The journey seaward from the Sel-kirks loses nothing in grandeur. Our pathway thither follows several ocean-seeking streams, each more impressive than the last, until the climax is attained in the magnificent scenery of the Fraser River. This famous waterway surpasses the Columbia in importance to Canadians, as well as in the sinuosity and fury of its course.
Flowing successively toward almost every point of the compass, the Fraser finally cuts its path with fearful violence through the Cascade Mountains by means of the stupendous canon to which it gives its name. In this, both river and railway are, of necessity, inseparable companions, and often desperate disputants for the right of way. In more than one abyss, between whose vertical walls both train and torrent have to find a passage, the width of the ravine is only a few yards. In such emergencies, the railroad either tunnels through the cliff, or clings to it hundreds of feet above the maddened stream, which, curbed by the high, pitiless walls, lashes itself to foam, and makes the sunless gulf reecho with its ceaseless roar. It is difficult to say where one is the more impressed with admiration for the skill and daring of the men who built a railway through this Province; whether in these appalling chasms, or in the sections where they had to rear miles of gigantic snowsheds to avert destruction. These are constructed with enormous difficulty and expense out of massive cedar timber, dove-tailed and bolted together in the strongest manner, and actually fitted into the mountain sides in such a way as to resist the heaviest avalanches, which otherwise would sweep, like leaves before a cyclone, track, train, and passengers to a sno wy sepulchre. What a colossal undertaking for a colony of only four and a half million souls, scarcely united in a common government, was the creation of this transcontinental route, finished five years before the specified time ! What a triumphant proof, not only of the courage and ambition of the Canadians, but also of their national aspirations! With all their loyalty to the British Empire, which was never more conspicuous than to-day, the people of Canada love the Dominion in and for itself. For its development they have the highest hopes. Of its resources they are justly proud. With no other nation do they wish to share their glorious heritage and acquisitions. Nor are these sentiments unreasonable. The records for the year 1901 reveal the fact that Canada has attained the highest mark yet reached in its commercial progress. Its exports have exactly doubled in the last ten years, having increased from ninety-eight million to one hundred and ninety-six million dollars. In the same space of time its imports also have advanced from one hundred and nineteen millions to one hundred and ninety million. Moreover, the public deposits in its banks amount to four hundred and seven million dollars ; and the total cereal crop of its northwestern prairies in 1901 was about one hundred and ten million bushels.
Indians Catching Salmon, Fraser River.
Caribou Road Bridge, British Columbia.
How Snow Sheds Are Made.
A Salmon Factory At New Westminster.
British Columbia itself, as yet so sparsely settled and so little known, is sure to have a wonderful future. Immense as are the other Provinces of the Dominion, this is the largest of them all, having an area of three hundred and eighty-three thousand square miles. It is far from being merely a land of lofty mountains and impetuous rivers. It is also a great maritime country, with such an extensive archipelago of nobly wooded islands and such a multitude of penetrating fjords and spacious harbors that it possesses seven thousand miles of coast line. Accordingly, the fisheries of British Columbia would be, in any case, important, but owing to some peculiar features they are marvelous. The number of salmon which come in dense crowds up the Fraser River, especially in summer, must be seen to be believed. The canning of this fish is, therefore, one of the greatest industries of the Province; and it is at New Westminster, on the banks of the Fraser, that "men eat what they can, and can what they can't." During the few weeks of the principal run of salmon each cannery here receives on the average one quarter of a million salmon. The quantity packed here in 1895 was more than twenty million pounds, and the total value of the British Columbia fisheries amounted in that year to four and a half million dollars. But there are other natural resources in this Province. It is established now beyond all question that gold, silver, and copper exist here in large quantities, and better means of transportation will develop it into one of the most important mining regions of the continent. The coal of British Columbia is also the best on the Pacific coast, and is already exported to San Francisco, Hawaii, and Alaska; while the immense amount of heavy timber on its mountains could supply for generations the markets of the world.