Your Nest in the West

Events

Arrival of Home Children

1890

An event that occurred before the election of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, but continued with him in power. The home children were children who came over from Europe to work. The home children were shipped to Canada on boats without their families or friends. They were sent to the prairies because it was supposed to lead to a better life than back in Europe. Instead of being treated properly, home children were viewed as cheap and even sometimes free labour. Many home children ended up working on farms and were treated very poorly.

Americans Move to Prairies

1892

Americans immigrating to the prairies was another event that started before the Laurier election but was very influential and helped with some of the decisions he made as prime minister. Along with decisions that Sir Clifford Sifton made as minister of the interior. A decision Clifford Sifton made was creating the open-door policy which allowed immigrants to come to the prairies freely. The Americans were motivated to come to Canada in search of fertile land. Unlike the home children, the Americans brought a decent source of wealth with them which enabled good farming. The farming helped the Americans live as they made huge profits off of grain, which had rising prices.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Elected

1896

Sir Wilfrid Laurier is elected as the Canadian prime minister in 1896. The leader of the liberal party was in power for over fifteen years and is most recognized for adding Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Yukon to confederation. Laurier was a big promoter of national unity and immigration. He felt increasing the population and allowing immigrants to come to the newly instated prairie provinces would help with cultural conflict. Many French Canadians from eastern Canada voted for Laurier because they thought he would be more supportive of minority rights than the Conservative party would be.

Clifford Sifton Open-Door Policy

1896

Clifford Sifton, who was elected as Minister of the Interior, had a goal to populate the newly instated prairies. He came up with the open-door policy to help lure potential immigrants from European countries such as Ukraine, Austria, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. Not only did the open-door policy attract European immigrants but it drew Canadians to the prairies as well. All the immigrants go mad the west one of the most diverse areas in Canada. Along with diversity came controversy. Some Canadians were concerned because their needs and customs differed so greatly from the newly immigrated Europeans.

Number of Homesteads increase

1897

With immigration continuing so did the number of homestead entries. In the fifteen years that Laurier was in power, only two of those year recorded the homestead entry numbers decreasing. The numbers were increasing because of the increased advertisement for immigration to the prairies. Another thing that increased immigration to Canada at this time was the number of push factors in other countries such as famines and mistreatment. Not only did immigrating to Canada give the Europeans a better life but it helped Canada. All the farming and agricultural increased Canada’s economy rapidly along with making the prairies one of the more wealthier areas in Canada.

Government Report on Immigration Recruitment

1900

In 1900 the government put together a report to recruit immigrants to the prairies. The Canadian government did this in an attempt to desperately increase their countries population. They put advertisements in over seven thousand American newspapers with hopes that people would recognize the amount of land they had as well the quality of land they had. The government payed for Americans to come tour their land and use the Canadian Pacific Railway. This proves how desperate and how badly Canada wanted to increase its population.

Alberta and Saskatchewan join Confederation

1905

With all the immigration to the prairies, that area was becoming more well known. In 1905 Saskatchewan and Alberta both joined confederation. This helped lure even more immigrants because moving to the prairies meant that you were still a part of Canada. A young country that looked like it was rapidly improving and growing. Not only was Canada improving but with Alberta and Saskatchewan becoming provinces, the people who lived there now felt like they belonged to a community. European or North American, they were a part of a community.

1st Calgary Stampede

1912

The first ever Calgary Stampede was a big one. It lasted over six days and hosted over 100,000 people. Not to mention also making Alberta an even bigger potential immigrant destination than it already was. Since so many of the visitors to the Calgary stampede were American, this lured Americans to Canada to go along with the Europeans. After the first stampede, Guy Weadick, the creator attempted to start a second one. It failed. Actually, every attempt for another stampede failed until 1919. In 1919 a stampede was hosted to celebrate the soldiers returning from World War One. It was a huge success as was every stampede after that.

Highest Percent of Immigrants

1913

1913 was a record year for Canadian immigration. In 1913 there was the highest percent of immigrants living in Canada ever and in the year 1913 there was the most immigrants to come to Canada in one year. Four hundred thousand, eight hundred seventy immigrants moved to Canada that year, a record that still remains unbeaten today.

World War I Begins

1914

World War One, the war began in July 1914 and lasted until November 1918. In 1911, Laurier’s term as prime minister came to an end but he remained involved in politics and government. He was very supportive of conservative party’s leader, Sir Robert Borden’s idea to give immediate military support to Britain. At the time of the war Britain was fighting a lot for land and power. Due to the fact that Britain had done so much for Canada in the past, Sir Borden wanted to return the favour and help Britain defend their land.