WE now return to the task of describing the less known and more northern territories just north of the settled portions of the border provinces. This brings us to that great country lying between the western border of Creesylvania, previously described, and the eastern border of Alberta and the Athabasca River, and as far north as the south coast of Lake Athabasca. This embraces a territory quite regular in form and containing over two hundred and twenty-five thousand square miles. This territory will be treated in two separate parts of equal size, extending north and south. The first, or more easterly, we shall call Saskatchewan.
The valleys of the Saskatchewan and the Churchill Rivers run through the southern and central sections, while the north extends into the higher and wooded country in the Reindeer Lake region. The northern section of this territory has only in recent years been explored, and while it cannot be claimed that it is to any extent an agricultural country, because of the broken character of the surface and considerable elevation, yet south-east of Reindeer Lake the country improves in this respect. The country, however, is densely wooded with spruce forests of medium growth, and may there richness of soil, to sustain millions of people. The country may be regarded as park-like in character and essentially agricultural. The climate is equal and, in some respects, superior to other parts of the West. It is officially described as follows : ” The climate is healthy and free from enteric or epidemic diseases. It is bracing and salubrious, and is undoubtedly the finest country on earth for constitutionally healthy people. The average summer temperature is about 60 ; the reason for the equability of the temperature in summer has not yet been fully investigated.”
There has never been a failure of crops ; the settlers enjoy a steady home market, at which they realize good prices for their products, while fruit of many varieties grows in profusion, and small game is abundant. At the present time Prince Albert is the chief town of this section, and has railway connection with the outside world, while a thrifty, though limited population is found throughout its southern section. Mr. Frazer thus describes this beautiful country :
I have been in many parts of the world, the Orient and the Occident; I have seen beautiful places and magnificent parks, grand gardens, noble avenues ; but let me tell you, gentlemen, that the most beautiful spot on this round earth is the valley of the Saskatchewan, in this strong, rugged country, which stands as a rampart from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Go there in August and September and you will see God’s own garden stretching mile on mile, from silver stream to the ethereal blue of the distant Rockies.
“Crimson and gold and azure, and the soft pearly grays of delicate grasses and shrubs that carpet the black mould, until you sink knee-deep in a wreath of trailing purple-tipped pea-vine and pink flesh-colored castillja. Not one blade of all this splendor was sown or planted by the hand of man; not one design of the whole vast park laid out by human gardeners. There you will be face to face with the beauties of God’s gifts, with no warning to keep off the grass. You may roll down those jewelled hills, all set with ruby and amethyst and pearl flowers, like a boy, and as you roll there will be in the air the whistle of the crescent wings, as a grouse or partridge cuts through the warm sunshine startled by the queer hobgoblin appearance of a man.” Surely there is greatness in store for the Province of Saskatchewan.