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strategic point in this empire-battlefield Liverpool and Europe, instead of down is Hudson Bay; and this is realized to the Great Lakes and thence by rail to some extent, for the Dominion Govern- New York or Boston or Montreal to be ment has now issued charters for as shipped across the ocean, for the reason many as eight different railroad compa- that over the new route there will be a nies which propose to extend lines to this total saving in transportation cost of vast inland sea from various points in nearly fifty per cent. This saving will be the interior of Canada.
brought about because the Hudson Bay A large share of the grain traffic of route is from 700 to 1,300 miles shorter all western Canada and the Northwest- than the former route, and because the ern United States will eventually, it is greater part of this distance is on the probable, pass through Hudson Bay to water, thus eliminating much of the rail
haul necessary over the old line, with the consequent rehandling of freight. How great a saving may be made from the difference in rail haul alone, will be seen from the fact that the average rate per ton-mile on the Great Lakes is about one-tenth of the corresponding rate on the railroads of the United States. This tremendous reduc
BLUFFS ON Lower CHURCHILL RIVER. tion in the cost of getting grain to the consumer, means not only a com- will therefore be better for the shipment plete overthrow of present shipping of perishable goods. conditions, but cheaper grain for all Eu- But, strange as it may seem, Hudson rope. The new route also traverses a Bay has been neglected and ignored ever latitude of much colder climate, and since the stalwart Henry Hudson, having
FORT CHURCHILL, WESTERN COAST OF HUDSON BAY.
discovered it (1611), was turned adrift built at Churchill, and in time a small in an open boat by his mutinous crew, hamlet, called. York Factory, sprung up being never afterward heard from. This at the mouth of the Nelson River ; but for great sea, six times as large as all the the most part the country was given over Great Lakes put together and stretching to Eskimos, Indians, and fur-traders. into the very heart of the North Amer- While an enormous grain trade and ican continent, has been shunned for freight traffic developed along that comthree centuries, as though the weird story mercial midway of America, the Great and unknown fate of the wild and daring Lakes and St. Lawrence, the shorter outHudson had cast a superstitious dread let to the Atlantic was left desolate and over the hearts of adventurous pioneers, forsaken. Even now, it is said that not and they dared not encamp on those five thousand out of the five and a half shores where perchance the phantom million Canadians have ever seen the skiff might pass and the unburied ghost waters of their great possession, Hudfrown upon their intrusion. A fort was son Bay.
YORK FACTORY, AN IMPORTANT POST AT MOUTH OF NELSON RIVER, WESTERN COAST OF
HUDSON BAY. With the more northerly port of Churchill, it commands attention as a seaport affording a possible terminus for
important railroad and trans-Atlantic steamer lines.
mouth of the Bay was blocked with ice so
Many people to-day think of Northwestern Canada as a bleak, barren coun
try, as cold as Alaska or Greenland. But A HUDSON Bay Eskimo.
in areas which are in the same latitude as Greenland, fine wheat crops have been
raised. At Fort Providence, nearly 1,200 But there must be some reason why miles north of Montreal, they raised and this route through Hudson Bay is not harvested a large crop of wheat in ninety used. Yes, there is an apparent reason, at least. The possibilities of the route have been officially recognized since 1884, when the Dominion Government sent out an expedition to investigate its merits. This trip in the ship Neptune lasted for three seasons; and the party returned an adverse opinion of the new route, because
CREW OF THE "NEPTUNE," AND Eskimo Helpers in Winter Garb. they said that the