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Report of progress on the explorations and surveys up to January, 1874 Fleming, Sandford, 1827-1915 1874

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Array I
Sandford Fleming, Engineer-in-Chief.
JANUARY,   1874,
1874. <) 1
■xat Canadian Pacific Railway Report
of Progress on the Explorations and
Surveys up to January, 1874, by Sandford Fleming. 266 pages and several
large folding plates, large 8vo, sewn,
$1.25.  1874.
«W --^=f===£=^=2z^i=irzrr=Ezz__: ■ CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Sandford Fleming, Engineer-in-Chief.
JANUARY,    1874,
W3 °Xy% fij«&*€*
1874" C £ &    A5 ■
Co/o- AAA ■ To His Excellency the Right Honourable Sir FREDERIC TEMPLE, Earl of
DUFFERIN, K.P., K.C.B., P.C., Governor General of the Dominion of Canada,
(fee,  (&C,  (fee.
May it Please Your Excellency,—
The undersigned has the honour respectfully to present to Your Excellency, the
Progress Eeport, of the Engineer-in-Chief, on the Exploratory Surveys made for
the Canadian Pacific Eailway, up to the end of the year 1&13.
Minister of Public Works.  TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Previous reports	
Work accomplished	
Burning of offices in Ottawa	
Extent of country under Survey	
Natural divisions	
The Rocky Mountain Zone 	
The Cascade Chain	
Vancouver and Queen Charlotte Islands.;	
Features of Pacific Coast.	
The Great Continental Plain	
The Northern Basin	
Limits of the Prairie Region	
River systems	
Fertile and unfertile areas	
Broken ground on Lakes Superior and Huron
Lake Nepigon   ...
Obstacles to be overcome	
Principles adopted in conducting the Survey..
Localities visited	
The water question	
Coal and Iron	
Branch expedition to Peace River	
Organization of the staff	
The work in British* Columbia, done in 1872 ..
" « the Eastern Region, done in 1872.
"        p        the Mountain Passes, 1872-3	
Detailed reports of Surveys made in 1873	
15 VI
Results in the Mountain Region            |J{
Passes through the Rocky Mountain Chain         *■*
Piercing the Cascade Cbain	
Routes across the Rocky Mountain Zone	
Route No. 1	
Route No. 2	
RouteNo. 3	
Route No. 4...	
RouteNo. 5	
RouteNo   6	
RouteNo. 7	
Track of Sir Alexander Mackenzie in 1793	
The coast between Bute Inlet and River Skeena	
Bute Inlet to Valdes Island	
Bridging between the Main-land and Vancouver Island	
Exploration on Vancouver Island	
A Trunk-line through the mineral districts	
Water communications     ■ - -
The Great Lakes	
The River Saskatchewan	
Coal bearing rocks	
Exploration made and in progress	
Route No. 1 	
RouteNo. 2	
RouteNo. 3	
Comparative distances	
Engineering features '.   . .'	
Compared with existing Railways	
Easy gradients in the direction of traffic	
A cheap line recommended in the first place	
Rival routes east of Fort Garry	
In the Woodland Region     34.1
In the Prairies Region     34,1
In the,Mounlain Region     34.1
The snow-fall at different points     34.2
Winter climate near the Yellow Head Pass     34.3
34 vu
Snowfall in British Columbia	
TABLE     1. Through distances	
"        n. All rail routes from Fort Garry eastward	
"       HI  Mixed rail and water route   do   do       	
Thunder Bay to Northwest Angle, Lake of the Woods	
North West Angle to Red River	
Red River to Fort Ellice	
Character of winters, fall of snow, &c	
Water Supply—Brackish water	
Fort Ellice to Fort Edmonton...:        	
Rivers of the Plains	
Fort Edmonton to Yellow Head Pass	
Descent of the Fraser River to Tete Jaune Cache     	
Tete Jaune Cache to the Pacific      	
Report—Edmonton to Peace River	
Fort Dunvegan	
Rocky Mountain Portage	
Estimated heights above the sea	
Lake McLeod    -.	
Lake Babine  	
The Forks of Skeena     	
River Nasse	
Harbours on the coast	
The snow-fall	
Thunder Bay to Manitoba	
Valley of the Kaministiquia	
Growth of Timber	
Rainy River 	
Manitoba to Edmonton -	
Flora of the Prairies -   	
Agricultural Products	
67 i
Edmonton via Peace River to the Pacific	
Topography of the country ,	
Great Prairie of Peace River  ...
Geology and Minerals	
Coal    ;	
Peace River Canyon	
Botany of the Region	
List of plants	
Suitability for settlement, climate, soil, &c	
Exceptional climate of Peace River Region	
Facilities for lines of communication	
To Engineers in charge	
" Transitmen .. .•	
" Levellers	
Position of the several surveying parties ,	
Journey to Bute Inlet and commencement of the Survey	
Waddington Depot ,	
Canyons of the Homathco	
Journey to Quesnelle mouth and Fort Alexandria	
Journey to Homathco Pass by the Chilcotin Plains	
Journey to Cariboo	
Journey to North Branch of the Thompson	
North Thompson to Victoria	
Journey to Quesnelle Lake 	
Exploratory Survey on Vancouver Island	
^Physical features of B. Columbia	
Engineering character of the lines Surveyed   	
Yellow Head Pass eastward	
Ditto westward	
Kamloops by Nicola Lake to Fort Hope	
Clearwater Junction to Bute Inlet	
Results of Surveys in 1871 and 1872	
Conclusion .«	
Mattawa to Red River	
Accidents on the Survey, loss of life, etc	
Elevations above sea of principal lakes and rivers	
Receipt of instructions and arrangement of parties	
Page, j
72   ■
Journey to field of operations,....,,...,.,,., ......  164
Commencement of the Survey ... ,«.»»»». ».-.....„..,.-.,. 168
Journey from Howe Sound through the Cascade Mountains..  176
Navigation of the Lillooet River * „  180
Second journey on the Mainland ..,.....m..+.„«.«.„...  183
Engineering character of Ikies Surveyed in 1873.. , ...  186
The line between Moose and Cranberry Lakes ,..„ .  187
I            I       Valley of North Thompson and Howe Sound  188
Results of the survey in the Rocky Mountain Zone ..... 139
Description of RouteNo. 1 s.,.-........... 194
"                 "            2 , , 195
"                  I   Nos. 3 and 4 ... 196
Conclusion  198
REGION, 1873 ...»  199-213
Brief outline of work in progress and completed  199
Winnipeg Division. ..».„ u ,«..»■>. ...&............... 201
Nepigon Division ,  202
Moose and Nipissing Divisions........ „...,.... , ,.,..,.....,..  203
General Remarks , «.,....... ,  204
Table of distances, Red River to Lakes Superior and Nipissing  205
Snow-fall  206
Harbours on Lake Superior...........  207
Thunder Bay  208
Nepigon Bay ,  209
Concluding remarks r.„........... 213
Table, dates of opening and closing, Sault Ste. Marie River and Canal.,  214
Passesjthrough the Cascade mountains •  215
Northern Passes through the Rocky Mountains........,.,.. .>««««,»„„.  216
North Bentinck Arm....... ♦....,..♦.  219
The River Bella Coola m Nook-halk- «,..., ,.» .«♦<-«« 220
Mountain Peaks...... .....,»».«... 223
The Great Slide „...«.„ 225
The Precipice...  226
View of the Cascade Range., •  ......... 227
The Chilcotin Plains <•*••• ^
Bute Inlet  228
Table of Altitudes above the Sea,
230 Xi
Approaching the Cascade Chain	
Crossing the Mountains...,	
Descent on the Western Side	
Pacific tide water "•• •	
Traces of Capt. Vancouver's parties < •	
Mount Stephens	
Fitzhugh Sound	
Pearl Rocks •	
Smith Inlet « »«
Burke Canal •	
King Island • ••••
Dean Canal •	
Cascade Canal ...,.,	
Snow-capped Mountains............ > ••
Gardner Canal	
Navigation of the North Saskatchewan	
The Grand and other Rapids ,	
Fuel for steam purposes,..,	
Mossy Portage	
Water Hen River ,	
Meadow Portage	
Partridge Crop and Uauphine Rivers.............	
Prairie Portage..  ,
Levels above the Sea ,	
Meteorological Registers.	
Tables |	
Snow-fall compared with Ontario ,	
Yellow Head Pass and approaches......... ,.....,„ ,,,,, , „ ...
Snow-fall in North Thompson Valley. ,	
Snow-fall in Jasper Valley ,,.„	
Losses sustained in 1871 and 1872 , \,,.,»
Action of the Government ,,,
Losses sustained in 1873 „, , rrj
Action of the Government , ,	
Abstract of total lives lost ,...»..„.	
- 284
1 XI
(1) From Burrard Inlet via Nicola Lake and Coquihalla Valley Sheet No. 1
(2) From Burrard Inlet via Rivers Fraser and Thompson ....Sheet No. 2
(3) From Howe Sound via Lilloet and Bonaparte Valley. .Sheet No. 3
(4) From Bute Inlet via Chilcotin, Lake Canim and Clearwater Sheet No. 4
(5) From Bute Inlet via Chilcotin and Blue River (approximate). .Sheet No. 5
(6) From Bute Inlet via Fort- George and North Fraser  Valley
(approximate) Sheet No.   6
'' (7) From North Bentnick Arm via Peace River Valley (approximate) Sheet No.   7
Shewing the several routes surveyed, explored and projected .Sheet No.   8
Embracing (1.) Plan and Profile of the Grand Rapid of the Saskatchewan
(2.)    " 1      of Meadow Portage, )
(3.)    1 p | " V SheetNo.11
(4.)    I I      of the Water Hen River, J
SKELETON MAP shewing the great divisions of   the country to be traversed by the Railway  Sheet No. 12
degrees of North Latitude  Sheet No. 16 ■ CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY,
Office of the Engineer in Chief,
I have the honour to transmit, for the information of His Excellency the Governor General in Council, the accompanying Report with Appendices and Diagrams,
relating to the Surveys and Investigations, made in connection with the projected
Canadian Pacific Railway.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
The Honourable Alexander Mackenzie,
Premier and Minister of Publio Works,
Canada.  Canadian Pacific Railway.
JANUARY,   1874.
J -
Sandford Fleming,
Minister of Public Works, &c.
Ottawa, January 26th, 1874.
I have the honour to submit the following information respecting the explorations and surveys, which have been made under my direction, in connection with
the projected line of railway from the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec to the
Pacific Coast.
My preliminary report, dated April 10th, 18*72, gave an outline of the initiatory steps which had been taken for the purpose of ascertaining the engineering fea-
ures of the country, so as to discover a practicable line for the railway between a
point near Lake Nipissing, in the Yalley of the Ottawa, and the Pacific Coast.
It also furnished a summary of the information acquired up to that time.
Since the date of the above report, the work of exploration has been
continued, and, from time to time, I have had the honour of laying before the Government memoranda of the surveying operations in different sections of the
country, explaining the objects aimed at and the progress made.
By the end of last year a vast amount of work had been accomplished, and
exact data acquired.    I have, however, to report, with much regret, that on the 16th instant a fire broke out in the building occupied as offices in this city, by which the
greater part of the plans, field notes and records of the surveys were completely destroyed.
In consequence of this serious disaster, much inconvenience and difficulty
will be experienced in connection with the work in hand. General results are, however, known; and it will be one of the objects of this report, while the subject is fresh
in the memory, with the help of such fragments of plans and documents as have
escaped destruction, to place the whole on record, as fully and accurately as
It is important in the first place to form a clear conception of the extent and
general physical features of the whole country embraced within the limits of the
The undertaking, proposed, is the construction of a railway to connect the seaboard of British Columbia with the existing railway system in the Provinces of
Ontario and Quebec, by the most eligible line that can be found within Canadian
The seaboard of British Columbia extends from the straits of San Juan de
Fuca to Alaska. These points are distant, on an air line, some five hundred and fifty
miles, but the coast is deeply indented by great arms of the sea, at many intermediate places, so that the actual coast line is very irregular and will probably measure
several thousand miles.
The existing railway system of the older Provinces does not extend any great
distance northerly or north-westerly from Lake Ontario and the River St. Lawrence;
its limit may be defined by drawing a line from the south-easterly angle of the
Georgian Bay, Lake Huron.* across to a point on the Ottawa River, not far above
the city of Ottawa.
The exploration may, therefore, be assumed to extend from the line last referred
to, near the Capital of the Dominion, to that portion of the Pacific Coast lying
between Alaska and the Straits of San Juan de Fuca.
A glance at a map of North America will show that the field of enquiry extends
from 76° west longitude on the eastern side, to 130° west longitude on the
western side, while it is bounded on the south by the 45th parallel of latitude, and on
the north by the 55th parallel.
Its extreme limits thus embrace fifty-four degrees of longitude, and ten degrees
of latitude, and, reduced to miles, the territory under examination will be found to
cover fully twenty-seven hundred miles in length, by a breadth ranging from three
to five hundred miles.
This extensive territory, with an area of one million square miles, drains into 3
three oceans ;. the Atlantic to the east, the Arctic to the north, and the Pacific to
the west.
We are accustomed to regard the Great American Lakes, and the St. Lawrence,
which they feed, as natural features of great magnitude in one of the important
hydrographic basins of the continent. It is not a little astonishing, therefore, to
find that the basin of the St. Lawrence occupies such a limited portion of the vast
area under consideration. While about one-fifth of the whole area drains, through
several channels, into the Pacific, and seventy per cent, of the whole drains towards
the north, the St. Lawrence basin only occupies about one-tenth of the whole territory.
The counterpart of this territory in the old world, with respect to geographical
position, extends from the French coast across Belgium, Holland, Germany, Prussia
and Russia, to the Ural Mountains in Asia, and embraces a.very large portion of all
these countries.
Having arrived at a proper conception of the extent of the territory under consideration, it is important to describe in a few brief [paragraphs its prominent
physical characteristics.
The leading botanical, in conjunction with the geological and topographical,
features of the country divide it naturally into three great regions. The Eastern is
densely wooded; the Western is wooded and mountainous; the Central is a vast lowland plain, for the most part prairie.
These three divisions may be referred to separately, and it will be convenient
to describe first the Western Region.
The western portion of the country embraces the several mountain ranges and
the elevated plateau which occur between the Pacific Coast and the comparatively
low and level plains, that are watered by the Saskatchewan and some of the tributaries
of the Mackenzie. In a northerly and southerly direction, it extends from Washington Territory in the United States to the latitude of Peace River.
This is part of the  great elevated mountain zone of North America, which.
commences in the Cordilleras and elevated plateaus of Mexico, and extends nearly
to the Arctic Ocean,  branching off, in the Alaskan and Yukon Mountain ranges,
towards Behring Straits.    This extensive, complex, and elevated region is known
as the Rocky Mountain Zone.
That portion of the Rocky Mountain Zone, embraced in the district under
consideration, consists of two perfectly distinct chains of mountains, each with many
spurs or branches, and several separate subsidiary ranges.
The two prominent and important mountain chains referred to, are the " Coast"
or " Cascade," and the "Rocky Mountains" proper.   The first is an Alpine region, more than a hundred miles in breadth; it is a continuation of the Sierra Nevadas of
California, and extends along the entire sea-board of British Columbia.
The Cascade Chain rises abruptly from the sea level, presenting from the water
an extremely bold and defiant aspect. The average height of the many serrated-
summits will probably range from 5,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level, and some of
its central crests and loftiest peaks rival in elevation the main Rocky Mountain
The main chain of the Rocky Mountain Zone observes a general parallelism
with the Pacific Coast, and, in British Columbia, is from 300 to 400 miles distant
from it. These mountains rise like a colossal wall above the continental plain on its
eastern side. Their flanks are, however, deeply gashed, and great counterfort-like
spurs jut out, between which the rivers of the plains take their rise.
Immediately on the western flank of the main Rocky Mountain Chain, are
found high mountain masses in independent groups, and known' by local names,
such as " Cariboo," " Selkirk," and " Gold " ranges. They are only separated
by deep chasms or narrow valleys from each other and from the main
chain ; indeed, they may be considered as part of it. Including these subsidiary mountain groups, the breadth of the main chain, which varies
greatly, will probably average from a hundred to two hundred miles. Much of
this great mountain barrier rises "over 8,000 feet above sea level. The loftiest central peaks enter the region of perpetual snow, and some of them have been
estimated to reach an elevation of 15,000 feet above the ocean.
There are several openings or | passes " through the Rocky Mountain Chain;
some of these passes are from 6,000 to 7,000 feet above sea level. The lowest is less
than 2,000 feet.
The Rocky Mountain Chain undoubtedly determines the water shed of the Continent. While the water shed is for the most part coincident with the central crest
of the main range, its continuity is occa ixOn^Jy interrupted by transverse openings
affording, as will hereafter be seen, comparatively easy passages from one side of
the mountains to the other. The most remarkable of these interruptions presents
itself in about latitude 56 ° , where the Peace River finds a passage from the Western
to the Eastern side of the main RockyMountain Chain and thus throws the water
shed of the Continent, in this latitude, westerly across^British Columbia towards
the Cascade Mountains.
Between the Cascade and Rocky Mountain Chains there extends an elevated
plateau, averaging from a little under 3000 to fully 4000 feet above sea level. This
plateau is grooved out by deep river channels, broken by rocky ridges and inferior
mountain masses. It has many lakes, occupying deep depressions in its surface, and
is intersected in many directions by numerous broad, sheltered, undulating valleys. The surface of this plateau in some quarters is thickly, at others scantily timbered,
and in some districts open prairies preseut themselves.
This brief sketch of the' physical character of the western and mountainous
division of the country would be incomplete without some reference to the characteristic features of the Pacific Coast, at some point on which, between the
Straits of San Juan de Fuca and Alaska, the proposed Railway must terminate.
The extreme westerly extension of the Dominion of Canada embraces two or
three large islands, laved by the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The climate of these
islands is comparatively temperate, and ' 1 , respect they are not widely dissimilar
to the British Isles. They possess in profusion the minerals, coal and iron, which
have added so enormously to the wealth of the Mother Country.
Yancouver Island is the most southerly and the largest of these islands. Its
extreme length is about 280 miles; it extends northerly and westerly from the
Straits of San Juan de Fuca in a parallel direction to the mainland. One hundred
and thirty miles northerly and slightly westerly from Yancouver Island, the Queen
Charlotte Islands begin, a group of three islands, separated by narrow channels
and extending along the shore nearly 200 miles.
These islands have distinct mountain ranges of their own, with central peaks
rising up from 6,000 to 7,000 feet above the sea*, or double the height of Snowdon, in
Wales, Curran Tual, in Ireland, or Crossfell, in the north of England, and more
than one-third higher than Ben Nevis, the culminating point of the United Kingdom.
The exposed coasts of these islands are characterized by bold rocky headlands,
between which deep, narrow, sheltered inlets pierce to the heart of the mountains.
From the open'sea the mountains present a lofty serrated outline.
These outlying islands, Yancouver and the Queen Charlotte group, stand like sentinels in the Pacific. The one guards the southern, and the other the northern portion
of the seaboard of the mainland of British Columbia.
Between Alaska and Washington territory, along the Pacific shore of the mainland, there exists, within the line of the larger islands last referred to, and separated
from them by channels and straits of various widths, an intricate archipelago of smaller
islands. Between the innumerable smaller islands there are deep, in many places
intricate passages, leading to long, rock-bound, deep-water inlets, or fiords, ira-iyiing
far into the Cascade Mountains. On the five hundred miles of coast line there is
a very large number of these remarkable arms of the sea. They are of great depth,
at places reported fathomless. Many of them pierce the mountains to such an
extent that the largest iron clads afloat could steam from the coast line, in some
cases, eighty miles into the very heart of the Cascade Chain.
•Height of Victoria Peak above the sea level, 7,484 feet.
" Mount Albert Edwaxd " 6,963  "
" Alexandra Peak " 8,394 " These innumerable islands, intricate passages, winding channels and deep
fiords are separated from each other by countless rocky bluffs and lofty mountain
peaks : the latter, in some cases, rising sheer out of the sea and ascending a vertical
mile from the water's edge to their bald summits.
From Alaska, southerly, along the coast to a point opposite the middle of Yancouver Island, these features are most marked, and for this distance they constitute a
labyrinth of an intricate and complicated description. Between the southern half
of Yancouver Island and the mainland, the intricacies of navigation to a large extent
The foregoing outline of the prominent characteristics of the Rocky Mountain
Zone and the shores of British Columbia will give some idea of the difficulties to be
overcome in extending the railway system of Canada to the Pacific Coast. It will
be seen that two important problems are presented. Primarily, it is necessary to
discover the best way of piercing the mountain chains, but it is scarcely less important that the terminating point on the sea board should be easily reached by the
largest class of vessels that, now or hereafter, may navigate the Pacific Ocean.
Between the Rocky Mountain Zone, on the Pacific side, and the Appalachian
Zone, on the Atlantic side of North America, a vast continental plain is spread out
This great lowland level stretches from the Gulf of Mexico, at the south, to the
Hudson Bay and Arctic Ocean, at the north.
The vast area, alluded to, occupies the whole of the continent of North
America between the eastern and western mountain systems. It is divided by
its river systems into two great drainage basins, the one discharging northerly to
sub-arctic waters, the other flowing southerly to a tropical sea.
The northerly and southerly drainage basins, into which the vast central plain
of the continent is divided, come in contact, about midway between the Arctic Ocean
and the Gulf of Mexico. The line of contact lies between the sources of the Mississippi and its tributary, the Missouri, on the one hand, and the sources of the Red
River, the Assiniboine, and the Saskatchewan, on the other. This line, the watershed between the northern and southern basins, is not perfectly straight and regular,
but its general direction is easterly and westerly, and, except in the longitude of Red
River, does not extend far to the north or to the south of the international boundary
It will thus be seen that, assuming the water-shed to be approximatetly coincident with the 49th parallel, the great continental plain of North America is divided,
*A line drawn from the extreme -westerly end of Lake Superior to a point where the 49th parallel crosses
the main Rocky Mountain chain, would more closely approximate tbe dividing Une between the southern
and northern drainage basins. artificially as well as naturally, through the centre. It is divided artificially into
two adjacent countries under distinct governments, and naturally into two vast
drainage basins which discharge their waters in opposite directions.
The section of the country now more particularly under consideration, and
which, in the beginning of this report, is designated the Prairie or Central Region,
is wholly in the northern basin.
To the east of the prairie district, and on the 49th parallel of latitude, is the
Lake of the Woods. If a line be drawn from that lake, in a nearly straight northwesterly course, it will strike the general line of the Mackenzie River, between latitudes 64 ° and 65 °, and will pass through or near a remarkable series of lakes
rivalling in size Lakes Erie and Ontario. Of these lakes may be mentioned, in their
order of succession, Lake Winnipeg, with its companion lakes, Manitoba and Win-
nipegosis; following, we find Deer Lake, Lake Wollaston, Lake Athabaska, Great
Slave Lake, and, still further on in the same general course, GreatRear Lake.
These great excavations or depressions in the surface appear to occur on the
separating line between a broad band of Laurentian or Metamorphic rocks, and more
recent and softer formations. If we take this line as the base of a triangle, with one
side extending from the Lake of the Woods westerly, along the United States boundary
to the base of the Rocky Mountains, and the other side extending from the latter
place northerly along the flank of the mountains to the Mackenzie River, a
description of the leading physical features of the central country will be rendered
extremely simple.
The triangle will be nearly isosceles, with sides of from 900 to 1,000 miles each,
and its base will measure in length about 1,500 miles.
This vast triangle, containing about 300,000,000 acres, may be described generally as a great plane, sloping gently downwards from its apex to its base. Its apex
at the foot of the Rocky Mountain chain, between the sources of the Missouri.and
the South Saskatchewan, is estimated to be about 4,000 feet above sea level, while
its base, lying along the series of lake expansions from Lake of the Woods to Great
Slave Lake, will not, it is believed, average a higher elevation than 900 or 1,000
feet above the sea.
The river systems, which carry off the water-flow of this long sloping plane,
are the Assiniboine, the Saskatchewan, the Athabaska, and the Peace. The first two
unite their waters in Lake Winnipeg before finally passing out through the Nelson
River to Hudson Bay. The last two are tributaries of the Mackenzie, and, through
the channel of that river, ultimately reach the Arctic Ocean. Between the Saskatchewan and the Athabaska the River Churchill takes its rise, and flows independently in a generally north-eastern course, falling ultimately into Hudson Bay.
All the rivers of this division of the country flow for a great part of their
length in deeply eroded channels, frequently of considerable width, and, as the ma-
J terials underlying the plains are for the most part drift or soft rock formation, the
channels which have been furrowed out are not much obstructed by falls or dangerous
rapids, but generally present, from the base of the mountains throughout the
greater part of their course, a uniform descent.
Although the triangular-shaped territory referred to may be viewed, in a general description, as a great plane, sloping from its apex downwards in a northeasterly direction to its base, the inclination is not perfectly uniform and unbroken.
Several terraces and well defined escarpments stretch across the country at wide
intervals. Much of the surface is gently rolling, and distinct hills and eminences,
some of them 500 to 800 feet above the surrounding level, are occasionally met
The central division of the country may be described as prairie, although the
whole triangular area referred to is not strictly so.
The prairie land passes into woodland in various localities to the north of the
Saskatchewan, to re-appear in higher latitudes. On Peace River there are extensive prairies with extremely rich soil. In other localities, there is an agreeable mixture of woodland and prairie, and this character of country appears to prevail as
far as Hay River, 400 miles to the north of the River Saskatchewan.
Although the prairie region is of vast extent, it is not all fertile. A very large
area adjoining the boundary of the United States, midway between Manitoba and the
Rocky Mountain Zone, is arid and unfavourable'for agriculture. In other quarters
a great breadth of rich pasture and cultivable land exists.
Immediately to the east of the Province of Manitoba, begins the woodland
region. It extends, without much material change in its character, from the
prairie region along the north side of Lake Superior and Huron to the settled and
cleared portion of Ontario and Quebec, lying on the northerly banks of the St.
Compared with the country on the Pacific Coast, no part of this region can be
considered mountainous. Along the shores of Lakes Superior and Huron a considerable extent of rough and broken elevated ground is found, but the maximum
elevation attained in the highest portion of this woodland region will not exceed
2,000 feet above sea level. The band of rocky hills which runs along Lake
Superior is* variable in width, ranging from forty to seventy miles, and its eastern
extension assumes, on the north side of Lake Huron, a width of about fifty
Behind the rocky elevated range referred to, the surface is found to be comparatively flat.
Between the Province of Manitoba and Lake Superior, the drainage of the country is mainly westward, passing into Lake Winnipeg. The" water shed between
the two Lakes is quite close to Lake Superior, and maintains a nearly uniform
elevation of from 1400 to 1500 feet, while Lake Superior is 600 feet, and Lake
Winnipeg 710 feet, above the sea. The descent from the water shed westward is
very gradual, and the country for the whole distance is remarkable for the innumerable streams and lakes with which it is intersected. These consist of long
-winding sheets of water, separated by rocky ridges; and so numerous are they, that
an Indian in his canoe can travel in almost any required direction by making an
occasional portage.
Lake Nepigon lies directly north of Lake Superior and discharges into it by
the River Nepigon.  The descent to the latter lake is 252 feet.
Lake Nepigon is the most northerly reservoir of the St. Lawrence basin, the
brim of which is here extended 120 miles north of Lake Superior. The outline of
the water-shed is, however, so irregular, that, a few miles to the east of Lake Nepigon,
the brim of the basin curves round until it reaches a point within 20 miles of Lake
Superior.    North of this point the waters flow towards Hudson Bay.
Although the general aspect of the country east of Lake Nepigon, as seen from
Lakes Superior and Huron, is precipitous and rugged, to the rear of this wild and
rocky frontier the surface descends northerly in easy slopes. So much is this found
to be the case, that, in passing from Lake Nipissing to Lake Nepigon, through the
interior of the country, the ascent to the summit level will actually be
less than that which is experienced in passing from Toronto across
the peninsula of Western Ontario, by either the Great Western,
the Grand Trunk, the Grey and Bruce, or Northern Railways.
The drainage of the flat country referred to, as existing between the Nepigon
Basin and the Ottawa Yalley, flows northerly by the Rivers Albany and Moose to
James Bay, while the drainage of the rugged, elevated belt along Lakes Superior
and Huron passes into the basin of the St. Lawrence.
The agricultural resources of this extensive, region of country are not promising. But the timber which covers the surface will every, year become more and
more valuable, and its geological structure affords indications of mineral wealth.
Having thus presented a rough outline of the salient physical characteristics of
the three great regions, into which the vast territory under consideration is naturally
divided, I will turn to the operations carried on in connection with the
It early became apparent that the chief obstacles to be overcome would be
found to exist in the Mountain Region to the west, and the Woodland Region to the
east. The Prairie Region in the centre being open, easily accessible for examination 10
and, moreover, simple in all its natural features, was not expected to be fruitful of
any engineering difficulties of any kind. It would only be necessary to exercise
care and judgment in locating the route for the Railway, so as to secure the least
expensive bridging* over the wide and deep troughs, which the rivers of the plains
have furrowed out.
In the Woodland Region, nearly all our knowledge of the country was confined
to the canoe routes travelled by the ofiicers and servants of the Hudson Bay Company. There were hundreds of miles which, as far as known, had never been
penetrated by any civilized man, and the aspect of the region exposed to view on
Lakes Superior and Huron was far from encouraging.
In the Mountain Region some information had been gained, but the most
authentic and reliable, contained in the reports presented to the Imperial Government by Capt. Palliser, called in question the possibility of constructing a Railway
to the Pacific Coast, within the limits of the Dominion.
All information went to show that the difficulties to be overcome, both in the
Woodland and Mountain Regions, are of a formidable character.
On being called upon to take in charge the work of exploration, the Government deemed it best to leave me entirely untramelled by any specific instructions.
I was simply informed and directed, that no effort should be spared to discover,
with the least possible delay, a practicable route for the Railway, in order that the
terms of union with British Columbia might be carried out.
At the commencement of the survey the following leading principles were
laid down:—
First. That every effort should be directed to the discovery of a line through
the Woodland Region, which would prove the shortest and best possible between the
existing railway system in the two elder Provinces and the Province of Manitoba.
Second. That the above line should touch, or by a branch connect with, Lake
Superior, and constitute, as nearly as possible, the shortest and cheapest outlet
for transport of natural products from the Prairie Region to the navigable waters of
the St. Lawrence.
Third. That the greatest possible energy should be brought to bear on the
work of exploration in the Western Region, in order to discover, with as little delay
as possible, a practicable line for the Railway through the Rocky Mountain Zone ;
a line which would prove the shortest and least expensive, which would best subserve the interests of the country, and lead to the most eligible harbour on the
Pacific Coast.
Fourth. That the route for the Railway through the Prairie Region, while connecting with the lines in the Eastern and Western sections, so as to reduce the distances between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to a minimum, should be projected,
to avoid   the most formidable river crossings,  and approach the rich deposits of 11
coal and iron, at the   same time to be conveniently near the large tracts of land
available for settlement.
My Report, presented to Parliament early in 1872, gives an outline of the course
taken by me in conducting the examination of the country, in accordance with the
above principles. It describes the general organization of the staff, the work of each
surveying party, the progress made during the first year, and furnishes detailed
reports of results obtained in the Mountain, Prairie and Woodland Regions.
In order to acquire a correct knowledge respecting the physical characteristics of the whole Territory, and obtain such information concerning its engineering
features as only a personal examination can furnish, I considered it necessary
that I should undertake a personal reconnaissance of the several regions proposed to be traversed by the Railway.
Accordingly, early in July 1872,1 started with a small exploratory expedition
to cross the continent.
We visited Nepigon on Lake Superior, passed from Thunder Bay by the Dawson route to Lake of the Woods and Manitoba. On the 31st July, we reached
Fort Garry, and left for the west on the 2nd of August, visiting Forts Ellice,
Carlton, Pitt, and Yictoria, en route. We reached Fort Edmonton on the morning of the
27th August, and left that place for the Mountains on the following day. After a
somewhat fatiguing journey through interminable windfalls and other
hindrances, we entered the first range of Mountains on the 11th September, and
on the 15th reached the Yellow Head Pass," and camped near the Continental
Water Shed.
Pursuing our journey, we followed the River Fraser from its Yellow Head
source to Tete Jaune Cache, crossed over to the Canoe River, the Albreda, and thence
followed the North Thompson River to Kamloops, at which place we arrived on the
evening of September 28th. From Kamloops we travelled to Lytton, Yale, and
New Westminster, examined Burrard Inlet, Bute Inlet, Barclay Sound, Seymour
Narrows, Dent, and Arran Rapids, visited intermediate points, and, on the 11th
October, finally arrived at Yictoria in Yancouver Island, thus completing a reconnaissance, which altogether extended over 5,300 miles. Some notes and an
Itinerary of the journey will be found in Appendix A.
During this journey I visited all the surveying parties within reach, ascertained
what progress .they had made, and gave such further directions as. circumstances
required. !
Incidentally to the main objects of this extended exploratory tour, a great deal
of general information respecting the country was obtained. This information was
considered sufficiently interesting and important to be given to the public, in a
J 12
popular and more attractive form.*N From the publication of this volume
it is not necessary to lengthen this report by alluding farther to the expedition, beyond submitting one or two observations on a matter which forcibly
attracted my attention.
In travelling over the Prairie Region with my party, we occasionally experienced some difficulty in procuring water for ourselves and horses, and, not unfrequently, the water when found was not of good quality. On the route of our
journey, we found that all the running streams are fresh water, but there are long
stretches without streams ; and, although ponds and lakelets occasionally are
met with, many of them are saline or brackish. The question of water supply
is undoubtedly all-important. Without good wholesome water successful
dairy farming, and the general settlement of the rich prairie land, cannot be expected. Feeling the importance of this matter, I considered it my duty to draw the
attention of the Government to it as soon as I had an opportunity, and I recommended that a thorough examination should be made without delay, and that test
borings or artesian wells should be sunk at intervals, so as to determine the water
bearing qualities of districts where the surface is devoid of a proper supply.
The Government authorized such an investigation. The matter was placed under
the supervision and direction of Mr. Selwyn, of the Geological Survey, and that
gentleman has commenced boring operations.
If, by this means, all conjecture be set at rest, and the supply of water be
assured, the attractions of the country will be confirmed.
In addition to making borings in connection with the question of water supply,
it is proposed to adopt this means of tracing the mineral deposits, which crop out on
the banks of the Saskatchewan and other rivers west and south of Fort Edmonton.
It is not improbable that, by this means, coal will be discovered in localities favour
able for settlement, where, owing to the surface-drift, none is now exposed, and
which are at present without a sufficient supply of fuel.
While on this subject, it may be remarked that the importance of a thorough
geological examination of the country, with as little delay as possible, can scarcely
be over-rated. Captain Palliser reported the existence of large deposits of iron ore
in several quarters between the two Saskatchewans. The discovery of this ore in
conjunction with coal at some one or more points, which could conveniently be
reached by the railway without taking it much out of the direct course, would render
the manufacture of rails near the middle of the line possible, and thus obviate the
immense cost of a long land transportation. Moreover, the establishment of local
manufacturing industries would be assured.
* Ocban to Ocean.—A diary kept during a journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with the Expedition of the Engineer-in-Chief of the Canadian Pacific and Intercolonial Railways, ,by the Bev. George
M. Grant, Secretary to the Expedition. 18
My attention having been particularly drawn by Mr. Malcolm McLeod of
Aylmer,* to a possible easy passage across the Rocky Mountains by the Yalley of
Peace River, I determined, in the event of not being able to extend my personal
reconnaissance to that district,"to send thither some of my assistants when I reached
Edmonton. Accordingly at that place I selected Mr. Charles Horetzky and Mr.
John Macoun, Botanist, for this duty, and before parting with them at Fort Edmonson, on the 27th August, 1872, furnished them with such written and verbal instructions as I deemed necessary.
These two gentlemen travelled in company to Fort Assiniboine, on the Athabasca River; thence to Lesser Slave Lake and Fort Dunvegan—passed through the
Rocky Mountains by the Yalley of Peace River, ascended the south-west or Parsnip
Branch to McLeod3 Lake, and thence crossed over to Fort St. James, on Stewart's
Lake. At Stewart's Lake they parted company. Mr. Horetzky pursued a course
which led him by Babine Lake to the Forks of the River Skeena, and thence to Fort
Simpson, on the Pacific Coast. Mr. Macoun travelled southerly from Stewart's Lake
to the River Fraser, and followed the valley of that river to the Strait of Georgia.
The reports of these gentlemen, which are appended, will be read with
great interest. They both bear testimony to the remarkable opening through the
main Rocky Mountain Chain, which forms the channel of Peace River, and confirm all
or nearly all that had been previously made known. They speak in glowing terms
respecting the beauty of the country, the fertility of the soil, and the salubrity of
the climate over wide areas on the eastern side of the Mountain Zone. (Appendices
B and C.)
Mr. Macoun's botanical account of the country is of special value. His report is
divided into two sections. The first embraces the results of his researches between
Lake Superior and the North Saskatchewan, and the second contains his observations on the subjects which came under his notice on the journey from Fort Edmonton ma Peace River, to British Columbia. He furnishes lists of plants that he collected,
and shows the relation which the flora of the regions that he visited bears to that of
Ontario and Quebec, and by analogy arrives at conclusions with respect to the agricultural capabilities of the country.
At the beginning of the survey, it became necessary to organize the staff on a
BCale  commensurate with the magnitude of the undertaking, and it appeared ad
*Mr. McLeod, a son of an early Hudson Bay Ofllcer [Chief Trader, John McLeod, senior, spent several
years of his youth with his father in British Columbia, and of late years has taken a lively interest iu
opening up the North West. He is the editor of " Peace River—a canoe voyage from Hudson's Bay to
the Pacific by the late Sir George Simpson, Ac, in 1828," published by Durie & Son, Ottawa, 1872. visable to adopt a comprehensive and uniform system for all field operations, so far
as it was possible. For this purpose general instructions were prepared for the
guidance of each individual member of the staff in his special duties. In order to
give full information respecting this particular branch of the organization, these instructions are appended.    (Appendix D.)
In a field of enquiry so extensive and, in some respects, so uninviting, it has
been a matter of serious difficulty to find a sufficient number of thoroughly competent and reliable assistants to carry on the exploration satisfactorily . I was, however, fortunate in securing the services of some of the best men that were available,
and I shall now refer to their work, since the date of my last report.
In the spring of 1872, Mr. Marcus Smith was appointed, on my recommenda
tion, to act as my Chief Resident Assistant in British Columbia, and he was
specially charged with the surveys deemed necessary between Yictoria, Yancouver
Island, Bute Inlet, and the Fraser River. At the same time he was directed to assume
general charge, in my absence, of all other surveys going on in the Mountain
After the appointment of Mr. Smith,rall correspondence relating to the survey
in British Columbia was carried on with 'him ; and through him my instructions
to others were conveyed and all reports received.
The report of Mr. Marcus Smith for the year 1872 is given at length
(Appendix E.) It will be found to give a detailed account of everything of importance effected during that year in British Columbia, with a narrative of
his own journeyings between Bute Inlet, the Homathco Pass and the Chilcotin
Plains to Carriboo, to the North Thompson River, and to the Quesnelle Lakes; it
also gives the particulars of his reconnaissance along the easterly coast of Yancouver Island for a line of railway between Seymour Narrows and Esquimault
In Mr. Smith's detailed report will be found a carefully prepared description of the
physical features of British Columbia, and all particulars -regarding the engineering character of the lines surveyed up to the end of 1872.
In the Woodland Region east of Manitoba, the tedious work of exploration has
been continued by a number of parties, under the supervision of Mr. James H.
The dense forest which covers the face of the country everywhere, together
with the entire absence of roads or trails, has rendered this work peculiarly laborious
and to some extent hazardous. I refer to Mr. Rowan's report for 1872, for detailed
information respecting the parties and the work done during that year, in the
region referred to.   (Appendix F.)
Before the appointment of Mr. Smith to the general charge of all tho surveys
in the Mountain Region in the West, I had instructed Mr. Walter Moberly to pro- 15
ceed to the heart of the Main Rocky Mountain chain and make an instrumental
survey from Tete Jaune Cache through the Yellow Head Pass and Jasper Yalley.
Mr. Moberly was in the Mountains during the summer of 1872 and the following winter. In January, 1873, he forwarded me a report from his quarters in the
Jaspar Yalley. As this report gives an account of some of the difficulties
he had to contend with and the work done by the parties under his charge, and as it
contains notes on various matters of interest which came under his view, I beg leave
to submit it (Appendix G).
During the year 1873, surveys were continued in those portions of the country
where difficulties of a special nature had been previously met. In British Columbia
an effort was made to find a route to the Pacific Coast, which would prove less
objectionable than either of the lines surveyed by the Homathco, the Fraser, or
the Coquihalla Rivers.
In addition to this work, surveys were made from the base of the Rocky Mountains, easterly, towards Edmonton, on the North Saskatchewan. A re-survey was
made of the line from the Yellow Head Pass, westerly, to T§te Jaune Cache, and. the
low water-shed between the River Fraser and River Canoe ; and thence the exploration was extended in the direction of Quesnelle Lake.
In the Eastern Region, explorations of an exhaustive character were instituted
to ascertain if it would be possible to carry the main line of railway past the
south of Lake Nepigon, instead of to the north of it, in order to reduce the Lake
Superior branch to a moderate length. It was known that theground was unfavourable, but it was felt that a very considerable saving in the total mileage of railway
to be constructed would, in all probability, be effected; more than sufficient,
possibly, to compensate for any heavy expenditure which would be involved
in constructing the line through a portion of the rugged ground which extends
immediately along the shores of Lake Superior.
Besides this survey work, explorations were made northerly, from the western
as well as the eastern ends of Lake Nipissing, in order to obtain a knowledge of the
country in the interior, and such additional information of a reliable character
as would be useful in projecting the most direct and most favorable line for the
railway, between the latitude of Lake Nipissing and the northern bend of Lake
Accompanying this, will be found Reports, giving an account of all matters of
importance connected with the surveys, made during the past season (Appendices
H. and L)
These detailed Reports so fully describe the progress made, the [difficulties
met, and the work done in the year 1873, that it is not necessary
for me to enter at length on this branch of the subject;   I shall, therefore, at once
J 16
proceed to consider   the general results of the survey to this date,   and   submit an account of that which has been accomplished.
I beg leave first to refer to what has been done, and is found to be possible, in
the region of country bordering on the Pacific Ocean.
It has been found that of all the "Passes" through the main Rocky Mountain
chain, between the International boundary line and the 53rd parallel of latitude, the
Yellow Head Pass is the most favourable, and that the approaches to it, from both
sides of the Mountain Range, are of such a character as to render the construction of
a railway, across the great continental water-shed, a far less difficult matter than was
previously imagined.
North of the 53rd parallel, information respecting other passes, some of them
even lower than the Yellow Head, has been obtained.
Smoky River Pass, the first in oi'der as wo proceed northerly, is especially
referred to in a report by Mr. Smith, (Appendix K.)
Pine River Pass succeeds. This pass, as well as Peace River Pass, still further
north, are referred to in the reports of Messrs. Horetzky and Macoun, the gentlemen
whom I specially detailed, from my own expedition, to collect information respecting the northerly portion of the country.    (Appendices B and C).
The information, acquired respecting these three passes, affords reason to believe
that the railway might be carried through any one of them. But the question of crossing the main Chain of the Rocky Mountains is not the only one" to be considered, nor
is it now the principal consideration, as this portion of the problem has met with a
satisfactory solution.
The most serious difficulties are found to lie in piercing the Cascade Chain, and in
descending from the level of the elevated plateau, in the heart of British Columbia, to
the level of the ocean.
This great plateau actually stands at a higher general altitude than Yellow Head
Pass. If the Rocky Mountains were crossed at some lower point, it would not
obviate the necessity of ascending to the level of the plateau, or remove the difficulties
which are undoubtedly met in making the descent by every known opening through
the Cascade Chain to the ocean level.
For many reasons it is desirable to reach the Pacific Coast, at some eligible, harbour, south of the 53rd parallel If this can be accomplished by a favourable route
from Yellow Head Pass, to take it by a pass in a more northerly latitude would
only lengthen the railway, without gaining any compensating advantages. If, on the
other hand, it be found impracticable to reach the sea board, south of the 53rd parallel, 17.
    ....      3 \i .ig*
at any reasonable outlay, the importance of the passes known to exist, north of the
Yellow Head, will be enhanced. It is doubtful, however, if the northern passes possess any positive advantage over the Yellow Head Pass, unless there be discovered
north of the 53rd parallel, a more satisfactory outlet, through the Cascade Mountains
to the coast, than any yet known. Thorough explorations alone will shew if any
such outlet exists.
In order to give as correct an idea as possible of the character of all the lines
across the Rocky Mountain Zone, which now come under consideration, diagrams
have been prepared, showing the approximate general gradients, which may be obtained on each line. In order to simplify a comparison between them, the several
lines surveyed or projected have been arranged and combined so as to form seven
distinct routes, between the longtitude of Edmonton and the Pacific Coast.
It might lead to some confusion, if these routes were numbered, in the order of
time in which the surveys were made. I have, therefore, thought it preferable to
number them consecutively from the south to the north. For the purpose of comparing distances, each route is extended to a common longtitude near Fort Edmonton on the North Saskatchewan.
Route No. 1—Begins at Burrard Inlet, near New Westminster. Follows the
Lower Fraser River to Fort Hope, passes up the Coquihalla Yalley, and thence by
Nicola Lake to Kamloops. At Kamloops it enters the valley of the North Thompson, following which it passes over a low water shed at Lake Albreda to River Canoe,
and thence crosses by Lake Cranberry to Te"te Jaune Cache. From the latter point,
it follows the River Fraser to one of its sources, near the Yellow Head Pass, and thence
by the Caledonian and Jaspar Yalleys to the eastern side of the Rocky Mountain Chain,
thence easterly by the McLeod and Pembina Rivers to the North Saskatchewan.
The great difficulties on this line are met with between Hope and Kamloops, in
a distance of 128 miles. The first summit is only 33 miles distant from Hope, and
its elevation above tide water is 3,513 feet, while Hope is only 127 feet. Proceeding
northerly, the ground falls to 2,028 feet in 34 miles, and again rises to 2,960 feet,
and finally falls to 1,170 feet near Kamloops. From Kamloops to Edmonton, a total
distance of 544 miles, very favourable gradients may be had with comparatively
light work. It certainly need not exceed the average of work on many of the railways in the Eastern Provinces of the Dominion.
On some portions of this line, between Hope and Kamloops, gradients would
unavoidably be very steep, ranging as high as 172 feet per mile, and the work would
be necessarily heavy. Several tunnels would be required, one of which, it is estimated, would be three and three-quarter miles in length. The aggregate tunnelling
on this rough section would probably be over five miles.
For a diagram of the general gradients on this route I refer to Sheet No, 1. 18
Route No. 2—Begins at Burrard Inlet, and, like Route No. 1, follows the River
Fraser to Hope, but instead of crossing a depression in the Cascade Chain by the
Coquihalla Yalley, it continues to ascend the River Fraser to Lytton. At the latter
point it passes into the Yalley of the River Thompson, and follows the course of
that river to Kamloops. From Kamloops to Yellow Head Pass and Edmonton,
Routes Nos. 1 and 2 are common, and on this section, that which is said with respect to the one applies with equal force to the other. Between Hope and Kamloops
the distance is 165 miles. Although no high summit is to be passed over, this section is far from favourable. Long stretohes along the canyons of the Fraser and
the Lower Thompson, occupying about half the whole distance, are excessively
rough. On these sections formidable difficulties present themselves; the work would
be enormously heavy, and the cost proportionate.
Had the Rivers Lower Thompson and Fraser flowed through wide valleys to the
sea, this route would unquestionably have been the natural and proper line for the
railway. The gradients from the summit of the Rocky Mountains at Yellow Head
Pass would have been very light, and would have proved generally uniform and continuous. The passage, however, for these united rivers, through the Cascade Chain,
is so extremely contracted that it will be a matter of great difficulty to find sufficient
space for a railway through the remarkably narrow and rock-bound gorge cleft
• through the mountains.    Sheet No. 2 will show the general gradients on this route.
Route No. 3—Begins at Howe Sound, crosses the Cascade Mountains by a series
of openings to the River Fraser at Lillooet, and thence passes over the plateau in the
centre of British Columbia by the Marble Canyon and Bonaparte Yalley to the North
Thompson, near the mouth of the Clearwater River; from this point it ascends the
Thompson and runs on the same common ground as Routes 1 and 2 to Yellow Head
Pass and Edmonton.
From Howe Sound to the North Thompson, by this route, the distance is 284
miles; within this distance the line passes over four main summits, ranging in
elevation from 1,610 to 3,847 feet above the sea, and between tiiese summits the
ground falls twice to 700 feet and once to 1,847 feet. These great changes in level
are suggestive of unusually heavy ascending and descending gradients, as well as
equally heavy works of construction. From the point where this route intersects the
valley of the River Thompson, it takes the same course to Edmonton as Routes Nos.
1 and 2.   The general gradients on this route will be seen on Sheet No. 3.
Route No. 4—Commences at Waddington Harbour, on Bute Inlet, and ascends by
the valley of the Homathco through the Cascade Chain of Mountains to Lake Tatla,
thence it passes over the Chilcotin plains to the River Fraser; it crosses the Fraser
about 16 miles below Soda Creek, and continuing easterly by Lac la Hache and Lake
Canin, reaches the River Thompson valley, near the mouth of River Clearwater 19
From the latter point it pursues the same course to Edmonton as Routes Nos. 1 2 and
3.    From Bute Inlet to the North Thompson valley, by this route, the distance is 378
miles.    On this distance three summits are passed over.    First, at 87 miles from Waddington Harbour, the water-shed between the Homathco and the Chilcotin Rivers at
an elevation of 3_117 feet above the sea.    Second, on the Chilcotin plain, 53 miles west
of the River Fraser, the height is 3,700 feet.   Third, about midway between the Rivers
Fraser and Thompson, the elevation is 3,104 feet. At the River Thompson the height
is about 1,400 feet, and the crossing of the River Fraser is at the same level.   There are
long stretches on this line where the work would be light, but in some sections it would
be very heavy.   Ascending the Homathco for a distance of 15 miles through the great
canyon, a continuous uniform gradient of 110 feet per mile would be required involving works of an excessively heavy character,  embracing cuttings in granite  and a
great number of short tunnels, amounting in the aggregate to about three miles.
The greatest difficulties on this line are undoubtedly met with between tidewater and the head of the great canyon ; the ascent on this section is 2,285 feet in 34*
miles, of which 1,650 feet would have to be overcome in 15 miles.
The River Fraser is crossed with much less difficulty than expected; the line
approaches it on grades as high as 87 feet per mile, but without much heavy work.
The bridge need not exceed 800 feet in length and 30 feet above the river.
The descent from Lake Canin to the Thompson Yalley is very difficult. The
character of the ground renders objectionable curves and gradients necessary, and
the rock excavation would be very heavy. The remaining portion of this route to
Edmonton may be considered favourable. For the diagram of gradients on this
route, see Sheet No. 4.
Route No. 5.—This is a projected modification of Route No. 4. The change proposed lies between the Chilcotin plain and the Thompson Yalley, above Blue River,
and is the result of an exploration made late last autumn, by which it is believed much
of the objectionable portions of the route last referred to, may bo avoided. Sheet
No. 5 gives an idea of this route. The firm surface line is from actual survey, and
the dotted line, between the Fraser and Thompson Yalleys, shows approximately the
general gradients, which the information recently acquired lead us confidently to
hope may be obtained.
Should an instrumental survey result in the realization of these expectations, this
route will present very decided advantages. The difficulties met with, ascending
from ocean level by the great canyon of the Homathco to the level of the Central
plateau of British Columbia, will, it is true, still remain, but these difficulties will
practically be confined to only fifteen miles of line, and will be surmounted when
the head of the canyon is reached. The head of the canyon is forty-four miles from
Waddington Harbor and 2,285 feet above the sea level. This point is not far from
the  same  level as Fort   Edmonton, and, if the  information  received   be  well /
founded, it appears quite possible to connect these two points, 762 miles apart,
by a railway, having remarkably easy undulations. On the diagram (Sheet No.
5) a level line is drawn from the head of the canyon to Edmonton. An inspection
of this diagram will show that there will be an intermediate depression under this
level only at one point, and there merely to the extent of 800 feet; while the highest
point, the Yellow Head Pass, will not be more than 1,500 feet above it.
This route commands attention. Although a very heavy expenditure will undoubtedly be required to construct the railway for the first forty-four miles easterly
, from the Pacific Coast, it is thought that the average cost per mile, through the
whole of the Mountain Region, with this exception, will be moderate. It will be
quite possible, if present expectations be realized, to obtain a line, east of the great
Canyon, for the railway, on this route, with as favourable gradients as those which
obtain on the existing railways in the Eastern Provinces. In operating the Railway,
ordinary rolling stock would be available throughout, except on the fifty miles section adjoining the Pacific Coast; on this section special engines would be required
for the heavy gradient along the Canyons of the River Homathco.
Route No. 6.—On sheet No. 6, is shown the approximate gradients on a route
projected from Bute Inlet by the Chilcotin Plains to Fort George, and thence by the
valley of the Upper Fraser River to Te~te Jaune Cache, where a junction is effected
with the route through the Yellow Head Pass to the east.
Reliable information has been received respecting this route. In fact, the most
difficult and doubtful portions of it have been surveyed instrumentally, the remaining portions are approximately shown on the diagram by a dotted line. By this
route it is expected that, in crossing from Bute Inlet to Fort George, near the
great bend of the Fraser, a higher elevation than the Yellow Head Pass would be
attained. But from Fort George to Tete Jaune Cache the character of the Fraser
Yalley is reported to be such as to leave no doubt that a favourable line may be had.
It has always been felt that this route would be an alternative to fall back upon, in
the event of difficulties of an insuperable or very serious character presenting themselves on the route further to the south.
Should it become advisable to make a more complete examination of thisTOute,
I think the exploration should be extended, easterly across the Rocky Mountain chain,
by that branch of the River Fraser designated | The North Fork." Information has
been received, which leads to the belief that Smoky River Pass, through the mountains, will be found at the head of this branch which, if otherwise favourable, might
shorten the distance between Fort George and Edmonton. All the information
known about this pass will be found in Appendix K. It is not expected that the Smoky
River Pass will prove of lower elevation, or be generally more favourable than the
Yellow Head Pass.   It is possible, however, although by no moans certain, that the 21
mileage from the northern great bend of the Fraser, to the easterly side of the
Mountain Chain, might be shortened, and it would be well to test the matter.
Route No. 7.—All parties, who have visited the River Skeena, and acquired
from personal observation any knowledge respecting its outlet and the character of
the country in that district, seem to unite in an adverse opinion respecting the
eligibility of the River Skeena, as a route to the seaboard.
The outlet of the Skeena is situated fully 300 miles, in a direct line, northwesterly from Bute Inlet. Between these two localities, very little is favourably known
of the coast or of the country. So far as I can learn, recent examinations have been
made only in one locality. In the summer of 1862, Lieut. Palmer, R. E., spent
four months in exploring the country on the North Bentinck Arm, and thence by
the River Bella Coola, through a gap in the Cascade Mountains, to the elevated
plateau in the interior, across which he passed to the River Fraser. This gentleman
made a section through the Bella Coola gap and ascertained that the ascent was very
precipitous. At about 60 miles from the coast, he reached an elevation of 3,840 feet
and of this height found that 2,730 feet had to be surmounted in about 16 miles.
Seventy miles further, he gained the summit at an altitude of 4,360 feet, being nearly
600 feet higher than the Yellow Head Pass.
From the measurements of Lieut. Palmer and from other elevations ascertained,
it is believed, with tolerable accuracy, from accessible authorities, a diagram has been
compiled, showing the approximate general gradients, which it is thought may be
found on route No. 7. This route after leaving the North Bentinck Arm and the
Bella Coola gap, crosses the plateau to the Giscome portage, thence by Fort McLeod to
Peace River., which it follows through the mountains. Yery little can be said with
regard to the nature or magnitude of works of construction on this route, as all the
information respecting it is of a general character. Enough is known, however, to
lead to the belief that, by this route, a point within less than 300 miles of the Pacific
Ocean may be .reached from the Eastern Provinces of the Dominion, without attaining a higher elevation than 2,000 feet above the sea. But to cross the Cascade chain
to the coast, at any point between Bute Inlet and the River Skeena, it appears, from
all information yet obtained, that it would be necessary to ascend a height some 600
feet greater than the elevation of the Yellow Head Pass. For the diagram of this
route see Sheet No. 7.
As the question of crossing the Cascade Chain, to a suitable terminal point on
the coast, is daily becoming of greater importance, and as the North Bentinck Arm
is probably a fair type of all the deep .arms of the sea in the same region, I have
attached copies of extracts from the report of the exploration made by Lieut. Palmer
(Appendix L).
It is a coincidence worthy of remark, that 03 route between the Pacific- Ocean
at the mouth of the Bella Coola, and Fort Dunvegan, on the Peace River, where it
J flows on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountain Chain, is, with some trifling diversions,, identical with the track of Sir Alexander Mackenzie, who, in 1793, on his
memorable voyage of discovery across the Continent, was the first civilized man to
penetrate this country, and reach the Pacific Ocean from Canada. This intrepid
traveller, after wintering about 150 miles below the place now known as Dunvegan
left on the 9th May, followed up the Peace River to its source, continued westerly
and arrived at the Pacific coast en the 22nd July. Returning by the same route, ho
arrived at the post where he had spent the previous winter on the 24th August
"I have made some extracts from the narrative of this traveller, giving the impressions which he formed, as far as he recorded them, of the features of the country
along the track which he followed from the central plateau, through the Cascade
chain, to the sea coast. (Appendix M.) On comparing dates, it will be found.that Sir
Alexander Mackenzie reached the Pacific coast and camped at points visited and
named by the first discoverer, Capt. Yancouver, only a few weeks previously.
Before referring to the results of surveys in other portions of the
territory, I may state, with regard to the practicability of reaching the Pacific
Coast, at other points than those referred to, that I have made every enquiry
on the the subject, but I cannot learn that examinations of any consequence,
other than Lieut. Palmer's, have been made, along the coast between Bute
Inlet and the River Skeena, since the time of the discoveries of Yancouver and
Mackenzie in 1793. Our information, therefore, is but vague, and the possibility
of crossing the Cascade Mountains from the east to any one of the many other
Inlets, which indent the coast, in the absence of all reliable information, can be
nothing more than mere conjecture.
So little knowledge of this part of the coast has been recently acquired, that the
latest admiralty chart that I have been able to procure appears, in all essential particulars, to be an exact copy of the chart made by Capt. Yancouver.80 years ago.
As Vancouver's Yoyage of Discovery is a book rarely met, and as this work
contains information not elsewhere recorded, I have appended some extracts from
this volume in order to give some idea of the character of the coast, and to assist in
forming a judgment as to the possibility of reaching it from the interior. (Appendix N). To elucidate these extracts the chart of Capt. Vancouver's discoveries on
this portion of the coast is also submitted.    (Sheet No. 16.)
In order to ascertain how far it may be practicable to reach Yictoria, Esquimault, and other ports on Yancouver Island by a continuous line of Railway from
the mainland, a survey was made from Waddington Harbour, at the head of Bute
Inlet, 23
The survey extended along the north-westerly shore of Bute Inlet to Yaldes
Island, and passed over to Yancouver Island at Seymour Narrows; from this point
an exploration was made along the Easterly Shore to Esquimault, and to the Harbour
at the head of the Alberni Canal or Inlet.
For a distance of about 50 miles from Waddington Harbour, the only course for
the line is to follow the base of the high rocky mountains which extend along Bute
Inlet. On this section a great number of tunnels, varying from 100 to 3000 feet in
length, through bluff rocky points, would be indispensable, and the work generally,
even with unusually sharp curvature, would be very heavy.
Careful examination has established the fact that to reach Yancouver Island from
the mainland the following clear span bridges would be required:
At Arran Rapids clear span 1100 feet.
"    Cardero Channel—first opening  | 1350 |
"            "                  —second opening  " 1140 "
" .          "                  —third opening  " 640 "
"   Middle Channel  " 1100 |
(■    Seymour Narrows—first opening  | 1200 |
"            "                   —second opening  | 1350 |
The length of the section across the group of Islands, known as Yaldes Islands
lying between the mainland and Yancouver Island is about 30 miles.    The channels
to be bridged are of great depth, with the tide flowing from four to nine knots an
In crossing the Islands, heavy rock excavation and probably a few short tunnels
would be required.
Taking everything into consideration, the works of construction, on these eighty
miles, lying between Waddington Harbour and Yancouver Island, would be of a most
formidable character.  '
In Mr. Smith's Report for 1872 (page 134) will be found an account of the examinations he made from Seymour Narrows, along the west coast of Yancouver Island
to Esquimault. I have myself made a general reconnaisance of portions of the country and am satisfied, from what I have seen and learned, that this line would be
generally favourable, with works of a moderate character.
The whole distance between Seymour Narrows and Esquimault would be about
160 miles; of this distance 25 miles, between the latter place and Cowichan, would
have heavy rock excavations. From Cowichan to Nanaimo, 35 miles, the work
would be somewhat lighter.    The remaining 100 miles would be very favourable.
An exploration was made from the coast line to the Harbour at the Head of the
Alberni Canal with satisfactory results. This examination showed that it would be
quite practicable to carry the Railway to the seaboard on the west coast of ~\ an-
couver Island by this route. Whatever point on the main land be selected for the Terminus of the Transcontinental Railway, there can be no doubt that a line along the Eastern coast of
Yancouver Island will, at no distant day, form part of the Railway system of British
Yancouver and adjacent islands of the Straits of Georgia, possess sources of wealth
in coal and iron lying side by side, capable of immense development. The Eastern
coast is believed to be rich in these and other natural resources for nearly its entire
length. From Cowichan to Seymour Narrows, a distance of more than 130 miles,
the Geological Survey hf s already obtained positive information, which leaves no
doubt on this head. The Eastern coast of Yancouver Island, in addition to its mineral wealth, is known to possess considerable tracts of excellent agricultural land, ;
the climate is salubrious, and, with these elements of prosperity, it cannot fail to
become the centre of a large industrial population.
It is quite evident that a trunk lino of Railway will soon be required from Yictoria add Esquimault via Cowichan, Nanaimo, and Comox to Seymour Narrows,
eventually perhaps as far. north as Fort Rupert, near the northerly end of the Island,
with branches to Alberni on Barclay Sound, Nootka Sound, and other good harbours I
on the western coast.
To connect this insular portion of the British Columbia Railway System with
the main land, by a direct unbroken line, such as that projected across the Yaldes
group of Islands, will be a difficult and enormously expensive undertaking. Until
the traffic be to some extent developed and the prospect justify the outlay, a steam
ferry suitable for railway traffic can be easily established between Vancouver Island
and the terminus, on the main shore, such as would probably for some time ansAver
every purpose.
A Map of British Columbia, showing the various routes surveyed and projected
across the Rocky Mountain Zone, and also the line explored from Esquimault to
Seymour Narrows, on Yancouver Island, is submitted.    (Sheet No. 8.)
No continuous instrumental surveys have as yet been made, between the crossing of Red River in Manitoba and the termination of the surveys through the mountain region, at a point about 120 miles westerly from Fort Edmonton. The intervening prairie country has, however, been traversed in various directions, and,
although the reconnaisance of this region can scarcely be considered complete,
enough is known to warrant the belief that there will no great difficulty in project-,
•ing a favourable line, with comparatively light work, from Manitoba at the east, to
the Yellow Head Pass at the west. It will only be necessary to bring to bear on
the location of the line ordinary good judgment, to reduce to a minimum
the   actual    cost   of   crossing   the    large    rivers    and    the   deep   and   wide furrows, through which many of the streams of the plains flow. It did
not appear advisable to spend much time in survey work in the prairie
country. I considered it more important to direct attention, in the first place,
to those districts where difficulties really existed, or were considered to exist.
Not only are the engineering characteristics of the prairies easily understood, but
there will be ample time afforded for detailed examinations, in advance of construction. The railway will necessarily be commenced first where the country is accessible, on the eastern and western sections, and it will be some time before the central region is reached.
The foregoing remarks have reference to the Yellow Head Pass, as the objective
point on the western side of the prairie region. Should future discoveries in British
Columbia point to the expediency of abandoning that pass, for one more northerly,
my general impression is that the country, on the eastern side of the Mountain Chain,
is not unfavourable for the change. Although the information is very general and
imperfect, I have no reason to apprehend that there will be anything to prevent a
line of railway being constructed, at moderate cost, to any of the known passes
through the mountains as far north as Peace River.
While geographical or other circumstances may necessitate the commencement
of the railway at points more accessible than in the central region, it is generally
admitted that great advantages would result from settlement, making some progress
in the country, in advance of the railway. Tt fortunately happens that the lakes and
rivers in the interior are so situated, in relation to much of the land fit for cultivation, that they can, with moderate outlay, be rendered available as immediate means
of communication, and thus greatly facilitate settlement. Lake V innipeg, a body
of water as large as Lake Ontario, affords the means of reaching an extensive district. Lakes Manitoba and Winnipegosis may be employed in assisting the settlement of the rich lands to the west of them, as far even as the Touchwood Hills j and
the River Saskatchewan could, at no very great cost in portaging, or by deepening
the rapids, be rendered navigable for light draught steamers.
Mr. Selwyn, the director of the geological survey, has furnished me with
important information respecting the Saskatchewan.
. That gentleman passed down the river last season, the whole way from Rocky
Mountain House to Lake Winnipeg. The journey was performed between the middle of September and the 17th October, when the water was low, and thus he had
an excellent opportunity of seeing all the impediments which exist. At my request
Mr. Selwyn has favoured me with the result of his observations, (Appendix O).
The chief difficulty to navigation on the Saskatchewan appears to be the Grand
Rapid, at the point where it falls into Lake Winnipeg. A portage railway of three
miles would easily overcome that obstacle. From thence up to Edmonton, even
to Rocky Mountain House, Mr. Selwyn says, the river in its present unimproved
J condition might be used during the early summer months, by properly constructed
light draught steamers.
Next to the Grand Rapids, the Cole's Falls or Rapids, above the confluence of
the two Saskatchewans, appear to constitute the most serious impediment to the
navigation. These rapids are estimated by Mr. Selwyn to extend over a length of
twelve miles, with a total descent of probably forty-five feet. Only two other places
are spoken of as likely to give any difficulty to steamboat navigation, especially during the latter part of the season, when the water is low. They are the Crow Lake
Rapid and Thobon's Rajfid; both on the main Saskatchewan, the one below, the
other above Cedar Lake. It is not improbable that a moderate exj^enditure in
removing some of the large boulders, which everywhere fill the bed of the river, so
as to form a channel with a'uniform depth at these rapids, would render the Saskatchewan navigable above the Grand Rapids, for properly constructed steamers*
during the whole summer.
The speediest and simplest way of overcoming the Grand Rapids would be by
means of a cheap portage railway, or they might be avoided altogether by establishing
a line of communication through the Lakes Manitoba and Winnipegosis. The latter
route would undoubtedly better facilitate the settlement and development of the
country, but it would cost more than the route by the Grand Rapids.
A memorandum on the surveys which have been made, in connection with the
proposed route through Lakes Manitoba and Winnipegosis to Cedar Lake on the
main Saskatchewan, is attached.    (Appendix 0.)
Plans and sections of the principal portages referred to above are submitted
(Sheet No. 11).
There is one subject which probably has as important a bearing, directly and
indirectly, on the route and maintenance of the railway across the prairie region, as
any other. I refer to the question of fuel. For nearly a thousand miles, the timber
that now exists will be sufficient to meet the demand for building and fencing purposes, and, therefore, the importance of a supply of mineral fuel, at convenient points,
becomes very great, not only for consumption on the railway, but for the use of settlers. The scarcity of wood for steamboats will indeed be felt the moment steam
navigation is introduced on the Saskatchewan, and it will probably be necessary to
float coal down the river from the thick seams above Edmonton.
Mi*. Selwyn has formed a theory, which, if confirmed by actual discoveries, will
prove of incalculable benefit. His examinations convey the impression that the
coal-bearing rocks pass with their associated coal seams and iron ores beneath the
clays " which are observed in the vicinity of Fort Pitt and the Elbow, and it may
be that boring along the river valley would reveal workable seams of coal at such a
limited depth beneath the surface as would render them available, even as low down
as Carleton." This matter is so vitally important that it cannot too soon be brought to the
In accordance with the principles laid down at the beginning of the survey, in
the spring of 1871, the first efforts were directed to the discovery of a route for the
main line, which would touch Lake Superior, at such a point in its course, as would
make the Prairie Region accessible from that lake, during the season of navigation.
The first efforts were not successful. The work of exploration, extending over
a whole season, with a strong staff of surveyors, although undoubtedly the means of
acquiring a great deal of reliable and important information, did not result in the
discovery of a practicable line.
Explorations were continued during the following winter and summer, and, by
the end of 1872, a practicable and favourable route for the main line was found.
The route passed round the north side of Lake Nepigon, and, in order to
connect it with the navigation of Lake Superior, a branch line wa^ rendered
Two surveys for the branch were made. The one to Thunder Bay, the other to
Nepigon Bay. The estimated distance, from the main line to the former point, was
about 150 miles, and to the latter ""point about 105 miles.
The position of the main line, north of Nepigon, involving the construction of
so long a branch, was not satisfactory. {Surveys were therefore renewed in the
spring of 1873, in the hope of finding a more suitable location. It was felt that
the saving effected by a reduction of the length of the Lake Superior branch w ould
compensate for the extra cost involved in passing through a portion of difficult ground.
It was known that the rugged district along the coast of Lake Superior could not
wholly be avoided, but it was expected that exhaustive surveys would result in
showing where the fewest difficulties would be encountered.
While five surveying parties, fully equipped, were engaged in this examination,
the country between the valley of the Ottawa and Lakes Huron and Superior was
further explored, with the view of projecting the most direct practicable route from
, a point east of Nepigon to the westerly and to the easterly sides of Lake Nipissing.
During the present winter, two surveying parties have been and are still at
work, west of Lake Nepigon. But the characteristic features of the district, in which
they are engaged are well understood, and I do not apprehend they will meet
' with much impediment. Their duty is mainly to connect previous surveys by a
chain of measurements in order to shorten distances. This work, as much of the
ground is marshy and broken by innumerable small lakes, can best be done in the
winter season. I am now able to report that the results are satisfactory—that the surveys
conducted in the Woodland Region have made favourable progress.
Assuming that the work of the two winter parties will be completed without
meeting- serious difficulties, I may venture to report that three practicable routes
have been found.
A diagram has been prepared for the purpose of showing the general gradients
on these three routes, and, as I am describing them, it will be convenient to refer to
the diagram (sheet No. 9).
All three routes begin at a common point on the shore of Lake Manitoba and
with the exception of No. 1, terminate at the south-east angle of Lake Nipissing.
Route No. 1 terminates at Mattawa, opposite Lake Nipissing.
It may be observed that long portions of each route are common, but, in order
to make a proper comparison of their respective length and general engineering
features, the diagram is prepared so as to show each as a complete and distinct route,
between the terminal points referred to. The distances are given with as much
accuracy as £an, at present, be ascertained.
Route No. 1 passes north of Lake Nepigon; its total length is 1,047 miles.
Route No. 2 passes south of Lake Nepigon and touches the navigable waters of
Lake Superior, near the mouth of Nepigon River; its total length is 1,038 miles.
Route No. 3, like No. 2, passes south of Lake Nepigon and touches Lake Superior
navigation on Thunder Bay; its total length is 1,102 miles.
It has already been stated that route No. 1 would require, in order to reach
steamboat navigation on Lake Superior, a branch to Thunder Bay of about 150 miles;
to Nepigon Bay of about 110 miles.
Route No. 2 would require a branch, of about ten miles in length, to reach a point
on Nepigon Bay designated Red Rock, where steamboats now touch, but the surveys
which we have made establish the fact that, by straightening and dredging out the
channel between Nepigon Bay and a sheet of water known as Lake Ellen, the navigation of Lake Superior could be extended to the head of the former lake, ten miles
inland. The main line by route No. 2 would touch the head of Lake Ellen and thus,
by the improvements referred to a branch would not be required.
Route No. 3 touches the navigable waters of Lake Superior at Prince Arthur's
Landing, on Thunder Ray. and therefore requires no branch.
In estimating the distance between Lake Manitoba and Lake Superior, it should
be borne in mind, that the navigation of Lake Superior can, at a trifling cost, be
extended from Thunder Bay up the River Kaministiquia, to a point about eight miles
above Prince Arthur's Landing. In the comparison which follows, it will be convenient to call this point Kaministiquia. 29
Route No. 2, in its course from the west to Lake Ellen, touches Lake Nepigon at
' Chief's Bay. By constructing locks between Lake Superior and Lake Nepigon,
steamboat navigation could be extended to Chief's Bay. The elevation of Lake Nepigon above Lake Superior is 260 feet, and the cost of rendering these waters navigable, by means of locks, would be too heavy to be seriously entertained at the present
time. But it will be possible to do so, should the period ever arrive when the traffic
shall have grown sufficiently great to warrant the expense, and when it shall have
become a matter of vital importance to reduce land carriage for the products of
the Prairie Region, to a minimum.
According to the information obtained, the approximate distances from a common point on Lake Manitoba, 65 miles westerly from Red Rivor, to the several places
above referred to, are as follows:— .
By Route No. 1—To Kaministiquia
(Mainline.... 353
{Branch  142
m   -r, .        .  m     T     -,.       (Mainline.... 353
To Prince Arthur Landing, j Branoh  15Q
m  T ,    -„„                            (Mainline.... 395
ToLakeEllen {Branch     95
To Red Rock.
To Chief's Bay.
Mainline.... 395
Branch  105
Main line.... 395
Branch     55
By Route No. 2, To Lake Ellen Main line
-p..,,                 m   -d j tj   i                           (Mainline.... 481
Ditto To Red Rock {Branch    10
Ditto To Chief's Bay Mainline
By RouteNo. 3, To Kaministiquia Main line
Ditto To Prince Arthur Landing Main line
The total length of railway to complete the whole scheme between Lakes Manitoba, Superior, and Nipissing, by the three different routes is estimated as follows:—
. Miles.
RouteNo. 1, the Main line !047
Branch to Prince Arthur Landing.... 150
The Main line ■ • • -104^
Branch to Red Rock   105
RouteNo. 2, the Main line 1038
Branch to Red Rock     10
Route No. 3, tho main line ,	
at. 30
It appears from the foregoing, that route No. 1 has not the advantage with respect to distance. It is the longest route between Lakes Manitoba and Superior. It
is not the shortest through route, and, taking the total length of railway to be built,
for main line and branches, it exceeds route No. 3 by'95 miles, and route No. 2 by
104 miles. It is now, therefore, satisfactorily established that there will be no advantage gained by carrying the main line to the north of Lake Nepigon, and the
choice seems to rest between routes Nos. 2 and 3.
Route No. 3 affords the shortest line of communication between Lakes Manitoba
and Superior, beiug from 18 to 20 miles shorter than by route No 2.
Route No. 2 is the shortest through route and involves the construction and
maintenance of about 64 miles of railway less than route No. 3.
The relative merits of the two points, which would be touched on the shores of
Lake Superior, for the purpose of transferring freight or passengers from the railway to steamboats, is a matter for consideration in determining which route should
be adapted. I have already laid before the Government all the information I have
collected on this subject; from which it would appear that the advantages of either
point, as a harbour, do not materially preponderate over those of the other.
I refer to the Appendix for further information respecting Nepigon and Thunder
Bay, the two harbours referred to.    (Appendix I, page 207.)
The engineering features of routes Nos. 2 and 3 are similar. The same watersheds are passed over by both routes, and the same general elevation attained at the
leading points. As both routes have the same leading features, I propose limiting
my description to route No. 2.
Commencing at the southeasterly angle of Lake Nipissing, the wh