Previous Pioneers of Ontario (1923) Next

 

2   THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO

settlers preferred to engage in the adventurous and more lucrative occupation of trading in furs.

But with the passing of Canada to the English in 1763 and the subsequent revolt of the American colonies, all this was changed. Many colonists who had remained true to England had either been ruined during the revolt or subsequently found their old surroundings uncongenial and looked to Canada as a place of escape. The home government promised assistance, and thousands responded to the invitation to settle in Canada.

In the matter of location, the new-comers seem to have been allowed a wide range of choice. Lands, in what are now designated the Maritime Provinces, Quebec, and Ontario, were offered for settlement. Coming from New York and other agricultural states, many of the immigrants chose Ontario, settling for the most part within easy distance of the Great Lakes waterway.

With their coming, the pioneer period of agriculture in Ontario may be said to have begun. Nearly all of those who came at first were of humble origin, of honest purpose, and almost destitute of means. For two or three years, owing to crop failures and lack of equipment, they received some aid from the Government. A considerable proportion of these first settlers were Loyalists, and mingling with them were discharged soldiers, many of them Hessians, who took up land in preference to returning to Europe.

In addition to the Loyalists and subsequent American immigrants there were thousands who


Previous Pioneers of Ontario (1923) Next