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into it seem quite unable ever to shake off the habit; there is always the hope of finding something to-morrow. It is really wonderful to find immense coal beds right at the foot of the Rocky Mountains; here you have the mountains all around you, and there at the foot of one of them is an immense bed of coal, such as they have in the Crowsnest Pass, where it is being mined in large quantities. And then you go through the country and you find it in the valleys. You go over to Vancouver Island, and there they are shipping millions of tons every year. When you go up north where the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway is building across the country, you have, I am told, large beds of anthracite coal. So, with immense beds of coal all over the country, and large deposits of iron in different places, with other minerals scattered everywhere, and the country as yet only half or a quarter explored, I think that one is perfectly safe in inferring that British Columbia is really going to be a rich and powerful province. At least the world believes so. You find the moneyed men of Europe, of France, Belgium, Germany, and of course England, really interested in what is going on in British Columbia. Perhaps they are interested in what is going on in every part of Canada for aught I know, but I have occasion to know that for some reason or other, they are intensely interested in what is going on in British Columbia. I think, probably, they have been studying the resources of the country, and they know. One result is that they have agents in Vancouver, they invest a great deal of money out there, millions of dollars every year, and of course they hold a great deal of real estate and mining property throughout the country.
I am quite incapable of giving you an adequate idea of the extent of the lumbering, but it comes next to mining, if it is not ahead of it, in value of output.
I do not know whether I should include among the industries what they call real estate, or not. (Laughter) There are a good many men employed in it I know, and of course there are a good many men who are making money in it; but if you think that there is some kind of habitual boom going on in Vancouver, you are very far astray. There is really no boom in Vancouver itself. Sometimes they get up a flurry in places outside the city like Coquitlam, but I was there two years and a half and I did not see any sign of a real estate boom in the city of Vancouver during that time. Things go on, of course, somewhat rapidly, because it is really a rapidly growing city, and a rapidly growing country, and the world is interested, and therefore the activity is great ; but it is great because of the expectation of the business world that it is going to be a great place. The highest point to which real estate rose before I left was $6,000 a foot, and there was nothing speculative in that price, because it was one of the banks that paid it. (Laughter) Ten years ago, the city of Vancouver was a city of about 30,000 people. To-day it is a city of approximately 150,000. The census gives a little over 100,000 but that is only the legal city, the city that is described by boundaries in the law; but the suburbs are, practically, part of the city and, if you take in South Vancouver and Point Grey, you will have a city of approximately 150,000 people, and the growth will continue there as it will continue, no doubt, in Toronto.
The site is magnificent, with its scenery and shipping facilities, and the harbour is open all the year round. We never see a sign of ice upon the water there. I may tell you that on the seventh day of February last year I saw in British Columbia a new leaf on a tree out-of-doors. When I left Vancouver on the fifteenth of December I could have taken a rose from the lawn of the house in which I lived, and I am sorry I did not bring it. They are not in the least bit troubled with ice or snow. They tell me they had a good deal of snow there this year, but certainly nothing will interfere with the shipping from the Port of Vancouver any time of the year. Then four miles south of that harbour you have the Fraser River, a magnificent river, and they have shipping facilities up the river, twenty or thirty miles or more. Taking it all in all, with the country back of it, with the site of it, the mountains surrounding it, and every facility for communication, nothing but an earthquake or a European war or something like that will arrest its growth.
Two or three years ago the City Council adopted what they call the Single Tax. They call it that, but of course it is not that. (Laughter I am perhaps skating on thin ice, but I just want to state the facts. They were not facing or thinking of any theory; they were too much in earnest about it for that; they were facing a condition, and the condition was this: The City Council had to deal with lots that were owned perhaps in New York or Europe or Montreal or Toronto, and the question was how could they deal with them on a fair basis. They had to carry their water-mains and their sewers and their sidewalks and so on right past those vacant lots that were held by men in Paris or New York or Montreal or elsewhere, and were held for speculation. Of course tourists went out there, for the climate perhaps, or the scenery, or the mountains, and would buy lots—the real estate men would see to that. And then the real estate men would get into communication by correspondence and advertising with people away in different parts of Canada and other parts of the world; and consequently the city of Vancouver had to deal with a situation that was peculiar. In 1895 they said to themselves, "We will put things on a fair basis this way; we will tax the improvements,—buildings—at fifty per cent. of their assessed value and we will tax land the full hundred per cent. of its assessed value.” That went on for ten years, and then they decided to take another twenty-five per cent. off the improvements, and then for three years the buildings or improvements were taxed at only twenty-five per cent. of their assessed value. Then in the following year, whether it was that they did not think it worth while to bother with that twenty-five per cent., or whether there was some party or theoretical interest involved, really I do not know; but they knocked that twenty-five per cent. off altogether, and then buildings were exempted. Now there is only one other fact in that connection I think it well to add, and it is this, that there is at the present time a considerable body of opinion in Vancouver to this effect, that, however necessary that species of single tax may have been as a temporary expedient, it is not a thing to be adopted permanently. Opinion is divided on that point. They find, as a matter of fact, that it tends to crowd houses together in the residential districts, or in the business districts, and then I am speaking now of what I used to hear people say—there seems to be, and I am sure there is, a sense of injustice, a feeling that justice is hurt by the sight of an immense building or an immense property, a property worth say a million dollars and taking revenue from ten to fifteen floors and paying only the sanie amount of tax as a two-story building beside it. I have heard that frequently. Perhaps there is another thing I might add, namely, in that system there are no exemptions; churches are not exempted there. Suppose that to be the case, then you have a hardship that is really an injustice. Here is a species of building that literally cannot have more than one story. "Can't" is of course a large word; I heard of one congregation in the business district of Vancouver that were speaking of building a skyscraper and using the two top floors for a church. (Laughter) Of course such things are possible, but the general feeling would be against that sort of thing, and in the down-town district with a building such as a church where you can have only one or two stories, the result of that species of taxation is to drive them out of the business district altogether. I know one church property in Victoria which was taxed last year for, I think, $4,000, and that amount had to be raised by a congregation that would be called small in the city of Toronto. The result was that they decided to sell and build in another part of the city where taxes will not be so high. They must do it; they are driven out.
I thank you kindly, gentlemen, for listening to this rambling talk. The next time I hope to be one of the listeners myself.
TWO TOKENS OF NATIONAL PROGRESS
An Address by Rev. R. E. KNOWLES, of Galt, before the Empire Club of Canada, on February 27, 1913
Mr. President and Gentlemen,
There is nothing, I should think, more reassuring than this token, that we are gathered together, with many others in a similar capacity, for an interest in affairs beyond our own somewhat limited lives. There is nothing more wholesome, nothing more salubrious to the whole life of our nation than this detachment from the individual interest and the merging with the interest of the community as a whole. I think that is the one high purpose of these Clubs, and I know of few serving it more successfully than this Club which bears an Imperial name, which name finds significance in the hearts of all the members.
Of course you will have to define what progress really is. I suppose there is hardly any term more cryptic and more capable of misinterpretation than progress. Some think it can be determined only from Bradstreet or Dun in the individual or national life. We say of a man, "How is he getting along?” “Oh, very well, he has bought a slice of land on this street and sold it for so much more than he paid for it.” There is a vast realm that is not to be measured in that way. For instance the physical realm, the moral realm, the intellectual realm, and the domestic realm, to say nothing of the higher hemispheres of life, all of which must be considered if you are going, in any complete and full-orbed sense, to say whether a man is getting on or not. Many of us would revise our estimates if we only knew the fulness of that term. Sometimes success is not all success. What is true of individuals is true of nations, such as we deem ourselves to be. I suppose Rome thought it was getting on well, and so did Greece, yet the hectic flush of death was on the cheek of one, and the pallor