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Impressions: 250 Years of Printing in the Lives of Canadians


Introduction
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Children's Literature and Education
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Immigration and Transportation
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Household and Family
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Agriculture and Trades
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Judicial and Political
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Newspapers and Magazines
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Leisure and Literature
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Religion
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Health
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Book-Object
Immigration and Transportation

Up until 1815, most of the immigrants to Canada were Americans, mainly Loyalists. After 1815, emigration from the British Isles increased due to a number of factors: changes in agricultural land use effecting tenants, overpopulation, failure of the potato crops, introduction of machines in the textile and other industries, and, of course, post-war economic depression. The British government encouraged this migration in order to strengthen British presence in North America and counterbalance the American influence in Canada. Between 1829 and 1836, there was an increase in emigration to Canada, especially Upper Canada, mainly due to the movement of the poverty-stricken Irish, lower passage fees, and government financial incentives. The Canadian rebellions of 1837 caused a temporary decrease in immigration which picked up again after 1842. Not all immigrants stayed, many used the cheaper passage and more lenient bureaucracy to come to Canada before continuing on to the United States.

A great number of emigration manuals and settlers' guides were published for colonists intending to make their way to Canada. Initially designed to properly inform them of pitfalls and difficulties they might encounter in their voyage, these manuals tended to be somewhat biased in their description of the specific settlements they were advocating. Along with giving advice on choosing the appropriate ship, preparing for the sea voyage, customs and currency regulations, and the routes to follow to reach the intended settlement, these manuals attempted to define the ideal immigrant: hardworking, honest and of good moral character. Many guides contained letters of praise for their adopted land written by immigrants some were known to receive a stipend designed to convince the undecided. As the century progressed, emigrant guides evolved, and concentrated more on descriptions of the homestead than the passage over, emphasizing free land and good opportunities.

After Confederation, and especially in the 1880s, even government pamphlets encouraging immigrants to settle in Western Canada could not convince them and even established Canadians at that not to move to the booming economic centres of the United States.

The tide turned when Clifford Sifton was named Minister of the Interior in charge of immigration, a position he occupied from 1896 to 1905. Under his influence, immigration literature was published in many languages and distributed throughout Western Europe and Scandinavia. The resultant increase in migration coincided with an important, if not always permanent, movement towards the Klondyke goldfields.

Transportation is included with immigration since they both concern movement from one country, one province or one village to another. The ships which carried immigrants to Canada, as well as the schooners and later the steamships which navigated the Saint Lawrence River and the Atlantic coast, depended heavily on sailing directions. During the 1820s and beyond, Canada began developing its own transportation infrastructure. Canals were built and railway lines were constructed. This development in transportation coincided with growing industrialization, technological advances, and changes in the economy due in part to the termination of the Navigation Laws and the British Corn Laws as well as the signing of the Reciprocity Treaty in 1854. The economy was slowly moving from a colonial one, with England as the main partner, to a continental one emphasizing trade within the different parts of British North America and the United States. Over the course of this transition, the railroad had become the most common and economical means of transporting people and goods, including books, newspapers and the mail.

Some of the information required to use the new means of transportation, eventually including the automobile and the airplane, are shown in these exhibition cases. As travel for business and pleasure increased, city and regional guidebooks appeared, containing an expanded version of the information previously found in emigrant guides.
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A very early Irish advertisement designed to lure settlers to Upper Canada. It states that "All religions are tolerated...no taxes or thytes are paid...and tradesmen of all denominations are in great request." It was rather unusual to advertise for tradesmen rather than farmers.

In His Majesty's Province of Upper Canada. Forty Thousand Acres of Land to be Granted for Ever, in the Township of Norwich, ...a Most Healthy Situation on the Banks of Lake Ontario...Cork, 1st November, 1794.
Cork [Ireland], 1794.
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Broadside concerning grants of 200 acres of land to United Empire Loyalists and the exemption of payment of fees.

Peter Russell, 1733-1808. [Upper Canada administrator from 1796 to 1799]
Proclamation: Peter Russell, Esq., President, Administering the Government of Upper-Canada...Fifteenth Day of December...One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-eight.
York [Upper Canada]: Printed by William Waters and Titus G. Simons, [1798].
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Many settlers, such as those listed in this broadside, did not arrive in time to take possession of their reserved lots, and consequently the land was then open to general application and settlement.

Upper Canada. Executive Council
Whereas the Persons Whose Names are Hereunder Specified, Did, Through Their Agent Simon Zelotes Watson, Receive the Promise of Government for a Single Location of Two Hundred Acres Each in the Township of Westminster...York, 8th February, 1812.
[Toronto, 1812].
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Version française

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Immigration and Transportation (page 2 of 5)

Canada Copyright. The National Library of Canada. (Revised: 1999-04-23).