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Canada West

Issued by direction of Hon. W. J. Roche Minister of the Interior, Ottawa, Canada. 1914

Written by the Canadian Government to bring homesteaders to the Prairie Provinces, this book contains all one needs to know to move to Canada, but most important: FREE LAND!

A banner in the lower left corner of the cover proclaims, “160 ACRE FARMS in WESTERN
CANADA FREE”.

To be eligible, you must be the sole head of a family or any male eighteen years of age or over, who is a British subject or who declares his intention to become a British subject; a widow having minor children of her own dependent upon her for support.

You made application at the Dominion Lands Office in the area you wanted to settle, paid a $10 registration fee, a certificate of entry was granted and  you could enter and possess the land. It was yours as long as you comply with the homestead requirements.

After you completed the residency requirements (reside in a habitable house upon the land for six months during each of three years), and improvement duties (break thirty acres of the homestead, of which twenty acres must be cropped. Must be reasonably done all three years), you would apply for a land patent. “If the duties have been satisfactorily performed patent issues to the homesteader shortly after without any further action on his part, and the land thus becomes his absolute property.”

So, I theorize this is no doubt why my Grand Uncle left the United States for Alberta after World War I. Free Land? Who could resist that if you were an adventurer and hard worker.

Besides, in reading the propaganda contained in the book, it practically promises you will become healthy, wealthy and wise if you move there! They make it sound almost like moving to heaven.

The first part of the book talks about all the regulations of getting there, what you can bring, what you can’t bring, what they think you should bring to be successful on a homestead. Really it covers everything you need to know.

There are three sections on each Province: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. In these sections it talks about what farmers want to know: The soil and surface, grain production per acre, climate, the seasons, education, roads, railroads, and practically anything else you might be curious about.

If you have relatives who homesteaded in Canada, especially the prairie provinces, it’s a great read. It gave me a new appreciation for how the land was advertised, and what my relatives went through after getting there.

Coupling this with the searchable database up at Library and Archives Canada, you can narrow down the property. There’s a great map on their website. However, I have yet to figure out all the section, township, range, meridian stuff!

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