THE opening of the oil rush to the Mackenzie River country it is forecast will make of Edmonton another Seattle, for the part which Edmonton will play in this rush will be identical with that of Seattle in the rush to the Yukon. But curiosity now centers as to where the new “wonder city” of the far West is to be located. For Agnes C. Laut tells us in an article on “The Coming Big Cities of the Canadian West,” appearing in Financial Post, the coming boom north of Edmonton is to create a brand new Canadian city of potentialities. Incidentally, she says there are four other established urban centers in the Canadian West which will immediately start to feel growing-pains:
“But it would also be ignoring the record of every city in the Western States not to acknowledge that every city at present existing in Western Canada may some day exceed the wildest boomster’s wildest hopes. Winnipeg will some day be a second Chicago. Moose Jaw and Regina will some day be the second St. Pauls and Minneapolises. Calgary and Edmonton will some day be second Kansas Cities and Omahas. Prince Rupert and Vancouver will some day be second Seattles and San Franciscos. And yet another city of which the foundation has not yet been laid will some day be a Spokane in Northern British Columbia between Edmonton and Prince Rupert.
“The point is—how soon?
“Is it worth while hanging on to high priced property for high future profits for your son’s grandson? Will it pay to pay present taxes for ten years, for twenty years, for thirty years?
“I leave Saskatoon and Battleford and Prince Albert out of these categories because high as taxes are in one of these cities and low as bonds have fallen in-
another, they never laid out areas for a prospective Chicago. Saskatoon never had a boom at all, in the wild proportions of other booms. It grew rationally and naturally. So did Victoria, which bids fair to become Canada’s Los Angeles, a winter playground.
“Which cities have the prospects for immediate swift development?
“If you examine facts rather than hopes, five loom on the immediate horizon. The others will grow exactly as local production grows. The five are Winnipeg, Edmonton, Prince Rupert, Vancouver, and some city between Edmonton and Prince Rupert. The last may be in Peace River. It may be in Northern British Columbia. Oil, railroads, mines, farm output, coal output will increase this unknown city; but it is inevitable that in this area of eight hundred miles east and west, fifteen hundred miles straight north, sudi a city should spring up as supply centre for farm, oil wells, mines, lumber, rail development. I do not wish to invoke courtmartial by saying which place will become that city. It may be in Peace River; or it may locate between Prince George and Prince Rupert. It is up to these places to invoke their local gods and local enterprise.
“However other Western cities may grow, these five must climb to the same proportions as Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle and San Francisco. The fifth I have not named. If I should name it, it would be a sheer guess. It may be Grand Prairie, Peace River, which has made a good start. It may be Prince George. It may be Hazelton. It may be Terrace, with a terrain much like Spokane’s; or it may be some place not yet on the map, created by a sudden find in oil or gold, by a conjunction of new railroads, or some huge pulp or smelting industry; but if you measure the distances in a circle from Edmonton to Prince Rupert and Vancouver, you will see the circle has to have a supply centre to cut its diameter of eight hundred miles into four hundred.”
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