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The University of Manitoba campuses are located on original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. More

Prairie Immigration Experience: An Illustrated History

An Illustrated History

IMMIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION POLICY IN CANADA
 

This website will help you to learn about immigration and immigration policy in Canada after Confederation and before the First World War.

Immigration means that people leave their homelands and go to live in another country permanently. These people are called immigrants in the new country.

Immigration policy is made up of the laws of a government that tell people in other countries what they must do to be able to live in that country. Immigration policies change when the government decides it needs more or fewer people in the country.

Settling the West

After Confederation in 1867, Canada’s immigration policy was greatly influenced by the government’s desire to develop and settle the western part of Canada. At that time, the map of Canada was very different from what it is now. Northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia were all part of an area called the North-West Territories. They had not yet joined Canada.

 

Western Canadian portion of Dominion of Canada map, 1904
University of Saskatchewan Archives - A.S. Morton Manuscript Collection (MSS C550)
MSS C550 1 29-2 V

 

Map of Western Canada, ca. 1900s
University of Saskatchewan Archives - A.S. Morton Manuscript Collection (MSS C550)
MSS C550 1 29-1 VII-XXI Map F4

 

In the North-West Territories there were a few small settlements. The largest of these were in the Red River Valley in Manitoba. Mostly, however, the prairies were inhabited by Aboriginal Peoples. Eastern provinces, such as Ontario and Quebec, were becoming overpopulated. Western Canada was viewed by the Canadian government as an ideal place to send this excess population. The government believed it needed to establish farming settlements throughout western Canada as quickly as possible. Then it would have a reason to build a railway network that would link Canada from coast to coast. It was hoped that this nation-wide railroad would cause Canada’s population to grow quickly. It would help the economy of the country to grow as well. The first step was to acquire the land that belonged to the Aboriginal Peoples.

 

Slide of men on railway car, n.d.
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Michael Ewanchuk fonds (PC 96, A.04-129)
Box 3, Folder 5, Item 302

 

The federal government wanted much of the land that Aboriginal peoples owned. It was successful in getting the Aboriginal Peoples to give up their rights to the best land in the prairies by convincing them to sign treaties. These treaties forced the Aboriginal Peoples to live on smaller, poorer pieces of land. In exchange the government promised to help Aboriginal peoples learn to farm successfully. Unfortunately, the Canadian government did not give the Aboriginal Peoples enough funding or training to successfully live an agricultural lifestyle. Instead, most of the government’s money was used to build the railroad. The money that Aboriginal Peoples were to receive was not given to them directly. It was given to agents to manage for them. The agents did not manage the money well. The Aboriginal Peoples’ situation only grew worse when the poor growing conditions in the 1880s led to deadly outbreaks of disease on reserves.

 

M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York

"A Party of Indians Asseneboines" by Peter Rindisbacher

 

M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York

"A Party of Indians Asseneboines" by Peter Rindisbacher

 

Many Métis people in Manitoba were also persuaded into moving farther west by the Roman Catholic Church. The church wanted to replace the Manitoba Métis with well-educated French-Canadians from eastern provinces who were more likely to practice French-Catholic traditions. These easterners, who came to live in the western prairies, regularly fought with the Métis. The Métis wanted to settle together in blocks of land. The Canadian government refused to allow the Métis to settle in groups of solely Métis. However, they did allow certain groups from Europe to do so. When this happened, the Métis people became dissatisfied with their treatment and many left Manitoba for Saskatchewan and Alberta.

 

Canadian Illustrated News: A Commemorative Portfolio / Selected and Introduced by Peter Desbarats. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, [c1970]. Pt. 4: The West (Saturday, January 15, 1870). p. 4.

University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - RBR FC 1 C25 1970 Portfolio c.1

 

Canadian Illustrated News: A Commemorative Portfolio / Selected and Introduced by Peter Desbarats. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, [c1970]. Pt. 4: The West (Saturday, January 15, 1870). p. 4.

University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - RBR FC 1 C25 1970 Portfolio c.1

 

Métis with carts, n.d.
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Josiah Jones Bell fonds (PC 163, A.01-54)
Box 3, Glass plate box 2

 

Now the best land in the country belonged to the Canadian government and it began to seek out the ideal immigrants who could develop this land and contribute to Canadian society.

Emphasis on Farmers

The Canadian government was desperate to attract farmers to the western prairies so that it could develop and settle this part of the country. It tried to encourage people from Great Britain to come. Unfortunately, Britain was only willing to send those people who were inexperienced farmers and these people found it difficult to acquire the money needed to start and operate a farm in Canada successfully. By 1896, Canada was only able to attract 300,000 immigrants to the country. At the same time between 1881 and 1891, more than 300,000 people left Canada for other nations, primarily the United States of America. Something needed to change in Canadian immigration policy!

 

J. Dixon threshing outfit, 1908
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Dixon/Baker Family fonds (PC 130, A.96-11)
Box 1, Folder 1, Item 2

 

J. Dixon threshing gang, 1908
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Dixon/Baker Family fonds (PC 130, A.96-11)
Box 1, Folder 1, Item 3

 

In 1896, a new Minister of the Interior responsible for immigration was appointed by the Canadian government. His name was Clifford Sifton. He continued the government’s attempt to attract farmers to Canada. He decided to look for immigrant farmers in eastern European countries near Russia and also in the United States. The government hoped that these people would have more farming experience and would understand the difficult growing conditions in Canada. It believed that the conditions in their home countries were not any better. In later years, the government would restrict immigration to only those individuals who were suited for farming.

 

Photograph of Ukrainian immigrants and threshing team, Elk Island, Alberta, n.d.
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Parks Canada fonds (PC 192, A.03-13)
Box 1, Folder 1, Item 2

 

Photograph of Ukrainian immigrants and horse and buggy, Elk Island, Alberta, n.d.
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Parks Canada fonds (PC 192, A.03-13)
Box 1, Folder 1, Item 3

 

Negative of Ukrainian-Canadian pioneer plowing a field, ca. early-1900s
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Bill Lobchuk fonds (PC 192, A.04-49)
Box 1, Folder 1, Item 11

 

Negative of Ukrainian-Canadian pioneer on horse-drawn agricultural machinery, ca. early-1900s
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Bill Lobchuk fonds (PC 192, A.04-49)
Box 1, Folder 2, Item 5

 

Photograph of farmer and wife atop thresher, Arbakka, Manitoba, ca. 1918
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Michael Ewanchuk fonds (PC 96, A.04-129)
Box 3, Folder 4, Item 224

 

Photograph of harvesting scene, Arbakka, Manitoba, 1918, front
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Michael Ewanchuk fonds (PC 96, A.04-129)
Box 3, Folder 4, Item 229

 

It was the government’s attractive homestead policy that was the major factor in attracting immigrant farmers to Canada.

 

Homestead Policy

In order to attract farmers to Canada’s western prairie region, the government implemented homestead legislation in 1868 which provided free land to immigrant settlers. In 1872, this legislation was revised and called the Dominion Lands Act. This act gave a free quarter-section of land, or 160 acres, to immigrants to tempt them to settle in Canada. This policy met with some success as several hundred thousand immigrants took advantage of the government’s offer. Posters advertised large, attractive sections of free land available to those who wished to come to Canada. This proved to be an offer that many people in unfortunate circumstances in other countries could not refuse.

 

Dominion Lands Interim Homestead Receipt issued to Samuel Edward Dixon, 1905
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Dixon/Baker Family fonds (MSS SC 148, A.96-11)
Box 1, Folder 3

 

Authorization letter, ca. 1900s
University of Saskatchewan Archives - A.S. Morton Manuscript Collection (MSS C550)
MSS C550 1 29-1 VII-XXI

 

Authorization letter, ca. 1900s
University of Saskatchewan Archives - A.S. Morton Manuscript Collection (MSS C550)
MSS C550 1 29-1 VII-XXI

 

In 1882, the Canadian government granted large blocks of high-quality land to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to sell to possible immigrants. The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) was also allowed this same right and was able to profit through the sale of land. These companies were slow to select the land intended for resale. In the 1890s, the government had to force them to do so. As a result, much of the premier land in western Canada remained undeveloped until this time.

 

Prairie Homestead 1931
University of Saskatchewan Archives - W.C. Murray fonds (MG 1)
MG1 S2 BX2 F17 RCPC 14

 

Prairie Homestead 1931
University of Saskatchewan Archives - W.C. Murray fonds (MG 1)
MG1 S2 BX2 F17 RCPC 40

 

When immigrants arrived in Canada, they often chose to purchase land from the CPR and the HBC, rather than receive free land from the government. The purchase of this land proved to be better for immigrants in the long run. This was because the government homestead land was poor, difficult to develop, and often led to failure and financial ruin.

The mid-1890s was not only a time of change for Canada’s homestead policy, but it was also a time when the country’s entire immigration policy became much more restrictive and exclusionary.

 

Sifton Papers, Page 33
University of Saskatchewan Archives - Mabel Timlin fonds (MG 37)
MG37 VII F17

Clifford Sifton, Frank Oliver, and Changes to Immigration Policy

After 1896, Canada’s immigration policy became increasingly difficult for immigrants. Under the new Minister of the Interior, Clifford Sifton, and his successor, Frank Oliver, the government tried to put restrictions on the people who wanted to come to Canada.

 

Portrait of Clifford Sifton
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Winnipeg Tribune fonds (PC 18, A.81-12)
Clifford Sifton Personality File

 

Canada’s first efforts to restrict immigration had started in 1872 when the government banned criminals and those people with a history of violence from entering the country. Canada’s immigration policy soon also banned the entry of sick immigrants or those of several racial minorities. In 1879, Canada prohibited the entry of poor or disabled immigrants. In 1885, the government made its first attempt at excluding a specific nationality when they imposed a tax on every Chinese immigrant wishing to enter Canada. This tax was called a “head tax”. From 1885 to 1914, Canada’s immigration decisions were based on the good health, positive attitude, wealth, and race of potential immigrants. Several nationalities, such as Asians and black Americans, were thought to be undesirable. They were discriminated against based on the belief that they would not adopt Canadian traditions and customs and blend into Canadian society easily. In other words, they were believed to be unable to fit in or be assimilated. They were considered to be inassimilable.

Sifton believed that massive immigration of experienced farmers was crucial to Canada’s western development. When he took office in 1896, his belief led to Canada’s immigration policy becoming even more restrictive when he banned the entry of any immigrants who were not suited to a farming lifestyle. Sifton was successful in denying the entry of what he believed to be unwanted, inassimilable immigrants, such as Italians, Chinese, and African-Americans. He was able to do this not through changing the laws, but through informal, prejudiced choices on who could or could not enter the country.

 

Sifton Papers, Page 3
University of Saskatchewan Archives - Mabel Timlin fonds (MG 37)
MG37 VII F17

 

Oliver, who replaced Sifton in 1905, passed the Immigration Act in 1906. This Act combined the various existing immigration policies into one single piece of legislation. The Act formally identified several groups, such as the mentally challenged and the sick or impaired, as classes of people who were unacceptable as possible immigrants. Any immigrants living in Canada who became a “public nuisance” or were “undesirable”, such as those who became sick or went to prison, were deported back to their homelands. In 1910, the act became even more difficult for immigrants when the government was granted the right to deport immigrants that did not agree with the nation’s moral or political beliefs.

In 1908, Oliver established border crossings at thirty-eight locations to process the traffic of Americans and Canadians across our shared border. The immigration service became much more functional under the leadership of Oliver. As a result, the number of immigrants coming to Canada boomed, despite the restrictive measures imposed on the admission of many nationalities and classes.

 

Photograph of immigrants arriving at railway station, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1926
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 4 f66 e118(p)

 

Photograph of immigrants arriving at railway station, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1926
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 4 f66 e119(p)

 

In this period of time, the Canadian government’s immigration policy was determined by two conflicting themes: one, that immigrants were needed to develop the west and act as a source of labour, and two, that it was reluctant to accept immigrants who spoke different languages, practiced different customs, were less-educated, or had a different skin colour. Many of the people willing to come to Canada to develop the west and serve as a cheap source of labour were turned away by immigration officials for prejudiced reasons.

The Mennonites

In order to attract certain European ethnic communities to immigrate to Canada, the government offered to set aside pieces of land called “block settlements”. Block settlements offered groups a chance to live in isolation, practice their religions, traditions, and customs, and live with one another without having to interact with other groups and nationalities. One such group that the government negotiated with was the Russian Mennonites.

 

Photograph of ox cart transporting Mennonite couple to their wedding, Steinbach, Manitoba, 1978
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Winnipeg Tribune fonds (PC 18, A.81-12)
Box 51, Folder 4616, Item 9

 

Photograph of Old Post Road cairn, 1951
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Winnipeg Tribune fonds (PC 18, A.81-12)
Box 51, Folder 4616, Item 12

 

Photograph of gathering of Mennonites, 1973
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Winnipeg Tribune fonds (PC 18, A.81-12)
Box 51, Folder 4616, Item 13

 

Mennonites do not support and participate in most armed conflicts. At that time, Mennonites in Russia felt threatened by the increasing violence in their homeland and looked for chances to move elsewhere.

 

Photograph of Mennonites gathered for meal at barn-raising, 1964
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Winnipeg Tribune fonds (PC 18, A.81-12)
Box 51, Folder 4616, Item 14

 

Photograph of Mennonite children, 1964
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Winnipeg Tribune fonds (PC 18, A.81-12)
Box 51, Folder 4616, Item 15

 

Photograph of Conestoga wagon, 1952
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Winnipeg Tribune fonds (PC 18, A.81-12)
Box 51, Folder 4616, Item 16

 

Newsclipping, "Hears History Of Mennonites," 1948
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Winnipeg Tribune fonds (MSS 24, A.81-12)
Mennonites, 1915-1970 - Folder 4615

 

In order to attract these Mennonites to Canada, the government offered them exemption from military service, the freedom to practice their religion, complete control of their education system, free homesteads of 160 acres, and the right to purchase more land at a cost of one dollar per acre. Canada set aside two blocks of townships in southern Manitoba where these Mennonites could reside. The first was a block of eight townships on the east side of the Red River in the southeast part of Winnipeg. The second was a block of twelve townships, called the “West Reserve”. It was west of the Red River, along the international boundary between Canada and the United States Eight thousand Mennonites took the government’s offer and began to move to southern Manitoba in 1874 to live in these isolated communities.

 

Photograph of building supplies for barn-raising, 1964
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Winnipeg Tribune fonds (PC 18, A.81-12)
Box 51, Folder 4616, Item 19

 

Mennonite barn and house, 1931
University of Saskatchewan Archives - W.C. Murray fonds (MG 1)
MG1 S2 BX2 F17 RCPC 17

 

Correspondence between the Dominion Government and the Mennonite Delegation from Southern Russia, Page 1
University of Saskatchewan Archives - A.S. Morton Manuscript Collection (MSS C555)
MSS C555 1 7-2

 

The Icelanders

Icelanders first came to Canada in the early-1870s. They left their native homeland because of volcanic eruptions, shortages of grasslands, and overpopulation, which was draining their natural resources. They originally settled in Ontario and Quebec but soon became unhappy with their conditions and decided to move west. They formed an isolated block settlement on the west side of Lake Winnipeg. This settlement stretched from Selkirk to Hecla Island, including Gimli. They named this area the Republic of New Iceland.

 

Photocopy of typed autobiography of Skapti Arason, n.d., pg. 1
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Skapti Arason fonds (MSS SC 154, A.96-42)
Box 1, Folder 1

 

This area was not yet a part of the province of Manitoba but was included in the relatively ungoverned North-West Territory of Canada. This allowed the Icelandic settlers to create their own laws and judicial system. They created their own government that consisted of four districts (or byggdirs in Icelandic), which were each governed by a council (or thing in Icelandic) of five people headed by a reeve. This administration was supported by the Canadian government until 1881 when Manitoba’s boundaries expanded and the republic became a part of Manitoba. The Icelanders were granted the right to self-government until 1887.

Although Icelanders were content with their situation in Manitoba, everything was not ideal. The area where they chose to settle was perfect for fishing. Many Icelanders made a living selling dried fish to Americans. The problem was that it was poor land for farming. Aboriginal Peoples unwittingly created a small pox epidemic in the community in 1876 when the disease was passed on to the Icelanders who were not yet immune. Lake Winnipeg flooded its bank several times between 1876 and 1880. Also, a religious dispute in the early-1880s caused many Icelanders to leave their republic for North Dakota or Winnipeg’s west end.

Despite these troubles, Icelandic immigration to Manitoba continued to boom. In the mid-1880s, immigration from Iceland to the area of the republic increased and by 1900, the population grew to 2500. The majority of immigrant Icelanders was well-educated and made an effort to preserve their language. They did this mostly through their education system where classes were taught in Icelandic. Gradually, Icelandic was not used as much in the community. However, several poets and writers still produce works in their native language.

 

Photocopy of Simon Simonarson diary, 1919, pg. 16
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Simon Simonarson fonds (MSS 34, A.80-04)
Box 1, Folder 1

 

The Ukrainians

The first Ukrainians came to Canada in the early-1890s. Between 1896 and 1914, 170,000 Ukrainians made the trip from the overpopulated Austrian provinces of Galicia and Bukovyna to Canada. Many left their homelands to settle on the western prairies. They left their homeland because of heavy taxes and decreasing land areas available for farming. As a result, many of the farmers were badly in debt.

Canada was a more favourable option for settlement over the United States of America. American regulations were more difficult for immigrants to meet. Also, native-born Americans were often hostile to new arrivals, and there was a limited amount of land available. The Canadian government also employed leaders of the Ukrainian community, such as Joseph Oleskiw, Kyrolo Genik, and Reverend Nestor Dmytriw, to produce works urging Ukrainians to acquire free land in Canada, to save funds to operate a farm on this land, and adopt Western styles of dress in order to fit into Canadian society more easily. These would help make the immigration experience easier.

 

Photograph of several Ukrainian immigrants, Ethelbert, Manitoba, ca. 1911-1912
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Michael Ewanchuk fonds (PC 96, A.04-129)
Box 3, Folder 3, Item 175

 

Photograph of woman in traditional sheepskin coat at railway station, Emerson, Manitoba, 1922
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 1 f55 e217(p)

 

Postcard featuring unidentified Ukrainian immigrants in traditional dress, n.d.
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Michael Ewanchuk fonds (PC 96, A.04-129)
Box 3, Folder 3, Item 177

 

Many Ukrainians came to Canada under a secret agreement between the Canadian Government and the North Atlantic Trading Company. The North Atlantic Trading Company secretly received a payment from the government for every Ukrainian immigrant that it successfully directed to Canada. Steamship and railway companies actively recruited non-British agriculturally-based immigrants. Thousands of Ukrainians were willing to sell their land and most of their possessions to purchase a ticket with these companies for the cramped and difficult passage to Canada.

 

Pocket calendar / poster advertising the Cunard Steam Ship Co. Ltd., Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1929
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - UCEC / Ivan Bobersky MS Collection
MS Box 5(b) fb-1-8

 

Cunard/CNR immigrant nomination form, Winnipeg, Manitoba, ca. late-1920s
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - UCEC / Ivan Bobersky MS Collection
MS Box 5(b) fb-1-8

 

When they arrived in Canada, the Ukrainians continued to face hardships. Those who could not make a living off of the land often died. Many were concerned that the size of the land that they were awarded (160 acres) was too large to establish a close-knit community like the ones they enjoyed in their homeland. They faced persecution from native-born Canadians who discriminated against the Ukrainians because they spoke a foreign language and had different customs. Those who lived in cities, such as in Winnipeg’s north end, faced more of this treatment. This attitude grew stronger in 1914 with the outbreak of the First World War when Austria-Hungary, the homeland of Ukrainian immigrants, became known as the enemy.

 

Ukrainian pioneer home with thatched roof
University of Saskatchewan Archives - A.S. Morton Manuscript Collections (MSS C555)
MSS C555 1 8 13 Veregin

 

Photograph of business partners, Wasylyshens and Malliniuks, Caliento, Manitoba, ca. 1917-1918
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Michael Ewanchuk fonds (PC 96, A.04-129)
Box 3, Folder 2, Item 145

 

Click here to view a video clip detailing the hardships faced by Ukrainian immigrants.

Ukrainians were able to overcome all of the hardships presented before them through their positive attitudes, stubborn determination to succeed, and excellent work ethic.

The Doukhobors

The Doukhobors are a distinct religious group who are peaceful in nature, live in isolation with one another, and believe in the brotherhood and sisterhood of all men and women. Doukhobors were persecuted against in their native Russia because of their religious beliefs and were forced to live in isolated areas of the Russian empire, such as southern Russia, Ukraine, and Siberia, by the Russian government. Many Doukhobors came to western Canada to escape this persecution.

 

Doukhobor couple, Rosthern, Saskatchewan, 1910
University of Saskatchewan Archives - A.S. Morton Manuscript Collection (MSS C555)
MSS C555 2 6 2f

 

Group of Douhkhobors, n.d.
University of Saskatchewan Archives - A.S. Morton Manuscript Collections (MSS C555)
MSS C555 1 4 2d

Doukhobors were considered ideal immigrants by Canadian authorities because of their agricultural experience. The Doukhobors negotiated their immigration with the Canadian government and were granted three blocks of land in the North-West Territories, now Saskatchewan, where they could live as they wished. The Canadian government granted them conscientious objector status in 1898 which granted them the right to refuse to participate in any armed conflict. 7500 Doukhobors settled in Saskatchewan and Alberta in the following years. Years later, many moved to British Columbia when the Canadian government went back on their promise of allowing this group to live together in isolation, forced them to live on individual homesteads and also to pledge their allegiance to Canada.

The Americans

Americans had always been considered desirable immigrants by Canadian immigration officials. This was true in spite of complaints that Americans tried to make western Canada like the United States. Two exceptions to this rule were Mormons and blacks. Mormons settled in Alberta in the 1880s and were morally looked down upon for their belief that men could have several wives. Blacks were racially discriminated against because of their colour and were thought not to be able to assimilate. Many American cattle and sheep ranchers immigrated to Canada before the 1890s. Thousands more American farmers of European descent came to the country after 1896 when the United States of America declared that it was not accepting any more immigrant farmers. At that point, Canada also stepped up its recruitment efforts. Canadian immigration officials chose to accept only the wealthiest potential immigrants based on correspondence with the applicants.

 

Negative of Ukrainian-Canadian pioneer and his livestock, ca. early-1900s
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Bill Lobchuk fonds (PC 191, A.04-49)
Box 1, Folder 1

 

Photograph pasted on note identifying barn and cattle on William and Alexandra Rybak's farm, Elma, Manitoba, n.d.
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Michael Ewanchuk fonds (PC 96, A.02-19)
Box 21, Folder 10, Item 7

 

Between 1906 and 1914, many Americans chose to settle in the Palliser’s Triangle area in Alberta and Saskatchewan. This region was notoriously dry and received little rainfall but many American farmers who had experience in dry-farming techniques flourished in this area. American farmers in other regions of the west also benefited from abundant rainfall and ideal growing conditions during this period. Unfortunately, these conditions did not last forever and many American immigrants returned to their homeland in search of greener pastures.

 

Sifton Papers, Page 26
University of Saskatchewan Archives - Mabel Timlin fonds (MG 37)
MG 37 VII F17

 

Newsclipping, "The Silent Americans," 1962
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Winnipeg Tribune fonds (MSS 24, A.81-12)
Immigration, 1958-1964 - Folder 3646

The British

The majority of immigrants to come to Canada before the First World War were originally from the British Isles. The period between 1896 and 1914 saw the greatest wave of British immigration that Canada had ever witnessed. Sadly, a large number of these immigrants were British “Home Children”. These were young people who lived in the slums of Britain. They were shipped to Canada to serve as a cheap source of labour on Canadian farms. Some of these children were then abused in their new homes. Prior to 1914, 50,000 of these children were recruited and imported to Canada. Many of these children were encouraged by their parents to go to Canada. Their parents thought they would have a better chance for a good life there. Others were snatched off the streets and sent to Canada by individuals who believed that they were doing the right thing.

 

Photograph of English immigrant Dick Spencer's homestead, Preeceville, Saskatchewan, 1920
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Spencer Family fonds (PC 124, A.96-38)
Box 1, Folder 2

 

Photograph of English immigrant Dick Spencer's homestead, Preeceville, Saskatchewan, 1920
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Spencer Family fonds (PC 124, A.96-38)
Box 1, Folder 2

 

Photograph of English immigrant Dick Spencer's neighbour's homestead, Preeceville, Saskatchewan, 1919
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Spencer Family fonds (PC 124, A.96-38)
Box 1, Folder 2

 

One of these individuals was Thomas John Barnardo who, beginning in 1871, sent over thirty thousand young people to Canada from London, England. “Doctor” Barnardo received thousands of pounds from the British public. He searched the streets of London for poor, malnourished children, and used the funding to rehabilitate these children in his Barnardo’s Homes for Destitute Girls and Boys. In 1882, he established a fourteen square mile Industrial Farm at Russell, Manitoba, where these children lived and worked. Despite the circumstances surrounding this operation, there were very few complaints from the children of being abused or victimized.

European Contract Workers

After 1896, Canada encouraged the immigration of industrial labourers from numerous European nations. Canadian corporations, primarily railway companies, required a cheap source of labour so the Canadian government set out to fill this void with European immigrants. Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) utilized Italian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, and Polish immigrants, to name but a few nationalities who acted as workers on the construction of the railway. Mining corporations were partial towards Slavic and Italian workers. These workers were hired on contracts by labour agencies which meant they could be hired for low wages. These workers were known to work hard and live a simple life.

 

Photograph of labourers building a street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1931
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 4 f102 e403

 

Photograph of labourers preparing for sidewalk construction, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1929
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 4 f26 e132

 

Photograph of labourers paving a sidewalk, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1929
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 1 f207 e604(p)

 

Between 1900 and 1914, fifty to seventy thousand European immigrant workers came to Canada to work on the railways. By 1913, three hundred labour agencies in Canada recruited 200,000 immigrant workers every year, mostly for construction work.

 

Photograph of labourers constructing a house, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1923
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 3 f179 e184(00)(p)

 

Photograph of labourers making house repairs, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1923
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 1 f223 e639(p)

 

Photograph of labourers on street construction/repair crew, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1926
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 1 f119 e367(p)

 

Many European contract workers, mostly from western Europe and Britain, eventually complained about the low wages and poor working conditions they experienced. The governments in the homelands of these workers protested their poor treatment by untrustworthy labour agencies and employers in Canada.

 

Photograph of labourers on street construction/repair crew, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1926
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 1 f119 e364(p)

 

Photograph of labourers on street construction/repair crew, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1926
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 1 f119 e366(p)

 

Photograph of labourers on street construction/repair crew, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1926
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 1 f119 e363(p)

 

Labour agencies forced these workers to pay high agency fees. Also, agents received money in return for placing an immigrant in a construction camp where working conditions were extremely poor. Labour unions and native-born Canadians protested the usage of European contract workers. They did this because jobs that could have been given to Canadians were being given to the immigrants who were willing to put up with these terrible conditions. As a result, they pressured the Canadian government to put more restrictive immigration policies in place to limit the number of immigrant workers.

 

Photograph of labourers on street construction/repair crew, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1926
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 1 f119 e365(p)

 

Photograph of labourers constructing a street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1929
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 4 f102 e401(p)

 

Photograph of labourers constructing street railway, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1920s
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC s2 f214 e547(p)

 

The Lebanese

Fifteen thousand Lebanese people, or Syrians as they were called in the late-1890s, emigrated every year due to religious persecution in their home country of Syria and the search for better economic opportunities. Many immigrant contractors sent these Lebanese immigrants to Canada due to the availability of ships sailing to that country. Evidence of the large number of Lebanese people immigrating to Canada can be seen in the tragic sinking of the Titanic. When the Titanic sank in 1912, the majority of the people who were trapped in the ship’s steerage compartment were from Syria. Their destination was Canada in the hopes of starting new and improved lives in a new country.

The majority of Lebanese who arrived in Canada lived in cities and worked as businessmen. Some would sell goods on the street, often carrying their items for sale in wheelbarrows. Others operated small stores in many Canadian towns. The number of Lebanese to immigrate to Canada was not on the same scale as the British or Ukrainians. In fact, in 1921, there were only 122 Syrians living in Manitoba, 227 in Saskatchewan, and 146 in Alberta.

 

Photograph of Danylo Torbiak's general store, Poplarfield, Manitoba, 1922
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 5 f49 e75

 

Photograph of stores, Vita, Manitoba, 1928
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Michael Ewanchuk fonds (PC 96, A.04-129)
Box 3, Folder 4, Item 220

 

Photograph of Katz's store on Pritchard Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, ca. 1900
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Sybil Shack fonds (PC 159, A.04-31)
Box 1, Folder 4

 

The Asians

Asians were traditionally discouraged from immigrating to Canada on the grounds that they were believed to be inassimilable because of their foreign languages, manners, and customs. East Indian, Chinese, and Japanese immigrants faced perhaps the greatest discrimination of any nationalities in Canada and found the immigration experience a difficult one.

The Chinese

Between 1881 and 1884, 15,701 Chinese immigrants entered Canada to serve as a cheap source of labour. Half of this total was employed directly on labour crews for the Canadian Pacific Railway while others worked in the construction industry. Once the railway was completed and these workers were no longer of any use to industry leaders, the Chinese began to be viewed as a social and economic burden on Canada.

For these reasons, the Canadian government began to institute restrictions on the number of Chinese workers it admitted into the country. In 1885, Prime Minister John A. Macdonald taxed every Chinese person who wished to immigrate to Canada a sum of fifty dollars in an effort to dissuade Chinese people from coming to Canada. The government also limited the number of Chinese people allowed to be carried on ships that entered Canadian ports.

 

Hansard Oriental Immigration – 1896-1905 - Notes, Page 3
University of Saskatchewan Archives - Mabel Timlin fonds (MG 37)
MG 37 VII F8

 

Hansard Oriental Immigration – 1896-1905 - Notes, Page 4
University of Saskatchewan Archives - Mabel Timlin fonds (MG 37)
MG 37 VII F8

 

The Japanese

Only a few Japanese immigrants began immigrating to Canada by the 1880s. The number of Japanese immigrants coming to Canada prior to the First World War was low for a number of reasons. Although a tax of $25 was imposed on the entry of any Asian immigrants into Canada, the tax on Japanese immigrants was raised in 1903 to a terribly unreasonable five hundred dollars. Following anti-Asian riots in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Canadian government reached an agreement with the Japanese government in 1907 to limit the numbers of Japanese people immigrating to Canada.


The East Indians

The majority of East Indian immigrants chose to settle in British Columbia but not until the beginning of the twentieth century. Between 1904 and 1907, 5000 East Indian immigrants settled in the province. Poor economic conditions and political unrest in their native India had forced many East Indians to seek better opportunities elsewhere. Most of those who settled in British Columbia were young male Sikhs. They were content to live as peasant farmers or to work at odd jobs in cities to raise money to support their families in India. As a group, East Indian immigrants became well organized and were able to voice their concerns, especially regarding Canada’s immigration practices, which many believed to be restrictive and unfair.

 

Newsclipping, "Officials fear big Asian influx," 1968
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Winnipeg Tribune fonds (MSS 24, A.81-12)
Immigration, 1965-1968 - Folder 3647

 

Newsclipping, "East Indians rap 'racist' policies," 1978
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Winnipeg Tribune fonds (MSS 24, A.81-12)
Immigration, 1978-1979 - Folder 3650

 

The Restrictions

Asian immigrants faced prejudiced exclusionary measures that many other nationalities did not face. Native-born Canadians in British Columbia and elsewhere often let their dislike of Asian languages, manners, and customs boil over into angry riots. They were also upset over the supposed economic drain that Asian immigrants caused the Canadian taxpayer. In order to ease these tensions, Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier had to enforce a clause in the 1885 Indian Emigration Act. In 1907 he prohibited East Indians from immigrating to Canada under contracts. British legislators imposed regulations that prohibited any immigrants from coming to Canada unless they could do so without making any stops along the way and unless they had $200 on their person. These “continuous journey” and financial requirements meant that many Asians were unable to emigrate.

Provincial governments also implemented exclusionary measures intended to restrict Asian emigration. British Columbia imposed a series of restrictions on Chinese immigration beginning in 1884 when they were banned from acquiring land belonging to the government. Then, in 1890, they were prevented from working in mines. Finally, in 1897, they were barred from being employed on public works. In 1907, the British Columbia legislature disenfranchised Chinese, Japanese, and East Indian immigrants meaning that they were unable to vote or serve in political office, school boards, or juries.

 

Newsclipping, "Immigration Bias Charged," 1958
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Winnipeg Tribune fonds (MSS 24, A.81-12)
Immigration, 1958-1964 - Folder 3646

 

Newsclippings, "Turncoat Japs Lose Rights As Canadians," "Freer Immigration For Chinese Asked," 1946
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Winnipeg Tribune fonds (MSS 24, A.81-12)
Immigration - Chinese and Japanese into Canada, 1946-1965 - Folder 3653

Communication Problems

Upon their arrival in Canada, immigrants faced many challenges as they attempted to fit in with their fellow native-born Canadians. One such challenge was that of communication. Many immigrants who came to Canada spoke the language of their native land. Canadians outside of these ethnic groups did not understand anything these immigrants said or wrote. On the other hand, immigrants who spoke foreign languages could not understand anything said or written by native-born Canadians, as English and French were the predominant languages in Canada. One can imagine how afraid and confused an immigrant who did not speak English or French must have felt when they arrived at Canadian immigration centres where officials spoke only these two languages.

Some nationalities, such as the Icelanders, attempted to live amongst one another where they could communicate with each other in their native tongue and did not have to interact with others who did not. They implemented their own educational system and taught their children in the Icelandic language. This tactic only worked for a short time though as Canada continued to grow and these isolated communities could no longer ignore their neighbours who were settling closer and closer to these communities. Most nationalities learned the predominant language of their area, usually French or English, so that they could communicate with other Canadians. Many continued to speak and write in their native tongues at home and amongst those who could understand them.

 

Letter in German from Frederick Philip Grove to Mr. Warkentin, re: Grove's early years in Manitoba, 1913, pg.1
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Frederick Philip Grove fonds (MSS 2, A.78-54)
Box 1, Folder 18

 

Circular letter from Cunard Steam Ship Line to those wishing to sponsor immigrants or send money to home countries, Winnipeg, Manitoba, ca. late-1920s
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - UCEC / Ivan Bobersky MS Collection
MS Box 5(b) fb-1-8

Climate and Environment

We all know that Canada’s climate and environment can be quite harsh. Try to imagine the coldest day of last winter. Now try and imagine living in the middle of the prairies in a house that you had to build with your own bare hands without any money or tools, without the proper warm clothing, and without any prior knowledge of what a prairie winter was like. How warm would you be if you were in that situation? Would you be able to survive one night in these conditions? Thousands of immigrants who came to Canada faced these types of situations upon their arrival. It is a testament to their courageous nature that they were able to not only survive, but make valuable contributions to Canadian society.

 

Photograph of Ukrainian pioneer homestead, Winnipegosis, Manitoba
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Michael Ewanchuk fonds (PC 96, A.04-129)
Box 3, Folder 3, Item 201

 

Photograph of Frederick Philip Grove and his daughter on their porch, Talmouth, Manitoba, ca. 1920
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Frederick Philip Grove fonds (PC 2, A.78-54)
Box 1, Folder 3, Item 11

 

Three Russian men in winter, Rosthern, Saskatchewan, 1910
University of Saskatchewan Archives - A.S. Morton Manuscript Collection (MSS C555)
MSS C555 2 6 2c

 

Summers on the prairies were no better. Hot and humid temperatures combined with the annual onslaught of pesky mosquitoes made for difficult times for immigrants. They had no air conditioning or bug spray to help them cope. And these were normal environmental conditions. There were times of extreme rainfall when farming was impossible. Floods would occasionally devastate certain regions. At the other extreme, periodic droughts would force immigrants to live meagerly for the rest of the year as their crops would not grow in such conditions. Outbreaks of disease were common among immigrants for reasons such as these.

Certain areas of the prairies were more suitable for farming than others. The Icelanders who moved to the Lake Winnipeg area discovered this when they had to depend on fishing to make a living since the land in the area was not agriculturally adequate. The American ranchers who settled in the Palliser’s Triangle area in Saskatchewan and Alberta also realized that the area was not suitable for most types of agriculture due to the extremely dry and arid conditions but were able to successfully farm the land utilizing dry-farming techniques.

 

Photograph of cattle herding, Rosa, Manitoba, 1977
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Michael Ewanchuk fonds (PC 96, A.04-129)
Box 3, Folder 4, Item 245

 

Photograph of cattle farm, Vita, Manitoba, ca. 1973
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Michael Ewanchuk fonds (PC 96, A.04-129)
Box 3, Folder 4, Item 248

 

Many immigrants were unaccustomed to these harsh climatic and environmental conditions. They did not face these types of conditions in their homelands and those agents who recruited them to immigrate to Canada did not warn them prior to their journey. They were also shocked by the large open spaces of the prairies and had to cope with feelings of isolation, something many were unaccustomed to in their tight-knit communities back home. But through a combination of positive attitude, determination, ingenuity, and strong work ethic, many immigrants were able to overcome these types of hardships and persevere.

New Customs and Politics

Immigrants who came to Canada prior to the First World War brought with them customs that were new to many Canadians. Today we know that the customs of various ethnic groups in Canada contribute to Canadian culture and society and they are welcomed. But it was not always this way. Many Canadians did not understand these new customs and felt threatened by them. Many feared that these new customs would replace the more traditional French and English ones. This attitude was reinforced by governments at all levels in Canada.

 

Photograph of costumed members of Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian National Home, Ethelbert, Manitoba, 1927
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 5 f26 e27(p)

 

Negative of Ukrainian-Canadian pioneers, ca. early-1900s
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Bill Lobchuk fonds (PC 191, A.04-49)
Box 1, Folder 1

 

Photograph of five men in traditional dress - Ukrainian National Federation - St. Boniface, n.d.
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Klymkiw Family fonds (PC 152, A.01-48)
Box 47, Folder 9, Item 17

 

Several nationalities immigrated to Canada and sought to live in block settlements or communes where they would live with only one another in isolated communities and would not permit any outside influences to infiltrate their group. Mennonites, Icelanders, and Doukhobors were all granted this right by the Canadian government. However, the government would soon go back on its promise when this lifestyle began to be ridiculed by native-born Canadian citizens. They urged the government to force these groups to live like everyone else. As a result, a few ethnic groups, such as some Mennonites and Doukhobors, packed up and moved elsewhere where they could live that type of lifestyle. Others abandoned some of the customs that were offensive to other Canadians and adopted a few Canadian customs that would allow them to assimilate into Canadian society.

 

Doukhobour family, n.d.
University of Saskatchewan Archives - A.S. Morton Manuscript Collection (MSS C555)
MSS C555 1 4 2d b

 

Photograph of a young child in traditional Ukrainian dress, n.d.
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Klymkiw Family fonds (PC 152, A.01-48)
Box 47, Folder 7, Item 10

 

Many ethnic groups decided to adopt western traditions and customs, such as their way of dress, so that they could blend into Canadian society more easily. Some Ukrainian leaders urged immigrants to do so in order to ease in their assimilation which in turn would make their immigration experience much more tolerable. Thankfully, many ethnic groups were able to find a balance whereby they retained many of their own unique traditions and customs and adopted many other more traditionally Canadian customs established by the French and English. It is this balance that makes Canada the unique cultural mosaic that it is today.

 

Photograph of immigrants arriving at railway station, Winnipeg, Manitoba, ca. late-1920s
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 5 f14 e167(p)

 

Photograph of girls in traditional dress, Vita, Manitoba, ca. 1960
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Michael Ewanchuk fonds (PC 96, A.04-129)
Box 3, Folder 4, Item 271

 

Photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Panasiuk and Ukrainian Pioneer home, Elk Island, Alberta, ca. 1980s
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Parks Canada fonds (PC 192, A.03-113)
Box 2, Folder 1

Challenges Faced By New Immigrants: Discrimination

New immigrants in Canada were presented with the challenge of discrimination at many levels. Immigrants were discriminated against by ordinary Canadian citizens who were prejudiced against immigrants’ foreign languages, manners, and customs. Labour agencies and employers discriminated against immigrants by forcing them to work difficult jobs at low wages in poor conditions because they were desperate for an income and they were unaware of their right to be treated fairly. Federal and provincial governments were also discriminatory in their immigration policies.

Discrimination was prevalent throughout western Canada in the period prior to the First World War. Ordinary citizens discriminated against immigrants based on race, religion, language, and traditions. Ukrainians, particularly those living in urban areas, were called names and mocked by those who were different from them. African-Americans shared a similar experience. Mormons, Mennonites, Doukhobors, and Jews were all persecuted against for their religious beliefs, simply because they differed from the norm.

 

Poster entitled "Trade With Gentiles," n.d.
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Lewis St. George Stubbs fonds (MSS 188, A.96-94)
Box 14, Folder 12

 

Labour agencies discriminated against immigrants, as did those who employed them. Labour agencies forced immigrants to pay high service fees. Employers gave immigrants low wages and forced them to work in dangerously deplorable working conditions. Non-immigrant Canadians could work the same job but would receive higher wages and better treatment. Labour agencies even discriminated against which immigrants they would take on as clients. While they would readily accept Italians and Poles as contractual labourers, they would not grant the same opportunities to Chinese immigrants.

 

Photograph of labourers constructing street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1920s
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 4 f114 e481(p)

 

Photograph of labourers constructing street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1920s
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 4 f102 e415(p)

 

Photograph of labourers constructing sidewalk, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1929
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 1 f207 e598(p)

 

The federal and provincial governments’ immigration policies were discriminatory, especially towards Asian immigrants. The Canadian government imposed excessive head taxes on Chinese and Japanese immigrants who wished to come to Canada. They even worked out agreements with the governments of their homelands to make it increasingly difficult for anyone to emigrate. Provincial governments, such as the one in British Columbia, compounded these discriminatory regulations with those of their own, such as barring Chinese immigrants from working in certain industries. 

 

Challenges Faced By New Immigrants: Urban Problems

Immigrants who chose to settle in rural areas of the prairies faced hardships unique to that lifestyle, such as those of climate, environment, and isolation. Those who chose to settle in urban areas encountered problems that were unique to their situations.

Immigrants who chose to live in cities, such as Winnipeg, had to consider employment. Those who settled in rural areas had no other options but to become farmers. Options for the employment of immigrants in cities were basically limited to construction or other hard-labour jobs. Faced with discrimination and language difficulties in the communities, many immigrants created small businesses for themselves. Many opened corner stores which sold goods to other immigrants in the community.

 

Photograph of labourers constructing sidewalk, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1929
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 1 f207 e596(p)

 

Photograph of labourers constructing a sidewalk, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1929
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 4 f173 e610(p)

 

Photograph of road crew, Prelate, Saskatchewan, ca. 1936
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Michael Ewanchuk fonds (PC 96, A.04-129)
Box 3, Folder 5, Item 286

 

Sybil Shack's family photo album, n.d., pg. 13
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Sybil Shack fonds (PC 159, A.02-56)
Box 1, Folder 4

 

Photograph of M. Katz & Son Meat and Market, Winnipeg, Manitoba, n.d.
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Sybil Shack fonds (PC 159, A.02-56)
Box 2, Folder 8

 
Negative of Ukrainian-Canadian pioneers at counter of store, ca. early-1900s
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections - Bill Lobchuk fonds (PC 191, A.04-49)
Box 1, Folder 2
 
The vast majority of immigrants were forced to seek out cheap housing. In Winnipeg, cheap housing could be found in the city’s north end. Immigrants clustered in this area. Many lived near or at the poverty level and, as a result, death and disease was ever present. While the city’s government made every attempt to improve the living conditions of the wealthy, they would often ignore the needs of the poor. Wealthy people had a role in electing government officials but poor people did not. Immigrants living in squalor found it extremely difficult to escape these situations.
 

Photograph of children playing in snow, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1921
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 3 f129 e132a(p)

 

Photograph of playground, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1921
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 5 f125 e188a(p)

 

Photograph of playground, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1921
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 5 f125 e188c(p)

 

Racism and discrimination was also more evident in urban settings. Immigrants could not easily escape the insulting comments and sometimes violent action taken against them by prejudiced native-born Canadians like they could in the more isolated rural areas. Many immigrants suffered great social injustices simply because they were different.

 

Photograph of Ukrainian family near its store, Vita, Manitoba, 1921
Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Archives - Ivan Bobersky fonds
PC 5 f54 e81(p)