Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 67.djvu/461

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CANADA'S TRANSPORTATION PROBLEM.

HOW CANADA IS SOLVING HER TRANSPORTATION PROBLEM.
By LAWRENCE J. BURPEE.

OTTAWA, CANADA.

IN Canada the main lines of transportation run east and west, much more decidedly than they do in the United States. The Dominion is, roughly speaking, a vast parallelogram, three thousand five hundred miles long by perhaps a thousand miles deep. Climatic conditions have in the past confined, and probably will continue to confine, the bulk of the population to the lower or more southerly half of the parallelogram. The problem confronting the people of Canada is, therefore, how best to provide adequate transportation facilities for a population scattered over a relatively narrow belt of country three thousand five hundred miles long. That they have already to a considerable extent solved the problem, the remarkable prosperity of the Dominion at the present time clearly shows; for transportation facilities are an essential of national prosperity in any country, and especially so in one of such formidable distances as Canada.

But these facilities must keep pace with the industrial development of the country, and the industrial development of Canada is rapidly outdistancing its means of transport. To bring these two great factors of national prosperity into line, and keep them there, is the question of the hour in Canada, and the statesmen of the country are devoting themselves to its solution with a largeness of view and farsightedness which augurs well for the future of the young Dominion.

A glance at the map will show that in the facilities afforded for transportation, nature has been on the whole very kind to the people of Canada. She has provided, in the first place, an unrivaled system of water transportation extending from the Atlantic to the head of Lake Superior—almost half way across the continent; and, as if this were not enough, an alternative and shorter route is furnished from Lake Huron to the St. Lawrence, viâ French River, Lake Nipissing and the Ottawa. West of Lake Superior we find a system of lakes and rivers extending, with inconsiderable breaks, from the head of the Great Lakes to the foothills of the Rockies, to Hudson's Bay and to the mouth of the Mackenzie River on the extreme northern boundary of the Dominion.

While nature placed formidable obstacles in the way of Canada's first transcontinental railroad—the Canadian Pacific—both along the north shore of Lake Superior and in the Kicking Horse Pass through