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Banner: Moving Here, Staying Here. The Canadian Immigrant Experience

The Documentary TrailTraces of the PastFind an Immigrant
Free From Local Prejudice
A National Open-Door Policy
Filling the Promised Land
A Preferred Policy
A Depressing Period

At Your Service

by Rob Fisher, Library and Archives Canada

Emigration from Great Britain and Ireland to the New World exploded in the decades after 1815. Poverty at home and opportunity abroad persuaded many to seek their fortunes in a new land. The British government watched this development with mixed feelings. A large contingent of unemployed labourers at home meant political unrest, particularly in Scotland and Ireland, and emigration would reduce tensions at home. But emigration of British subjects to the United States, with whom Britain had just been at war, threatened to increase the population and strength of a powerful rival. To the Select Committee on Emigration, the answer was to steer the great tide of emigrants towards British colonies, particularly Canada. But how would they achieve this aim?

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