The New Student's Reference Work/Canada

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Canada. Canada comprises the northern half of North America. Its southern boundary is the United States, on the east is the Atlantic, on the west the Pacific and on the north the Arctic Ocean. Its area is three and a half millions of square miles, about the same as that of the United States and nearly equal to that of Europe. The population is over eight millions or nearly one-quarter less than that of Belgium. From Halifax on the Atlantic to Vancouver on the Pacific is 3,740 miles by rail. From Victoria on the Pacific to Dawson on the Yukon River is 1,550 miles by ocean and river steamer and rail. From Fort William at the head of Canadian navigation on Lake Superior, by the water way of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, to the tidal seaport of Quebec is 1,400 miles, and from Quebec city to the extreme Atlantic coast, at the Straits of Belle Isle, is 850 miles. Its most southerly portion is in the latitude of northern Spain and Italy, and the most northerly portion is in the latitude of northern Norway.

Older and Newer Canada. The eastern and older part of Canada occupies chiefly a vast peninsula lying between the water-system of the St. Lawrence on the south and the Hudson Bay on the north. This peninsula is of very irregular shape, and is 2,200 miles in length from east to west, with a breadth of from 300 to 1,200 miles. The western or newer, and much the larger, portion of Canada is compact in form. It extends from the western end of the Great Lakes and the west shore of Hudson Bay to the Pacific Ocean, a distance of 1,500 miles, and from the United States boundary (the 49th parallel of latitude) to the Arctic Ocean, a distance of 1,600 miles.

The provinces and territories of Canada may be grouped as maritime, eastern, central, western and northern. Maritime: British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The easterly portion of the province of Quebec on the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence may be included as a part of maritime Canada. The eastern provinces are Ontario and Quebec, which lie along the St. Lawrence River and its Great Lakes, and extend along Hudson Bay as shown on accompanying map. The central provinces are Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, which occupy the prairie area lying between the wooded region of eastern Canada and the Rocky Mountains. The western or Pacific province is British Columbia, which lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Coast. Northern Canada is the territory lying between the northern limits of the eastern, central and western provinces, already mentioned, and the Arctic Ocean. West of the Rocky Mountains is Yukon Territory. In the redivision of Canadian territory (1912), Franklin, Mackenzie, and a portion of Keewatin were added to Northwest Territories, Ungava to Quebec and a portion of Keewatin to Ontario and Manitoba.

Climate. The vast extent of Canada necessarily involves a wide range of climatic conditions. Except on and near the ocean coasts, the general characteristic of the climate of Canada as compared with that of Europe is that the summer is shorter, warmer, and has less moisture, and the winter longer and somewhat colder than in corresponding European latitudes. It is bracing and healthy, and in all respects suited to the fullest development of the races of the British Isles and northwestern Europe generally.

On the Pacific coast, owing to the Japanese current, the climate is identical in temperature with that of the British Isles, which lie in the same latitude. The influence of this warm current on the Pacific coast extends eastward across the western and into the central provinces, so that the winter climate of the western part of the central provinces is considerably milder than that of the eastern part. On the Atlantic coast, and inland, the climate is colder than in corresponding latitudes of Europe, because of the Arctic current which flows southward along the coast.

Surface. The important physical features of Canada are its mountains, lakes, rivers, forests and prairies and the great inland sea of Hudson Bay. The Rocky Mountains extend from the United States boundary northward to the Arctic Ocean. They bound the central plains on the west, and are the highest of the several parallel mcuntain ranges of the western province. They contain immense deposits, and in the parallel ranges between the Rockies and the Pacific coast are to be found the precious metals in great abundance, especially gold. The Laurentian Range of hills extends from the Atlantic coast, at the Strait of Belle Isle, westerly and northerly, a distance of 2,300 miles, to the east end of Great Bear Lake near the Arctic coast. In the east the Laurentian Range divides the waters flowing south into the St. Lawrence from those flowing north into Hudson Bay, and in the northwest it divides those flowing westward into Mackenzie River from those flowing eastward into Hudson Bay. But midway between the St. Lawrence and Mackenzie water-systems, the joint waters of the Red and Saskatchewan Rivers break northward through the Laurentian Range by way of Nelson River into Hudson Bay. The Laurentian Range carries iron in great abundance, but no coal. Silver, nickel, cobalt and many other valuable metals are also found, although the region has as yet been very little explored.

Drainage. The Laurentian district is remarkable for its numerous lakes, and especially for the succession of great lakes, which, forming part of three separate river systems, lie almost continuously along its southern side all the way from the Atlantic to the Arctic. The many streams and rivers which have their origin in the Laurentian Range afford unlimited opportunities for the creation of water power, and more than replace the lack of coal for all purposes for which power is required. The St. Lawrence and its tributary, the Ottawa, are the great rivers of eastern Canada; the Red and Saskatchewan of central Canada; the Fraser and Columbia of western Canada; and the Mackenzie and the Yukon of northern Canada. The St. Lawrence, Mackenzie and Yukon are among the largest rivers in the world.

The forests of Canada are one of the greatest sources of the national wealth. Maritime, eastern and western Canada were entirely covered by forest, of which only a small proportion has as yet been displaced by settlement and cultivation. The northern part of central Canada is also very considerably forested.

The prairies, which comprise the southerly portion of the central provinces, lie in an irregular triangle formed by the 29th parallel and the United States boundary on the south; the Rockies on the west; and the Laurentian Range on the northwest. They are watered in the southeastern part by the Red River, in the south and west by the Saskatchewan, and in the northwest by the Athabasca and Peace Rivers, branches of the Mackenzie.

Manufacturing and Commerce. With her vast mineral, fish, timber and other resources Canada is destined to become a great industrial and commercial country. During the last ten years the growth of her manufactures has been marvellous. The record of foreign commerce for the past few years shows that Canada's foreign trade is increasing more rapidly, proportionately, than that of any other country. The rate of gain for a period of ten years has been 132 per cent. The total of Canada's exports in 1913 was $393,232,057, of which the amount to Great Britain was $177,982,002 and that to the United States $167,110,382. Total imports $692,032,392 in 1911. From the United States came $455,322,555 and from Great Britain $139,653,587. Much of the Canadian wheat is shipped direct to Europe. In 1913 the value of the wheat exported was $88,608,730; of flour $19,970,689; of cheese $20,697,144; and of pork, bacon and ham $5,731,474.

The total value of lumber exports in 1913 was $33,433,089, much of it going to Great Britain. Thirty-five mills are converting spruce into wood-pulp.

Minerals. British Columbia and Nova Scotia are the chief mining provinces. Important mineral deposits are found also in Ontario and Quebec. Extensive coal areas have been found in western Canada, and new railways are continually opening additional territory.

In 1912 Canada's total mineral production was valued at $135,048,296. The value of the coal was about $36,019,044; gold $12,648,794; and silver $19,440,165.

The Vancouver Island (British Columbia) mines produce a coal of excellent quality. The coal deposits of Nova Scotia underlie an area of about 635 square miles. The chief workings are in the Sydney, Pictou and Cumberland fields. The Nova Scotia mines are the largest producers in Canada.

At Lethbridge, a town of 8,000 people, a mine has been opened on a large seam of bituminous coal, the output of which has been traced for many miles. The Estevan mines (in the Souris fields) and the Lethbridge mines supply the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The coal-beds extend far down the Saskatchewan and northward into the valley of Peace River. It is no uncommon thing in this district to see the agricultural settler driving up to the pit's mouth for his household supply of coal, easily obtained at prices ranging from $1.00 to $2.00 per ton.

In Nova Scotia iron is found near the coal, thus permitting economical smelting. Large areas of iron-ore have been found north of Lake Superior in Ontario, in eastern Ontario, in Quebec and in Ungava. Large steel-works have been established at Sydney and Terrona, Nova Scotia, and at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. There are iron smelters at Rawdon (Quebec) and at Deseronto, Hamilton and Midland (Ontario). Nickel ores are of great and growing importance, particularly as there are only two producing localities of consequence in the world—the Sudbury district in Ontario and the French colony of New Caledonia. The Ontario mines contain enough ore to supply the needs of the world for all time. Most of the copper output of Ontario is produced as a by-product of nickel. In 1902 British Columbia produced about 30,000,000 pounds of copper, most of which was mined in the west of the Kootenay district.

Practically all of the first-quality asbestos that is marketed in the world is produced at the Thedford, Black Lake and Danville mines in southeastern Quebec. Large quantities of mica are mined in Quebec and Ontario. The Yukon placer goldmines are producing more gold than any other placer mines in the world, and since the wonderful Klondike rush in 1897, when 60,000 people sought this far-away northern country, gold to the value of $100,000,000 has been taken out. One of the richest silver camps in the world is at Cobalt, Ontario. See Yukon and Cobalt.

Fisheries. Canada has become the fishing ground of North America. On the Atlantic and Pacific are extensive fisheries, while countless lakes, with their tributary streams, teem with fish of the greatest value as food.

Hundreds of foreign vessels, including many from the United States, come to the Canadian waters to share in these treasures. It is estimated that 78,000 Canadian fishermen thus find employment. Their boats, nets and gear are valued at $11,500,000 and their annual catch at $29,629,000. There are, moreover, extensive waters yet unfished, which in the near future will add to the value of the catch.

The vast salmon industries on the Pacific coast are in some respects the most remarkable in the world. In the season when fish are running up stream, the flow of water actually is impeded in shallow places by their numbers. Standing on the bank, one sees the whole river red with the gleam of their sides. Canning factories are built on these streams, and each year 9,000,000 to 10,000,000 fish are canned.

Hudson Bay and the coast waters from the Ungava to Mackenzie River are the richest whaling grounds in the world. The walrus and many valuable fish, such as sea-trout, salmon and cod, are found in these waters.

The Department of Marine and Fisheries carries on fish-culture, introducing fish into new waters and preventing the exhaustion of the present supply. There are sixteen government-hatcheries which, in some years, distribute over 400,000,000 fry.

Railways. With the exception of the Intercolonial (1,463 miles) and the Prince Edward Island Railway (279 miles) all railways in Canada are owned by private companies.

The Canadian Pacific extends to Montreal and then crosses Canada, passing through the world's granary to Vancouver on the Pacific. Cities, towns and over 400 stations are passed en route. It also runs from Quebec to Montreal and on to Toronto. The system has a mileage of 11,507 miles, the only transcontinental railway in America under one management. Its steamers ply between England and Canada, and between Canada and China and Japan.

The Grand Trunk runs from Portland (Maine), on the Atlantic, westward to Montreal, through Ontario to Sarnia, and thence to Chicago. It passes under St. Clair River—the outlet of Lake Huron—by the famous St. Clair tunnel. With a mileage of 3,104 it reaches practically all Ontario. It has several famous bridges, the Victoria Jubilee at Montreal (over the St. Lawrence); the Niagara, the largest steel-arch railway-bridge in the world, just below the Falls; and also the International near Buffalo.

(See, also, Canadian Northern Railway and Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, both to be transcontinental lines).

Steamships and Canals. There are several Canadian transatlantic steamship lines, notably the Allan, the Dominion and the Canadian Pacific. The Canadian Pacific steamers ply to China, Japan and Australia. There are also important lines on the lakes and rivers.

The magnificent St. Lawrence is the greatest water-way in the world. Canals have been built wherever the rapids obstruct navigation. Canada has spent nearly one hundred millions of dollars on her canals. On the Welland Canal alone (24 miles long) $28,000,000 have been spent.

The St. Lawrence has been so deepened as to allow the largest ocean steamers to sail up to Montreal. Above Montreal vessels of fourteen feet draught can ascend to Lake Erie, and from Lake Erie to Lake Superior 20 feet of water are available. By this route a vessel can load at an upper-lake port to over fourteen feet, lighter to this draught at the east end of Lake Erie (Port Colborne), and carry the remainder of her cargo to Montreal, 1,230 miles from Fort William.

Water-Powers. Canada's water-powers are certain to play a tremendous part in her industrial development. Many industries are now supplied with electrical power. It has been well said that the Laurentian Highland constitutes “a gathering ground for many large and almost innumerable small rivers and streams which, in the sources of power they offer in their descent to the lower adjacent levels, are likely to prove of greater and more permanent value to the industries of the country than an extensive coal field.”

At Sault Ste. Marie the largest pulp-mill in Canada is operated by electricity locally developed. One hundred and seventy-five thousand horse-power has been developed. See Niagara Falls, at which place the ultimate development of electrical power will reach 425,000 H. P. At that point many millions of dollars have been spent by the three power-companies. The city of Toronto, more than 80 miles distant, gets its supply from one of them. Within 50 miles of Ottawa there is an available water power energy of 900,000 H. P. That at Niagara Falls is six times as great.

Schools. The provinces control the schools, and each of them as to system and methods and machinery generally is working out its own ideal. The Royal Military College at Kingston, Ontario, is a Dominion institution. All the others are provincial or controlled by local corporations. Alberta, one of the new provinces, has made provision for a university of its own. McGill University, Montreal, is doing collegiate work in British Columbia. The elementary schools (public schools, common schools) are free all over Canada. Every province makes generous provision for their upkeep. There are more than 20,000 free public schools in Canada, and about 1,250,000 pupils attend them.

For the secondary schools (high schools, and some of these having a certain number of teachers who are specialists and a certain specified strong equipment, are called collegiate institutes) a fee is charged in some instances. Not a few of these even are free. In Ontario and Quebec especially there are several residential schools modelled after the great public schools in England (such as Harrow, Rugby, Eton) with large attendance and doing most useful work.

Canadians are proud of their universities. McGill and Toronto, for example, are well and favorably known the world over. These and other universities are specially referred to elsewhere in these volumes. The sketches of the provinces contain fuller details as to their educational work.

The educational work done by the five Dominion experimental farms is of great value and interest. The central farm is located at Ottawa (the capital); two are in the northwest (at Brandon and Indian Head); one at Agassiz (British Columbia); and one at Nappan (Nova Scotia). Specialists carry on experiments in all branches of agriculture, the results being published in bulletin form. During the last few years seeds and specimens have been sent out through the mails to about 200,000 farmers. Less than 15 per cent. of the total population of all Canada is illiterate. In 1910 $27,800,000 were spent for purposes of education, and there were 1,289,000 pupils registered.

Population. Canada now has a population of over eight millions. Two and one-half millions live in Ontario; over two millions in Quebec; nearly a million in the maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island); over 1,300,000 in Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the territories; and nearly 400,000 in British Columbia.

History. The territories which now constitute the Dominion of Canada came under the British flag at various times, some by settlement and others by conquest or cession. Nova Scotia (Acadia) was discovered by the Cabots, in the service of King Henry VII, in 1497. The colony of Halifax was founded in 1749. By the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) Acadia and the Hudson Bay Territory were acknowledged to be British territory. The Hudson Bay Company's charter, conferring right of government over the territory now known as the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories, was granted in 1670. The old French colony of Canada was surrendered by the capitulation of Montreal, signed September 8, 1760, and with Prince Edward Island and part of the present province of New Brunswick, was formally ceded to Great Britain by France under the Treaty of Paris, signed Feb. 10, 1763. Vancouver Island was acknowledged to be British by the Oregon-Boundary Treaty of 1846, and British Columbia was occupied in 1858.

As originally constituted, the Dominion of Canada was composed of the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. They were united under the provisions of an act of the imperial Parliament passed in 1867 and commonly cited as The British North America Act 1867. Provision was made in the act for the admission of British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and Newfoundland into the Dominion. Newfoundland alone has not availed itself of such provision. In 1869 the extensive region known as Rupert's Land, the Hudson Bay Territory and the Northwest Territories was added to the Dominion by purchase from the Hudson Bay Company. The province of Manitoba was set apart out of a portion of it, and admitted into the Confederation on July 15, 1870. On July 20, 1871, the province of British Columbia and on July 1, 1873, the province of Prince Edward Island, respectively, entered the Confederation. The provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were formed from the provisional districts of Alberta, Athabaska, Assiniboia and Saskatchewan, and were admitted to the Union as provinces on September 1, 1905.

The Dominion adopted the same form of government as existed in the mother-land. There are a governor-general appointed by the king to represent him, two houses of parliament and a cabinet. As each province has a legislature of its own to manage its local affairs, it is as if England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland had separate parliaments in addition to that at Westminster. Canada has thus become really a daughter-nation of Great Britain. The mother-land leaves her free to manage all her own local affairs.

For fuller details concerning Canada, her educational equipment and natural resources, see Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, MacKenzie, Yukon, Ungava, Labrador and Franklin.