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Wreck of the Saskatchewan Steamer

The wreck of the steamer City of Winnipeg, formerly the Manitoba, as she was being brought across Lake Winnipeg, is a great loss, not only to the owners, but to the people of the whole Saskatchewan country, as it will be impossible to put another boat in her place in time to be of much service next season. Each year the necessity for more and improved steamers on the river is more severely felt as the population increases and the country develops, and each year the difficulties of the roads between Winnipeg and here become greater. During the season now nearly over, it was no uncommon thing for carts to be three months on the way, while the distance could be made by steamer with all ease in twenty days. As the country opens up heavy goods, such as machinery, stoves and building hardware, are more needed. But the difficulty of bringing such articles in carts is so great as to almost prevent their being brought, and when they do get here the cost of freighting is so great as to put the price almost out reach. The Saskatchewan is considered by some not to be fit for navigation to any extent, but it must be very bad indeed if it is not better than slow going oxen on a muddy road 1,000 miles long..

A good line of boats on the river would do nearly as much to open up the country as the railroad itself, and would, for all time to come, offer strong competition to the railroad, especially on eastern bound freight. An advantage that a line of boats on the Saskatchewan would have over one on the Red or Assiniboine rivers is that full loads (coal and lumber) could be had for every return trip; in fact that is what is principally needed for the development of these two industries. When the Lake Winnipeg & Hudson's Bay Railway is completed, as it will be ultimately, it, in connection with the navigation of the Saskatchewan, will form the shortest and most natural outlet for the surplus produce of this country on its way to the English market, putting Edmonton on nearly as good a footing for the shipping of grain as St. Paul is now.


Source: Edmonton Bulletin Nov. 5, 1881


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