The Opening of the Canadian North 1870-1914 | Penguin Random House Canada
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The Canadian Centenary Series

The Opening of the Canadian North 1870-1914

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Volume XVI of the Canadian Centenary Series

Now available as e-books for the first time, the Canadian Centenary Series is a comprehensive nineteen-volume history of the peoples and lands which form Canada. Although the series is designed as a unified whole so that no part of the story is left untold, each volume is complete in itself.

This pioneer study traces Canada’s northward expansion in the years after Confederation. In the forefront of the movement were fur-traders, missionaries, and gold-seekers. Behind them came provincial and federal governments, concerned for their authority, and anxious to develop the riches of the North. Under the Laurier government (1896--1911) the advance quickened, and the roles of the Geological Survey, North-West Mounted Police, and Departments of the Interior, Indian Affairs, and Marine and Fisheries, gained new importance. 

Professor Zaslow, in examining the opening of social, cultural, economic, and industrial frontiers, chronicles the outstanding achievements, as well as the far-reaching failures of the period. A country which, by Confederation in 1867, had barely extended beyond the Gulf of St. Lawrence and St. Lawrence Lowlands region, had by 1914 occupied the prairies. Aided by new transcontinental railways, its people had begun moving into the forests of the Middle North along a front that extended from Lake St. John to Dawson, and the Arctic frontier beyond received increasing attention. But the governments failed in their treatment of the Indigenous population, and in their eagerness to foster development they allowed the resources to be exploited blindly, for and by foreign interests in the main. These were exciting, complex years; in Professor Zaslow’s words, “years of apprenticeship, when Canada began to come to grips with the facts of its northern nature.”

First published in 1971, Zaslow’s important contribution to the Canadian Centenary Series is available here as an e-book for the first time.