Canada and trees – the early 20th century

For this post, I’m doing something a little different – I’m quoting directly from a source, extensively. The reason for this is that the publication I am quoting from is the 1930 publication entitled “Canada: Descriptive Atlas“, which was issued by direction of Hon. Robert Forke, who was, until 1929, Minister for Immigration and Colonization in Canada. If you’re wondering where I obtained it, I was lent this publication by an old lady who had kept hundreds of old publications, ranging from old Post Office magazines to World War I and II publications. This text was among them all.

Canada Descriptive Atlas 1930
Here be the publication!

The publication is split into sections for each region of Canada, and I have picked out parts that relate to trees and have included them below, though within their wider context – I have not cut out any parts of the sub-sections quoted, and instead they are quoted in full (this means some bits aren’t directly related to trees). I may do them over the course of a few posts spanning a few days, as there is a lot to write! All below images are taken from the publication, and the captions below are the same as in the publication itself.

The Dominion of Canada

On lumbering: “The forests of Canada are among the largest in extent in the world, and are a correspondingly great source of wealth. When the early French explorers first sailed up the St. Lawrence River and endeavoured to penetrate the interior, they found the surface of the country virtually a huge forest, and rivers were the only routes into its vast recesses. Much of the forest, especially in the southern section, has been cleared away to make homes for the settlers, and still greater areas have been destroyed by fire, but sufficient still remains to make Canada one of the greatest potential lumber producing countries. Not only are those forests great for the lumber and pulpwood they contain, but they are also of immense importance in supplying fuel, in tempering the climate, and in conserving the water supply. For these reasons they are carefully guarded against fire and wanton destruction, and reforestation is being conducted in a scientific manner. Large areas in almost all the Provinces has been set apart as forest reserves, those in the hands of the Dominion Government alone, including parks, amounting to 43,710 square miles. With proper care, there is no danger of the forest wealth of Canada being depleted for centuries to come.

Government House, Ottawa, Canada, 1930
Government House, Ottawa, the residence of the Governor-General in Canada.

The production of pulp and paper is the most important manufacturing industry in Canada. It leads in gross value and also in the amount of wages paid. Canada produces more newsprint paper than any other country. The latest available figures show that 2,360,000 tons or about 990,000 tons more than the United States, the next largest producer.

The lumber industry is the fourth most important industry in gross value of products. It ranks first in the total number of employees, second in wage and salary distribution and third in value of capital.

Prince Edward Island

On industry: “As there are no minerals and no large forests in Prince Edward Island, neither mining nor lumbering is carried on. Manufacturing is connected chiefly with the preparation of foods, such as butter and cheese. Port-packing and lobster-canning are large and growing industries.

Prince Edward Island landscape 1930
Prince Edward Island is known as a Million Acre Farm or “The Garden of the Gulf”.
Prince Edward Island landscape 1930 (2)
Farm and Meadow mingle in a Charming Way on Prince Edward Island.

Nova Scotia

On climate: “The climate of the Province is remarkably healthy and invigorating. The sea modifies the temperature both of summer and winter. Lack of extremes of heat and cold tend to the rapid growth of vegetation. The rainfall is abundant, averaging about 44 inches a year.

On agriculture: “Agriculture is a leading industry of Nova Scotia, the annual value of the production being over $40,000,000 (£8,000,000). Along the northern side of the Province, a valley, 100 miles in length, yields one of the best apple crops in the world, while peaches, pears, plums, and cherries are also grown. The dyked lands are exceedingly rich and produce enormous crops of hay and cereals. Oats is the leader followed closely by wheat and barley. All root crops in the Province are healthy, the potato far outranking the other both in quality and quantity.

Nova Scotia rural landscape 1930
The beauties of Nova Scotia were sung by Longfellow in his “Evangeline”. Above is a picture of the Experimental Farm at Kentville, which is greatly aiding agriculture.

Along the southeastern shore of the Bay of Fundy is a range of hills. Sheltered between these hills and the central heights of the Province lies the famous Annapolis Valley, which, with its continuations, is about 100 miles long, and is sometimes as much as 10 miles wide. Here the early French immigrants planted their apple trees, and laid the foundation of Nova Scotia’s famous apple industry. This great industry supplies about half a million barrels of apples every year to the British Isles, besides a very large quantity the the apple-consumers nearer home. The apple is the king of fruits in Nova Scotia, where indeed it grows to a high standard of perfection. Plums and pears grow exceedingly well also; and at Digby, in the southwest corner of the Province, the cherry orchards in blooming time are a delight to the eye, and in picking time an enrichment to the pocket.

Nova Scotia apple orchard 1930
The Nova Scotia Apple is known the world over.

Dairying is becoming an important industry. Travelling dairy schools supported by the Provincial Government visit all parts of the Province to give instruction to the farmers. The hilly country ensures good pasturage, and the products from the dairy industry have an annual value of over $10,500,000 (£2,100,000). This does not include the large quantity of domestic butter produced on the farms. Stock farming is also receiving a great deal of attention, and by the importation of better breeds of cattle and horses promises to take a leading place in the agricultural interests of the Province.

Agricultural education is receiving stimulus from various agricultural societies, which provide addresses by experts at the meetings of farmers, and devote much attention to improving the standards of stock. The Provincial Government has established thirty-five model orchards throughout the Province. At the Provincial Agricultural College, Truro, practical training in all departments of farm work may be obtained.

On lumbering: “Pine has practically disappeared from Nova Scotia, but there still remains much larch, spruce, and fir, as well as beech, ash, birch, and maple. It is estimated that the Province now has about 12,000 square miles of good timber land, well looked after by a thorough system of fire protection. A large export trade is carried on with Great Britain, the United States, the West Indies, and South America.

More to come in the following few days, in separate posts!

Source: Anon. (1930) Canada: Descriptive Atlas. Canada: Houses of Parliament.


Canada and trees – the early 20th century

3 thoughts on “Canada and trees – the early 20th century

  1. Mark says:

    Hi , again.. .. This is an interesting coincidence, as I work as the Grounds and Greenhouse Manager for the Official Residences of Canada, which includes the gardens and trees at Government House – Rideau Hall ; Governor’s General residence in Ottawa. I’m actually in the process of writing an article on the history of the landscape for Historic Gardens magazine in the UK. I haven’t seen the photograph you posted before, which must be in Canada Archives . Anyway fascinating book what a great find.
    Cheers Mark

    Liked by 1 person

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