( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Having spoken of the Canadian winter, it remains to speak of Canada as a summer land and a land of sunshine, for this, after all, is her chief climatic feature. Her summers are simply superb and lovely in every respect. This is true of all parts of the country, from Cape Breton in the east to Vancouver in the west, and from Southern Ontario to the Arctic Ocean. When summer comes it is summer without pretence or discount, changing the scene rapidly from one of frost and snow to one of semi-tropical warmth and beauty. The opening of the summer season comes with the opening of spring. This, of course, varies in different parts of the country, and to some extent also in different years.
In the Maritime Provinces, for instance, where the spring manifests its approach comparatively early—about the 15th of March—its progress is some-what retarded by the Atlantic Ocean currents. Farther to the west summer follows closely on the heels of winter, and when spring comes it comes to stay. Farming is frequently begun in the month of March. In consequence of the long days and bright sun-shine vegetation has a very rapid growth, and summer, with its bloom and fragrance, is ushered in as if by magic. Canada has been shown to have more hours of actual sunshine than Italy, " The land of sunshine."
" If Canada has earned the title of ' Our Lady of the Snows,' she certainly equally deserves the title of ' Our Lady of the Sunshine' ; nowhere is sunshine so bright and abundant, and it is not unreason-able to suppose that it has not a little to do with the elimination of the ' phlegm' from the descend-ants of the immigrants of that land, of the folk of which the French attribute that characteristic. ' There are few, if any, places in England,' says the Director of Meteorological Service in Canada, that have a larger normal annual percentage (of bright sunshine) than thirty-six, and there are as many as low as twenty-five; whereas in Canada most stations exceed forty, and some few have as high a percentage as forty-six.' ` Weather permitting,' is a phrase but rarely heard in Canada."
The heat of the Canadian summer is not the smothering sultry heat of the south, for though the thermometer registers high, this is modified by refreshing breezes and cool nights, which is in marked contrast to the summers in most parts of the United States so near our borders. Here summer days are bright and breezy, full of health and song and gladness ; a time when nature is joyous and buoyant, and calls loud to the heart of man, and when the heart of man proclaims that it is good to be alive. The early autumn is no less glorious—perhaps, even more so—than the summer. This is the time of the still calm days, when the gentle haze lingers on the landscape like the breath of a goddess, and when the hand of the Divine artist has, though unseen, yet with marvellous skill touched the landscape with all the colors possible, with wondrous diversity and yet all with a harmony equally rare. In the fulness of harvest, with its fruitage of vine and field in wondrous plenty, we have a land with features peculiarly its own and the peer of any on earth.
The character of Canada's summer climate may, to some extent, be indicated by the character of her products. Canada's exhibit at the somewhat recent Paris and Edinburgh Expositions has been somewhat of a revelation to the world. It has been said concerning her superior wheat-growing climate, " If therefore, the product of this most valuable cereal is the truest test of climatic advantage, if the tenderness of the wheat plant in its cultivation is a delicate standard of conditions, as it really is, it is submitted that the prejudice against the Canadian climate should, in the first place, prevail no longer than it prevails against the climate in similar latitudes where the highest success has been achieved; second, that the advantages which the northernmost portions of Canada possess over even parallels far to the south should be recognized." But Canada is more than a grain country—most of the climate and soil is suited to the growth of some of the best and most delicate fruits. Concerning southern Ontario it has been said: "The climatic conditions created by the practical encircling of the great lakes are especially favorable, and such stretches as are included in the Niagara Peninsula, and those bordering upon Lake Erie force themselves upon the attention of the student of North America as among the most favored spots on the whole continent. So far as climate, then, is concerned, there is no one thing in all the catalogue of advantages which Canada possesses of greater value." This is largely true to many sections, other than the one especially mentioned.
In parts of this favored land are to be found some of the most extensive vineyards and fruit orchards on the continent, or, indeed, in the world. Cotton grows in southern Ontario, and the sweet potato flourishes over wide areas. The fig and almond succeed in a few places, while the peach thrives at an elevation of a thousand feet above sea level, and grows in parts of the maritime provinces and British Columbia, as well as in Ontario. In quality the fruit surpasses that of California. Many species of grapes are cultivated in large vineyards over wide areas, and the yield of wine per acre is greater than in California, and twice as great as in France. Other delicate fruits and vegetables which cannot be produced in England, except under glass, are here grown in abundance in the open air.