners have collected. These spots, generally, have been so
remote, that the necessaries of life have been very dear; and
in consequence, diggings that yielded three to five dollars
(12s. to 20s. English) per day, have not been considered
The conditions of gold mining, however, have changed of
late years in several important respects. The steady improvement of communications and the growth of farming settlements in the interior, have reduced the price of necessaries at
the diggings. The miners themselves have long ago given up
fancy mining, and come down to economy and hard work. It
would be too much to say that the shallow diggings in British
Columbia are worked out, as those of California and Australia have long been, but it is true that in several important
gold fields the more easily worked places have been
This is a very different thing from the exhaustion of the
It is simply saying that in those particular places
gold fields
in British Columbia,  a stage has been reached which was
reached long ago in California and Australia
The deep channels and beds of streams must now be examined, and are being examined. The era of real " gold digging " is about to follow the era of mere "gold lifting." A
different kind of mining is being adopted—deep mining, with
more machinery, and consequently larger expense.
The last Cariboo season was not so good for the mass of
miners as many previous ones; but most vigorous " prospecting " of deep channels is being carried on in the various
creeks, and sufficient success has been met with to justify the
confidence in Cariboo which is generally felt. Cariboo will
for many years be among the best paying diggings on the
Pacific coast.
The miners in the south-eastern angle of the Province, on
the Kootenay and Columbia rivers, are making good wages,
and are pleased with their prospects. The hydraulic claims
there will last for years yet. The miners show great
activity in examining the undoubtedly gold bearing country
in their immediate neighbourhood, and also at the head,
waters of the Kootenay and Columbia. The prospecting
parties out in 1874, aided by the Government appropriation,
have done well. Good " prospects" were got on Quartz
Creek which opens into the Columbia River, 200 miles N.
W. of Wild Horse Creek; also on the Slocan River, and
above the mouth of the Kootenay River. Samples of gold
and silver quartz were brought in. The
this part of the Province is longer than in Cariboo.
Omineca, in the far north of the Province, has not yet
proved to be a high paying gold field. The gold is scattered.
The country is vast, and not much prospected. Omineca is
kept back at present by the high cost of labour arid supplies,
like many other gold yielding places in British Columbia.
The above are gold fields which were expected to be, or are,
high paying diggings. The immigrant will understand, however, that gold is found almost everywhere, and that numbers
of Chinese and Indians are mining in all parts of the Province, and are making from one to five dollars (4s. to 20s.
English) per day.
At this stage of the world's history homilies are not wanted
upon the risks of gold mining in this quarter of the globe,
or, indeed, elsewhere.    In British Columbia the work is hard,
mi) ing season m 48
the season is short in the northern parts of the Province, the
returns from the occupation are uncertain. But it must have
many compensating advantages, or it would not be so attractive. One thing may be said, namely, that a gold miner has
a steady market for his produce; he has never to wait for a
market for his gold, nor is it much affected by competition or
over-production. The point for a settler to note is, that it is
an immense advantage to a settler to be in a mineral country,
because the mines give work to those able to undertake it,
and create local markets, which otherwise might not exist for
generations. *
I do not think that any man living will see the exhaustion
of the precious mineral deposits or British Columbia. The
history of the older mining country of California shows partly
what may be expected in British Columbia.
In addition to the above gold fields, rich diggings have
recently been discovered at Cassiar. The district of Cassiar,
although more distant from the capital than the other gold
regions, is really more accessible than any of them, as the
journey involves very little land travel. The route from Victoria is by coasting steamers to Fort Wrangel at the mouth of
the Stickeen River, thence up the river to Buck's Bar by
light draught steamers, the remainder of the journey, about
85 miles, being by a trail. The principal diggings are at
present on Dease s and Thibert's Creeks, and are for the most
part shallow or placer diggi