A service and factory economy
British Columbia had many industries. With all the newcomers and cheap labour, industrialists were able to open many factories, especially along the coast.
Forestry had long been one of the West Coast’s biggest industries. There were also many sawmills. This sector employed workers from all sorts of backgrounds, including Native people, who worked long hours on the sawmills’ sorting tables. Wood was cut according to the buyer’s need and then shipped by boat. On the coast, canneries processed and canned fish to be sold abroad. This was one of the most developed markets.
Many foundries were created near mines to reduce transportation. Often, whenever a new mine was opened, a nearby village would soon follow. People would settle in these villages either to work at the mine or to sell goods to those who did. Foundries were used to extract metals from ores so that they could then be transformed. Without these large industries, many foreign unskilled workers would have been without jobs. Unfortunately, industrialists took advantage of these people by making them work very hard for poverty wages.
Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social