The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 47
New Westminster District.—General Remarks
New Westminster District.—General Remarks.
The "West Cascade Region," above mentioned, is, as also above said, very similar to Vancouver Island in its climate and productions. Not much farming land compared with area; country not explored—probably farming land in valleys and flats (witness the Pemberton Meadows, Lake Lillooet). The rivers which flow from Cascade Range into the great sea inlets are comparatively small, and often have rocky banks; alluvial deposits (with one grand exception) are scanty in that portion of Cascade Region opposite to Vancouver Island, but such deposits are said to be considerable farther north, as at Skena and Nasse Rivers—the "grand exception" above named, is the low land at and near the mouth of Fraser River, and for some distance up it, and up tributaries of the lower portion of Fraser River (see Map).
The Fraser River does not come from Cascade Range, but from Rocky Range. It is the only river in British Columbia (except in the far north-west of the province) which has strength to cross the dry country between Rocky and Cascade Ranges, and get through the latter range to the sea. It is fed in its course by streams running from every point of the compass—a noble river, but, as already said, navigable only for considerable stretches, owing to rapids. Yale is the head of steamboat navigation from the sea. After bursting through page 48 the mountain passes at Yale and Hope, the Fraser is a tranquil, steady, clay-coloured stream for the latter part of its course.
The whole distance from Harrison Lake to the present mouth of the Fraser was probably once an estuary. This former estuary has been gradually filled up by sedimentary deposits from the river, a work still going on, protected by Vancouver Island as a breakwater. (See Map.)
This country on the lower portion of the Fraser is what I may call the New Westminster District. It is in general a wooded district, but has large tracts of open arable and grazing land, delicious atmosphere—no malaria or ague—water-carriage, facilities for shipment. Snow begins in January and is gone by March; not continuous; plenty of fish and game in the district; will raise anything Vancouver Island will raise and more; three large sawmills, employing 600 people; a grist-mill; distillery; a beet-sugar manufactory; farmer's society, &c.
At the Provincial Agricultural Exhibition, 1872, the New Westminster District competed strongly in all exhibits with the island district, and carried away prizes for turnips, butter, melons, tomatoes, pumpkins; 2nd best potatoes, cattle-cabbage, &c.
The 'Mainland Guardian' (New Westminster Journal), said, on March, 1872:—"A minimum yield of from 30 to 40 bushels of wheat to the acre, "is the ordinary average yield in the districts of Kamloops, Okanagan, Nicola, "Sumass, Chilliwhack, and the Lower Fraser. Between the town of New "Westminster and the mouth of the river, a yield very much exceeding this "is often obtained, not because of better and more suitable soil, but solely due "to more careful cultivation; 50 bushels of oats and an equal yield of barley "per acre are commonly reached. Indian corn yields per acre 60 or 70 bushels. "The yield of roots and green crops is generally encouraging, being unsurpassed "by any in the world.
"On one farm the yield of potatoes was 7 tons, on another as high as 15 "tons per acre. Not a few specimens reached the enormous weight of 2½ lbs. "and even 3 lbs. Turnips give 25 tons to the acre. Onions from 4 to 6 tons; "while carrots, cabbages, beets, cauliflowers, &c., grow to a size which may "without exaggeration be described as enormous.
"Of fruits it may be enough to state, that the ordinary kinds (apples, "pears, plums, cherries, currants, gooseberries, strawberries, &c.) found in the "eastern part of the Dominion and in England, grow luxuriantly and yield "plentifully."