Crossroads of Culture 200 Years of Canadian Immigration (1800-2000)
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The Journey to Canada

Since 1815, over of fifteen million people have immigrated to Canada. Those who traveled to Canada experienced widely different conditions - from wooden berths in the notorious nineteenth-century "coffin ships" between Liverpool and Quebec, to first-class seats on jumbo jets in the last century. Most however arrived as passengers in fairly comfortable vessels, from 1880 to 1960, or in aircraft economy seating thereafter. Railway travel from, say, Halifax to Winnipeg in 1920, lasted six days.

Immigrants hauled few possessions with them. During the 1800s, what could be packed into a steamer trunk and two or three valises was about all they brought. Garments, precious tableware, heirlooms, jewelry, prized books, business papers and family documents, toiletries, possibly hand tools or patterns to restart a trade - such items were small enough to carry.

Once settled, pioneer self-sufficiency led to the accumulation homemade furnishings, equipment or vehicles. Those who arrived after the First World War and into the 1930s relied on mail-order for their household needs.

Today, the local shopping centre or "big box stores" will outfit an immigrant family's home immediately with goods common to all Canadians.

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