The Unknown Country, Canada and Her People

By Bruce Hutchison | Go to book overview

The Ready Way to Canada

The statesmen made a treaty. They signed it in the gloomy East Block of Ottawa on a cold spring morning. In the silence of an historic moment the cameras clicked and the pens scratched. They would tame the River to men's uses.

Did the River hear the faint scratching of the pens? Was the sound of cameras perceptible beside the falls of Niagara, in the whirlpools, eddies, and rapids? No, the River only smiled that morning and went about its spring business of breaking the winter's ice, for it knew men would never tame it. They might use it, grasp a little of its power for themselves, build cities at its sides, and launch their ships upon its current, but nothing could alter by more than a few yards the irresistible current of the St. Lawrence or curb its yearning towards the sea.

How often the River had seen men calculate its future and measure its value! "And the said men did, moreover, certify unto us," wrote Cartier, "that there was the way and beginning of the great river of Hochelaga, and ready way to Canada, which river the farther it went the narrower it came, even unto Canada, and that then there was fresh water which went so far upwards that they had never heard of any man who had gone to the head of it."

So Cartier, sailing into a bay at the River's mouth on August 10, 1535, the feast day of St. Lawrence, named the ready way to Canada after that holy man. Poor Lawrence, who died on a red-hot gridiron by order of the Emperor Valerian because he would not surrender the treasures of the Christian church --

-129-

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The Unknown Country, Canada and Her People
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • My Country 3
  • Chapter One - Chez Garneau 6
  • Mother of Canada 21
  • Canadian Spring 43
  • Chapter Three - The Wood Choppers 46
  • Letter from Montreal to Young Lady With Violets 61
  • Chapter Four - Ville Marie 64
  • The Tower 77
  • Chapter Five - Three O'Clock, Ottawa Time 79
  • Leaves Falling, Dead Men Calling 107
  • Chapter Six - Made in Canada 110
  • The Ready Way to Canada 129
  • Chapter Seven - The Wedge 132
  • Mrs. Noggins 155
  • Chapter Eight General Brock's Bloody Hill 158
  • Winter 179
  • Chapter Nine - Wood, Wind, Water 182
  • The Names of Canada 209
  • Chapter Ten - Sailors' Town 211
  • The Queer Lady 219
  • Chapter Eleven - The Home Town 222
  • The Trees 231
  • Chapter Twelve - Fundy's Children 234
  • The Geese 247
  • Chapter Thirteen - The Frontiersman 249
  • The Canadian 269
  • Chapter Fourteen - The Men in Sheepskin Coats 272
  • Father's Plow 289
  • Chapter Fifteen - Drought and Glut 292
  • Never Go Back 309
  • She's Quiet Tonight 329
  • Chapter Seventeen - The Lotus Eaters 332
  • The Buckskin 351
  • Chapter Eighteen - Cariboo Road 353
  • Index 375
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