From the Picturesque to the Industrial to the Therapeutic: Union Steamship Company Views of the British Columbia Coast, 1889-1958
[This is the twelfth in a series of posts about the papers being prepared for the Environments of Mobility in Canadian History workshop that will be hosted at York University's Glendon College in May.]
The promotional literature published for the Union Steamship Company of Vancouver adhered to the colonializing picturesque perspective of the mountainous Northwest coast landscape well into the twentieth century. Thus, Aiken Tweedale’s North by West in the Sunlight (1916) describes how his ship ‘passed bays beautiful as the famed Scottish Lochs, - islets as sunny as in the Grecian Seas.’ In Port Simpson, ‘the quaint, snug situation and white houses [...] reminded of some village in Devon or Cornwall, but for the towering mountains in the background.’ Then, in 1923, Our Coastal Trips abruptly shifted the perspective to the industrial landscape, drawing passengers’ attention to the coastal paper mills, canneries, and logging operations, with phrases such as ‘canned salmon is very nutritious and contains a greater amount of food element than any other similar product,’ and ‘if it were for nothing else, British Columbia would still be well to the fore on account of this extensive industry.’ Tourists were a side market for the company vessels, which carried loggers, cannery workers, settlers, and canned salmon as well as other cargo, but the focus shifted again in the later 1920s and 1930s as the company’s shipping business began to decline due to the centralization of coastal production. Colourful brochures published on an annual basis now promoted short cruises in the nearby Howe Sound area, as well as the company’s cabins, hotels, and picnic sites on Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast. The message was that it was essential for overtaxed workers and their families to escape the pressures of urban life and engage in healthful recreation, for ‘there is no invigoration so enduring as a refreshing trip on the open sea and a picnic at one of the enchanting sea-nooks dotted along the pathway of Sunshine and Sea-Charm.’ Thousands of Vancouverites booked passage for moonlight cruises, company picnics, and other excursions during the summer months, until the improvement of the road network into the province’s interior during the post-war period finally brought a sharp decline in the coastal resort traffic. As a result, the Union Steamship Company’s shipping and resort business came to an end in the late 1950s.
In examining a half century of the Union company’s tourism material, my paper for the upcoming Environments of Mobility in Canadian History workshop probes into what it reveals about general themes such as tourism and colonialism, welfare capitalism, gender and recreation, and the impact of steam technology on perceptions of the landscape. Historians of mobility have tended to assume that steamship travel had much the same impact on the passenger’s perspective as did the railway, but I find that steam did not spell an end to the intimate relationship with British Columbia’s coastal environment due to its many narrow inlets, navigational hazards, and sometimes turbulent seas. I also suggest, however, that the erasure of the coastal inhabitants, Native and non-Native, by this tourist literature foreshadowed the depopulation of the coast with the development of new transportation and communications technologies in the 1950s.
Vancouver City Archives, Union Steamship Co. Collection, vol. 30, no. 22.
Vancouver Martime Museum, Union Steamship Collection, box 1, file 1.
Simon Fraser University
Les territoires du tourisme automobile au Québec et en Ontario: aménagement, promotion et représentation, 1920-1945
[This is the eleventh in a series of posts about the papers being prepared for the Environments of Mobility in Canadian History workshop that will be hosted at York University's Glendon College in May.]
Au lendemain de la Première Guerre mondiale, le nombre de touristes automobilistes sur les routes canadiennes est en progression constante. En 1923, ils sont 112 000 automobilistes américains à se rendre au Québec, et plus de 625 000 à le faire en 1929. L’Ontario est la province canadienne la plus visitée par les touristes américains et reçoit la plus grosse part des dépenses touristiques au Canada (61%). Avant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, l’automobile devient même le moyen de transport privilégié par les touristes pour visiter le Canada, dépassant de loin le train et le bateau. Mais pour ces premiers touristes motorisés, l’automobile est bien plus qu’un moyen de transport : elle est un objet récréatif. Au plaisir de rouler se joint le désir d’explorer de nouveaux horizons, en toute liberté: la sensation de l’espace libre à l’infini devant soi. L’esprit de ce tourisme à ses débuts peut se traduire par l’idée de flânage ou d’itinérance, d’où sa désignation sous le terme de tourisme nomade.
Le Québec et l’Ontario comprennent rapidement les enjeux de cette nouvelle forme de mobilité récréative. Dès le début des années 1920, ces provinces publicisent la qualité et la beauté des routes, par le biais de brochures et de reportages touristiques. Elles cherchent à projeter l’image de territoires facilement accessibles par automobile, dont les limites sont appelées à être constamment repoussées au fur et à mesure que de nouvelles routes sont aménagées. Les territoires ontariens et québécois deviennent, en quelque sorte, de vastes terrains de jeu pour automobilistes. Des premières cartes routières établissent les contours d’un territoire voué au tourisme automobile et annoncent ses développements futurs (figure 1). Des itinéraires touristiques sont élaborés. Au Québec, ces premiers circuits se veulent thématiques, axés sur la valorisation du patrimoine culturel et la mise en scène de la paysannerie canadienne-française (figure 2) alors qu’en Ontario, ils favorisent la découverte des milieux riverains et forestiers et leurs pratiques récréatives. Parmi ceux-ci, certains quadrillent et mettent en valeur des régions éloignées et difficilement accessibles avant la construction de routes comme l’est du Québec (la Gaspésie) et le nord de l’Ontario.
La Ferguson Highway, la Lake Superior Scenic Highway et le tour de la Gaspésie sont de bons exemples des premières routes à vocation touristique qui sont développées et promues par les gouvernements québécois et ontariens. Malgré qu’elles traversent des milieux sensiblement différents (maritime et montagneux pour la Gaspésie et forestier pour le nord ontarien), ces routes ont plusieurs points de convergence. Elles sont publicisées comme des prouesses de l’ingénierie moderne et doivent offrir une expérience visuelle unique au voyageur. Peu peuplés, les territoires que ces routes traversent sont aussi qualifiés de rustiques et de sauvages.
Entre 1920 et 1945, cette nouvelle mobilité récréative amène donc différents acteurs (gouvernements provinciaux, clubs automobilistes, municipalités, associations touristiques, etc.) à repenser les territoires québécois et ontariens, tant du point de vue de leurs aménagements que de leurs représentations. Cette réflexion se traduit par une mise en tourisme intensive. La promotion de bonnes et belles routes, l’élaboration d’itinéraires et de circuits touristiques apparaissent comme des éléments clés dans la définition de ce que nous appelons les territoires du tourisme automobile. Axée sur les besoins et les aspirations des automobilistes, cette mise en tourisme oriente pour les années à venir la manière de développer et de pratiquer le tourisme au Québec et en Ontario. Cette contribution permet de situer historiquement l’importance accordée au système automobile dans le développement touristique de deux provinces canadiennes.
Figure 1: Ontario Motor League, Road Map of the Province of Ontario and International Main Travelled Routes (Compiled by J. W. Tyrell and Co. Land Surveyors & Civil Engineers, Hamilton, 1920). Les gouvernements provinciaux, aidés des clubs automobiles, développent des itinéraires touristiques spécialement conçus pour les automobilistes. L’élaboration de cartes et de guides donne lieu à la représentation d’un territoire touristique et d’automobilité. L’Ontario et le Québec établissent respectivement leurs premières cartes routières en 1923 et 1926, quelques années après les clubs d’automobilistes. Source: "Archivianet : Maps, plans and charts", Library and Archives Canada, H2/400/1920, record no 5495, NMC 21543. Accessed on March 13 2011. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/archivianet/020154_e.html
Figure 2 : Carte postale des années 1930 ou 1940, faisant la promotion du tour de la Gaspésie. Le touriste automobiliste est invité à rencontrer les populations locales, à les observer, voire à échanger avec elles. Selon les guides, les Gaspésiens vivent en tous points comme leurs ancêtres venus d’Europe et ont su conserver un mode de vie plus simple, plus proche de la nature et peu pénétré par la technologie. Les touristes sont constamment à l’affût des signes de ce mode de vie ancien qui se distingue de leur vie urbaine: les voitures tirées par des chevaux, celles attelées à des chiens, les femmes qui tissent des vêtements ou des tapis, voire les pêcheurs qui font leurs propres filets. Source : collection de l’auteure.
Shortly after the First World War, the number of automobile tourists on Canadian roads constantly grew. In 1923, 112 000 automobile tourists visited Quebec, with more than 625 000 doing so in 1929. Ontario was the Canadian province that received the greatest number of American tourists, and it also received the largest share of tourist expenditures in Canada (61%). Before the Second World War, cars became the greatest means of transport for tourists who visited Canada, far exceeding trains and boats. But for these early motorized tourists, the car was much more than a means of transport: it was a recreational object. Along with the pleasure of driving and the feeling of freedom one has to add the desire to explore new horizons. The spirit of this tourism could result in the idea of strolling or roaming, hence its designation as nomadic tourism.
Quebec and Ontario quickly understood the stakes of this new form of recreational mobility. By the early 1920s, both provinces publicized the quality and the beauty of their roads in tourist booklets and reports. They sought to project an image of their territories that depicted them as easily accessible by car, with limits constantly pushed back as new roads were constructed. The territories of Quebec and Ontario became, to some extent, vast playgrounds for motorists. Early road maps established contours of territory dedicated to car tourism and announced its future developments (figure 1). Tourist itineraries were developed. In Quebec, these early itineraries had a set of themes, centred on the valourization of cultural inheritance and the French-Canadian farming community landscape (figure 2), while in Ontario, they depicted the discovery of lakes, forest, and their recreational practices. Among these, some focused on areas that had been difficult to reach before road construction, like eastern Quebec (Gaspésie) and northern Ontario.
The Ferguson Highway, the Lake Superior Scenic Highway and the tour de la Gaspésie are good examples of the first tourist routes that were developed and promoted by Quebec and Ontario. Although they traverse different environments (sea and mountain in Gaspésie and forest in Northern Ontario), these roads had several points of convergence. They were advertised as feats of modern engineering and offered a unique visual experience to travelers. Sparsely populated, the territories through which the roads crossed were described as rustic and wild.
Between 1920 and 1945, this new recreational mobility led various stakeholders (provincial governments, motorist clubs, municipalities, tourist associations, etc.) to reconsider Quebec and Ontario’s territories, from both material and representational points of view. This understanding resulted in intensive tourism development. The promotion of good and beautiful roads, and the development of tourist itineraries and tours, became key elements in defining what we call the territories of automobile tourism. Centered on the needs and the aspirations of motorists, this vision directed the development and practice of tourism in Quebec and Ontario in future years. This contribution allows us to situate historically the importance attached to the automobile system in the tourist development of two Canadian provinces.
Maude-Emmanuelle Lambert est candidate au Doctorat au Département d’histoire de l’Université de Montréal
Producing and Consuming Spaces of Sport and Leisure: The Encampments and Regattas of the American Canoe Association, 1880-1914
A photo blog post previewing Jessica's paper for the Environments of Mobility in Canadian History Workshop.
[This is the ninth in a series of posts about the papers being prepared for the Environments of Mobility in Canadian History workshop that will be hosted at York University's Glendon College in May.]
The late nineteenth century witnessed an explosion of interest in canoeing as sport, recreation, and leisure in Canada and the United States. One of the manifestations of this interest was the American Canoe Association, a transnational organization established in 1880 to “unite all amateur canoeists for the purpose of pleasure, health, or exploration by means of meetings for business, camping, paddling, sailing, and racing.”  Central to the Association’s mission of bringing together canoeing enthusiasts from both sides of the border were the annual meetings: two-week encampments typically held in August that featured a three- or four-day regatta.
As peripatetic tourist events that moved between locations in Ontario, New York, and New England, the annual meetings of the American Canoe Association inspired and contained multiple forms of movement, such as train travel, paddling, walking, and sailing. These movements, in turn, engaged a diverse range of old and new motive technologies from streetcars and steamers to trains and canoes. Collectively, these practices and the technologies that afforded them exposed canoeists to new landscapes and environments, or in some cases, returned them to familiar ones. Yet even as these encampments were simultaneously mobile spaces and spaces of mobility, they were also spaces of dwelling. The canvas tents that were the canoeists homes for the duration of the encampment were outfitted with domestic accoutrements, meals taken in the mess tent were served on china, and a Divine Service amongst the trees anchored the weekly schedule.
In my contribution to the workshop, I explore the intersections of movement, dwelling, and experience at the annual meetings of the American Canoe Association between 1880 and the start of the First World War. In doing so, this paper sheds light on the ways in which mobilities, environments, and the intersections between the two are both deeply social and deeply historical. Such thinking runs counter to contemporary theories of mobility, which have largely centred on “a remarkably unsocial being...unmarked by the traces of class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and geography,” (eg. Walter Benjamin’s flâneur, Michel de Certeau’s Wandersmänner, and Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s nomad) and paid limited attention to the “historical conditions that produce specific forms of movement.” 
Visitors to the American Canoe Association encampments encountered and inhabited these spaces, not as isolated individuals, but as members of family units, canoe club groups, and the broad imagined community of canoeists. Moreover, their experiences and thus their movements were “caught up in [the] power geometries of everyday life.”  While class and race governed access to the meets, gender and marital status affected how one inhabited the encampments. Finally, as environments of mobility and dwelling, the annual meetings embodied one of the central tensions of modern life between movement and stasis.
Photograph 1 – Visits to local sites of interest, fishing trips, and picnics were all common activities during the first week of the encampment, which was devoted to socializing and recreating. This photograph depicts a group of canoeists consuming landscapes local to the 1897 meet at Grindstone Island on the St. Lawrence River. Adirondack Museum, American Canoe Association Yearbook, 1897.
Photograph 2 – As this photograph makes clear, the annual meetings were “in tents” experiences. Although the first campsites were fairly simple affairs, later encampments are more aptly compared to a small village. Adirondack Museum, S.R. Stoddard, “Squaw-Land,” Glimpses of the ACA, 1890.
 Trent University Archives, American Canoe Association Yearbook, 1883.
 Tim Cresswell, On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World (London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 53-54.
 Kevin Hannam, Mimi Sheller, and John Urry, “Editorial: Mobilities, Immobilities, and Moorings,” Mobilities 1.1 (March 2006), p. 3.
A photo blog post previewing Elizabeth's paper for the Environments of Mobility in Canadian History Workshop.
[This is the eighth in a series of posts about the papers being prepared for the Environments of Mobility in Canadian History workshop that will be hosted at York University's Glendon College in May.]
According to golfing lore, when Canadian golfer David Mulligan arrived at the St. Lambert Golf Club outside Montreal, agitated and shaking after a difficult automobile drive across badly kept roads and a wind-swept rail bridge, he made a poor first shot. His golfing buddies (whom Mulligan had driven to the course) decided to offer him an extra shot owing to his unsettling ride, giving birth to the mulligan (do-over shot) golf term. Golf and mobility are inextricably linked; different forms of mobility intersect on golfing landscapes. These include the transportation infrastructure pathways that literally moved golfers and golf tourists; the streams of design principles that shaped ideas about what constitutes a golf course; and the international commodity flows that brought together technologies and equipment from around the world in order to construct these sites.
My paper, for the Environments of Mobility in Canadian History workshop, investigates two broadly conceived arenas of mobility that merged at golfing landscapes in Canada between the organized debut of golf on the North American continent, in 1873, and the end of the Second World War, when post-war economic and technological changes significantly altered the game and its physical landscape. The first mobility, explored under the heading “Getting to the Course,” considers the push/pull relationship between transportation technologies and golf course location. Briefly, golfing landscapes relied on different modes of transportation (carriages, trolleys, trains, and automobiles) to connect members with their playing fields (first on city outskirts and then at tourist destinations). Yet, these landscapes also had to be—or appear to be—at a distance from such technologies and their (sub) urban associations in order to maintain their meaning. I provide a general nation-wide survey, and I also use case studies of the Toronto Golf Club and the birth of golf tourism in the Canadian Rockies as core examples of the relationship between transportation methods and golf landscape development in Canada.
The second mobility, explored in the section “Playing the Course,” considers how golfing landscapes, as part of a shared experience imbued with specific meaning, linked several types of mobility. Returning to my case studies, I highlight how golf courses, as constructed physical landscapes built as a result of international networks of design ideas (aesthetic and strategic) and products (like turf grass seed), literally shaped people’s movement through a physical environment. This particular experience of nature and sport also infused new elements into the definitions of Canadian resort tourism during the first half of the twentieth century.
Figure 1 – Cover page of Banff Springs Hotel booklet for golf and swimming facilities. Pre-1949. Pamphlet Collection. Courtesy Canadian Pacific Archives.
Figure 2 – “The New Golf Course at Banff” reproduction of an Adam Sherriff Scott painting of the Banff golf course from a Banff Springs Hotel tourist booklet, “Banff Golf Course,” 1929. Pamphlet Collection. Courtesy Canadian Pacific Archives.
[This is the seventh in a series of posts about the papers being prepared for the Environments of Mobility in Canadian History workshop that will be hosted at York University's Glendon College in May.]
In the decades spanning the turn of the 20th century, Canada’s Rocky Mountains were developed as a nationally iconic region for wilderness tourism. Crucial to this image of the landscape were the promotional and development efforts of the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.), whose rail lines opened access to the mountains and which profited from tourism through the area.
One of the most powerful private entities in Canada at the time, the C.P.R. endorsed the alpine region through projects that went far beyond their original mandate of building a railway. Their efforts shaped the physical reality of the mountains – and of equal importance, affected the way these landscapes were perceived by the rest of Canada and by the world.
This paper examines two distinct sets of C.P.R. development initiatives in the Rockies. At the end of the nineteenth century, the company created an array of amenities for luxury tourism in the mountains, epitomized by a chain of resorts that included the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise. The C.P.R.’s special viewing cars along with these “mammouth” establishments encouraged visitors to adopt a somewhat distanced relationship to the surrounding environments. Tourists saw the ‘wild’ mountains as a scenic backdrop to enjoy while swaddled in the creature comforts of first-class rail cars and resorts. In the 1920s, the C.P.R. undertook a contrasting set of developments in the same territory. This centered on the inauguration of a series of rustic bungalow camps – compounds of log sleeping cabins and chalets, situated beside lakes and within forests. Visitors to these complexes expected to be fully immersed in a pristine natural environment, rather than protected from their surroundings.
Networks of mobility were central to both the resort hotels and bungalow camps. In the former case, tourists traveled in railcars designed as extensions of the luxury hotel system. Like the resorts, these rail carriages offered an array of services as well as myriad opportunities for landscape viewing. While bungalow camp tourists also arrived to the region by rail, they were encouraged to travel between camps by riding horseback, hiking, or driving along the newly opened Banff-Windermere Highway.
In both cases, the Rockies were perceived as a “wilderness” – but one set of experiences underscored the presence of civilization, while the other celebrated the environment’s supposedly pristine and rustic character. My paper explores these two different visions of the Rockies, their intersections with modes of mobility, and the continuing influence of these ideas. A close examination of the Rockies as an “environment of mobility” sheds light on the broad range of wilderness ideals that continue to be associated with this region, and which remain an important component of Canadian nationalism to this day.
Canadian Pacific Railway, 1926. Chung Collection 200-5-2
The Banff Springs Hotel was foremost in a chain of luxury resort hotels constructed by the C.P.R. This image shows the hotel both as an object to be viewed, and a place from which guests could enjoy panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains and river valley.
Canadian Pacific Railway, 1921. Illustration by G.F. Gillespie. Chung Collection, 201-3-2
In the 1920s, the C.P.R. created a series of rustic bungalow camps, which offered an immersive recreational experience in the Rockies. Promotional material for the camps encouraged adventurous forms of mobility such as horseback riding, hiking, and motoring.
Elsa Lam, PhD Candidate, Architectural History and Theory, Columbia University, New York, NY