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Windermere, British Columbia Canadian Pacific Railway Company Limited 1920

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European Agents—
62-65,  Charing Cross,  London, S.W.   vnczezmem z±/M?ins/z KDommozcc
(T^eprinled by permission from " The Field.")
\Y was away back in 1897 that I first saw the
beauties of the Columbia Valley. In '95 a
mining boom broke out in what afterwards
became the Rossland Camp and the Slocan
Camp. In '96 it spread north and south, west and east,
as far as Fort Steele. The country was flooded with
prospectors from the United States, and rumours of
discoveries of gold and copper and silver mines kept the
various mining camps in a state of ferment. In '97 hardy
prospectors ventured further afield, and hunted for the
precious minerals away up in the Selkirks above the timber
line where the rocks are bare, and amongst the great
glaciers feeding the many little rivers which go to form
the Columbia, Rumours of their discoveries reached the
outside world, and, being a mining engineer, I went in
with others to have a look round.
In those days it was hard work getting into the country.
There were few roads, so everybody travelled by saddle-
horse, and took their " grub " and bedding with them on
pack-horses. Sometimes we stayed at wayside houses, or
stopping-houses as they are called, but more often we
camped for the night by one of the many mountain
streams, and made our tea and fried our bacon over
a fire made from the resinous fir-trees. After supper
we would picket one of the horses to ensure the others
not wandering far afield, and then proceed to catch a
basket of trout for the breakfast next morning.
It was stimulating to see what those prospectors did
and how they got along even in the most inaccessible
of places. They were a fine lot of rugged, independent
fellows, interesting in the extreme, kindly and hospitable,   full  of   wild   theories  as  to   how   Mother   Earth *Z;
formed her treasure reserves, and always full of hope
that some day they would find a " mine." There are lots
of indications of copper, silver, and lead in the hills about
the headwaters of the Columbia, and many were the
claims recorded. Of those recorded some were sold to
speculators, but few were actually worked. Some of us
tried our luck, bought claims, opened them up, and came
downhill sadder but perhaps wiser men. Some had better
luck and found ore in considerable quantities, and a few
—a very few—actually developed mines. The ore had to
be taken down the hills on the backs of the native ponies
to the Columbia River, load it on the little steamer
which took it to Golden, and from there sent by the
ears of the Canadian Pacific to their smelter at Trail.
It was a long and tedious job and an expensive one.
Numbers of the prospectors took up a bit of land
away down in the valley, built themselves a cabin by
the little creek flowing through their place, and there
they would spend the winter and dream of their luck
in the spring to come. Some would go back to the hills
and trap for marten and bear to buy their " grub-stake "
for next year ; some of them began to farm their bit
of land to raise some feed for the ponies; some of them
planted out currant-bushes and raspberry-bushes, and
some ventured into apple-trees, so that the first farmer
in the valley was the old-time prospector.
By this time the mining craze had gone and passed.
Those mines that had opened up had found it difficult
to ship on account of the lack of transportation; but the
prospector, now a farmer, stayed on, for the valley was
beautiful and the land fertile. 1 also thought it was a
most beautiful country and the most peaceful place I
had ever been in, and lingered on with the rest. I also
had my garden, planted my red currants and black currants and raspberries, and ventured into apple-trees.
Rumours of a railway through the valley reached us
and raised new hopes for our mines;  but it was a long -
time coming, and meanwhile we began to find out that
there was just as much wealth in the land in the valley
as there was in the mines away on the mountain-tops, so
some of the prospectors extended their holdings and
gathered   considerable   bunches   of   cattle   about  them. m
Others bred horses and broke them in, and drove them out
over the old Indian trails to the prairie market at Calgary.
We felt we were wasting time in the valley, but yet
we could not tear ourselves away from it. We tried
strawberries, and found them luscious and plentiful.    We (4:
tried hens and turkeys, pigs and sheep, to find a fatter
purse and a better table. We gave up buying canned
vegetables, and raised our own tomatoes, asparagus,
celery, and green peas, and when we were not busy we
would go off back into the hills and replenish the larders
with deer or bear, blue grouse or partridge, or get a
boat and go up the lakes hunting the wild duck and geese
amongst the bulrushes at the southern end of Windermere Lake. When the cold weather began to set in in
November, and just when we got the first fall of snow,
that was when we went back after the deer; and a glorious
time we had when we would gather round the camp fire
at night after a big day's hunt. Then on the Windermere
Lake, after the frost came, we had a beautiful sheet of
ice for skating and ice-boating. We found that though
the temperature would go down to 20° or 30° below zero,
the air was dry, and kept the system tingling with life.
We were full of energy and bubbling over with health,
and just had to be doing something. Then we would
get a fall of a few inches of snow, and the jingle of
sleigh - bells would be heard all through the valley.
Perhaps a week or two later the great Chinook wind
would begin to blow, warm and soft, and would lick up
the snow and leave all bare and open again. In the
spring we would all be busy in our gardens and fields,
and the open, park-like eountry would be carpeted with
wild flowers.
Each year a few strangers would dribble into the
valley, invariably to be fascinated and take up a piece
of land alongside a little creek. By and by all these
little pieces became used up; there was no more
creeks to settle on, but still there were thousands
of acres of land, beautiful park-like land, but useless
without water. Then one of the mining engineers
worked out an irrigation system, a system with a large
canal that would run along the base of the mountains
and  shed  the  water  over thousands of acres of bench m
land. That was about six or seven years ago, and that
canal is completed and thousands of acres have been
divided into farms of about 40 acres each. Little lateral
canals have been built, and settlers are now flocking into
the valley, for recently the Canadian Pacific took hold of
the proposed railway, and with their accustomed energy
proceeded at once to build from Golden, on their main
line, to Cranbrook, on their Crow's Nest branch, some
160 miles. This year they are laying the steel, and in
the spring of the year the old time prospector will ride
at least part of the way in a Pullman car instead of
on the uncertain back of his cayuse. It will not make
him any better a man, and will probably detract from
his individuality, but it will enable him in a year from
now to send his ore to the smelter by rail and ship
his apples to the fruit-hungry people on   the  prairies.
This district is close to the prairie. It is much the
closest to the prairie of any of the valleys of British
Columbia, and they cannot grow apples on the prairie
yet; at least, not apples like those grown in the Columbia
Valley, big and red and luscious. It is so close indeed
that strawberries pulled in the afternoon will be on the
market in Calgary next morning, and it is a great
thing to be close to your market, because you get your
fruit there in the finest of condition, and you can get
your returns quicker. There is an endless market in
the prairie—a market that all the fruit gardens in British
Columbia will never be able to overtake, for the great
wheat-growing country on the plains is filling up faster
than they are planting apple-trees in British Columbia.
But we " old timers " do not think it advisable to put
all our land into apple-trees. We can raise the very
best of horses, with clean limbs and sound feet and lungs.
Perhaps it is the limestone that helps the feet, and
perhaps it is the fine, dry air that helps the lungs. At
any rate, we have all noticed what remarkably sound
horses can be  raised  in  there, so we  believe  in raising vnaemtete yAO^iGs/z (y>o//imd/cL
mm ft*
Si? r
vnaezmere zJZ^itts/z kDommo/cL
a few horses and raising a few cattle, for there is money
in horses and beef as well as in apples ; and then for
our horses and our cattle we must have some timothy,
clover, and oats, and a bit of wheat for the hens, for
to be happy in the valley we want to be independent and
raise everything for ourselves. It is cheaper too ; we can
live better, and have the satisfaction of watching things
growing around.
On the irrigated 40-acre farms, ten acres can be
planted with fruit trees—which is as much as one family
can look after — and the balance cultivated in rotation
It is not so very hot in the summer, for whilst
the days are warm the evenings are always cool. The
mountains are well clothed with timber, so that there
is none of that awful cumulative heat that there is in
valleys where the bare rocks deflect the rays and cause
everything to shrivel up. Hence the Columbia Valley
is fair to look upon, and when the big railway officials
took their first trip through it they mapped out all sorts
of plans—plans that would turn the warm waters of the
beautiful Windermere Lake into the centre of a great,
happy, summer playground. They built in imagination
a great hotel on a beautiful point that juts out into the
lake where the new railway town site of Invermere has
just been laid out, and they talked of motor-roads and
motor-launches; and although that is only two or three
years ago, yet to-day the railway is about half completed, and there are now a dozen motors-cars in the
valley, some of them owned by the old-time prospectors themselves. Best of all, the motor - road,
clean over the summit of the Rockies from Banff to
Windermere, will be under construction in the early part
of this spring. Of all the motor-roads in the west
there will be nothing that will compare with this for
daring and grandeur, and it is going to be made a
first-class   road  too,   wide   and   safe.     This   will   bring *zmereK
many pleasure-seekers into the valley, pleasure-seekers
who will help to make life cheery and bright, and who
will bring, and will leave behind, dollars in the pockets
of the thrifty poultry-wife, dairy-woman, and apple-
Not only the railway people, but the Dominion Government have become interested in the valley. They sent
their Joshuas to spy out the land, and they are now establishing an experimental farm of some sixty acres, where
they will cultivate timothy, clover, alfalfa (or lucerne), and
where they will experiment with the different kinds of
cherries and other fruits. The ''old timer" will now see
how to prune and cultivate his orchard scientifically. The
new settler will be told what kind of apples to plant and
how to plant them, how to spray them and how to take
care of them. He will have an object lesson in how land
should be irrigated and just how and when to apply the
water, and how to plant and grow the winter lucerne,
for all this work will be in charge of the Government's
highly trained scientific agriculturists. The place that
they have selected for this farm is under the irrigation
ditch and adjoining the town site of Invermere, close
by the lake, and just near the farm a tract of land has
been cleared for a polo ground, for a racecourse, and for
tennis and other sports, for of late lovers of polo have
been drifting into the valley. A club has been formed,
which will do much to stimulate the breeding of polo
ponies as well as assist in increasing the social life of
the eountry.
Exhibition ground has also been secured, and last
year the " old timer " and the new settler joined together
and held their first exhibition ; it was a wonderfully
good exhibition too, of great, big, fine, mealy potatoes,
of cabbages, corn, and apples, of oats, hay, and turnips,
of currants, and onions, and beetroots—a show that surprised nobody as much as the "old timer" himself.
There were flowers there by the basketful—sweet peas, -
carnations, and dahlias. Beadwork and fancywork and
needlework could also be seen, for the " old timer"
had taken to himself a wife. Outside the building
there were buggies with driving horses, and running
horses, and big, heavy dray-teams in shining harness,
with the ribbons in the hands of the "old timer" in his
best black hat, proudly perched in the driver's seat.
It was a great day for the valley, and the thing that
struck me most was that in all that display there were
only a few handfuls of minerals shown, so that a change
has come over the valley, and what was a few years
ago a mining community has become a prosperous, thrifty,
agricultural settlement. vnaeizztere
yffia, KDo/amoKL
There are several small towns in the valley—Windermere, Invermere, Wilmer, and Athalmer—all with good
general stores, blacksmith's shop, and the usual accompaniments of such villages. We are getting on, too, in
the valley, for we have a telephone now to Golden.
We have telephones connecting all the little towns, and
even the " old timer" boldly telephones his orders for
his flour and his sugar. And still it is quite a placid,
peaceful valley; but this year it will be waking up, for
the great big camps of the railway contractors will be
scattered along its length.
The valley is just in the making, and now there is
all the fun of helping to make it, with new towns springing
L_ r~
up, new businesses to be gone into, new roads to be
constructed, land to be cleared, and homes to be built.
Some have taken to burning bricks, others have taken
to burning lime, some have gone into building and contracting, and some have established liveries, and the
drone of the sawmill disturbs the calm of Invermere.
So the new settler coming in has not much difficulty in
starting now. He can buy his 40 acres with' the water
laid on for irrigation all ready for him to start. The price
of land is from £3 to £10 an acre for the non-irrigable
portions, and from £10 to £30 an acre for the irrigable
portions. The new settler can pick up a milch cow or two
to start with, probably a Hereford or mixed Ayrshire, at
about £10 to £12; he can get a team of light horses
suitable for farm work at from £50 to £60, and he can
buy a setting of eggs and start off his own poultry-
yard. He can get his farming implements locally as he
needs them, as well as his supplies and materials for
his home. He can sell his beets and his vegetables, his
hay and his grain, at far better prices than the " old
timer" got for his produce. He will get £4 to £5 a ton
for his hay, Is. 3d. to Is. 8d. a dozen for his eggs, and
Is. 3d. to Is. 8d. a pound for his butter, and a dollar
a pail for all his gooseberries and small fruits.
In other ways the new settler is much better off
than was the "old timer." He will get his mail three
or four times a week. He will find companions who
have been at Eton; he will find golfers who have
played at St. Andrews, and in his hunts he will be
joined by men who have shot tigers in India and the
rhinoceros in South Africa. When he wants relaxation
he can take the old prospectors' trail along one of
the many creeks, which will lead him up amongst the
glaciers, where he can get his " grizzly " and his black
bear on the fresh green slopes in the month of May,
or he can go away up to the Duncan after a cariboo,
or   in   the   fall   go   over   to   the   Kootenays   and   get   a *£
moose or sheep. If his tastes are more placid, he can
go down to the fish lakes or over to the Kootenay and
fill his basket with mountain trout; the best time to
do this is in the month of September when the creeks
are running clear of the mud that oozes from under the
great glaciers.
I have often been asked how much a man needs
to settle on one of these 40-acre farms. It is very hard
to say, because so much depends upon the individual; but
an average man who is willing to work himself and help
in all the various jobs about a farm can get along
very nicely if he has £1,000 capital, and is very careful
and "canny" as to how he lets it go. Land can be
purchased on the instalment system, payments extending
over a period of seven years, so that the settler has
not to sink a large proportion of his capital at the
As I said, this valley is the closest to the prairie,
and is easily reached from Calgary; but the easiest way
to get there is to book straight through to Golden on
the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway. From
London to Golden the fare is, I believe, about £31. The
little old boat that used to run on the Columbia River
has* now been replaced by several steamers, which of
late, in summer, have been making daily trips south to
Windermere. The fare is about £1, but perhaps the
Canadian Pacific will be operating part of their new
railway by the spring, in which case it will be possible
to travel by rail halfway down the valley to the little
new railway town of Galena, and it is only a couple
of hours' run from there by motor-car to Invermere on
the Windermere Lake. At Invermere a new hotel has
been built, with excellent rooms and good, plain, homely
cooking. There the newcomer can hear all about the
valley, and there he can see what the valley produces.
He can get a motor-car or he can get a carriage and
take   a   drive  round  the west  side  of   the   lake,   away f4naer/xtete s</m?ius/i {Do/i/mbzcL
down by Dutch Creek and along the shores of Lake
Windermere and the Upper Columbia Lake as far as
Canal Flats. On his way back he can go past the
Fairmont Hot Springs and have a delightful hot bath in
the open air, for the mineral water comes boiling out of vndezmere s</M?ins/i KDowmbzcL
the earth at a temperature of about 104°. The "old-
timer " will relate some great tales about how this same
water cured him of the rheumatism which he had contracted in the mines away back in the hills or when he
was crawling through the underbrush with his prospecting
I *K
pick in search of the glittering metal. After trying the
virtue of the waters for himself, the newcomer can come
down and have a glass of milk or an apple at the Fairmont
Post Office, and then a beautiful drive back along the
east side of Windermere Lake, through the reserve of
the picturesque and prosperous Kootenay Indians, through
the beautiful little village of Windermere, and so back
to his hotel. You will see that there are schools now in
all the little towns, and he will see nice little painted
churches which have replaced the old log building in
which the missionary used to hold forth to the old
prospector. Queer services some of them were, too, for
I have heard the old prospector break in upon the discourse, expressing his approval of the sentiments the
missionary was delivering.
Yes, it is a beautiful valley, with its mountains and its
glaciers, its rivers and its lakes, and its beautiful sun-lit
glades shortly to be perfumed with the apple and cherry
blossom, and may those new to it find in it as much
pleasure in the future as this "old-timer" has experienced
in the past.
The  only  direct  through route to the Windermere
District of British Columbia is by the
which has offices in Great Britain at—
62-65, Charing Cross, S.W.
67, 68, King William Street, E.C
18, St. Augustine's Parade, Bristol.
Royal Liver Building, Pier Head, Liverpool
120, St. Vincent Street, Glasgow.
41, Victoria Street, Belfast. *   *v
11,841 miles.
Picturesque route through the Canadian Rockies.
Comfortable hotels at convenient centres along the line.
Luxurious accommodation  by steamer and  train,  all classes
at moderate fares.
Only direct all-Canadian all-rail route from Atlantic port to
British Columbia.
For further particulars apply to
62-65, Charing Cross (facing Trafalgar Square),
67 & 68, King William Street, LONDON,
LiverBuilding, Pier Head, LIVERPOOL.
18, St. Augustine's Parade, BRISTOL.
120, St. Vincent Street, GLASGOW.
41, Victoria Street, BELFAST.
Alsterdamm 8, HAMBURG.
2S, Quai Jordaens, ANTWERP.
Kaerntnerring 7, VIENNA.
Noordblaak 13, ROTTERDAM.
1, Rue Scribe, PARIS.
61, Boulevard Haussmann, PARIS.
Piazza San Matteo 15, GENOA.
Via Agostino Depretis 22, NAPLES.
Bolschaja Konjirschennaja  19. ST. PETERSBURG.
G.  McL.  BROWN,  European Manager.
H. S. CARMICHAEL, General Passenger Agent.
T. f.  SMITH, General Freight Agent.


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