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Opportunity in Canada [unknown] 1927

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 m  H
ganadifl" n P. B- D
JLu~xM*X fyf/fs-  FOREWORD
CANADA'S greatest need to-day is population. Canada,
with an area of nearly four million square miles, is but little
smaller than the entire European continent, thirty-one
times larger than Great Britain and Ireland, while her population
—approximating only nine millions—is less than three persons to
every square mile. According to estimate, there are in the
Western Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta—
commonly called "The Prairie Provinces"'1 on account of the
sweeping expanse of fertile land within their borders—some
two hundred million acres of good farming land of which only a
small fraction is under cultivation.
To settle these great open spaces; to bring them to production;
to develop the vast natural resources; to extend commerce and
industry, the Dominion has need of people—of all desirable,
physically and mentally fit people—who are anxious to make a
new start in life in a country where opportunity to succeed and
become independent is but limited to the courage, energy and
enterprise of the individual.
Though Canada is anxious, as part of the British Empire, to
obtain the greatest possible number of British settlers, she—like
England to the Flemish weavers and the 100,000 Huguenot exiles
from France in the 16th and 17th centuries, and like the United
States, when her need for population was great—holds out the
hand of welcome to newcomers from many lands.
A distinguished journalist and author—a frequent visitor
to Canada for the past twenty years —tells in this book, as a
result of a recent four months'1 tour of Western Canada, during
which he personally visited and photographed many settlers of
many nationalities, how some of them are succeeding—actual
life stories which, though reading like romances, yet are the
authentic records of men and women living to-day. With stout
hearts and strong bodies, with determination and perseverance, and practically no capital, they have won independence,
broad usefulness—success.
They substantiate the claim—and with reason—that Canada
is the Land of Opportunity.  OPPORTUNITY knocked at the front
^^ door of a middle-class dwelling in a
London suburb.   It came
in the guise of a
|teg|    leaflet  telling  of
careers   which
men   with  little
or no means, but possessing the will to
work, could carve in Canada. It received
scant attention from the 5
master and mistress of the
house, and found its ^ a
way from
the waste- H% fr^
paper basket
into which
it was care-
1 e s s 1 y
thrown, out through the back door and
into the dust-bin.
The same leaflet chanced to fall into
the hands of a petty employee of the local
Municipal Council, George Allan, by
name. Desirous of bettering his position
ever since he had returned from across
the sea, where he had fought as a soldier
of the King in the great war, he was on
the look-out for opportunity. He took
the pamphlet to his humble home in
Allan and his wife read and re-read
the leaflet, slept over it, read it again,
and decided to make enquiries, in their
cautious English way. The information
they elicited about opportunity in Canada
whetted their desire to better their prospects. They found that for a very small
sum of money they could cross the ocean
comfortably—and that sum would be
advanced to them under a Government
scheme. On a winter's day they, with
their six-year old son, set forth on their
great adventure.
r^ AN AD A, at the time of the arrival
^^ of the little family from Twickenham, lay like a huge giant, wrapped in a
sheet of shimmering snow—a sheet glorified into a mantle of gleaming gems by
the glare of the sun beating upon it.
Signs indicating that the sleeper was
about to awaken were visible at every
mile-post as the Canadian Pacific Railway bore them across the vast continent in a
carriage provided with arrangements to
permit them to cook their own food as
they went along, and to rest at night.
As the train sped across Canada, a country of diversified scenery and resources
was  disclosed.     First  came  a
long stretch of land generously
wooded  or  cut  up   into  fruit
orchards  or prim  little  farms,
with the mighty St. Lawrence
flowing alongside the
railway.    Later   they
passed through a
mountainous   tract,
with lovely lakes and
pools lying in the hollows   of the hills—a
tract  richly  dowered
with mineral resources
of every  description.
Later still, after they
had  left  the  city  of
Winnipeg    behind,
they found the land as
level as a chess-board,
with hardly a tree or
bush growing upon it
except those  planted
close to human habitations    to     provide
shelter and shade for
man and beast.
The Western plain
—which   stretches   a
thousand  miles  from Winnipeg  to  the
Rocky Mountain
foothills — was
covered with tall
grass   when   the
French explorers
discovered it
Mrs. George Allan and son ^
long ago, and has ever since been known
as the prairie, which in French means
grass. In less than a generation a goodly
portion of it has been settled by men of
courage and determination, and has already been turned into a vast wheat-field,
yet leaving millions of equally fertile
acres to be exploited.
COME 3,000 miles from Saint John,
^ the Atlantic winter terminus of the
Canadian Pacific Railway liners, lies
Cluny, in the Province of Alberta. Five
high, gaunt-looking buildings standing
alongside the steel rails which link the
Atlantic and the Pacific proclaim the
prosperity of the little rural settlement
almost at the foot of the Rockies. Mil'
lions of bushels of wheat grown in the
vicinity are brought annually by the
farmers to these grain "elevators,11 as they
are called, and from them are shipped
either to Vancouver, the gateway to the
Orient, or to Fort William and Port
Arthur, at the head of the Great Lakes,
for transhipment to Europe and Asia, to
provide sustenance for hungry people in
every quarter of the globe.
About four miles from Cluny the Allans
found the farm of their dreams. The flame
of ambition burning in their breasts, the
interest awakened by the ever-shifting
scene outside the car window, the warmth
and comfort on board the train, and
the cheery  counsel  and  camaraderie of
The Town of
the railway
and Government officials
at various points, enlivened the journey. j|L§illlil
Cluny, Alberta
In Canadian phraseology, the farm on
which the Allans were to make their new
home was a "quarter section11 in extent—
that is to say, it was a quarter of a square
mile. A small frame house stood in one
corner of it, a short distance from the
road. Behind it was a shed, and beyond
that a barn.   The buildings were in good
repair, but there was not a tree or
a bush to break the monotony of
the flat prairie stretching around
them in every direction, as far as
the eye could see. The next-door
neighbour was nearly a mile away.
What a contrast the new home
must have presented compared
with the picture of the little villa
they had occupied in Twickenham ! To people who had always
lived in a tree-shaded terrace with
nothing but a thin wall separating
them from their neighbours on
either side, with aspidistras flourishing in pots in the drawing-room
and hardy plants growing in
window-boxes even during the
winter, the Canadian prairie on
a March day could hardly have
presented an alluring vista.
The gase of the Allans was,
however,  fixed on  the  future—
not on the past. In their mind's
eye the unpainted frame buildings
changed into a snug little home.
Annuals and perennials flaunted a
glory of green, pink, purple and yellow
behind rows of tall poplars. And beyond
the trees wheat gleamed like spun gold as
the sun shot its rays over their little farm.
With their own capable hands, directed
by God-given intelligence, they vowed
they would make that vision real—create
the home of their dreams. • 10
i&ygra f MSmsmsS
^mmmmk  tTmmmmmk
George Allan's new home in the Canadian West
The husband had been a gardener
before he had turned soldier for the duration of the war, and had worked on a farm
for a year after being "demobbed.11 The
wife was a farmer's daughter and had lived
in the country until she had gone into
domestic service. Her experience fitted
her to do anything that needed to be done.
The Allans bought some pigs and
chickens, a "fresh" cow, and a horse and
"buggy" with the money they had brought
with them—a little more than fifty pounds
—or that had been advanced to them by
the Government. A little later they added
a team and wagon and some implements to
their equipment.
The man found work on a neighbouring
farm, coming home to sleep every night.
His object was to learn Canadian methods
of cultivation. Incidentally he earned six
pounds a month, and as his experience
grew he drew higher wages.
The woman milked the cow and tended
the chickens and livestock. She built an
addition to the shed, to serve as a hencoop, and painted all the buildings a gay
red and white. She also dug up a plot for
the kitchen garden, and prepared ground
to plant a "wind-break" of trees around
the place.
The little boy consumed quantities of 11
milk warm from the cow, fresh eggs and
other home produce which he could have
had no opportunity of getting had his
parents remained in a London suburb;
and grew strong and sturdy as he played
about in the stimulating Canadian air.
Just when the mellow summer was
turning into crimson autumn, and the
prairie air, always exhilarating, was acquiring a tang that set the blood tingling
through the veins, I visited the Allan
home in the course of an extended tour
through Canada. The sun, a huge ball of
fire, was almost touching the horizon, as if
balancing itself to spring over the edge of
beyond into infinity. Stooks of wheat
neatly stacked up in the field alongside the
road added a splash of gold to set off the
red and white buildings, separated from
them by a series of furrows ready to
receive saplings which, in years to come,
would stand stately sentinels guarding the
happy home.
Mrs. Allan sat on the doorstep chatting
with a neighbour—an Englishwoman from
Hampton Court. Her son was playing
with a little friend in a corner of the yard.
The husband was away harvesting.
Grain ready to be converted into gold 12
"How are you getting on in your new
venture?" I asked Mrs. Allan, after explaining to her that I was a writer from
the old country gathering information as
to how settlers newly arrived in Canada
were faring. In a tone vibrant with exultation   she ^^n       m*l    replied:
sore, and
feels the
for yourself—when all you make is your
The next afternoon I encountered Mrs.
Allan on the road, driving her horse and
"buggy" to town, with a friend seated
beside her and her son with a boy companion snugly stowed away behind in the
body of the vehicle.
"If your husband is not
Mrs. George Allan out for a drive
Every evening I go to bed very tired.
But what a grand garden we will have
next summer! How pretty the place
will look when the trees have grown tall!
The wind blowing across the prairie will
have no terrors for us. And you don't
mind a backache when you are working
working too far from here," I said, "I
should like to meet him." She put her
hand over her forehead to shield her eyes
from the darling sun, and pointing south,
"If you take that road and drive down ■A*
it two miles, then turn to your right and
go on for another mile, you will see smoke
rising from a threshing machine and men
at work. My husband is there with his
wagon and team."
I followed those directions and found
the man. He was hauling wheat from a
neighbouring field to the threshing machine. Its appetite was prodigious. As
fast as he could stuff the sheaves on a
pitchfork into its gaping maw, they were
swallowed and chewed to bits, and he had
to scurry for the next lot while some one
else would be feeding the machine. Perspiration poured down his face. His
hands were rough and grimy.
I waited until Allan had thrust into the
greedy jaws of that modern monster all the
sheaves he had brought in his wagon, and
then went up to him, shook hands with
Earning twenty-four shillings a day
him, and squared off for a talk. Before I
had got started his "boss," in blue overalls
and a cap to match, rushed up to us and
"Mister, you won't take long with your
business, will you? We are threshing, and
I don't want the men to lose any time."
Allan told me proudly that he was
earning twenty-four shillings a day at the
job—his wages in Twickenham had been
two-pound ten a week. When he had
finished it he expected to have twenty
pounds to add to the nest-egg he had laid
aside against the winter, when there
would be plenty of time for him to rest.
In addition to the money ^^ he had
made he had gained a good ^f nj foundation knowledge of farm- - (fiSTing as
it is carried on in Canada.
And   he   looked   forward 14
with keen anticipation to the day in the
early spring when he would turn over the
first furrow on his own farm.
"The Government is advancing me the money to buy the
land," Allan told me.   "God
willing, with hard work
and  a  bit   of   luck   it
should be mine in a few
years1 time."
threshers at work tearing the precious
heads from the straw and pouring them
Harvesting in Western
HpHIS hurried conversation took place
-*■ on an islet of stubble surrounded by
a sea of wheat sheaves. Every few feet
stood a stook, forming, as it were, the
golden crest of a wave. The illusion was
strengthened by the smoke which rose
skywards here and there from the steam
into granaries standing near by, spewing
out the fine-cut stalks in a huge pile at
one side—smoke for all the world like
that rising from the funnels of steamers
ploughing their way across the ocean.
The level land afforded an unobstructed J^K-iV
view for miles and miles. Everywhere the
eye rested upon stooks, some in process of
being carted to the thresher, others waiting their turn. With wheat running 30 to
40 bushels an acre, a single glance must
have comprehended thousands of tons of
At almost any
point   alongside   the i^Sfii^a   -#•■
[^"V-::^v^,\"-*:- II
railway track as it runs from Winnipeg to
Calgary, a distance of over 800 miles, one
can stop in the sure knowledge of beholding exactly the same scene. Already the
wheat belt of Canada extends over so
large a portion of the three prairie prov-
of   Manitoba,   Saskatchewan  and
Alberta that a fast train takes nearly two
full days to cross it. Yet only a fraction
of the land -fit for cultivation has been
brought under tillage.
How deep-rutted were the roads over
which  the motor  car travelled in this
Canadian wheat-belt!   In whatever direction one turned one came upon wagons
carrying wheat from  the fields  to  the
elevator, from where it would start
off on its long journey finally
to become grist for some
mill on the other side of
the   world.
They   were
drawn   by
teams of two,
four,   six   and
even   eight
An inconspicuous look-
ing wagon
came rumbling
car stood at the
roadside while
the driver went to bring water from a
farm house to slake the thirst of the dry
"You would never imagine," said my
companion, who knew the district round
about Cluny intimately, "that the man 16
perched up on that wagon is a Russian
prince." Saying that, he hailed the passerby, who jumped down from his high seat
at a single bound, doffed
his hat and bowed low,
in court style.
HPHE prince might
-■-have walked
straight out of a
"movie" studio.
His "slouch" hat
was set on his
head at a rakish
angle. A bright
bandana   handker-
Formerly manager of a large ban\, 7\[. F. Rubakin is
now farming in Alberta
chief, tied round his neck, heightened the
effect of his coloured shirt tucked into
brown corduroy trousers, which in turn
were tucked into high boots reaching to
the knees. He held a whip at a jaunty
angle, and a graceful white Russian hound,
that had been trotting beside the wagon,
sprawled in the road at his feet.
The Prince came from a family which,
in days gone by, had owned many broad
acres in the land of the Czars. His parents
saw that the days of autocracy were
numbered, and left in time, with what
they could salvage of their large fortune,
for Paris. Suddenly, however, they disappeared. Since proof of death was not
forthcoming, it was impossible for their
heirs to secure the estate, and they found
themselves penniless.
After many vicissitudes in strange
lands the Prince managed to work his way
to Alberta. At the time I encountered
him he was working as a farm hand.
"K yCR. N. F. Rubakin, for whom he was,
■*■▼-*- at the moment, hauling wheat to
town, had, it turned out, been a bank
manager in Russia. Just before the crash
came he managed to get out of the
country and to bring some of his money
with him. He is now growing wheat,
and raising pigs and chickens, on a farm
that he bought in Alberta, just outside
When I met Rubakin a little later he 17
told me that the thing he missed most of all
was a piano. A fine musician, he has at
present to content himself with an organ,
and wait for the time when a bumper crop
will enable him to instal a grand piano in
the parlour of his prairie home.
Despite his artistic leanings, he is
intensely practical. So he will
have his wish before very long.
Scores of Russians have found
peace and
plenty in
Canada. In-
among these refugees are many persons of
high degree—counts and barons, generals
and scholars—all glad to be left alone to
work out their salvation by the sweat of
their brows. Some of them are already
well on the way to prosperity.
Colonel Orest Dimitrievich Dournovo,
a former officer of the Guards and a large
estate owner in Russia, who has shepherded many of his country-people to
Canada, is a philosopher by nature.
While serving under the Gsar he wrote a
commentary on the Bible which was designed to free Christianity from dogma
and restore it to its original simplicity.
The priests saw in it danger to the
power that they enjoyed at the time, and
the book was banned. In Alberta he is
continuing his  studies and his writing
Colonel and lArs. Dournovo
A Russian prince hauling wheat 18
Canadianized Mennonites
unhampered, while his large family is engaged in tilling the land. The eldest
daughter has already married, and has a
child. Another is at present contemplating matrimony.
It is indeed difficult to tell off-hand, the
antecedents of a man whom one may find
at work in a field in the Canadian west.
He may be driving the gasoline engine, or
hauling sheaves to the thresher on weekdays, and be preaching on Sunday.
Western Canada is the great democracy where men of all classes and callings
are elevated to a common standing in the
following of the first and greatest industry of the world. The land knows no
rank or distinction, but gives returns to
its subjects in proportion to the effort
AN hour or two after falling in with
■* *■ the Russian prince I came upon just
such an instance, which taught me to be wary in jumping to conclusions. A Men-
nonite of mature age, who, in cap and
overalls, was gathering sheaves in a corner
of his field and loading them into a wagon
to take to the threshing machine, turned
out to be the preacher of his little community. Two or three days later he
would be standing in the pulpit in the
little church in
the village hard __.
by, expounding
the Gospel JL*^'''
to his peo-       ,J%
the road
was  the
pastor's home. Set in the midst of a
plantation of trees, with the farm buildings built round it, it fronted an ample,
trim lawn. Trie madeira vine which
clambered all over the front of the house
had dropped many of its leaves, and was
hanging in long yellow festoons over the
"You ought to have visited us a month
or   six   weeks   ago,"   said   the   farmer-
preacher's wife by way of wel"
come,   "then
you would
have found the
garden a
b la z, e of
The JAennonite preacher, his wife, daughter-in-law and daughter 20
bloom. Now the glory is all gone. But
we have the memory of its beauty to keep
with us until next summer brings fresh
flowers—and vegetables—and fruit.
"Just look at the sise of those cabbages
and cauliflowers, and see how firm they
are. And look at the sturdy stalks of
the celery in the trench
over there. You can tell
from the appearance of
the straw- 4
berry patch
and the
what a
crop of fruit we must have had. The
work in the garden in this Alberta air
has made a new woman of me," the Men-
nonite lady continued. "I used to be
sickly in Pennsylvania, where we came
from—unable to digest any food or to do
much work even about the house.    This
climate suits me better,
and we are all
very happy
here,  and
getting on
yk   well."
Joseph Eley and family 21
l"F the Canadian prairie could talk there
-*■ are not many square miles of it that
could not unfold thrilling tales of effort
and achievement that would rival the
romantic adventures of the imaginary
heroes of fiction. Thousands upon thousands of men who have brought with
them little else but their native intelligence, the will to work, and the determination to succeed, have picked at random one locality or another as the field of
their operations, and have acquired a
competence and many of them even
wealth. Some of these men began to
grow wheat without a single day's farming experience. They came from desks
in business offices or trades in towns,
and had no great love for the country.
Pessimists prophesied failure when they
started. At times
it looked as if
those fore
bodings would come true. They stuck to
their job even when the fates seemed to
be against them;- and in an astonishingly
short time they had their reward.
HPAKE the case of Joseph Eley, for
example. Born in Derbyshire some
48 years ago, he went to work in a paint
factory when he was a lad just entering
his 'teens. In the course of years, when
he was deemed fit to have two boys
working under him, he was paid the
munificent salary of sixteen shillings a
week. That was all that the employer
could afford to give him—all that he was
worth. At least that was the tale he
was told.
Unable to secure a rise, Eley moved to
Staffordshire, and found a job at Burton-
on-Trent. The pay was a little better,
and for a few months he was quite happy.
As time went on. however, and his efforts
The Eley home and barn 22
iP* WWteT
Cows of various breeds on a Manitoba pasture
to better his position proved unavailing,
he made up his mind to emigrate to some
part of the Empire where he would have
brighter prospects.
It was easier for Eley to make up his
mind to go to Canada than to gather
together the money to pay his fare—that
was long before "assisted passages" were
dreamed of. It took him ten long, hard
years of skimping and scraping to save up
forty pounds. With that as his sole
capital, and without any farming experience, he fared forth in 1904 to try out his
luck in the Dominion.
Upon arrival in Canada, Eley found
that if he went out to Saskatchewan he
could homestead land. The Government
would give him a quarter-section free on
condition that he would tame the prairie
and bring it under cultivation.
The farm that fell to the ex-painter-
potter's lot had on it a number of sloughs
—depressions of varying depth filled with
rain water during the whole year. He
would have to drain them before he
could do much with the land.
No timber was available on the holding.
Eley had but a few dollars left by the
time he got to Saskatchewan, and no
money to buy lumber. He built a house
of sod, laying the grass-covered clods of
earth one over the other. With only that
frail shelter from wind and weather he
took in hand the work of levelling and
draining his land and bringing it under
the plough as rapidly as possible. The man who was homesteading the
adjoining quarter-section laboured under
similar disadvantages, but was so fortunate as to have a team of oxen. Eley
formed a close friendship with him which
in a short time ripened into partnership.
By little and little the two men ploughed
every inch of their half-section that was
fit for cultivation and was not needed for
the   farm   buildings which they
tions they suffered—would, before long,
bring them success.
In talking with me, Eley declared that
he dated his good fortune from the day he
married his partner's sister. "She has
been a wonderful wife," he said; "without her aid we would not have had that
modern barn and fine house, or the herd of
cows that you see off in the pasture there."
This conversation took place as we
were making a round of the farm buildings.
The house
had all
I   the con-
were ambitious ^
one day to put
up.    Each crop
they gathered was
larger than the one
which preceded it. In
the course  of a few
years they
were able to
build a modest
An Albertan Holstein which gives 20,000 lbs. of mil\ a year
wooden dwelling to replace the sod house,
and to buy stock and implements. Being
young and ambitious they did not mind
roughing it. They knew that all the
hard work they put in—all the priva- %
speak English, was at work peeling potatoes. The parlour was furnished with a
comfortable sofa and easy chairs. On the
piano was a radio (wireless outfit), with a
loud speaker.
The barn in which the herd of 35
thoroughbred cows was kept was larger
than the house, and must have cost even
more money to construct. It was modern
in every sense of the word. A curved
cement floor was provided with drains,
and the stalls were equally sanitary.
At the back of the barn was a mechanical arrangement for carrying the feed
directly ^..^ m to the mangers in a
ened the toil. The Eleys were particularly proud of it.
Almost midway between the barn and
the house was a substantial frame building specially erected to serve as a dairy.
Water from a spring ran through it,
enabling the Eleys to cool their milk and
cream without the use of ice summer and
winter. The cans and separator were
highly polished and the floor was immaculately clean.
"Mrs. Eley sends forty or fifty gallons
of milk to town every day," the husband
proudly related. "And milk is selling
from $2 to $2.50 a hundred pounds."
running on
rails over-
he a d . It
greatly light-
A pedigree Holstein bull on an Alberta far
m 25
- .."V .„„ . ,.,._
help   have
you to run your 640-
acre farm and dairy?"
I asked, and hazarded the guess:
"It must take an army of men."
"Me and one hired man look
after the farm," said Mr. Eley.
"The Missus milks the cows with
the aid of our son, who is turned
fourteen years old. She generally
has a 'hired girl1 for the housework. We had a Canadian girl
working for us at $35 a month
and her keep, but she packed up
and left
.us, just
at harvest time
when we needed her
most. It was hard on
us; but her parents
needed her, and, being
neighbours, we did
not mind.    Not that
A modern dairy farm in
Western Canada w
we could have helped matters, had we
felt differently about it.
Now we have a Mennonite woman.
She has two kiddies of her own and we
let her keep them with her. But they are
no bother, and they play with our own
children as if they belonged to the family.
That is all the 'army1 we employ."
OUCCESS is not necessarily contingent
^ upon youth. When Dave Payne retired from the gas engine that he had been
minding at Hendon for what is now the
London, Midland and Scottish Railway,
in order to emigrate to Canada, he was
52 years old. He had been born on a
farm at Orton Head, near Hitchen, and
all the years he had lived in the city he
had yearned to get back to the land.
The tales written back home by his son,
who had gone out to Saskatchewan, made
him feel that he might satisfy his soul's
craving in that land of pro- ^
mise, whereas he
could never
expect to have
his heart's desire if he remained in England. So with his wife, about the same
age as himself, he turned his face in the
direction of the setting sun in the summer
of 1906. c|||   .1 JJ-
Most men of Payne's age would have
been satisfied merely to live with the
son on his Canadian farm. And his son
would have been only too happy to have
his parents do so.
Payne and his wife were, however,
built of different stuff. So they settled
down as homesteaders on a quarter-section about forty miles from the flourishing
town of Saskatoon. With everybody in
the district engaged in the same calling,
and possessed of intelligence and gritr
they had no difficulty in mastering farming. The land, being virgin soil, gave
them a quick, handsome return.
There was not a person living within
eight miles of the Payne home when they
first moved into it, and not a nurse or
doctor within ten miles of them. Mrs.
Payne was of a
kindly, motherly    j
Mr. and Mrs. David Payne talking to visitors 27
A Roumanian woman cutting wheat by sickle in Saskatchewan
disposition, and the people of the country-side, quickly sensing her goodness of
heart, came to her when they were in
need of help or encouragement, and asked
her to act as doctor and nurse when a
visit was expected from the stork.
"I am 'Granny1 to a hundred children
1 helped to bring into the world," the
little old lady, now turned 70, told me as
she stood chatting with me outside her
home in the gloaming.
/^\N the way to the Payne farm I
^-^ noticed a woman in the field, a red
handkerchief tied around her head, cutting wheat with a sickle. Behind her was
a little, white-painted house with a high-
peaked red roof. Beyond that, in the
distance, was a glint of water where a
pond had collected in a hollow, its surface
almost hidden by the tall bulrushes that
grew round its edge. The sky was
overcast with clouds, but the sun, almost 28
ready to set back of them, gave them a
golden lining which shimmered around
their grey edges and spread out over the
heavens in an after-glow that lit up and
glorified the landscape.
The figure looked so incongruous in
that setting that I asked the driver to halt
so that I might learn the woman's story.
On closer approach I found that the
wind and rain had beaten and blown
down the grain so that a modern reaping
machine could not cut it. Determined
not   to  lose  the  crop,  the  80-year-old
Widow Sodick had come out to deal with
it by the old-fashioned methods she had
used as a girl in Roumania, and was cutting it with a sickle, tying the sheaves
by hand, and gathering them up into
Mrs. Sodick's son, who owned the
quarter-section next to the one on which
she lived, was cutting the crop in his
field with a modern harvesting machine.
My companion told me that he had made
good—that he was reputed to have
$12,000 on deposit in the local bank.
Reaping in the Canadian West 29
It is to be doubted that that old woman
will ever change her ways, or learn to talk
much English. Her son, however, has
become Canadianiz;ed. He can handle
any implement without being told how to
use it. Of a mechanical turn of mind, he
can effect most repairs which would cost
considerable money to many a native-born
Canadian.    His
equipment of
ing his knowledge of the language and
learning about Canadian history and in
It is truly wonderful how quickly men
like that Roumanian become absorbed in
The boys and girls of school age who
come with these foreigners, and the
children who are born to them after they
Ploughing on the Canadian prairie
English is sufficient to enable him to carry
on all his dealings with his neighbours
without an interpreter. Having determined to make Canada his home-land, he
spends the long winter evenings improv-
arrive, learn the new ways even better
than do the grown-ups. In the school and
playfield the Canadian spirit is instilled
in them through text-books and the precepts taught them by the teacher. 30
Row of elevators at the
head of the Great Lakes
npHE Canadianiz;ation of the younger
-*- generation was dramatically demonstrated to me when, on an autumn afternoon, I visited a farm belonging to a
Checko-Slovak who had been in the country for some fifteen years. It was situated a few minutes1 motor drive from
Viscount in the'province of Saskatchewan
—exceedingly well served by railway and
other communications.
The old mother, who had accompanied
her son and daughter-in-law when they
emigrated, was the peasant type familiar
to anyone who knows central and southern Europe. She was hard-working and
thrifty and quite set in her ways. She
had not troubled to learn English. She
was, however, of a pleasant disposition,
and beamed smiles by way of welcome.
The daughter-in-law was an entirely
different type of woman. She knew that
the only way she could succeed in the
country of her adoption was to learn the
language and methods of the land. Help
was difficult to obtain, and, in any case,
expensive.     She   must,   therefore,   use iigsii£M&
I *ra^
labour-saving apparatus which would
lighten her work and enable her to get
the utmost cream out of her milk.
The eldest daughter of the owner of
the farm had been through a Canadian
school. The merest glance at her showed
that she was different from her mother
and her grandmother. She showed taste
in her dress; spoke good English; and
kept herself informed as to what was
happening in the world. She was, in
fact, an exceedingly alert, capable young
When I got ready to take a group
photograph of the three generations, she
sat on the railing of the verandah at a
little distance from the others,
as if she were determined to keep her
entity strictly separate from them. The
little girl sat between the mother and
grandmother; but would no doubt grow
up more like her elder sister than either
of them. She was wonderfully self-possessed—put out her hand as soon as she
saw me—and chirruped away all the
I was still more impressed with the
difference between the older and younger
generations when, not far from the farm,
I came upon the children of the family on
their way home from school. They were
riding in a "buggy" drawn by a steady-
going pony, which was only too glad to
stand still while I was photographing the
boys and girls. / The
. little folks
went to
two    or
Czecho-Slova\ children returning home from their Saskatchewan school three miles from their father's farm, driving
back and forth, stabling the horse in a barn
provided for the purpose by the school
board. They spent hours every day
away from the other members of their
family in the company of young Canadians or other foreigners who, like themselves, were in process of becoming
Canadians. They spoke English as if it
were their mother-tongue. What wonder that their outlook on life was that of
all the other youngsters about them?
They were contented and happy, proud
to be called Canadians, proud of the land
in which they lived.
^r.  •*•- •_- » -r
Three generations of Czecho-Slova\ settlers 34
A HUNGARIAN girl whom I met in
•* ** the same neighbourhood not long
afterwards received a salary of $1,000 a
year teaching school near her Saskatchewan home. Barely out of her 'teens, she
had come to Canada as a baby.
"I had not the least difficulty in learning English," the young lady said, with-,
out the slightest accent. 'There is no
discrimination against me because I am
foreign born. My pupils belong to various races, and do not all go to one church.
They get on splendidly, however, and I
greatly  enjoy  teach   i   ing them."
This girl's outlook   i   upon   life
optimistic—as, in-   I
deed,  is the
case with
everyone born, or settled, in this land of
opportunity. The boys and girls who sit
at her feet will unconsciously acquire
from her the spirit that refuses to be discouraged—that downs difficulty.
This Hungarian school-teacher's father
showed me the place, just in front of his
comfortable home, where he had built the
sod house which he occupied when he
homesteaded his first quarter-section. He
had a keen sense of humour. Describing
his tribulations of those days, he related
that when the rain leaked through the
roof in one corner of their primitive habitation they moved into another corner. | When that spot began to get
damp they moved over to the
other side, hoping that
by the time they
Canadianized Hungarians 35
had finished shifting about the weather
would change.
It was quite natural that this resourceful man should prosper. To-day he owns
many broad acres, and is constantly
adding to his farm holdings.
P VEN in the Canadian West, so rich
' in   opportunity,   success   does   not
always   come      /4SS85**-—- "■
immediately a
man   begins   to       .
woo it;
but   if/
he per-
the Dominion. Harness-making, which
trade he had learned in the old country,
stood him in good stead at times. He
was, however, not over-particular what
he did so long as he could keep his family
fed and provide a roof over their heads.
He painted houses, repaired barns and
fences, or did any odd job that came his
Just 12 years ago Hanson
s=^^*^ found his way to Sas-
katchewan,    land-
a-sFl^      -  !  ing there without
a dollar in his
s-^^^^-    pocket.      He
The Hansons—father and son
severes, sooner or later he wins out.
That was the experience of Hans M.
Hanson, who came 24 years ago from
Drammen, Norway, to try his luck in
Western Canada.
For some twelve years Hanson drifted
about without managing to get the kind
of opportunity he had hoped to find in
rented a farm on the basis of sharing the
crop with the owner, and hit upon the
plan of saving practically all that he made
out of the main crop and paying his expenses from "side lines" such as milk,
eggs, and pigs. So well did the experiment succeed that he is now building
himself a house in the town of Colonsey, 36
to which he intends to retire. His son
will rent the farm from him, and will pay
him enough to enable him to live in comfort without being compelled to dip into
his savings in the bank. The daughter,
his only other child, is working for herself, so the Hansons find themselves today without a care in the world, and the
proud possessors of a Ford
coupe in which they can
drive about the
country as they
Hanson's  son  is
Miss Hanson doing the family laundry
a lucky man. He is starting in life with a
farm of 480 acres which would bring $40
an acre in the market any day his father
chose to sell it. He will have a modern
house to live in, and equally modern
barns filled with up-to-date machinery of
every description, including a threshing
machine. He will be the owner of 21
pigs, 100 chickens, 10 head of cattle and
16 horses.
And this is the patrimony bestowed
upon the son of a man who started without a cent in Saskatchewan only twelve
years ago!
Prosperity has not spoiled Hanson. If
you ask him for the secret of his success
he will more likely than not attribute it
to the good quality of the prairie land.
If he takes any credit to himself, he will
only say that he preferred to go in for
"mixed farming" instead of exclusively
growing wheat. He is a firm believer in
a settler keeping a few cows, pigs and
chickens in addition to raising a staple
The thoughts of some of Hanson's
neighbours are beginning to tend in the
same direction; and slowly the character
of Canadian agriculture is changing in
consequence, these "side lines" are bringing new prosperity to the farmers—and
^ also to the country.    More diversified
^farming, greater variety of production,
is leading to steadier, regular income
through expanding markets. TN the immediate neighbourhood of the
-*• Hanson home a recently planted settlement of Mennonites is already well
advanced on the road to independence.
There are eleven families in this particular
colony, each having its own house.
The dwellings have been so designed
as to form a little village, instead of being
placed cheek by jowl, in a terrace. The
huge space round which they are built
provides the 64 children belonging to the
settlement with a splendid playground,
while it enables the adults to retain the
rural atmosphere.
The farm at the edge of which these
houses have been built extends over
3,269 acres. With 22 able-bodied men
and women, each willing to devote himself or herself to the allotted task every
day, and with modern equipment of every
description, not to speak of 60 horses, 42
cows, 200 chickens and 80 hogs, the little
colony finds it easy enough to manage that
acreage and to live well and prosper.
Such aptitude in mastering Canadian
ways have these Mennonites shown that
out of the first year's crop they were able
to pay the man from whom they bought
the land $18,000, this representing $15,000
principal and $3,000 interest. The original owner of the land sold to the colony
for $55 an acre, provided the seed, feed,
horses and machinery, and in addition
built the houses necessary to accommodate the eleven families.
A newly arrived Mennonite settler 38
The 1926 crop waiting to be threshed
at the time of my visit promised to give an
equally good yield, which meant that the
second payment would probably reduce
the indebtedness by another
There has
been a considerable movement of Mennonites   from
Russia to Canada in recent years, and
similar successful groups of settlers are to
be found all over the Canadian Westi
They are a hardworking and thrifty
people and have a peculiar place in the
country's workaday life. Frequently
they occupy land, upon which other less
labourious people would be disinclined to
settle, and engage in occupations for which
they are not adapted. They keenly appreciate the political and religious freedom
Canada affords them, and their children,
through attendance at the schools of the
settlement, absorb Canadian ideas and
ideals and carry them home. The agricultural production of the territory is swelled substantially each year through the
contributions of these Mennonite colonies.
According to colonisation authorities
the newcoming Mennonites have been
highly successful in Western Canada.
Numerous cases of outstanding individual
successes might be instanced. One Saskatchewan farm of 3,200 acres was sold
to a group of Mennonites for $50.00 an
acre, and during the first two years, the
families thereon paid off nearly 50% of
their indebtedness. Such cases might be
multiplied to illustrate the rapid progress
being made in a material way by these
new Mennonite settlers and the manner
in which they are contributing to the
cultivation of the land and the swelling
of agricultural revenue in the Western
Mennonite children and their mother f^iF late years Italians have started a
^^ settlement not far from Lorette in
Manitoba, about two hours1 motor ride
from Winnipeg. People with ideals, yet
both hardy and practical, they are making a success of the venture.
I beheld a curious scene as I entered
the gate. A woman with a scarf tied
over her head stood beside a handsome
motor car talking to two men who were
busy mending a punctured tyre. "Pastoral
Europe in juxtaposition with modern
Canada," was the thought ^jgigk that
flashed into my mind.
The two men, it
developed later, were
officials of the     ^^«
settlement society who had come out from
Winnipeg to see how affairs were going
on. They knew little English; but the
acquisition of. languages comes easy to
Italians—and, in a few years, they will
need no interpreter to act for them when
transacting business with Canadians.
Presently a man in shirt sleeves, driving
two horses in front of him as he walked,
entered the yard, and began filling the
trough with water by working a hand
pump. One of the animals appeared to
be inquisitive, as horses so often are, and
with its nose dipped into the trough
stared at the same scene that
had   interested
House on the Italian settlement, Lorette, Manitoba 40
The housekeeper of the colony
The woman with the handkerchief
over her head had the manners of a
queen. With a graceful bow- she welcomed us and invited us into the house
in musical Italian. We sat beside the
table at which the members of the colony ate their meals. The dining room
opened off the kitchen, which was fitted
with every conceivable device which a
modern housewife might wish to have.
On the cook stove, which looked as if
it might have just left the shop, so
brightly polished was it, a huge kettle
of soup was bubbling. The delicious
odour made us all hungry, and we
wished that we might be invited to
stop and partake of it.
The woman, we learned, was the
only member of her sex in the colony,
though others were on their way. She
did all the housework and home-making,
while the men, one of whom was her
brother, attended to the farm work,
which was assigned to them each day
by their leader.
In front of the settlement house
was a garden filled with vegetables of
every description. All around were
the fields tilled by the members, producing wheat, oats and other crops.
At some distance from the house
was a cheese factory, only recently acquired. I found four powerfully-built
Italians hard at work there. They
told me that the plant had come into their possession only a little while ago,
and needed much attention—and was
having it, too.
The house, the fields,
and the  factory   were
permeated   by
an    atmosphere
of   joy — of
■     \
in the lovely surroundings, reminiscent
in the warm summer sun of their beloved
Though the Italian in Canada has, in
the main, been an industrial worker, prosperous Italian farmers may be frequently
encountered in travelling through the
Western provinces where there are some
thriving colonies. The inhabitants of
Northern Italy are fine agriculturists, for
whom there is room for many more in
Western Canada.
Italian settler watering horses "\>fOST of the set-
-*•'-*• tiers are much too
individualistic in temperament and training
to imitate the example
of these colonies. At
Isle des Chennes, not
far from the Italian settlement at Lorette,
for instance, I found a German sausage-
maker from Danzig hard at Work on his
farm who was individualism personified.
Powerfully built and resolute of character, Gustav Schliesins had seen his large
fortune melt away under the stress of
The Schliezins family and hired man war, in which he figured as a soldier in the
German army. Instead of repining over
what he had lost, he gathered together
all that was left of his money and sold his
house—practically a palace in siz;e and
magnificence—and his factory, and everything else that could be converted into
cash, for anything they would fetch.
With the $4,000 thus obtained he set his
face towards the New World.
Schlie^ins landed at Halifax in May,
1925, and less than a week later arrived at
Winnipeg, where he presented a letter
of introduction to the Commissioner of
Immigration and asked for advice as to
what was best for him to do. In view of
his experience he would have had no
difficulty in establishing himself in sausage-making or some other branch of the
meat trade;  but he had had enough of 44
city life, and insisted upon going to the
In less than two years Schlie2ins, aided
by a family composed of his wife and two
grown-up   daughters,   all   sturdy, hardworking individuals, has shown what a
man with intelligence and determination
can do on the land.   He planted 45 out of
the 226 acres of land that he bought
to flax, and was so assiduous in cultivating it that it brought him nearly
$1,200 in the autumn of the first
year.  Every penny of that money
went into the bank to serve as a
reserve to meet the $300 instalment which will fall  due yearly
until 1932, when the land will become his own.
The household expenses were met from
the proceeds of the
milk yielded by eight
cows, and the eggs
from 60 hens, cared
for by the women
of the family.
The   entire
Schliesins family
was so completely ignorant  of
farm  work  that
they had to be
taught how to
hitch    the
horses, and
Mrs. Heim, senior
how to handle the plough, the harrow,
the cream separator, and other farm machinery. He even had to be shown,
in minutest detail, how to harvest the
various crops.
The eldest Schliesins girl is as strong as
a man and undertakes any and every job
on the farm.    Nothing about her dress
when she is at work suggests femininity.
One has, however, only to enter
the house to see that she, though
wearing    boy's   clothes,   and
her  sister  and  mother, have
brought refinement as well as
physical  strength with  them
from   Europe.    If there ever
was a case of will-power determining   success,   this
certainly is one.
But it  is not the
will-power of merely   the   husband
and   father  that
is   making   the
transition   from
a sausage factory
in Danzig to a
Manitoba  farm
easy and pleasant   to   accomplish.     If   the
wife    and
daughters had
not done their
■ "bit" and, perhaps, sulked <Wk'
and sighed for home, there might have
been a different tale to tell.
Women are, indeed, often the determining factor in a man's success—or
failure—on the prairie, even more than
they are in older, more settled countries.
TN farming, as in other walks of life,
■*- the man with a fine intellectual
equipment  has  an  advantage  over
his competitor with inferior brain
power.     Agriculturists   settled
round about St. Anne, Manitoba, who used to think that Ji
book learning really incapacitated a man for getting money
out of the soil are begin-
ning    to
change their
views as
they watch
a Hungarian
who has ac-
quired a
holding in
their neighbourhood,
carry on
in his fields.
the European order
was entirely
Her son, formerly High School teacher in Austria-Hungary
upset by the war, Adam Heim used to
teach languages at a gymnasium, as the
high school is known throughout central Europe. Possessing
an exceedingly fine mind and a
retentive memory, he had mastered a number of tongues,
and was particularly
gifted in the art of
edge   to other
people.      He
was gentle  in
his  ways,  the
pupils took to
him kindly,
and, as a result,
he was in
the  good
books of his
To no one
did the war
come as a
shock than
it did to
Heim. He
was so
happy at his
work that
he had no
desire to
leave the
schoolmaster's 46
desk for the trenches, but he had no
option in the matter. To his misfortune
he was taken prisoner not long after he
had turned soldier. With the aid of his
keepers, whom he heavily bribed, he put
into execution a clever scheme to effect
his escape, and after many vicissitudes
unexpectedly returned to his family,
which had believed him to
be dead and was mourning
his loss.
"The privations that I
endured while a prisoner,11
the Professor declared, "were . Ill
nothing compared with the
sufferings we had to undergo
after the Armistice was sign'
ed. The exchanges went
crasy. Prices rose so high as
to place the commonest neces'
sities of life beyond the reach
of men like myself. The only
persons round about us in
the city who had enough to
eat belonged to the enor'
mously wealthy classes.
Middle class salaried people
like us had to starve.11
The Professor puffed reflectively at his pipe for a
minute or so, then continued:
"I noticed that people in
the country were not so
badly off as the townsmen
were.   The farmers managed,
in spite of the crisis, to produce enough
food for themselves, and lived almost as
well during those terrible years as they
had done when peace and plenty reigned
over the land. That was an object lesson
to me. It taught me that I had assigned
wrong values to things—that I had
attached a fictitious importance to culture
and science, and had wrongly under-rated
the production of food and the men engaged in industries without which civilisation could not exist for a day.
"As soon as that realization came to me I began
immediately to make
arrangements to go to the
New World to
start life over
The Heirrfdmi]y
again. Leaving my family behind in
Hungary, I reached the United States,
and soon discovered an opportunity
which promised to give me the start that
I needed. Unfortunately, however, the
quota law stood in the way of my getting
my wife and children to join me.11
Professor Heim with his wife and five
children arrived in Canada in August,
1925, and found a warm welcome awaiting them in the Dominion. With the
help of the Immigration Department in
Winnipeg he found the farm at St. Anne,
on which he is now living.
"It has been uphill work,11 Heim told
me. "I knew nothing about farming,
nor did I know anything about the land
upon which I had settled. It was in none
too good condition, having been sadly
neglected. It was a period of difficulty
and disappointment for us. The little
store of money I had brought with me
kept dwindling and dwindling, and
nothing was coming in. Everything
looked black at one time.11
Heim, however, was learning farming
by watching his neighbours at work, and
by poring over Government bulletins.
What was even more important, he was
making a study of his land—finding out
what to do and what not to do—which
part of it should be sown to wheat, and
which to oats, which left to pasture, and
which converted into a garden patch.
- 48
At the same time the Professor was
buying cows, pigs and chickens. These
side-lines have already begun to pay. A
little is beginning to come in from the sale
of milk and eggs. The farm, in any case,
is keeping the family. It is in no danger
of starving—a clanger which was very
real in the old country.
"When we have had a few crops off the
farm and have sold some pigs and quantities of milk and eggs and the cockerels
that we do not want," said Heim, "we
shall be fairly comfortable."
The Professor's neighbours have to
acknowledge that in a few months' time
he has acquired a better grip over farming than they have secured after years of
practical experience. They marvel not
only at his ability to find the right use for
the various portions of his farm, but also
at his judicious purchases of stock and
equipment, and the bargains he is able to
drive for hiring out his tractor and other
mechanical equipment, and for the sale of
his produce. They have, in consequence,
ceased to think that book-learning is a
handicap to a farmer.
IFE led in the strait-jacket of conven-
-*—' tion palls upon a thoughtful man or
woman. Poring over ledgers in a cubicle
in a sky-scraper makes a freedom-loving
person chafe at the weary routine and
long for the limitless prairie. The soul
pines for the open country, where the air
is charged with osone and there are no
dusty, deep-set windows to shut out the
light of heaven.
The call of the wild came to a husband
and wife in the United States, both graduates of the University of Kansas, both
engaged in avocations which the world regarded as profitable. The husband was a
salesman for a motor car company and
made $400 a month. The wife was
chief accountant in a large concern at
a salary of $300 a
When    the    urge
divine came the husband and wife resigned their jobs, disposed of all their belongings   which   would
cumber them in their
new  life,   and
bought land about
six miles
Mrs. Heim, junior I   v%
the heart of the Canadian Pacific Railway
irrigation system in Alberta. Possessing
minds trained at College and later in the
business world, they realised the wastefulness of growing on irrigated land, crops
that could just as well be raised on "dry"
soil, and decided to go in for breeding
high-grade cattle and pigs, and raising
the food-stuffs they required for them.
The husband and wife had plenty of
land, and so they decided to divide the
farm into halves, each taking a part
and running it independently of the other.
They really made a game of farming,
stocking their respective holdings with
the particular breeds of cattle and pigs
which appealed to them most, carrying on
operations in a spirit of friendly rivalry,
trying to see which could make the most
out of the business, and whose methods
brought the best results.
Mrs. W. C. Fleming
Mr. W. C. Fleming. *
Near to Nature's heart the two are
leading an ideal life, doing anything and
everything about the place that needs to
be done without question as to whether
it is a man's or a woman's work. The
city-bred wife does not hesitate to slash
her shoes with a knife to make them more
comfortable. She scorns dresses of a
feminine type when engaged in farmwork,
finding that they interfere with efficiency,
and wears instead a jacket and trousers
tucked into high boots. Her greatest
delight is her herd of Guernsey cows,
every one of which answers to its name
and comes and goes as its mistress bids.
She owns a thoroughbred Guernsey bull
to keep her herd pure. She has the finest
herd of Yorkshire pigs in the district, and
has built a piggery of the most modern
type to keep them in prime condition
during the long, cold winter.
A LANCASHIRE man, Bethel by
■* *- name, who took to farming in
Canada, was of a mathematical turn of
mind. He figured that if he raised oats
and sold them in the market, he would
seldom get more than 40 cents a bushel
for them. If, instead of selling the grain
that he grew, he would feed it to pigs,
he reckoned he could make two and a half
times as much out of it.
The headwor\s of the irrigation system which is bringing prosperity to Eastern Alberta Had Bethel been the ordinary type of
man, he would not have worried to make
such calculations. He had, however, taken
the trouble, in the first instance, to
acquire irrigated land, and thereby insure
his water-supply. What was the good of
paying water-rate, he thought, and yet
growing the same kind of crops that persons who did not incur such expenditure
were raising on farms in other parts of
the country which did not need to be
Being a practical man, the Lancashire
settler tested out his theories. He divided his farm into a number of plots and
fenced them in to make them pig-tight.
Upon the largest he planted oats. Upon
the others he planted alfalfa and root
crops, or left them under grass, to provide food for the hogs that he began to
His theories proved well founded
for  the very first year his calculations
justified themselves and he extended his
operations. Greater success attended his
efforts each succeeding year. His pigs
have been increasing just as rapidly as
they are reputed to do. Last year he had
actually to buy grain to feed them, in
addition to that which he grew himself,
and he realised a profit of $2,000 from
Who knows? Bethel may yet become
the largest pig-rancher in the Dominion!
There is nothing to stop him barring lack
of energy on his own part. The land
upon which he is settled is virgin soil,
prolific in its fertility when water is
properly applied. An irrigation service
put through and maintained by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company supplies
him all the water he can profitably use
whenever he wants it. The altitude and
the climate is ideally suited to pig-raising.
Everything, in fact, is in favour of Bethel
getting on.
A few of the pigs which a Lancashire man is raising on an irrigated Alberta farm 52
TN this land inhabited by people pos-
•** sessed of the pioneer spirit, new avocations are born with a rapidity which
startles a new-comer. Some one notices
the need for something, starts supplying
it, and makes so much money out of it
that men and women begin to imitate
him, first by the score, then by the hundred, and later by the thousand or even
tens of thousands. And in
a few years what was a
departure becomes an
established practice. Several new industries
have thus grown
up in many parts
of. Canada.
The breeding of
animals for their fur
is an instance in
point. The quest
for pelts lured the
original settlers,
centuries ago, from
Europe to North
America, and made
some of them 'fabulously rich. It was
left, however, to
the pioneers of our
day to breed, in
their back yards
and on farms, foxes
and other wild animals  as  Europeans
Fran\ Kruszylinc\i
are used to keeping chickens, thereby
doing away with the necessity of trapping
them in the forest fastness.
A person who merely speculates instead of finding out facts for himself or
seeking information from some authoritative source, is likely to think that fox-
breeding must inevitably lack the halo of
romance surrounding trapping, which
caught the imagination of adventurous
individuals. In reality there are few
owners of these fox farms whose success
in life does not constitute a romance.
Only the other day I listened to the story
of a Galician barely thirty years of age,
who started when he was thirteen years
old as a scullery boy in a restaurant in
Winnipeg at fifteen dollars a month, and
who now owns a silver-fox farm which
must be worth something like $20,000.
"My father and mother came to this
country when I was two years old,"
said this enterprising young man, Frank
Krussylincki by name. "They had no
money, and therefore could not buy anything. Placed on a homestead at York-
ton, they stayed there only six weeks, and
then my father went to Winnipeg and
found work. But the wages were low,
and he found it almost impossible to
support the family on them.
"One day after I had started to work
he came to me and asked me how much
money I had. I told him I had saved
fifteen   dollars.    He   said   that   he  had 53
heard of a farm of a hundred acres of land
a little way out of the city that could be
bought for four dollars an acre. I took
my fifteen dollars. The man for whom I
worked was good. He had trust in me.
He let me draw another fifteen dollars in
advance. With that amount, my father
and I made the initial payment, and the
family moved onto the place. I kept on
at my job in the restaurant until the
whole $400 had been paid up. Father
worked for other people in the winter to
earn money to keep the family, and farmed in the summer.
"Our farm had a frontage on the Red
River, and stretched over a length of
four miles. By the time you went one
length of the field it was time to come
home for dinner."
The father and son put their backs
into farming; but they encountered hard
luck. There were many mouths in the
family to feed, j It was, therefore, necessary to find a way to supplement the income yielded by the land. Young Krussy-
lincki and his brother Michael went to
work on a fox farm that had been started
in the neighbourhood by a company.
Their joint earnings amounted to about
$160 a month. They decided to lay by
every penny they could, and their parents
helped them in that endeavour.
By 1921 the two brothers had succeeded in saving, between them, $2,000.
They decided that the time had come for
them to start raising foxes for themselves,
and paid all the money they had for a
pair of breeding*pups.
The two boys continued working for
the company, using all their spare time
and the money they earned to put up
cages and build a tower from which to
watch the animals during the mating
season, all the time prepar- ^^^
ing to go into business for
themselves in right earnest.
"We passed through
anxious times," the
young man said. "We
hesitated a long time
before investing
every cent we
had in the world
on a pair of fox
pups that might
die overnight.
But we have gone
steadily forward,
and to-day, only
about four years
later, we own 38
foxes, and besides
are boarding 22
foxes for people
who bought them
from us and pay
us to look after
them. The third
year after we
started   we   had Mi\e Kruszylmc\i 54
an income of $2,600 from the business.
Last year it had risen to $3,850, and it is
steadily increasing.
"We get from $85 to $100 for a pelt.
We only kill those foxes, however, which
the Government inspector refuses to
register. All the others we sell for
breeding purposes, receiving up to $1,200
a pair for them. We put all our money
back into the business, building more
cages so that the farm can expand from
year to year."
Frank speaks English with a little
accent, but he is never at a loss for a
word. His gaze is not turned towards
the past—filled with poverty—but towards the future—full of promise. Success has not undermined the heritage of
hard work and thrift which he owes to
his old country. Education in Canada
has given him a spirit of doing and daring
which he is candid enough to admit, he
otherwise would have lacked.
Michael, and the younger members of
The Kruszylinckj family the family, have much
the same outlook upon
life. Acute of mind,
they are constantly on
the lookout for opportunity—the opportunity
to learn and to prosper.
Their success is Canada's success.
Domestic  fur  raising
is a fairly new industry
in Canada, yet at the beginning of
1926 theret were 290 fox farms in
Western Canada as well as 69 other
establishments devoted to the raising
of mink, raccoon, coyote, badger,
Karakul sheep and other fur bearers,
and an unspecified number of beaver
and muskrat ranches. The industry
has passed successfully through its
initial stages, and is now stabilised
and expanding healthily.
The fox watches the camera man 56
-v / •
R. Page, with one of
the foxes he is raising
A N Englishman, R. Page by name, whom I
■* ^ found engaged in raising silver foxes in
Alberta, had a highly developed sense of humour.
He seemed to look upon life as a game, and went
through with it because it afforded him fun.
And just because of that attitude Page was
successful. He made light of labour. He radiated cheerfulness. He was willing to tackle any
job anywhere, at any time, and took joy in it.
Nothing could prevent such a man from succeeding. "I came here in the first place to fish,"
Page said to me in reply to my query as to
what brought him to Canada in the first
place. "Then," he continued, "I became interested in this business, bought
a piece of land, made some money out of it,
and settled down to make some more
Across the road, in front of Page's large,
artistically designed, comfortable looking
residence, where this conversation took
place, a number of horses were gracing
in the pasture. They were fine looking
animals, as they stood gating over the
fence as if to enquire what was going on.
"Do you go in for horse breeding?" I
"At one time I used to," Page replied.
"Now    I    do
not raise many.
Growing alfalfa   and   other
crops suited to irrigated land is much
more profitable. Besides, I go in for
breeding foxes, j There is a lot more
money in them than in horses. In fact,
every winter I cut up a horse or two to
feed to them. It's the cheapest kind of
food, and the foxes like it."
The barn, standing some distance from
the house, was spacious and solidly built.
It must have cost its owner perhaps as
much money as his residence. Its equipment was modern.
Page had, indeed, transplanted all that
"he could from the old country to his
estate in Alberta.
CANADA continues to provide scope
for persons within whose breast
surges the call of the wild—the call which
refuses to be satisfied by farm life even
on the spacious prairie.     Ranchers ride
unchecked   by
fence or
The Page home in Eastern Alberta 58
obstruction of any kind over parts of
Alberta and other provinces. Their right
to grase horses, beefTon the hoof and
sheep no one contests.
One day as I was motoring in eastern
Alberta the road suddenly took a dip and
off to the right in the hollow I saw a great
mass of cattle huddled together on the
plain. Above them towered the sombrero-covered heads of two men on
horseback. There was a wagon in the
background, in the shadow of which food
was being cooked for the mid-day meal.
Alighting, I went up to the cowboys to
have a chat with them.    It developed
that the taller of the two was a Russian.
He had come to Canada years and years
ago, and found ranching to his taste and
conducive to prosperity. The younger
man was a Swede, Ole by name. He had
not been long in the Dominion, but spoke
English sufficiently well to make it plain
to me that he liked the life, and no inducement could
tempt him to give
it up.
From those cowboys—and others—I
learned of cases of men
who had entered Canada with  nothing,  and
hired himself out
for  a   rancher.
59     .
to herd a flock
Within a few
Cattle being drive
to mar\et
Swedish and Russian cowboys
through   ranching   had
made fortunes.
"Why,11 said one of
my informants, "the man
who owns the largest
packing business in Calgary had hardly a cent
to his name when he
started life in Alberta.
Now it would be impossible to guess how large
a cheque he could draw
any time he wanted to.11
A young German
whom I found herding
sheep some 50 miles
from the point where I
met the cowboys had
been penniless when he
years he had worked so diligently and
saved to such purpose that to-day he
owns a flock of over 2,000 head.
As I talked with this man his sheep
were spread out covering fully a quarter
of a square mile of the prairie as they
browsed. A brown and a black dog lay
at his feet, now their gaz;e turned adoringly
upon their master, who returned it with
equal affection, and again directed towards
their charges nibbling at the grass as they
slowly moved about.
"You see that man,11 said the proprietor of the little hotel where I rested that
night, "he is a Scotchman—started with
nothing. Now he has hundreds of sheep
of his own and don't have to work for
anyone. If you stayed here long enough
I could show you at least half a doz;en 60
English and Scotch boys who, like him,
came to this district eight or ten years ago
with no capital. They worked as herders
or farm hands and gradually accumulated
a small flock, and to-day own their own
bands of 2,000 or more sheep and are
It is estimated that the flocks of these
and other herders on a single range twelve
miles square would number over 60,000
head. The sheep have been carefully
bred to the climate, and consequently
X\ THETHER one is riding in the train
^^ or motoring across the prairie, every
now and again one passes through country
swarming with animal life. Horses graze
untrammelled by harness or hitching strap
over the flat land or on the hills or in the
shadows of peaceful valleys. Now and
again they are to be seen ranging in an
exquisite setting—along the reaches of a
winding river with bushes and trees
coming almost to the edge of the water so
clear and still as to reproduce the surroundings as in a looking glass or on the
top of a rise, their bodies silhouetted
against the sunlit sky.
Prairie ponies, these animals are called.
Until recently they were little prized
because they were not heavy enough for
draught purposes in Canada. In 1925
it occurred to the Dominion Government
that if they were too light for use on the
Canadian farms, they might serve an
admirable purpose in other countries
where heavy horses were not required
A steamer was chartered and a trial ship-.
ment   of  them   sent   to   Europe.    The
Sheep on an Alberta farm 61
venture proved so profitable that a new
market has been opened up for them in
Russia and other continental countries.
Wonderfully sturdy are these ponies,
capable of withstanding extreme rigours
of climate and doing without food and
water for long periods. Few of them
succumb even to the blizzards which rage
on the prairies during the winter.
Much  effort  has  been  expended  in
trying   to   breed this   hardy animal   by
crossing it with breeds of a
heavier    type    im-
premiums to enterprising stock-breeders.
Stock-breeding is, indeed, being subjected
to more and more rigorous regulations
throughout the country, particularly in
the prairie provinces.
As the result of the experience thus
gained, and the great expenditure of
energy and money incurred upon these
experiments during recent years, several
fine types of horses have been evolved
suitable  for
f   ^-■' »»
Sheep on the prairie
ported from abroad—particularly with
Percherons, Clydesdales, Belgian horses.
The four corners of the globe have, indeed, been scoured for the right type of
The various provincial Governments
have also done much useful work in the
same direction either by engaging in similar experiments through the agricultural
colleges maintained by them, or offering
ploughing and cultivating the land and
for transport. Canada's needs are being
more than fully met by the animals bred
within her borders. Every year the surplus available for export grows larger and
more money comes into the Dominion
through that source.
The world has paid tribute to Canada's
efforts in this direction by bestowing
prizes and unstinted praise upon horses 62
A settler on the way to mar\et
bred in the Dominion. Again and again
championships have been won at the
Chicago show and other international
exhibitions by dams and stallions and
colts raised in one or another of the
Canadian provinces.
nn,HE degree to which a settler shows
■*■ ingenuity and will power to conquer
the difficulties which beset him on all
sides during the initial period determines
his success or failure in Canada. He has
to put his brain and not merely his brawn
into the task of removing obstacles.
Take a man, for instance, who has decided to start an orchard in the Okanagan
Valley of British Columbia. The soil and
climate are admirably suited to horticulture, and the Provincial Government has
shown great enterprise in providing facilities for irrigation. Good roads thread
the country and make hauling to the railhead easy.
While the newly planted trees are
coming into bearing, however, the settler
Horses on the Du\e of Sutherland^s estate in Alberta 63
Horses on an Alberta farm
has to live; and unless he has financial
resources that will carry him past the
stage of watching and waiting, he
will have to devise some scheme jj
to keep his head above water.
Even if he has obtained a loan *
from the Government under one A
scheme or another, he will wish
to do something towards paying
his way and, if possible, lightening his financial responsibilities.
Given the will, there is a way
out of the difficulty. Many a
settler who has gone to the
Okanagan Valley and planted an
orchard has hit upon the plan of
growing onions as a catch crop
while   the   trees   are    maturing.
With hard work and proper treatment
the soil will produce from six to fifteen
One of the stallions used for improving the breed in Canada 64
tons of onions to the acre, and one man
can take care of three acres of them.
If the owner does not tare to engage in
truck farming himself, he can easily lease
his land to Chinese gardeners, who are
able to pay a high rent for the ground and
still make enormous profits from the sale
of their produce. Onions, for example,
bring not less than $15 a ton. A settler
in this region who owns a 40-acre holding, I was told, was able to realise $560
by renting seven acres of it. Two or
three crops of celery can be grown on the
same land each year, and fetch from $25
to $100 a ton, according to the quality
and the season. Many Chinese in and
around Armstrong, B.C., specialize in it,
and become prosperous.
rT^HE case of R. Stockton, of Vernon,
-*- B.C., shows, however, that all problems cannot be conquered by routine
methods. The 30-acre farm which he is
buying under the "3,000 family settlement
scheme" belonged to a soldier settler who
had permitted weeds to smother it, and
had been, in consequence, choked out of
it himself.
Stockton had serious handicaps. Born
and brought up in Aberdeen, he had
worked as a clerk until the European crisis
turned him into a soldier for the duration
of the war. He returned from the field of
action so badly wounded that the Govern
ment had to give
of a pound a week
When he attempted
him a pension
Wfor   lif e .
A catch crop in the 0\anagan Valley, British Columbia 65
to resume his pre-war occupation his
health would not permit him to stand the
strain, and the doctor advised him to
seek his fortune in some land where he
could be out of doors most of the time.
Mrs. Stockton, like her husband, was
an Aberdonian, and was a qualified chemist by profession. They had managed to
save $250 by careful living. By the time
they got to the farm in British Columbia
which, according to all accounts, would
be most suitable for them, their capital was
half exhausted.
Kno wi n g
nothing of fruit growing, or any other
type of agriculture for that matter, Stockton had to depend upon advice given to
him by officers of the Land Settlement
Board. They told him that it would
take several years of hard work to free
his holding of weeds and put it into good
bearing condition.
On the lookout for some means with
which to support his family during the
period of waiting, Stockton learned of a
dairy herd that was to be sold.    Its owner
supplied milk to customers in the
town.     Upon examining the
• w
Sa, A%  *
A celery farm, near Armstrong, British Columbia 66
proposition he found that it was just the
sort of business that would tide him
over. With the outfit and the herd of
ten cows that he acquired, and with the
work that his wife and he put into the
undertaking, they are already able to pay
their way and even to save something
out of the $180 a month which they
realize from the sale of milk.
Another man might have objected to
getting up an hour or two before sunrise, cleaning out the barns while his
wife was milking the cows, bottling the
milk, then driving to town, three miles
away, and going from door to door delivering it  in  all kinds of
weather. That man, however, would not
have succeeded as Stockton is doing.
TJ ARLY in 1910 two young men sailed
-*—* from Scotland across the Atlantic.
It was their intention to work their way
across the North American Continent
and push on to Honolulu—their Eldorado. By the time they reached Vancouver, B.C., their slender resources became
exhausted, and they were driven to turn
their hands to the first job they could
William  S.  Wood,  one  of the  lads,
finally found his way
to a farm
a   few
The Coldstream fruit ranch, near Vernon, British Columbia 67
miles north of the International Boundary
between the United States and Canada.
Endowed by nature with a hardy physique and quick intelligence, and trained
in habits of Scotch thrift, he little by
little improved his position until he felt
that the time had come for him to work
for himself.
The war came as an interlude: but he
returned from it unharmed. It, moreover, entitled him to a gratuity, and also
to obtain loans under the Soldier Settlement scheme.    Presently a lassie whom
L' **«*„.
A Scottish settler with immigration officers
he had known back in his home-town in
Aberdeenshire joined him, and the two
put their joints effort into the task of
building up the family fortune.
Cloverdale, near which town the
Woods now live, is only about 25 miles
south of Vancouver. With that thriving
city in such close proximity, they
thought they should have no difficulty in
making money out of milk and poultry.
Ambitious by nature, the husband and
wife decided to collect a herd in which
they could take pride.
They figured that it did
not cost any more to feed
thoroughbred animals
than scrub cattle. Each
cow and heifer was subjected to the closest scrutiny before it was bought.
The care and expense
were justified when, a
short time ago, Wood
won the championship
for the best small herd
in the district, his seventeen cows having averaged 385.5 pounds of
butterfat each during
the year. So determined
is he to keep up his record that he has bought
a pedigreed Holstein bull
for breeding purposes. 68
ness has so
he finds him
suffic ient
ly care for
Wood's busi-
increased that
self with inland to proper-
~"\^^ hisrapidly
Mrs. Wood
growing business—is unable to raise on
his own holding all the fodder he requires
for his herd. He has rented a farm across
the road and will no doubt buy it as
opportunity offers.
In the meantime Mrs. Wood has been
busy  devel
poultry busi
has   250
told, laying
erage 110
oping  the
ness.    She
fowls,   all
on the av
eggs a day.
Willidm Wood
These eggs bring a high price in the Vancouver market, averaging round about
$9 a crate after paying the freight.
Mrs. Wood has found the time from
her avocations to give her home an atmosphere of cosiness and culture.    Her b^
sitting room is comfortably and tastefully
furnished. Her kitchen and laundry are
fitted with labour-saving devices which
many a housewife in Britain may well
envy. She and her husband are keenly
interested in the co-operative dairying
movement; and through that and other
means are contributing to the welfare of
the community among whom they have
chosen to settle.
A S the mighty Fraser river, on its way
•* ** from the Rockies to the Pacific,
nears the coast, it becomes broken up
into several streams. In the crook of two
of its arms lies Lulu Island, with the city
limits of Vancouver rapidly extending
towards, it. The alluvial soil brought
down by the fast flowing waters through
the centuries has given great fertility to
this area. Much of it is being utilized
for growing vegetables and small fruit.
In the winter of
Altt ^a^ssv 1926,   a
young man who had never been able to
recover from the ill effects of a gas attack
he had endured while fighting in Flanders,
came to this island. Nansen by name, he
was a Norwegian by birth and parentage,
but was only six months old when his
parents decided to emigrate to Australia.
His boyhood had, in consequence, been
spent in the bush.
When Nansen reached marrying age,
he wooed and won a Yorkshire girl,
whose parents, like his, were immigrants.
Both hard-working and thrifty, they were
on the way to prosperity when the deluge
of blood broke over Europe.
After Nansen had been badly gassed,
and was of no more use as a soldier, he
returned to the only homeland he had
known. His lacerated lungs, however,
made it impossible for him to live in
Australia, and under doctor's orders he
moved to a more temperate clime.
Adrift on the ocean of life with a wife
and four children dependent upon him,
The Wood Cattle V*a
The Wood chic\ens
he managed to make his way to London,
where he started a rooming house. It
did not take him long to realize that the
Old Country held no future for him, and
he decided to emigrate to Canada in quest
of fortune.
The Nansens landed in Quebec in
August, 1925. They studied the situation carefully and decided that the best
move they could make would be to secure
a small holding with rich soil near a large
city, and go in for fruit and poultry raising. Their choice finally fell upon Lulu
Island, in British Columbia. With the
help of the Government they bought a
little over fourteen acres of land with a
house and barn on it, and moved onto it
in February, 1926.
The whole family entered into the
spirit of the adventure, and did everything
they possibly could to make a success of it.
While the husband was preparing the soil
for planting strawberries and other small
fruit, the two boys, the eldest about
fourteen and his brother about twelve,
built all the fences after school hours and
on Saturdays and holidays. Mrs. Nansen
started a poultry farm, and in the course
of a few weeks had over 200 fowls—
Wyandottes and Leghorns—laying eggs
industriously. She told me, at the time
of my visit, that a neighbour had promised
to give her 1,000 day-old chicks to bring
up, in return for which she was to give
him 200 pullets at the end of two months,
keeping all the others for her trouble. She expected to get 200 pullets for herself out of the lot, and looked forward to
making something in addition from the
sale of the cockerels.
A resourceful woman, Mrs. Nansen
later hit upon another scheme to keep the
family pot boiling while the strawberry vines, raspberry canes and current bushes were maturing. She
bought spawn, prepared a part A
of the cellar for its reception, Jf
and set out upon a career of
mushroom growing.
What she lacked in experience she made
up in vigilance. j
crowned ^*S
her     efforts
with success, and
within a
few weeks
her capital
outlay  of
The J^ansen family '19
ten dollars was returned to her fifteen-
Upon the products of the poultry yard
and the mushroom beds in the cellar the
Nansens are living comfortably while the
money made from the strawberry patch
goes into the improvement of the soil.
If they wished, they could already get
twice as much for the farm as they paid
for it; but needless to say they have no
intention of giving up such a profitable
proposition as their little holding promises to be.
The "Hansen home on Lulu Island, British Columbia
G.R.Swalwell, T.PM
Canadian Pacific (Ocean Traffic)
C. F: R. Building
SASKr^l, Sash
Printed in Canada, 1927.  


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