It is almost a truism that the farther north the land, the greater the fertility, if there be any fertility at all. There is first the supply of unfailing moisture, with a yearly subsoiling of humus unknown to arid lands. Canada is super-sensitive about her winter climate—the depth and intensity of the frost, the length and rigor of her winters; but she need not be. It should be cause of gratitude. Frost penetrating the ground from five to twelve feet—as it does in the Northwest—guarantees a subterranean root irrigation that never fails. Heavy snow—let us acknowledge frankly snow sometimes banks western streets the height of a man—means a heavy supply of moisture both in thaw and rain. There is second the long sunlight. An earth tilted on its axis toward the sun six months of the year gives the North a sunlight that is longer the farther north you go. When the sun sets at seven to eight in New York, it sets at eight to nine in Winnipeg, and nine to ten in Athabasca, and only for a few hours at all still farther north. It is the long sunlight that gives the fruit of Niagara and Quebec and Annapolis its “fameuse” quality; just as it is the sunlight that gives western fruit its finest coloring, the higher up the plateau it is grown. It is the long sunlight that gives Number One Hard Wheat its white fine quality so indispensable to the millers. So of barley and vegetables and small fruits and all that can be grown in the short season of the North. What the season lacks in length it gains in intensity of sunlight. Four months of twenty-hour sunlight produce better growth in some products than eight months of shorter sunlight.
These two advantages of moisture and sunlight, Canada possesses. What else has she? It doesn’t mean much to say that Canada equals Europe in area and that you could spread Germany and France and Austria and Great Britain over the Dominion’s map and still have an area uncovered equal to European Russia. Nor does it mean much more to say that in Canada you can find the climate of a Switzerland in the Canadian Rockies, of Italy in British Columbia, of England in the maritime provinces and of Russia in the Northwest. Areas are so great and diverse that you have to examine them in groups to realize what basis of fact Canada builds from.
Girt almost round by the sea are the maritime provinces—Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick—in area within sixty-seven square miles of the same size as England, and in climate not unlike the home land. Your impression of their inhabitants is of a quiescent, romantic, pastoral and sea-faring people—sprung from the same stock as the liberty-seekers of New England, untouched by the mad unrest of modern days, conservative as bed-rock, but with an eye to the frugal main chance and a way of making good quietly. They do not talk about the simple life in the maritime provinces because they have always lived it, and the land is famed for its diet of codfish, and its men