Roaring Days: Rossland's Mines and the History of British Columbia

By Jeremy Mouat | Go to book overview

Miners and Early Industrial Relations
in the Kootenays, 1895-1900

The British investors and financiers examined in the last chapter were not the only ones affected by the collapse of speculative investment in Rossland's mining companies. The crash had a dramatic impact on the town and its mines. Those who felt its full force — the people at the centre of the collision between reality and the stock market — were Rossland's working miners. The most significant consequence was a lengthy and bitter strike in 1901-2. To understand that event, and the nature of Rossland's industrial relations generally, we need to examine the working environment in the mines as well as developments in the broader labour movement of the Kootenays.

Chapter 2 described Rossland's burgeoning mineral production in the mid-1890s, the construction of two railways connecting the town with the wider world, and the growing 'Canadianization' of the region symbolized by the purchases of both the Gooderham-Blackstock group and the CPR. The town's population mushroomed as people flocked in to find work in and around the mines. The 1901 Census revealed that over 6,000 people

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