A highly diversified population
In the Prairies, the population was much more diversified than in the eastern provinces of the country, which were mainly composed of people of French or British origin. These two groups could also be found in the Prairies, but their percentage was much lower due to immigration. Two phenomena could explain the increase in population in the Prairies:
1. Migration from one province to another
The Canadians most likely to settle in the Prairies were from Ontario; and to a lesser degree, francophones from Quebec. Of the 808,863 inhabitants in 1906, just over half (444,366 people) had been born in Canada.
In 1906, 364,497 people were immigrants. That’s almost half of the population.
- One third were Americans. Colonists coming from the United States integrated easily into the Prairies’ lifestyle because they too were farmers. They were already familiar with the farming techniques the Prairie climate required. They also owned their equipment and had more money than the immigrants arriving from Europe. They settled mainly in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
- One third were British. These British colonists tended to be unskilled workers who were used to living in the city. As a result, they had a harder time adapting to the Prairies’ harsh pioneer and farming life. Still, most of them managed to integrate.
- One third was Europeans (mainly from Eastern Europe). Who made up this final third of immigrants? Europeans, particularly from the East, but also from other regions. There were Germans, Scandinavians, Ukrainians, Doukhobors, Austrians, Icelanders, Poles, Russians, etc. When they arrived, these immigrants did not speak English.
Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social
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