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Laurier House National Historic Site of Canada

IV: Visual Evidence

1) The Canadian West: An Irresistible Attraction.
2)
Photograph of a prairie sod farmhouse.
3)
Photograph of Doukhobor settlement in Manitoba .
4)
Some of the many publications distributed by the government to attract immigrants to Canada.
5) The cover of a Canadian National Railway timetable.
6) Not all would-be immigrants were admitted to Canada.
7) Photograph of Head Tax Certificate.
8) Photograph of Mackenzie King with Canadian Citizenship Certificate.

1) The Canadian West: An Irresistible Attraction (1904)

According to the following political cartoon, the lure of immigration to
Canada was so strong that even Americans found it difficult to resist.

Uncle Sam resisting the attractions of Canada (in the form of a large
Uncle Sam resisting the attractions of Canada (in the form of a large Magnet), as other Americans are pulled over.
© National Archives, 1904

Question:

  1. Why were so many Americans attracted to the Canadian west?

2) Photograph of a prairie sod farmhouse, the first home in Canada for many immigrants.

Pioneers outside sod house, near Coronation (Haneyville),
Pioneers outside sod house, near Coronation (Haneyville), Alberta, ca. 1907-1908
© Glenbow museum / Glenbow museum archives, 1907-1908

3) Photograph of Doukhobor settlement in Manitoba. In contrast to the previous photograph, some of the new western settlements were small communities which reflected those from which the settlers had emigrated.

Doukhobor settlement in Manitoba
Doukhobor settlement in Manitoba
© National Archives of Canada

Questions:

  1. If you were to immigrate to another country, would you rather live in a community similar to that from which you were emigrating or would you prefer to live in a new environment altogether?
  2. To what extent should immigrants be expected to assimilate to their new country as opposed to retaining the customs and traditions of their home?

4) Some of the many publications distributed by the government to attract immigrants to Canada.

Canada West poster, published by the Department of Agriculture, 1910
Canada West poster, published by the Department of Agriculture, 1910
© National Archives of Canada, 1910
 "L'ouest Canadien", a poster published by the government intended to attract Francophones.
L'ouest Canadien, a poster published by the government intended to attract Francophones.
© National Archives of Canada
A poster distributed by the government
A poster distributed by the government intended to attract Europeans To Western Canada
© National Archives of Canada

Question:

  1. Was it proper for the government to promote immigration from abroad as vigorously as it did or should it have done more to encourage Canadians from other parts of Canada to relocate to the West?

5) The cover of a Canadian National Railway timetable (1907) is self-explanatory regarding the role of the railway in the settlement of the Canadian West.

Canadian Northern railway, Saskatchewan Valley route timetableCanadian Northern railway, Saskatchewan valley route timetable,
Issue 3, April 1907.

© National Archives of Canada/ #C-3543

Question:

  1. Could the settlement of the West have occurred without the railways?

6) Not all would-be immigrants were admitted to Canada. The people in this photograph had been denied entry and were about to be deported.

Would-be Canadians aboard a ship preparing to depart for
Would-be Canadians aboard a ship preparing to depart for Europe.
© National Archives of Canada

Questions:

  1. What criteria should be considered in determining immigration eligibility?
  2. Should immigrants be admitted only when they serve the economic needs of the country?
  3. Should Canada adopt an open door immigration policy?
  4. How important is immigration to Canada? Are there too many immigrants, or not enough?

7) Photograph of Head Tax Certificate, 1925

Chinese Head tax certificate, 1925.
Chinese Head tax certificate, 1925.
© National Archives of Canada, 1925

Question:

  1. In your opinion, why were Chinese immigrants the only ethnic group forced to pay a humiliating entry tax?

8) Photograph of Mackenzie King with Canadian Citizenship Certificate (1947).

Photograph of Mackenzie King
Photograph of Mackenzie King .
© National Archives of Canada / National Film Board of Canada / 1925

Questions:

  1. Before 1947, there was technically no such thing as a Canadian citizen. Why do you think the government decided at this time to pass the Citizenship Act?
  2. What would account for the dramatic shift in attitude during the post-war period that led to the repeal of discriminating legislation against non-white immigrants?

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