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BOOK - Across the Waters: Ontario Immigrants' Experiences, 1820-1850
By Frances Hoffman & Ryan Taylor
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 1999

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Hardcover edition

Never in the history of the world had there been a migration such as occurred in the mid-nineteenth century, when vast numbers of citizens from the United Kingdom and Europe left their homelands to seek out new lives in North America. A good portion of these migrants settled in Ontario. At first they came in a trickle, but as the decades wore on, their numbers would increase to tens of thousands per season. Among these numbers were people representing all occupations and professions as well as all personallity types. Each, in his or her own way, contributed to the building of the new society.

The experiences of our emigrant ancestors are so far removed from those of modern-day lives that we tend to overlook the extraordinary level of perserverance, sacrifice and selflessness that was essential to successfully establishing oneself during the formative years of Ontario.

Though the reasons for migration varied by pioneer, it was the promise of land which was the chief incentive for emigration to Ontario. many others were motivated by desperate conditions at home and a desire for a new start in a land that promised a future that was not limited by social or economic class.

Across the Waters is an assembly of the first-hand written accounts of 150 individual immigrants, skillfully bridged by authors Frances Hoffman and Ryan Taylor, to tell the fascinating story of what it was like to leave a familiar homeland to pioneer in the virgin forests of early Ontario. By allowing the personal writings of the early settlers to guide us through their experiences, we come to better appreciate the process of settlement. By examining the various stages of emigration, such as preparing for the journey, ocean crossings, obtaining and clearing land, building a shelter - then a house, and living in the clearings, we gain a clearer understanding of nineteenth century emigrant experience.

Contents include:
  • Introduction
  • Preparations [for emigrating to Canada 1820-1850]
  • The Trip
  • Storms and Shipwrecks
  • Quebec and Montreal
  • Up the Saint Lawrence River
  • Arriving and Clearing [the land]
  • Our House
  • Life in the Clearings
  • Becoming Canadians
  • Appendix I: Diary of Leah Purkiss
  • Appendix II: Emigrants in temporary Housing at York [Toronto]
  • Appendix III: Advice to the Emigrants from the Canada Company [settlement scheme]
  • Bibliography
  • Notes
  • Index
  • About the Authors
This book is a fascinating read for everyone who has an interest in the pioneer experience.

424 Pages
6" X 9"
Hardcover ISBN 1-894378-00-8
Softcover ISBN 1-894378-01-6
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 1999

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