Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

11. The Ottawa (Ot-ta-wa), having a course of 550 miles, and along which much timber is carried, joins the St. Lawrence at Montreal Island. The Saguenay (Sägʻ-e-nay), which joins the St. Lawrence from the north about 150 miles below Quebec, is remarkable for its great depth and for presenting scenery of extraordinary character.

12. A range of low hills runs parallel on the north with the great water-way from the lakes to the coast, at some distance inland. High lands also skirt the lower course of the St. Lawrence on the south.

13. The towns and settled parts of the country extend along the rivers and lakes. The unoccupied tracts are heavily timbered. Petroleum wells and salt springs are numerous near Lake Ontario. Building stone is abundant, and coal, iron, and copper have been found in several spots.

LESSON 49.—THE WATER-WAYS OF CANADA.

1. Lord Dufferin, late Governor-general of Canada, on a recent occasion at Manitoba, standing midway between the Atlantic and the Pacific, thus described the great natural water-ways of the Dominion:

2. To an Englishman, the Severn or the Thames appear considerable streams; but in the Ottawa, a mere affluent of the St. Lawrence, an affluent, moreover, which reaches the parent stream 600 miles from its mouth, we have a river nearly 550 miles long. Even after ascending the St. Lawrence itself to Lake Ontario, and pursuing it across Lake Huron, the Niagara, the St. Clair, and Lake Superior to Thunder Bay (at the head of the lake), a distance of 1500 miles, where are we?

3. From Thunder Bay we are enabled at once to ship our astonished traveller on a river some hundred miles long to Rainy Lake and River-the proper name of which by-the-by is René, after the man who discovered it-a magnificent stream 300 yards broad and a couple of hundred miles long, down whose tranquil bosom he floats into the Lake of the Woods.

4. Here he finds himself on a sheet of water, whiclı, though diminutive as compared with the inland seas he has left behind him, will probably be found sufficiently extensive to render him fearfully sea-sick during his passage across it. For the last 80 miles of his voyage, he will be consoled by sailing through land-locked channels, the beauty of whose scenery, while it resembles, certainly excels the far-famed Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence.

5. From this lake paradise of sylvan beauty we are able to transfer our friend to the Winnipeg, a river the existence of which, in the very heart and centre of the continent, is in itself one of Nature's most delightful miracles, so beautiful and varied are its islands, so broad, so deep, so fervid is the volume of its waters, the extent of their lake-like expansions, and the tremendous power of their rapids.

6. At the town of Winnipeg, the half-way house of the continent, having had so much of water and having reached the home of the buffalo, our traveller “babbles of green fields” and the prairie grasses. We take him down to the quay and ship him on the Red River or the Assineboine, two streams--each about 500 miles longwhich happily mingle their waters here; or we take him off to Lake Winnipeg, an inland sea 300 miles long, and upwards of 60 miles broad, during the navigation of which for many a weary hour he will find himself out of

1 Wooded and rocky islets and islands in the St. Lawrence near its point of departure from Lake Ontario.

[ocr errors]

sight of land, and probably more sea-sick than he was even on the Atlantic.

7. At the north-west angle of Lake Winnipeg he hits upon the mouth of the Saskatchewan, the gate-way and high-road to the North-west, and the starting point to another 1500 miles of navigable water, flowing nearly due east and west between its alluvial banks.

8. At the foot of the Rocky Mountains, our Ancient Mariner,” knowing that water cannot run up hill, feels certain his aquatic experiences are concluded. He never was more mistaken. We launch him on the Athabasca and Mackenzie Rivers, and start him on a longer trip than he has ever yet undertaken, the navigation of the Mackenzie River alone exceeding 2500 miles.

9. If he survives, a concluding voyage of 1400 miles down the Fraser River brings him to Victoria in Vancouver, and the Pacific.

10. I have omitted thousands of miles of other lakes and rivers which water the North-west-Lake Manitoba, Bear and Slave Lakes, &c. When it is remembered that most of these streams flow for their entire length through plains of the richest description, where year after year wheat can be raised without manure, and where the soil everywhere presents the appearance of a highly cultivated kitchen garden in England, enough bas been said to display the agricultural riches of the lands I have referred to, and the capability they possess of affording happy and prosperous homes to millions of the human race.

LESSON 50.-NIAGARA.

1. Of all the sights on this earth of ours, which tourists travel to see, I am inclined to give the palm to the Falls of Niagara.

[graphic]

Falls of Niagara--the Lesser or American Fall on the left, in the centre Goat Island, the Horse-shoe or Great Fall on the right.

2. That the waters of Lake Erie have come down in their courses from the broad basins of Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron; that these waters fall into Lake Ontario by the short and rapid river of Niagara, and that the Falls of Niagara are made by a sudden break in the level of this rapid river is probably known to all who read this book.

3. All the waters of these huge inland seas run over that breach in the rocky bottom of the stream; and thence it comes that the flow is unceasing in its grandeur, and that no eye can perceive a difference in the weight, or sound, or violence of the fall, whether it be visited in the drought of autumn, amidst the storms of winter, or after the melting of the ice of the lakes in the days of early summer.

4. This stream divides Canada from the States, the western bank belonging to the British crown, and the eastern bank being in the State of New York.

5. Up above the Falls, for more than a mile, the waters leap and burst over rapids, as though conscious of the destiny that awaits them. Here the river is very broad, and comparatively shallow, but from shore to shore it frets itself into little torrents, and begins to assume the majesty of its power. Even here, no strongest swimmer could have a chance of saving himself, if fate cast him in even among those petty whirlpools. The waters though so broken in their descent, are deliciously green. Their colour as seen early in the morning, or just as the sun has set, is so bright as to give to the place its chiefest charm.

6. This will best be seen from the island--Goat Island, which divides the river above the Falls. Indeed the island is a part of that steep broken ledge over which the river tumbles; and no doubt in process of time will be

« AnteriorContinuar »