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- A Trip to Manitoba - 1/24 -


A TRIP TO MANITOBA

BY

MARY FITZGIBBON.

"Manitoba, the great province which now forms part of the Canadian Dominion"

The Rt. Hon. W. E. GLADSTONE, MP at West Calder.

DEDICATED TO LADY DUFFERIN.

PREFATORY NOTE.

The Canada Pacific Railway, so frequently referred to in the following pages, is now almost an accomplished fact. It will, after traversing for over a thousand miles the great prairies of the Swan River and Saskatchewan territories, thread the Rocky Mountains and, running through British Columbia to Vancouver's Island, unite the Pacific with the Atlantic. Of the value of this line to the Dominion and the mother country there cannot be two opinions. The system of granting plots of land on each side of the railway to the Company, with power to re-sell or give them to settlers, has been found most advantageous in, as it were, feeding the line and creating populations along its route. The cars which carry to distant markets the crops raised by the settlers, bring back to them the necessaries of civilized life.

Readers who ask with the post-office authorities, "Where is Manitoba?" [Footnote: Pages 58, 59] may be answered that Manitoba is a province in the great north-west territory of the Canadian Dominion, lying within the same parallels of latitude as London and Paris. It has one of the most healthy climates in the world--the death-rate being lower than in any other part of the globe,--and a soil of wondrous fertility, sometimes yielding several crops in one year. Immense coal-fields exist within the province; its mountains abound with ore; and its natural wealth is enormous.

While the province of Manitoba formed part of the Hudson Bay Company's territory, its resources were undeveloped. But in 1869 it was transferred to the Dominion Government, and received a Lieutenant-Governor and the privilege of sending representatives to the Parliament at Ottawa. Under the new _régime_ enterprise and industry are amply encouraged.

The original population consisted chiefly of Indians and French half-breeds; the abolition of the capitation tax on immigrants, however, has resulted in a large immigration of Europeans, who, with health and energy, cannot fail to prosper, especially as they are without European facilities for squandering their money in luxury or intoxication. Of how universally the Prohibitory Liquor Law prevails in Manitoba, and yet how difficult it sometimes is to punish its infraction, an amusing instance in given in Chapter XI. Mr. Alexander Rivington, in a valuable pamphlet now out of print ("On the Track of our Emigrants"), says that when he visited Canada it was rare to see such a thing as mendicity--too often the result of intemperance; "the very climate itself, so fresh and life-giving, supplies the place of strong drink. Public-houses, the curse of our own country, have no existence. Pauperism and theft are scarcely known there--income-tax is not yet dreamt of." Free grants of one hundred acres of prairie and meadow land are still being made to immigrants, and the population is rapidly increasing.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I.

The Grand Trunk Railway--Sarnia--"Confusion worse confounded"--A Churlish Hostess--Fellow-Passengers on the _Manitoba_--"Off at last!"--Musical Honours--Sunrise on Lake Huron--A Scramble for Breakfast--An Impromptu Dance--The General Foe.

CHAPTER II.

Saulte Ste. Marie--Indian Embroidery--Lake Superior--Preaching, Singing, and Card-playing--Silver Islet--Thunder Bay--The Dog River--Flowers at Fort William--"Forty Miles of Ice"--Icebergs and Warm Breezes--Duluth--Hotel Belles--Bump of Destructiveness in Porters.

CHAPTER III.

The Mississippi--The Rapids--Aerial Railway Bridges--Breakfast at Braynor--Lynch Law--Card-sharpers--Crowding in the Cars--Woman's Rights!--The Prairie--"A Sea of Fire"--Crookstown--Fisher's Landing--Strange Quarters--"The Express-man's Bed"--Herding like Sheep--On board the _Minnesota_.

CHAPTER IV.

Red Lake River--Grand Forks--The Ferry--Custom-house Officers at Pembina--Mud and Misery--Winnipeg at last--A Walk through the Town--A Hospitable Welcome--Macadam wanted--Holy Trinity Church--A Picturesque Population--Indians shopping--An "All-sorts" Store--St. Boniface and its Bells--An Evening Scene.

CHAPTER V.

Summer Days--The English Cathedral--Icelandic Emigrants--_Tableaux_--In chase of our Dinner--The Indian Summer--Blocked up--Gigantic Vegetables--Fruitfulness of the Country--Iceland Maidens--Rates of Wages--Society at Winnipeg--Half-castes--Magic of the Red River Water--A Happy Hunting-ground--Where is Manitoba?

CHAPTER VI.

Winter Amusements--A Winnipeg Ball--Forty Degrees below Zero--New Year's Day--"Saskatchewan Taylor"--Indian Compliments--A Dog-train--Lost in the Snow--Amateur Theatricals--Sir Walter Raleigh's Hat--A Race with the Freshets--The Ice moves!--The First Steamer of the Season--Good-bye to Winnipeg.

CHAPTER VII.

A Manitoban Travelling-carriage--The Perils of Short Cuts--The Slough of Despond--Paddy to the Rescue!--"Stick-in-the-Mud" and his Troubles--McQuade's--An Irish Welcome--Wretched Wanderers.

CHAPTER VIII.

Faithless Jehu--The "Blarney Stone"--Mennonites in search of News--"Water, Water everywhere"--A Herd of Buffaloes--A Mud Village--Pointe du Chêne and Old Nile--At Dawson Route--A Cheerful Party--_Toujours perdrix_--The "Best Room"--A Government Shanty--Cats and Dogs--Birch River--Mushroom-picking--The Mosquito Plague--A Corduroy Road--The Cariboo Muskeg.

CHAPTER IX.

The "Nor'-west Angle"--The Company's House--Triumph of "Stick-in-the-Mud"--On the Lake of the Woods--A Gallant Cook--Buns _à l'imprevu_--A Man overboard!--Camping out--Clear Water Bay--Our First Portage--A Noble Savage--How Lake Rice and Lake Deception won their Names--At our Journey's End.

CHAPTER X.

Making a New Home--Carrière's Kitchen--The Navvies' _Salle-à-Manger_--A Curious Milking Custom--Insect Plagues--Peterboro' Canoes--Fishing Trips--Mail-day--Indian dread of drowning--The Indian Mail-carrier and his Partner--Talking by Telegraph--Prairie Fires.

CHAPTER XI.

Irish Wit--Bears?--Death on the Red Pine Lake--A Grave in the Catholic Cemetery--The First Dog train--A Christmas Fête--Compulsory Temperance--Contraband Goods--The Prisoner wins the Day--Whisky on the Island--The Smuggler turned Detective--A Fatal Frolic--"Mr. K----'s Legs".

CHAPTER XII.

Birds of Passage--An Independent Swede--By Sleigh to Ostersund--A Son of the Forest--Burnt out--A Brave Canadian Girl--Roughing it in the Shanty--The Kitchen-tent--Blasting the Rock--The Perils of Nitro-glycerine--Bitter Jests.

CHAPTER XIII.

We lose our Cows--Cahill promoted--Gardening on a New Principle--Onions in Hot-houses--Cahill is hoaxed--Martin the Builder--How the Navvies lived--Sunday in Camp--The Cook's Leap--That "Beautiful Skunk!"--Wild Fruits--Parting.

CHAPTER XIV.

For Ostersund--Lake Lulu--Giant Rocks and Pigmy Mortals--The Island Garden--Heaven's Artillery--Strange Casualty at the Ravine--My Luggage nearly blown up--The Driver's Presence of Mind--How to carry a Canoe--Darlington Bay--An Invisible Lake--Lord and Lady Dufferin--A Paddle to the Lakes--The Captain's Tug--Monopoly of Water-carriage--Indian Legends--The Abode of Snakes.

CHAPTER XV.

Clear Water Bay transformed--Cahill's Farewell--Ptarmigan Bay--A Night


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