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Across the Canadian Prairies
Still among the Mountains

Some mention has been made of the wonderful canons of the Thompson River, along which the Canadian Pacific Railroad passes. The junction of the Thompson River with the Fraser is about 150 miles from Vancouver. The scenery along the Fraser is very much the same as that of the Thompson. There are similar canons; the river is here and there narrowed by rocky formations and becomes a torrent, and at other times is a broad placid stream. From the train, at the proper season of the year, the Indians can be seen at their fishing operations on the banks of the river; and the Heathen Chinee may also be observed gold-washing in a very primitive manner. At North Bend, about 115 miles from Vancouver, there is another of the railway hotels at which the eastward and westward-bound trains stop for about twenty minutes to enable the passengers to refresh the inner man or inner woman, are the case may be. The scenery in the neighbourhood of North Bend is of a particularly attractive nature, and in the summer time the hotel, which is very comfortable, is more or less crowded. In fact, the scenery between North Bend and Yale is described as matchless, and as not only interesting but startling. The great river, as our friend, the C.P.R. Notebook, states, “is forced between vertical walls of black rocks, where, repeatedly thrown back upon itself by cliffs, or broken by ponderous masses of rocks, it madly foams and roars. The railway is cut into the cliffs 200 feet or more above, and the jutting spurs of rock are pierced by tunnels in close succession. ‘
From Yale to Vancouver the scenery becomes rather less grand, and there is a greater area of land available for agricultural purposes than exists in the more eastward parts of the province. A good deal of the land is very little above the river level, and dyking, at considerable expense, has been necessary. In many cases, however, the embankments were not made high enough, and the floods of last year, which were exceptionally high, gave the farmers and the owners of these lands a good deal of trouble, and caused much expense. Although the experience was a sad one. it has given a lesson, which will not be forgotten. The meadow or bottom land, in the immense valleys through which the Fraser runs in the latter part of its career, is rather expensive, and the prices range anywhere from 50 to 100 and 200 dollars per acre. It is, however, exceptionally fertile, and grows immense crops, and it is stated that on 40 acres of land in these favoured positions as much produce can be raised as on five times the area of land elsewhere. Besides, it must be remembered that if land is dear, the prices of produce are relatively higher than in many other parts of Canada, and that all the most profitable crops can be raised, as the consequence of the magnificent climate with which British Columbia is endowed.

The Dominion Government, in its paternal supervision of the interests of the agricultural community, has established an experimental farm at Agassiz, about 70 miles from the coast. It includes about 1,000 acres of land of all varieties, from sandy loam to heavy clay land, and not only bottom, but mountain land. It is a beautiful place, the valley being surrounded by mountains; and in the evening, and especially by moonlight, the sight is one to remember. The energetic superintendent, Mr. Sharp, has done wonders in the short time that the farm has been under his charge. Most of the experiments so far have been in connection with the raising of fruit of all kinds and roots, and they have been singularly successful. The small fruits grow in abundance, and there is no doubt a great future before that industry. Apples and pears are also grown in great profusion and of immense size, and it may truly be said that the largest apples we ever saw were raised in British Columbia from comparatively young trees. It will not be long before British Columbia apples make their appearance on the British market if prices are high enough to stand the cost of transport. In any case, however, they have an excellent market near home and on the prairies. Mr. Sharp has also experimented in arboriculture the mountain sides, and he is very proud of the results. Anyone contemplating settlement in British Columbia cannot do better than spend a day at Agassiz, talk over his proposals with Mr. Sharp, and obtain the benefit of his advice and experience, which extends not only to Canada, but to Scotland, where he was farming before he emigrated.

A drive of 4 or 5 miles through the primeval forest, and, it must be confessed, over a very rough road, will take the visitor to Harrison Lake, which in the near future is bound to become a popular place of resort. There is a very good hotel, the scenery is magnificent, and the variety of colouring in the waters of the lake from the reflection of the surrounding scenery cannot well be exaggerated. In addition, however, to its attractions to pleasure seekers, in the way of fishing, boating, and shooting, there is a medicinal spring which comes out of the side of the mountain at a temperature high enough to boil an egg. The water is beneficial not only for bathing, but for drinking, in certain complaints, and the baths attract a great many people. It is a very curious thing that within a few feet of the waters of the lake, which are icy cold, consisting chiefly of snow water, there should be a hot medicinal spring of the nature that has been mentioned. On the way back from Harrison Spring to Agassiz there happened the only contretemps of our journey; the horses shied and bolted, which was over a rough road of the kind; and there was soon a spill, which might have been serious, but which only resulted in a little damage to the conveyance.

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