Civilizing the West: The Galts and the Development of Western Canada

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University of Alberta, 1986 - History - 395 pages
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Alexander Tilloch Galt and his son, Elliott Torrance Galt, were two central Canadian entrepreneurs who tirelessly promoted the resources of western Canada. During the latter half of the nineteenth and the early part of the twentieth centuries, they worked zealously to bring the symbols of civilization to the undeveloped prairies.Because immigrants and business preferred to settle in the United States, the Galts battled British and eastern Canadian reluctance to invest in the western Canadian frontier. The competing American railways and coal industry, the unstable international financial market, and the prejudice against the seemingly arid and cold southern Canadian plains also hampered their efforts. Nevertheless, the Galts maintained their family's optimistic self-confidence, stubborn perseverance, and astute business acumen. In a brief span of twenty-five years, the two bustling promoters introduced steamboats, railways, coalmines, irrigation, and agricultural settlement to the Northwest. Aided by generous government subsidies, Alexander and Elliott Galt transformed the prairies more than centuries of winds, fires, and rains.As a corollary to the story of the Galts, Dr. den Otter traces the birth and growth of the southern Alberta town of Lethbridge, showing how civilization came and the problems that came with it. The study concludes with a comprehensive look at the 1906 coal workers' strike as one product of the civilizing process.Using primary sources hitherto unpublished, the author brings to light new material of interest to historians of business, labour, mining, railways, irrigation, and the early development of the West. Appendices, tables, maps, and photographs further document the fascinating period of civilizing the West.
 

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Contents

Techniques of growth
71
They shall have Dominion
80
The ties that bind
118
Genesis of a coal town
161
Coal town in wheat country
238
Anatomy of a strike
266
Epilogue
305
List of persons holding shares in the North Western
315
Alberta Railway Irrigation Company
328
Notes
337
Bibliography
377
Index
389
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