Search just our sites by using our customised site search engine

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Click here to learn more about MyHeritage and get free genealogy resources

Handbook to Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba
The City of Winnipeg by C. F. Roland, Esq.

WHATEVER may have been Lord Selkirk’s on ginal intention -when he bought a controlling interest in the then depreciated stock of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the outcome, so far as the early settlers were concerned, was that these, people had exceedingly hard times in Western Canada. In these early days what was known as Canada lay hundreds of miles to the eastward, and the great Northwest was a wilderness of value only to trappers who sought the pelts of fur-bearing animals for the. two great corporations, the Hudson’s Bay and the Nor+h-west Companies. The rigours of a climate tar more severe than they had been accustomed to, assailed the pioneers from Scotland and. Ireland who made up the first Selkirk parties. They had few tools suitable for tilling the tough prairie sod, and most of them lacked the agricultural lore necessary to attain success. They were unskilled in hunting and had no suitable weapons for the killing of game, nor any horses for cnasing the buffalo that roamed the plains in thousands during the summer until the fierce storms of winter drove them southward. The'chief business of the country was the gathering of furs, and between the upper and nether millstones of the two companies that engaged in this business in sharp, bitter and even deadly rivalry, the colonists were caught and ground so severely that they were fairly at a loss to know what to do to maintain a position which should enable them to keep the good will of one party w’thout incurring the enmity of the other Six years after the arrival of the first contingent of Selkirk settlers, a plague of grasshoppers for several successive years, devoured the grain crops which the colonists had been able to grow with infinite toil.

The great flood of 1826 was another disaster that wrought havoc to the settlers’ hopes. Because of these, troubles and others of a lesser but still serious nature, many of the colonists left the country seeking better condixions of life than they found under the auspices uf the noble Earl. On June 19th, 1816, malters were brought to a climax between the rival fur-trading parties by the Seven Oaks massacre, in which twenty-one on the side of the Hudson’s Bay and one man of the Northwest Company lost their lives. This sanguinary episode gave pause to both parties in the fight for trade suprem acy. There can be no doubt that after this incident life for the Selkirk settlers on the banks of the Red River, became more endurable.

After the grasshopper plague had passed in 1823, the grain crops became again abundant, and the settlement at Kildonan, out of which grew the City of Winnipeg, became more firmly established. It was many years, however, before the growth began which in less than forty years has made a city of 130,000 people from a tiny village. The Seven Oaks affray called the attention of the home Government in England more closely to the seriousness of the quarrel in the Northwest between the fur-trading companies, and stricter super-visiun resulted. Trade sprang up between the settlements on the Red River and the United States settlements to the South. The richness of the soil, and the ease of cultivation becoming known to more people, settlers came into the country, not only from Great Britain by the way of Hudson's Bay, but also from Eastern Canada and the United States. In 1862, the first steamboat — the Anson Northup— navigated the upper Red River as far as Fort (Tarry with a good cargo of freight and a number of passengers, a great event for the colonists of those days.

Realizing their need of a more stable Government, the Northwest territories petitioned the Canadian Government in 1857 to include them in the Dominion. This step was not actually carried out for some years; the confederation was finally decided upon and entered into in 1869, the Northwest territories becoming a part of Canada. The Hudson’s Bay Company was paid £300,000 as an indemnity.

This act of confederation brought on the first Riel Rebellion which grew out of claimS made by the half-breeds that they were the real owners of the land and should receive payment for it. The half-breeds heavily outnumbered the whites, and led by Louis Riel, a French half-breed of some ability and much initiative, made prisoners the white population of the Winnipeg settlement. These were confined in Upper Fort Garry and one man, Thomas Scott, was executed. The others were released after having been imprisoned in the Fort for some weeks. Troops sent from the East brought order out of the chaos into which the Riel Rebellion had plunged the public affairs of the Red river settlement, and from that time the tiny trading post at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, took on a new character. In 1870 the first census of Winnipeg was taken, and showed 213 persons in the village. Eleven years afterwards, in 1881, there were 7,985 people, and Winnipeg had been an incorporated city since 1874. By leaps and bounds the city’s growth has advanced. In

1891 the population was 27,068. In 1901 it had grown to 44,778, and during the five years from 1900 to 1906, the city more than doubled its population. This increase was chiefly due to immigration from Great Britain, other European countries, and the United States. More than ten thousand of the present population of 130,000 resident within the city limits have come from the United States. Geographically, Winnipeg is situated almost halfway between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of British North America, and sixty miles north of the boundary lint between Canada and the United States.

Politically, it is the capital of the province of Manitoba, and commercially, the leading city of Western Canada.

The government of the city is carried on under a Charter from the Provincial Legislature. The Council is composed of a Mayor, four Controllers forming the Board of Control, and fourteen Aldermen. The Mayor ar.d Controllers are elected annually by vote of the entire city. One Alderman is elected annually from each of the seven wards into which the city is divided, and holds office for a term of two years. The Mayor is Chief Magistrate of the city. Persons eligible for election as Mayor and Controller must be owners of property rated on the assessment roll of the city to the value of two thousand dollars. Aldermen must possess property rated in like manner to the amount of five hundred dollars. Nominations and elections are held annually in December.

The Board of Control is the executive body, and as such deals with all financial matters, regulates and supervises expenditures, revenues and investments. It also directs and controls departments, nominates all heads of departments, prepares specifications, advertises for tenders and awards all contracts for works, materials and supplies required. It further inspects and reports to tne Council upon all municipal works being carried on or in progress, and generally administers the affairs of the city. The public schools are under the control of the Public School Board, elected annually by the ratepayers. The police department is under the authority of the Board of Police Commissioners, which consists of the Mayor, the County Court Judge, the Police Magistrate and two Aldermen appointed by the Council.

The present Mayor of Winnipeg is W. Sanford Evans, elected in December 1008 to succeed Mayor James H. Ashdown, the latter declining a nomination for a third term. Since the first election of a mayor of Winnipeg in 1871, the oitv has had the following twenty two chief

Executives — including Mr Evans the present Mayor

1874 Francis Evans Cornish, Q. C.
1875 William Nassau Kennedy.
1876 William Nassau Kennedy.
1877 Thomas Scott.
1878 Thomas Scott.
1879 Alexander Logan.
1880 Alexander Logan.
1881 Elias George Conklin.
1882 Alexander Logan.
1883 Alexander McMicken.
1884 Alexander Logan.
1885 Charles Edward Hamilton.
1886 Henry Shaver Weshook.
1887 Lyman Melvin Jones.
1888 Lyman Melvin Jones.
1889 Thomas Ryan.
1890 Alfred Pearson.
1891 Alfred Pearson.
1892 Alexander McDonald.
1893 Thomas William Taylor.
1894 Thomas William Taylor.
1895 Thomas Gilroy.
1896 Richard Willis Jameson.
1897 William F. McCrearv.
1898 Alfred J. Andrews.
1899 Alfred J. Andrews.
1900 Horace Wilson.
1901 John Arbuthnot.
1902 John Arbuthnot.
1903 John Arbuthnot.
1904 Thomas Sharpe.
1905 Thomas Sharpe.
1906 Thomas Sharpe.
1907 James H. Ashdown
1908 James II Ashdown
1909 W. Sanford Evans.

During the thirty-four years that these gentlemen have filled the mayor’s office, the city has made wonderful progress.

Condensed and reduced to figures, the growth of Winnipeg since 1S9D is given in the following table:

The city's public school system is well housed in buildings of the most modern and substantial construction. By an Act of 1890 and subsequent amending Acts it is provided that all state-aided schools shall be free and non-sectarian. The school system is directed by a department of the Provincial Civil service known as the Department of Education presided over by the Minister of Education (at present the Hon. G. R. Col dwell, K.C.) and his deputy (Mr. R. Fletcher, B.A.). There is an advisory board for the purpose of assisting the department in more technical matters. This board consists of ten members appointed by the department and other bodies. Provision is made for both printeryfaaq secondary education, the primary course extending over eight years. In the rural districts of the Province which are sparsely populated, the schools are small and the attendance is irregular.

In many communities where there is a variety of race and language, bi-lingua! schools have been established, but it has been found necessary to organize a Rutheruan Normal school for the training of teachers for schools for this class of pupils. There are two Ruthenian schools in the Province, one in Winnipeg and one in Brandon. The language question in the city schools presents little difficulty as there is always a certain number of English-speaking children; the teachers speak English, and the foreign children learn the language very quickly.

Secondary education is carried on in the Intermediate and High schools and Collegiate institutes. The Intermediate schools serve the smaller centres of population, and carry on the first two years of High school work. The High schools and Collegiate institutes offer a choice of three courses, a two years course leading to a certificate of competency in commercial subjects, a three years course leading to matriculation in the University, and a four years course for a teacher’s certificate of the first class. Collegiate institutes'must have not fewer than four teachers; the Principal must be a University graduate, and the assistants must hold at least first class, grade A, certificates. Principals of High Schools must have at least first class grade A certificates, and the assistants those of first class grade B. Several other institutions organized for higher education, but having preparatory departments as well, do the work of a secondary school. Their courses for the most part lead to matriculation in the University.

Professional training for teachers is given ill the Provincial Normal school and its model school. The Principal is Dr W. A. McIntyre and this school is the centre of the system. Its work goes far to determine the ideals and aims of its students in training, and the spirit and tone of the schools conducted by them. On its efficiency depends in a large measure the success of the teaching force of the Province. Supervision of the various schools is exercised by means of a corps of experienced ard skilled inspectors. The funds for the maintenance of the schools are raised by a general muricipa!‘tax sufficient to give to each school district $240 per annum for each teacher, and by special levy on the land situated within the school district, for -w hatever sum may be necessary in addition to the amount received from the municipality and the government grant, which is $130 per school.

At the orgarization of the Province, two sections of land in each township were set aside for school purposes and a portion of these lands have been soldatgood prices The proceeds of the sale go into the School Lands Fund which according to the law governing the matter is invested by the Government in securil ies bearing three per cent. The revenue thus derived from the fund and the interest on deferred payments are handed over by the Dominion Government for the benefit of the schools. (The question is frequently asked why a fund belonging to the Province, for the maintenance of one of the most important interests of the Province should be invested in securities yielding such a meagre return, when loan companies and other conservative and careful corporations find safe investments that yield them double the rate.)

In addition to the state-aided institutions there are in Winnipeg several excellent private schools. Higher education in the Province is undertaken by the, University of Manitoba and certain colleges. The University is a small and by no means beautiful structure It reA sembles, in fact, in size and general style the public elementary schools of the city. But it must be explained that the University at present only teaches scientific subjects. Arts, Medicine, and Agriculture are taught in “affiliated” colleges which are scattered in various parts of the city. Thus, the classics and modern languages are taught in the four “affiliated” denominational colleges, St. Boniface (Roman Catholic), St. John’s (Church of England), Manitoba College (Presbyterian), and Wesley College (Methodist), Medicine is taught in the Manitoba Medical College, and Agriculture in the Manitoba Agricultural College (Provincial Government) at Tuxedo Park. The University of Manitoba has bee^ a teaching institution for 5 or 6 years. Founded in 1871 as an Examining Board, the University itselt at present undertakes instructions in Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Botany, Physiology, Pathology and Bacteriology, and Civil and Electrical Engineering. But chairs in English, History and Political Economy have been recently established, and these new departments will commence work next October. The government and organization of the University is undoubtedly in an unsatisfactory state, and is, itT fact, the subject of a Government Commission at the present time. There is a widespread feeling that the Province ought to have a Provincial University of the type provided in many States of the Republic to the South and entirely free from any denominational influences. In addition to the denominational colleges mentioned above there is a Baptist college at Brandon.

Winnipeg is not yet largely provided with learned societies, but two perhaps deserve mention, viz.: the Historical Society and the Scientific Club. There are numerous social clubs and societies of various kinds. Among the former are the Manitoba and Commerical Clubs ; prominent among the latter are the Canadian Club of Winnipeg, the Women’s Canadian Club and the Women’s Musical Club.

The churches of Winnipeg have also kept pace with the city’s growth and there are now 115 churches of various denominations in Winnipeg. All of these have been established since 1869 although the Rev. John West, a clergyman of the Church of England, came to the Selkirk colony in 1820, and the Rev. John Black arrived in 1851 to take charge of the Presbyterian congregation. -

The bulk of Winnipeg’s church-going population is divided between the Presbyterian, Anglican, Roman Catholic and Methodist churches. Calculated on a population basis of 100,000, the religious preference census of Winnipeg shows eighteen per cent Presbyterian; seventeen per cent Church of England; fifteen per cent Roman Catholic; thirteen and a half per cent Methodist; five per cent Baptist; five per cent Hebrews; seven per cent Evangelical Lutheran; three and a quarter per cent Congregational; one per cent Salvation Army; seven and a quarter per cent of other denominations, and eight per cent with no preference to avow.

Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba, is the seat of the Provincial government and judiciary. Here are the Provincial Parliament buildings and the chief Law Court of the Province. The present provincial government is of the Conservative party and its chief officers are : The Honorable R, P. Roblin, Premier and Minister of Agriculture, the Honorable Robert Rogers, Minister of Public Works, the Honorable Hugh Armstrong, Provincial Treasurer, the Honorable G. R. Cold-well, Municipal Commissioner and Minister of Education, the Honorable Colin H. Campbell, Attorney-General, the Honorable J. H. Howden, Railway Commissioner and Provincial Secretary. The Manitoba judiciary is modelled upon the British Law Courts system, with Assize Court, County Court, Provincial Police Courts and Civic Police Courts for the different judicial districts and the cities. From the highest Court in the Province— the Court of Appeals—there is a further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, and from there to the Privy Council in London. Winnipeg possesses a civic police force of one hundred officers under command of J. C. McRae This force is deemed insufficient and is to be augmented by the addition of seventy-five officers, the establishment of five sub-stations, the installation of ar, electric call system, and patrol wagons at each of the stations, central and auxiliary.

The civic government of Winnipeg is marked by a progressive policy in keeping with the remaAable growth of the City. At the present time the municipal officers are: His Worship Mayor W. Sanford Evans; the Board of Control consisting of Mayor Evans, Chairman, R. D. Waugh, J. W. Cockburn, A. A. McArthur, J, G. Harvey; Aldermen F. W. Adams, R. C. McDonald. F D Fowler, E. Cass, R. T Riley, Lendrum McMeans, W G. Douglas, W. P. Milton, J R. Gowler, M. Wil loughby, F. J. C. Cox, C. Midwinter, J. A. Potter, D. W. McLean.

Municipal ownership is recognized and popular with our citizens, and is widely adopted. The city owns and operates its water-works plant, street lighting system, stone quarry, fire alarm system, asphalt plant and a high pressure plant for the better protection of the city from fire. Winnipeg enjoys the distinction of being the first city in America to acquire a municipal asphalt plant In 190(3, the city purchased a stone quarry for civic 'mprovement purposes, and this quarry is worked for the production of road metal and material for granolithic walks. The material for these granolithic walks is composed of crushed stone, sand and cement. Constructed as they are by the city employees, these sidewalks are practically indestructible. There are more than 78 miles of such pavements in Winnipeg, all of which have been laid down by the civic street department.

Most important of all the municipally owned public utilities ;s that of a plant which is now in process of construction at Point du Bois for the furnishing of cheap power to consumers in Winnipeg. In 1906 the citizens of Winnipeg passed a by-law authorizing the Council to borrow $3,250,000 to be used in acquiring this site and installing the necessary plant and works to bring the power to the city. The preliminary surveys and examinations were made in 1906 and the designs commenced in the same year. During 1907 the designs were completed and tenders received. Contracts for building a 24 mile steam railway approaching the works on the Winnipeg River and for clearing the transmission line have been let and this work is nearly completed. Mr. Cecil B. Smith, C. E., is Chief Engineer in charge of the design and construction of this water power development and a Board of Consulting Engineers, composed of Col. H. N. Ruttau, City Engineer, Winnipeg; Prof. Louis Herdt, Montreal; and Wm. Kennedy, Jr., Montreal have also been appointed to advise upon and assist in the designs. The machinery and plant will be second to none on the continent of North America. When the power is available it is estimated that it can be sold to consumers at the sub-stations in the city at $18.00 per H. P. per annum for the first installation of about ] 7,000 horse power. When the demand for power has increased sufficiently to warrant the step, the amount available will be increased to 34,000 H. P. and the cost at sub-stations, it is estimated, will then be reduced to $13.87 per annum. When the full capacity of the plant shall have been developed—about 60,000 horse power per annum has been fixed at $12.46 for each unit.

Consumers of electric power in Winnipeg are now supplied by the Winnipeg Electric Railway Company— a private corporation — at a cost of from $35.00 per horse power per annum upwards, in proportion to the quantity of power consumed. During the early part of the current year, negotiations were entered into between the civic authorities and the Winnipeg Electric Railway Company with a view to purchase, by the citv, of the Company's generating power plant at Lac du Bonnet, and of the several other utilities of the Company, including the Winnipeg street car system, the gas plant which now furnishes the city with gas for lighting and fuel, and the domestic electric lighting franchise. These negotiations, however, fell through and several large contracts were let for the work on the municipal power plant the first installation of which is expected to be completed in 1911. In 1905 the city was authorized to proceed with the construction of a municipal gas plant* to cost $600,000. But although, some investigations were carried out, no definite proceedings have yet been undertaken.

Of the public utilities owned by Winnipeg, the waterworks system is perhaps the most important. Until 1899, the city was supplied with water by a private corporation, but it was decided to take this highly important matter under municipal control and ownership. The present system was thereupon installed—in a small way at first—and has been extended concomitantly with the grgwth of the city.

In view of the geological formation of the surrounding country artesian wells constitute the only practicable means of obtaining a satisfactory water supply in the immediate neighborhood. The river water is too muddy to be used for a domestic supply without costly filtration; there are no suitable lakes from which a gravitation supply may be obtained within a reasonable distance of the city. In the future, however, the growth of the city will undoubtedly compel the utilization of a distant supply, whatever expense may be involved. For the present the artesian well system is found to yield an adequate supply of water, which, although hard, is practically free from organic impurities.

The Winnipeg water supply is taken from six of these artesian wells which are about 65 feet deep, except well No. (5) which is 110 feet deep, and their capacity is as follows :

Well No. (2) 3,000,000 gallons.
Well No. (3) 900,000 gallons.
Well No. (4) 1,200,000 gallons.
Well No. (5) 5,000,000 gallons.
Well No. (6) 1,500,000 gallons.

This gives a daily total supply of ten million gallons which has thus tar proved ample for the city’s needs. The water is pumped into reservoirs, one of 300,000, and the other of 6,000,000 gallons capacity and from these is distributed to the several parts of the city.

The water, in its natural state contains a large amount of carbonates of lime and magnesium, and in order to remove these constituents the water is put through a softening process, which removes on an average, about sixty-eight per cent of the hardening substances. This softening plant was installed in 1900 but not all of the city water is subjected to the softening process, although a proposition recently made to accomplish this was reacted on the ground of unnecessary expense For the purposes of the City Water Works Department, Winnipeg is divided into three districts^ and the rates are fixed on the basis of the number of rooms in the houses supplied. For instance for a house containing 4 rooms or less the rate is $1.50 per quarter, while for a house of 1(3 rooms the rate is $5.55 per quarter. The allowance according to the consolidated rate, is 20 gallons per room per day, and special rates are.given to manu facturers who use large quantities of water

Supplementary to the civic water works system, and for the better protection of the city from fire, Winnipeg has a high pressure plant which has been put in actual service within the past few months. Four years were occupied in the construction of this plant, which cost $1,000,000. The engine house, the heart of the system, is situated on the bank of the Red river at the foot of James street east. The building is of massive brick construction 158 by 92 feet inside measurement and was constructed entirely by day labor. Owing to the character of the soil in that vicinity the excavation for foundations and engine beds had to be carried to a great depth, but the concrete work was pushed throughout the winter of 1906-7 demonstrating that winter construction is perfectly feasible in Manitoba. The soliditv of the structure is one of its most striking features. The roof is car ried on steel trusses, supported by heavy steel columns, which also carry their share of the weight of the heavy cranes used in handling the machinery. These columns divide the building into two bays, each of which contains three of the six pumping units. Water is drawn through two suction mains 24 inches in diameter, tapering to lfi indies before they drop into the wells, which draw water from the river through a 36-inch concrete culvert, connected with deep water to give freedom from mud at all seasons of the year.

The engines are of producer gas type of the Cross-ley make, and are of the “Otto” or four cycle construction having single acting tandem cylinders. All parts subject to the high temperature of the exploding gas mixture, are water cooled, and the low tension magnetic ignition system is in duplicate. The four large engines are of 540 brake horse power each when running on producer gas, and have cylinders 32 inches in diameter with 36-inch stroke. The smaller engines are of 250 hurse power each with cylinders of 22 inches diameter and 30-inch stroke. For starting these engines, compressed air at 200 pounds pressure, is employed. It is turned into the cylinders as in a steam engine and as soon as the engine is under motion the gas mixture is fed in. The compressor plant consists of two 20-horse power engines driving single acting air compressors. In the gas producer plant any quality of coal may be used, either anthracite, bituminous or lignite, and with anthracite at $8.50 per ton, the cost of operation is 425 cents per horse power per hour. The plant is now being operated on bituminous slack. The coal is delivered on a spur track at the rear of the main building and is raised by an elevator to the conveyors, which deliver it to the hoppers of the producers. Of these there are four,—two of 1,000 horse power and two of 500-horse power capacity. The producers are of the fami iar tvpe, the gas being formed by passing steam and air in definite proportions over the incandescent fuel From the producers it passes tliruugh the “scrubbers” where it is cleared of certain impurities and delivered to the gasometer outside, which has a capacity of 250,000 cubic feet of gas, or enough to run one engine for eight hours at full load. So complete is the equipment that all of the engines can be started up and a full load put on the mains in five minutes. The total pumping capacity of the plant is 9,000 gallons of water a minute or 23,000,(j00 gallons a day of 24 hours. In other words Ihe six engines w'ould fill a tank of 1,440 cubic feet m one minute. The four mam units are capable of delivering 1,800 gallons of water a minute at a pressure of 300 pounds to the square inch, and as the service requires, other units are readily thrown into action up to the full capacity of the plant.

In practice the action of water at 300 pounds pressure to the inch is tremendous, for this pressure is equivalent to a column of water 700 feet in height. Tests have shown that a column of water can be thrown 200 feet in the air, and with the equipment at the high pressure plant 24 streams of 1$ inches diameter each could be thrown over the top of the Union Bank, 1he tallest building in Winnipeg, or ten streams of two inches each, an argument which any fire, possible in the city, must needs respect.

Up to the present time the city has installed 78 of the high pressure hydrants and has laid down 7 miles of special water mains of 8, 10, 12 and 20 inch diameter The hydrants are so arranged that a number of streams from'then, can be concentrated on any section of the business area thus giving the greatest measure of protection. In addition to these hydrants the city has 1,245 hydrants connected with the domestic pressure. The fire fighting equipment consists of 38,000 feet of 2^ inch hose, 5,500 feet of 3J inch hose, and 48 branches and tips ranging in size from 1^ to 2\ inches in diameter In the high pressure district there are three fire halls with a staff of GO men. At the pumping station 26 men are employed in three shifts, and in an ordinary running day five tons of coal are used. The estimated annual expense of operation is about $ 15,000.

The chief streets of Winnipeg are splendidly wide and smoothly laid in asphalt pavement, with granolithic sidewalks proportionate to the width of the carriage and traffic ways. Residential streets are “boulevarded” and have rows of trees on either side with asphalt pavement and granolithic walks, the whole giving a clean and pleasant appearance. The city parks although small are numerous, but there are some of larger extent in the suburbs, notably the new city park on the Assin? boine River. This park is nearly 300 acres in extent and has been tastefully laid out. There are eight theatres in Winnipeg; three or four of the larger houses are so enterprising as to secure some of the best touring companies on the continent. Owing to the comparative remoteness from other large centres Winnipeg has been able to support for some years a very efficient stock company. Favorite summer resorts for the people of Winnipeg are Winnipeg Beach situated on Lake Winnipeg, and within easy reach of the city; and Kenora on the Lake of the Woods about 100 miles distant.

Winnipeg is very important as a railway centre. But the excellent railroad facilities that now exist are a comparatively recent achievement. The first railway to afford transportation east and west through Manitoba, was the Canadian Pacific, a company that now has some 13,000 miles of track and carries passengers and freight three-quarters of the way round the world by iand and sea. This great transportation company is the outgrowth of a government scheme originated about 1870, for the construction of a transcontinental line across the Dominion of Canada In 1878 when the Conservatives, under Sir John A. Macdonald, were returned to power, the building of the railway, which had been carried on under the auspices of the government in power, was turned over to a company formed by capitalists for the purpose; the principal terms of the agreement being that the syndicate thus formed should recehe $25,QUO,000 in cash payments and 25,000,000 acres of land skirting the railroad tracks through the provinces traversed by the line. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company thus became possessed of large tracts of land which were then considered to be of little value, but which have since turned out to be worth a very large sum of money for agricultural and other purposes. The company refused to accept the land along the:r tracks in parts of British Columbia, and in place of this a new allotment was made of land in the Peace River Valley, through which the Canadian Pacific company became possessed of some 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 acres of the best land of that far north-western country which *s as yet so sparsely settled, but which promises to add another section of unexampled richness to the already extensive domains in the Canadian Northwest.

By June, 1881, the Canadian Pacific had completed its tracks across Manitoba, from Winnipeg west to Portage la Prairie and eastward to Kenora, or Rat Portage as it was then called and had also taken over the Pembina branch of the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba road from Winnipeg to the Manitoba boundary on the south, at Emerson. Since that time the Canadian Pacific Railway has made marvellous progress toward preeminence among the railroad systems of the world. It has not only stretched its lines of steel across the entire breadth of the continent of North America, but has built thousands of miles of branch tracks and has instituted great lines of ocean-going vessels on both Atlantic and Pacific. It has also a complete system of passenger and freight service on the Great Lakes, another fleet on the inland waters of British Columbia, a line of fast boats from Vancouver to Victoria and Seattle and perhaps the most thorough equipment of hotels and hotel service all along the route of travel in Canada, of any railroad company in the world. Immense elevators for the storing of grain must be added to the list of conveniences for the transaction of the business incident to the establishment of such a powerful railroad system, and when it. is stated that the development of the Canadian Northwest and that of the Canadian Pacific Railroad have been coincident events, no surprise need be manifested, because there ha\e been on the one side, the numerous and well nigh mandatory calls of the people for greatei railroad facilities and on the other,. strong and continuous efforts of the corporation to supply these demands to the best of its ability.

In Western Canada all roads lead to Winnipeg. Xo railway corporation would think of trying to pass through any part of Western Canada from east to west certainly, or from south to north except in the far western part, without touching the prairie city. Xo traveller thinks of visiting anv part of the Canadian Xorth-vvest without making Winnipeg one of his principal stopping places. Merchants, manufactures, capitalists, mechanics, and immigrants of all kinds, in short, all sorts and conditions of men who decide to make their home in Western Canada, come in the first place to Winnipeg, and frequently make it their headquarters.

Situated as it is almost in the very heart of the continent. Winnipeg has become not only an important focus of railway traffic, but is also rapidly developing into a great centre of railway industries. It is the home of thousands of railroad employees, and is conspicuously a ‘‘railroad town.” It is indeed confidently asserted by many that it will soon become one of the greatest railroad centres of the world.

The Winnipeg station of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company is a new and very fine structure. This station is one of the chief centres of human interest in the city, and provides a striking study in nationalities und social conditions, for m its waiting hall are found representative immigrants from almost every country on the face of the globe, and from every rank of society. Mingled together in this motley throng are the poorest of European peasants, impoverished members of aristocratic families, and immigrants, who are better equipped for commencing their career in a new country. There is a fair sprinkling too of wealthy travellers, tourists and others. The varied nature of costume including as it frequently does the Winnipegger’s winter uniform, the “coon coat,” side by side with the picturesque garb of Central Europe or of China or Japan, adds in no small degree to the interest of the scene. On the whole there are few places where one would encounter a more cosmopolitan or picturesque multitude.

The railway yards of the Canadian Pacific Company are stated to be the largest in existence which are owned by a single corporation. There are 120 miles of track with accommodation for more than £0,000 cars Conveniently situated west of the city are the central workshops of this company, which are on a specially large scale. Id them all sorts of repairs to the rolling stock are carried out, and sufficient men are employed to make up with their wives and families a fair-sized town. Indeed the district of the city in which these people live is often referred to as C. P. R. town, and their total number must be close upon 12,000, the actual number of workmen being 3,500. The population of C. P. R. town is thus more by 4,000 than that of Winnipeg at the time when the railway was constructed.

When, in 1881, the first Canadian Pacific rails were laid west of Winnipeg, the white population of Canada between the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains was 66,lt51. Manitoba contained 59,187 people of whom 8,000 were in Winnipeg. In the Northwest territory there were only 6,971 white people practically all living on the fur trade, while there were 49,500 Indians.

In this territory or three-fourths of the prairie country there was only one white person for every 35 square miles of arable land. To-day there are more than twice as many people in Winnipeg alone as there then were in all of the vast country between the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains, and spreading their tracks all over this country are three other great railway systems besides the Canadian Pacific.

Next in importance to the Canadian Pacific is the Canadian Northern Railway which has also undergone a phenomenal growth and is of even more recent establishment than the Canadian Pacific. The following is a short history of the beginning and growth of the Canadian Northern. In 1895 the Charter was obtained for the Lake Manitoba Railway and Canal Company, and in the following year the construction of a railway from Gladstone was commenced. One hundred miles of road were completed by the Autumn of 189G and at once putin operation. Each year thereafter mileage was added to the Canadian Northern system until in 1909 the road covers or controls no less than 3,000 miles of track. This extends east and west from Fort William, includes a line from Edmonton south to Duluth and numerous branches throughout the three prairie provinces. Plans are now being prepared for the extension of the road west to Vancouver and east to the Atlantic Coast, and this srheme will undoubtedly be carried through within the next few years.

The Winnipeg railway works of the Canadian Northern Railway are large and in the future are certain to constitute one of the chief local industries. New buildings on an extensive scale have just been completed at Fort Rouge and at present a force of nearly 1,000 men is employed in the various departments. These include the numerous branches of work in connection with the building and repaii of rolling stock. As the mileage of rhe road increases throughout the west this force will be constantly augmented. The group of buildings known as the shops of the Canadian Northern at Fort Rouge, comprise the round house, boiler shops, erecting shops, blacksmith shops, machine shops, coach shops, coach yardTand repair tracks.

Up to the present time the Canadian Pacific and the Canadian Northern have been the principal railroads of Western Canada, but the Grand Trunk Pacific is fast approaching completion, and will, when finished, be a means of travel and transportation little, if at all, inferior to the magnificent system built up by the Canadian Pacific. No less ambitious than its predecessors in the field, the Grand Trunk Pacific Company was formed to carry out a stupendous scheme of transcontinental transportation, and, in due season, of ocean navigation also. The company was incorporated m 1903 and has contracts with the Canadian government for the construction and operation of a transcontinental road of which the main line alone will be 3,600 miles long. Branch lines are provided for under a charter granted to a subsidiary company, formed in 1006, which will increase the total mileage by about 5,000 miles. The main line will stretch from Moncton, New Brunswick, to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and the chief point of division between the two terminal cities is Winnipeg. For purposes of construction, the system is divided into two parts, the eastern and western divisions with Winnipeg as the central point. This gigantic-scheme has been undertaken in order that transportation facilities may keep pace with the great llow of immigration and the continuous development of the freight traffic.

The Grand Trunk system in the United States will form a valuable adjunct to the Canadian roads, and will add to the transcontinental and transoceanic facilities of the latter the service of a railroad which already operates nearly 6,000 miles of track. Besides this great amount of trackage in the States the Grand Trunk system has almost 4,000 miles of road in operation in eastern Canada, and, since the Grand Trunk system and that of the Grand Trunk Pacific are so closely allied as to make the two corporations practically one, the result must be that the portion now known as the Grand Trunk road will be practically added to the Grand Trunk Pacific, thus forming one of the largest, if not actually the largest, transportation company in the world.

Work on all sections of this great new road is proceeding with much dispatch. The Union station in Winnipeg, which is to accommodate the Grand Trunk Pacific, the Canadian Northern and the Great Northern, is approaching completion; and parts of the new road are now open for traffic. Shops and yards that will, when completed, cost about $5,000,000 are under process of construction, and Winnipeg is clearly destined to figure as largely in the Grand Trunk Pacific as it does in other great railway systems of Canada.

The other great railway system that has its Western Canadian centre in Winnipeg—the Great Northern—has not done so much toward the enlargement of its service in Western Canada as its rivals in the field. From'time to time, however, the “big man” of the Great Northern —James J. Hill—has announced his intention of building across the continent in Canada, and there is no doubt that this will be done in time. The Great Northern holds title to a considerable tract of property in Winni peg, is an important factor in handling the grain crop of the West, and runs some of the best trains that carry passengers between Winnipeg and United States points. And when the Hudson’s Bay railroad is completed to Fort Churchill or Fort Nelson, as the case may be, Winnipeg will be the chief inland city through which traffic to Europe by the new route will follow. This road has been the dream of transportation men in Northern America for years. Long ago the eyes of those who looked about them for the best means of transportation between the old country and the Canadian Northwest were directed towards the Hudson’s Bay route. In the early days of settling the Northwest country, when the great fur-seeking corporation had to transport large quantities of supplies into the country each season, and had also to carry the furs that their trappers gathered for them to their headquarters in England, the company’s ships had access to the Northwest Territories by way of the great body of water lying to the north into which that enterprising old Dutch skipper, Hendrick Hudson, found his way on one of his several voyages of discovery. That the great bay that bears his name will become part of a system of trans portation over which the grain crop of the north-western part of Canada will find its way to the markets of the old world, appears to be certain.

Winnipeg is nearer to Liverpool by way of Fort Churchill and Hudson’s Bay by about 1,117 miles than the Manitoba capital is to the same market by way o Chicago, and 840 miles nearer than by the Canadian Pacific road through Ontario and the eastern provinces to the sea. It should be noted that the saving of distance which will be accomplished by the adoption of the Hudson Bay route is chiefly on the land part of the journey, an important factor in the consideration of freight charges. From Winnipeg to Fort Churchill the proposed port on the bay is but 650 miles and a portion of the distance is already covered by the tracks of the Canadian Northern road.

If, as the latest government report recommends, the ruad shall be built to Fort Nelson instead of Fort Churchill, the distance will be decreased by eighty-five miles.

This report also touches upon the possibilities of com-manication by water with Winnipeg as it is considered possible to produce a deep-water sailing course from Hudson’s Bay to Winnipeg by following the natural water courses and dredging a deeper channel where it is required.

Great as has been the development of the railways ir-Western Canada within the past twenty years, when we bear in mind the remarkable and manifold productiveness of the country, there is still a vast field for continued enterprise. It would perhaps be no exaggeration to say that railway construction in this great country is still in its infancy. In the province of Manitoba alone there are still 20,000,000 acres of land available for farming and the handling of the produce of the five or six million acres at present under cultivation is a severe tax upon the railways now in operation. If we add to this the future industrial expansion of the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta with an acreage of 159,038,720 and 161,920,000 respectively, and the province of British Columbia with its great resources in mining, lumbering, fishing, and fruit growing, it is difficult to adequately prophecy the magnitude of the future railway development.

The phenomenal growth of Winnipeg has been materially aided by the efficient car service rendered by the Winnipeg Electric Railway Company. The following figures indicate the substantial progress made by the city. The running of the first street car on Main Street from Fort Garry to the City Hall, took place on October 21st, 1882. The hydro-electric power plant at Lac du Bonnet was started in 1903 and completed in 1907. In 1900 less than 31 million passengers were carried, in 1904 the paid fares had run to 9½ millions, and in 1905 to over 13 millions, in 1906 over 17½ millions, and in 1908,

20,000,000 passengers were carried. The substantial increase resulted in the gross earnings of the company rising from $28,132 in 1900, to $831,736 in 1904; in 1905 the earnings amounted to $1,119,768, while in 1908 the total earnings had reached the greatly increased figures of $2,206,000.

At the Lac du Bonnet Falls on the Winnipeg River, about 65 miles from the city of Winnipeg, the Street Railway company has a water power plant capable of developing more than 30,000 horse power, of which under ordinary conditions, certainly 27,000 horse power can be delivered in Winnipeg for use. Installed at a cost of over $3,000,000 this plant is a model of expert construction and economical production of power. The present capacity of the plant is 28,000 horse power but the company can, at a comparatively small outlay for raising their dam, and installing additional machinery for which provision has been made increase the present capacity by at least 50 per cent, or say 42,000 to 45,000 horse power. The company has also its steam plant, with a capacity of 7,000 horse power in readiness to be used in emergency.

There are 69 hotels in Winnipeg, many of which are well equipped. By far the finest of these is the Royal Alexandra—the Canadian Pacific Station Hotel. The entrance hall or “rotunda” and public rooms are on a magnificent scale and the appointments generally compare favorably with those of any hotel in the world. As might be expected from the nature of Winnipeg’s business and the'extent of its ramifications it has become a necessity that the city should be specially well supplied with banks. The various banking houses have established branches and erected costly buildings, which form a striking feature of the business thoroughfares of Winnipeg.

The beginning of banking in the prairie provinces of Western Canada is traceable to the Hudson’s Bay Com pany. Less than half a century ago there was no means of sending money out of the country except through their good offices. To send money to New York, Paiis or London, it was necessary to buy from them a sixty-day bill drawn on London. This was the only medium of exchange. In 1871 the Dominion Government established a money order office in Winnipeg. This was appreciated, but there was still an urgent need of organized banking institutions. In the same year, 1871, the late Mr. Gilbert McMicken arrived in Winnipeg as receiver-general for the Dominion Government, and opened a savings bank. Very shortly after the opening of the Government savings bank, Mr. Alex. McMicken, son of the receiver-general, opened a private bank in a building which stood on the site now occupied by the Queens Hotel. In December, 1872, the McMicken bank was the only institution of its kind in Manitoba, but on the 10th of that month the Merchants’ Bank opened an office in a building on Main street. This was Winnipeg’s first chartered bank. Prom this very modest beginning the present banking system of Winnipeg has grown up, and there are now the following banks in active operation in the city:

Some idea of the recent growth of the banking business of the West-—with its central point at Winnipeg—may be gathered from the fact that in 1900 the banks which now have nearly five hundred branches, had only one hundred and thirty-one. An important function of the banking houses of the West is the financing of the grain crop, which they are called upon to perform annually after the harvest season. It is the boast of the bankers that they have never failed to promptly meet the sudden and enormously increased demand for money at this period of the year.

Winnipeg is the natural gateway through which the commerce between Western Canada and territories east and south of Winnipeg. The city has therefore made, and is still making rapid strides as a centre especially of wholesale trade, and is destined to become one of the greatest distributing centres on the continent. It is stated that the annual turnover of the wholesale houses is nearly one hundred million dollars. Naturally enough the exports passing out of Winnipeg are the products of the Northwest, wheat and other grains, cattle, furs, sheep, wool, hogs, horses, oatmeal, flour, hides and wood pulp. The imports are, as is to be expected, manufactured articles from older countries. Winnipeg is a customs port of entry and its imports are increasing in value at the rate of a million or more dollars each year. As illustrating the growth of the city it may be mentioned that buildings of all kinds of a total value of $50,749,580 have been erected within the past six years. It is estimated that no less a sum than twelve million dollars will be expended in the erection of buildings during the present year. Many of the buildings are of considerable architectural excellence, and it is noticeable that with one exception there are no erections of the skyscraper kind, so common in cities in the United States.

The hasty growth of the city has produced a large number of buildings of carelcss and unsubstantial construction and many of these which were erected in the earlier days when Winnipeg was a raw frontier town still stand side by side with and in striking contrast to the well built modern structures.

In spite of marked disadvantages of situation Winnipeg has, in the course of twenty years, grown from a mere village into a large and prosperous city," and its prosperity has been due almost entirely to the energy ami enterprise of its citizens, who at an early date resolved that their city and no other was to be the gateway of the west and the distributing point and financial centre of the great wheat area of Western Canada. Doubtless the excellent climatic conditions of Winnipeg compensate largely for its distance from navigable waters and give it a distinct advantage over its great prototype Chicago. Scarcely has the history of civilization witnessed a more sudden and striking metamorphosis than has taken place in the transformation of the little trading post with its loop-holed fort into a modern city of 130,000 people. The Winnipeg of to-day .with its fine buildings and broad avenues, its churches and colleges, its railways and wholesale houses, is but a promise of the future.

Return to Book Index Page

This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.