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Making Good in Canada
By Frederick A. Talbot (1912)


“Say, stranger, been up north?”

“Aye. You going up there?“

"Yep. Must do something.”

“Well, you’ve got on the wrong road. There’s nothing doing.”

‘'Ain’t thar? Well, thar darn soon will be when I strike the place.”

This conversation took place between a raw-boned, attenuated Eastern Canadian and myself while killing time on the platform of Englehart Station, way up in Northern Ontario, where trains are few and far between, and where the sights of the neighbourhood may be absorbed in five minutes.

My interrogator carried his sole few belongings in a small grip, and he had a roll of dollar bills tucked in his belt. I had returned from the Porcupine Gold Country, which just then was looming large in the eyes of the fortune-hunters. From the Britisher’s point of view the prospect for human activity was about as inviting as it is in a casual ward.

My pessimism amused the stranger. He had roughed it hard down among the cities, and had failed to And the hole in which his efforts would fit, so had made a big move in another direction. He had not spent money on railway fares for nothing. However dismal the outlook might be, ho was ready to turn his hand to anything, and grimly determined to get a fresh boost in life's race somehow. It would not be his fault if things did not shape themselves according to his perspective.

This is the true spirit in which the new arrival must view and attack things Canadian. No calling is too humble; no occupation should be despised. Before the topmost rung of the ladder is gained there must be a spirited contest round the lower rounds, and a stiff fight in order to secure a firm foothold.

I have been asked repeatedly what to do and how to set about things in Britain across the Atlantic. “What’s the life like?” “Do I stand a chance?” and so on. I have set out a few of the varied openings for industry in the country, and have endeavoured to extend some idea of the difficulties to be overcome, and the prizes to be won, in the eternal struggle for existence and success. I have endeavoured to give both sides of the question impartially, and the Tenderfoot must judge for himself whether his spirits, physique, and ability fit him to woo Fortune in some form or other in the Dominion.

I have roughed it a bit myself, and am able to give the results of my own experience, with that of companions. Canada is by no means carpeted with gold. The treasure lies beneath the surface, and demands a certain exertion for its recovery, as in every other country, the extent of which varies according to the calling and to the character of the seeker.

September, 1912.


Chapter 1 - The Packer
Chapter II - Packers Freight - The Master Packer - Some Famous Pack Trains
Chapter III - Freighters and Freighting
Chapter IV - Cutting Trails and Building Roads through the Bush
Chapter V - Trapping
Chapter VI - Cord Wood Cutting
Chapter VII - The Cook: The Autocrat of the Camp
Chapter VIII - On the Frontier Telegraph Line
Chapter IX - The Game and Fire Wardens
Chapter X - Navvying and Railway Building
Chapter XI - Frontier Journalism
Chapter XII - Life in a Frontier Town
Chapter XIII - Prospecting for Minerals
Chapter XIV - Prospecting the Minerals (continued)
Chapter XV - With his Majesty’s Mails
Chapter XVI - Where and How to Farm in a New Country
Chapter XVII - Chances for the Young Engineer
Chapter XVIII - Openings for the Professions
Chapter XIX - Lumbering, Logging and Timber Cutting
Chapter XX - Various and Miscellaneous Opportunities for Success
Chapter XXI - Some Emigration Problems and how they may be solved

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