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.