General Articles

Cross Country

October 15 1948
General Articles

Cross Country

October 15 1948

Cross Country


PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND fisheries department got into the air-sea rescue business this fall— for the benefit of lobsters. It hopes the new method will deal a deathblow to lobster poachers who have been operating for years with impunity on the north shore.

The poachers ignored closed seasons and size limits and operated on such a scale that there just weren’t enough fisheries agents and boats to catch them. The lobster rustlers found it easy to set their traps in closed waters, lift them and run their illicit cargoes to safety on the New Brunswick mainland. Some of them even operated fly-bynight canneries in woods and shacks along the shore.

Reputable fishermen protested loudly and finally the department hired a plane and sent an officer aloft to spot illegal traps. When he found them he dropped a note to agents in boats who lifted the traps, freed the lobsters and wrecked the gear. In the first two weeks of the campaign more than four tons of live lobsters were turned loose and 1,600 traps destroyed.

♦ * *

There’s gloom in the shops of Calais. The Canadians from St. Stephen, N.B., across the St. Croix River, aren’t buying in the Maine town any more. Reason is the Canadian dollar-saving program but the Calais shopkeepers, nearly all of them Republicans, are blaming President Truman.

St. Stephen and Calais have been closely linked since before the war of 1812, when the citizens of the two towns had a mass meeting and voted not to fight. They celebrate one another’s national holidays, run to one another’s fires and share their water and electricity services. Hand in hand with this amity has gone a lively private smuggling.

St. Stephen folk up until this year hadn’t considered smuggling a crime. As one churchgoer put it, “It wasn’t wrong morally, just technically.” But now the attitude has changed, and smuggling is viewed as morally wrong because it drains Canada’s short supply of U. S. dollars. A customs officer said his job had never been so easy. “For every hundred persons who used to try to smuggle, there’s only,” he explains.


Pilgrims from far and near have long spread the fame of two Quebec shrines — the one at Ste. Anne do Beaupré, near Quebec City, and the one at St. Joseph's Oratory (Brother André’s shrine) on the mountain in Montreal. Now the fait hful are agog over reports of remarkable cures at a third shrine at Cap de la Madeleine, near Three Rivers.

According to reports one visitor to the shrine, Isabelle Naud, a paralytic from Portneuf, Que., left her wheel chair and walked for the first time in nine years. In another case, Edmond Duaablion is said to have been freed from a threat of gangrene only a

few hours before the scheduled amputation of a leg.

Bishop Georges Leon Peltier of Three Rivers has appointed a board to enquire into these cures. It will be headed by the Rev. Paul Henri Barahe and will include several doctors.


How big can an exhibition get? This year the Canadian National Exhibition at Toronto, the world’s largest annual fair, shattered its own records in all

directions and wound up its two-week stand with an all-time high in attendance of 2,612,000—a quarter of a million more than in 1947. The new 22,000-seat grandstand was sold out every night at prices ranging up to two dollars.

There was mutual back-slapping, and Mayor McCallum suggested that next year the Ex run for three weeks instead of the customary two. But the fair was not without critics.

First there was the two-pronged objection to the grandstand show staged by Olsen and Johnson, the American comedians; (1) it was suggestive; (2) it wasn’t Canadian. Why, the critics asked, wasn’t there a pageant showing Canada’s rise to nationhood instead of a knock-about musical comedy?

Sports-minded critics complained that although the taxpayers had paid for the grandstand, the field in front ot it would not be ready for this year’s football games.

But the greatest beef of all was reserved for the traffic jams and crowding. The fair straddles the main lakeshore highway to the west, which was closed to traffic except for certain hours. Cars, trucks and buses were jammed for miles in either direction and over the Labor Day week end thousands of motorists (including hundreds of U. S. tourists) were forced to sleep in their cars when the traffic broke down completely.

The last week of the fair, city council passed a resolution urging citizens to boost attendance over the three million

mark. J. V. McAree, Globe and Mail columnist, exploded. “It is as if council urged the citizens to increase the King Street car traffic by 20,000 in rush hours. Stephen Leacock had a name for it. He called it the Larger Lunacy.”

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In 1843, when Hamilton had only 5,000 people and was still three years from being incorporated as a city, Thomas C. Watkins founded the Right House, a department store. The Right House has flourished mightily in its century; and many years ago it changed hands but continued to rent its premises from the Watson estate.

Last month it set another kind of record when the store bought the building it was in. The price was $862,000, or $14,300 a foot. This is by far the highest price ever paid for real estate in Hamilton, well ahead of the previous record of $11,000 a foot established during the 1929 boom.


In mid-August, Squadron Leader J. D. Mitchener, DFC, the “mayor” of Riverside, Manitoba’s newest town, handed their keys to the first five families to move into their homes. The day before Riverside had had a population of 21. By next autumn it will be home to 450 families—1,700 people.

Riverside came into being when the Department of National Defense discovered there were not proper facilities for married personnel at the permanent RCAF station at Rivers, which S/L Mitchener commands, just to the southeast. It was estimated that 450 homes would be needed. North American Buildings Ltd. was awarded the contract for the first 200 houses; the rest will be let later. The total cost of the village will be around $4 millions.

In April a hangar was converted into an assembly factory for prefabricated houses. By the end of August, 40 families were in their new homes and another 100 were to hiready by the time the snow flies.

A new attempt to tap the riches of the McMurray oil sands in northern Alberta, which may contain as much as 250 billion barrels of oil, has been launched with the leasing by the provincial government of the oil and gas rights on 5Lt million acres in that region. Twenty newly formed companies, representing both Canadian and

American capital, have taken four million acres.

Millions of dollars have been spent unsuccessfully by federal and provincial authorities and private interests in an effort to find an economical method of extracting the bitumen from the impregnated sands. The new theory is that there may be a vast oil pool under the sands, and a drilling program on likely sites is projected.


On the remote Queen Charlotte Islands, off the B. C. coast opposite Prince Rupert , Ernie Perlst rom rides the range in a style that would make old-time cowhands snort. Ernie’s cayuse is an eight-wheel jeep, equipped with a power winch and an overhead platform. And he brings down his mavericks not with a lariat but with a 30-30 carbine.

Last year Ernie bought a farm 50 miles from the nearest settlement, Masset, which had been abandoned for six years and was over-run with an unknown number of wild cattle. Ernie figured he could butcher the cattle and sell the meat to the fishing camps. But how to catch the critters? And how to get their carcasses out? There were only 17 miles of plank road in the direction of his farm—the rest of the way was along the beach through blowsand, gravel, lagoons, sloughs and across at least five unbridged rivers.

The jeep was the answer. If the cattle are in pasture when he gets to his farm, he drives as close as he can get and shoots a steer or a bull from his vehicle (the cows are left for breeding). I f the cattle are in the bush or swamp he has to go stalking them. Sometimes he arrives when two bulls are fighting for the mastery of the herd, and then it’s easy to bring down one of the cattle standing around watching the duel.

He butchers his kill on the spot, hoists the 600to 900-pound carcass on the platform of his overloaded jeep and grinds back to town, counting himself lucky if lie gets 10 miles to the gallon. * * *

Vancouver firemen, who for 50 years have painted (lie inside of the fireballs in their spare time, have bowed to the request of the Union of Carpenters and Painters, A.F.L., that they desist. Henceforth the job is to be let by contract. The firemen said they were willing to continue painting hut declined to put themselves in the position of being “unfair to organized labor.” if

P. E. I. chases poachers by air ... Quebec has a new shrine, Manitoba a new town . . . Alberta hunts wealth in sand