New Canadians arrive by the shipload

“Seventeen special trains from Halifax and Saint John are due in Montreal” Saturday and Sunday, carrying 6,000 immigrants,” the Halifax Herald reported April 2, 1910. More than 12,000 arrived during the week. It has been “the biggest week in the immigration line that Canada has had for a good many years,” says the Herald. Most of the immigrants were homesteaders, heading for the prairie provinces.

The first 14 years of the twentieth century marked Canada’s biggest immigration period. A total of 2,758,851 arrived before the First World War stemmed the flow in late 1914, according to official figures. From the 1901 census to 1921, Canada’s population increased from less than 5.4 million to almost eight million. In Saskatchewan and Alberta, population increased more than eight-fold; from 91,000 to 757,000 in Saskatchewan, and from 73,000 to 588,000 in Alberta.

Unfamiliar Canadian History Stories 107

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