MP-0000.25.426 | Cattle in corral, Prairies, about 1900

Photograph, glass lantern slide
Cattle in corral, Prairies, about 1900
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1900, 19th century or 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
8 x 8 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  farming (278) , Industry (942) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

The cattle industry in western Canada began as soon as settlers arrived. At first cattle were left to range free and graze on prairie grasses, particularly in Alberta. By 1900, ranchers in the province were shipping 130,000 head of cattle a year to Britain. After the severe winter of 1906-07 destroyed more than 70 percent of the cattle, however, the industry was scaled down, and many farmers kept only a few head to supplement their income from growing grain. Today Canadians raise and sell $6 billion worth of cattle every year.

  • What

    This photograph shows a herd of cattle in a corral, an important pillar of the Prairie economy.

  • Where

    The corral is somewhere on the Prairies, most likely in Alberta, though it could be in any of the Prairie provinces.

  • When

    The picture was taken in 1900, when fortunes were being made shipping cattle to Great Britain.

  • Who

    The men on the left in the picture performed hard and sometimes dangerous work for very little money. In a 1989 study of pay for various jobs, cowboy came 247th out of 250 occupations.