A NATIVE'S RETURN TO B.C.

In a centennial year, an expatriate British Columbian looks affectionately (and sometimes critically) at his former home: "the go-the-limit province, the boom-or-bust province ...that part of Canada where nothing is done by halves"

Pierre Berton May 10 1958

A NATIVE'S RETURN TO B.C.

In a centennial year, an expatriate British Columbian looks affectionately (and sometimes critically) at his former home: "the go-the-limit province, the boom-or-bust province ...that part of Canada where nothing is done by halves"

Pierre Berton May 10 1958

A NATIVE'S RETURN TO B.C.

In a centennial year, an expatriate British Columbian looks affectionately (and sometimes critically) at his former home: "the go-the-limit province, the boom-or-bust province ...that part of Canada where nothing is done by halves"

Pierre Berton

I’m telling you,” said Russ Baker, the pilot, talking in those superlatives that distinguish the loyal British Columbian, "this is the most beautiful country in the world, right here where we're sitting. Since I saw you last I've been all over the world—Tahiti, Fiji, Egypt—seen the pyramids and all that; but there's nothing can touch this country, that's for sure."

We were sitting on a cliff at Fort St. James in the exact geographical centre of British Columbia, eating our lunch in the September sunlight with the aspens and birches aflame all about us. Below' us. the blue corridor of Stuart Lake stretched off into the northwest between the smoky

British Columbia 1858/1958

corrugations of B. C.’s great interior plateau.

Baker stood up and sucked in a healing draft of British Columbia's invigorating air which, as every British Columbian will tell you, is the purest in all the world.

“Oh boy!” he said. “Oh. boy! This is for me!” and he pummeled himself on his great barrel chest.

Simon Fraser felt much the same way when, in 1805, he pushed through the mountains on his dash to the coast and named this land New Caledonia because it was as lovely as his native Scotland. At our backs lay Simon Fraser’s town of Fort St. James which, with its sister community of Fort McLeod, is the oldest continuous settlement in the province. Everything about B. C., I reflected, seems to be the oldest or the youngest, the coldest or the hottest, the biggest or the smallest. For this is a province of extremes and it comes as no surprise to learn that this country of New Caledonia, which is steeped so thoroughly in the past, is now being tagged as The Land of the Future.

Ten years had passed since Russ Baker and I sat on this same cliff overlooking this same lake.

In that time a physical revolution has taken place in B. C. A new city, continued over page ^

A native’s return to B. C. continued

"After several weeks prowling about B.C., I find it hard to escape the conclusion that a broad streak of ham is a local characteristic”

Kitimat, has sprung up behind the mountains to the west; oil and gas have transformed the quiet farmland behind the mountains to the east. Just over the hills surveyors arc swarming through the great Rocky Mountain Trench; to the south the railway builders and the road builders are stitching the province together. But the inner revolution has yet to come, for B. C.’s psyche remains unchanged. It is still that part of Canada where nothing is done by halves; where in every field—in politics and art, in climate and geography, in ethnic make-up and social mores—the pendulum swings abruptly and unpredictably from one extreme to the other. It is the whole-hog province, the go-the-limit prov-

ince, the all-or-nothing province, the boom-orbust province, the Texas and at the same time the California of Canada.

It has, for instance, the largest percentage of old people in Canada and also the largest percentage of young married couples. Thus, although its birth rate is the lowest, its rate of acceleration is the highest. It has the most marriages per capita and the most divorces; the most advanced prison system and the most crime; some of the best social services, some of the worst delinquency. There are proportionately more newcomers in B. C. than in any other province — and more drug addicts. It is the fastest-growing province in Canada; in places it is also the emptiest.

It is hot and cold, wet and dry, and, politically, left and right. I have seen the temperature drop to sixty-seven below in the Peace River country, so cold that Russ Baker had to turn a blowtorch on his plane’s engine; and I’ve picked roses in Victoria on Christmas Day. At one spot on Vancouver Island's west coast the rainfall is two hundred and sixty inches a year, the wettest spot on the continent. But the Sahara is no more arid than the interior desert where the cactus blooms. In provincial politics, as in climate, there is no longer a middle of the road. The government and its only effective opposition are both parties of the extreme.

There are good reasons for this mercurial

streak in B. C.’s collective personality. It can be explained partly by the unsettled character of the people, almost two thirds of w hom were born elsewhere and so have not yet dug in their roots. It can be explained partly by the lack of social cohesion, which is a direct result of the mountain geography; the province is really an archipelago of population islands cut off from one another by an ocean of mountains. And it can be explained by its historical youth, for B. C. is only now' emerging from a frontier society.

As a frontier community, it remains masculine. hard-drinking, free-spending and freewheeling. Men outnumber women by twenty thousand. The per-capita consumption of liquor is by far the greatest in Canada. By one yardstick it is the richest province: it has the highest average income in Canada. But it is also the most prodigal: its government spends twice as much per head as does Ontario's. Yet, woven into this frontier fabric are some strong threads of sophistication. B. C. exerts a magnetic pull on writers, musicians, architects and painters (as the pictures on pages 27-33 indicate). And Dr. Norman Mackenzie, president of its university, says flatly that Vancouver has become "the most exciting city in Canada from a cultural point of view.”

For the past several years, the province has, in the words of a prominent jurist, been feeling its oats. It is typical of B. C. that when it decided to have a fling, it did not let a small matter like an historical date stand in the way. There is a flimsy excuse to tab 1958 as a centennial year but there are half a dozen dates of equal significance and two that are more significant. The province as a whole was not united into a single colony until 1866; it did not join Confederation until 1871. The year 1858 marks the date continued on page 74

A native’s return to 8. C.

Continued from page 15

when James Douglas was officially sworn in as governor of the mainland, a job he had seized unofficially the year before. No matter; the province feels like a celebration this year and it is getting one. Swimming pools and museums arc being built, totem poles salvaged, statues erected, pageants staged, beards grown, tournaments mounted, books published and cakes baked—including, of course, the largest cake in the world, a good five times heftier than the one Mike Todd trundled into Madison Square Garden last fall.

Still, in a queer way, 1958 makes some sense as a centennial year because, in B. C., it is a year of transition, as 1858 was. A century ago a gold rush laid the foundations of an industrial community. Strangers poured in, roads were built, new laws promulgated and the political structure turned topsy-turvy. The past was buried, the future beckoned and a whole way of life was wrenched out of kilter. A century later, history is repeating itself.

Every British Columbian senses what is going on in his province. He looks back over his shoulder with nostalgia at an adventurous past, and it haunts him; with half his being he mourns its passing. Yet he is lured by the siren promise of the bright industrial world to come—less romantic perhaps, but more rewarding. This year's celebration is an expression of a very deep feeling that one era is ending and a new one beginning—-and B. C. is not a place where eras end without some dramatic gesture. Indeed, after several weeks spent prowling about the province I find it hard to escape the conclusion that a broad streak of ham is a local characteristic.

The magnetic tug of the romantic past, the equally insistent pull of the future can be seen operating as a sort of psychological two-way stretch in the personality of Russ Baker. When I last knew him he was operating a small bush company with five old planes out of Fort St. James, Hying through russet canyons and over baby-blue lakes carrying mail, chasing murderers, seeking lost gold mines, convoying tubercular Indians, sleeping in the snows, stamping out his own runways on frozen rivers, and working day in and day out in a fog-draped land he came to know as well as his own living room.

In ten years all this has changed. He has seventy-five airplanes and nine helicopters and his airline. Pacific Western, has become the third largest in Canada. He sits at a big desk in Vancouver, signing documents, answering the long-distance phone, and talking merger. He has swallowed up seven airlines and is as likely to turn up in Toronto or Cairo as at Fort St. James. But his old home is still there, empty and in disrepair, on the cliff above Stuart Lake. Baker cannot bear to part with it.

His mind harks back constantly to the days when he lived there, and his talk is peppered with anecdotes about those times: the night be slept in the same sleeping bag with an Indian murderer; the

week he was stranded in the frozen bush and lived on porridge; the winter he rescued three plane loads of American airmen from Million Dollar Valley. Like one fifth of B. C.'s people he comes from the prairies, but he is madly in love with his adopted province. He is forty-seven years old, has sixteen thousand flying hours behind him and he is still unscratched. He has the biceps of a blacksmith and has never been bested at his favorite pastime of twisting wrists.

From behind his paper-strewn desk, Baker tells visitors that he hates executive work, but his colleagues are not so sure. He has advanced with B. C., and he sees the future as he sees the past, as an adventure. He means to have a crossCanada airline and then an around-theworld line and he may easily succeed. But whenever an excuse presents itself he is back in a single-engine plane, in the role of bush pilot, whnging across the rumpled mountains of the north.

It was typical of Russ Baker that, with all the planes to choose from, he should take me north in one of the oldest — the first Beaver ever built, the prototype of all the hundreds that have since been sent out around the world. It has logged a million miles and he clings to it like a favorite toy. For a week it took us around northern B. C.

It is in the north, far more than in Vancouver or Victoria, that you can sense w'hat is happening to the province. Here, future and past intermingle. The shape of things to come can be glimpsed in such communities as Kitimat and Fort St. lohn: the pattern of history is still evident in such toums as Prince Rupert and Prince George.

Rape of the lakes

It is a distressing experience to fly across the daisy chain of lakes that supply the storage water for the power development that produced Kitimat. They describe an enormous ellipse one hundred miles long and fifty miles across, in a country so enchanting that it was set aside twenty years ago as a provincial park. It was the largest scenic park in C anada and Lady Tweedsmuir, for whose husband it was named, thought one of its lakes the most beautiful she had ever seen. Alexander Mackenzie’s historic trail to the Pacific led through it, to the foot of the Rainbow Mountains, whose odd red craters caused the explorer to write that fire seemed to have passed over the rocks.

But Tweedsmuir Park has paid the price of progress. Its white-sand beaches are gone and from the air each lake seems bordered by a ragged line of decaying brown. For hundreds of yards and in some places for as much as two miles a tangle of fallen timber, gnarled roots, deadfalls, rotting branches, floating snags and gaunt spars, stretches out into the water. The moose on their migrations can no longer reach the shore, nor can the sportsman.

In vain the naturalists protested the rape of these lakes and pleaded that they be logged and cleared before the water was backed up over the forests. The job, they were told, would delay the great adventure of Kitimat. In 1955 the final chapter in the tragedy was written when Tweedsmuir Park was destroyed with a pen stroke. A provincial order-in-council cut its size by one third, rejecting the flooded area as "no longer suitable for park purposes.” Without those lakes, the park is as dead as Mackenzie himself.

The park has been consigned to the past; in return B. C. has been given Kitimat, the town of the future, the community which Architectural Forum calls

“the first complete twentieth-century new town — completely new, completely modern — in North America.”

To burst suddenly upon Kitimat from the scalloped wall of the Cascades is a startling experience. These tusked mountains are the most fearsome in B. C., honed to razor sharpness by the shrieking winds and the swirling ice masses. As we flew through this alpine barrier a torrent of air, pouring down upon us from one of the peaks like a great waterfall, struck the Beaver and, in hardly more time than it takes to write it, we plummeted twelve hundred feet. Baker righted the plane, shrugged, and flew on. following the high-tension line from Kemano, which is suspended from pylons that cling precariously to the dizzy slopes — and sometimes, when pylons arc impossible, from cables strung across the snow-swept chasms.

Then suddenly — the Dream City: fourteen thousand people cut off from the world, living at the end of a long fiord, on the rim of the encroaching forest, in the shadow of the mountain spires; living in brightly hucd homes of carefully functional design, on graceful boulevards that spring straight from the drawing boards of New York, beside neat rectangles of emerald lawns so brilliant they might have been lifted from the sod of Ireland. A shadow was hanging over the town when I arrived: the Aluminum Company was about to defer work on two of the smelter's pot lines, thus throwing fifteen hundred men out of employment: but this was not apparent on that bright September afternoon.

Ten bachelors to a girl

There is nothing like Kitimat anywhere in North America. It is a town without a main street, without a “downtown." and without slums, but with the largest beer parlor in Canada. Although there are only twenty miles of road there is a car for every 3.2 persons. Two thirds of its residents are immigrants — Germans, Poles, Italians, Greeks, Portuguese, Hungarians. Although there are thirty-five hundred children, half the men are without women. There are scarcely any old people and there’s a single girl to every ten bachelors.

Here are all the ingredients for trouble; but the fact is that Kitimat is a town of almost frightening serenity. Everything has been foreseen, everything provided for. The financing of a home has been made so unburdensomc that all can afford to own one. The design is controlled with such care that, although each house is contrived to appear different from its neighbor the dissimilarity is so studied that all look oddly alike. The various residential districts have been given an alphabetical nomenclature ("Neighborhood A”) and the street titling is under similar control, so that any suggestion of class strife or social snobbery is avoided.

A company recreational director and a civic recreational director studiously divert the excess energies of the town into harmless channels. There is a philosophical society, for instance, and a housewives’ oil-painting group, and a little symphony and (because this is a European community) eleven soccer teams.

And so there is little overt trouble, only a vague feeling of isolation and, in some quarters, a certain dissatisfaction with the community’s disciplined perfection. “Some people think we ought to have slums for those who want them." says the reeve, a former Saskatchewan farmer named Wilbur Hallman.

Certainly in this antiseptic town it is refreshing to learn that there has been

an occasional departure from the norm: that a group of individuals on Píntale Street have built houses and refused to submit plans to the Aluminum Company; that in spite of the casteless neighborhoods there is a Snob Hill; and that, during a certain soccer game, a passionate Italian took after the referee with a knife.

When w'e left the Aluminum City we (lew north along the shredded coastline to Prince Rupert which, sixty years ago. was the Kitimat of its day. There it lay beneath us, on its island of rock and muskeg. Sir Wilfrid Laurier's thwarted dream city: destined in 1906 to be the metropolis of the north; laid out by a Boston firm of landscape artists to hold fifty thousand peisons: given a glamorous name in a national contest; equipped with the world’s third largest harbor, a good four hundred miles closer to the Orient than any other Canadian port.

But it never fulfilled its destiny. Vancouver stole the business. Prince Rupert suffered, and still suffers, the B. C. malady of being cut off from the world. After half a century its population stands at about ten thousand. Tourists do not come here; there is no place to go. Residents do not retire here; there is nothing to do. I met, in Prince Rupeit, a practicing nudist who must drive his car one thousand miles over rocky roads to consort with his naked fellows in the Fraser Valley. With one hundred inches of rain. Prince Rupert does not lend itself to sun tanning.

And yet the town has never lost its fierce optimism, so typically British Columbian. It has always felt itself on the verge of big things. The talk, when I was there, was of a proposed power development on the neighboring Nass River. Norton Young, an alderman and realestate dealer, had just placed two fift\ -dollar bets that the resultant aluminum plant would be built within fifty miles of the local post office. He spent half an hour explaining to me (with a bewildering grasp of mining know-how) why this had to be. I left, feeling like a heathen who has just been proselytized by a particularly fervent missionary, and rejoined Russ Baker to fly off, four hundred miles to the east, across two mountain ranges, into the Land Beyond the Peace.

It is really jarring to visit Fort St. John within twenty-four hours of Kitimat because, although both are towns of the future, they are as different as strong rum and Ovaltine. Each, in its own way, mirrors B. C.'s present state of transition.

For St. John lies in the heart of the Peace River block and when I saw it last fall it was pure chaos. Oil and natural gas had boosted its population in just one year from twenty-three hundred to four thousand. Real estate had become so costly that the community was leap-frogging over its blank spots and out into the prairie. Here was the familiar face of the postwar Canadian boom town. Here was Uranium City, Drayton Valley, Elliot Lake and Seven Islands in a new setting —a jungle of Insulbrick and clapboard. No Vacancy signs and Help Wanted placards, clustered trailers and broken plank sidewalks, half-erected buildings and crowded Chinese restaurants, all stuck together by a mucclage of gumbo and propelled by fierce optimism, hard drink and fast money.

It was a town where hospital patients slept in rocking chairs, where shop owners were too busy to paint their store fronts, and anybody who could crawl got a job waiting on table; where men owned brand-new cars and lived in shacks: where everyone drove as if his future depended on speed and every windshield (bar none) was shattered by rocks flying up from

roadbeds torn to pieces by lumbering diesel trucks: a get-rich-quick town and a get-out-quick town, bearing all the earmarks of haste, waste and impermanence and yet carrying within itself the seeds of a future stable community. Vancouver must have been very like this in the days when it was called Gas Town.

Although it is slowly being fastened to the rest of B. C. by a gas pipeline, a mountain highway and a new railroad extension, Fort St. John, hidden behind the wail of the Rockies, remains a prairie community. Indeed, when 1 saw it, it looked like something out of a wild-west film. Everyone seemed to be playing a role in G unsmoke and the battered cowboy hat, the tight pants and long sideburns were almost a local uniform. I saw one man with sideburns to his jaw, dressed entirely in black, with a black ten-gallon hat low over his eyes and pants that fitted as if they had been painted on him. He stalked into the hotel lobby, his eyes mere slits, looking as if he were headed for Tough Nut Street, but all he did was walk into a nearby restaurant and play the juke box.

The truth is that the people of Fort St. John are a little drunk with the romance of prosperity—and who can blame them? The hideous state of their town worries them not one whit for their eyes are glued firmly on the future.

“Maybe it is ugly,” says Margaret (Maw) Murray, who as proprietor of the Alaska Highway News is a sort of unofficial spokesman. “But, by God, it’s progressive ugl i ness !”

“Oh, if the people back east only knew what was goin’ on here!” she exclaimed when we met, indicating that a sinister conspiracy existed to maintain an Iron Curtain between B. C. and the rest of the country. “I tell you it’s been almost like a fairy tale. For God’s sake tell the rest of Canada! Tell them that here's a part of their country that they never put the jam on the table for that’s got it now!”

She warmed to her subject, like an evangelist speaking to the unconverted, and when I left her she was still reeling off statistics about copper and coal, asbestos and pulp, and about the Peace Pass and the Rocky Mountain Trench— names now on everybody’s lips in British Columbia.

The first snow of winter was sprinkled like barley sugar on the foothills when we left Fort St. John and, flying through the sombre gorge of the Peace, emerged in the heart of the famous Trench. It is a sight to see, for it is aptly named—an immense ditch carved by nature in the lee of the Rockies. The mountains stop abruptly and drop to the fiat valley floor, so that this forested gap in the province’s surface runs ruler-straight into the mists of the north. I asked Russ Baker how many white men lived in the seven hundred miles of Trench that lay to the north of us, and he counted them all on his fingers. At present there is no way to reach them except by air, but if Axel Wenner-Gren, the Swedish promoter, is to be believed, the Trench will contain in a few years an industrial empire: the world’s first full-scale monorail, the world’s largest man-made lake and the world’s greatest hydro-electric development.

In Prince George, the closest city to the Trench, Wenner-Gren is taken with a grain of salt; ever since its early days the town has been unmercifully teased by similar pronouncements. Just as Prince Rupert was the Kitimat of its day, Prince George was the Fort St. John of 1910. It even had the longest bar in the world. And it had its own Wenner-Gren, a promoter named George Hammond whose million-dollar advertising campaign, one of history’s most flamboyant, made his townsite known throughout the Western world. But the bubble burst and on the site of Hammond’s dream (now several miles from the modern town) the empty old streets run like canyons through a new jungle of lodgepole pine.

Since then Prince George has seen its visions shattered many times. For thirty years it chewed its fingers awaiting the completion of the Pacific Great Eastern railway, which was supposed to link it with the coast but which stopped just seventy-six miles short of the town. It has seen two previous surveys of the Trench come to nothing. For thirty-two years it has anticipated the construction of a pulp mill which is forever being promised but never being built; until it comes, one half of every tree logged in the Prince George area (the chips, bark and mill ends which can be devoured for pulp) must be burned as useless waste.

But in spite of such disappointments Prince George, like Prince Rupert, remains optimistic. It is planning to double its limits, to take in enough blank space to hold twice as many people. One dream, at least, has come true: the railway has finally been extended. Maybe, the townspeople say wistfully, just maybe there’s something in the Wcnner-Gren scheme . . .

I parted with Russ Baker at Prince George in order to take the PGE to Vancouver through what the railway’s travel card describes as “some of the most majestic and most beautiful scenery in the world.’’ When 1 last traveled it. this was the famous “railway from nowhere to nowhere,” its cars so ancient that they attracted railway buffs from all over the continent, its debt so abysmal that succeeding governments tried in vain to unload it as a white elephant. But this has changed; the Bennett government has extended the railway in a diagonal across B. C. from Vancouver to the Peace River block and this is one reason why so many interior ridings vote solidly Social Credit.

I stepped aboard a purring diesel ear that reminded me more of an aircraft interior and where, indeed, the meals were served at the seats, airline fashion, at no extra charge. In the old days we used to sit out on open Hat cars, drinking beer and throwing the bottles at the scenery or, when it got cold, standing around pot-bellied stoves that supplied the heat for the system. But drinking of any kind is frowned on aboard the new PGE and the open cars and ancient stoves are part of a romantic but inefficient past. As for the scenery, it slips past a lot faster, thanks to a modern schedule.

Anybody who travels across B. C. must feel that the scenes are being shifted in startling fashion by unseen stagehands. On a Saturday I was speeding by train through the tawny grasslands of the Cariboo and along the wrinkled lip of the violet-shadowed Fraser canyon. On Sunday 1 was at the wheel of a car, deep in the dripping rain forests of Vancouver Island, heading for Victoria. 1 might have been on another continent.

What is it that makes Victoria look so different from the rest of Canada? Only a gardener could guess the answer; but then four out of every five Victorians are gardeners. The city lies in the same horticultural zone of hardiness as New Mexico. Georgia and South Carolina and thus its flora belongs to a -foreign world. The graceful arbutus tree with

its shiny leaves and peeling copper hark, the gnarled Garry oak, the imported Japanese plums and cherries, the yellow broom and gorse, are all unfamiliar to most Canadians; they give Victoria its special look.

Lor forty years George 1. Warren, the chief of the Victoria and Island Publicity Bureau, has been trying, without much success, to get Victorians to he as different as their flower beds. Seated in his little harbor office, with the stub of a cigar protruding from his battered face, Warren looks more like a city ward boss, but the features are deceptive: this is one of the country’s shrewdest public-relations men. Warren is the man who invented the Victorian slogan “A Little Bit of Olde England. ” and who sold it to the rest of the country—if not to Victoria.

It was Warren who tried to get the gas stations to label their products “petrol.” who attempted to have all the elevators called “lifts” and who fought a running battle to keep London bobby helmets on the heads of Victoria’s finest. In every ease he failed. Nonetheless, by some curious magic, visitors still believe Victoria to be as English as Guildford.

When the photographer for a big U. S. travel magazine arrived in town, Warren tried frantically to find someone who drank afternoon tea in Victoria. He had heard that the girls in the Hudson’s Bay Store did so, but the girls refused

to be photographed; they said all the other girls would laugh at them. In desperation Warren called the acting mayor and as much as ordered him to start serving tea. The bewildered official complied, the picture was duly published, and the myth preserved intact.

“And can you heat it?” Warren told me. “The papers here called it a fake. Well. I’m not disheartened. I can take it. I still say we have more English atmosphere than any other city. We’ve got an English lane out in Oak Bay, and we’ve still got those hedgerows along Rockland Avenue and we've got crumpets in the Empress lobby every afternoon.”

1 said I'd have a look around the town, which didn't seem to me to have changed greatly since I was a high-school student here in the Thirties.

“Oh, it’s changed,” said Warren, a little sadly. “You never used to see them running for the buses in your day. Well, good luck. Don’t miss seeing the tallest totem pole in the world.”

But 1 had already viewed this astonishing spectacle and so moved on to Victoria’s other major attraction, the premier himself, W. A. C. Bennett.

The Vancouver Sun’s ingenious cartoonist, Fen Norris, has created a Social Credit type, a Comstockian figure in tall hat and long frock coat, with thin nose, watery eyes and lugubrious expression. Bennett is the complete antithesis of this invention. Nowhere in B. C. did 1 meet anyone in such a state of high glee as he.

All was not well with B. C. when 1 saw him, for it is a province particularly sensitive to economic squalls. The forest industry was in its worst slump in a generation; ranching was at a low ebb: base metals were depressed and the great Brittania copper mine was threatening to close; the fishermen were on strike: even Kitimat was curtailing its expansion plans. On top of that, the storm over the alleged bribe-taking of Robert Sommers, a former cabinet minister, was about to break. But the premier was fairly glowing with exultation.

“Yes,” he exclaimed, “a hundred years have gone by and now we’re going to celebrate!” He looked in the mood— a big chesty figure behind a big shiny desk, chuckling heartily and gesturing with his hands as he talked about B. C.’s future.

“Why, this province has the greatest potential on the continent,” he was saying. “There’s no place in the Western

A premier’s favorite cartoon

Ten Norris’ drawing shows scene in office of Liberal Vancouver Sun after Socred win. “What’s new in Suez?” asks publisher Don Cromie. Premier Bennett has original.

When the press gets too quiet, we bait them”

world has all the energy, all the resources, and all the checks and balances we have. We’ve got everything here in this province: over to the east the wonderful fruitlands of the Okanagan, up to the north the great granary of the Peace, over on the coast the power of Kitimat . . . ”

Behind him stood two busts, one of Laurier, the other of Macdonald (I looked in vain for a third, of Aberhart), and beside them, on the wall, two framed cartoons by Norris.

“Oh, that fellow Norris!” the premier exclaimed, looking across at them and chuckling with that same suppressed glee. “Those fellows in the funny hats he draws! Ha! Ha! Wonderful! I tell you if I could draw a cartoon I’d never make a speech. Why, Norris does more to advertise us than any three men in the cabinet. Criticism? We love it! We love it! When the press gets too quiet we bait them. I always say that when everybody thinks alike nobody thinks too much.”

He pulled out a speech he was to deliver to the Chamber of Commerce convention that week.

“Here,” he said, "read this. This is what I think about B. C. ”

I opened it at random, and read: “This is the real frontier! This is the land of the future!” And, a little farther on: “We hope that you . . . will carry the message of our revolution across Canada.” With a little saltier phrasing, it might have been written by Maw Murray of Fort St. John.

“Sorry Phil”

One expects, in such an environment, to find mingling with the amateur evangelists a few practicing professionals, and it comes as no surprise to discover that the minister of highways, Philip A. Gaglardi, is a minister of the Pentecostal Assembly, who preaches, with zeal and fire, no fewer than ten sermons a week.

I caught up with Gaglardi in his home constituency of Kamloops, the city at the forks of the Thompson. This was the week in which he had forfeited his driver's license for speeding on one of his own highways, but a visitor does not need to read the front pages in B. C. to be aware of Gaglardi. His name appears boldly on every one of the highway department’s SORRY FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE signs and as almost every main artery seems to be torn up, he has earned the nickname of “Sorry Phil.” Gaglardi's department spends more than one quarter of the provincial budget since roads are B. C.'s most desperate problem; five miles out of six remain unpaved and the paving cost is the highest in Canada.

I met Gaglardi on a Sunday morning at eight, in the Kamloops radio station, as he was about to commence a halfhour religious broadcast. He looked anything but a politician, much less a man of the cloth—a chunky swarthy figure, with the face of a retired welterweight, nattily dressed in a two-button suit of midnight blue.

There he sat, in the cubicle of a studio. his feet propped on the rungs of a kitchen chair, his eyes tightly closed as he uttered a prayer into the microphone —an Italian immigrant’s boy who never got past grade eight, who went to work in a logging camp at sixteen, and who, at

a Social Credit convention, came within two votes of gaining the leadership of the Social Credit Party. If ever a man was shaped by the environment of British Columbia it was this hard-drinking, harddriving, hell-raising youth who punched donkeys, ran jackhammers and jockeyed bulldozers in the forests and construction camps of the province, then got religion and took to preaching on the street corners of small towns. He is only fortyfive; he may yet be premier.

Gaglardi ended his prayer and a recorded hymn began to play. “1 sing, too,” he said, turning to me, “but not every broadcast. They get tired of the same voice. You know, if I had to give up anything I'd give up the highwaybuilding business, but I wouldn’t give up this work. I was a fighting red-blooded Canadian like everybody else and then I heard the Gospel as the fellows like Billy Graham preach it and I’ve been a practicing Christian ever since.”

He turned back to the microphone and, with the inflections of a Jimmy Durante, began to retell an old Bible tale:

“And Jesus spoke up and He said to those disciples, He said: ‘Whoa—just a minute there! Suffer the little children and forbid them not to come unto Me

He spoke without notes or apparent preparation. The previous day he had recorded five similar broadcasts, one after another, so that his voice would be heard each weekday on several stations, some of the broadcasts paid for by Gaglardi himself, others by sympathetic donors. He had worked until midnight, risen at seven, and on this Sabbath would, as usual, make two live broadcasts, conduct two church services and take his regular Sunday-school class.

“They all say I’ve got a lot of energy,” Gaglardi said as we left the studio, “but I don” believe it. I’ve got average stamina but the point is, / never dissipate! When I accepted Christ as my personal savior I cut out drinking and smoking and now I work ten, twelve, fourteen hours a day and at the end I’m still going strong. It's duck soup for me.”

We walked up toward the Pentecostal Tabernacle, in the bright fall sunlight. Kamloops, a town of about ten thousand, is nestled in the dry rolling hills of the Thompson Valley, at a point midway between the Cariboo ranch country and the Okanagan fruit orchards. It is actually situated on a spur of the U. S. desert, and the cactus, rattlesnakes, sagebrush and tumbleweed usually associated with the south are equally prevalent here.

“I woiddn’t live any other place,” Gaglardi said. "I love every minute of it because I’m battling something all the time with whatever brains I have. All my life I been battling.”

Outside the Tabernacle seven big buses, all owned by the church, were disgorging children for Gaglardi's Sunday school which, in his eleven years in Kamloops, has grown from an enrollment of twenty-five to the astonishing number of nine hundred anil fifty.

"On a per-capita basis,” said Gaglardi. “I’d say I had every other Sunday school on the continent beat."

Next door, his new church was rising, complete with radiant heating, air conditioning, organ chamber, glass-walled nursery, and crib room for babes in arms. Inside the old church his wife, who has been preaching since she was

fourteen, was herding the children into their seats. Gaglardi’s day had only begun. Four sermons lay ahead of him, each in its own way an athletic exercise.

1 watched him in the pulpit later that day, his voice now rising, now shouting, now dropping to a whisper, his chunky body pivoting from side to side—a jaunty, confident figure, one arm akimbo, the other outstretched, with Bible in hand.

“This book is absolutely true from cover to cover,” he cried. “Oh, you may say to me, 'Now listen, Gaglardi — you don't believe that Joshua actually made the sun stand still." Well, friend o' mine, according to historical record, according to some of the greatest scientists in the history of the world, according to proven documents, il has been definitely established that the sun actually slowed down for twenty-three hours and twenty minutes! Yes, sir, right down to the dot of time!”

His day did not end until eleven that night and he would be up again, in his role of minister of highways, at seven. But by then I was in Vancouver with the words of the Old Testament still ringing in my ears.

The sun shone in Vancouver that Monday morning in a manner to gladden the heart of every British Columbian. It shone on the forests of masts at the wharves in the inlet, and on the huge floating booms of hoarded lumber in ihe Fraser’s mouth. It shone on the twin peaks of the Lions on the north shore and on the Golden Ears farther to the east and on the new asphalt of Phil Gaglardi’s highway, a thousand feet above the sea, and on Russ Baker's big white home, just above, which, as one might expect, is the highest house in all of Greater Vancouver.

In the heart of the business section a gleaming pillar ol glass, almost three hundred feet high, was flashing in the sunlight. It is built on the principle of a Douglas Fir, with a hollow steel core for a trunk from which floors project like limbs within the translucent envelope of the outer walls. It is the B. C. Power Corporation's pride, a ten-million-dollar triumph of architecture and public relations, proclaiming to the province that Canada's largest privately owned utility is as up to date as a guided missile.

High on the twenty-first floor, in an impeccable office designed and color controlled right down to the ceramic ashtrays by a New York firm, sits a man with the cool ascetic features of a scholar and a mind that ranges far into the future. Albert Edward Grauer, whom the province knows more intimately as “Dal,” is building an empire of private power on the shores of the Pacific. His eyes are already focused on the horizons of 1980 when he has calculated his firm will have increased its power capacity thirteen-fold. But his roots go deep into B. C.’s pioneer past. His German immigrant parents reached Vancouver when the town was still smoking from the great fire of 1886 and he himself was raised on a dairy farm at the Fraser’s mouth. With Teutonic thoroughness his father Jake made the farm the most progressive in B. C. and the prize-winning Grauer herd, quartered in barns scrubbed clean as barrack rooms, won blue ribbons across the continent. With the same thoroughness, Jake's boy Dal won his own blue ribbons: a share in a basketball championship, a student presidency, an Olympic lacrosse berth, a Rhodes scholarship, a PhD. When he took a professorship at the University of Toronto. it was in the modern field ot social sciences, and the reports he wrote for the Rowell-Sirois Commission were on such twentieth-century topics as

health, labor, housing and social insurance.

He was called a left winger in his youth; nobody could accuse him of ii now. For if this unemotional man. who treads so softly and speaks so quietly, has any strong passion, it is his aversion to state control. He writes his own speeches and there is scarcely one that does not contrive to mention it as an evil. His own company, when he took over as president in 1946, had come within an ace of being nationalized, for it was as ancient and as wheezy as one of its streetcars. Grauer averted its expropriation by a breathtaking program of modernization, expansion and personal propaganda. in the process of which he turned it into western Canada's largest private corporation.

It took just nineteen and one half seconds for the elevator to whisk me to Grauer .s office. Seated behind his Knoll desk, with his horn-rimmed spectacles framing his luminous eyes, he looked no

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more like a tycoon than Gaglardi looked like a preacher. And. indeed, there is nothing of the two-fisted frontier business baron of the past about Grauer. He does not play golf or puff big cigars: he plays the piano and enjoys French wines. His spare-time activities — they seem endless — revolve around art gallery, symphony society, hospital and university. For Grauer believes that the executive of the future must win the sympathy of the community that supports him.

"We spent ninety-four million dollars last year and it looks like between a hundred and five and a hundred and ten this year and I think it will he on the order of ninety million next year,” he is saying. "Our kilowatt consumption is quite extraordinary this year, running about eighteen percent above last year and last year was twelve and a half percent above the previous year and that's considerably above the growth of anywhere else that 1 know of."

It must irk Grauer, with his precise, almost classical mind, to reflect that the greatest power potential in B. C. is denied him because of the romantic concept of a salmon leaping in the sunlight. It

must baffle him to consider that B. C. is so sentimental about its fish that it is willing to forsake the cheap power the Fraser River could supply. This one stream, properly harnessed, could yield Grauer all the power he needs until 1980 and give Vancouver the cheapest hydro rates in the world. But the fishermen are winning the battle of the Fraser and Grauer admits the possibility that the river may never be his.

Here is paradox: B. C. has the highest hydro potential in Canada next to Quebec, yet Grauer must get his next big

slice of power from a thermal plant run on Peace River gas. Vancouver's domestic electrical rates arc twice that of neighboring Seattle—all because of the mystic sockeye and its strange and mortal spawning ritual.

The sockeye has fascinated and frustrated British Columbians since the province was born. To the scientists it is an intriguing puzzle, to the fishermen, a living, but to men like Grauer, who see the future in the geometrical shapes of power plants, the salmon remains, to coin a pun, a dam nuisance.

“It sounds strange in this province, but we’ll have used up all our available hydro by 1960,” Grauer said. “You sec, it all has to come from the small streams. We’ve never had a real stem-winder of a river.”

He showed me to the door and I stepped out into a corridor of dazzling white—and once again I thought of those whitewashed barns and the dairymen in spotless coats who tended a blue-ribbon herd on an immigrant’s farm.

By coincidence, I called that same day on Harvey Reginald MacMillan, who,

more than any other man, has charted the pattern of the lumber industry in the province. It is intriguing to reflect that both MacMillan and Grauer were each dedicated public servants until they reached their thirty-fourth year and that neither had any previous practical training in the business world. Yet each has risen to become the human symbol of B. C.’s two greatest natural resources. If Grauer represents the immaculate future, MacMillan symbolizes the turbulent past. He, too, is ensconced in a bright new tower of glass and steel, but not for him the chaste décor of a Manhattan modernist; his is perhaps the only building in Canada paneled in B. C. softwoods—in cedar, pine and hemlock and. in MacMillan’s own office, plain Douglas Fir ply, as rough and unvarnished as the man himself. It is fitting: MacMillan has made the fir the emblem of B. C.: and the fir has made MacMillan. His firm is one of the world's three largest forest-product companies and though he is listed now merely as director, he still calls the tune, as he has since he quit the government service in 1919 to form a small export company. His early years have the ring of a nineteenth-century tragedy to them; they are melodramatic enough, indeed, to form the raw material for a novel. In 1938 Mazo de la Roche wrote such a book, titled Growth of a Man, a story of inexpressible sadness about a sensitive bookworm of a boy, torn from the arms of a widowed mother who must scrub floors in a distant town to pay for his upkeep while he toils on the farm of his harsh unlettered grandfather; of a stubborn youth driven by the fierce urge to excel, who goes to agricultural college because it is the cheapest and who never takes out girls because he begrudges every cent and every second that diverts him from the future he has set himself; of a young man on the verge of success, drunk with the romance of trees, suddenly stricken by tuberculosis and confined to a sanitarium cot for three years. It is the tale of a boy who had no boyhood and a man who never learned how to play. It is scarcely fiction; it is H. R. MacMillan's own story. On MacMillan’s dark and sombre face some of that travail is still reflected; but his eyes, peering out from beneath the sullen brows, are as alert and inquisitive as a cat's. He was thumbing through the Concise Oxford Dictionary when I came in upon him, looking up the definitions of the words “centenary” and “centennial,” one a noun, the other an adjective, but both used interchangeably in B. C. with a fine disregard for grammar. Behind him were shelves of the books he loves: books of quotations, atlases and dictionaries, bird books and tree books, and old books bound in leather and buckram—The Naturalist in La Plata, The Last Journeys of Livingstone, A History of America, this last dated 1724 and purchased for seventy-five pounds by a man who has searched the world to build up a library of four thousand rare volumes. ‘He dreamed of the tinte,” Mazo de la Roche had written, ‘‘when he might hay all the hooks he wanted, when he would go through a catalogue of hooks marking the ones that interested him. sending for all of them hy return ¡tost.” I asked MacMillan how B. C. looked to him after half a century. “The one great difference between B. C. and the rest of Canada," he said, “is that a much higher proportion of the people here are (or I should say, speaking properly, is) on somebody else's payroll, and a much lower proportion are satisfied

“It's considered more of a sin to make money in British Columbia than any other part of the country”

farmers or small independent capitalists.

-"And that's why,” said MacMillan, a little fiercely, “that's why it’s considered more of a sin to make money here than in any other part of the country.”

"No,” he said quickly, thumbing through the Concise Oxford, "not sin— that's not the word I'm looking for. Offense against society’ is what I mean."

I asked if these remarks were prompted by the rise of the CCF, which has used MacMillan as a symbol of Big Business in B. C.

"Oh, they can’t touch me now,” MacMillan said, gloomily, lumbering across the room and slipping the dictionary back onto the shelf beside the Oxford Classical Quotations. "They're too late now. I'll be gone by the time they take over. They can only hurt my heirs, or my company, which is of course a part of me. But 1 don't care what you say, that philosophy is one hundred percent wrong.'

"Evil! Evil! Evil!” said MacMillan and he stared out the window and looked down on the harbor with its scuttling craft and its big freighters, some of them loaded with lumber branded with the MacMillan name.

"I was a dedicated public servant, believe it or not, bent on reforming the world, once,” he said. "Why didn t I reform it? Well. I think 1 concluded two things: one was that it wasn t going to reform as rapidly as 1 had hoped and the other was that I was going to be doing it, to a great degree, at my own expense.”

Twenty-first-century crop

Since MacMillan, a one-time chief forester, entered private business, B. C. timber exports have increased forty-fold. The industry he symbolizes now represents two fifths of the province's total income. The forest giants have vanished and so have the prodigal free-wheeling days. A log is now something to be treasured and the day is fast arriving when every scrap of wood, from bark to sawdust, will find a use. MacMillan, once a mere exporter, now makes pulp, shopping bags and fabricated logs and finds himself spending a million dollars a year on glue alone.

It is strange to consider that this man, who in his youth passionately loathed farming, has become Canada's greatest farmer. For trees are now a crop in B. C. and MacMillan has a' million acres of them under cultivation. But the youngest man in his firm will be dead before the present crops are harvested and two centuries at least must pass before B. C. lumbermen fully understand the mechanics of forest agriculture, l.ike the salmon, the trees are a scientific mystery. Only one thing is certain: the giant Douglas Fir belongs, in the words of Chief Justice Gordon Sloan's monumental forestry report, “to an era soon to be nothing more than a memory." And any attempt to keep the forests predominantly fir is “an outmoded, uneconomic philosophy based largely on sentiment."

MacMillan rose, as 1 took my leave, his great bowed frame dominating the plywood office.

"Mazo wrote a book about me once,” he said. "1 didn't read it."

"When he was alone he could think of nothing hut trees.” Mazo de la Roche had written. “His hope and his future were in them, root and branch. His florid imagination pictured them marching in vast armies across the plains, at his comj mand."

If big-dimension timber is a thing of the past, what about the big-dimension executive? The size and intricacy of the lumber industry now demands a corporate structure as complicated as an electronic brain, and, in the interests of the shareholders, as passionless. The oneman company is at an end and the MacMillans are swiftly becoming as obsolete as the straight-grained Douglas Firs.

Ned Pratt, the architect who designed the B. C. Electric building, mentioned this one noon a few days later. 1 had asked him to show me a bit of Vancouver and we began with lunch in the Vancouver Club.

“There was a day." Pratt said, “w'hen this club would be full of tycoons knocking olf a bottle of Scotch before doing a day’s work. Now they all get to the

office sharp at nine. You hated the guts of those old guys, of course, but in a way I'm sorry to see them gone: they brought a little romance to this town.

"I've got my radar out full scope, these days,” Pratt said. “Things are happening. The day is coming when they'll have a machine that can chew up an entire tree, bark and all. and squeeze it out like toothpaste into molds, so that you

can shape it to the exact fraction of an inch.”

The prospect seemed, at once, to delight and sadden Pratt. He is a restless experimenter, who will chop wallboard into floor tile or grow a tree through a hole in a roof, and the architectural revolution on the west coast is due in no small part to his iconoclasm. But he is also a romantic with a sentimental feeling for the past. He has a small boy’s delight in tales of the old west and he carries his honorary marshal’s badge from Tombstone, Arizona, like a trophy. There is a tale told of Pratt sitting steely eyed and silent in the living room of his ultra-contemporary home one afternoon. “There’s no use talking to him today.” his wife told callers. “Today, he’s Wyatt Earp.”

“There’s something Elizabethan about this town,” Pratt exclaimed as we set off on our tour. There was, 1 reflected, something Elizabethan about Pratt, too— a dashing and distinguished figure, tall and ruggedly handsome at forty-eight, in his two-hundred-dollar suit of faultless cut. With a fedora pulled low over one eye and a long cigar clamped between his teeth, he drove his scarlet AustinHealey across the Lions’ Gate Bridge as if it were a charger.

Up the mountainside we dashed, among the expensive clustered homes of West Vancouver, each vying with its neighbor in the radicalism of its design: in balconies that jutted like bowsprits over the mountain granite, in window expanses that would do justice to a Loblaw’s, in roofs shaped like butterflies’ wings. Twenty years ago, when Pratt was a struggling draftsman, such houses didn't exist and when he refused to design a Tudor mansion for a wealthy businessman, his colleagues thought him mad. As recently as eight years ago a Pratt house built in staid Victoria caused howls of rage from the populace: it was so avant-garde that the owner raised three thousand dollars for charity charging gawkers a quarter to see it.

"Now it’s no fun any more,” Pratt said. “At one time we used to have a nice fight about a house and I'd go home feeling that it had been a great day, but you don’t have to argue any more.”

We had reached the very top of British Properties, the ambitious development backed by the Guinness brewing fortune. A thousand feet below, the city lay spread out like a carpet, with the forested noses of Stanley Park and Point Grey showing dark against the hard glitter of the sea. Around us new and even more radical homes were rising out of the butchered forest.

I asked Pratt to describe for me the indigenous B. C. house.

“There’s no such thing,” he retorted. “How can there be these days when building materials are turned out by machines? The B. C. house is like the California house or the Ontario house: there’s nothing indigenous about it.”

"Wait!” he said. “1 do know of one,” and off we raced in the little car down the winding roads, past the bright new homes, and then to an older backwater of West Vancouver where a second growth of trees had sprung up: and here, by an unpaved lane, hidden darkly be-

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neath spruce and alder, was a small rough cottage of unplaned timber, with a peaked overhanging roof.

"There,” said Pratt in triumph. ‘"There is your indigenous B. C. house. A man came over on his week ends and slowly built it by hand. It’s a little older than anything around here, by God, and it’s got a bit of romance that’s escaped the modern architect. I wish 1 could get some of its charm into my houses. I used to have nothing but contempt for this kind of thing, but the more I look at it the more it intrigues me. 1 don't know what it is but some day I'll find out.”

En route back to town we stopped at Pratt's own home, so low and fiat that it seemed to merge with the soil. The architect leaned against a rough-planed roof beam.

"This has no place here,” he said. "The wall panels are precision-made to the last fraction of an inch—so is the glass, so is everything. But these three-by-twelves were carved out of the forest and they warp: there's the incongruity of it." It seemed an odd remark for a man who had just been worshiping at the shrine of a hand-made home, but already Pratt’s mind was in the future, reveling in the ultimate moment when roof beams w'ould be molded as precisely as windowpanes.

Back in the city Pratt dashed into his office. "There’s something you’ve got to see,” he said, and emerged a moment later with a rolled-up drawing.

“I did this myself last summer,” he said, proudly.

It was not, as might be expected, a planfor a new glass tower or a blueprint for a home with a butterfly roof. It was, instead, a careful pencil drawing of the town of Tombstone, circa 1880, sketched to satisfy a whim from the vantage point of the O.K. Corral where, on a certain October morning, the Clantons and McLowerys kept their bloody tryst with Doc Holliday and the brothers Earp.

B.C.’s brilliant Big Brother

It is paradoxical that, because of men like Pratt with their steel skyscrapers and their no-nonsense homes, the per-capita use of B. C.’s greatest product—logs—has heen cut in half over the past fifty years. This fact has not been lost on Gordon McGregor Sloan, the perspicacious architect of the province’s forest policy; the use of lumber, he has pointed out, will continue to decline and only an expanding population can keep the industry healthy. Just before leaving British Columbia I returned to Victoria to meet the then-chief justice, who, in many ways, is the dominant figure in the province.

Sloan has, indeed, been called Big Brother, because it is to this charming, brilliant, yet oddly austere jurist that British Columbia invariably turns when it finds itself in trouble: a deadlocked labo[ dispute, an economic puzzle, a government scandal — Sloan has been called in to preside at them all. There is a Sloan Line established for fishermen in the Gulf, and a Sloan Formula in labor arbitration. His marathon oneman investigation into the forest resources. made in 1945, changed the future of B.C.’s largest industry. His 1957 report, eight hundred pages long, catapulted him from the supreme-court bench into a job created expressly for him: czar of the forest industry.

As I entered Victoria’s Union Club, to lunch with Sloan, a peculiarly Victorian scene was taking place. It was the day of the Queen’s visit to Ottawa, and, as Her Majesty made her first appearance on the club’s television screen, the

entire assemblage rose as one man and stood stiffly to attention. One member, who had been wearing his hat, removed it. thereby averting an awkward incident, since several of the elder clubmen were determined to snatch it from his head. All resumed their seats, but were on their feet again in an instant when the band struck up the national anthem; at this moment Sloan appeared and the rest of the tableau was lost to me, but 1 could not help wishing that George I. Warren, of the Victoria Publicity Bureau, had been there to see it.

At lunch the Chief Justice talked of his forebears. Few British Columbians have their roots so deeply in the province’s past and few have such a romantic family history as he. His maternal great-grandfather had scarcely rounded the Horn and settled on Vancouver Island before he was threatened with jail by the Hudson’s Bay Company for complaining about his job. Sloan can still recall his grandmother telling him how she hid behind her mother’s skirts while her father drove off marauding Indians with an ax. Sloan’s own father, a one-

time Nanaimo merchant, was on the scene at the moment of the Klondike strike, to emerge with a fortune before the great stampede got under way. For more than a generation the elder Sloan, a towering hawk-nosed man with a mane of flowing white hair, was the brains of the great Liberal machine in British Columbia, a colorful politician of the noholds-barred school, the right-hand man to a succession of premiers.

It seemed a queer background against which to set the Chief Justice, with his pale eyes and his pale face, his classical

features and his precise legal habit of speech. Aloof from the hurly-burly of politics in his cavernous home on Oak Bay, Gordon McGregor Sloan works far into the night at the various staggering tasks the government sets him. But although his name has become a byword in the province, few, if any, can say they know him intimately. Sloan offered to give me a copy of his new forestry report and we repaired after lunch to his chambers, which are lined with an overpowering array of volumes that testify to the scope of his public service. On one shelf were a dozen blue tomes containing the evidence presented to the first forestry enquiry, anil below, on three shelves, forty-seven more, bound in red. containing the evidence presented to the second. Beside them, more shelves and more tomes from conciliation hearings, arbitrations and royal commissions—a veritable mountain of words and legal phrases and dry-as-dust opinions that have helped give modern B. C. its shape and structure. Sloan reached into a packing case and produced two bound volumes of his new est report. “I’m afraid I got a bit carried away in places." he said. "There are passages in the report that now seem to me to be over-florid. One in particular. I’ll see if I can find it.” He found it without trouble and as he began to read I thought I detected in that pale and unimpassioned voice the same pride of authorship that had been evident in Ned Pratt’s when he showed me his drawing of Tombstone. “In time the earth will be sucked dry of its oil and filched of its materials, but the managed and protected forests, forever renewing themselves, are immortal,” Sloan read. “To those who have ventured into the trackless vastness of our Coast forests and traveled its unknown ways, and to those who, in the Interior, have climbed and stood upon the crest of a lonely hill thrusting abruptly from an illimitable sea of green that sweeps in all directions expanding until it darkens and loses its identity at the far reaches of an encircling horizon will understand the spirit of the things whereof I speak ...” I reflected again, as I had so often during this homecoming to British Columbia, that, in this most unpredictable of provinces, appearances are always deceptive: if oil drillers can dress like TV cowboys, if a preacher can look like a pugilist, if a power tycoon can act like a professor and a lumber baron collect rare books, why should anyone be surprised by a chief justice who writes like a poet? Indeed, I recalled, Sloan had in his youth composed poetry and tinkered with a novel and sent pieces to the papers under a pen name. It made sense. Somewhere within that human fortress there smoldered a spark from the same romantic fire which is Sloan's heritage, the flame that has kept B. C. aglovy for one hundred years and which has burn ed brightly, and sometimes wildly, in all its favorite sons from the doughty Douglas to the ebullient Bennett. It is the same spark that makes Russ Baker take off for the north and Ned Pratt for the wild west; will it be quenched in the years to come? “1 wrote that passage late at night," Sloan said, as he finished reading. “One is apt to get a bit carried away at those times. It didn’t seem the same in the cold light of morning.” He closed the book. “However, I let it stand," he added. With B. C. itself facing the cold morning light of a new century, it was a strangely reassuring remark. ★