IN 1906 there were only two R.N.W.M.P. detachments on the shores of Hudson Bay, at Fullerton and Churchill. This was the same number as in the Mackenzie Delta region, and it might seem that the situation in the two areas was much the same. There were, in fact, similarities, especially the difficulties of climate and transportation which plagued the police in both places. Yet there were also significant differences.
In the 1980s, with new discoveries of raw materials and plans for their exploitation, the western Arctic appears to be the new frontier of Canada. Hudson Bay, especially the Churchill region, faces a static or declining future. The reverse was true seventy-five years ago; very little thought was given to the western Arctic while Hudson Bay was in some circles a topic of constant interest as an alternate route for exporting prairie grain. The development of a port on the west coast of Hudson Bay had been a favourite project of western farmers and their representatives since the early 1880s -- more than twenty years before the police set foot in the region. Their intention was to provide a shipping route to England which was shorter and therefore cheaper than the route through Montreal and to provide an alternative to the C.P.R. as an outlet from the west. By 1904 the idea of building a railroad to Hudson Bay had been endorsed by both political parties. 1 In 1907 Sir Wilfrid Laurier, speaking in the House of Commons, foresaw "towns and villages on the shores of Hudson Bay like those we see on the shores of Norway, where people will be prosperously engaged in the lumbering business, the pulp industry, the mining industry." 2 Planning and surveying the route began in 1908, and construction in 1910.