"We all crowded at the windows. What we saw were endless flat prairies, no trees, no creeks ...This is Canada which draws us like a magnet, out here we shall live the rest of our lives. Did we do the right thing? Shall we be happier here than we were in the old country? Such thoughts...came to all of us as the train took us deeper and deeper..." - Petro Svarich, immigrant
At the turn of the 20th century, Canada needed people.
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A Land of Many Cultures
Canada Opens its Door
Canada casts its net wide to lure newcomers from around the world
A New Start
The story of a young man who leaves his homeland to forge a new life in Canada
Legacy of Hate
Chinese immigrants encounter prejudice and violence as they settled in Canada
These were boom times in the Dominion. Canadian wheat was in great demand around the world and the country�s immense prairies needed tilling. At the same time, the Canada's flourishing industries demanded a huge labour force.
Britain and United States were the traditional sources of immigrants to English-speaking Canada but now their numbers weren�t enough. So Canada cast its net wider.
In 1896, the man in charge of immigration, Clifford Sifton, set about luring non-English speaking people from across Europe. In particular, East Europeans fit Sifton's image of the sturdy peasant farmer.
The rapid increase in Canada's western population prompted the creation of two new provinces in 1905: Alberta and Saskatchewan. More than half of the immigrants settled on the Prairies while thousands of others chose to settle in Quebec and Ontario.
In Quebec, and particularly in Montreal, Jewish and Italian communities put down roots in large numbers between 1900 and 1930.
For some immigrants, the Canadian dream was more like a nightmare. On the prairies life was hard and newcomers often lived in poverty. Many had to work away from the farm � in mining, railway building, lumbering � to make ends meet. Europeans who settled in the cities encountered slum-like conditions and were the target of resentment from other Canadians.
In British Columbia, Chinese immigrants were treated with more resentment than the European newcomers. First brought over to Canada to provide cheap labour for railway construction, Chinese Canadians encountered extreme prejudice and eventually violence as they tried to make a new life in Canada.
Despite the hardships, the world kept coming to Canada's doorstep. More than a million immigrants arrived between 1896 and 1905. And the newcomers made their mark. In a few short years, the look of Canada changed; a cultural mosaic had emerged.