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Across the Canadian Prairies
Vancouver, Victoria and New Westminster

We have now almost finished the journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and little remains to be done but to give some idea of the three leading cities of the Pacific Province, viz. New Westminster, Vancouver, and Victoria.

New Westminster was formerly the capital of British Columbia, but was succeeded in that position by Victoria in 1868, after much discussion and many trials and tribulations among the representatives of the mainland and Vancouver Island. It is not situated on the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway, but is reached by a short branch from New Westminster Junction. It occupies a lovely position on the banks of the Fraser, and is built on the side of a hill. The view of the surrounding country from the city is varied and extensive, and the river itself is the best point from which to regard the city. The population has not increased so rapidly as at Victoria and at Vancouvor, but it is a very busy place, and both the buildings and tho streets are well constructed, and present a very solid appearance. The principal industries are those connected with the salmon canneries and the sawmills, and it is hardly possible to appreciate how prolific the salmon fisheries on the Fraser are without paying a visit to New Westminster. On either side of the river are the factories, where the salmon are prepared and canned, or where they are cleaned and salted and packed in barrels, these being the two forms in which the fish are largely exported. Boats arrive continually at the different sheds full of salmon of all sizes and description, and, much as the river is fished, there seems to be little or no diminution in the catch. The average export of British Columbia consists annually of about 400,000 cases of salmon, each containing 48 1 lb. tins. This does not of course include the salted salmon, of which a large quantity is shipped to all parts of the world. Some of our readers may perhaps have seen photographs of the Fraser River. or, at places where it narrows, at times when the salmon are running. It's no stretch of the imagination to say that the quantity of salmon is so great as to occasionally cause a rise in the level of the river; and it is no uncommon thing to see salmon on the banks which have been forced out of the water by the pressure of the fish going up stream.

One of the great difficulties connected with the canning industry is the disposal of the offal. Hitherto it has been the custom to dump it in the river, which is not only an unhealthy proceeding, but is considered likely to drive the fish away. Regulations have recently been put into force to prevent this, and, although it has caused considerable outcry, there can be no doubt that the canners will eventually find it to their advantage. Indeed, the offal may become a valuable product, as a large quantity of oil may be extracted from it, and the residuum converted into excellent manure. A company is now being exploited to carry on this business, and, if it succeeds, it will not only be profitable, but will tend to add to the trade of the Province, and to the value of the fishery. A novel experiment is being tried in connection with the exportation of fresh salmon from British Columbia to England. As soon as the fish are caught they are placed in refrigerators, and aro shipped from Vancouver to Australia by the Huddart steamers, being placed, of course, in the refrigerating chambers of those vessels. They are there transferred into the refrigerators of the Australian liners, and brought to London. The first shipment arrived in excellent order, although the fish were not taken at the best time of the year, and the success of the experiment has been so great that further consignments have already been arranged, and the belief is confidently entertained that the fish can be sold in London at a price which will leave considerable profit to the enterprising persons who have initiated the business. It is needless to say, of course, that salmon can be obtained in British Columbia for as many farthings a pound as shillings are paid in the United Kingdom. A good many people are asking why the fish is sent in such a roundabout way, and why the Canadian Pacific Railway is not utilised. The answer is that there would be a difficulty at present about refrigerating cars on the railway, apart altogether from the extra cost of conveyance, and that there are no refrigerating chambers on the lines of steamers which now ply between Canada and Great Britain.

Vancouver, the terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway, is well known all over the world. It is a comparatively young city not yet 10 years old, and besides, was entirely burnt out in its infancy. It was soon, however, rebuilt, and is probably now the most substantial-looking city west of Winnipeg. The principal streets are asphalted, as well as the sidewalks; most of the buildings are constructed of brick or stone, and charming private residences are springing up in every direction. The growth of its population has been most rapid, and it is now in the neighbourhood of 20,000. Owing to tho manner in which the city is built, it covers a much wider area of ground than most other cities of its population. The labour that must have been necessary to prepare for its expansion will be appreciated when it is stated that the site of the city was formerly covered with the giant trees of the Douglas fir species, and that many stumps can now be seen, in the outskirts, of 7 or 8 feet in diameter. But even those monsters are comparatively small, as in the Stanley Park, which is adjacent to the city, there are cedars and pines which measure between 40 and 60 feet in circumference at some distance from the ground. Vancouver has many advantages from its position on Burrard Inlet. The channel is navigable for the largest vessels, and an immense quantity of shipping is always entering and leaving the port. In addition to the Canadian Pacific Railway service to China and Japan by the magnificent Empress steamers, there are the well-known vessels of the Huddart Line plying between Vancouver and Austral .a. Sailing vessels and steamers are also arriving and leaving continually for United States Pacific ports, and for the northern parts of British Columbia, while vessels are also leaving every day conveying what are humorously called British Columbia toothpicks to every part of the world. These tooth-picks are sometimes 3 feet square and 60 feet long, or even larger. It will be understood from this that, as at New Westminster, the lumber industry is an important one at Vancouver. The city is also the source of supply for many of the inland mining and lumbering districts of the province. Vancouver seems bound to develop, from its position as an entrepot. The trade of the Pacific with China and Japan must increase; and it cannot be long before British shipping on the Pacific Ocean will develop to an extent it is difficult now to appreciate, and before the people of Canada and the United States will be able to send greetings and messages direct to Australia without having to send them, as at present, by way of Europe.

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