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CANADA'S RESOURCES IN DEVELOPMENT c. H. MITCHELL T HE development of a new country is, in a great measure, due to the initiative, the resourcefulness and the independence of its people. Where these human characteristics have been found united with great material resources the history of national developments the world over, especially during the past hundred years, has recorded conspicuous achievements in the allied fields of finance, industry and engineering. The progress of a country's early development in these directions is also influenced largely by the experiences of the past and by the adaptation and adjustment of those experiences to conditions of the present. To some extent it is a process of imitation and often receives impulses from outside sources. In this respect Canadian enterprise, in . its earlier stages, obtained no small inspiration from Britain, the mother country, and from the United States, the neighbour; but in more recent years Canadians ha.ve work~d out their own problems in their own way to meet their special conditions. Each country or region pursues a distinctive development , which demands design, construction and operation of the necessary enterprises in conformity with the characteristics of the country. These governing characteristics are both physical and human; they depend upon geography, climate, natural resources, and, above all, upon the tastes, habit~, and customs of the people in the requirements of their life and business. Canada has features which are peculiar to the country in all of these respects, differing from those of other countries CANADA'S RESOURCES IN DEVELOPMENT or regions situated not only in other parts of the world, but even upon the same continent. Canadian methods of development have, therefore, become and have remained distinctive. They have acquired their own national qualities. The initiative and resourcefulness demanded by Canadian conditions have particularly stimulated originality and independence, from which have resulted the distinctive features that make the character of the various forms of enterprise which are being followed in the development of the country now that the Canadian people themselves have awakened to a realization of the value of their assets in the country's natural resources. It would be interesting to contemplate the extent and manner in which geography has influenced Canada's history in this respect. If the early difficulties of transportation from the sea to the Great Lakes had been less, how differently would the history of the early Canadas ·· have been written? H ad the Northland been more accessible, or its invasion been possible at an earlier period, how much further would Eastern Canada's development have progressed? Had the prairies been nearer, or more easily approached through Canadian territory, how much sooner would the older provinces have made their contributions in population? Were the Rocky Mountains a less formidable barrier, to what extent would the Western march of Canada's development have been facilitated, or what to-day would be Canada's advanced position on the Pacific? But harbours and channels to deepen, roads to build, rivers to bridge, railways to push westward, mountain passes to overcome , are but obstacles which foster enterprise and resource in a hardy ,industrious people and help make a proud history. If these be the price of development, 425 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY then the heritage of the Canadian people is all the greater in the experience gained, the confidence acquired, and the consciousness of ability to succeed. As national developments go, Canada is essentially a new country. Its first people coming originally from France three hundred years ago and from Britain a hundred and fifty years later, occupied only scattered districts in the regions about the Atlantic coasts and the. Great Lakes until a period not much more than seventy-five years ago, when the· real expansion began. It is only about fifty years, however, since the commencement of a definite movement of population to the regions westward of the Lakes, a movement out to the prairies and to the Pacific Coast. To visualize Canada in the early periods is to construct a composite moving picture of early colonies gradually expanding into provinces which, in 1867, were consolidated first into the confederation, ·and later augmented by the western provinces. We...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 424-451
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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