Canada's acquisition of the Hudson's Bay Company lands in 1870 opened western Canada for development. The building of a transcontinental railway and the signing of treaties with the Indian populations were other essential preludes to settlement. At first the rate of immigration was disappointingly slow and was further hampered by the North-West Rebellion of 1885. However in the period following 1896, a vigorous program was developed to attract settlers from elsewhere in North America and from Great Britain and the European continent. A flood of immigration literature was distributed to proclaim the fertility of prairie soils and explain the government's policy of free homesteads for agricultural settlers. Success was quickly achieved, as the immigrants came in their thousands.
Once the settler reached the West, he had to face the often formidable task of building a home and bringing his homestead land under cultivation. The large number of homesteads which were abandoned is evidence of the high rate of failure, but many of the newcomers succeeded, and within a comparatively short time Saskatchewan had become an important agricultural producer. The wheat economy had replaced the buffalo economy.
Crowd observing a working model of a Saskatchewan grain elevator,
Canadian Emigration Offices, London, England, about 1912.
. . . Jutting out close to the corner of Parliament street, the Canadian government offices face the historic open space of Trafalgar Square. . . . That the more central position of the offices will serve Canada well is proved by the crowds who throng round the windows, and the bright and attractive nature of the buildings, will be emblematic to many of the Bright future which Canada has to offer. . . .
Department of the Interior
annual report. 1904