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 Indigenous Peoples, who often 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.

Hotels were also established in BC and close to the Alberta border. These hotels were built and run by the Canadian Pacific Railway company to make way for railway passengers. They included Glacier House and Mount Stephen House, which opened in 1886. As well as Fraser Canyon House in 1887, and the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta, which opened in 1888.

Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social. Translation and adaptation by LEARN/RÉCIT.

Test reference: Canadian History: Post-Confederation by John Douglas Belshaw, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. Accessed Feb. 8, 2024.

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