The Great Migration

What were the reasons for this
culture leaving their country?

For what were they hoping?

British Culture

Ethan C.
Stephen J.
Megan S.
Melany M..

In the early 19th Century, the situation in Britain was tough depending on which clan you were from. The lower classes were facing high unemployment, a government that didn’t allow them to become wealthy and health hazards because towns they lived in were really dirty from industrialization. In particular, the Irish were facing the great “ Potato Famine”. For the rich, Canada potentially offered large opportunities for new business, and the sooner they got in the better for them in the future. Depending on the class, the reasons for leaving were different. No matter what part of Britain they left from, the immigrants were hoping for many similar things. First of all, a chance at a better life was what they wanted most. A better life would come if they had jobs, enough food, a healthier environment, supplies and rights with the government that they didn’t have in Britain.


Scott B.
Andrew R.
Kyle O.

The Americans, mostly from California, decided to leave their country for many reasons. The Americans were leaving California because the gold was disappearing so fast, because of their own gold rush years before, so many moved to Vancouver Island. Finding no gold, but getting supplies, they moved into the Fraser River, Cariboo region and New Caledonia which all later became known as British Columbia. Finding the Gold Rush had died down in America, the immigrants coming into Canada hoped to find gold so they could be rich and to have a better life. Having seen in California what happened when the secret of gold was let out of the bag. These Americans hoped the secret of gold in Canada would be kept quiet. The Americans coming into B.C. were concerned that perhaps the British might take control of the area. Considering the Americans had previously fought a war to be independent from the Britain, they hoped this would not happen.

Chinese Culture

Jared S.
Bryan M.
Michael Y.
Darren G.
Bronwyn C.

The Chinese left to get rich quick. Most Chinese people came to Canada from 1850 -1860 because of the gold rush. They came to B.C. to become miners in order to make money to send back to their families. Why did they have to leave in the first place? Back in China the Opium War destroyed their economy. There were two Opium Wars that involved China, Britain and France. In both wars China was defeated. As a result, it was the chance of a lot of wealth that drew the Chinese to Canada just like magnets. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be rich? I would say the main thing the Chinese hoped for was gold and other treasurers. Some hoped for better paying jobs so that they could make money to send back to their families. Some people brought their families to Canada and hoped for better education for their children so they would get better jobs. However, their main hope was enough gold to make everyone rich beyond their wildest dreams

Irish Culture

Mishele J.

The Irish left Ireland, because of The Great Potato Famine. In May and June of 1846, the fields were green, and it looked like a successful crop, but in July, the horrid disease appeared. In the fall, when the Irish dug up their crops, they found that they were soft, smelly, and mushy. The Irish were starving, and did not have an easy time surviving. As a result many of them left to find a better life somewhere else. People immigrate where they have the best chance to have the best life. In coming to Canada, the Irish hoped for more food so they wouldn’t be hungry anymore, or even some food so they wouldn’t starve to death. The Irish also hoped for more, or even better farming lands. They knew that if they stayed in Ireland, they would suffer the consequence of death.


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What did they find in Canada?

What did they face?

(Cooperation, Competition, or Conflict)

British Culture

Having great hopes, many found their hopes were crushed. The journey over the ocean was unhealthy and very expensive. Arriving in Canada, if they were really sick they might be deported, quarantined or left to die. For many though they found jobs, education, freedom of religion, freedom of language (e.g. Gaelic) and (if you were a man) you were equal in the eyes of the government. Even though Canada was a land of opportunity, success was not easy. The harsh climate and environment was really tough on the British settlers. Extremely cold winters, and horrendous insect seasons were just some of the things they had to face. It was a question of “do or die”. If the environment didn’t stop them, the strict immigration policies might have. Would you like to face quarantine?


The American immigrants found lots of new experiences. Hoping to find lots of gold, some was found in the Thompson River and in the Lower Fraser River. Unfortunately for them the amount found was not what they had hoped for. Luckily for them the British government really only had control around the Victoria area of Vancouver Island. Hoping for the mother lode, a Canadian El Dorado, the miners found that it didn’t pan out. The American immigrants who came to Canada in search of gold faced many risks. The terrain and the climate were really harsh to go through. Rocky cliffs and snow storms were just some of the things they had to endure. Not only the miners were in danger, but also their horses and pack animals. Both animal and humans had to live through the terrible insect season. Diseases were apart of their life. Many got sick from being around other cultures that might have had different diseases, while others became sick from doing dumb things (e.g. spitting on their bread for flavour and then sharing among fellow friends).

Chinese Culture

When the Chinese came to Canada they found some things that they had hoped for but also things that they disliked. The Chinese found many difficulties in living and mining for gold. Some found good jobs in large mining companies in Canada, they earned an average of $10.00 a day but they had to pay $35.00 a week for room and board. They usually had to sleep on the floor of the cabin. If they were lucky they had a real bed or a hammock. They also found unpredictable weather in the mountains. In a couple of hours miners could experience many types of weather changes. There were many examples of conflict, cooperation and competition during the search for gold. They found lots of competition, most of it from other miners wanting their claim at the gold rush. Sometimes when they met other men in the field, they shared equipment in order to help each other out. They found however, that the British government had many laws against them. The worst hardships were death and loss ot everything they owned.

Irish Culture

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go to a new country and not be treated very fairly?
The Irish did. As part of the immigration process, they had to go through isolation on an Island, Grosse-Isle, to keep out the viruses. After being quarantined, they went to places reserved for them, like Montreal, York(Toronto), Vancouver, Hamilton, and many other places.The Irish faced many challenges from the people in power.
When the Irish got to Canada, they were not treated with respect. The Irish were having to go to a quarantine station in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. It was called Grosse-Isle, and it was 50 km below Quebec City. The Island was 2 km long, and 800 m wide. Grosse-Isle was built to hold 1200 people, but they forced on 12,000 people onto it. By 1871, 1/4 of the population of Canada was of Irish origin. A lot of Irish starved to death, and 5000 died during the quarantinement. This would be one example of the conflict the Irish had to face in Canada.


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How has this culture
changed Canada?

How has Canada
changed this culture?

British Culture

The British have had huge impacts on Canada. Many of the place names in Canada come from the British culture (e.g. Banff, Waterloo, London, Victoria, Perth, Regina, etc.). The British brought in many traditions such as: Valentine’s Day, Victoria Day, All Hallows Eve, Thanksgiving, Robbie Burns Day, St. Patrick’s Day, etc. Many of the sports we enjoy in Canada today are from Britain(e.g. Soccer, Baseball - from rounders, curling, Highland Games, cricket, rugby, darts, etc.). In addition the British brought their religions (Protestantism and Catholicism) and their notions of higher education ( colleges and universities). Let’s not forget the English language. As you can see their impact has been tremendous. Different than their own country, the British in Canada were allowed to vote freely. Life in Canada led to small changes in their old religion. In particular, the Scottish and Irish have changed their main languages from Gaelic to English. In Canada, because there are so many other cultures, living close together has shown them how to be more cooperative with other people.


It would be safe to say that the Americans have changed Canada in many ways. Early on, in the Gold Rush they helped build some towns and roads in B.C.. Certainly the Americans have influenced and changed us most with the new technologies and ideas they brought, their huge entertainment industry as well as the idea of fast food restaurants. The Americans have changed Canada in the past and they will continue to change things in Canada in the future. As the Americans have changed us, we have changed them too. In Canada these people were introduced to new things, such as sports, (e.g. hockey), new foods, new designs for buildings(because of climate), and new ways of doing things. In Canada these Americans were introduced to new cultures they might not have met before. By having changed each other, we have made both of our lives easier.

Chinese Culture

The Chinese culture has changed Canada in many ways. The Chinese invented everything from bombs and rockets to the wheel barrow and the first compass Gunpowder was used for celebrations in the form of fireworks and also in the weapons for defense. The wheelbarrow (which was made of wood) was used for carrying loads that were too heavy for a normal person’s back to support. The Chinese also brought new celebrations to Canada such as Chinese New Year and Dragon Boat Festival. The Chinese brought many useful inventions and celebrations to Canada. Have you ever thought about how Canada has changed the Chinese? The Chinese knew that in Canada they had to learn a new language but they also continued to speak Mandarin, Cantonese and other dialects. They also found new laws in Canada under a British government. The Chinese met new people in Canada. The Chinese started to use the new Canadian customs but they still used many of their old customs.

Irish Culture

The Irish have changed Canada in many ways, including traditions, population, and even geography.
The Irish brought with them, St. Patrick's Day. It is the shortest day of the year in Ireland. 30 million Americans say that they are Irish, and that is 10 times the population of Ireland itself. The Irish brought many names from Ireland, including Killarney, which is now in Ontario. Having 30 million people from Ireland, come to Canada, would make Canada change immediately.
Canada has changed the Irish, in many ways,
like the way they live, and how they got isolated
and quarantined and how they did not have
freedom. They got all cooped up on the Island
known as Grosse-Isle. The Canadian
government forced 12,000 people on the island!
Could you imagine what it would be like to be so
innocent, and not have done anything wrong,
and be in need of help, and nobody is there when
you need them, and all there is, is the rude
government, forcing you on the Island in the middle
of the St.Lawrence River?


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