Formidable Heritage: Manitoba's North and the Cost of Development, 1870 to 1930

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Univ. of Manitoba Press, Jun 3, 2004 - History - 496 pages
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Canadians have an ambivalent feeling towards the North. Although climate and geography make our northern condition apparent, Canadians often forget about the north and its problems. Nevertheless, for the generation of historians that included Lower, Creighton, and Morton, the northern rivers, lakes, forests, and plains were often seen as primary characters in the drama of nation building. W.L. Morton even went so far as to write that the "main task of Canadian life has been to make something of that formidable heritage" of the northern Canadian shield. For many politicians and developers, "to make something" of the North came to mean thinking of the North as an empty hinterland waiting to be exploited, and today, hydroelectric projects, mining, milling, pulp and paper, and other industries have changed much of the North beyond recognition. One of the first parts of the North to be aggressively industrialized was northern Manitoba. When all of Manitoba was given in 1670 to a group of entrepreneurs, a precedent was set that was replicated throughout the province's history. After the province entered confederation in 1870, provincial politicians and business leaders began to look to the northern resources as a new key to the provinceis economic development. Particularly after 1912, they saw resource development in the North as a strategy to expand the provincial economy from its agricultural base. Jim Mochoruk shows how government and business worked together to transform what had been the exclusive fur-trading preserve of the Hudson's Bay Company into an industrial hinterland. He follows the many twisting paths established by developers and politicians as they chased their goal of economic growth, and recounts the ultimate costs of development in economic, ecological, and political terms.


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The PreDevelopment Era 1670 to 1872
The Dominions North 1871 to 1891
The Entrepreneurs North The Land of Opportunity to 1900
Manitobas Fight for Equality 1870 to 1912
The Development of Manitobas Middle North 1896 to 1912
The Development of New Manitoba and the Fight for Equality 1912 to 1922
Booms Busts and the Politics of Tripartite Development 1918 to 1925
Premier Brackens Struggle for Development 1925 to 1930
The Consummation and Costs of Development 1925 to 1930

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About the author (2004)

Jim Mochoruk, a native of Winnipeg, teaches history at the University of North Dakota. While much of his work focusses upon the history of Canada's mid-north, he also publishes in the field of western Canadian social and labour history. He is the author of The People's Co-op: The Life and Times of a North End Institution.

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