By SIDNEY G. B. CORYN
The Dominion of Canada
contains seven provinces, of which Manitoba] is the central, and, from
an agricultural point of view, the most important. The Province of
Manitoba has an area of 116,021 square miles, or about 74,000,000 acres,
about equal to the combined areas of England, Scotland and Ireland.
To an agricultural
country the quality of the soil is of the first importance. Professor
Tanner, well known in the front ranks of English authorities, says of
it: “I am bound to state that, although we have hitherto considered the
black earth of Central Russia the richest soil in the world, that land
has now to }rield its distinguished position to the rich, deep, black
soils of Manitoba and the North-West Territories. Here it is that the
champion soils of the world are to be found.”
But yet Manitoba is not
entirely agricultural, nor does it consist exclusively of prairie land.
Its forests are ample enough for fuel and for ornament; its rivers swarm
with fish, and its lakes—Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Winnipegosis—tempt the
tourist and the fisherman from less favoured regions.
The completion of the
Canadian Pacific Railway was, to Manitoba, the one thing necessary to
its advance. Within the confines of the province there are to-day over
1500 miles of railway lines, and 1000 schools are under the control of
Winnipeg, on the Red
River, is the capital of Manitoba and the chief city of the whole
North-West of Canada. Lying half-way between Montreal and Vancouver, the
Atlantic and the Pacific, it is rapidly becoming the commercial as well
as the geographical centre of the Dominion. In iS76 its population was
3240; to-day it is considerably over 40,000. The land survey system of
Manitoba is virtually the same as that prevailing throughout the whole
of the North-West Territories. Free-grant land is still available, and
of a quality in no way inferior to that which is offered for sale. This
is guaranteed by the system of land survey, by which the Territory is
divided into townships, these again into sections, and into quarter
sections of 160 acres each. These divisions are numbered from 1 to 36,
and, broadly speaking, the odd numbers are reserved for free grants,
while the even numbers are the property of the Canadian Pacific Railway
Company, the Hudson Bay Company, or are reserved for school and road
purposes, as the ultimate needs of the district may demand.
attaching to the free-errant lands are few and simple, and are mainly
intended as a guarantee for the legitimate agricultural use of the land,
and to prevent mere land speculation. For the first three years of
occupation, the settler is required to live upon the land for at least
six months of each year, and during that same period to cultivate at
least 15 acres each year, amounting to 45 acres during the three years.
These simple stipulations being complied with, he receives the patent
for his homestead, and it becomes his absolute freehold property. This
method of acquiring land is usually adopted by settlers possessing small
capital. For those with larger funds at their disposal, prairie land may
be purchased in any quantity at prices ranging from 10s. per acre
upward, or improved homesteads may be bought. In any case, the land
needs no clearing, as the virgin soil is ripe for the plough.
Emigration to the
North-West Territories of Canada has for many years proceeded apace, and
not alone from Great Britain, but from all the countries of Europe. Thus
we find Icelandic, Scandinavian, Russian, and German settlements in
various parts of the Territories. Without exception these colonies are
prosperous and their people contented and industrious, while their
sobriety and intelligence are a guarantee of their future success. The
seasons in Manitoba are well marked. The summer is bright, clear, and
warm, and the winter cold; but throughout the winter the sun shines
nearly every day, and there is seldom any wind. The extreme dryness of
the air altogether robs the cold of its discomfort. The snow is never
deep, and the ordinary work of farm and homestead goes forward without
Although the extent of
forest lands in Manitoba has prevented the fuel problem from becoming
acute, the successful search for coal has proved eminently satisfactory.
It is estimated that between Winnipeg and the Rocky Mountains there are
some 65,000 square miles of coal-bearing strata, and the Government has
arranged that this coal shall be available at prices ranging from 1os.
to 20s. per ton according to locality.
Since the completion of
the Canadian Pacific Railway, emigration to the Province has proceeded
apace. While farmers, farm-labourers, and female domestic servants arc
classes most in demand, very large numbers of men and women, without any
special knowledge, but with good health, energy, and determination, have
become successful settlers, anti have steadily improved their position
from the start.
The dairy industry in
Manitoba is making very rapid strides. Creameries and cheese - factories
are established throughout the country, whose output is steadily
increasing. In 1S96 the output of cheese alone amounted to 986,000
pounds. Manitoba and the provinces westward are rapidly becoming the
great wheat-growing countries of the world. In 1896 the area under wheat
was 1,081,960 acres, and the aggregate yield 14,433,706 bushels A
careful estimate made by the superintendent of the Government
experimental farm at Brandon of the cost of growing an acre of wheat is
£1, 12s. 4d. This was the result of an actual experiment on a yield of
29 bushels. The quality of the Manitoba wheat is already known
throughout the world, “No. 1 Hard” ranking higher than any other
The Province still
affords a vast field for the activity of experimental farmers who can
command sufficient capital for the primary operations, for the supply of
implements, and to maintain himself and his family during the first
year. For such, Manitoba has abundant room and the assurance of success
and independence. The early settlers were all of this class, and they
had to confront difficulties which have now been removed by the
completion of the railway. The cost of transportation is now less than
one-half of what it was twenty years ago. Timber for building can he
procured with the greatest ease and economy, while the necessaries of
life can be purchased on the spot and at the most favourable prices.
To-day, the settler with £100 ready money is more advantageously placed
than he would have been with double that amount twelve or fifteen years
ago, and in all parts of Manitoba farm produce can be readily disposed
of within a few miles of any settler at the nearest railway station.
Along the line of
railway and of its branches new settlements are growing up almost day by
day as the stream of emigration penetrates north and south and 1W11 way
enterprise follows in its track.
The Province of
Manitoba contains all the elements which can secure for it a prominent
position, not alone in the Dominion of Canada, but in the world at
large. With the industry of its inhabitants and its own natural
resources it is not difficult to predict for it an increasingly
which command success in Manitoba are largely the same as in other
countries. A ready willingness to adopt the new methods of a new country
and a tireless industry are the main factors; and while the possession
of capital is no small advantage, there are to-day thousands of
prosperous farmers who started with absolutely nothing, or even in debt.
The classes who emigrate from the old countries are obviously the
energetic, the enterprising, and the adventurous, and it will be long
before such as these fail to find a home and a welcome in Manitoba.