The Great Transformation

• July 1897 – word spreads – Gold in the
• Rush of U.S. prospectors and would be minors
– global recession – many unemployed
• The first major obstacle – the Chilcote Pass –
miners were required to arrive with 6 months
of supplies.
• April 1898 – major winter storm/avalanche kills
• Hub of activity – biggest Canadian city west of
Winnipeg due to 30,000 US arrivals.
Miners arrived to find most stakes claimed.
Unemployment was high.
Men turn to gambling, drinking, drugs.
Women turn to “entertainment,”
• Summer of 1899 – rush over – 50% of
population leaves in weeks.
• Born and raised in Quebec countryside –
excels at Law school.
• Gains popularity in Ottawa due to charismatic
• Spring of 1896 –
runs for Prime
Minister in
election and wins.
• Believes strongly
that French and
British Canadians
can work
• Almost immediately, Laurier is faced with the
problem of French and Catholic schools
being closed in Manitoba.
• Premier doesn’t want them – French minority
feels they are a right.
• Laurier able to reach compromise – schools
only in areas where numbers of French are
large enough – agreement favors English –
anger in Quebec.
• 1897 – Laurier knighted while attending
Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee – 60th year
as Queen of England.
• Promises Canada will always be there for
• 1899 – Dutch settlers in South Africa start a
land dispute with English soldiers – Boer War
begins. England wants Canada’s help.
• English Canada supports the British and
wants to send help.
• French Canadiens see it as British
imperialism – reject it outright.
• Laurier reaches a compromise –
volunteers may go, but England pays all
• Henri
Bourassa – a
Liberal –
• Laurier does
not take him
seriously –
• Laurier believes in settling the Prairies.
• Posters in Europe offer 160 acres of free land in
the Last Best West.
• Laurier’s Minister
of the Interior –
Clifford Sifton,
wants “stalwart”
peasants with
previous farming
experience – looks
to eastern Europe.
• Hardships awaited new arrivals.
• Disease such as scarlet fever, lack of access
to supplies, no roads, and un-cleared lands
meant lots of work before crops could be
• Crop yields were worth the sacrifice, and this
immigration wave becomes the largest in
Canadian history, bringing Icelandic,
Ukrainian, Dukabhor, German, Polish,
Menonite and Jewish cultures to Canada.
• Cape Breton Island – Marconni designs the
world’s first wireless transmission system.
• First wireless radio
telecast to Europe –
• Alexander
Graham Bell –
creator of the
builds the
“Silver Dart”
• A much improved airplane design, it is able to
fly farther, faster.
• Hydro power harnessed at Niagara Falls
• Affordable electricity promised for everyone.
• Electricity modernizes Toronto – Department
Stores, Factories.
• Urbanization becomes a major force.
• 1912 – Montreal reaches 500,000 pop. –
tripled in size in 20 years.
• 2/3 of Canadian wealth controlled by 100
families – the Van Horne’s, Molson’s,
Burke’s and Allan’s.
• Extreme income disparity creates worker
unrest – tailors strike against 59 hour work
week in 1907 and win – 49 hour work
week created.
• Conditions in Montreal are very poor –
high infant mortality – life expectancy 50
• Progress has a price – labor unionism is
growing to support workers rights.
• English banks not lending money to French
Canadien farmers – Credit Union created.
• By 1904 – the Prairie are transformed – new
towns and settlements all according to Laurier’s
plan. But rail is not keeping up. Farmers want
their own government.
• Laurier promises to address the problem if reelected in 1904.
• True to his word, after re-election in 1904,
he adds two provinces.
• Bourassa is not
satisfied with
Laurier’s vision,
• Wants a stronger
French voice in
the West.
• When this looks
impossible, he
creates the
Nationaliste –
and rallies
Canadiens to the
• Nellie Mooney becomes a leader in pushing for
Women’s Suffrage – allowing women to vote in
• This movement quickly gets tied into women’s
drive for Prohibition – the illegalization of
alcohol – due to high rates of abuse. Women’s
Temperance Union is formed.
• The Temperance Union even criticizes
women’s fashion trends.
• 1916 – Manitoba women granted right to vote
and run for office.
• By 1911, the rapid wave of immigration
has had a profound social effect on
Canadian cities – especially Winnipeg –
highest percentage of foreign born
• Their crowded and run down living
conditions lead to feelings that immigration
must be stopped.
• Some, such as James Woodsworth, a
Methodist minister, feel that these people
should be welcomed, and conditions should
be improved.
• Woodworth moves to the poor neighborhoods
and gets to know these people – writes
Strangers Within Our Gates – wants to
educate, and eliminate terms such as
“foreigners” and hyphenated Canadians. Book
sells well.
• Similar sentiments were growing in BC,
where Chinese CPR workers, who had
moved into the cities (after completion), set
up Chinatowns for support, were seen
suspicious, solitary people who lowered
• 1885 - $50 head tax imposed – raised to $500
in 1903
• Continuous Passage Law – all ships had to sail
directly to Canada
• Sept, 1907 – Asiatic Exclusion League meets in
Vancouver – three days of riots – Chinatown
vandalized. 1923 – Chinese banned outright.
• 1906 – Britain launches the Dreadnought – first
all ‘big-gun’ warship. Arms race with Germany
• 1910 – Laurier’s 13th year as PM – British want
more warships – British Canadians say YES!,
Canadien Nationalists say NON!
• As a compromise – Laurier creates the NAVAL
SERVICES BILL – creating a Canadian navy
that can be sent to aid the British in
emergencies. Bourassa furious.
• British Canadians call it a ‘Tin Pot Navy’
• Summer of 1910 – Laurier tours the West he
helped build.
• Farmers want Free Trade with US – better
markets and cheaper goods
• Travels to Prince Rupert on CNR – Canada’s
2nd transcontinental railway.
• 1911 – negotiates
Free Trade with
US (Reciprocity).
• Critics raise old
fears that Canada
will become a US
• US agrees –
wants Canada.
• Old supporters
turn against
• Robert Borden runs against Laurier in 1911
election. Bourassa rallies French Canadiens
against Laurier.
• Sept. 1911 - Borden wins election.
• 1914 – Tramp steamer carrying 376
passengers from India arrives in Vancouver
Harbor – held on board for 2 months.
• HMCS Rainbow ordered to escort ship out of
Canadian waters – violated Continuous
Passage Law. Symbolic as end of Laurier era.
• September of 1914 – war breaks out in Europe.
• Border declares Canadian support for England.
• Canada proves to be one of England’s greatest
supporters – sending an initial group of 31,000
• Germany swiftly moves through neutral Belgium
• Canadian troops see first action holding
German’s out of France at Ypres – 1st gas
attack – Canadians suffer heavy losses.
• Canadian
medical soldier –
John McCrae
writes Flander’s
Fields about the
horrors he
witnesses in the
early phases of
the Great War.