For Reference


For Reference










July 16, 1967



The undersigned certify that they have read and recommen: the Faculty of Graduate Studies for acceptance, a thesis entitle



by RAYMOND ANDREW CHRISTENSON in partial fulfilment of the requirements

for the degree of Master of Arts.


The Calgary and Edmonton Railway, built in 1890-91, was essential to the early settlement and development of Alberta. So pervasive was its influence on the community that the railway came inevitably to occupy the Be te of the newspapers in the region it was built to serve.

Tnis thesis is a study of he Calgary and Edmonton Railway in the view of the Edmonton Bulletin, one of three Alberta newspapers contemporary with the early years of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway. While keenly anticipat- ing the benefit a railway would bring in its wake, the Edmonton Bulletin's usual stance toward the Calgary. and Edmonton Railway was critical--at times hostile. The basis for this attitude was the Bulletin's belief that the Calgary and Edmonton Railway--having the power to bring great bene- fit to the people and having been publicly subsidized to assist it in achieving this end--was pursuing policies det- rimental to the interests of settlers and to the development of the country it professed to serve.

‘The opening chapters provide appropriate background by focusing on the long-felt need for railway service to the Edmonton district. The bulk of the thesis deals with sever-

al aspects of the Calgary and Ednonton Railway in their im- iii

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pact on the settlement and development of the region--ac- cording to the judgment of the Edmonton Bulletin. Aspects dealt with include incorporation, financing, construction, terminal location, early operation, relationships with the Canadian Pacific Railway, land grant, and regional economic

growth following construction of the railway.

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: Page PREFACE td a . e . A & e 2 a LA a s eo se . e ee e & oe s se a V Pn ee ee ee See CeGers SO ene re 1

Chapter A lags ALBERTA BEFORE 1890 2 2 e e ad e e e s . @ v ad 13

ET eeePARLNGBAIEWAY VENTURES | 0.5.6 6s. 'y © opt «253 SME CReCRN TION! '. . . sw o's ee py os. 92 00 Oe es es cs ess) op eine, aa 1D

RPS SP RUG TON ee wis ke wee ne + tue LOG RCO ge ete wee a es sa ey oye) Led DUMB ORLCCORERATIONS «vo . 3 6 erties “s « » 192 VIII. RELATIONSHIP WITH CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY . 213 PO OMOUENG Ge ys sic tee ow acg ee wee 225 RCEMPSUAPIER 1890 2... + so ee gue ont 25K Pee nee ee eS 280 SEER Tce yee Ev Pe ow 2. ey 0 we, 280

APPENDIX o + e es e * ° e e e 2 ° e e * e ° a e * e ; e 29 1

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This thesis is not an objective study of the Cal- gary and Edmonton Railway itself. Such a study is impos- sible since the writer does not have access to the required documents. What follows is a study of that railway pri- marily as seen by the Edmonton Bulletin. The writer assumes that the Bulletin represents fairly the views of icaaread ers--that is, the pioneering community of the Edmonton dis- trict and of northern Alberta. (On several occasions, these readers helped elect the editor of the Bulletin as their Member of Parliament). What’ is herewith presented is, then, a public image of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway.

The pioneering community saw this railway in its re- lation to local economic problems, for the solution of which they looked to the railway. This paper, therefore, becomes also a study of a "railway psychology"--of how the railway came to occupy a central place in the calculations and feel- ings, the hopes and disappointments of a community. The writer does not argue that other communities or newspapers saw other ’railways--or the Calgary and Edmonton Railway for that matter--in the same light in which the Edmonton Bulle-


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tin viewed the Calgary and Edmonton Railway (though the evi- dence available suggests that the Macleod Gazette and the Calgary Herald. were fundamentally in agreement with the Bul- letin).

These considerations make clear er of the limita- tions of this study--a limitation relating to the sources upon which it is based. Abundant use has been made of the Edmonton Bulletin, as the title demands. It has been sup- plemented by two other Alberta newspapers, the Macleod Ga- zette and the Calgary Herald. Chapter VI (Controversy) re- lies almost entirely upon these newspapers since other sour- ces for the chapter are practically non-existent. Refer- ences are made to a fairly wide list of secondary materials, especially in Chapters I and X. In addition, public docu- ments provide the basis for Chapters II, III, IV, VII, VIII, and IX.

There are, furthermore, two limitations as to scope. Firstly, the study concentrates upon the northern part of the line. The account is written Shop tite point of view of Edmonton, as the title indicates. This railway meant more to Edmonton than to Calgary--which had been on the Canadian Pacific mainline for seven years--or to Macleod--which was a half as far from the mainline as Edmonton was and only thirty ites from the railway at Lethbridge. It is to be



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expected, therefore, that the Edmonton Bulletin should have much more to say about this railway than the two southern Alberta papers. Little useful material can be gleaned from local histories. There is a paucity of such historical writing in Alberta. What has been written is generally brief, sketchy, undocumented, and inferior in scholarship and style. Limitations in the sources, therefore, dictated a somewhat restricted point of view.

A scanning of the Table of Contents reveals another limitation in scope. The study focuses on the genesis and earliest years of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway, though the subsequent period to 1903 is not neglected. The account does not continue beyond 1903. If justification for this limitation be necessary, it lies in two facts. irect con- nection of Edmonton with the Calgary and Edmonton Railway was made in 1902, from which time Edmonton could afford to take the railway for granted and the Bulletin have less to say about it. In 1903, furthermore, the Calgary and Edmon- ton Railway passed into full ownership of the Canadian Pa- cific Railway Company and was no longer separately reported in the Sessional Papers.

Because of the Edmonton point of view in the thesis, ene is a secondary theme running through much of the fol- lowing account--Edmonton!s struggle for the railway which


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would give Pee e ton with the outside world. To a consid- erable extent, the repeated disappointments involved in this struggle gave rise to the public image of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway reflected in this paper.

The writer considers that a proper historical per- paentins is required in order to appreciate both: the strug- gle waged by the Edmonton community for a railway and the image of the railway which arose partly as a result of that struggle. Chapter I, therefore, provides a survey of con- ditions in Edmonton, Calgary, and Macleod and in their sur- rounding districts up to 1890. A comparison of Chapters I and X dispels doubt as to the effectiveness of this railway in stimulating settlement and development; it also justifies the expectation with which the Edmonton Bulletin and other newspapers greeted its advent.

The writer expresses his appreciation to Dr. L.G. Thomas, Professor of History at the University of Alberta, for the considerable time and effort he has invested in the examination of the drafts and for his advice and encourage- ment in the completion of this study. Mr. Eric Holmgren, Librarian, and the staff of the Provincial Library i Ed- monton have also given assistance, as have Miss Hamilton of the Cameron Library at the University of Alberta and the

staff of the Shortt Library at the University of Saskatchewan.




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Arthur S. Morton, a pioneer historian of the set- tlement of western Canada, has written that "an WaT so et able preliminary to the settlement of the Northwest and to the prosperity of its settlers was quick, easy, and cheap transportation. This is written large in all its history." His statement applies well to that stretch of the North-West which was tributary to the line piney thrown out from the Canadian Pacific mainline at Calgary in 1890 and reach- ing Edmonton in 1891.

Most of this line passed through land lying in the "fertile belt," as it was described by Palliser and Hind, both of whom saw the necessity of adequate transportation if the area was to be settled. Captain William Butler, com- missioned by the Canadian Government to investigate condi- tions in the North-West, reported in 1871 only six embryonic colonies--all of missionary origin and all populated by

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half-breeds. There were also a "few adventurous whites at Prince Albert and at the various Hudson's Bay Company posts in the Qu'Appelle and Saskatchewan valleys. Writing a year later, Butler declared:

The "Great Lone Land" is no sensational name. .

There is no other portion of the globe in which tbavel

is possible where loneliness can be said to dwell so

thoroughly. One may wander five hundred miles in a di-

rect line without seeing a human being, Presbyterian missionaries who arrived in Edmonton in Novem-

ber, 1879 claimed that there were "only twenty white. men and

six white women within five hundred miles of Edmonton,"

These were: Prince Albert, White Fish Lake, and Victoria, consisting of English half-breeds; and St. Albert, Lac la Biche, and Lac Ste. Anne, where French half-breeds lived. G.F.G. Staniey, The Birth of Western Canada (Toron- to: University of Toronto Press, 1936), p. 177. Stanley points out that it is Himpossibibe bein a determine the ex- tent of the population of the North-West at this time owing to the unsettled nature of some of the communities and the nomadic habits of their half-breed members." Ibid., p. 178.

; 2William Butler, The Great Lone Land (16th ed., Lon- don: Burns and Oates, 1907), p. v. Ina similar vein, mis- Sionary John McDougall records that in 1863 when his father moved to Victoria, "the whole country south and west of Ed- monton was entirely devoid of settlement, not a solitary settler could you find in that region. There was not even a trading post south of the Saskatchewan river." He later estimated that "west of Carleton there cannot be less than 700 mixed bloods and that there were 20,000 natives in the upper Saskatchewan."' John McDougall, George Millward Mc- Dougall, The Pioneer, Patriot, and Missionary (Toronto:

Willian Briggs, 1883), pp. “105, , Load Sera McKellar, Presbyterian Pioneer Missionaries in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia

(Toronto: Murray Printing Co., 1924), p. 137.

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Most schemes for colonizing the North-West in the 1870's came to nought. Settlement by voluntary immigration was slow, and attempts to stimulate it by means of coloni- zation companies were a failure. In 1886, after four years of existence, most colonization companies oe dissolved. ? The proportion of cancellations in homestead entries re- mained high. While the population in the Dakota Territory increased from 12,887 in 1870 to 133,147 in 1880, it grew in the North-West Territories from 1,000 to 6,974.2 Among the major causes of Seas ces een Slow rate of growth was the inaccessibility of the Canadian North-West. The indispensibility of railway facilities had become apparent.

Between Calgary and Edmonton, settlement was sparse as late as 1881. The Edmonton Bulletin that year listed the following places and their population: Peace Hills Indian farm, 45 miles south of Edmonton, estimated population--10 whites, 50 half-breeds; Battle River station, 65 miles south of Edmonton--3 whites, 300 Indians; crossing of Red Deer

rene op. cit., p. 186. One of these companies, The Temperance Colonization Company, founded the town of Saskatoon. Only seven companies placed more than fifty set- tlers on the land. None was in operation after 1891.

2canada Year Book, 1905, 2nd series, Ottawa, 1906,

p, 11, cited by Stanley, op. cit., p. 187 andn. 30, p. 429. These figures do not include Indians,

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L, River, 100 miles south of Edmonton--no population; Fort Calgary--30 whites, 200 Indians. + Thus, according to the Bulletin, the total white population estimated at that time between Calgary and Edmonton, exclusive of those es centres, was 13; in addition, there were about 50 half- breeds and 300 Indians.

Twenty years later, the editor of the Bulletin, in describing the isolation of Edmonton in 1881, stated that there was not even a house between Calgary and Edmonton ex- cept that of an Indian farm instructor at Big Stone Creek 7 (later Wetaskawih) and that east of Edmonton there was not

a house between Fort Saskatchewan and Battleford, 250 miles

distant.° Winnipeg was the nearest railway centre* and Cal-

1p dmonton BUseetin, vec, 1/7, 1051.. Other centres listed with their population included: Morleyville--60 whites, 600 Indians; Cochrane ranch--40 whites; Fish Creck-- total population, 20; High River--unknown population; Fort Macleod--300 whites, 30 Indians.

2Sir Cecil Denny quotes an old-timer in Edmonton, Dr. George Roy, as saying that in 1383 "in all the region between Calgary and Edmonton except about the crossing of the Red Deer, there was no white settlement.'"’ Denny, The Law Marches West, ed. and arr. by W.B, Cameron (Toronto: J.M, Dent and Sons Ltd., 1939), pp. 180-81.

3Rev. H. McKellar, Presbyterian missionary who tra- velled the route in 1881, referred to the "long stretch of nearly three hundred miles without an inhabitant between Battleford and Edmonton." Op. cit., p. 107.

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gary, where police were posted, was not even a village com- munity. The ranching industry of southern Alberta lay in the future.! oats required by the police at Fort Saskat- chewan were freighted in by wagon from Montana, 500 miles away. Cattle and horses for local use and consumption were driven in from Montana, British Columbia, and Wash- ington. Prince Albert controlled the trade of the Macken- zie region. 2

Even nine years later, in 1890, the Bulletin re- ported "very little eit ek along the trail" over which the peiiee stages ran between Calgary and Boe ee There were houses only about every ten miles where travel-

lers could find shelter in winter and entertainment, 4

St. Boniface, thus connecting the Red River settlement with St. Vincent, Minnesota and the outside world.

Isir Cecil Denny dates the “beginning of farming and stock-raising in southern Alberta" in 1876 and the first roundup in that country in 1879. -1884 to 1890 was the "ban- ner period of the cattle industry in southern Alberta." Op. eCliy,appre101, 230-31.

2Edmonton Belictin, i901.

35.W.. Wilk dates the birth of the Calgary and Edmon- ton Trail to about the middle of the 1870's in the period immediately after the arrival of the N.W.M.P. See his One Day's Journey (Calgary: Aircraft Printing Ltd,), 1963.

4edmonton Bulletin, Apr. 3, 1890. Wilk writes that in 1880 a Mr. and Mrs. Youmans "in all the vast country af- ter they left Calgary ... saw no sign of habitation until they reached Blindman River crossing. There was not a

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Prior to the advent of the Ser ahe ve transportation connections with the outside world were so primitive as seriously to retard settlement and development of the Ed- Benton region. Next to the natural advantages of the park belt, particularly that part centred in Edmonton, perhaps the most frequent theme in editorials of the Edmonton Bul- letin during the 1880's was the need for improved trans- portation. In the years immediately prior to 1883, when the Canadian Pacific Railway reached Calgary, the main overland means of transportation was by ox-cart from Winnipeg. In 1881, the editor of the Bulletin complained that carts were not uncommonly three months on the trail between Edmonton and Winnipeg. The difficulties of hauling heavy goods by carts


"almost prevent their being brought," and when they reached

Edmonton they cost so much as to "put the price almost out

of reach,"

shack, not a fence, not a turned furrow. Nothing to show that white men had passed that way except the trail of the Red River carts. . .. At the Blindman crossing a half- breed couple named Anderson had a stopping house early in fuaceveat om loo, Op, cit.,-p, 36. “He “goes on to ‘state that in 1889 there was "very little settlement along the trail." Ibid., p. 43. -W.F. Bredin mentions that on a trip from Benton to Edmonton in 1882, he met no one from Wetaski- win--where there was a government farm--to Strathcona--where there were four or five houses. "Benton to Edmonton in 1882."" Alberta Historical Review, VI, no. 3, p. 26.

lndmonton Bulletin, Nov. 5, 1881.

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7 The other primary means of transporting freight--by steamer on the North Saskatchewan River--involved by con- trast only twenty days, but the Saskatchewan was considered by some "not to be fit for navigation to any extent," Nevertheless, wrote the Bulletin editor, "it must hee ary

bad indeed if it is not better than slow-going oxen on a

muddy road 1,000 miles long.'"2

In the course of ppendcnere attending the incorpor- ation of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway Company, Prime Minister Macdonald pemiained that the line of railway was needed to provide transportation facilities ae the ranch- ing country, maintain the flow of capital and imnigration of