The Hudson Bay railway
Wade, George Morgan
The question whether the Hudson Bay Railway should or should not be completed is one which has now officially passed from active argument into history. For weal or for woe the Canadian government is committed to its completion and most of the actual construction has been done. The questions of the wisdom of such a course as yet lies on the knees of the gods, and a few years must elapse before judgment can be passed in regard to the value or futility of the scheme. The history of the development of the idea of the route is almost as old as the history of Western Canada and is inextricably bound up with the growing consciousness to the Canadian people of the value of western lands. The Hudson's Bay Company from the first recognized the importance of the route in reaching their fur preserves, and by practical experience seem to have found it an economical one. Its value during this phase of its history however is somewhat complicated by their need of a route free from Montreal and the influence of the Nor'Westers, and this need of a certainty of making port without engaging in hostilities gave an enhanced value to the route. The same complication of course holds good as to why the Nor'Westers preferred the route now nearly traversed by the Trans-Continental railways. Their traders and trappers could not with safety have gone the other way if they had wished. Whether they wished to do so or not is one of the questions upon which history is more or less silent.