Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/435

This page needs to be proofread.



Western States, are convenient and effective. There are several smelting and reducing plants in operation at Trail and Nelson in the Kootenay country, and on Texada Island. In the Stocan division of the Kootenay there are five concentrating plants, and another and a cyanide plant at Phillip’s Arm on the mainland. Others are being built. Mining machinery of the most modern types is being introduced wherever required. Goal.—In 1888 the output of coal was 489,301 tons of $1,467,903 vahre; in 1898 it had increased to 1,135,865 tons of $3,407,595 value. Nearly all this was the output of the coal-mines at Nanaimo and Comox on Vancouver Island ; 765,811 tons of the 1898 output were exported, 752,686 tons going to the United States. Fisheries.—A large percentage of the commerce is derived from the sea, the chief product being salmon. Halibut, cod (several varieties), oolachan, sturgeon, herring, and many other fishes are also plentiful, but with the exception of the halibut these have not yet become the objects of extensive industries. There are several kinds of salmon, and they run in British Columbia waters at different seasons of the year. The quinnat or spring salmon is the largest and best table fish, and is followed in the latter part of the summer by the sockeye, which runs in enormous numbers up the Fraser river. This is the fish preferred for canning. It is of brighter colour, more uniform in size, and comes in such quantities that a constant supply can be reckoned irpon by the canneries. About the mouth of the Fraser river from 1500 to 2000 boats are occupied during the run. The silver salmon or cohoe arrives a little later than the sockeye, but is not much used for packing except when required to make up deficiencies. The dog-salmon and the humpbacked have no commercial value, and are only used by Indians. Great Britain is the chief but not the only market for British Columbia salmon.. The years vary in productiveness, 1897 having been unusually large and 1898 the smallest in five years, but the average pack is about 500,000 cases of 48 one-lb tins. The value of the salmon export for 1899 was $2,740,124, the greater part of all returns being from the Fraser river canneries, the rivers of the Inlets and Skeena river coming next in order. There are between fifty and sixty canneries, of which about fifty are on the banks of the Fraser river. The total value of the fisheries product from 1876 to 1896 inclusive was $45,912,686, of which salmon is represented at $28,873,083, all other kinds, including fur-seals and fish oils, making up the balance. The fish oils are extracted chiefly from several species of dog-fish, and sometimes from the basking shark, as well as from the oolachan, which is also an edible fish. The fur-seal fishery is an important industry, though apparently a declining one, the average value of late years having been about $700,000. Owing to the low price of seal-skins and international difficulties concerning pelagic sealing in Bering Sea, where the greatest number have been taken, the business of seal-hunting is losing favour. The amount of capital invested in vessels, plant, &c., in 1897 for fishing and sealing was $2,514,660. The Dominion Government has established a fish-hatchery, and another is to be added, and oysters and lobsters from the Atlantic coast have been planted in British Columbia waters. Timber.—The province is rich in forest growth, and there is now a steady demand for its lumber in South America, Africa, Australia, and China. The following is a list of some of the more important trees of a commercial kind—large-leaved maple {Acer macrophyllum), red alder {Alnus rubra), western larch {Larix occidentalis), white spruce {Picea alba), Engelmann’s spruce (Picea Engclmanii), Menzie’s spruce {Picea sitchensis), white mountain pine {Finns monticola), black pine {Finns murrayana), yellow pine {Finns ponderosa), Douglas fir {Pseitdotsuga Douglasii), western white oak {Quercus garryana), giant cedar {Thuya gigantea), yellow cypress or cedar (Thuya excelsa), western hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana). The principal timber of commerce is the Douglas fir, which grows to a very great size in the neighbourhood of the coast, and has great weightbearing power. Bed or giant cedar is plentiful, and is used for shingles. The western white spruce is also much employed for various purposes. There are about eighty sawmills — large and small—in the province. In 1898 the export of timber amounted to 52,531,458 feet; Australia taking 25,928,877 feet, South America 7,342,818, South Africa 5,316,587, China 7,116,350, Japan 1,152,894, Great Britain or Europe 4,401,767, and Vladivostok 1,272,165. The whole cut for the year, excluding railway and Dominion lands, was 124,546,658 feet. Agriculture.—British Columbia is not in the main a farming country, but there are many localities admirably suited for the cultivation of cereals, hay, and fruit. The lower Fraser is the principal part where farming is carried on without irrigation, but in all parts of the southern interior below a certain level farming can be carried on where water for irrigating is convenient. In the northern interior and Spallumsheen valley, irrigation is not necessary. Cattle, horse, and sheep “ranches” are numerous and important in the southern interior, where the climate and conditions are especially favourable. A great deal of the farm produce and fruit at present used is imported, but in 1899 the


exports show $61,239 of agricultural produce and $355,323 of animals, the greater part of the latter being beef cattle. Imports and Exports.—The value of the imports of 1899 was $8,714,733, of which $7,101,735 was dutiable and $1,612,998 free. The duties collected for the year amounted to $2,350,738. Exports, being the produce of Canada, from the province amounted in 1899 to $14,748,025, the largest amomit yet reached with the exception of 1898, when$l6,919,717 was exported. The exports ofl899 comprised products ofthemine, $10,467,502; of the fisheries, $2,740,124; ofthe forest, $527,820 ; animals and their produce, $355,323 ; agricultural products, $61,239 ; miscellaneous, $420,689. The exports of 1899 show an increase of $10,413,719 over those of 1889. Railways.—The Pacific division of the Canadian Pacific railway enters British Columbia through the Kooky Mountains on the east, and runs for about 500 miles before reaching the terminus at Vancouver. From that port steamers convey the mails and passengers for Vancouver Island to Victoria. The same company have built a southern branch line from Lethbridge in Alberta through the Crow’s Nest Pass, near the international boundary line, into the Kootenay country, opening up extensive coal-fields from which the mines in southern British Columbia will in the future be supplied with coal and coke for smelting, a development of the country’s resources which must add greatly to the value of its mines, from which most of the ore has heretofore been exported in a crude state. This road has several branches to mining towns on the south of its main line, and there are several other short lines not connected with the Canadian Pacific system. On Vancouver Island there are two railways, the Esquimalt and Nanaimo railway (78 miles), connecting the coal-fields with the southern ports, and the Victoria and Sydney of about 16 miles in length. Apart from the Canadian Pacific railway, the bonded debt of the lines in British Columbia is about five and a half million dollars, and the total cost of them, including rolling stock, about $49,000,000. Shipping.—The Canadian Pacific railway company has two lines of mail steamers ranning from Vancouver and Victoria—(1) the Empress line, which runs to Japan and China once in three weeks, and (2) the Australian line to Honolulu, Fiji, and Sydney once a month. 1272 sea-going ships with 1,239,470 tons of cargo cleared from the four ports—Victoria, Vancouver, Nanaimo, and New Westminster ; and 1108 vessels, carrying 931,416 tons of cargo, entered at the same ports during the year 1899. In ballast 754 of 498,557 tonnage cleared outwards, and 890 of 818,919 entered. In the coasting trade 5758 vessels of 1,408,973 tonnage cleared outwards, and 5702 with 1,375,914 entered. During the year 51 vessels, aggregating 4954 tons, were built in the province, and 49, aggregating 4641 tons, were registered. Fauna.—Among the larger mammals are the big - horn or mountain sheep {Ovis canadensis), the Bocky Mountain goat {Mazama montana), the grizzly bear, moose, woodland caribou, hlack-tailed or male deer, white-tailed deer, and coyote. All these are to be found only on the mainland. The black bear, wolf, puma, lynx, wapiti, and Columbian or coast deer are common to parts of both mainland and islands. Of marine mammals the most characteristic are the sea-lion, fur-seal, sea-otter, and harbour-seal. About 340 species of birds are known to occur in the province, among which, as of special interest, may be mentioned the burrowing owl of the dry, interior region, the American magpie, Steller’s jay, and a true nut-cracker, Clark’s crow {Picicorvus columbianus). True jays and orioles are also well represented. The gallinaceous birds include the large blue grouse of the coast, replaced in the Kooky Mountains by the dusky grouse. The western form of the “spruce partridge” of Eastern Canada is also abundant, together with several forms referred to the genus Bonasa, generally known as “partridges” or ruffed grouse. Ptarmigans also abound in many of the higher mountain regions. Of the Anatidce only passing mention need be made. During the spring and autumn migrations many species are found in great abundance, but in the summer a smaller number remain to breed, chief among which are the teal, mallard, wood-duck, spoon-bill, pin-tail, bufflehead, red-head, canvas-back, scaup-duck, &c. Authorities.—Cook’s Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. London, 1784.—Vancouver. Voyage of Discovery to the Pacific Ocean. London, 1798.—H. H. Bancroft’s Works, vol. xxxii. History of British Columbia. San Francisco, 1887.—Begg’s History of British Columbia. Toronto, 1894.—Gosnell. Year Book. Victoria, British Columbia, 1897. — Annual Reports British Columbia Board of Trade ; Victoria.—Annual Reports of Minister of Mines and other Departmental Reports of the Provincial Government. — Catalogue of Provincial Museum; Victoria. — Reports Geological Survey of Canada, from 1871 to date.—Reports of Canadian Pacific {Government) Surveys, 1872 to 1880.—Reports of Committee of Brit. Assn. Adv. Science on N. TV. Tribes, 1884 to 1895.—Lord. Naturalist in Vancouver Island. London, 1866. —Bering Sea Arbitration (reprint of letters to Times). London, 1893.—Report of Bering Sea Commission. London, Government, 1892.—See also various works of reference under Canada. (g. m. d. ; M. St. J.)