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Across the Canadian Prairies
Montreal to Ottawa

After leaving Montreal it is usual to pay a visit to Ottawa, the political capital of the Dominion, which lies on the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway, between Quebec and Vancouver. The journey only takes from three to four hours, and the line passes through a country which has made considerable progress in the last few years. Comfortable-looking farms are seen for most of the way, and everywhere will be found evidences of new clearings, and the extension of land under cultivation. In addition to agriculture, the lumber industry and phosphate and iron mining are also carried on, and altogether the district is one which is sure to rapidly expand.

Ottawa occupies a lovely position on the banks of the river of that name. The river, which is 100 feet or more below the level of the city, is wide and picturesque, and the falls of the Chaudiere add considerably to its attractions. The Parliament buildings are generally recognised by visitors to Ottawa as a splendid pile. The Library is one of the finest on the continent, but measures will probably soon have to be taken to increase the accommodation. Much difficulty is experienced in finding room for the books of all kinds, from Statutes and Blue Books down to the lightest literature, which continue to pour in; and although the building is picturesque and beautiful from an architectural point of view, its circular plan of construction does not readily admit of its expansion. The view from the grounds of the Parliament buildings is very extensive and pretty, especially in the autumn, when the foliage assumes the glorious colours peculiar to a northern climate.

The Parliament buildings — that is, the Senate and the House of Commons, and the offices in concerned with their administration—are flanked by blocks on the east and west, in which are to be found the offices of the different departments of State. The intermediate space is laid out as ornamental grounds, in which legislators and their friends not only take the constitutionals, but sometimes indulge in cricket and other games of that sort. Owing to the increase in the departmental work, it was found necessary a few years ago to provide additional accommodation, and the handsome building known as the Langevin Block was erected on Wellington Street, facing the Parliament buildings. It was named after Sir Hector Langevin, who was at the time Minister of Public Works.

There are other public buildings in the city, but probably the most important is that known as the Geological Museum, the administration of which is connected with the Geological Survey Department, of which Dr. Selwyn is Director, and the well-known Dr. G. M. Dawson, the Assistant-Director. This building contains treasures of untold value, illustrative of the mineral and arboricultural wealth of the Dominion, and of the flora and fauna of the country. There is also a large and valuable collection of fossils, which could not be replaced, and the same remark applies to many other contents of the museum. It is rather a pity, therefore, that a more suitable building has not been provided. Their present home was intended as an hotel, and is certainly not well adapted for the purpose to which it is now applied, especially having regard to the necessity of safeguarding the collections. No doubt, however, this matter will be remedied in the course of time.

The city of Ottawa, although it is only the fourth or fifth in point of population, has expanded more rapidly than any other place in Canada in the last decade. The business streets are wide, and the shops and buildings worthy of the capital, but there is considerable room for improvement in the roadways, the rugged and uneven character of which can best be appreciated during a cab ride from the railway station to the hotels. It must be admitted, however, that the electric tramcar service is admirable—probably one of the best-equipped and administered in the Dominion. The residential part of the city is remarkable for the number and beauty of its buildings, and the trees which have been planted along most of the streets certainly add to their picturesque appearance.

The principal industry of Ottawa, after legislation, and perhaps litigation, is die lumber business, and, go where you will, especially near the rivers and railways, immense piles of sawn deals meet the eye, and the quantity of sawdust in the river itself affords an indication of the number of mills that aro at work. The power is chiefly provided by the Chaudiere Falls, before mentioned, and the logs are floated down from the waters of the Upper Ottawa. Rafts of logs are also sent from the river down to Montreal and Quebec, and they are conveyed from the upper to the lower level by means of an artificial slide which has been constructed. The logs are made up into small rafts, called cribs, and to come down the slide on one of them is an experience not likely soon to be forgotten, and beats the excitement and exhilaration of tobogganing all to pieces. In addition to lumber, large quantities of matches and match splints are made in Ottawa, and at Hull, on the other side of the river, and the sawdust and waste lumber is also utilised for making various kinds of wooden ware, the material first being made into pulp and then compressed and dried. Paper-making from pulp is also likely to be an important industry in the future, and there are many other kinds of manufactures which are gradually developing.

Rideau Hall, the residence of the Governor-General, is situated about a mile and a half from Ottawa, and the grounds run down to the Rideau River, which empties itself into the Ottawa. It is an old-fashioned house, which has been added to from time to time, and is not calculated to impress the visitor. Probably, at some time or another, a new and fitting residence for the Governor-General will be erected, but economy is the order of the day in Canada at the present time, as well as in most other countries, and the matter is not immediately to the front. Earnscliffe, formerly the residence of Sir John Macdonald, and from which the Baroness Macdonald takes her title, is not far from Rideau Hall, and occupies a pretty position on the cliffs overlooking the river. It is at present occupied by Major-Gen. Herbert, who commands the Canadian Militia.

Ottawa is a delightful centre, in which the tourist can pass several weeks very happily. Excursions may be made into tho back country, where there is any quantity of shooting and fishing, and camping can be enjoyed in all its glory. Then, again, the upper Ottawa River itself is a magnificent stream, often half a mile or more wide, and the scenery along its banks is perfect in its way—much grander and more romantic and beautiful than we are accustomed to in Great Britain. It would be difficult to imagine anything more delightful than a canoe trip up this grand river, with the attendant hunting, shooting, and camping, and it is not surprising, therefore, that it is tho holiday ground of the people of Ottawa and its neighbourhood.

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