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British Columbia and Its Agricultural Capabilities

British Columbia and Its Agricultural Capabilities

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Excerpt from British Columbia and Its Agricultural Capabilities: A Brief Descriptive Pamphlet Issued by the Department of Agriculture, British Columbia

British Columbia Its Agricultural Capabilities And Possibilities, British Columbia, although not, strictly speaking, an agricultural country, has nevertheless large areas of arable land of great fertility, and capable of producing much more than is required of its present or prospective population. The mining and other industries in the earlier history of the Province so completely occupied the attention of its inhabitants that British Columbia came to be considered by them, and naturally by outsiders, as a country quite unfit for agricultural pursuits; and so much was this the case, that when the subject of Confederation was first mooted, not only was British Columbia designated by one of the leading statesmen of the East as "A Sea of Mountains," but it was actually looked upon as utterly worthless, "the derelict of Canada," by many people who should and perhaps did know better; and even after the wonderful resources of the Western Province had developed to such an extent as to wring the acknowledgement of its richness from its detractors, the belief still existed, and does exist among many, that although rich in minerals, timber, fish and coal, there is not agricultural land sufficiently extensive or good in the Province to produce enough to feed its own inhabitants, to say nothing of the possibility of its production ever reaching such a point as to contemplate exportation outside its confines.

Now, whilst it is quite true that British Columbia is not, strictly speaking, an agricultural country, never did a greater fallacy exist than that the agricultural area of land is so circumscribed and poor as it has been depicted.

Another fallacy is that of climate. The very name of Canada is associated by very many people with the idea of "Our Lady of the Snows;" and since British Columbia is part and parcel of the great Dominion, it has come to be regarded as identical in climate to the Provinces in the East. Amongst our friends to the south of us also, divided only by an imaginary line, the idea is quite general that, climatically, British Columbia is unfit for agricultural pursuits.

A great deal of misconception regarding the Province is undoubtedly due to ill-informed writers, who, after viewing the country through the window of a Pullman car, or from the deck of a steamer, forthwith undertake to write a book, all about the country.

On account of its topography and extent, ranging as it does from the 19th to the 60th degrees of latitude, and intersected as it is by immense mountain ranges, with the warm Japan current setting over to its shores, it may easily be understood that the climate of British Columbia is varied in its character, that its products, as a natural sequence, are also very varied, embracing those of the semi-tropical as well as of the temperate zones. The apple, par excellence, is the fruit of the country, which with the pear, plum, prune, cherry, and all small fruits, attains great perfection in most of the settled portions of the Province. Peaches, apricots, nectarines, grapes, and such fruits, are naturally not so wide in their distribution, but are successfully cultivated in many parts of the southern portions of the Province. Melons, tomatoes, Chile peppers, egg plant, and all vegetables of this character, are also grown to perfection in many i arts. In the matter of nuts almonds, walnuts, filberts, hazelnuts, cobnuts, chestnuts, &c. these produce well wherever grown. It is impossible at the present writing to give any statistical information, even of an approximate chatterer, of the number and kinds of orchards in the Province, nor the amount of fruit produced. This may be said, however, that whereas a few 3 ears ago most of the fruit consumed was imported from the neighboring States and California, now most of the fruit.
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