CLIMATE AND SOIL. The climate of British Columbia exhibits various constant phases. due to topography and situation. It is. as a whole. far warmer than that of the eastern coast at a similar latitude. as will be recognized by re minding the reader that between 49° and 60° on the Atlantic Coast lie the ice-bound and desolate regions of Labrador. This warmth is due to the fact that the prevailing winds come steadily from the west, and reach the land warm with their passage over the vast breadth of the Pacific, whose waters on this coast have a tem perature of 52° F. (about the same a- on the Irish ('oast), or 20 degrees warmer than those of the northwestern Atlantic. These warm winds are loaded with moisture. They are chilled by their first contact with the high coast moun tains, causing rapid condensation of the mois ture and a heavy rainfall, accompanied by lib eration of heat. This is more marked at the northern end of the province than in the smith. The consequence is an equable rainy climate on the coast, very similar to that of the south of England. the rainfall usually amounting to about S6 inches at Vancouver. It is least copious in the early autumn. At Victoria the mean tem perature for January is 37.2° F.; for July, .59.6° F.; and flowers bloom all the year round in the gardens. At Agassiz, in the lower Fraser Val ley, the figures arc 33° and 63.9°. Relieved of much of their moisture and warmth, lifted up to S000 or 9000 feet, and cooled and rare fied by crossing the coast mountains, the west winds are kept at that height by the buoying currents of warm air rising from the heated valleys, and blow across the great interior plain without interruption; hence over this wide area rain is very infrequent in summer, the snow fall is light in winter, and there results the con ditions of drouth, treelessness, and extremes of heat and cold, which are characteristic of in terior plains everywhere. At Kamloops, about 200 miles from the coast, the annual rainfall hardly amounts to 12 inches, and the thermom eter varies from 100° above zero in midsum mer to 40° or 50° below zero in midwinter. Agriculture depends upon irrigation, the table lands are covered with bunch-grass. and the climate is like that of Idaho or Alberta.. East of these interior valleys, however, stand the Rocky Mountains, whose summits catch the wind and collect from it almost all its remain ing moisture. Hence the Gold Range and Selkirks are crossed in all their lower slopes with heavy forests, their crests bear hundreds of glaciers, and the snowfall in the passes amounts to 30 feet in depth; and hence, also, the powerful rivers they sustain. Little mois
ture is left for the easternmost parts of the Rockies, whose climate is comparatively dry, very cold and clear in winter, and whose forests are thin. Similar conditions in the north, with the favorable addition of the Chinook, make the Peace River Valley not only pleasantly habit able, but clothed with a vegetation much like that of Ontario, and possessed of climatic and agricultural possibilities similar to those of Scotland.
Soils vary, of course, over so wide and diversi fied a region, but fertility is general. The rich delta of the Fraser is a perennial garden. and vegetables and fruits there reach an extraor dinary perfection. In the interior. light, dry soils prevail, which prove highly productive under irrigation, and seem particularly rich in the Okanagan and Nicola districts. Arable re gions are limited. however, and form a small part the total area of the province. On the interior plateau the rainfall is insufficient for the growth of crops. and the rivers so generally flow through deep, narrow channels that the irrigable area is very limited. On the coast and elsewhere, where the rainfall is greater, the forest growth is usually so heavy that it re quires great expense to clear and maintain laud for cultivation. Wheat grows luxuriantly, but the kernel is too soft for milling purposes. Never theless. the southern portion of the province contains scattered districts admirably adapted to ranching and agricultural pursuits, and prog ress has been made in the delta and lower valley of the Fraser River, and in the Okanagan dis trict. In the latter region, especially-, fruit fanning and bop-raising are attaining much importance, and the southern plateau and part of the interior are remarkably well adapted to the cultivation of these products, where labor necessary for picking the hops is supplied by the Indian population. In the late nineties the fruit growing industry of the Fraser Valley suffered much from the prevalence of fungous diseases af fecting trees and fruit. Considerable market gardening is engaged in by the Chinese in the neighborhood of the larger towns. The pastures of British Columbia are proving valuable. On the Cariboo road (between Soda Creek and Ques nel), there is a plain 150 miles long, and 60 or SO wide; and between the Thompson and Fraser rivers there is an immense tract of grazing land. The creamery system has been introduced, and in 1900 there were eight creameries in the province.