Cross Country

Cross Country

November 15 1948
Cross Country

Cross Country

November 15 1948

Cross Country

BRITISH COLUMBIA

SIXTY-YEAR-OLD Arthur Smith of Lulu Island is the only farmer in British Columbia who grows tame cranberries which are able to compete on the market with the imported Cape Cod variety. Since austerity cut off the American supply, there has been a tremendous demand for the produce of Mr. Smith’s five acres of vines.

But there was a catch to his happiness; cranberry picking is slow and frost often nips the Smith crop before it is all in.

Three years ago Mr. Smith tried to speed up picking by sucking the berries off the vines with an ordinary domestic vacuum cleaner. The berries came off, all right, but when he opened up the cleaner to remove them, he found they’d been squashed into cranberry jelly. He rearranged the innards of his cleaner, finally got the berries off whole. It was faster than hand picking, but not much.

The machine age really reached the cranberry bogs when Mr. Smith happened to spy a machine that looked like a giant vacuum cleaner in a Vancouver shop window. It was a furnace cleaner. He asked the shop for a tryout, had a hard time convincing them that he really wanted the machine to pick cranberries.

It worked like a charm and he bought. Smith, with the help of his wife, Isabel, can pick 400 pounds of berries in a day while four hand pickers are gathering 100 pounds. And now nut growers in the Okanagan are using the cleaners, too, to harvest their crops.

* * *

Veterans who lived in the Central Mortgage and Housing apartments on West Fourth Avenue in Vancouver were grateful for one of the conditions of tenancy: they had to have children. But for a while they went around muttering about those bureaucrats who didn’t realize that children grew up.

The apartments had no back yards, and when the infants in them reached toddling stage there was nowhere for them to play but the front lawn, right next a busy street. So several of the veteran fathers built large sturdy playpens to keep their children out of danger and parked them on the lawn.

No, no, tutted the corporation, this wouldn’t do. The playpens were unsightly; they might cause property values to deteriorate, so they must go. If they weren’t removed, maintenance men would be sent to tear them down.

Veterans and wives held a hurried protest meeting. Central Mortgage yielded. The playpens would stay until a fence had been built around the lawn.

THE PRAIRIES

The battle over the railways’ request for higher freight rates has taken an unexpected and unpleasant turn for Edmonton. That city, its chamber of

commerce and the Province of Al bert have been in the forefront of the campaign against higher rates.

Edmonton is enjoying the pleasures and inconveniences of a boom (see “It’s a Great Day for Alberta,” page 7). One of the symptoms is the chronic overcrowding of the Macdonald Hotel, owned by the CNR. Last spring the railway submitted plans for a 250to 300-room addition to the hotel. The city spent $70,000 for two lots approaching the hotel to lay out a small park and earmarked two other lots nearby for a parking space. It was believed the CNR intended to build the $3,500,000 addition immediately.

Now President R. C. Vaughan of the CNR has written Edmonton that it can’t go ahead with the hotel addition. Reason: the railway had need of

increased revenue to meet higher expenses and the city couldn’t expect it to start a costly building program. Edmonton got the message between the lines—if freight rates didn’t go up, neither would the addition to the hotel.

* * *

Floods in the Drumheller area of Alberta last spring caused immense damage but may have brought a lasting benefit. When Willow Creek subsided, it was found that the flood had uncovered coal seams four to five feet thick.

* * *

Winnipeg, which has been struggling along with a city hall built in 188(3, toyed for a few months with a. $6 million

dream. A committee brought in plans for a grandiose new building, housing all civic departments except the police station and soaring to 27 stories—the highest public building in Canada.

After their first burst of enthusiasm the aldermen quailed at asking the voters for the money this year, laid the matter over.

Most stinging comment came from

visiting fan dancer Sally Rand. Sniffed Sally: “A city the size of Winnipeg

needs a new city hall like I need a hole in the head.”

ONTARIO

Said Mayor Hiram McCallum of Toronto: “I hope Toronto never has

Sundays like those of Montreal, New York and Chicago. It has been said you can shoot a cannon off on Yonge Street on Sunday and I, for one, hope this continues to hold.”

All but three members of the city council agreed with the mayor and they threw out two proposals of Aid. Allan Lamport to endorse the principle of organized sports on Sunday and to place the question before a vote of the people on Toronto’s civic election day, Jan. 1.

Aid. Lamport accused his colleagues of wanting to deny the poor man the privileges they enjoyed themselves. “Member's of the city council, most of whom have automobiles, and many of whom have cottages, should not deny privileges to people who can’t afford these luxuries. If you don’t want them to enjoy themselves in the city on Sundays, why don’t you invite them to your summer homes where they can swim and golf on Sundays like you do?” he asked.

The opponents of the Lamport plan charged that organized sport would be the thin edge of the wedge toward a wide-open Sabbath. Dr. George Webber, secretary of the Lord’s Day Alliance, alleged that a “small group of men interested solely in profit” was planning a bill for the Ontario Legislature which would commercialize the Ontario Sunday.

* * *

The first visit, to the dentist is a cinch for many a Toronto three-year-old; all he has done is a paint job on his shiny new teeth.

The paint job is part of the city health department’s campaign against tooth decay and the “paint” is a two per cent solution of sodium fluoride. The health department has passed out free supplies of the solution to 350 dentists to apply to the teeth of children at three, seven, 10 and 13. The painting of the teeth takes one hour and 15 minutes (in four sittings) and it is expected to protect the teeth for three years. The health department estimates that the treatment will reduce tooth decay 40 to 60' v •

Some cities in the United States and one in Canada, Brantford, Ont., have been adding fluorine to the drinking water. This plan was considered and abandoned by Toronto partly on account of the cost ($100,000 a year) and the fact that 60'Z, of Toronto’s water is used for commercial purposes. Fluorine would be injurious to some industrial processes using water.

QUEBEC

The white men trekking after wealth into Ungava, the barren iron-ribbed wilderness of Northern Quebec, may bring death to its native Eskimos and Indians, according to Duncan M. Hodgson, of the McGill University Museums Committee. The danger, according to Mr. Hodgson, is that the whites may slaughter the game on which the natives now depend for a precarious living.

Mr. Hodgson recently returned from an expedition to Ungava, where millions are being spent to open up an immense iron-ore property. He would like the province to pass laws restricting the game taken by whites. “There

is not enough game to supply the natives, let alone an increased white population,” he said.

* * *

The 1’ederat ion of Catholic Workers is a group of right-wing non-Socialist trade unions operating mostly iix Quebec. When the (300 delegates of the federation met iix Hull recently for their annual convention they had a nasty shock.

There, among the flags bedecking the hall, flew the hammer axxd sickle of the Soviet Union.

While the delegates cheered themselves hoarse, one of them climbed up and tore down the offending emblem.

THE MARITIMES

Summerside, P.E.I. could hardly believe it. But there it was iix the black and white of axx Income Tax Department report: of 51 representative

cities across Canada, Summerside had the highest average income in 1946. Summerside’s 850 taxpayers averaged $2,292 in 1946, next came Lethbridge, Alta. ($2,200), and Edmundston, N.B. ($2,197), followed then and only then by the metropolises of Toronto ($2,187) and Montreal ($2,185).

The 6,500 Summersiders, accustomed for long to hearing about the poor Maritimes, looked around to see what made them so rich. They have no millionaires, nobody in the big and easy money. Their factories are small and make things like jute bags, farm machinery, fertilizer and canned fish. Wages aren’t as high as in the larger cities of Central Canada. There appeared to be no explanation but one. Was Summerside Canada's most honest city?

* * *

Twenty-five workmen “stripping” coal out of immense open pits with automatic loaders can produce as much in a shift as 150 traditional miners who go down the shaft and tunnel the coal out of the seams.

Those figures add up to bad news for New Brunswick’s 1,000 shaft miners, members of the United Mine Workers Union. Before the war strip mining accounted for less than one twentieth of the N. B. output; today it’s almost two thirds.

Most of New Brunswick’s coal lies within 50 feet of the surface. It costs money to strip away the overburden with giant draglines that scrape away eight tons at a bite, but once the coal is exposed it caxx be removed by relatively inexperienced workers who are not unionized and get less than the UMW scale. Introduction of stripping has increased production but cut total employment in the coal fields. -¥•