Peasants find freedom in Canada but anarchy and doomed democracy forecast

A settlers’ homestead, cleared from the bush in Upper Canada, ca. 1800. Pen Pictures of Pioneer Life in Upper Canada, 21.htm. Liberty, democracy, and freedom from want, hunger and an oppressive aristocracy were said to prevail among peasants from Europe in the Upper Canada of 1821, but anarchy and doomed democracy were widely predicted. […]

Toronto in great uproar as U.S. seeks fugitive slave

John Anderson, a proclaimed fugitive slave in Toronto who escaped from Missouri to Canada on the Underground Railway, was wanted by the Americans in 1860. English engraving, from “The Story of the Life of John Anderson,” 1863.  “It was an anxious moment, as the Chief Justice produced his papers and began to read. The life […]

A wart off the lap of luxury

The remittance man, who received modest remittances from his family in England, was the butt of constant Canadian jokes and ridicule in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He was usually a younger son who failed to inherit a share of the family fortune under the rules of progenitor. From the Regina Standard, January […]

Work hard or stay home

Be prepared to work hard or stay home, was the advice offered to prospective immigrants to Manitoba on April 15, 1879 by the Winnipeg Daily Times in the following article. Immigrants and adventurers. The people we need and those we don’t want. A floating population who find it hard to float. The eyes of all […]

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 […]