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Module 18

Immigrants and Sojourners in the late 19th and early 20th Century Canada

Lynne Marks

Between 1896 and 1930 almost 4.5 million people immigrated to Canada. These immigrants were crucial to the economic development of the country, but depending on their ethnic background, some were more welcome than others. This module includes the voices of a number of these immigrants: many reflect on the intense racism they faced, while other speak of survival strategies, and of continued links to the old country. Harney’s article examines the ‘sojourners’, men who came to Canada for a few months or a few years to make money desperately needed in their home villages. Stanley explores how Chinese immigrants in Victoria dealt with the racism of school segregation, while excerpts from the debate over the Chinese Exclusion Act demonstrate the depth of anti-Asian racism in B.C.

Primary sources:

  1. Photograph: British immigrant children from Dr. Barnardo’s Homes at landing stage, Saint John, NB (pre-WWI)
  2. Photograph: Immigrant boy ploughing at Dr. Barnardo’s Industrial Farm (c. 1900)
  3. Interview: Margaret Chan from Jin Guo: Voices of Chinese Canadian Women (1992)
  4. Interview: Mrs Wappel and Mr. Yla from Polyphony: The Bulletin of the Multicultural History Society of Ontario (1977)
  5. Photograph: Canadian, American, Swedish, Italian and Scottish male immigrant workers in a CNR construction camp (1913)
  6. Interview: Armenian Organizations: Jack and Anna Kaprielian, Pilag Takouhi Evarian, Hygus Alice Torosian from Polyphony (1979)
  7. Photograph: Arrival of immigrants at Union Station, Toronto (1910)
  8. Interview: Japanese-Canadians: John Madokoro, Harold Kimoto, Tommy Kimoto from Settling Clayoquot (1981)
  9. Interview: Immigrants to Vancouver: George Nitta, Yun Ho Chang, Myer Freedman, Fred Soon from Opening Doors (1979)
  10. Text: Debate regarding the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923, known as ‘An Act Respecting Chinese Immigration’ Hansard (1923)
  11. Photograph: Chinese children in front of the Chinese School in Victoria (1901)
  12. Photograph: Chinese railway worker (1922)
  13. Photograph: Ruthenian settlers, Alberta (1911)

Secondary sources:

  1. Timothy J. Stanley. ‘White Supremacy, Chinese Schooling, and School Segregation in Victoria: The Case of the Chinese Students’ Strike, 1922-1923’ from Histories of Canadian Children and Youth Nancy Janovicek and Joy Parr, (eds.) (2003)
  2. Robert Harney. ‘Men Without Women: Italian Migrants in Canada, 1885-1930’ from The Italian Immigrant Woman in North America Betty Boyd Caroli, Robert F. Harney and Lydiio F. Tomasi (eds.) (1978)
  3. Anne B. Woywitka. ‘A Roumanian Pioneer’ from Alberta Historical Review (1973)

Introduction

List of Modules -- 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50