The Peace River Country, Canada
The Peace River Country, Canada. .... , its resources and opportunities. by F. H. Kitto, for the Department of the Interior, 1927.
Here is one of those government issued brochures published to entice settlers to come and make a life for themselves in this vast, new settlement area. The Peace River is one of the major watersheds of Northern Alberta at its border with British Columbia, a relatively small section of which is included in the Peace River Country. The area opened for settlement lies at the foot of the Western North American mountain range and is truly enormous being some 47 million acres or, to put it another way, larger than the area of the whole of Ireland, Scotland and Wales put together or that of all of the six New England states in the US. The surveys and first hand reports referenced show it to be a prime agricultural area and the book contains many pictures of "happy" cows and abundant crops growing in the field.
It is clear that the intent of opening up the area is to encourage agriculture and the book makes no bones that there is no known mineral wealth to be had, although it can't help hinting that there is always a chance that gold could be found.
There are numerous maps throughout the book showing the area open for settlement both overall and split into the districts of: Lesser Slave Lake, High Prairie, Sturgeon Lake, McLennan-Falher, Peace River, Dunvegan-Waterhole, Spirit River, Grand Prairie, Beaverlodge-Valhalla, Pouce Coupe, Fort St. John, Hudson Hope, Battle River and Fort Vermilion. The individual maps are divided up into rectangular grids which one would suppose to delineate farm lots of "a quarter," or 160 acres. Each of these districts is reviewed in some detail in the chapter devoted to it including indicating what lots are already taken, where "improved" lots may be available, and where the land still stands virgin.
These details serve to fill in the gaps left by the overall appreciation of the advantages to be gained by taking up an agricultural life in Peace River Country. Although the book does discuss the climate it is not too explicit about the winter temperatures and so one could imagine that a first winter experience in Canada's continental climate would come as something of a surprise to a European settler more familiar with the temperate winters of, say, England.
Despite all this it is clear that the Peace River Country offers plenty of opportunity for a young and vigorous farmer looking to make a new life in a new land amongst the unspoiled and fertile lands waiting here to be conquered. Concluding with the personal testimonials of two early, and by then established, settlers, this book offers a researcher an excellent way to stand in the shoes of the potential settler as they undertake their bold new adventure coupled with a radical shift of lifestyle. 96 pages packed with mixed, text, photographs and maps. All the text is computer searchable and search delays are minimized by the use of our FastFind technology.
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