Immigrants sleep on streets

Scottish immigrants evicted from their crofts to make way for sheep during the highland clearances of the nineteenth century, flooded into Canada. In Toronto, their first accommodation was sometimes a police station, and sometimes on the streets, according to this item from the Toronto Leader, July 7, 1864.

About a hundred Scotch immigrants arrived in this city by the Grand Trunk last evening, but only eighty-five of them could find shelter at the immigrant office, Toronto Street, where they were huddled almost to suffocation. The remainder of the party were admitted into the police station, where they slept on boards all night.

It was lamentable to see little children—even babies—lying on the hard boards without covering or even a pillow under their heads. It is to be hoped that a successful effort will be made immediately to provide suitable accommodations for this class of strangers who frequently arrive late at night, and have to remain in too many cases on the streets till the next day, without food and shelter.

Unfamiliar Canadian history stories 052


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