NEW countries, particularly those of the Western Hemisphere, often have been accused of profligacy in the use and disposal of their natural heritages. In one particular, at least, this charge cannot be laid against the Dominion of Canada, for, in setting aside large areas of forest, mountain and stream as playgrounds for her people, Canada has set the world a striking example. A succession of Governments have adhered to this policy and, as a result, Canada has a system of sixteen national parks which, preserved in their virgin state, will remain as imperishable estates of the people.
Of these sixteen national parks, eleven are in the West, the majority traversed, or within easy reach of, Canada’s two mighty railway systems* the Canadian Pacific and the Canadian National.
Jasper National Park, on the western fringe of the Province of Alberta, has the distinction bf being the largest national park in the Vofld. Its borders enclose 4,400 square miles of territory, all of it situated in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. It is easy of access. Yet Jasper Park is a playground that may well be called unexplored. In the years preceding its nationalization, the area was a profitable field for the trapper and the hunter, but even they confined their operations to more or less well-defined trails and left many wonders undiscovered and many heights unclimbed. Its passes, its mountain snows, glaciers, wandering trails, streams, lakes and canyons are well known to the park wardens, the fire rangers and the guides, but they number only a handful. To the visitor, therefore, it is a field wherein one may experience all the thrill of the explorer, the lure of adventure and the romance of the last frontier. Except for a few miles in the centre of the park, there are no motor roads. Contact ■with civilization is lost. Travel has to be done
'on foot or on horseback along trails that follow the passes, squirm through the woodlands on the mountain side, to emerge in the summer snows above the timber line, only to dip again, to wind through the valleys beside swift running glacial streams or the historic waters of the Athabaska River.
To the alpinist, Jasper National Park has many prizes to offer. Within the borders of the playground thirty named peaks rise higher than ten thousand feet. Of the thirty there are two that tower twelve thousand feet and twelve that exceed eleven thousand feet. These are named peaks only. In addition, there are a large number of mountains higher than ten thousand feet that remain unnamed and, many of them, unclimbed.
Like all the national parks of Canada, Jasper National Park is a forest and animal reservation. No firearms are permitted within the park. No animals maybe killed there except by special authority and under exceptional circumstances. The kindred of the wild are quick to recognize the law of immunity which gives them sanctuary from the death-dealing weapons of men. The park to-day is the home of thousands of animals, many of which previously were in danger of extinction by rifle and snare. One may hunt with a camera and the mountain sheep and goat will pause in their feeding above the timber line to sit for their pictures. Elk, shyest and most graceful of all the deer family, have lost much of their timidity and are often seen in herds within a few miles of Jasper Village, while big brown bear lumber heavily down the mountain side to pick up lumps of sugar within arm’s length of the visitor. Beaver swim contentedly in the lakes and ospreys nest in the top-most branches of trees beside the trails.
Books might be written about Mount Robson alone. Standing 13,068 feet above sea level, its apex is ever mantled in snow and usually encircled with a wreath of fleecy clouds, while its slopes for a considerable distance towards the mountain’s base are heavily streaked and splashed with snow and hanging glaciers, thereby bringing out in strong contrast the reds, the browns, the purples and the greys of obtruding rocks. One cannot conceive of a more awe-inspiring and entrancing scene.
But magnificent as the view obtainable from Mount Robson station undoubtedly is, still more glorious prospects of its wondrous beauty are to be obtained by following the trail up the Valley of the Robson River to Berg Lake and traversing en route the “Valley of a Thousand Falls.” From where its base rests in the latter valley the slopes of Mount Robson have a sheer rise to the mountain’s apex of about two miles—a sight that makes the observer feel as but an atom in comparison. Berg Lake is reached from the valley by means of a flying trestle firmly attached to the cliff’s side. And then as a turn in the trail is taken there suddenly bursts upon the vision the famous Emperor Falls—a wondrous cataract that comes tumbling in great volume and in extraordinary shape over a sheer precipice into a valley a distance of one hundred and forty feet below.
Land of Mighty Peaks
ROCKY MOUNTAINS PARK, covering an area of 2,751 square miles, is bounded on the west by the interprovincial boundary between Alberta and British Columbia, and on the east by, approximately, the first big ranges of the Rockies. No part of the Rockies exhibits a greater variety of sublime and romantic scenery, and nowhere are good points of view and features of special interest so
accessible, with so many good roads for the motorist and bridle paths for the horseman.
Banff is the administrative headquarters of Rocky Mountains Park. The town lies embowered in pine forests and lawns, in a pocket of a wide circle of pearlygrey limestone peaks. Warmed by clear sunshine and kissed by clear air, exhilarated by the glacial-green Bow River, Banff bids all welcome.
One steps from the train right into that titanic bowl whose sides are Cascade Mountain to the North, to the east Mount Inglismaldie and the heights of the Fairholme sub-range, the sharp cone of Mount Peechee; to the west and up the valley,the distant snowy peaks of the main range above Simpson’s Pass; to the left Sulphur Mountain; to the south-east the wooded bluff of Tunnel Mountain and the long-serrated spine of Mount Rundle. A setting for the gods if ever there was one.
Had Banff not become famous for its beauty, it must have become famous for its hot springs, which are amongst the most important of this continent. The five chief springs have been found to have a total flow of about a million gallons a day, and issue from the ground the year round at a temperature ranging from 78 to 112 degrees Fahrenheit. The chief constituents are calcium sulphate or gypsum, calcium bicarbonate, and magnesium sulphate, and their therapeutic value is very high. Winter makes no difference to the temperature of the water, a fact which makes winter bathing possible.
Almost it seems that it is superfluous to extol such places as glorious Lake Louise, and, westward, Yoho
Park, 476 square miles of giant mountains, deep forests, rushing rivers and sapphire lakes; Glacier Park, with Illecillewaet; Mount Revelstoke Park, Kootenay Park, pierced through the centre by the Banff-Windermere motor highway ; Waterton Lakes Park, thirty miles south of the Crow’s Nest Pass; Mount Assiniboine Park. Supreme in rugged beauty, talked of the world over, no Canadian can say he knows his Canada until he has traversed one or more of her national parks.
When Edward Whymper, famous hero of the Matterhorn, described the Canadian Rockies as fifty Switzerlands thrown into one, he certainly was guilty of no exaggeration.
The Coast ol Beauty
BUT all of Canada’s western joys are not confined to the Rockies. One can follow the Skeena and, from a railway coach, be fascinated by the maddest and most treacherous of Rivers. On its banks remain many a reminder of the Northwest Trading Company and later distributors who carried civilization into the furthermost haunts of the Red Man. Right to Prince Rupert one may go, to steam through mighty fjords comparable only to those of Norway. Or, by other steel roads, along the rushing Fraser to Vancouver, bustling yet beauteous. Prince Rupert,
Vancouver — names which recall adventurous days, pioneering times, indomitable will. Two ports in different settings, but with similar lure to the lover of the sea.
From Vancouver, with its great shops and humming streets, its Stanley Park, where the trees tower to the skies, its twin mountain peaks, its canyons and its streams, its beaches and its bays, the traveler seldom fails to cross to Victoria, the “Sunshine City.” There are flowers in profusion, home
of charm, and natural settings unexcelled. And then, over the Malahat Mountain to scores of beauty spots stamped with the individuality of Vancouver Island.
East of the Rockies
WHILE Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are known as “the world’s granary,” the average Canadian residing in other parts of his vast country is apt to overlook the fact that the prairie provinces have holiday resorts as attractive in their way as the more majestic places are in theirs. Alberta is dotted with lakes—Birch Lake,
100 miles east of Edmonton; Buffalo Lake near Bashaw; Miquilon Beach, near Kingman; Lake Wabamun, west of Edmonton, and Seba Beach, a few miles distant. And Sylvan Lake, fourteen miles from Red Deer, boasts a sandy beach two miles in length. When it is remembered that all these resorts are additional to Alberta’s share of the mountain parks, it is easy to see why the people of that province have little trouble in planning a vacation.
Saskatchewan, while it possesses no vast mountain ranges, has a particularly fine variety of lake resorts, including, of course, the celebrated Little Lake Manitou, reached via Watrous. There is an element of mystery in this lake. It has no outlet, no rivers to feed it, yet its level never rises or falls to any extent and its water always is clear and never stagnant. The only explanation is that
it is fed from springs gushing from the bowels of the earth. The waters of Little Lake Manitou are mineral, and are highly recommended and much used as a remedy for rheumatism and in the treatment of skin diseases. The specific gravity of the water is higher than that procured at Hunyadi Janos or Carlsbad, the two famous European spas. York Lake, three miles from Yorkton, has splendid beaches and well treed banks. In Northern Saskatchewan within short radius of Prince Albert, are innumerable lakes. The whole northland can be covered by canoe from Red Deer Lake. Then there are Scott’s Lake, near Candiac; Carlyle Lake, with a wealth of bays and green
clad slopes; Long Lake and Arlington Beach, reached via Watrous; Grand View Beach, east of Findlater; Madge Lake, in Duck Mountain forest reserve; Benito Beach, in the same vicinity; Sandy and Stoney Lakes, both near Margo; Fishing Lake, near Kinistino; Pelequin Lake; Barrier Lake, near Tisdale; Round Lake, reached from Birch Hills, Brancepeth, Weldon or Kinistino; Wakaw Beach, within easy reach of Saskatoon; Turtle Lake, near Turtleford; Warner’s Beach, northeast of Mervin; Lake Nelson, near Preeceville; Meota Beach, near North Battleford, and a score of others, many rich in associations with the days when the Indian took the warpath against the white man.
Scenically and historically, the Valley of Qu’ appelle has much to offer to the traveler. Pauline Johnston, the Indian poetess, has immortalized its beauty and its tradition. The valley embraces a chain of lakes unequalled by anything in the middle west.
Transition ol the Prairie
MANITOBA, too, is rich
in summer resorts. The great city of Winnipeg, itself offering days of interest to the tourist, is the centre of an attractive country. Grand Beach, but sixty miles distant, on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, is set amid balsam and pines ; Victoria Beach, surrounded by beautiful natural parks, has an appeal that is distinctive, while Albert Beach, Hillside Beach and numerous other delightful spots beckon to the city dweller. North of the prairie metropolis, Lake Manitoba is studded with places for rest and enjoyment. Lake Dauphin, Pelican Lake, Clear Lake, Sandy Lake, all are magnets of varying appeal.
The romance of the transition from the buffalo hunting grounds of the red man to the field of exploitation of the white is now history.
Day after day, the early explorers pushed their way across unbroken solitude; always the same vista. What a transformation! To-day, splendid trains rush across the space, and from the first break of dawn until the lingering twilight shuts out the view, the eye strains and fails to see any discord in the symmetry of the Prairie gardens.
In this land, rich in Indian history and legend, the white man has made summering places in the various provinces accessible to both city and country people who come, year after year, to find rest, health and recreation, returning with new poise, energy and strength, with suntanned faces and hardenedjnuscles.
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