Developing the West by John Foster

By John Foster

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Only the North West maintained a sporadic tramp service until its demise in a flood at Edmonton in 1899. 44 The Saskatchewan River had foiled the clever schemes of enterprising business men. Waiting too long to conquer the Saskatchewan River, they had too little time to be innovative and to adapt the technology of steamboats to the peculiar problems of the river. They had allowed another transportation technique to catch up and defeat them. Another casualty of the dawning of the railway age in western 42 I A.

11 Although there were repeated pleas from Company directors for cost-cutting measures in order to meet the severely depressed fur market, Graham continued to invest in transportation improvements. In The Hudson's Bay Company's Prairie Transportation Problem / 31 1876 he arranged the purchase of a new steamer, the Lily, from the Clyde shipyards of Yarrow and Company. Built at a cost of £4,000, the two-decked vessel had a steel hull and represented a departure from the typical American river steamer.

A12/16, £333, Grahame to Armit, 11 February 1875; £422,17 March 1875; £657, 4 August 1875; £754, 16 November 1875. 11. Ron Vastokas, "The Grand Rapids Portage," The Beaver (Autumn 1961), pp. 22-26; Canada, Sessional Papers, no. 139, 1882. 12. , A12/17, £289, Grahame to Armit, 25 August 1876. The Hudson's Bay Company's Prairie Transportation Problem / 45 13. According to the books, the steamboats were losing money. (See Table I below). Of course, it must be noted that without the steamboats, the Company would have had to charge the fur trade the more costly overland rates for transportation.

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