Macoun and the Great North-West
Waiser, W A
This thesis deals with the development, expression and significance of Professor John Macoun's endorsement of Western Canada's potential for large scale agricultural settlement. The study of the question first focuses on Western agricultural knowledge in 1870 and Macoun's personal development as a plant geographer up to that time. It then traces the Professor's five major Western explorations from 1872 to 1881, noting the circumstances under which they were carried out and his methods and findings. This is followed by a discussion of the various factors underlying his enthusiastic assessment and its impact on the subsequent development of Western Canada. It closes with an examination of Macoun's later work in an attempt to throw further light on the nature of his evaluation. The thesis concludes that John Macoun's assessment was the product of his great dreams for the region, as well as his extensive field work and related discoveries. He substantiated the public's growing optimism for Western Canada and should be recognized for emphasizing the land's overall potential.