National Geographic : 1953 Dec
Ontario, Pivot of Canada's Power 823 Cities Burgeon, Pastures Sprout Factories, Forests and Mines Give Up Their Wealth in the Great Midland Province By ANDREW H. BROWN National Geographic Magazine Staff With Illustrations by National Geographic Photographers B. Anthony Stewart and Bates Littlehales FTER 4,000 miles of travel through On tario I felt that I had explored a whole country rather than just one of Canada's ten Provinces. This was not surprising, for Ontario is larger than France and Spain together. It measures more than 1,000 miles north to south, linking polar bears and peaches. East to west it spans an almost equal distance, sharing the international border from New York State all the way to Minnesota. The Province, furthermore, comprises a range of geography that many entire nations lack-from unpeopled wilderness to tightly cultivated farmland and teeming cities. It is the very bigness of Ontario, plus the strength of great resources, that makes mighty this richest, second largest (after Quebec), and most populous Province in the giant country to the north. Ontario faces the United States across four of the five Great Lakes (see map, "The Great Lakes Region of the United States and Can ada," a supplement to this issue). She has lakes of her own up to 50 miles long and so wide you can't see across them. Her north flowing rivers lace empty "bush" that would swallow half a dozen of our lesser States. Though the northern reaches of Ontario are treeless shores battered by Hudson Bay ice floes, Pelee Point on Lake Erie carries the Province to the latitude of northern Califor nia; all, or parts, of 25 States lie farther north. The strength of Ontario lies in its men, money, and machines, all at work boosting the productivity of farms and factories, mines and forests. Her people, a third of Canada's 15 million, produce 50 percent of the nation's manufactured goods, including almost a quar ter of its enormous newsprint output. Ontario has a near-monopoly of nickel. + Detroit's Sunday Motorists Stream into Windsor, Ontario Canada's leading gateway, Windsor welcomes five and a half to six million U. S. visitors yearly. On August 2, 1953, Ambassador Bridge carried 9,500 automobiles out of Michigan. Almost 10,000 others bound for Canada used the tunnel beneath Detroit River, the world's busiest inland waterway. Windsor Daily Star Mines in the vicinity of Sudbury furnish more than 80 percent of the world's supply of this vital steel-alloying metal (page 846). The Province also pours out iron, gold, sil ver, cobalt, copper, and platinum-by value, a third of Canada's total mineral production. Ontario, in addition, leads all others in value of agricultural output, furs, and fresh-water fish. Province Shows Frontier Spirit Frontier vitality animates Ontarians. I felt it in remote mining and forest products towns. I felt it, too, near Niagara Falls, in one of the oldest settled parts of Canada (pages 833 and 835). Deep underground, I watched workers com pleting the first of twin tunnels that soon would deliver Great Lakes water to the mightiest of all Niagara hydroelectric plants, the Sir Adam Beck-Niagara Generating Sta tion No. 2. It is a 300-million-dollar project of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, known as "Hydro." With Robert H. Saunders, chairman of Hydro, I picked my way through the cavern ous excavation, so big that scattered light bulbs seemed like stars in space. "In these tubes Niagara River water, under hydraulic pressure, will flow uphill five-and a-half miles to a surface canal," said chair man Saunders. "Downriver the water will drop through turbines into the Niagara gorge. Added to present capacity, the new plant will generate enough power to run two cities as large as your District of Columbia." Big magic! Yet in remoter parts of the Province a little power has gone a long way to change habits and energize local economy. Only four years ago, at Rossport on Lake Superior, local residents witnessed the in auguration of a new era for their town, popu lation 250. By the light of an oil lamp a Hydro official pulled a ribbon that led onto the community hall stage a very small girl carrying a very large stork (cardboard). In its beak the bird bore an electric light bulb. As the Hydro man threw the switch flooding the whole vil lage with light, cheers almost drowned out the singing of "When the Lights Go On Again."