National Geographic : 1961 Dec
KODACHROMEBY DAVIDS. BOYER, NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSTAFF(C N.G.S. Chipewyan Indian woman smokes her pipe at Churchill, Manitoba's port on Hud son Bay. A thousand miles closer to Europe than Lake Superior ports, Churchill loads 20 million bushels of wheat in ice-free Au gust, September, and October. suppliers of nickel, and a major source of gold and platinum - are no more than pinpricks in this immemorial mosaic of forest and water (page 821). For example, there is Elliot Lake north of Lake Huron, in Ontario. In 1953 it was just a stand of timber, so wild that a bulldozer leveling brush ran over a large black bear. Uranium Strike Brings Boom and Bust Four years later, 11 major mines stood astride one of the largest known mother lodes of uranium. The 26-mile ride to the camp cost $35, and before we started the driver gave me a seasick pill. A clutter of trailers amid raw construction sites, the town of Elliot Lake had begun to take shape. By 1958 it had a population of 25,000 and $100,000,000 worth of split-level homes, flu 784 orescent lights, breezeway schools, shopping plazas, and crescent streets.* Now it has shrunk to 10,000. Some U. S. Government contracts have expired. When the last uranium orders run out, the model community may well become the world's handsomest ghost town. Its miners will drift on, perhaps to another boom town financed from Toronto, Ontario's capital and the hub of Canadian mining finance. Toronto Wears a Gayer Face From the airport I entered Toronto on an expressway along Lake Ontario. Clusters of factories face the shore all the way to Niag ara, 80 miles. This is fast becoming one of the world's great concentrations of industry, Canada's burgeoning Ruhr.t One-third of the nation now produces two fifths of our goods in the little wedge of land we call Southern Ontario. Its flat, near-tree less sandy southern tip along Lake Erie grows 90 percent of our tobacco. The Ni agara vinelands, "the sun parlor of Canada," are among North America's biggest wine making areas. Ontario's old farms made Ca nadian bacon a byword, and they supply the U. S. with some of its best purebred cattle. Ontario, in short, is our richest province. On a recent visit to Toronto, I found the city sprightly, with an increasingly cosmopol itan flavor. You can sit down to goulash at the Hungarian Village or drink Rhine wine by the carafe at the Rathskeller. Toronto has new night clubs, TV studios, and small film companies. On a summer Saturday morning, you can shop for suckling pig at the century-old St. Lawrence Market, picnic in sylvan ravines in the heart of the city, and ride the spotless subway to a grimy waterfront that is slowly being landscaped. I walked along Spadina Avenue, past a sign on a store boasting, "We speak English." In front of another store, a man was staring at a placard. "What's this mean?" he asked a workman who paused beside him. "What's the matter with you?" said the workman. "You don't speak Ukrainian?" It was a sign of the times. About 44,000 Europeans arrived in 1960 in Ontario. Pre mier Leslie Frost has predicted that ulti mately a large number may come from the *Elliot Lake's boom was described in "New Era on the Great Lakes," by Nathaniel T. Kenney, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, April, 1959. tSee "Ontario, Pivot of Canada's Power," by Andrew H. Brown, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, December, 1953.