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Sir Wilfrid Laurier National Historic Site of Canada

"The 20th Century Will Be the Century of Canada"

Wilfrid Laurier, Ottawa, 1904

Black and white picture of a railway, a field, and a distant village. Typical Prairie town and the Canadian Pacific railway, circa 1902.
© National Archives of Canada / C-63573

Upon coming to power, Laurier manifested an optimism supported by the events of his time: the Western world was then enjoying a return to prosperity. A resolutely forward-looking man, the "Father of modern Canada" pinned hopes for his young nation on the development of Western Canada. To make good on his convictions, Wilfrid Laurier opened wide the country's gates to immigration, encouraged construction of a second transcontinental railway system, and stimulated colonization of these new, fertile lands. The "Western Boom" not only succeeded in stimulating the Canadian economy, it further cemented the Confederation thanks to the creation of two new provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, in 1905. The outlook was decidedly bright for the country and its Prime Minister.