High Stakes and Hard Times: Herb Lake and Depression-Era Mining in Northern Manitoba

By Steinburg, Will | Manitoba History, Spring 2012 | Go to article overview

High Stakes and Hard Times: Herb Lake and Depression-Era Mining in Northern Manitoba


Steinburg, Will, Manitoba History


Don't you know that for two hundred and fifty years Canadians have been puddling along on the southern rim of a country as rich as any country in the world and have handed the rest of it over to a company of moneyed Englishmen who never saw Canada and never give a tinker's damn if they ever do or not. God Almighty's going to give Canada the next hundred years to make good in ... We've got enough fish in the lakes north of the Saskatchewan to feed the rest of the world weekdays and Fridays. There's more good salmon in the Hudson's Bay than they ever dreamed of in Alaska or British Columbia. There's enough water power here in one province to turn every wheel, light every house and every street in the village from Halifax to Vancouver. There's timber and stone and minerals--why, God bless my soul, it isn't a question of whether the stuff's here or not. It's a question of whether we're packing the kind of stuff here [pointing to his belt] ... That's where we stand! (1)

This excerpt from Manitoban author Douglas Dirkin's 1921 novel The Lobstick Trail will seem a bit unusual to modern readers, particularly for the self-assured tone and outlandish claims of its speaker, the novel's hero Kirk Bradner. Bradner's speech expresses a kind of wild optimism for northern settlement that seems naive and out of place today. During the 1920s and 1930s, however, this sort of boosterism and romance of the north was commonplace. Like many newcomers to Manitoba's frontier in that period, Bradner imagines that the north is a land waiting impatiently to be subdued; that it contains a treasure trove of resources that will make the province productive and prosperous; and that it is missing only the right addition of people and infrastructure to unlock this potential. Bradner's utopian vision is telling of how southern Manitobans generally viewed the provincial north during the Depression: while boosters presented a land of untapped, unimaginable potential on the one hand, on the other their promises and appeals expose a fractured and malfunctioning society in need of reassurance and security. The First World War had been hard on Canadians Will Steinburg was raised in St. Adolphe, Manitoba. He received a BA from the University of Manitoba (2005) and an MA in history at Queen's University (2009). Currently studying law at the University of Manitoba, he is a mining enthusiast and avid canoeist of historic rivers who aspires to be a fine paddler and a perfect shot. and Manitobans particularly. General economic malaise followed the war and later came the Great Depression. Many homesteaders and labourers were forced from their homes. In these troubled times Manitoba's northern frontier afforded southern society the room and resources it needed to adjust to abrupt economic and social change. In this period, the hinterland acted as a release valve, absorbing some of society's most disadvantaged people. In order to escape harsh economic conditions in the south, many poor, alienated and unemployed individuals flooded into the north during the Depression. At the same time this exodus occurred, the provincial north was also a refuge for commercial interests. New space was opened up for well-connected companies to expand their business in the form of large industrial mines and company towns. In the 1930s, both extremes of the economic spectrum were well represented in the north, but they did not often overlap. They existed in separate communities, formed on fundamentally different philosophies and shaped by drastically different methods of production. It can be said that every northern community reflects its founders in significant ways, that each town is an expression of its founders' beliefs and their needs. The goal of this article is to explain the exodus of mostly poor, alienated southerners to the north, and to show how a community that they created represented their beliefs and circumstances in a distinctive way. In the Canadian north, company towns have dominated the scene, but this article is meant to highlight the lives of men and women who did not settle in company towns during the 1920s and 1930s. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

High Stakes and Hard Times: Herb Lake and Depression-Era Mining in Northern Manitoba
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.