Canada and trees – the early 20th century (pt. 3)

Here is a link to the second part of this thread, in which there is a link to the first part. Again, jumping right into this post, we shall be. This is the third and final part of this post series.


In lumbering: “Northern Manitoba is forest-clad as far north as the 60th parallel. The eastern portion shares the forest growth that covers Northwestern Ontario. Birch, spruce, poplar, jack pine, and tamarac flourish in a virgin forest, and supply the sawmills which have been established at many points. In the west and southwest there are timbered areas on the hills and along the river banks.

On sport: “Considerable number of elk, moose, and jumping deer are found in the Province, and in the forests and hills the bear, wolf, lynx, fox, marten, beaver, and other fur-bearing animals have their haunts.


On the Province as a whole: “North of the rolling prairies are extensive forest tracts, thinning off as the northern boundary of the Province is approached.” / “A little further north [from the southern strip of the Province] are the park lands; and well they deserve their name. Even here there is plenty of open prairie, where the new settler can put in his plough and run a long furrow without having to clear anything away first; but there are also innumerable little ‘bluffs’ or coppices of birch and poplar, which are very useful not only in providing fuel, but also in sheltering the house and live stock, and to some extent the crops, from the wind.

Saskatchewan 1920s rural road
A picturesque spot near Regina, Saskatchewan.

On lumbering: “The lumbering district of Saskatchewan lies north of Prince Albert. Spruce, larch, jack-pine, white and black poplar, and white birch are the most common trees. Much of this timber is used for railway sleepers and to meet the demand of the farmers and settlers throughout the Province. In the northern section of Saskatchewan the Dominion Government has set aside a number of large areas as forest reserves, not only with the purpose of conserving the timber supply, but also ‘of keeping up a permanent supply of water at the fountain-head of streams which radiate from various centres in every direction’“.

On fur trading: “The forests of the north still abound in fur-bearing animals, the principal being bear, otter, beaver, marten, wolf, and mink. Prince Albert and Battleford are the leading centres of the fur trade. The annual output is valued at over $1,620,000 (£324,000).

On sport: “Northern Saskatchewan is still largely the haunt of the sportsmen. Lakes, rivers, and forests abound, and the keen hunter finds rare sport in this home of the fur-bearing animals.


On lumbering: “Building material and fuel in unlimited quantities are procurable in the forests of Northern Alberta, for the timber lands extend hundreds of miles on the north side of the Saskatchewan River. The poplar, birch, pine, white and black spruce, Douglas fir and larch, are among the trees contained in these great forest belts. South of the North Saskatchewan the timber is principally cottonwood and poplar, except in the foothills and river valleys, where considerable spruce is found. Sawmills are located at various points. Over 26,000 square miles of territory have been set aside as forest reserves and Dominion parks.

Valley of the Ten Peaks Rocky Mountains 1920
The Valley of the Ten Peaks, Rocky Mountains, Alberta.

On sport: “In the mountain section of the Province large areas have been set apart by the Dominion Government for forest and game preservation and for recreation. Good roads have been built through these reservations and they are carefully guarded against both fire and illicit hunting.

Alberta cow grazing trees 1920
There are many places in Western Canada similar to this, where nature lends attractiveness and offers useful shelter, water and feed.
Edmonton Alberta Canada 1920 aerial view
Bird’s eye view of Edmonton, Alberta. (Look at all the trees!)

British Columbia

On agriculture: “The fruit growers of the Province have won distinction by the size and flavour of their products, and the fame of Southern British Columbia as a fruit country is now world-wide. Apples, grapes, apricots, peaches, and plums are grown to perfection; also strawberries, cherries, and many other small fruits.

British Columbia orchard trees 1920
Orchards in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, one of the most productive fruit-growing districts in the world.

On lumbering: “In timber British Columbia has its greatest asset, for, however rich a country may be in mineral wealth, the latter is always a definite quantity and is subject some day to exhaustion, but properly conserved and developed, timber is inexhaustible. The value of the manufactured timber is over $55,365,000 (£11,073,000), and the forests are growing about four times as fast as they are being cut. The present commercial stand of timber exceeds 336,000 billion feet.

British Columbia trees and islands 1920
Where mountain peaks and island-dotted placid lakes form a delightful environment.

Throughout the coast region, and in a lesser degree the wet belts of the interior, there are great stands of Douglas fir, hemlock, red and yellow cedar, spruce, larch, and commercial pines. The hardwoods, such as oak, maple, and alder, are inconsiderable and commercially negligible. The coniferous trees grow to unusual size and height. Douglas firs, cedars, and spruce eight to ten feet in diameter are not unusual in the coast regions, while there are individual specimens, 300 feet high, with girth from 50 to 55 feet.

British Columbia giant cedars 1920
Some giant cedars in British Columbia, a province with billions of feet of commercial timber.

Sawmills are located all over the Province, both on the coast and in the interior. There is a constant demand for British Columbia timber in the Prairie Provinces, and large quantities are exported to the United Kingdom, the Orient, South America, Africa, and Australia. The cedar cut is mainly manufactured into shingles, which form an important part of the export trade. From the spruce is manufactured pulp and paper, an important industry.

Yukon and Northwest Territory

On lumbering: “Much of the Territory is well wooded with fair sized timber. The principal trees are white and black spruce. The timber cut is used for home consumption. There are three large forest zones, and a treeless area along the Arctic slope.

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

Canada and trees – the early 20th century (pt. 3)

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