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1896-1922: 4th Wave

Immigration Reasons

Reasons for Leaving

Most of the immigrants moving to Canada were peasant farmers that were looking for a better life in Canada. Most of these farmers were too poor to buy their own farmland. In some European countries, the government only allowed rich, higher-class families to buy land. In other countries, only the oldest son was able to take over their parents’ farms and the other children had to find work somewhere else.

Many of the immigrants’ home countries were overpopulated and there were not many jobs available. These people were unable to make a living.

Many illustrated people are grouped together with a row of stone buildings in and trees in the background.

Many immigrants were living in overpopulated countries and could not find work there.

Other immigrants were refugees and were moving to Canada to escape wars that were going on in their own countries. Many immigrants were mistreated for their beliefs or traditions and were not able to live their life with the same amount of respect that British and French people had been able to.

Two groups of illustrated soldiers are running towards each other with guns pointed at each other.

Many immigrants were trying to escape war conditions in their own home countries.

Other people wanted to move to Canada for a new adventure and the excitement of living in a new place. Canada offered jobs, wealth, and a safe place to live for immigrants. Many early settlers came to Canada to escape poverty, war, and to have the freedom to practice their own traditions and religions.

An illustrated settler is holding onto his young son with a wheat stool in the other hand. There is a basket of vegetables and a field of cows in the background.

The Canadian government made Canada look like a country of adventure, excitement, and prosperity in advertisements.

Land Grants

The Canadian government sent speakers to deliver glowing descriptions of the good life in Canada to British citizens. The Dominion Lands Act of 1896 offered 160 acres of land for $10. The offer sounded like a dream, but the reality was not always so wonderful.

Three men ride in a wooden wagon as it is pulled by two horses across a farm field with bundles of wheat in the background.


These men are looking for land to purchase.

There were promises of wealth and riches, but nothing was mentioned about the terrible winters and many other problems. Many advertisements in the newspapers and pamphlets were sent out to sell the idea of immigration to Western Canada as ‘The Wondrous West’ or ‘The Last Best West’.

Advertisements falsely made Canada sound like a dream and promised wealth for farmers.

Being able to buy their own land for a very reasonable price drew people from Europe to a new life in the Canadian West. A lot of people came to settle the prairies, and in time, the three Prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta had many settlers on it.

Dominion Lands Act encouraged people to come to Western Canada.