Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 39 > Page 39 - The Steel Boom Comes to Sydney, 1899

Page 39 - The Steel Boom Comes to Sydney, 1899

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/6/1 (271 reads)

By December, 1899, 1500 men were at work on construction, and it was expected to rise to 3000 by spring. The editor of the Baddeck Telephone to the people of Victoria County: "There are those who, in the prosperity of others, see only misery for themselves. That is not our nature. We rejoice with those that do rejoice. But there is more'than philo? sophy in our pleasure.... Coincident with the advancement of Sydney will come our prosperity. These people must be fed. When we drive through the glens of Victoria County, when we look upon the thousands of fertile acres yearning for the plow, the verdant hillside pastures inviting great flocks of sheep to crop their verdure; the thought weighs upon us that a future is yet in store for our little island of which we hardly yet have dreamed.... The buyers will soon be at our doors; prepare now for a good harvest. Next summer, roots, table vegetables, mutton and veal should all sell." And again in November: "The boom that has swept its tidal wave around the ancient garrison town of Sydney and buried its dead past in the foam bustle and business, is... one of those lucky accidents, not un? common on the American continent, where some favoured spot affords exceptional fa? cilities for a certain line of trade or manufacture. It would be surprising indeed if all the extravagant prophesies of fu? ture greatness should be realized. There is a sea level in the commercial world that affects all great enterprises, yet be? tween the horizon and top of the rosy dawn streak there is room.... Our farmers have at their doors what they so long have mourned for, that is a market. Remember, however, they will have competition, very strong competition, in the quality of their products.... Taking all round thete is a chance for the farmer." We have so far not found evidence that many Cape Breton farmers were able to rise to this challenge, certainly not in these first years. According to C. W. Vernon, the local market "is at present supplied almost entirely from outside the island." He was referring not only to fruits and veg? etables, but to milk and butter as well. S. T. Woods, Toronto Globe, wrote of some good farmland in Cape Breton and beef pro? duction in Prince Edward Island, but due to dampness and insufficient sunshine for wheat growing, plus a "manifest disinclin? ation toward farming work"--"the result is a large volume of trade between the island and the leading commercial centres of On? tario. This is not international trade, al? though the Sydney people talk of the sup? plies they import 'from Canada,' and it is not recorded in any official tabulation. But it is nonetheless important.... The flour consumed in Sydney and throughout Cape Breton Island is largely produced in Ontario.... Manitoba flour has also a large sale. The butter trade is of consid? erable importance, and much is shipped di? rectly from Toronto. Ontario supplies the island with cheese, and in addition to the trade in food supplies large quantities of manufactured goods and building materials come from the producing centres of Ontario and Quebec." Even hay was being imported. Dead meat was coming down in refrigerated cars and Prince Edward Island, not knowing the market, was asking "fantastic prices" and couldn't compete. In short, the only thing rural Cape Breton seemed to have sup? plied booming Sydney in any quantity was young men to serve as unskilled labourers, Vernon reported: "... The influx of popula? tion to the Sydneys and the mining dis? tricts is having the effect of reducing the annual catch at many places, owing to the fact that many fishermen have been led to seek what they believe to be more remun? erative employmento" "In Victoria County," Breton Toyota A Full Line of TOYOTA Products "Our people make the difference!" New Location: GRAND LAKE ROAD 539-8930 Lobster Kettle Wharfside Restaurant Steamed Clams, Boiled Lobsters, Chowdet t Seafood at Its Best Havenside Road * Louisbourg, Nova Scotia * Phone 733-2877 Look for us enroute to the Lighthouse! LOUISBOURG Treasure Cove High Quality Gifts and Handcrafts AND A SELECTION OF QUALITY BOOKS Phone 564-8158 Corner Charlotte St. & Townsend St. Sydney High Quality Gifts and Crafts from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and Abroad 189 Townsend St., Sydney American Red & Black Plaid Lumber Shirts Women's Amber Capes Ladies' & Men's Pea Jackets Wool-Lined Mountain Parkas Gor Tex Parkas Also: Royal Robin Ocean Pacific Ditrani Ski la Vasque Hiking Shoes & Boots New Balance Hiking Boots Phone 539-7165 (39)
Cape Breton's Magazine
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