Introduction: Canada had lots of space, rocky, hard to farm on, and had cold winters

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Horizons Textbook Chapter 1 Notes
- Canada had lots of space, rocky, hard to farm on, and had cold winters

- Not appealing to settle in; USA seemed more attractive

- Canada was home to a bunch of Natives, and fur traders
- In the east, Canada was developing; Upper Canada’s population had risen rapidly after the War of 1812. Immigrants from Europe and USA tried to take advantage of the cheap land. Lower Canada was also developing, with assists from Britain and New England
- The Natives were greatly affected as they were suffering from diseases that immigrants brought from Europe, and their farmland was being compromised. The settlers didn’t care.
- At his time, people thought USA was a potential enemy of Canada, even though there were many interrelations with them. Also, a lot of the first settlers were from USA and Canada needed to be able to trade with them. However, the invasions of the War of 1812 caused Canada to be re-tied to Britain and England. Leaders were usually Loyalists or British army officers.
- Loyalists were actually Americans who still supported Britain, and so they attempted to reject the American way of government and restore British government power.
- Conflict: Britain wanted Canada to have their style of society (“gentlefolk with large estates” (Horizons, 11”)), while Americans wanted “equal opportunity for all” (Horizons, 11). Unfair land laws, and government caused arguments between classes, (upper and lower class). Lower Canada had French parts, and they hated British rule (which was in power at the time). This caused rebellions (Rebellion of 1837).
- Canada had “too much geography” (William Lyon Mackenzie King).
- Geography of Canada:

  • Most lies between 50 – 70 degrees latitude

  • Most live in southern Canada where it is warmer.

  • Vast landscape, very far from East to West coast and vice versa

  • 2nd largest country on Earth (9 916 140 km2)

  • Trip West to East

    • Leave Vancouver, and goes through Fraser Valley and canyon

    • Crosses Interior Plateau and snakes into the Rockies, passing the dry Okanagan and Kootenay

    • After going through Rockies, pass Calgary and encounters prairies

    • After prairies is Winnipeg with lots of rocks, non-existent since Alberta.

    • Passes Canadian Shield and meets thick forests and many lakes

    • After the forests is Lake Superior

    • After passing Montreal, the St Lawrence River approaches and after that, into Newfoundland, is the East Coast of Canada.


- After War of 1812, as farmland was taken by swarming settlers, Quebec (Lower Canada) continued developing, based on its farming techniques that had held for over two centuries.
- The Maritimes were well populated and stable, with trade routes by sea.
- Most appealing land was in Upper Canada, with good forests and wood. The land near the USA and water bodies was most appealing (all in SOUTH). In the North was the Canadian Shield, which prevented any agriculture.
- Land of the Fur Trade

-Most Europeans knew that the north and west lands from the Great Lakes were out-limits, and reserved for the fur trade. Less than a dozen people lived there, who were not Metis, Native, or a fur trader.

-The Metis, Natives and traders were determined not to let settlers take away their land, and settlers just wanted land. The Metis, Natives and traders had no benefit from settlers, and risked losing their land if the settlers came.
-Fur trade originated in 16th century, and in the 19th century, had become a huge battle. Largest company was Hudson’s Bay Company, which had specific territory that no one else was allowed to trade in. They could enforce the rules.
-French attempted fur trade too, until New France was defeated in 1763. Then, mostly Scottish traders took up the old French trading routes and challenged the Hudson’s Bay Company’s monopoly as the North West Company.
- Was the newest and most undeveloped land of colonies of British.

- Had almost become American during War of 1812, and now held many American settlers.

- Had few roads, with anywhere more than 30-40 km from York (its capital) being “remote”

- Contained many forests with many trees, and was very quiet.

- Natives had lived in this land for millennia, when European settlers began clearing the land one hectare per year.
- Habitants lived in close relation, with meetings and visits being something to look forward to. Living was hard, with hard work not entirely being able to support a family. Everyone was in debt at least once, and they had to mortgage future crops for goods.

- The Importance of the Social Class

- When people moved to Upper Canada, the work needed to survive was surprising, as each family needed to build and maintain a farm. There were no “classes” in Upper Canada, as everyone needed everyone else to survive, and to assist in a time of need, no matter who they were. They did not think of themselves as Canadians, but more of English people in a new land.
- The Problem of Land
- The point of moving to Upper Canada, for most people, was the farmland available there. Others relished the land to begin their own business and craft. Advertisements promoted Upper Canada’s land as being rich and cheap. However, many people arrived to see that most of the land had already been claimed. The fight over land had begun.
- Some people became land speculators, who were people who bought low and sold high. They claimed large areas of land in southern Upper Canada near the Lakes and USA. That was the land most sought after. By keeping supply low, and demand high, speculators made money off selling land, while reserving land for the future.
- Crown and Clergy Reserves
- To further lower supply, land and been set aside or reserved for the government and for the Anglican Church. This crown and clergy reserves, as they were called, took up about 2/7 of all of the land in Upper Canada. To make things worse, most of the land was left untouched. Also, the land was scattered, preventing development, as settlers had to build around the land.
- The Role of the British Government

- The British government helped cause the land fiasco in Upper Canada, as they maintained that the land in Upper Canada be distributed in the same way as it is in England.

- The British wanted aristocrats to distribute the land and control the country along with many upper class members

- The idea was opposite to the Republican way, which is what the farmers preferred. The Republican way is democratic, without a specific monarch that is the head ruler. The Americans believed they could support themselves and that the British were interfering and discriminating them. Technically, this was true. Britain did not want the colonies in North American taking on American ways (The Thirteen Colonies had rebelled against Britain, forming the USA)

- The original governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe, tried to implement Britain’s plans for Upper Canada, and while it was hard to lure aristocrats to remote Upper Canada, many retired army members were interested.
- In Britain, the firstborn took most of the family land while the younger sons joined the army or Church, because they could not expect to be heavy landowners. In Canada, the circumstances were different. There was a lot of land waiting to be developed. So, the government sold the land to companies for a cheap price, so the companies could attract settlers.
-In 1815, almost 50% of the land in western Upper Canada was owned by speculators
- Immigrants bombarded the borders of North America, and swarmed in, looking for places to settle. This proved to be a challenge, as Natives began defending what they thought was their territory, and signing treaties to confirm ownership of their land.
- Immigrant came mostly from Britain or the USA, but there were a number of European settlers.
- Advertisements portrayed Canada as having cheap, fertile land, and convenient for trade. Also, the land of Canada was portrayed as “optimistic” and that attracted many settlers.
- However, not all was golden, as the immigrants had to first get to Canada. That meant an expensive, one month, trip across the Atlantic. The settlers took all their money, as they had to be able to survive in North America. Also, the settlers left expecting never to see their loved ones ever again. The poorest came in coffin ships, in which many people died, and their bodies thrown overboard.
-Deadly Journeys

-For most tenant farmers, the idea of owning their own farm was very attractive, but not many could afford to travel in luxury, or even in basic conditions. The upper classes travelled pleasantly, while the lower classes travelled in steerage, normally used to carry cargo, in inadequate conditions.

- Cargo ships used to carry goods from North America to Europe carried passengers in the return trip, as the cargo holds were added small bunks, and pots and tubs. The poor hygiene was a high health risk. Disease such as cholera spread, and killed many. Those who survived to Canada may still have been infected. In 1832, about half of the immigrants who did make it to Canada were still seriously ill
- The Multiculturalism of Pioneer Canada
- The memos of life in British North America were usually written by English people. However, the majority of settlers in Upper Canada were not English; Americans did not consider themselves to be English, nor did European settlers not from Britain. Many of the European immigrants spoke Gaelic, and brought their own traditions and cultures.
- By modern standards, the 19th century Canadians were “racist”, as they thought that Europeans had a duty to “civilize” the world. These ideas were spread through schools and churches. As a result some European stories were omitted from history as Canadians deemed them not as important as their own stories.
-Black Canadians

- Slavery was present in 17th and 18th century New France. Also, many Loyalists brought African slaves with them to Canada during the American Revolution. However, slavery was abolished in Canada first, before anywhere else in North America. In Canadian courts, black people were free. Refugees from USA who fled during the American Revolution were accepted and given land in Canada, in exchange for their loyalty.

- Black Canadians also played a part in the 1837 Rebellions.

- The Underground Railroad

-Upper Canada became a destination for refugee slaves. Slaves were transported through a series of secrets roads and paths, called the Underground Railroad, to Canada, and freedom. Along the paths were “stations” or safehouses. Those were homes of anti-slaves.
-Harriet Tubman, a Black activist, assisted in the Underground Railroad, sending thousands to freedom. The Underground Railroad was proposed by Josiah Henson and his family.
-The Railroad was risky, as when slaves were recaptured, they were returned to their masters and punished. However, many slaves still tried for freedom with the prospect of a free and safe land in Canada.
- However, Black people were not exactly accepted with open arms. Black people who did make it to Canada lived in small communities with other Black people, and were unable to pursue a governmental career for over a hundred years. The remote areas of Upper Canada that was previously inhabited were taken by the Black people. The Black communities joined colonies, and began their own legacy.
-Women in Upper Canada

- Tend to regard their success and failures as the same as their fathers or husbands’ successes and failures, due to fact they did not usually own property or work outside of home.

- A woman needed a husband, for without one, had no place to live, except for houses of relatives. They were called spinsters, and were pitied. A good marriage gave a woman status. It was assumed that women would idolize their husbands.
- No upper class woman was idle in Upper Canada. Women helped with farm work , and the higher classes depended on women of the lower classes and they worked co-operatively. This demolished the social barriers.
- For example, Mary O’Brien, a pioneer woman, knew the governor and most high government officials personally. She ran the farm, and worked with her hired staff. Mary also had a sense of justice, and felt it was her obligation to maintain community standards. Spousal and child abuse were not uncommon, but it was surprising if it ever came out of secrecy.
- Poor immigrant women worked hard and long hours, and did all the housework, and agriculture. Men never did housework. Children were expected to do chores as soon as they were capable.
-Childbirth was not easy as medical care was lacking and proper hygiene had not yet been introduced. Overcrowding of cabins did not help, nor did the lack of midwives.

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