The Great Migration

1815-1850

LIfe's not so good in Britain.

Britain was in a state of poverty. After the Industrial Revolution, many people lost their jobs to machines. Many large landowners were buying up small farms. There was famine in Ireland, and the crops were doing the opposite of flourishing. When the British Government offered the chance to migrate to Canada, several jumped at the chance.

Coffin ships

So, you want to migrate to Canada? Good luck! Forget about reaching Canada- think about surviving the death cruise first!

You get on a ship to reach Canada. Most of the time, there were hundreds of other families on the ship. Everything is usually fine for a few days after you board. Besides the fact of being squashed in the ship with a hundreds of random people, there was also seasickness and contagious diseases that killed people. One day, someone gets sick and the next thing you know, the whole ship is! Many unfortunate families buried husbands, wives, and children at sea. By the end of the trip, half the people would be dead.

Some ships required you to bring your own food. Popular meals were oatmeal, salt pork and beef, and potatoes.

Ugh, Cholera!

Cholera is a contagious disease that causes intestinal problems and dehydration. Many Canadiens believe the disease was brought by the immigrants. Some suggest that the British government sent cholera to them using the people. Even though there is a cholera outbreak in Britain, they have done nothing to stop emigration.


However, there is a quarantine station at Grosse Île, and if anyone looks sick, they have to stay there until they get better- Whoops! I mean, if they get better.

Lots of the people staying at Grosse Île were Irish, so there were a lot of Irish orphans. Luckily, Canadien families took it as their job to adopt them.

It's not all sunshine and rainbows on the other side.

The grass isn't always green on the other side.

So, you survived the famine in Britain, the death cruise, and you didn't get taken in for looking ill? Well, aren't you a lucky one! Well, before you start celebrating, let me rain or parade, so you don't get disappointed later.

  1. You need to get a job, and with all those other migrants, I'm not certain you'll find one!
  2. Right, now that you've got here, where will you live? In a tiny log cabin with 19 other people?
  3. Your family may or may not have survived.
  4. Don't forget cholera still exists. You are not safe from cholera!

But it could be.

It could!

Well, I guess that you could always start a farm- that'll bring lots of money. With that money, you could build yourself a nice big farmhouse. If you are still worried about cholera, move to the USA! Cholera may not have spread there.
The main source of information (Chapter Seven)

Rees, David. Our Canada: Origins, Peoples, Perspectives. Scarborough, Ont.: Thomson Nelson, 2006. Print.

Some things about this project...

Besides the Great Migration, I also researched the American Revolution and the Act of Union. I didn't have enough time to do the Fraser Gold Rush, which shows how crazy people go over gold. The textbook is an excellent source of information- the easiest to use, and the only one I used.

This poster was created by Afreen Gouse, 7-3.