GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross Country

The Maritimes

August 15 1945
GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross Country

The Maritimes

August 15 1945

Cross Country

The Maritimes

NOVA SCOTIA’S newest war guest is uninvited andunwanted. He has been caricatured in the newspapers with buck teeth and a Rising Sun uniform. Worried agriculturalists have set 700 traps for him at strategic points throughout the province—the battleof the Japanese beetle is on, and, with the hatching period at its peak, will soon be decided.

Nobody likes Jap beetles, hitch-hiking pests seen only in Nova Scotia and Ontario among the provinces to date. But the applegrowers of the Annapolis Valley are by long odds the most worried over their sudden intrusion on the Nova Scotia scene. Orchards which produced two million barrels last year are expected to yield only 500.000 in 1945 because of severe winter frosts. And invasion by beetles would cut the apple crop even more sharply. Growers take some comfort from the 50 traps set at Kentville in the heart of the fruit belt, the further 50 at Annapolis Royal and the 100 at Yarmouth.

Entomologists say the Jap beetle will ride on planes, trains or automobiles. They warn that if not exterminated he may eventually become a coast-tocoast plague. Where the Nova Scotia spearhead came from, and how, nobody knows, but what is believed to be the original colony was discovered in the hothouse gardens of a Halifax hotel early last spring. Under pseudotropical conditions the young hatched in June and promptly became a scourge to suburban gardeners.

First found on this continent in the United States in 1916—-skulking in the earth around the roots of plants imported from Japan—the beetles had infested a 25,000-square-mile area by 1923.

Scratch a Prince Edward Islander and you’ll find a dourly determined advocate of a new deal in transportation to and from the Mainland. The problem became acute when the almost-new car ferry, Charlottetown, was lost off the Nova Scotia coast in the summer of 1941. It has been a burr under the saddles of Island legislators ever since.

Three forms of transport are currently being debated—improved ferry service, a tunnel under Northumberland Straits and a causeway. Each has

its champions, but Premier Jones has now come out flat-footedly with the assertion that neither a tunnel nor a causeway would be practicable.

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Cross Country

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He points out that a tunnel would cost an approximate $65 millions, that unless electric trains were used it would be full of smoke, and that an automobile breakdown in midtunnel would cause a terrific traffic snarl. As for a causeway—-about $67 millions— such a project would make a lock necessary if navigation in the Straits wasn’t to be blocked. Since the lock would require a further $15 millions, that scheme is also out of the question, the Premier thinks.

A ferry supporter himself, Premier Jones recommends that Island and Mainland terminal docks be extended sufficiently to obviate all danger from heavy shore ice. Such action would make the job of the new car ferry now under construction considerably easier.

The Premier stands ready to bolster his own judgment with professional opinions. He says the best engineering brains in the world will he obtained to study the whole problem.

* * *

Loyal New Brunswickers groaned when they learned that President Harry S. Truman had only a lowly dogfish to show for several days’ fishing on the U. S. West Coast. If the President really wanted to catch salmon, they asked, why didn’t he follow the example set by the late President Roosevelt, who as a young man was no stranger to their clear-flowing Restigouche River?

By way of strengthening their argument they pointed out that while Mr. Truman was dunking a lure unsuccessfully in Puget Sound, Herbert Hoover, onetime White House incumbent, was landing a silvery battler from the Restigouche.

Hard on Mr. Hoover’s heels came the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to make the swank Restigouche Salmon Club their headquarters and to land five salmon—one a 23-pounder—on their first day.

Quebec

Housing, currently Canada’s number one headache, may result in a protest march from Montreal to Ottawa by embattled British brides of FrenchCanadian soldiers who assert they’ll dump their grievances right in Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s plump lap. The brides are up in arms over what they have branded the worst housing conditions they’ve encountered.

Most of them come from heavily bombed areas of England, but they’d much sooner “live in rubble than in some of the homes we’ve had to take in Montreal.”

Their march, if the group’s present plans materialize, will be made sometime in September.

“And it really will be a march,” they insist. “We’ve already turned down lots of offers of trucks and motor cars to take us to Ottawa.”

* * *

Quebec city holds an honored place in history and fame, but it’s still just about the noisiest centre in the Dominion and must be silenced. That’s the hard-boiled verdict of traffic officials who have been putting their heads together over the problem, and a new police decree lends weight to their decision.

Quebec likes to keep its visitors happy, and too many tourists have been complaining that they come in from a romantic calèche ride through the city of Wolfe and Montcalm only to be kept awake by motorists who drive on their horns instead of their brakes.

Lest Montrealers get to feeling smug about the Quebec City crackdown, Inspector Tom Leggett of Montreal Traffic Bureau has announced they must “pull in their horns” and drive more quietly too.

* * *

“You can’t walk a foot up there without stubbing your toe on a claim post,” said the veteran mining man just back from the Quebec North.

It was a justifiable exaggeration. The hinterland is entering on another mining boom — greatest in its history, say the professionally optimistic brokers —and thousands of ex-servicemen have been nipped by the prospecting bug. Prospectors’ permits are being demanded faster than they can be issued, and the string of new claims staked and waiting to be worked extends clear to Hudson’s Bay. Ontario

A boom of another sort is under way in Ontario, where tourist camps and resorts are drawing more visitors than in any season since 1939. The influx is particularly impressive in the North, where the lodges, cottages and cabins strung along the lakes are jammed with summer guests. Tourist enquiries received from the United States have soared to 111% above last year’s figure.

In the North Bay region camp operators report business as heavy as in any of those years during which the Dionne Quints were the big drawing card. At Temagami, camps have been booked full for weeks and spot accommodation is hard to find. It’s the same story west to Sault Ste. Marie and down the bassfamed French River. Also the farther North, hitherto considered outside the general tourist zone, is drawing more visitors. James Bay and Moosonee are frequently enquired about, and this fall the largest number of goose hunters ever to visit James Bay will come up from the U. S.

Ontario’s Provincial Government, astute and experienced in the handling of a heavy tourist trade, watches the trend with satisfaction, sees it as the anticipated upswing resulting from victory in Europe and continuing Pacific successes.

The Prairies

When Manitoba’s ambitious rural electrification scheme gets cracking, the wheat belt farmer will have light for his house and juice for motors up to five horsepower. His wife will be able to use an electric range, refrigerator, iron, or any other labor-saving power-driven gadget she fancies and can afford. The monthly bill will be eight cents per kilôwatt hour for the first 50 kw.h. and two cents thereafter.

What Manitoba Power Commission proposes to do is run its poles and wires right into the farmer’s yard. The farmer will pay for wiring his building at a cost of between $150 and $200. On each of 50,000 farms slated for electrification the Commission’s share of the expense works out to an estimated $613.

The start, made this summer, is unspectacular, with only 670 farms on the list. According to Commission Chairman Herbert Cottingham, however, the demand exists and the money is already earmarked for the full program.

For its initial experiment the Commission selected seven widely separated areas, all close to existing power lines. In each district are from 45 to 300 farms, and the sign-up for service has been about 80%. This is well over the Commission’s minimum requirement.

When labor and material shortages ease, say commissioners, the scheme will swing into high gear.

Hands across the border was more than an orator’s catch phrase in Saskatchewan this summer. One hundred and fifty combines and their crews rolled south to help their neighbors in the American Middle West harvest their crops of winter wheat.

Ip the fields around Great Bend,

If Your Maclean’s Is Late •

Every effort is made to have your copy arrive on time — but wartime brings transportation difficulties which occasionally may cause your copy to be late. If so, we ask your indulgence. Kansas, a group of 13 combines from Weyburn helped get in a portion of the 200,000-bushel Kansas crop. For the long haul the combines were loaded on trucks. Each unit wras capable of covering 50 acres of wheatland per day —a total of just over a square mile between prairie sunrise and dusk.

In autumn, when Saskatchewan farmers are harvesting their own crop, U. S. Mid-Westers will reciprocate, bringing their own combines up to Canada. Ontario farms, which had the services of 1,200 Saskatchewaners this summer, will also send several hundred men to help Saskatchewan over its fall harvest hump.

Within the province itself 44 Landis district families are organizing what they claim will be the first co-operative farm and farm community in Canada. Next winter the group will complete its plans, which call for a pooling of land and machinery. In the spring of 1946 members will get under way on the parallel phase of their project—the* grouping of farm homes in a central location and the development of community enterprises.

* * *

Numerous Alberta owners of new homes will have to bathe on an ifand-when basis unless Eastern manufacturers of plumbing accessories can keep up with a near-record building rush. By the end of the year at least 2,000 new houses will have been built in the province, with Edmonton claiming a lion’s share of well over 1,100.

Through Edmonton, from Yellowknife in the North West Territories, comes word that the mining community shares the Canadian housing problem. Population is nearing 3,000six times the 1944 figure. Tents have sprung up like mushrooms and a hotel beverage room has been converted into a dormitory for 50 men.

The population boost is traceable to the Canada-wide renewal of mining interest coupled with current development in the Yellowknife area of deposits of two little-known metals, tantalite and columbite. Tantalite, termed the “wonder metal of the war,” is noncorrosive, and has other properties that make it vital to radar. Columbite, highly resistant to heat, is needed for exhaust tubes of jet-propelled planes. It makes good fireless cookers too.

British Columbia

Unhandicapped by the dirty weather which is expected to cut down eastern Canada’s apple crop, the Okanagan Valley is reasonably sure of a sixmillion box harvest, two millions short of the 1944 all-time record. Since not all of the record crop found a market, however, growers are well enough pleased at their prospects.

An increased tree-bearing acreage is expected to yield a 1945 peach crop well in excess of last year’s.

* * *

Nova Scotia’s Japanese beetle has an infamous opposite number in the blackheaded budworm that threatens the hemlock forests of Quatsino Sound on the rainy Vancouver Island west coast. But these days the budworm is a sick pest, and lumbermen are glad his ailment is nothing trivial. Not only is the budworm suffering from “wilt disease,” which liquefies his tissues, but also he is being assaulted by a parasite that fattens on his choicest parts.

The parasite is saving the Provincial Government thousands of dollars which would otherwise have been spent on DDT-spraying of forests. The hemlock looper still menaces the trees, though, and if his depredations get worse an RCAF Canso flying boat will bomb him with DDT.