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SOCIAL CONDITIONS.   377

that, in the latter part of 1917, more than half of the shrapnel shells used by the British army in France and Flanders were made in Canada.

By the end of February, igi8, some 500 factories, employing over a quarter of a million work-people, were making shells and cartridges, preparing other special war materials, and building ships to replace those destroyed by the submarines. Numbers of gasoline launches were made for patrolling the British coasts, while immense quantities of barbed wire were manufactured for making trench defences.

It is known that beneath the soil of Canada Mining. lie enormous deposits of valuable minerals of many cliff erent kinds. It is certain that'very much more of this hidden treasure remains undiscovered, for "the greater part of the Dominion has never been prospected." But year by year Canada's mines have become a greater source of wealth. For instance, in 1916 the products of the mines were worth over seventeen times what they were valued at, thirty years before, in 1886.

Amongst the substances obtained from our mines are gold, silver, lead, copper, iron and coal. During the half century following Confederation Canada produced gold worth about $355,500,000. Ontario has the most valuable nickel deposits yet discovered in the world; and Quebec the largest asbestos mines known.

In spite of the advance in mining and Agriculture. manufactures, agriculture is still our most important industry, and seems likely to remain so for years to come. During the last half century there have been extraordinary changes in this as

in every other industry in Canada. The great western prairies have been opened to settlement, and vast stretches of land where the buffalo used to


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