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Ten Thousand Miles Through Canada
Chapter III

Ottawa Government and Toronto—Industries—Institutions and factories—Adoption of English customs—Aggressive commercialism—Fruit growing—Through Norfolk County— Comparison with English fruit growing—Fruit preserving— Cost of labour—Bees—Poultry—Cheese—Bass fishing on Lake Erie—Rods and tackle—Niagara Falls—Gifts to Manitou— A great national utility—The mines of Ontario—Official returns—Sudbury, Cobalt, and Porcupine—Encouragement and warnings.

OTTAWA, the seat of the Dominion Government is situated on the banks of the Ottawa River, and on the boundary line between Quebec and Ontario. The Upper House or Senate, is composed of members, elected for life, having a property qualification, and not under 30 years of age.

The House of Commons, the Second Chamber, is elected every five years or at dissolution of the Government in power. There is no property qualification, but only British subjects are eligible. The members of both houses receive £200 per session with travelling expenses, and all polling at general elections takes place on the same day.

The society of Ottawa is chiefly of the official order, but the flourishing timber traffic and other interests have established a large industrial community there.

Ottawa does not owe its position as the seat of the Government and the capital of the Dominion to its population, which only numbers 88,737. It is, however, making marked strides in progress, and is annually justifying the distinction it enjoys as the premier city. Its imports and exports, according to the returns for 1910, amounted to £1,800,000; its postal revenue to £40,000 and its Clearing House returns, a sure symptom of progress, to £34,600,000. The city assessment reached £10,101,641. Ottawa possesses the advantage of enormous water-power. Within a forty-five mile radius, this is said to equal 900,000 horse-power. The erection of new Government buildings, palatial hotels, and the laying out and improvement of public parks and drives, are in harmony with a city that is rapidly developing, not only in commercial importance, but as an artistic and literary centre.

There are already ten railways running into the city, and three more are under construction.

Toronto, the Queen City, is reached from Montreal in a night’s journey. It has no Mount Royal, which commands such a fine panoramic view. On the other hand, it is not an island, and has the possibilities of expansion to an unlimited degree. Its growth in population has been rapid, doubling the number each census. In 1889 it was estimated at 170,000; the last 1910 returns show a leap to 402,567. Its assessment is £61,829,410. It is the seat of the Ontario Government, the buildings of which are undergoing the process of enlargement to meet the demands of increasing departments. Toronto has a university of over 4000 students, and the industries it fosters are many and varied, including 978 factories, which give employment to over 75,000 hands. It leans towards English customs and habits in as pronounced a degree as Quebec gravitates towards French. Religious life is typified in handsome architectural edifices representative of all the denominations. Its commercial enterprise effectually detracts from its beauty as a city. Its streets are interlaced with trams and railway lines, and its sky almost blocked out with towering stores, and a tangled network of electric wires. The facilities for getting about are a set-off against this unaesthetic and undiscriminating commercialism. Tram-cars ply to and from the suburbs, where primitive conditions are still preserved in park and stream and rural charm.

Toronto is situated on Lake Ontario. The belt of land stretching along the north shore is one of the chief fruit-growing districts of Canada. The effect of this beautiful inland sea is to modify the summer heat, and temper the winter cold, and so exercise a beneficial influence on the soil. It is almost impossible to realize that about fifty years back this fertile track, sweetened with snowy blossoms in springtime, and rosy luscious fruit in autumn, was entirely forest and impassable with the exception of an occasional trail. Within a few hours’ journey from Toronto, orchard farming offers good openings to small capitalists, and a training ground for those who must wait a few years before starting on their own account. Norfolk County, Ontario, is typical. It has many features akin to the English landscape. Hill and dale alternate, well-cultivated farms, in which the thickly set sheaves of corn stand, attest the bountifulness of the harvest. Herds of sleek cattle and flocks of sheep line up by the palings, as if not sure yet what sinister intent the great snorting unclassified animal has on their pastoral peace. Were it not for the palings, those inseparable concomitants of pioneer agriculture, one might imagine himself in the Motherland. Nothing but a green hedge is needed to complete the illusion.

Further on in the journey a broad river, moving with a sedateness suggestive of depth, rolls down the valley, deepening the green on its banks, and carrying irrigation to the low-lying plains. The great rivers of Canada have an economic value of incalculable worth to a land where summer sun is rarely clouded.

The orchard district of Norfolk County offers to the settlers land already cleared of the bush. The long and tedious process of cutting, burning, and blasting, is dispensed with, and the harvest return is not long deferred. A member of the Provincial Parliament, and an expert in this department of agriculture, took me over a couple of these farms. He had recently visited our own country, and was therefore in a position to make comparisons, and of quite an unprejudiced nature. He had gone through Kent, and was struck with the high rentals that obtained there. They were prohibitive compared with Ontario. A freehold farm of fifty acres was offered in Norfolk County for £200. One grower raised from an orchard of eight acres £518 worth of apples, giving a profit of £203 after paying all expenses. Another realized a profit of £89 from three acres. Much, of course) depends on the age of the trees. Mr. E. D. Smith, President of the Provincial Fruit Growers’ Association, states in the report of 1910 that in Ontario there are 7,000,000 apple trees, which should, at the lowest, yield 7,000,000 barrels of the best quality of fruit in addition to inferior sorts.

Large quantities of “culls”—apples too small to peel—are dried and shipped to France and Germany for jam and cider.

Peaches are abundant throughout Ontario, particularly in the Niagara Valley, which is specially adapted to their cultivation. They also flourish north of Lake Erie, where I saw trees, laden with them. An interesting experiment was successfully carried through whilst I was in the Dominion. A consignment of peaches was shipped from Ontario to a London fruiterer, which, according to a cablegram, arrived in excellent condition. This was regarded as a first step to supplying the London markets with this choice fruit.

In Prince Edward County the tomato in particular is cultivated. It grows in the open and the yield is good; 500 bushels to an acre is an average crop. Fruit produce is extensively preserved in Canada, and widely shipped. Forty-eight million pounds are annually packed in this form. I visited one of these canneries on the shores of Lake Erie. There they pack 50,000,000 cans a year. The expense of labour is considerably reduced by using natural gas for their machinery. An engine of eighty-five horse-power can be run at a cost of 55. 3d. a day. The gas was lit in the town through which we drove; this seemed singular in the full light of day. The explanation was plausible: it was cheaper to keep the gas burning than pay a man to go round and turn it off.

That Lilliputian but indefatigable farm labourer, the bee, realizes the ideal conditions of getting and giving. Some farmers keep them for fructifying their blossom, and use the honey as a by-product. As an industry in itself, bee farming is becoming popular, and commands an extensive market.

With regard to fowl-keeping one might describe poultry, figuratively as well as literally, as running alone. Hens are no expense, as they cater for themselves. Chickens and turkeys are more generally raised than ducks and geese. In eastern Ontario dairying is the chief farming industry. The British Isles are a market for the produce. The factories for cheese and butter are for the most part co-operative. Hastings County alone sends £400,000 worth of cheese annually to the Mother Country. The combined output in Ontario is £3,000,000 yearly. The co-operative system is said to be an advantage to the small farmer, who no longer has to bear all the expense and risks and find his own market. He only has to send the milk to the factory to be churned into dollars.

Cheese-making as an art is taught at the Macdonald College, I saw Stilton and Cheddar specimens in no way differing in quality from their English ancestors. The breed of milch cows in Ontario is receiving great attention.

It was only a short run from the fruit fields of Norfolk County to the black bass waters of Lake Erie. Mr. Pratt, being a Waltonian, cheerfully accompanied me.

We were fortunate in having as our companion Professor Navitz, a government expert on forestry. We all shared the hospitality of Dr. Mclnnes, a sportsman to the manner born. He is a veteran in years but a youth in spirit, with the Scotch mother-tongue still triumphant, despite long residence in the Dominion. He lives on the lake shore, and at 6 a.m. we fortified ourselves for the expedition with a substantial breakfast, in which ham of suspiciously York flavour formed the pike de resistance. Long before the first fierce rays of the sun struck the lake we were far from the shore in a motor boat, the doctor’s fine baritone ringing out cheerily at the jokes and bons mots that garnished the feast of reason and the flow of soul. We had a distance of twelve miles to travel before the fishing ground would be reached. It lay off the point of an island far away on the horizon. A couple of buoy like marks on the water showed that other anglers were already on the spot. Four miles off St. Williams lay White Fish Bar, where the doctor had one of those much-coveted Lake Erie shootings. A wood duck, winging its flight across the water, led to a discussion on the merits of the sport it gave. Red head, canvas-backs, black duck, pintails, teal and mallard, the latter a distinct species, would visit the place with the first snap of cold, and as many as thirty to forty brace would be bagged in a day’s shooting. These hardy birds travel at a great pace, and are as difficult to stop as driven partridge with a gale of wind behind them. Taking one shot on the approach, they will be out of range of the second barrel on wheeling round. The islands that afford such sport consist of a good deal of marsh land, where wild rice grows, on which swan and duck flourish. The Government charge high fees for shooting.

Long Point, standing away on the north-west, commands £2000 per gun for a life interest, and a select club of sixteen holds the monopoly. The island is twenty-one miles long, and three wide. It is well wooded in places, and in addition to other game there are two or three thousand deer.

Bass, like trout, take to the deeper parts of the lake during July and August. In the spring they are found on the shallows, where they rise to the fly, and take a silver doctor, a Jock Scot or a dusty miller. Minnows, which abound in Lake Erie, as well as perch fry, demoralize the bass as they do trout in Irish lakes. When they begin to gorge on these, flies dance over them in vain. Their cannibal tastes had to be studied, and we netted a bucket full of these small fry before starting. They are mounted on a gut trace with a single hook attached, and a sinker sufficient in weight to carry the line within a foot of the bottom. Canadians use short steel rods, a multiplying reel, and stout tackle.

The outfit scarcely commends itself to a scientific angler. The gut is strong enough to play a salmon, and the rod is stiff and only from four to six feet long. Steel does not possess the flexibility of split cane or greenheart. A multiplying reel seems to me both clumsy and unnecessary, and is mainly fruitful in multiplying the angler’s sorrows. The object—the rapid recovery of the line—is scarcely needed in the case of bass. The fish do not take long runs like salmon or trout, but bore like the grayling, making the best use of the large dorsal fin. The tax on the spare line is slight. I have had many a bold run from trout and salmon, which nearly emptied the reel, but I have no recollection of any difficulty in recovering the slack on the fish’s return journey. The immediate effect of the weight of a fish on a multiplying reel is a tension, which makes winding impossible. This is due to the complication of wheels within wheels, and the locking of the cogs. The only way to recover the line is by rapidly lowering the rod, when the winch can be worked freely enough. This process is repeated, until the needed quantity is recovered. Anglers will, I think, agree with me that to give a fish a slack line runs the risk of giving him his liberty. I have known trout and salmon that only needed a moment’s slack to get rid of the hook effectively. If a fish is firmly hooked it does not matter; but how often does the fly drop from the mouth of the trout and salmon the moment they are netted 1 Had the slack been given before netting, they would have escaped.

No doubt the strength of the tackle which the Canadians use enables them to give the bass rough handling. With fine gut, a stiff rod and an unyielding reel could scarcely be used without losing many fish. I think it is possible that the time will come when coarse tackle will affect the weight of the creel.

Bass are at present unsophisticated, and therefore bold feeders; but so were trout in our English waters years ago. Meanwhile they have become educated, and the greatest wiles have to be practised to lure them. Nothing but the finest drawn gut is used on many chalk streams, where once rough tackle made heavy baskets. Bass can be educated too, and I found lakes, where once they fed freely, which barely yielded a brace per diem. It may be that the stock is depleted. With the causes of that I shall fully deal later on.

In discoloured water on a dark day the nature of the tackle is not of so much moment. But in water crystal in its purity, with the bright Canadian sun added, coarse tackle is likely to reduce the take.

An ideal rod for black bass is a ten-feet split cane fly pattern. This yields to all their movements, and finer gut may be mounted. My outfit consisted of a Hardy Brothers’ “Houghton,” and “Perfection” reel. I lost only a small proportion of the fish hooked, and had no smashes, although I used nothing stronger than a refin trout gut. With this outfit I believe I had the maximum amount of sport these gamey fish afford. A pike, after a bold dash, cut the gut, but that is a contingency likely to arise where one does not use gimp. The take for the day, with a quartette of rods, included thirty-nine black bass, largest, 2½lb.; one rock bass, ½lb.; one sheep’s head, 2½lb.; three wall-eyed pike, largest 4lb. We only kept the regulation number; the surplus were returned, with a host of smaller fish not included in the list. Mr. C. S. Williams, proprietor of Lake View Hotel at Long Point St. Williams, supplies motors and angling requisites.

The delightful day on Lake Erie all too soon came to a close. As the motor boat raised her anchor a magnificent sunset lit up the western sky. The water was so smooth that the effect was mirrored in an unwavering reflection. No pen could describe nor brush portray the richness of the carmine or the delicacy of the blue that lit the heavens. Canadian sunsets are unsurpassed. As we neared the shore the light was rapidly waning and the distant woodland already veiled in darkness. We passed a lotus bed near enough to see the plant’s broad leaves closing for the night. It is said to be one of the three that exist outside Egypt. There is little twilight in the Far West, and by the time we reached the landing stage night had fallen. Everywhere there was stillness except on the borders of the wood, where the exquisite notes of the vesper sparrow rang out with a richness of song equalled only by the nightingale.

Lake Erie is the head-waters of the greatest natural phenomenon on the American continent— the Falls of Niagara. Out of its great expanse of water the river flows that plunges across the chasm, and silently sinks into Lake Ontario with no sign of its adventurous journey save a foam-streaked surface.

I took the first opportunity of re-visiting Niagara. More than a score of years ago, during a holiday in the United States, I saw the magnificent spectacle for the first time. The setting of the Falls had undergone some change meanwhile. A bridge linked Goat Island with the mainland, and commercial obtrusiveness along the shores had left its desecrating marks in huge and unsightly buildings.

But the Falls, ah ! nothing could spoil them. The deep diapason of their roar had not grown less. The myriads of crystals, dazzling in their brightness, still rolled over the precipice and thundered into the yawning abyss, ever athirst with insatiable greed. The mist still veiled the cataract, and the spray bow formed its complete circle; no segment this, but an infinite round, in keeping with infinite marvel.

I walked through the Cave of the Winds, and heard the shrieking as of ten thousand fiends, and was whipped with the water lashes of offended spirits. I watched the rapids below the Falls, seething and foaming as if the water had grown mad, with the great leap across the precipice. The power that lies hidden in this world’s wonder has made its appeal alike to superstition and science, in the one case working tragedy, in the other utility. We see the young Indian girl set adrift in her canoe, laden with fruit and flowers, and swept across the Falls, the annual offering to the great Manitou, which troubled the waters and exacted such toll from mortals. One recalls the case of the Bristol youth who fell beneath the river’s spell, sold his property, and became the hermit of Goat Island; and there, ever with the call of the wild in his ears, at last yielded to the fascination and plunged into the maelstrom in obedience to the behest of beckoning spirits. But other times, other manners; and to-day the power of Niagara has been converted into a public utility, and the great spirit, once the despotic master, has become a docile servant. It may spoil the romance to learn that the tram-cars of Toronto and Windsor, the latter 120 miles distant, are hitched to the Falls. Such is the latest adaptation of waterpower to municipal needs.

The eye of the appraiser has looked upon the river and read in it a value for national purposes of £400,000,000. Science has measured its flow, and averaged it at 75,000,000 gallons per minute. Engineering has converted the figures into dynamics, and made them stand for 6,000,000 horse-power.

It is scarcely a matter for wonder that commercial enterprise should seek to utilize so mighty a force when we learn that it is equivalent to the aggregate power of all the steam engines and boilers in the United Kingdom.

Once more let us turn our eyes on the Great Falls, and cancelling the dollar aspect, try to realize that the power embodied therein is capable of working to the full every railway and factory in Great Britain and Ireland. At such a moment one feels kinship with the simple-minded red Indian, and uncovers his head and worships.

When the power of Niagara is drafted into service, and fulfils a public utility, instead of fostering a superstition, there is no need to quarrel with the new point of view. The project, happily, has not been allowed to become a vested interest and the monopoly of a private company. The Ontario Government has guarded against that by taking the matter into their own hands. The effect has been to cheapen the national cost of electricity, house-lighting has been reduced 50 per cent., street lighting 31 percent., and motor-power 37.5 per cent.

The incidental advantages of the water-power of Niagara are summarized in the Board of Trade report:

“The employment of electricity carries with it other advantages in addition to that of cheaper power, and these are, in some cases, of greater importance.

“The use of electric power for street railways and the consequent cheapness and increased rapidity of transport has, by widening out the living radius, contributed greatly to the comfort of the population, and diminished to a considerable extent unhealthy crowding in city tenements.

“In the factories themselves, the use of electric motors for driving electric machinery, by doing away to a large extent with pulleys and counter shafts, has made machine rooms healthier, cleaner, and better lighted.”


The mining industries of Ontario for the most part are happily shorn of those sensational elements which engender wild excitement and fevered expectation among speculators and adventurers.

The traveller who skirts the northern shores of Lakes Huron and Superior has little conception of the hidden mineral wealth that lies beneath the hills which the railways burrow. West and east, north and south, mines are being discovered and worked. With better machinery and the application of modern methods of engineering, the marketing of mineral wealth becomes only a question of time.

The report of Mr. Thomas W. Gibson, Deputy Minister of Mines shows the annual progress made since 1903. The various products are valued as follows:—

1903 £3,570,859
1906 £4,477,676
1907 £5,003,874
1908 £5,127,523
1909 £6,596,273

As compared with 1908, the year 1909 shows an advance of 28 per cent.

The nickel and copper of Sudbury were the first to be developed in the province. In this district the Canadian Copper Co., the Mond Nickel Co., the Dominion Nickel Co., and the Helen Iron Mines are situated. The latter are the largest shippers of ore.

To the same district belong the Moose Mountain Iron Mines, where the process of treatment, which is most interesting, may be seen. The ore is taken and reduced to an inch product by crushing, after which the waste rock is separated by a magnetic process. The ore is then placed in crushers and reduced to a uniform size of less than an inch. It is then conveyed to the magnetic concentrators by means of an inclined belt. Next it is shot into bins which discharge their contents into magnetic separators, and finally conveyed into the cars of the Canadian Northern Railway to be shipped. About 800 tons per hour can be loaded.

Extensive iron deposits have been discovered at Grand Rapids and Blairton, and marble and graphite at Bancroft and Wilberforce, in the Hastings district.

Four of the iron mines produced during 1909, ore to the extent of 119,207 tons, and the Helen mine at the Sault yielded 112,246 tons. The returns from eight blast furnaces were estimated at £1,395,483 worth of pig iron, and £1,571,081 worth of steel.

Cobalt is another centre of great mining importance. Its chief output is silver, which from 1904 has been a rapidly growing industry. The official returns since that year are given at 93,977,833 oz. of silver, valued at £9,665,456.

The chief Cobalt mines and their output are as follows:—

In Cobalt and its vicinity the production of silver in 1909 exceeded any previous year, the total being 26,000,000 oz. The towns of Elk and Smith on the Montreal River form the distributing centre of this area. There are nearly 150 mines in the district. The Northern Customs Concentration Co. is situated on the town site of Cobalt. It obtained the contract in 1910 for concentrating the mining ore of La Rose and City of Cobalt mines. The process carried on here is both complicated and elaborate. The ore goes through a crusher, and is reduced to a three-quarter inch product. It is then subjected to several processes of separation, and ultimately passed over canvas.

Mr. T. W. Gibson sums up the industry in this district in the following words:—

“The seven years which have elapsed since the opening of the mines of this remarkable camp have been seven years of increasing plenty. The ratio of increase is now lessening, and 1910 will not exhibit as great an advance over 1909 as 1909 did over 1908. Indeed, if no new and unexpected additions be made to the known sources of production, it may well be that Cobalt has reached or is approaching its climacteric, for it must not be forgotten that a mining camp will not last for ever. The present rate of production may, however, be maintained for some time to come, and doubtless Cobalt will be producing silver a generation hence.”

Porcupine goldfields, which attracted a good deal of attention recently, are situated in Whitney and Tisdale, west of the recently opened Temeskaming and Northern Ontario Railway, and near to Kelso on the Canadian Pacific.

In 1899 the region was explored by Dr. W. A. Perks on the behalf of the Provincial Bureau of Mines. He discovered gold widely distributed, whilst the region south of the trail to Porcupine and other areas showed traces of the metal. With the approach of the railway in 1907, there was a rush made by Victor Mathison for Nighthawk Lake District. In 1909 John S. Wilson and a party discovered Dome Mine, and from that centre a region of fifty miles yielded gold, varying in grade to the prospector. A boom in speculation followed. A letter to the “London Times” urged the investment of British money in the enterprise.

A Glasgow firm sent out a representative to investigate, with the result that the Scottish Ontario Syndicate, was formed, and property was acquired. Other British companies followed.

Expert opinion was generally favourable to the new venture. Three thousand square miles were prospected and over iooo claims staked. The speculative brokers exploited the Press, and companies were formed without difficulty, on the assurance that a northern El Dorado was discovered. “Chunks of gold,” “Phenomenal finds,” “More gold in a single property in the Porcupine than in the whole state of Nevada,” were the seductive headings of articles and prospectuses.

Friendly caveats were not wanting. A Scotch expert said, “Yes; there is gold, but Porcupine is no poor man’s camp; much expensive machinery will be needed. If there are millions in the ground, it will take millions to get them out.” Two other opinions are worth quoting, Mr. H. E. T. Haultain, Professor of Mining at Toronto University, said, “The good gold values were first recognized about nine months ago, and one cannot form any definite opinion as to the work accomplished in such a short time. Still, the fact remained that while too early to be sure, the camp gives great promise. Very many of the claims which have been recorded will undoubtedly produce disappointment instead of gold. Many of them are located on swamp ground, and many of them are claims staked when the snow mantled the earth. Much quartz will be discovered that does not carry commercial value. To sum up, after nine months’ life, the Porcupine camp affords well-based hopes that it may become a valuable gold-producing area, with greater permanence than has hitherto characterized Ontario gold camps.”

The other opinion came from Mr. R. W. Brock, Director of the Geological Survey, Ottawa.

“The district furnishes remarkably tempting specimens. About 9000 claims have been staked, the great majority of which have, of course, no real present or prospective value as mines, but they are in Porcupine, and can be bought or sold. But there are some really good-looking prospects. Quartz is remarkably widespread over the district, and visible gold is abundant in some showings, and has been found at numerous widely separated points. Most of the gold occurrences so far located are in Tisdale township, but some of the properties are in Whitney, others in Shaw, and in the Forest Reserve. Porcupine is yet in the prospect stage, but it has some of the essential qualities of a gold camp, sufficient to have induced experienced men to take up options at high figures, and to undertake large expenditures to determine if it possesses all the essential factors.”

The Government attitude on the subject was frankly expressed by Mr. Cochrane, Provincial Minister of Mines, who visited Porcupine personally to investigate the prospects. On his return he warned the Press that the Government were determined to suppress “wild catting,” and make it unpleasant for speculators. All dangerous or illegal statements in prospectuses would come under strict surveillance, and closed this declaration in words creditable to himself and the Government he represented:

“Ontario is in a fair way to materially expand her development, and augment her resources as a result of sound, prudent, and businesslike operations in the Porcupine field. But if the Province is to secure the best results in every direction, there must be wholehearted and determined co-operation on the part of the Press and the Public to combat all wild-catting operations.”

There were 282 mining companies incorporated under the laws of Ontario in 1909 with an aggregate capital of £47,376,600.

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