WHEN THE COAST WAS YOUNG

Stories of the Days When the Railway Was Creeping Toward the Pacific Coast. When Vancouver Was in its Swaddling Clothes. Old Facts and Faces Recalled

GEORGE H. HAM November 15 1922

WHEN THE COAST WAS YOUNG

Stories of the Days When the Railway Was Creeping Toward the Pacific Coast. When Vancouver Was in its Swaddling Clothes. Old Facts and Faces Recalled

GEORGE H. HAM November 15 1922

WHEN THE COAST WAS YOUNG

Stories of the Days When the Railway Was Creeping Toward the Pacific Coast. When Vancouver Was in its Swaddling Clothes. Old Facts and Faces Recalled

GEORGE H. HAM

BRITISH COLUMBIA has an

immense wealth of scenery, minerals, orchards, fertile farms, sunshine and politics. Land and sea and sky have bountifully supplied the mountain grandeur, the rich yield of fruit and grain and vegetables, and the salubrious climate is a splendid tribute of the heavens to the magnificent contribution of equable balmy climate— and Man, which includes both sexes, has made questions of state an interesting and at times an exciting addition to everyday life. The scenery ranks amongst the highest reaches of sublimity. The mines are worked extensively, and their output includes almost every mineral from gold to coal. The fisheries furnish prolific piscatorial harvests and profitable employment to thousands,—chiefly Japanese. The fruit, large and luscious, is famous the world over. The valley farms are fertile and productive of bountiful crops; and the politics run more to the acre than perhaps in any other part of Canada. It may have been the original garden of Eden, or at any rate that particular one which a scientist recently told the world was located around and about the North Pole.

Besides its wealth of land and sea and sky, and scenic effects, British Columbia boasts of at least two fine cities and a score or more of pleasantly situated smaller centres. Vancouver is a growing metropolis of a couple of hundred thousand more or less industrious inhabitants, and Victoria, becoming her regal name, is one of the most delightful residential cities on the North American continent. Do you know that its name narrowly escaped being Quadra, after an early Spanish explorer, and might have been so named but the citizens feared being called Quadrants.

The Rails Reach the Pacific

TT WAS in the summer of 1886 that my first visit was paid to the Pacific Coast—thirtysix years ago—Lordy how the time flies—and the occasion was the inauguration of the first trans-continental passenger service of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Port Moody was then the western terminus of the rails, and Port Moody wasn’t much of a place, and could scarcely be made one.

So everybody, or nearly everybody, jumped from train to boat at Port Moody, and hastened to Vancouver and points beyond.

Among those who were there to welcome the first train were Supt. Abbott and Land Commissioner Hamilton of the C. P. R., Mayor Maclean of Vancouver, surrounded by his bodyguard of councillors and advisors, A. W. Ross,

Dr. McGuigan, Bob Balfour, and the six-foot-two Chief of Police Carlyle, Walter Dufour, the auctioneer, and many others.

The old “Yosemite” was a staunch and comfortable craft, and the short sail up Burrard Inlet to the newborn city of Vancouver, on Coal Harbour—previously known as Gastown—was a very pleasant one.

Scarcely had Vancouver . been born, when it was entirely destroyed by a terrible, devastating fire. It was a sad sight, with utter ruin and desolation everywhere; but the sturdy pioneers I met were jovial optimists.

They were not at all discouraged—not even downhearted, in spite of the overwhelming disaster.

Directly after the fire,

Mayor Maclean, assisted by a few of the enterprising citizens left, established themselves in a “Tent of

Authority” where all supplies received from outside places were received and dispensed, where law and order was maintained, and where the many unfortunate ones who had lost their all were taken care of.

A. W. Ross who had been the most prominent figure in the Winnipeg boom a few years previously, was a leading spirit in the desolated city, and among those who first gave evidence of recovery and faith and hopefulness were my old friends Billy McDougall, son of the late Hon. Wm. McDougall, and who has since gone to his rest, and J. H. Ross, who is still on active duty and is publish-

ing a newspaper at Winchester, Ont. The former saved some of his type and was established in a small tent, but had not a press. The latter managed to get a plant and was publishing the Daily News. Some months after Mr. Ross sold out to Mr. Carter-Cotton, who at once engaged Mr. McDougall as his editor and thus absorbed the Daily Advertiser, and for many years the Daily News-Advertiser had much to do with the directin g of public opinion and the public affairs of the city and the province, and its energetic publisher became a prominent figure in the political life of the province and was a member of the Local Legislature for many years. Among the leading spirits of. the business life of Vancouver was Mr. David Oppenheimer, who shortly after the fire built a block opposite to where the first city hall was built on Water St. North and it was in this building the first “Ball” was held in Vancouver. Owing to the fire, dress suits and costly ladies’ gowns were not plentiful, and men and women came in the best they had, many robed in garments that were of the “Relief” clothing so generously sent in by outside places. The orchestra was gathered together from among the willing musicians of the hopeful city, but the gathering was one that will never be forgotten by those who were there, for there was not formality but a kindly spirit, as well as other spirits, that created a joviality that made everyone happy and a feeling of comradeship that only the new settlements of the West know.

The Pioneers

NUMBER of the Old Timers formed themselves into what is known as “Vancouver Pioneers’ Association.” This Association has been presided over by Mr. H. J. Cambie, chief engineer of the C. P. R., one who blazed the trail for the Company to the Coast; and among others, George R. Gordon, who loaned the City the tent where the City Council held cheir meetings after the fire; Rev. D.D. McLaren, Pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, who was quite a factor in the religious life of the Community; Joe McFarlane, Secretary of the Water Works when it was owned by a private company; Alex. Morrison, one of the leading Railway Contractors; John J. Banfield, who for over thirty years has been in the Real Estate and Insurance business; William Godfrey, Manager of the Bank of British North America, now the Bank of Montreal. H. P. McCraney, Contractor, who cleared a large portion of the Townsite, is now the Presiding Officer.

Notable amongst the pioneers were Ned and Charlie Rand; David Oppenheimer; Tom Dunn; C. Gardner Johnson; Campbell Sweeny; Henry Abbott; H. T. Ceperley; R. H. Alexander and W. F. Salsbury. Some of these pioneers have passed away and some can still be seen on the streets to-day. F. W. Hart, the furniture man, Mr. McDougall, the druggist, Charlie Ferguson, manager of the big lumber mill, Horne & Rand, Mr. Tatlow and Tom McGuigan, the city clerk.

But Vancouver is not the only coast city with a past, the smaller cities each have

their history, and indeed some of them have even more history than anything else.

High Revels in Rossland

IF ROSPLAND, in the Kootenay country, had fulfilled one iota of the hopes and beliefs of the optimistic residents in the early days of its discoveries of wonderful mineral wealth,

London would doubtless not be the largest city in the world to-day, and I don’t know but that New York and Chicago and cities of that ilk would have been faded away off the map altogether. It was peopled by enthusiasts from the four corners of the globe who had unbounded faith in its glorious future and bright visions of gold galore.

It was a wide-open mining camp, steadied by the presence of prominent men who while luxuriating in that free and easy western life where money was dross, saw to it that law and order were fully maintained.

It was no Sunday school town, but life was safe and property secure. In those halcyon days there was a continual round of pleasantries and all went well as the proverbial marriage bell before divorces became so ultra-fashionable. It was in the early days that I was a frequent visitor and foregathered with such old friends as Governor Charlie Mackintosh, Tom Daly, exminister of the Interior at Ottawa, ex-Governor Dewdney, who built the trail across the mountains, John Manley, Oliver Durant,

Jack Smith, who died recently in Montreal, General Charles Warren, Joe Martin, M.P.,and his law partner, Smith Curtis; Hector McRae, Sandy Dick, Jack Drewfy of the Toronto Globe, Mrs. Allen, who kept the Allen House, John McKane, who went east and purchased the St. John Telegraph and died, Charlie Race, Ross Thompson, after wriiom the camp was named, John Ferguson McCrae, A. S. Goodeve, afterwards a cabinet minister at Ottawa; F. August Heinze, who built the Trail smelters; Fred P. Gutelius, who later vainly endeavored to run the Intercolonial Railway on commercial lines and gave it up— and $20,000 a year—in sheer disgust; A. B. MacKenzie, Jim Sword, A. II. McNeil, George T. Blackstock, who represented the Gooderhams, John Kirkup, the recording angel, gold commissioner, entire police force, and chief justice of the Supreme Court of Rossland, who insisted upon the maintenance of law and order if he had to wallop the culprits to do so. There were also Buchanan and Finucane of the banks. Eben Smith, who ran the Daily Record, Patsy Clarke, and goodness knows how many other real and embryonic capitalists. This was when the War Eagle and Centre Star were paying big dividends.

Turning Back to Old Times

A LL this time was recalled to memory one day last January, as I went into a swagger restaurant in St. Louis, Mo., for lunch, when I was warmly greeted w'ith a cheery: “Hello, George, haven’t seen you for over twenty-five years,” and shaking my hand vigorously hailed the waiter, “Hey, you, bring us a couple of bottles of White Rock,” he remembering that that was my favorite beverage, when taken with a microbe killer. Then Hector McRae, who came from Ottawa, but is otherwise not connected with the civil service, started to reminiscence and sip and sip and reminiscence until the restaurant closed. He spoke of the early days in Rossland when amusements were rather of the lower order, as the camp up to that time had not interested the London crowd, and recalled the time that A. H. Buchanan came over from Nelson on horseback in a race against the manager of the Bank of British North America, and opened a branch of the Bank of Montreal in a barber’s shop, where slathers of cash were deposited on one side and notes shaved,

NOTE—In the preceding article dealing with Montreal, 1885 was given as the date when sterling currency existed in Canada. This and the other matters mentioned in that paragraph should have been under date 1855.

and Potentest Grand Wizard

Beginning of Banquets

H!

while the barber made lathers and shaved faces on the other. The bank started with $17.50 cash on Saturday morning, and had $47,500.00 on deposit before nightfall. Then came Mr. Finucane, now manager of the bank in Montreal, who built premises for the great financial corporation.

And he began talking of the starting of the first Rossland Club, the rendezvous of the big bugs, and the big Intercolonial Hotel, where the crowd congregated, and I interjaculated that one day Governor Mackintosh and I drifted in there to have a quiet talk, etc., etc., etc., and that in less than twenty minutes there were forty-two of us sitting around the segregated tables, with the ever genial Governor presiding as the most Highest

; Visit in

ECTOR,

partly Scotch and the rest Highlander, branched off into the great lack of one thing in those days, and that wras banquets. So when St. Andrew’s Day came around no better excuse was needed to hold one. The Saint needed honoring, and this affair was but the prelude to many social gatherings of the most exuberant brand. John Ferguson McCrae drummed up three pipers from the lower levels of Le Roi and War Eagle mines. The banquet was a howling success. John Ferguson sang, “How the old folks would enjoy it,” Claude Cregan, “The Spanish Cavalier,” and John McKane, “Cam’ ye by Athol,” “Scots wha hae,” and other Scotch classics, and Hector said that there was lots of timbre in John’s voice, about three chords more than John McCormack’s at his best. The haggis was prepared by Patsy Clark’s cook and was fit for a McCullus. There “w’asna’ ony fulisli wines frae France”—just plain

Scots whuskey of the brand loo/. known as “Buchanan’s,”

wi’ pollynary water, and “fine saxpenny seegars.” General Warren paid a lovely compliment to Scotland by saying in his speech, “St. Andrew W'as the Knight of Chivalry, and St. Patrick was the Knight of Shovelry.” An incipient riot was started by a Dublin barrister who worked a pick and shovel in Blackstone at the War Eagle, but matters were amicably adjusted and this first Rossland banquet broke up about 10 o’clock the next morning, (or was it the following one?), or rather adjourned to other sectors after that hour. After that banquets became an obsession in the camp, and nights thereafter were rarely wasted in sleep, for there was a plethora of vocal and instrumental miners in Rossland those days. Every blessed Saint in the calendar wras honored, and to every celebrity who came to see our “Golden Treasure Vaults,” a banquet came as a matter of regular routine. I gathered from Hector’s remarks that their social gatherings were not only an art, but a perfect science. A few days before the event a committee prepared a toast list and the responders were notified to send in the copy of their proposed orations to the censors, and after being censored the copy was sent to the Daily Miner office, and the speeches were frequently read in the morning after the banquet several hours before they had been delivered. I drifted in to town one morning, read the glowing report of the affair, called at several friends’ offices only to learn that they were still at the banquet, and discreetly skipped over to Trail, where I conveniently had urgent business.

Governor Mackintosh's Banquet

CHARLIE was an incómparable host. After he had accumulated a fortune through his various deals for the Le Roi, Josie, Great Western, Nickel Plate, West Le Roi & Josie, Kootenay & Columbia, Poorman Fraction, Surprise, Number One, Northport smelter, etc., the banquet he gave w'as some affair. The menus, with a portrait of the Governor in his robes, were a gem of t he engraver’s art. They cost $750.00—about $2.50 each. The guests came from near and afar. “The Who’s Who” of the province, leading men of Washington, Idaho and Montana,^ were there in flesh and spirit. It was at this affair that Colonel Topping told how he had bought Le Roi for $7.50 cash, and sold it to Governor Mackintosh’s syndicate for $4,000,000. After the banquet was over—whenever that was—the Governor is reported to have said smilingly: “Lets us go out and have some fun.’

One of these picturesque alfresco affairs was held on Continued on page (¡I

When the Coast Was Young

Continued from page l'J

the highest of the dizzy heights of Red Mountain, when Claude Jeldness, a fortune j winning Norwegian mining man, was the spectacular host, and it was some banquet.

J When the score or more guests had been i thoroughly dined and wined to their stomach’s content the irrepressible host started them down the mountain side on skis. Several of them, came head first into town in a most delightfully dilapidated condition, with fractured limbs and sore sides and broken noses and with only one ski—every one showing signs of dire distress except their host who made the world’s record in ski jumping—319 feet and two inches—so Hector solemnly reports—and coming nearly three miles in one minute and fifty-three seconds, which is going some, and landing at the Allen Hotel bar on both feet and boasting of having a rattling good time.

And those were hut samples of banquets that the millionaires of Rossland and surrounding camps enlivened the latter part of the dying days of the nineteenth century.

Conditions have radically changed the entire situation in the Kootenays, and while the halyeon days have passed forever, it is gratifying to learn that the history of the glorious early times will be recorded by such an ardent a participator and excellent raconteur as my good old friend, Hector McCrao.

Some Early History of the Heights

TOM WILSON, the pioneer guide of the Canadian Rockies, who has now retired and is living at Enderby, B. C., tells me that the first white man to visit the present site of Banff Park was the Rev. R. T. Rundle, who camped for several weeks at the foot of Cascade Mt., visited the Falls, and climbed Cascade Mt. in the latter part of June, 1841. Mount Rundle was named after him. Sir George Simpson passed through the park in August, 1841. and in 1845 Father P. J. De Smet came over the White Man’s Pass to the Bow River where Canmore is now. Tom first camped where the racetrack is now on Whiskey Creek in July, 1881—we called it Aylmer Park after Fred Aylmer, C. E., chief of one of the C. P. R. survey parties and for whom J. J. McArthur named Mt. Aylmer. WThiskey Creek was called after a man named Goss who made a still at the Springs at the head of the creek and manufactured a snake cure from potato peelings in 1883—two drinks and the snake died if he bit you. In September, 1881, when the Davis party were running the preliminary line from the Summit down the south side of the Bow River, they discovered the cave and basin, the survey passing within a few yards of the basin.

Tom first visited Lake Louise with a Stoney man to see it and named it Emerald Lake and told Dr. G. M. Dawson about it in 1883, and he visited and mapped it and the name Emerald Lake you will see on his first map of the region. Moraine Lake in the valley of the Ten Peaks was discovered in 1900. Tom cut a trail into the Lake from Lake Louise at his own expense and took Miss Agnes Laut, the writer, and Mrs. W. L. Mathews, wife of the manager of the C. P. R. hotel at Banff, who were the first white wi men to visit Lake Moraine. Mt. Assiniboine Park was named by Dr. G. M. Dawson in 1883, who saw it from the White Man’s Pass and top of Copper Mts. and named it after the Stoney Indians.

Names and Places

TOM found Emerald Lake in 1882 when looking for lost pack horses and for two or three years there was the best fishing on the west slope of the mountains. The lakes and rivers were dynamited by the labourers on railway construction which spoiled the fishing. With two others,—Coldwater Coff-

man and Jake Hanson were Coldwater George and Hotwater Jimmie Coffman, brothers well known on construction from Laggan to Donald, owing to an endless argument between them, as to the safest way to drink water—in hot or cold whiskey. In 1897, in order to get the C. P. R. interested in this region, Tom got a German professor, Jean Habel, to go in and take photographs and write it up in the magazines. It cost Tom $11.50 per day cash and then the blooming German took all the credit. Waterton Lake was named by Capt. Blackiston of Pallister’s Expedition in 1858. Jasper Park was named after Joseph Howse. He was called in 1803 many names. David Thompson called him Jos Howes in 1803 and Jasper Haws in 1804; name sometimes appears as Haws, Hawse, House, etc. He built Jasper House in 1801-2 and traded in the mountains for about 17 years. Howe’s Pass was named after him.; he discovered both Howe’s and Jasper or Yellowhead Pass and told David Thompson about them. Thompson speaks of meeting Mr. Howes on the headwaters of the Saskatchewan River, August 8, 1809, and named it Mt. Robson after Joseph Robson, “Surveyor and Supervisor of the Buildings of the Hudson’s Bay Co.” Joseph or Jasper Howse retired from the Hudson’s Bay Co. about 1820 and went home to England and was made a F. R. G. S. He wrote a grammar of the Cree Language and dedicated it to the Royal Geographical Society.

The Cariboo Country

THE story of the early days in Cariboo, where the great rush to the gold fields was the most outstanding event of the 60’s, is best told by my old friend, Bob Stevenson, now comfortably settled at Chilliwack after a very eventful and adventurous life. His graphic description of the mad rush over dangerously narrow cliffs and across deep yawning chasms, of the giving up in utter despair of hundreds of desperate men after days of severe hardship, of losses of life, forms a dark tragedy. He was a prominent figure in the burial of Mrs. Cameron, wife of his bosom friend and partner, “Cariboo” Cameron, whose body was taken in October, 1862, by the two men to Victoria, a distance of over 400 miles, in thirty-six days, and afterwards to Cornwall, Ontario, at the end of the year. “Cariboo” offered $2,000 and $12 a day to any one who would accompany him on his sad mission, but his old pal, putting friendship before gold, started out with him, the theremometer registering 40 degrees below zero, with the rudely constructed coffin tied on a toboggan. A number of sympathetic miners accompanied them for quite a distance, but gradually dropped out until the two men were left alone. The trip was a terrible one, so Mr. Stevenson said to me, with untold hardships, scant fare and awful climatic conditions. But they bravely struggled on until civilization was safely reached. It was a heart-breaking journey that is now historical.

The Cariboo mines petered ,out, after many millions had been extracted from the claims, but recent reports tell of more discoveries which are said to be rich finds. Let us all hope they are.

Jim Wanted to Know

EVER tell you of the time Joe Carter, of the C. P. R., and I struck Nelson, B. C., one Sunday evening? We strolled up town and in passing the King’s Hotel, Joe mentioned to me that Jim Naismith, an old Winnipeg restaurateur, was the proprietor. So, even if it was a Sabbath evening, Joe and I went in to see my good old friend. Jim was mighty glad to see me, and after the usual preliminaries asked me:

“When d’you come to town, George?”

‘■‘Came just now.”

“Where you staying?”

“Down on the boat.”

“When you going away?”

"Early in the morning.”

“By Jove, Joe, isn’t it good to see old George again? Let’s—” and we did. Then he said.

“By the way, George, when d’you corne to town?”

I told him I had just arrived.

And when he asked me where I was staying, I told him that I was down on the boat, and when he wanted to know when I was leaving, I said I was going in the morning.

Then Jim and Joe had one on me. And Jim said to Joe:

“Great Caesar, Joe, it recalls old time: to see George again, doesn’t it?” And Joe bowed his confirmation. Then Jim said;

“Oh, George, when did you come to

And I said I had just arrived.

To his inquiry as to where I was staying, I assured him that I was still staying on the boat. Ánd to his further question as to my intended departure, I told him I was leaving in the morning. Then Jim said “Let’s” and we letted again.

Then Jim wanted to know when I had arrived in town, and I told him I had just come in. When he asked where I was. staying I told him I was still staying on the boat, and to his further inquiry about my departure, I said I was going east next morning. So Joe said, “Let’shaveanother'” —and we did—and Jim invited me to come and stay with him as his guest the next time I came to town, and I gratefully said I would, and then he asked me when I had come to town, and I told him I had just arrived, and when he enquired where I was staying, I mentioned the boat as my boarding house, and to his inquiry about my leaving, I said I would depart in the morning, and he said he was glad to see me, and we must have another— but when I looked for Joe he was leaning up against the wall with tears in his eyes, and convulsed with laughter. So after we,had another. Jim said he was mighty pleaSK’d to see me. and wanted to know when I had come to town, and I was just going to tell him that I had just arrived, when Joe remarked that if I didn’t hurry I’d miss the boat—which wouldn’t leave for several hour«—but we went and as we nade Jim goodnight he asked,

“When are you leaving town, George?”

Victoria in Retrospect

THE old “Princess Louise” was the means of communication between Vancouver and Victoria, with Captain White in command. And I remember that in paying my fare with a $5.00 Bank of Montreal bill I was told it was only taken at a discount of 20 per cent. I naturally asked what currency was at par, and ascertained that United States money and the bills of the Bank of British North America and the Bank of British Columbia were the only mediums on which no discount was charged. So I forked out five big round American silver cartwheels, which had been making a hole in my pants pocket, and saved a dollar. The Bank of British North America was the only outside financial institution that had agencies in the province then.

In those days, Victoria possessed the same charm it has to-day, and the old Driard House, under the management of Redon & Hartnagle, was a capital hotel with a bill of fare that rivalled the swaggerhotels of San Francisco. Now it is a departmental store. The Daily Colonist and the Times, then owned by Senator Wm. Templeton, who was afterwards a member of the Laurier Government, and Mr. J. C. McLagen, both experienced journalists from Eastern Canada. The Colonist, which was established in 1853, and then belonged to. the Higgins estate and was controlled by Bill Ellis and A. S. Sargeson, was the only daily in Canada that issued a real Sunday edition. Both papers were excellent sheets, as they are to-day, and on their staffs weresome of the brightest minds in the journalistic world. It is difficult to recall the names of the old timers after all these years, but I remember good old Tom Earle, M. P... Noah Shakespeare, M. P., E. G. Prior and Frank Bernard, also M. P.'s and both afterwards filling the position of Lieutenant Governor. Then there was David Robson, one of the best premiers a province ever had_ and John H. Turner, M. P. P., afterwards premier, and the Dunsmuirs, the wealthiest family in the west, who made a fortune-

out of the Nanaimo coal mines, the Beetons, the Rithets, the Crofts, the Wards, the Fells, Captain John Irving, Frank Richards, William Angus, brother of the lamented R.

B. Angus, Dr. J. S. Helmcken, Hon. Robt Beaven. Theo Davie, Dr. Powell, Hon. J. Robson, Joseph Hunter, G. H. Barnard, Chas. Hayward, John Grant, E. V. BodwelJ,

Eli Harrison, Alex Wilson, David W. Higgins, P. E. Irving, Dr. J. C. Davie,

Dr. Jno. Ash, W. A. Robertson, Hon.

Mr. Justice Drake, Hon. Mr. Justice Crease, Thos. Frounce, Jno. Teague, Chas.

E.Redfern, Edgar Fawcett, E. Crowe Baker, Harry Helmcken, David Doig, of the Bank of British North America, Charlie Macdonald and old Charlie of the Driard, my first friends in Victoria.

Cities of Parks

IPSQUIMALT, a few miles away, was a All great naval station—the largest Britain had in the Pacific Coast of America, and James Bay was a delightful resort.

Of course both cities boasted of lovely parks and other places of public resort . If you didn’t visit Stanley Park and speak of it as the finest in the world, your name was Dennis, in all Vancouver, and if you didn’t agree that Beacon Hill Park was unrivalled, you might as well take the first boat and the first train for as far east as you could get. When this pardonable pride in one’s home town does not exist, the progress of the place is very limited.

New Westminster is a pleasantly situated city, near the capital of British Columbia ' and where a mint was operated some years ago, and Kamloops is a great health resort. Ashcroft potatoes have more than a provincial reputation, and Nelson, Revelstoke, Penticton and a score of other prosperous towns indicate that British Columbia is a' delightful place in which to live.

The Astrophysical Observatory

THE selection of Victoria as the location for the great new Dominion Observatory was due solely to this city’s splendid climatic advantages. For more than two years investigations were carried on throughout the whole of Canada for the purpose of choosing the best site, and finally Victoria was decided upon, because it is the best site available, not only in all Canada, but upon the entire continent, owing to the low range of temperature and the steadiness and clearness of the atmosphere.

The observatory has a mammoth telescope that differs from the large telescopes of the world inasmuch as it is of the reflecting type. Its construction is not so well understood as that of the refracting telescope, the form of instrument so often seen in parks and public places.

One of the most interesting results accomplished since the establishment of the Observatory here is the discovery by Doc\ tor Plaskett, the Director in charge, of two twin suns. The announcement of this disI covery is of the greatest importance to the . scientific world.

Crossing the Straits

THE sail across the Straits of Georgia is a pleasant one, the run past the Siwash rock, on leaving Vancouver, over the open spaces and through the Narrows, and the narrower Plumper’s Pass and threading the maze of islands, being a continuous delight. There is magnificent scenery everywhere—the Olympic Mountains on the Washington coast, with a view of Mount Baker—14,000 feet high, constituting a panorama that is not excelled in beauty and grandeur the world over. Historic spots are passed, the most interesting being : San Juan, a small island in the Haro archipelago, which nearly caused a war between Great Britain and the United ¡ States in 1859. The island was occupied by the Hudson’s Bay Company and an American settler. A dispute arose between the two abouta pig belonging to the latter, and it reached such a height of importance that almost led to international complications. The Americans took forcible possession of the island, and British gunboats with shotted guns guarded the earthworks the invaders had erected. War seemed inevitable, but the commanders of the opposing forces were men of solid common sense and hostilities were averted. While the island was jointly occupied by the two martial camps, diplomatic negotiations were carried on, and peace was finally declared—the island being given overtothe Americans.