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94   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

where it is not pi obable that wheat, corn or other cereals can ever be profitably produced.

"During the summer of 1910, His Excellency the Gov-

Reindeer in   ernor-General, Earl Grey, visited Dr. Grenfell's mission the Northwest

station on his return journey from Hudson bay. His

Excellency was greatly interested in the reindeer experiment, and having just seen a considerable part of sub-arctic Canada, was impressed with the desirability of further extending the experiment by the establishment of herds in portions of the Northwest territories. He subsequently discussed the question with Hon. Mr. Oliver, then Minister of the Interior, with the result that an arrangement was made with Dr. Grenfell to supply fifty reindeer to the Dominion Government at what the animals had actually cost him. It was decided that the reindeer should be sent to a suitable place near Fort Smith, on the Slave river, at the extreme northern boundary of Alberta. In addition to the reindeer, Dr. Grenfell was to supply two herders and one apprentice to look after the herd, three trained dogs and a supply of moss sufficient for the journey from Newfoundland to our Northwest.

"There was no choice as to the time of year when the reindeer were to be shipped. They could not be taken across the continent in summer weather as they could not stand the heat. They could not be taken across in winter unless provision were made for a supply of reindeer moss near Edmonton, as the rivers are frozen and they could not be transported beyond that point. They could not be moved in the spring as that is the fawning season. There was, therefore, only the short season left between the close of summer and the `freeze-up' of the northern rivers.

"It was arranged with the Department of Marine and Fisheries that one of their steamers should call at St. Anthony for the reindeer early in September, 1911, and take them to Quebec, from which point they would be sent by train to Edmonton. If the boat had proceeded du ect to Quebec, it is probable that there would have been very small loss of deer, but the steamer had to stop on the way to take on board a cargo of powdered gypsum, and the effect on the reindeer was serious. Four deer died before the steamer reached Quebec and five more on the train after leaving Quebec; and, from the symptoms it is practically certain that death was caused by inhalation of gypsum dust.

"It was a somewhat difficult matter to transfer the reindeer from the boats to the cars awaiting them at Quebec, but this was finally accomplished and the trip to Edmonton and from there, sixty miles further on to the end of the steel, was made expeditiously, most of the reindeer reaching this point in good condition.


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