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A History of British Columbia
Chapter XII - Material Resources

The future of British Columbia, more than that of any other province of Canada, is based upon its material resources. The first, best known and the greatest of these is undoubtedly that of mining. In preceding chapters details have been given of the discovery of placer gold, and the rush of population which accompanied it. How recent, however, is the knowledge of mineral wealth existing on the Northwest coast, may be judged from the fact that Robert Greenhow, who in 1844 published a book dealing with the historical basis of the Oregon Boundary dispute, not then settled, wrote as follows: "Oregon, indeed, contains land in small detached portions which may afford to the industrious cultivator the means of subsistence, and, also perhaps, in time, of procuring some foreign luxuries; but it produces no precious metals, no opium, no cotton, no rice, no sugar, no coffee; nor is it, like India, inhabited by a numerous population, who may be easily forced to labor for the benefit of the few. With regard to commerce, it offers no great advantages, present or immediately prospective. It contains no harbor in which articles of merchandise from other countries will probably at any future period be deposited for re-exportation; while the extreme irregularity of its surface and the obstruction to the navigation of .its rivers, the removal of which is hopeless, forbid all expectation that the productions of China, or any other country bordering on the Pacific, will ever' be transported across Oregon to the Atlantic regions of the 'continent."

Oreg6n, as it was then known, was of indefinite extent, including the whole of the Pacific coast, north of California, as far as Alaska; containing within its limits :what are now the states of Oregon and Washington and the Province of British Columbia, exclusive of New Caledonia, which lay at the northeast corner, and was indisputably British territory.

Greenhow was then, probably, the best informed man on the subject in America, and was arguing that possession of this vast country, except for political reasons, was of no particular advantage to either the United States or Great Britain. This was the opinion expressed by the majority of writers on the subject of the Oregon territory, and was undoubtedly based on the best information available.

At that time the Hudson's Bay Company, although their officials had prospected the whole of the territory for furs, had not observed mineral indications sufficient to justify any other conclusions. How greatly mistaken Greenhow was in the statement that there were "no precious metals" it is not necessary to comment upon, at the time, since the whole of the former Oregon territory has been demonstrated to be richly mineralized, and is, and has been producing a vast amount of mineral wealth.

David Douglas, the gifted scientist, who botanized the country in the early twenties, discovered a deposit of lead-silver, in what is now known as the Blue-Bell mine, on Kootenay Lake, from which it is alleged the Indians used to get a supply of lead with which to make bullets.

Early History of Mining.

Just how and where gold was first discovered in British Columbia is not easy to state with precision. The early discoveries of gold in small quantities range between the years 1850 and 1857. In 1850 specimens came from Vancouver Island and Queen Charlotte Islands. An incipient mining boom took place at Queen Charlotte Islands in 1851 and 1852. Dr. Dawson says that from one little pocket or seam of gold in Gold Harbor, Moresby Island, between $20,000 and $75,000 were taken, or were reported to have been taken. It is also stated by others that more was lost in the harbor in the operation of mining than was recovered. However much or little, the "find" ended there. About the same time Indians from up the Skeena River brought pieces of gold to the Hudson's Bay Company's fort, but the several expeditions to find it in place met with failure.

In the interior, gold was found in the Natchez Pass and Similkameen as early as 1852, and in 1854 Golville Indians were known to have had nuggets in their possession. It is stated in Bancroft that Chief Trader McLean procured gold dust from Indians near Kamloops in 1852. Various authorities place the first finds at various places. However, between 1855 and 1857, discoveries were made on the Thompson, on the Fraser, on the Columbia and at Colville, and the news of these discoveries, together with the despatches of Governor Douglas soon attracted attention to British Columbia as a possible gold field. Exploiting for gold was stimulated by the California excitement, and the discovery of any new field was sure to produce a rush. Several parties prospected and worked on the Fraser and Thompson Rivers in 1857 with good success, and the news caused the Fraser River excitement, many of the participants in which are still living.

The story has already been told of the rush of 1858 to the Fraser River, and the subsequent discovery of immensely rich placers in the Cariboo country. It was the discovery and exploitation of this gold that gave population and permanency to the Colony of British Columbia, and converted it from a fur-bearing preserve for the Hudson's Bay Company, to a regularly constituted and politically organized British domain.

Up to 1866, the principal operations were confined to Cariboo, but there were in the meantime, several lesser excitements, notably the discovery of rich placer deposits in Similkameen, at Rock Creek, Boundary Creek and on Wild Horse Creek in the Kootenay district, in the extreme southeastern part of the province. Then the Leech River excitement in 1864, in the southern part of Vancouver Island. And again the Big Bend excitement of 1865. The deposits of the last named place were found to be rich, but the inaccessibility of the region, the total lack of facilities for bringing in provisions, and the great hardships consequent upon prospecting and mining in this district, proved too great for continued success, and the excitement quickly subsided. It is quite probable, however, that the Big Bend country will seen again excite the interest of miners and prove a rich field for them.'

Shortly after the discovery of Cariboo gold mines, the restless prospector began pushing his investigations further North, arid in 1869, the Omineca Country was reached, where an excitement of not inconsiderable dimensions took place and numbers rushed in." These: mines were fairly remunerative for a time, and have been more or less operated ever since, but in 1872 the rich northern mines of the Cassiar district, at the head waters of the Dease, were brought to light, and the second most notable mining epoch was effected. Out of this district, some five or six millions' of dollars in gold were taken. True ,to his instinct, after the first richness of the Cassiar creeks was exhausted, the'prospector pushed,> further and further North, until finally in-1880 gold was found in paying quantities in the tributaries of the Yukon.

In 1897, rich discoveries of gold having been made, in the tributaries of the Yukon, in the vicinity of where Dawson City now is, another memorable rush took place, and one which must, in -historical, importance, rank next to the Cariboo excitement. The Yukon has been a rich field, and has yielded up annually .large quantities of. gold ever since.

Attention having been directed to the Northern country, it was extensively prospected, and other mining camps were opened up with more or less success. One of these-was just within, the Northern boundaries of British .Columbia, in Atlin District, which has yielded ,from .$500,000 to $1,000,000 a .year since 1898.

In 1885, Granite Creek, a tributary of the Sirnilkameen, afforded; evidence of rich placers, and a small "rush" occurred, and although not so rich as .was reported at first, it has ever since occupied the.attention of prospectors.

Coal, still the predominant wealth producer in minerals in this province, was known to exist at a much earlier period than was gold. It was discovered at Fort Rupert in 1835, and was used in small quantities. The Indians are credited with making its existence known to the whites, the circumstances being ascribed to an accident. Some development work was done at Fort Rupert by the Hudson's Bay Company, but the mines there were abandoned in 1851 for those at Nanaimo, which were discovered in a, manner somewhat similar to those at Fort Rupert. The Indians had observed a blacksmith using coal, and had informed him that there was plenty of such black stone at Nanaimo, which, upon investigation, proved to be true. The work of mining was begun in 1851, and has never been discontinued.

Coal is said to have been found at Burrard Inlet in an outcropping on the shore, and H. M. S. "Plumper" obtained enough of it there to steam the ship to Nanaimo. No subsequent indications have been reported. Borings in the vicinity have proved unsuccessful in revealing a paying deposit. The coal beds of Queen Charlotte Island, now attracting some attention, were discovered as far back as 1852, and anthracite was known to exist.

The finding of coal at Departure Bay by the late Hon. Robert Dunsmuir, and its subsequent development by him into the great industry it is at present, and the fortune it brought with it, are too well known to require detailed mention here. From 3,000 tons in 1852 the output has gradually risen to 1,000,000 tons (in round numbers) per annum.

Placer and Lode Mining.

Placer mining in British Columbia has followed the usual course of events in all gold-bearing countries. After the richest deposits had been worked over by the ordinary methods, the annual yield began to decline. Cariboo saw its best days in 1863 and 1864. The experience of every other camp has been the same. The output of 1863 was about $4,000,000. Thirty years later it was $360,000, when it reached its lowest ebb. Then the scale began to turn, and it has again reached over $1,000,000. There is a reason for that, not attributable to new finds, but to newer methods. Grounds that no longer paid by the use of the rocker, and sluicing, are being made remunerative by hydraulicing on a large scale, and the expenditure of large capital. This promises a revolution, whereby the extensive auriferous areas of gravel and old river beds can be worked over. Extensive hydraulicing plants have been inaugurated in Cariboo, notably that of the Consolidated Cariboo Hydraulicing Company, which has mining leases aggregating* several thousand acres of land, all auriferous. It is estimated that there are 500,000,000 cubic yards, which are available for washing. Similar enterprises are contemplated in all the old mining camps, wherever conditions are favorable, so that the era of hydraulicing promises results even greater than in "ye olden times." Dredging and ground-sluicing are also receiving attention.

There was a long interval between the time the harvest of alluvial diggings made British Columbia famous, and the time when lode-mining began to show results. At intervals along in the seventies and the eighties, there were valuable finds reported in the way of quartz veins, carrying silver and free gold principally. There was a silver mine at Hope, of which much was heard, and into which much money was put. There was the famous "Black Jack" of Cariboo, which created a temporary quartz excitement, and relieved the public of a certain amount of money invested in shares. Monashee Mountain in Southern Yale, attracted a good deal of attention and some capital to it. The old silver trail leading from the main wagon road into Jordan Meadows, from Raymond's Crossing near Shawnigan Lake, on Vancouver Island, attests to faith in a silver mine, that was the base of a vision of wealth for some one. These early attempts, in the light of an understanding of the conditions which exist generally in British Columbia, were foredoomed to failure, even if the mineral had been " in place" according to anticipation. Many persons have wondered why it was that this province, if as rich and as widely mineralized as reported, did not develop faster as a mineral producer. In certain circles, as a result of " hope oft deferred," the impression did gain ground that British Columbia was a doubtful mining field, notwithstanding the rich surface exposures, and we heard a good deal about " broken formations " and "refractory ores," as an explanation of the unsatisfactory results of preliminary exploitation. Over and over again, the most sanguine anticipations were formed of some unusually rich prospect, and the public, through the newspapers, each time felt confident of success; but soon or later, according to the amount of funds at the disposal of the promoters, silence reigned regarding them, and the public, not in their confidence, wondered why. Now, the public were not "buncoed," at least, in the majority of cases. The promoters believed in their properties implicitly, and backed their faith with their own capital. Failure was usually the result of not properly appreciating the conditions which make success in mining, They were not mistaken, but they were too soon. Like the pioneer, the inventor, and the reformer, who usually see the fruits of their efforts reaped by those who have not sown, they were just a little in advance of their time. The key to success lay in the providing of facilities of communication, without which it was impossible to win. There were other things as well. Twenty or thirty years ago, had there been the railway facilities we possess today, many of the properties now worked at a profit, could not have been properly operated. The reason for this is, that the processes of mining and smelting have so improved in that time, that the low grade ores, such as are being handled in great quantities in the Boundary and Rossland camps, would have been useless. Every mining country has its peculiarities, and its particular requirements, and time and experience are necessary to determine the processes and methods best suited to the treatment of its ores.

Communication, however, was the principal want of the country in the early days of the development of quartz mines. It is yet, to a very large extent. Whatever are the metallurgical problems to be solved, no success can be achieved until there are railways, or tramways to connect mines with the waterways, affording cheap transportation. The successful mining camps today, are located only in those parts of the province, where such transportation exists, as in the Boundary, Trail Creek and Slocan districts, in East Kootenay and on the coast of Vancouver Island. These have only touched the rim of the mining possibilities, within which are a vast field, over most of which prospectors have trodden, and discovered indications of mineral wealth. This field still waits the whistle of the railway train to make it alive with industry. We have the promise of two more transcontinental railways, piercing the Rockies north of the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway, within the next five years, and of one or two systems following the natural lines of travel north and south, after which will follow the inevitable network of branch lines. In twenty-five years from now, the province should be yielding $200,000,000 worth of minerals annually, instead of its present output of $20,000,000.

The first quartz mining of any importance, was done at Camp McKinney, which was discovered in the year 1884. One mine there, the Cariboo-Amelia, paid dividends to the extent of $550,000, and only closed down in 1903. Ainsworth, or as it was known in early days as Hot Springs, on the Kootenay Lake, was one of the first camps to be developed. Dr. Dawson, in 1889, found mining being actively carried on, and it had been for several years previous. About that time, prospecting and preliminary mining developments were very active all through the West Kootenay country, and in parts of East Kootenay. In the vicinity of Nelson, Revelstoke, Rossland, and Lardeau, in West Kootenay, and in East Kootenay in the Golden and Windermere divisions, the country swarmed with prospectors and miners. The celebrated Hall mines, on Toad Mountain, near Nelson, was discovered in the fall of 1886, and located the following year. The Field mine was in operation in 1888. A location was made in Comaplix, in the Lardeau district in the same year. The first claim recorded in the Rossland camp, was in 1889. The Centre Star, War Eagle and Le Roi, were located in 1890, and in 1891 came the almost sensational discovery of the Slocan, which produced a boom in 1892, upon the top of which Kaslo came to the fore. Ross-'and and Trail were later developments. The Boundary district, though slower of development, on account of the lack of railway facilities, which were not supplied until 1899, had its beginnings even earlier. In 1886-7, mineral was discovered and located near Boundary Falls, in Copper Camp. But it was not until the early nineties, that the properties that have become the chief producing factors—the Mother Lode, the Old Ironsides and Knob Hill claims—were staked. The North Star mine at Kimberly, in East Kootenay, was staked in 1892. We have also the Eugene group of claims on Moyie Lake, and the Sullivan group near Kimberly, which came into prominence about the same time, and have been large producers. Fairview Camp, in the Yale district, was the scene of active operations over ten years ago, and a good deal of capital has been invested in development work and stamp mills. Important discoveries of copper-gold were made on Mount Sicker, in 1896 or 1897, and large developments followed, and two smelters. Prior to that, however, Texada Island began to attract attention, and in 1896 a small test shipment was sent out, and a smelter to treat the ores was erected in 1899. The Marble Bay mine, near the Van Anda, has been a regular shipper. The largest body of copper ore yet discovered anywhere on the Coast, has been on the East shore of Howe Sound, and comprises what is known as the Britannia group, officially described in the Minister of Mines report for 1900. Good properties were located on the Alberni Canal about ten years ago, and several fairly well-developed mines have been the result.

It is impossible in brief space, to follow the course of mining development in the wide area of the province over which the prospector has travelled and staked. Important discoveries have been made at Quatsino, on the Northwest coast of Vancouver Island, at various points up the Coast, as far as Windy Arm, at the boundary between Alaska and British Columbia; on the Skeena River, and in the Bulkley Valley; at Sooke and Goldstream, Vancouver Island; in the Pitt and Harrison River districts, on the Lower Mainland; in the Mount Baker district, near Chilliwack; on Burrard and Jervis inlets; on several islands not mentioned; in the Lillooet; in the Fish River, Ferguson, Trout Lake, Poplar Creek camps, and elsewhere in the Lardeau district. Perhaps the most important district is in Yale county, included in what is known as the Similkameen. This section of the province has been delayed, owing to the lack of transportation. In Similkameen, there are many and extensive copper deposits, and at Hedley, a new mining camp, there is located a very promising gold property called the Nickel Plate, which has forty stamps in operation. From the various local mining centres, hurriedly indicated, the prospector has branched out and staked the country in many directions.

Many small towns and incorporated cities (every incorporated town is classified as a city) have sprung up, following the course of mining development, each with a bright future predicted by its founders. Thus Kalso and Kamloops were incorporated in 1893 (Kamloops, however, was for a long time the urban centre of the Yale District); Nelson, Grand Forks, Greenwood and Rossland in 1897; Sandon in 1898, Phoenix in 1900, and' Slocan and Trail in 1901. There are others such as Fernie and Revelstoke, which have been incorporated since that time; but there is a long list that are the direct creation of the mining industry, such as Ainsworth, Atlin, Comaplix, Crofton, Eholt, Elko, Ferguson, Fairview, Fort Steele, Hedley, Ladysmith, Michel, Morrisey, Moyie, New Denver, Quesnel Forks, Silverton, Three Forks, Trout Lake, Bullion, Camborne. Some of these are already in the "sere and yellow leaf," following the fortunes of the camps that gave them life and activity, but the majority are substantial and growing, while others are springing up.

Coal and Other Minerals.

The history of coal mining is not less interesting than that of the other minerals. Already, a short sketch has been given of the very early operations. The mines at Nanaimo and Departure Bay developed into extensive industries, finding their principal market in San Francisco. The Vancouver Coal Company, which was controlled by the Hudson's Bay Company, was subsequently reorganized in London, under the title of the New Vancouver Coal Company, which carried on operations for years. Recently their properties were acquired by the Western Fuel Company, whose shareholders are American. The mines at Departure Bay are not now worked, and Wellington is now practically a deserted town. R. Dunsmuir & Sons, the owners, have opened up a new and valuable mine, known as the Extension mine, in Cranberry district. The other well known mines, also operated by R. Dunsmuir & Sons, are at Union, in the Comox Valley. The Union mines have shipped extensively for years. Coal exists in many parts of the province, —at Quatsino, on Queen Charlotte Islands, in the Northern Interior, in the Similkameen and Nicola districts, and in the Crow's Nest Pass, but with the exception of the last named, have not been utilized. An interesting history is connected with the development of the coal fields of the Crow's Nest Pass. It dates back as far as 1887. In June of that year, Mr. William Fernie, then of Fort Steele, and Lieutenant-Colonel Baker, a member of the Provincial Legislature, decided to prospect the coal measures, the existence of which had been reported by Mr. Michael Phillipps, an old Hudson's Bay Company employee. Every summer, for eight or nine years, Mr. Fernie took men from Fort Steele to the Elk River district, where they prospected the coal seams outcropping there. A syndicate was formed in Victoria, to acquire and develop them. Eventually, a company was organized to take over the syndicate's holdings, and a charter from the Provincial Legislature obtained, authorizing the construction of the British Columbia Southern Railway, for which a land subsidy was obtained, to give access to this coal district. After a long series of negotiations, which forms a most important chapter in the political history of this province and of Canada, an agreement was finally closed with the Canadian Pacific Railway, for the construction of the railway through Crow's Nest Pass, to connect with its line as Lethbridge, in the Northwest Territory, thus affording direct connection between the Eastern wholesale markets, and those of the Kootenay mining towns. In the meanwhile, the Crow's Nest Pass Coal Company, controlled by Senator Cox, Robert Jaffray and other Eastern moneyed associates, acquired the coal lands, and have developed the mines, which are now producing both coal and coke on a large scale. These mines, and the coking industry in connection, supply the smelters of the Interior with coke, which is largely shipped to the United States as well. To give an idea of the extent of these coal fields, their area is estimated by Dr. Dawson, to be about two hundred (200) square miles. For a portion of this area, Dr. Selwyn, formerly director of the Geological Survey, estimates the coal underlying each square mile to be 49,952,000 tons. Thus we have one of the most remarkable coal basins known. Assuming that the estimate of Dr. Selwyn holds good for half the area, and the production at 10,000 tons a day, the supply in sight is sufficient to last 500,000 years, quite long enough to relieve immediate posterity from the danger of a fuel famine.

For the present, the output of coal is affected by the use of petroleum for fuel purposes, which is restricting the market, formerly enjoyed. The increasing use of coke in smelters, however, is in some measure compensating for the competition in oil fuel; and forever the coal measures of British Columbia must remain one of the greatest of provincial assets.

There is not time or space to review all the mineral resources of the province. The next most important mineral, and it may prove eventually to be the most important, is iron. As yet, it has not taken on the same degree of economic importance as the other minerals reviewed, from the fact that the iron industry has not yet been established on this Coast, but prospects in that direction are visibly brighter.,. Iron ores in British Columbia are •widely-, distributed throughout the Mainland and along the coast of both Island and Mainland. Although the Mainland has been but little prospected •for iron ores, extensive deposits are known to exist at Cherry Creek, near Kamloops; at Bull Creek, Gray Creek, and Kitchener (Goat River) in East Kootenay; and are reported in the mountains north of Trail and in the Cariboo district. On the Coast, iron deposits occur on Texada Island and •adjacent islands, at Rivers Inlet, and on Queen Charlotte Islands. The most important of these exist on-the Island of Vancouver, at Sooke, Malahat Mountain, Port Renfrew (at the mouth of the San Juan River), Barkley Sound (including Sarita River and Cooper Island), Alberni Canal, Hesquoit Harbor, Nootka Sound arid Quatsino Sound." As a rule, "the iron "ore is magnetite in character," but 'deposits of hematite have" been discovered at Quatsino, hear Cheinainus, at 'Kitchener, and' one or two other points, but not sufficient has been done to determine their 'extent or value. There is little doubt' but that the bodies of iron especially on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, are sufficiently extensive to maintain large blast furnaces 'for' an indefinite' time.

The conditions which affect manufacture of iron on the Coast of British Columbia, are favorable in the extreme, if .we except the question of market, which is yet an undetermined factor. They are: cheap water, transportation, and easy access to the water; good fuel at low cost, with abundance of pure lime for fluxes. It is true that labor is higher on this Coast, but the demand created by the existence of blast "furnaces," would probably tend to equalize conditions in that respect.' The other favorable conditions, however, would, tend to offset the price of labor, and place the industry on a very favorable basis as compared with other parts of the world! The other minerals) which are possessed in British Columbia in sufficient quantity to be of importance economically are zinc, associated principally with the silver-lead ores of the Kbotenays; cinnabar, the quicksilver bearing zone, two miles wide, having been traced for thirty miles, crossing Kamloops Lake, about three miles above the lower end of it; platinum, which occurs principally in the Tulameen, a branch of the Similkameen, and in the copper ores of Boundary and Rossland, and in the placers of Cariboo and Cassiar; mica, found in large quantities and excellent quality, in the vicinity of Tete Jeune Cache; gypsum in the vicinity of Kamloops; and lime in abundance in many parts of the province. Sulphur in the form of pyrites is more or less general; arsenic, osmiridium, scheelite and other minerals are also found. Tin, nickel, asbestos and manganese have not been reported to exist to any extent.

It would be difficult to say which of the four main resources of the Province are the most important. Mining has by general consent been given the first place, and it will probably continue to occupy that place for some years to come, if not forever. The value and extent of the fisheries are as yet somewhat problematical, though it is doubtful even if fully developed, they would yield the same amount of wealth as the minerals of the Province. Development in the case of the fisheries means depletion, unless means and methods are adopted to insure propagation on a scale commensurate with the fishing operations. There is great forest wealth on the Pacific Coast, but the timber is doomed to extinction along with that of the older parts of America. Up to the present time, no systematic or comprehensive system of protection and of forestration has been adopted, and without it, between the forest fires and the lumbermen, this capital resource will soon vanish. As yet, we have vast reserves, but with many loggers and mills at work, its disappearance will be much more rapid than the growth of new timber. The resource, however, upon which the highest permanent hopes may be based, is that of Agriculture in all its branches. We are told that the rainbow was placed in the sky as a token that as long as it remained there, there would be seedtime and harvest. It is morally certain that with rain and sunshine the industry, which is the foundation of all industry and wealth, will continue unimpaired and perpetually productive. Owing to the potentialities of the soil and climate in British Columbia, the future of the Province is of the brightest possible character, and although the area of arable land is limited as compared with other provinces in Canada, it is not inconceivable that the output of the farms and orchards of British Columbia will yet be greater than that of the mines. Taking these resources in the order of their relative importance, as they appear at present from the value of the annual output, they are:


There is a considerable variation in the value of the output of the fisheries from year to year. In 1901, which was the record year, owing to the large salmon pack, the yield of fisheries was estimated in value to be about $8,000,000. The word "estimated" is used because outside of the salmon pack, there are no absolutely exact returns. In 1902, the value of the yield fell to $5,280,000. It is not proposed to go into a minute history of the fishing industry in this Province.

The salmon canning fishery, which has developed to such large proportions, practically began in the year 1876 on the Fraser River, New Westminster District. The first pack amounted to almost 10,000 cases, which rapidly increased. The pack was 225,000 cases in 1883; 204,000 cases in 1887; 315,000 cases in 1891; over 1,000,000 cases in 1897, and over 1,236,000 cases in 1901. These were mainly big years. Statistics show, with more or less regularity, every fourth year to have been big years, followed by one or two lean years. The exact cause of this periodicity, which is peculiar to the Fraser River, has never been definitely ascertained. The development of the salmon fishing for commercial purposes was gradual at first, but proceeded more rapidly in later years. It extended from the Fraser River to the Northern rivers and inlets, and we find canneries located at Rivers Inlet, Skeena and Naas Rivers, Lowe Inlet, Dean Canal, Namu Harbor, Bella Coola, Smith's Inlet, Alert Bay, and on the West coast of Vancouver Island.

Recently, presumably as a result of the numerous canneries operated and the catching- of fish in traps by American fishermen before they reach the Fraser River, there has been signs of depletion, and attention has been directed particularly to the increase of the natural supply by artificial methods of propagation, and by an endeavor to secure co-operation with canneries operating on the American side, and uniformity of regulation with a view to prevention of destructive methods and permanent sources of supply. The cannerymen, both north and south of the boundary line fully appreciate the importance of this and undoubtedly in the near future a mutual understanding will be arrived at. The artificial propagation of salmon by means of hatcheries began in 1885. In 1902 the Province erected a large hatchery at Setori Lake, which last year had an output of over forty million of salmon fry. About the same time that the Province undertook artificial propagation, the Dominion Government began erecting other hatcheries, and there are now four operating on the Fraser River, Granite Creek, Shuswap Lake, Skeena and Nimkish Rivers.

A comparatively small trade is carried on in fresh, dry, salted and smoked salmon. The salmon most used for cannery purposes are the sockeye and co-hoes. The spring salmon and steelhead form the staple product for fresh fish export, while the dog salmon is now being utilized for the Japanese and other markets, in which a cheap product finds a demand. The fish next in importance to the salmon is the halibut, which is found in great quantities in Hecate Straits and along the coast to the northward. Within the last ten or twelve years, the halibut industry has developed into large proportions, and now over ten to fifteen million pounds is being shipped annually by the New England and other American companies, from Vancouver and Seattle, to the Eastern markets.

The range of food fishes on this coast is not as wide as on the Atlantic, but the quantity available in each is much larger. The prime food fishes outside of the salmon and halibut referred to, are the oolachan, or candle fish, herring, sea bass, cod, sturgeon, shad, and a fish found in great quantities on the coast of Queen Charlotte Islands, known as black cod or " skill," somewhat resembling the mackerel. The herring industry, recently inaugurated, promises to become important, as the herring run in immense numbers. Whale fishing has been inaugurated on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, and a guano factory has been established in connection. There are other fish, such as dog fish and sharks, which are utilized to some extent for their oil. The principal game fish in the Province is the trout, which is found in all the waters of British Columbia, and the spring or tyee salmon. Those who have paid attention to the fishery resources of the Province claim that there is a great future ahead, as soon as markets have been found. Considerable capital has been expended in experimental work in various processes in the curing of fish. So far it has not assumed large proportions.

Forest Wealth.

Turning now to the timber- resources of the Province, it is rather hazardous to make an estimate of the amount of standing timber available for commerce. No estimate can be regarded as reliable. Official publications give the timber area of British Columbia as 182,750,000 acres, but a great deal of that, while timbered, is not commercially of use except for local purposes. Much of it is covered with small trees, only fit for fuel and mine timber. However, it may be safely stated, that the largest and most important reserves of timber available on the North American continent for commercial purposes, are to be found in British Columbia. There are large detached limits of useful forest in the southern interior of the Province, now being utilized for export to the Northwest. This timber is much smaller than that found on the coast, where the trees grow to very large proportions; but still large as compared with that grown in the East. On coast limits as high as three hundred thousand feet of timber have been cut from one acre, but the best limits average from twenty-five to fifty thousand feet. These are found on the lower Mainland, on Vancouver Island and the adjacant coast of the Mainland, and intervening islands as far north as the northern part of Vancouver Island, where the Douglas fir disappears. The principal timbers are the Douglas fir, which is the most important and widely distributed of the commercial trees, red cedar, spruce, western white pine, western yellow pine (or bull pine), hemlock, western larch, and to a limited extent, yellow cedar. There are no deciduous trees of great commercial importance. Alder and maple are used in a limited way for finishing woods, but the supply is not large. There is some oak on the southern end of Vancouver Island, but of little use commercially. Cottonwood has been used for the manufacture of "excelsior," while arbutus, dogwood, buckthorn and crab apple have occasional special uses. It is possible, however, to greatly diversify the useful hard woods of the Province, as walnut, butternut, hickory, elm, oak, beech, hard maples, ash, etc., can be cultivated and grow rapidly. The utilization of spruce, hemlock and Douglas fir along the coast, for the manufacture of paper pulp, has had considerable attention paid to it within the last few years, and several large companies have been organized with the purpose of engaging in the pulp and paper industries. Only preliminary work has yet been undertaken, but great hopes are entertained for the future. There are over one hundred saw mills in the Province, big and small, with a combined daily capacity of over two million feet, but • this limit has never been reached; the annual cut running between three hundred to three hundred and fifty million feet. An important feature of the timber industry in recent years has been the manufacture of shingles from red cedar.

A large market is found in the Northwest and Eastern Canada. With the exception of the foreign export trade, amounting to about fifty million feet per annum, and a considerable local demand, the principal market for the timber of the mills of the Province is found in the Northwest provinces and Manitoba. For a long period of years, the timber industry was in a depressed condition, but with the opening up of the Northwest, a new avenue of trade was found, and this market has been increasing in importance with the remarkable rush of population which has taken place recently, so that at present, the lumber industry is in a more prosperous condition than ever it was before. Timber lands have been in great demand, and new mills are being erected and old ones enlarged and modernized.

Statistics of the timber and lumber industry are not available prior to the year 1888, when the reports of the Inspector of Forestry began to be published. Since that time a very complete annual statement has been included in the report of the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works. However, a careful estimate of the cut of timber in the Province since the commencement of the industry, made from available data in various years, gives the following results: To 1871, 250,000,000 feet; from 1871 to 1888, 595,000,000 feet; from 1888 to 1904, inclusive, 2,569,759,262 feet, or in the aggregate, 3,414,759,262 feet. If we add to the above the amount of lumber manufactured on Dominion Government lands, and that cut from private lands concerning which there is no official record, the total will be very materially increased.


Reference has already been made to the permanent character and bright possibilities of the agricultural industry in British Columbia. The achievements in this direction for the past ten years are sufficient upon which to base the most sanguine anticipations. There are several elements which give great promise to the industry. The first is climate, which except in the most remote northerly parts of the Province, is conducive to the best results. On the Coast it is particularly mild and equable, and, therefore, favorable to small fruits, pears, plums, cherries, and several varieties of apples, to nearly all kinds of vegetables, for dairying and stock purposes, and to grain growing, with the exception of wheat, which does not ripen sufficiently hard for milling.

In the interior valleys, where the heat is much greater in the summer time and the winters are dry and cold, the range of agricultural products in all lines is even greater because we have added to the fruits and grain already referred to those which require more heat and greater cold for maturing perfectly, for instance, it is possible to grow tomatoes, peaches and grapes, which require greater heat, and a greater variety of apples, which reach their perfection in a cold, rigorous climate. The finest of wheat for milling purposes can also be grown. The soil suitable for agriculture is everywhere very productive, and the yields on the average are greater than in any other part of Canada. This productiveness is a result of a combination of soil and climate. The growing season is long and conduces to the best quality. From a commercial point of view, the conditions are peculiarly favorable. The distance from Eastern Canada affords a natural protection in the way of freight rates, and the duty on agricultural products prevents over competition from the Pacific Coast states of America. The condition, however, which peculiarly favors fruit growing in British Columbia is the continuity of the Northwest Territory, now rapidly filling up with population. In addition to the home market, which is a large and profitable one and continuously growing, the fruit-grower has the Northwest practically to himself, and has heretofore been able to obtain the highest prices for all he could grow of the right varieties properly packed. The market, in fact, for fruit is increasing more rapidly than the ability of the fruit grower to supply it, and particularly in view of the expanding population, there need, therefore, be no anxiety for many years to come in regard to over production.

There has always been, too, a large local demand for dairy products, poultry and eggs, which the home product has been unable to fully supply. Farmers obtain the highest prices for their butter, eggs and poultry. With the exception of the interior valleys—where stock growing has been carried on on a large scale, by being able to take advantage of the bunch grass ranges of the hill sides—British Columbia is not a country for large ranches; all the conditions are opposed to farming on a large scale. Therefore, the agriculturist is, by virtue of such conditions, compelled to undertake mixed farming on a small scale, which, in the experience of the world, has proved to be the most profitable and most permanent. One of the conditions referred to is the cost of securing land and bringing it into cultivation, or if it be located in the dry belt, it requires irrigation, or if low-lying, demands extensive draining and under draining. In other words, taken as a whole, it is much more expensive to bring land under proper cultivation in British Columbia than in most other parts of America, and therefore not favorable to land holding in large areas, but once fitted for cultivation, it becomes by reason of a combination of favorable circumstances, exceedingly productive, and yielding large dividends upon the capital invested. It is a country eminently suited to intensive cultivation of whatever character, and as at the present time fruit growing and dairying give promise of the greatest returns, particular attention is being paid to these • branches of the industry. Within the past ten years no other industry of whatever character has made such rapid and substantial progress as that of farming, and no other has such bright prospects of continuous expansion and enduring success. It has not been usual in the past to regard British Columbia in the light of an agricultural country, and therefore it has become better known on account of its mineral, timber and fishing resources, but it is estimated that the value of farm products for 1905 was six million dollars. It will thus be seen that it compares favorably in agriculture with other natural resources. As an instance of the possibilities in this respect, the census of 1891 gives the extent of improved land at considerably less than half a million acres, and as a matter of fact, much of that is only partially improved. It would be safe to say that the area actually under cultivation does not exceed two hundred or two hundred and fifty thousand acres at the outside, so that the amount of arable land in the whole Province, the area of which is about two hundred and fifty million acres, is very small in comparison; there is nevertheless, sufficient to afford room for an agricultural population of half a million persons, allowing each farmer, or head of a family, ninety acres each, or at the present rate of production, capable of producing one hundred million dollars worth of farm produce annually. It is impossible at the present time, basing figures upon official returns, to give an accurate estimate of the areas of the various arable districts of the Province, but in a rough way it is possible to give approximately the following: The lower Fraser valley in the Westminster district, 350,000 acres; the southeastern portion of Vancouver Island, 250,000; the north end of Vancouver Island, 300,000 acres; Okanagan district, 240,000 acres; north and south Thompson River valleys, 75,000 acres; Nicola, Similkameen, and Kettle River valleys, 350,000 acres; Lillooet and Cariboo, 200,000 acres; East and West Kootenay, 150,000 acres; Canoe River valley, 75,000 acres; the Chilcoten, including the Nechaco and Blackwater valleys, 750,000 acres; Bulkley and Kispyox valleys, 200,000 acres; Ootsa Lake, 150,000 acres; Bella Coola and other Coast districts, 150,000 acres; New Caledonia, including Peace River, 5,500,000 acres; making a grand total of nearly 9,000,000 acres. This is an estimate that cannot be verified officially, as but little is known as to the exact extent of some of the Valleys enumerated, but it will probably be found to be not far wide of the mark. It will be seen that only a small percentage of this land has yet been made available, in fact, by far the largest part of it is still in the hands of the Government and until communication is effected, settlement and population must necessarily be slow. To show how rapidly the agricultural industry is developing, it may be stated that in 1897 the output of butter from the creameries did not exceed 75,000 pounds, whereas in 1904 there were about 1,120,000 pounds manufactured, with fourteen creameries in operation, showing an increase of 160,000 pounds over the previous year.

The possibilities of further development is shown by the fact that in 1904 considerably more butter was imported than was manufactured, or butter to the value of $1,180,000, which came from the Northwest, Oregon, Washington, California, New Zealand and Australia.

The value of the fruit shipped in 1904 was estimated at $240,000, and the total value of the fruit produced and marketed exceeded $500,000, which amounts were largely exceeded in 1905, though returns are not available at the time of writing. The area of land planted in orchards, according to census returns of 1901, was 7,430 acres, the estimated value of the acreage of orchards planted in the three following years was 6,000 acres, so that at the end of 1904, there were about 13,500 acres of orchards, and it is estimated that in 1905, taking the number of trees planted as a basis, between 7,000 and 10,000 acres of land was added to the area under cultivation, and devoted to fruit growing.


The Province of British Columbia, though it has material and the natural conditions out of which to create great industries, has not yet been placed in the position in relation with the commercial world to take advantage of its opportunities. Development in that direction is a matter of slow progress, and follows in the wake of trade with the Orient, via the Pacific Ocean. Remoteness from centers of supply, price of labor, the relatively high cost of transportation as compared with the Atlantic ports, and, in particular, with the great ports of Europe, with which the Pacific Coast must come into competition when striving for foreign trade, and other conditions, all enter into the problem of success, and have to be overcome by degrees. Trans-continental railways and trans-Pacific stseamship lines and Pacific cable and the proposed Panama Canal, are altering the conditions, and we are gradually building up Liverpools and New Yorks. It is, therefore, almost as certain as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, that in time the center of commercial gravity will be shifted. We shall then stand in the same relative position in regard to the trade of the world as those world centers, and in point of industry British Columbia will have exceptional advantages in relation to the Orient. The large industries which effect the international situation are iron and steel, pulp and paper, timber, fishery products, preserved and canned fruits and vegetables, manufactured woolens, etc. Respecting all of these and others that might be included, no country is in a better natural position to compete. It has not only geographical advantages by ocean navigation, but it has a great wealth of natural resources easily accessible. It is indeed, in a much better position than Great Britain ever was, and the Mother Country until recently stood unrivalled in trade and industry. We may, therefore, look with unbounded confidence, even though we have to exercise patience, to the future, when mammoth factories of various kinds will produce goods for every part of the globe, to be conveyed thither by fleets of steamers. Our ocean ports will be the entrepot for commerce flowing freely to and fro along the new route between the Occident and the Orient, and from the nether hemisphere of Australasia to the northern and congenerous parts of the same empire. Progress towards that end, as has already been remarked, has been extremely slow, and those in the early days who dreamed dreams of things we now see and have more certain knowledge of their approach, experienced many disappointments. They saw truly but too far ahead to reap of the harvest they had anticipated. In Hudson's Bay Company days there was a considerable trade carried on with points on the Pacific coast north and south, with the Sandwich Islands, China and Siberia, and of course, with Great Britain, from which all merchandise came. The Oregon territory then produced furs, wheat, lumber, meat and skins, flour, etc. This in a small way gave promise of things to come. After the organization of the colonies, subsequent to the first gold rush, there was little exported except gold, lumber and furs, which percolated through Victoria, principally from the northern and interior posts of the company. For a number of years these were practically the only items of export. Canned salmon did not enter the list until after 1876, while the exports of foreign lumber never materially increased from the early days. Practically everything important in the line of export trade is modern.

To some extent, it may be said that British Columbia for years existed on prospects. The first gold rush produced an excitement and real estate booms in Victoria and New Westminster, followed by extreme depression, which was relieved by the second rush, the result of the Cariboo excitement and discoveries. Depression then became and remained chronic, with occasional spurts arising out of new finds and rushes here and there, or new developments in the political situation, promising union, or confederation, or the building of the railway. It was only after the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway became a. certainty and work actually began, that the business of the Province revived. Then inflation in real estate set in, the like of which British Columbia never experienced. Business in every line revived, and speculation was greatly stimulated by the prospects. The movement grew in strength until about 1890, when it had attained its height, and had reached every inhabited part of the Province. Vancouver City was the center of the speculative whirl, but Victoria, New Westminster and many other places boomed out of all proportion to business actually being done. Speculation extended to timber limits, wild lands, farm lands, to mining properties, and even to the fisheries. After the climax had been reached there was a very rapid shrinkage in values, and in 1893, 1894 and 1895 the after effects were very severe. In 1896 matters began to improve and improvement may be said to have continued ever since, though mining, fishing and lumbering each has experienced ups and downs of a serious character, hard body blows from various quarters and for various reasons too long to explain. At the present time, the opening of the year 1906, the Province is in sound condition industrially and commercially, and enjoying general peace and prosperity, with prospects of railway construction and development that have not seemed so assured for many years. It may be that we shall be carried on the whirligig of fortune through past vicissitudes, and land in a position somewhat similar to what we were in 1893-6. The exercise of business discretion and wisdom fraught of experience should steer us through the inevitable era of depression safely, and without the acute sufferings following reckless and unwarranted investments and business ventures. That period of reaction, however, is not likely to occur again for several years, and until after the Province has made tremendous strides forward and become the Mecca of the multitudes who are now looking to the boundless West for new homes and new careers. The movement, which is fast gathering force must exhaust itself before the clouds of adversity again appear on our horizon. That we shall have undue speculation and inflation, as a consequence of population overflowing the Rockies, is as certain as it is apparently unavoidable, but while those periods of great activity, like electrical storms, leave many business wrecks in their tracks, they also sow the seeds of new industries and suggest new possibilities. It will, at the worst, in the future be as it has been in the past. Each time when we sink low in the valley of depression we ascend higher mountains beyond, until some day we shall view the world at our feet.

Author's Postscript.

The Author desires to acknowledge valuable assistance rendered by E. O. Scholefield, provincial Librarian; Captain Walbran, of the Marine and Fisheries service; Miss Maria Lawson and Miss Agnes Deans Cameron, of the staff of the Victoria public schools; and Mr.D. W. Higgins, late speaker of the Legislative Assembly, all of whom contributed materially to the information contained in the foregoing pages.

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