Immigrants to Canada

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Emigration to the Province of Ontario Canada (1872)

The province of Ontario is situate to the North of the River St. Lawrence, and of the great lakes, Ontario, Erie, Huron, and Superior. The River Ottawa divides it from the province of Quebec. The soil varies in different localities, but a large proportion is of the very best description for agricultural purposes its water communication is unsurpassed.

No portion of the Dominion offers greater inducements to emigrants. What the country needs is men to clear the forest lands, to cultivate the soil, to build houses, to make the ordinary household goods, and to open up communication from one part of the country to another, by the construction of roads and railways. Of professional men, book-keepers, and clerks, Ontario has enough and to spare. Female household servants are always sure of immediate employment, at good wages. Dressmakers, milliners, and seamstresses can obtain much better wages than at home.

Farmers of moderate means can purchase or lease farms more or less cleared and improved; and by discretion and industry, can scarcely fail to improve their condition, and to afford their children, as they grow up, a favourable start in life. Uncleared land is from 2s. To 40s. An acre. Improved farms can be bought at from £4 to £10 an acre. The money can nearly always be paid in instalments, covering several years. The leasing of farms is an exception to the general rule, as most men desire to own the land they cultivate. Emigrants possessing means should not be in a hurry to purchase, but get some experience before taking so important a step. Agricultural labourers would study their own interest by accepting employment as it may be offered, on arrival, and they will soon learn how to improve their condition.

Men commencing as labourers seldom keep in that condition very long, but after a brief period become employers of labour themselves. It is this moral certainty of rising in the social scale, that stimulates the exertions of the needy settler.

In Ontario, old country people will find themselves surrounded by comforts similar to those they left in the old land; religious privileges almost the same; and Public Free Schools established throughout the Province, which are attended by children of all classes.

Sterling Money and Canadian Currency

For general purposes, it will be sufficient to remember that the Canadian cent and the English half-penny are almost identical in value.

Free Grant Lands

A large area of Free Grant Lands are open for settlement under the Free Grant and Homestead Act, by which, on conditions of settlement, every head of a family can receive 200 acres of land; and any person over 18 years of age can receive 100 acres.

On the death of the locatee, the land vests in his widow, during her widowhood, unless she prefers to accept her dower in it. The land cannot be alienated, except by will, nor mortgaged until the patent issues, nor within twenty years of the location, without the consent of the wife, if living. Nor will it at any time be liable to be sold, under execution, for any debt contracted before or during the twenty years after the location, except for a mortgage or pledge given after the issue of the patent. It may be sold for taxes.

In order to make a successful settlement upon a free grant, the settler should have at the least from £40 to £50 ($200 to $250) after reaching his location. This amount may soon be saved, or the settler may obtain work with others for a portion of the year, so as to maintain his family until his first crop is harvested.

A house, such as is required by the Act, could be erected by contract for from £5 to £10 ($25 to $50); but with the assistance which the settler would certainly receive from his neighbours, it might be erected for even less. Should it be desired to clear the land by hired labour or by contract, in order to bring it more rapidly into cultivation, the cost would be about £3 10s. Stg. Per acre. The best season of the year to go on to a free grant is the month of September, after harvest work in the old settlement is over. There is time to put up a house, and get comfortably settled before the winter sets in; and during the winter the work of chopping and clearing can go on. In this way, a crop can be got in during the first spring. The operation of putting in the first crop is a very simple one. Ploughing is unnecessary. The land is rich, and all it needs is a little scratching on the surface to cover the seed. This is done with a drag or harrow.

Settlers' Homestead Fund

During the session of the Legislature in 1870-1, an Act was passed whereby the Commissioner has caused to be cleared, fit for cultivation, a plot of five acres on each parcel of land, and erectd thereon a one story house fit for habitation, of the dimensions of sixteen by twenty feet, at an expense not exceeding two hundred dollars.

One sixth the cost of the improvements (£6 13s. 4d.) must be paid down at the time of location, and the balance in five annual instalments, with interest.

The Township of Ryerson, on the Maganetawan River, has been selected for the purpose, in which roads are now constructed, clearances made, and houses erected.

Messrs. Dodge & Co's. Lumbering depôt, at the north-west corner of the Township, guarantees to the settlers a market for all kinds of agricultural products.

Wages in a Few Trades or Callings

Agricultural Labourers 4 shillings to 6 shillings per day, without Board.
Agricultural Labourers 50 shillings to 80 shillings per month, with Board.
Carpenters 6 shillings to 8 shillings per day.
Bricklayers 8 shillings to 10 shillings per day.
Plasterers 8 shillings to 10 shillings per day.
Stone masons 12 shillings to 14 shillings per day.
Blacksmiths 6 shillings to 9 shillings per day.
Wheelwrights 6 shillings to 9 shillings per day.
Tailors piece-work, at good wages.
Shoemakers piece-work, at good wages.
Female servants general, 20 shillings to 32 shillings per month.
Cooks 28 shillings to 40 shillings per month.

Passage from Britain to Canada

All necessary information as to passage can be obtained of W. Dixon, Emigration Agent, 11 Adam Street, Adelphi, London; of Henry J. Larkin, Emigration Agent, 14 South Frederick Street, Dublin; of Charles Foy, Emigration Agent, 11 Claremont Street, Belfast; of David Shaw, Emigration Agent, 24 Oswald Street, Glasgow; and of any other Canadian Emigration; and also of the Officers of Emigration Societies, or of the numerous Shipping Brokers in the United Kingdom.

Assisted Passages.

The Government of Ontario will pay to regularly organized Emigration Societies in the United Kingdom or in Ontario, or to individuals, the sum of six dollars (£1 4s. 8s. Stg.) for every statute adult sent to this Province, at the end of three months' continuous residence in the Province, and on the following conditions:

Archibald McKellar.
Commissioner.
Department of Agriculture and Public Works,
Toronto, Province of Ontario, 1872.


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© Marjorie P. Kohli, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1997-2007
Last updated: February 14, 2007 and maintained by Marj Kohli