Water as a motive power has been used from time immemorial, but it is not until recent years that it has attained its real importance. For a time it was largely supplanted by steam, and there is a sense still, in which it cannot wholly take the place of steam, since that power can be placed in any locality, but the keen competition of the present age has resulted in the demand for the strictest economy in manufactures. It is, consequently, necessary to make use of the cheapest power, and to manufacture on the largest possible scale; with this in view there is nothing that so ideally fills the bill as does suitable water power.
Mostly all of the large industries of the country are now carried on by this power. Electricity, so valued now for its varied uses, is most economically generated by this means. It is easy, therefore, to understand the growing importance of, and the modern revival, in the use of water as a motive power. No country in the world is so well furnished in this respect as Canada. In all sections of the country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from Niagara to the Arctic Ocean, there are natural water powers of unlimited extent and ideal in situation. These natural advantages makes the production of this power cheaper in Canada than perhaps in any other country. An elaborate comparison shows that water power is being produced at a cost of $6.25 per annum per horse power, while in England the lowest cost of steam per horse power is $20.00 per annum. Though the United States is an adjoining country, their natural conditions in this regard are in strong contrast to those which prevail in this country. This fact, also, must go far towards solving the industrial problems of the future.
A speech recently delivered by Lord Rosebery in Wolverhampton, upon the question of the keen industrial competition among the nations at the present time, realizes Canada’s advantages and points to this country as the hope for British supremacy in the future in manufactures.