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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

Free Land!

by Jeffrey S. Murray, Library and Archives Canada

The Dominion Lands Act of 1872 was at the heart and soul of Canada's national policy for more than half a century. This policy envisioned an industrialized East protected by high tariffs, selling its goods to, and receiving the agricultural bounty of, a newly settled West. The movement of goods and services between the two regions would be made possible by a transcontinental railway, and paid for partly through public subsidies. The Dominion Lands Act set the parameters within which western land could be settled and its natural resources developed. With such a framework in place, Canada was free to solicit European and American immigrants on a massive scale. Through the sweat and toil of these newcomers, the undeveloped Prairie landscape would be converted into an agricultural paradise to allow the industrialized East to compete with the economic might of its American neighbour.

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