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Eighty Years' Progress

· Canada Day,Fine Book Collecting,Henry Youle Hind,Progress,Nova Scotia

We just finished celebrating Canada Day, so I thought I would share a book that looks at the eighty year period up to when the book was published in 1863. The book is called Eighty Years’ Progress published by L. Stebbins, Toronto.

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The primary contributor and editor was Henry Youle Hind (1823 – 1908) a Canadian geologist and explorer. He was born in Nottingham, England, and immigrated to Toronto, Ontario in 1846. He taught chemistry and geology at Trinity College in Toronto. Hind was closely associated with the establishment of the Canadian Institute, a loose association of engineers and surveyors, and acted as editor of the Institute's journal, the Canadian Journal 1852-57.

The full description on the title page describes what this book is all about – “Eighty Years’ Progress of British North America; showing the wonderful development of its natural resources, by the unbounded energy and enterprise of its inhabitants; giving, in a historical form, the vast improvements made in agriculture, commerce, and trade, modes of travel and transportation, mining, and educational interests, etc., etc., with a large amount of statistical information, from the best and latest authorities.

This book, 776 pages, is bound in brown leather, with both blind and gold embossing on the covers and on the spine. The illustration on the spine is that of a beaver and maple leaves. All edges gilt. The 34 illustrations include maps of canals and railroads and views of the Ottawa River, Toronto, St. John’s, Halifax and Pictou.

There are chapters on agriculture, the forest industry, travel and transportation, commerce and trade, the mineral resources, historical sketches of education in Upper and Lower Canada. The book concludes with a chapter on each of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland.

Since, we reside in the beautiful Province of Nova Scotia, I thought I would share some of the more interesting facts and comments listed in its chapter:

  • Scenery – The scenery of Nova Scotia is not grand or imposing, when compared with that of some other countries. Still it is diversified, picturesque, and in some instances, of exceeding beauty. We know of no scenery – natural scenery – that can surpass that of Mahone Bay. It is for sight, not for description.
  • Autumn is the finest season in Nova Scotia. It is mild, serene, and cool enough to be bracing, and the atmosphere is of a purity that renders it peculiarly exhilarating and health-giving.
  • Per the census of 1861, the population of Nova Scotia was 330,857.
  • The three largest occupations; farmers – 37,897; farm labourers – 9,306; fishermen – 7,659.
  • Some interesting occupations: grindstone-makers (76); sawyers (68); pianofortemakers (9); iron-puddlers (7).
  • Canso was spelled Canseau
  • There were 22 newspapers

Always fun to look back into time – in this case the census was taken 160 years ago.