Advertising Winnipeg: The Campaign For Immigrants and Industry, 1874-1914
MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 27, 1970-71 season
The dominant concern of Winnipeg's governing elite throughout the first forty years of the City's history was the need for growth. This "growth ethic" was expressed through the various programs undertaken in these years in the conscious attempt to make Winnipeg the "Chicago of Canada." The first and most important problem faced by the City's leaders after Incorporation in 1874 was that of achieving effective communication links with the outside world. And after a long and costly struggle this was achieved early in the 1880s with the routing of the C.P.R. main line through Winnipeg.  Considerable effort and expense was also spent in an effort to convince the Federal Government to improve the navigation of the Red River between Winnipeg and Lake Winnipeg by the construction of locks and canals at St. Andrew's Rapids. This, too, was achieved in 1910 when Prime Minister Laurier opened new facilities at St. Andrew's. The second major program that made up the growth ethic of the city's commercial elite was their desire to make Winnipeg a major manufacturing center. This could be best achieved, they reasoned, by assuring that the city had an abundant and cheap supply of power. Thus during the period 1880-1906, numerous attempts were made to solve this problem until finally, at the latter date, it was decided to build a municipally-owned hydropower project at Pointe du Bois. And when completed, this venture proved its success by giving Winnipeg the cheapest power rates on the continent.  But of all the programs supported by the city's leaders none was considered more important than the necessity for more (always more) people. It was deemed to be the key to the whole growth process. One of the city's newspapers explained;
Given this "truth" of the necessity for constant increases in the population another belief follows: "... a belief held with equal strength, and conceived to be equally self-evident-that to secure population there must be publicity." Publicity was necessary, the Free Press explained, since of what avail is it that there are in Western Canada millions of acres of the finest land that lays open to the sunshine, awaiting only settlement and development to give its cultivators comfort and competence, unless the advantages they offer to the home seeker are made known to the people their possession would benefit? Publicity is the secret of success ... 
Since Winnipeg was the commercial center of the Canadian West and its growth and prosperity were directly related "to the settlement and advancement of the great territory of which it is the entrepot,"  the city took an active role in the campaign to attract immigrants to the West. In this campaign the leadership afforded by the city's business and civic leaders was accepted by the mass of the citizens. Indeed, throughout the period the only group that opposed the expenditure of public funds to attract immigrants was labor. In one case this group was most concerned with the legality - or, rather, illegality - of the use of public funds for what they considered "private" goals but by 1900 their objections had become more general. Labor's objections stemmed from the simple fact of self-interest. Immigrants were looked upon merely as "cheap labor" and their recruitment as a plot by the "plutocracy" to reduce wages. The Voice explained that the Winnipeg Trades and Labor Council "does not raise the slightest objection to the fullest welcome to suitable immigrants who come of their own accord: but they do most emphatically object to the taxation of labor in order to flood the labor market against the wage earner."  In an attempt to stem the tide the following action was taken:
But labor had little power or influence in municipal, provincial, or federal politics in this era and their objections received no consideration in the various schemes brought forward by Winnipeg's leaders. In fact, the only stumbling block this group encountered in their various programs was apathy on the part of the electors of the city but, notwithstanding this fact, they succeeded in promoting their goals right up to the outbreak of the war in 1914.
While Winnipeg's civic and business leaders realized that the major problem facing them in the city's early years was that of gaining effective railway connections with the east and south they nevertheless directed considerable effort and resources toward securing immigrants. Prior to 1880, of course, the major landowner in Manitoba and the Northwest was the Dominion Government. The Manitoba Act of 1870 had provided for the Federal Government to retain control of the public domain for the purposes of the Dominion and this government thus assumed the responsibility for a program of expansion and development in the area. In keeping with the national policies of the Macdonald Administration, the western lands were to be rapidly prepared for settlement and the transcontinental railway was to be pushed to completion. The program also called for the extinction of the Indian title to the western lands, for a survey system which would be energetically prosecuted, for the settlement of the squatters' claims in the West, for the adoption of a railway land subsidy program which would make possible its construction with the minimum of burden on the Canadian people, and for the introduction of governmental institutions which would assure the intending settler peace and order in his new home. 
The government program was launched with enthusiasm and its early progress was considerable. In 1872, for example, the Canadian Government passed an act providing for the free grant of homesteads; 160 acres of Dominion land the title to which could be obtained after three years of residence by compliance with certain regulations concerning specific improvements to the property.  But many Winnipeggers remained unimpressed with these efforts, especially after the Liberals came to power in 1873, and the editorials of the period often displayed a quality of critical impatience. They were particularly concerned with the slow progress being made in overcoming the "great privations and annoyances" experienced on the Dawson Route and continually urged, with an impelling sense of urgency, the early completion of railway connections.  The city was also critical of the government's early efforts to secure immigrants. It was particularly concerned over the matter of immigration agents in Europe.
Despite such protestations, the results of the Federal program for the West were meagre. In 1877, for example, the Winnipeg Immigration Agent reported only 1505 arrivals in the city.  To say the least, the city's leaders were dissatisfied with such returns and their dissatisfaction went beyond mere editorial comment for in 1877 they became directly involved in the search for immigrants. In February, Alexander Begg, a resident of Winnipeg, approached City Council and requested financial aid for the publication of his work entitled A Practical Handbook and Guide to Manitoba And The Northwest.  A special committee was appointed to study the pamphlet and reported that "the value, to this province, to Winnipeg, and to the immigrant, of such a work, if properly circulated, cannot he sufficiently estimated." Accordingly they recommended Council purchase 10,000 copies "for public distribution."  Following this initial move City Council accepted other requests for aid. In June, Thomas Dowse, a reporter for the Chicago Commercial Advertiser, who was in Winnipeg "for the purpose of writing up the varied interests of this City and its tributary sections ...", asked Council to aid his work by having "street views" made of the city to include with his article.  In this case the City set aside $200 for the views as well as ordering 500 copies of the appropriate issue of the paper for distribution.  By 1879, the city had subscribed to several more works on Manitoba and the Northwest. In February Council paid $120 for 2,000 copies of Thomas Spence's Prairie Lands of Canada which included information regarding Winnipeg.  And in July of the same year they "subscribed for" 200 copies of Ten Years in Winnipeg, a book covering the period 1869-1879 and written by Alexander Begg and Walter R. Nursey.  In each case a special committee was appointed to distribute the works and although complete records of their work is not available some idea of the scope of their distribution can be outlined. At least some of the pamphlets, etc., were mailed directly to persons who had requested such information in letters to the city.  And, in one case, material was sent "to each of the 768 Public Libraries in Great Britain and to each of the 251 Public Libraries and mechanics institutes in Eastern Canada.  Finally, a substantial amount of the propaganda was given to the Provincial Government to distribute. 
Over the next ten years the City of Winnipeg continued to carry on a substantial program of subscribing to pamphlets, books and maps descriptive of and favorable to Manitoba and the Northwest. Indeed, after the initial few subscriptions had been made the city was deluged with requests and while only some of these actually received financial assistance, all received enthusiastic moral support. 
City Council also took other measures to advertise their city and region prior to 1885. In cooperation with the Provincial Department of Agriculture and Statistics they sent a display to the Ontario Provincial Exhibition in Kingston in 1882.  In the same year they provided a lunch and a tour of the city for both an excursion of Ontario Press agents and of Railway Conductors who visited the city.  Considerable effort and expense was also put forward for the visit of the British Association in 1884. A special souvenir pamphlet was written up for the British Scientists and each member was presented with a copy. Copies were also forwarded to England to be distributed there to members who could not make the trip. 
Despite these haphazard efforts it was evident that after 1880 the city's hopes for the future lay not with their own exertions but with the settlement policies of the C.P.R. syndicate. In 1880 the Federal Government had awarded a charter to that company. Granted large tracts of land in order to build a transcontinental railway, the C.P.R. Company assumed, along with the Dominion Government, the leading role in the promotion of immigration to the West. Little time was lost in launching an advertising campaign in Great Britain and Eastern Canada. Much to the satisfaction of Winnipeggers, Alexander Begg was appointed General Emigration Agent for the Company, thus assuring that the City would receive favourable mention. Moreover, by the autumn of 1881 an attractive publication, The Great Prairie Provinces of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, had been issued in England, setting forth in interesting form the advantages offered to settlers in the Canadian West. By 1884 folder maps and pamphlets prepared in the London office of the C.P.R. had been published in English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Welsh, and Gallic and were being distributed through thousands of agencies in Great Britain and over two hundred centers in northern Europe. And while the office force answered the thousands of enquiries concerning Manitoba and the Northwest which this propaganda elicited, "travellers" carried the good word to the countryside. Other techniques were also used to attract immigrants. The C.P.R. offered free transportation and other facilities for examining the country to individual journalists, groups of farmers, and others. It also sent exhibition vans to travel the highways and country roads in Europe, eastern Canada, and in the Dakotas and Minnesota. 
Naturally the efforts of the C.P.R. had an effect in Winnipeg. Over the years the city expressed its appreciation in the form of editorials even though the results, prior to 1896, fell far short of expectations.  The immediate effect of the granting of the C.P.R. Charter had, in fact, set off a fantastic "boom" in Winnipeg and the population rose from a mere 8,000 in 1881 to almost 20,000 in 1884. This growth rate did not last long, however, for in 1891 the city had a population of only 25,000. Indeed, the speculation in real estate and the accompanying inflation of land values that took place during the "boom" caused such problems that the city's leaders felt they had to take drastic steps if Winnipeg was to move ahead. And, after 1885, the civic authorities and the business community became inextricably involved in the search for immigrants.
The problem faced by Winnipeg after 1885 was commonly referred to as the "Vacant Lands Question" and its roots went back to the entry of Manitoba into the Dominion of Canada in 1870. As a reward to the members of the Wolseley Expedition of 1870 the Federal Government had given a free grant of 160 acres of land to the soldiers. Practically all this land was taken up along the Red River in the vicinity of Winnipeg for the simple reason that the rest of the western country was unknown to the men. But most of the soldiers eventually disposed of their land certificates and returned to eastern Canada. The purchasers of these certificates-usually speculators-held the land and in most cases could not dispose of it as new settlers could have all the land they wished by fulfilling the requirements of the Homestead Act of 1872. Moreover, during the "boom" of 1882-1883, these lands again changed hands among speculators but with the collapse of the real estate market in 1883 the "vacant lands" still remained unsettled and were now held at even higher figures than previously. 
More serious than these grants was the one made in 1870 to settle the Half-breed Claims. In this case 1,400,000 acres of land were set aside for the Métis. But with the mass exodus of these people to the Saskatchewan Plains  their right to land-called "scrip" - was bought up by speculators and applied to the land in the vicinity of Winnipeg, mainly in the parishes of St. Boniface, St. Norbert, and St. Vital.  The consequence "was no free land available in that locality, even had settlers decided to locate there."  To make matters still worse there were other reserves in the vicinity of the city: Hudson's Bay Company Reserves, Railway Reserves, land reserved for "hay privileges," and "staked claims."  The Manitoba Free Press found the overall result intolerable:
This initial bypassing of lands surrounding Winnipeg caused still another problem. As "the stream of immigration ... poured into the central, western and south-western parts of the province ... the conviction became prevalent among the settlers who had no knowledge of the facts that the lands were not settled because they were not desirable."  In time "it became almost impossible to induce a settler to locate around Winnipeg."  The predicament the city found itself in was not helped by the two great immigration agencies of the country; the Dominion Government and the C.P.R. During this period the major potential source for immigrants was eastern Canada (and especially Ontario) and since the Dominion Government could not openly encourage the movement of people from the east to the prairies, this work devolved almost entirely upon the C.P.R.  And although this company ultimately realized that as a transportation system extending from coast to coast it was bad policy to move settlers from one part of the country to another, officials of the railway were restrained by no such feeling in the early days. When the problem was to create settlements in the West which would provide traffic and the rudiments of a settled society around which increasing numbers of farmers might gather, the place whence the settlers came was a matter of secondary importance.  Winnipeg was, of course, anxious to secure these experienced Canadian settlers. What concerned the city's leaders was that the C.P.R. seemed determined to have these people by-pass Winnipeg in favor of points farther west. The reasons for such a policy, it was pointed out, were obvious. "In the present condition of affairs it is manifestly to the interest of the C.P.R. to carry immigrants past our doors - to carry them to the farthest points in the Northwest, thereby getting the greatest amount of fare from them in the first place, and making the haul of goods and whatever they have to ship out the longest possible." Furthermore, while the Federal Government may not have encouraged easterners to move to the far west, the same was not true of overseas immigrants - "The Dominion Government is also interested in sending settlers to the far west; for one reason, their presence will go far to settle the Indian question; and, besides, the lands are largely in their hands; while here they have passed out to others." 
The first step taken by the civic and business leaders to overcome these difficulties was to urge action from the Provincial Government. They hoped that if the local government would carry out an extensive program of land drainage and road building, while at the same time setting up an "active and progressive" immigration bureau, the problem would be well on its way toward solution.  The city even offered the provincial authorities, free of charge, the facilities of its immigration sheds to aid the program.  When these initiatives failed, it was decided to take action at the municipal level. 
Acting upon the request of several of its members (some who owned "vacant lands"), the Board of Trade set up a committee to study the question in depth and this move was soon followed by the appointment of a similar committee by City Council to act in conjunction with the Board.  In April, 1887, the "Joint Committee on Vacant Lands" presented its report to Council. It reported that it had elicited information from the owners of the lands within a 25 mile radius of the city by sending out circulars. The committee members stressed that the lands were being offered for sale at an average of $5.60 per acre and pointed out that this was not only reasonable but "refused completely the statements, widely circulated, that lands in this vicinity were held at exorbitant figures."  They also pointed out that the immigrants that passed through the city often had not ... decided on their final destination and it is imperative, if we wish them to settle here, that steps be taken without delay to place before such persons the claims of this part of the Province of being the most desirable for them to settle in. Nothing is being done in this way and it has come to the knowledge of the committee that the bulk of the incomers are possessed of the idea that it is impossible for them to obtain, at prices within their means, suitable farm lands, within 25 miles of Winnipeg.
Accordingly, the committee recommended that immediate steps be taken to issue
To facilitate early action along these lines $500 was requested from Council and granted.
But it was not until February, 1888, that substantial and practical steps were taken.  Lists of land available for sale were obtained from the owners of the land and a pamphlet, issued jointly by the Board of Trade and City Council, was written up, published and distributed in Ontario to the extent of 12,000 copies.  Also, "two good practical men, thoroughly acquainted with the city and its surroundings ..." were appointed to act as immigration agents and sent to Ontario and Quebec.  Other men were hired to take charge of the committee's office in Winnipeg, to receive immigrants on their arrival in the city, and as caretakers at the city immigration shed. A system of bonuses was also set up to encourage both agents and settlers. Resident agents at ports of entry who were supplied with all the "necessary information" concerning the vacant lands were to be paid $25 "per such family as located near Winnipeg, after they have erected a dwelling, cultivated ten acres and paid 15 per cent of the purchase money." To cover those persons who arrived in Winnipeg without the intervention of agents, "a bonus of $40 per family" would be paid under similar conditions.  At the outset City Council voted $3,000 to cover the first months of operation.  It was estimated that the total cost of the plan for one year would be $12,000 and after setting the plan in motion the Joint Committee, somewhat belatedly, set out to find sponsors for the plan other than the municipal corporation.
The first attempt to find funds was made by sending a memorial to the Federal Government.  This document set out a long list of reasons why the authorities should support the scheme; emphasis being placed on the fact that the problem was a direct result of the government setting aside various land reserves. John Schultz, a Manitoba Senator, wrote a long letter to the Minister of Agriculture and besides giving full support to the city's memorial, he added:
These presentations failed to impress Ottawa, however, and no money was forthcoming. 
In the meantime, City Council had asked the Provincial Legislature for authority to raise a sum "not exceeding $25,000" by By-Law to cover the expenses of the Vacant Lands Committee. The interesting point was that the amendment to the Municipal Act called for by the city had to include a strange clause.
Such a clause was necessary since City Council had already set aside $12,000 for the committee despite the fact they had not at the time any legal authority to do so. But the Legislature agreed to the amendments to the Municipal Act asked for by Council-including the retroactive clause. The Province did call, however, for the submission of the by-law to raise money for the Vacant Lands Committee to the electors.  Considering that the city was already spending considerable sums on the program it is noteworthy that it took from April to November-a period of almost eight months-before the by-law was submitted to the voters.
In the interval City Council received considerable criticism for their irregular course of action. Early in May the local assembly of the Knights of Labor wrote Council protesting the "illegal" appropriation of $12,000. The Knights had gone to much trouble in securing legal advice on Council's actions and wrote:
The letter also added that if the council was legally in a position to vote such funds there were a number of workmen already in the city "who would be glad to settle on the vacant lands provided they were accorded the assistance which your council has decided should be applied towards inducing aliens and strangers to immigrate hitherwards ..."  When council replied only by saying that residents of the city were not debarred from taking advantage of the arrangements,  the Knights again wrote demanding the curtailment of all activities of the Vacant Lands Committee until the actions were made legal.  This time the City Solicitor wrote the Knights of Labor but he too had difficulty in explaining the matter raised by the labor organization. His only explanation was that the council had "to take the risk of its interim appropriation [for] otherwise the delay ... would have postponed practical operations for another year."  Of course, the Knights could accept no such argument and once again pointed out that "retroactive legislation" as set out in the Municipal Act amendment "was unconstitutional and ultra vires." Moreover, council had not even attempted to have their "illegal" actions submitted to the electors as provided in the Municipal Act amendment.  At this juncture City Council simply decided to ignore the protests of the Knights of Labor; all further letters written by this body received no reply. But the Knights were to be "rewarded" for their criticisms in November.
While this exchange of letters was taking place the Vacant Lands Committee was rapidly moving ahead with their project. In the middle of June reports from all the agents and the Vacant Lands Committee were presented to council. The Joint Committee outlined the work done to that date and stated that "67 names of actual settlers" had been recorded as having settled in the lands around the city. And after recommending that the services of the agents be dispensed with since the "immigration season" had passed for that year they presented the individual reports of the agents.  The reports of the two agents in Ontario revealed considerable activity in this area. After listening the places visited - a total of 45 cities, towns, and villages - the agents outlined their method of operation.
The course adopted by me in each Town visited is to make myself known to some of the citizens who from their official position or occupation are likely to know of such farmers as may be talking of migrating with the view to interview the latter and place before them the facilities for settlement on land near Winnipeg ... Visits were planned on Market Days or occasions which may bring farmers together and thus have an opportunity of drawing attention to my work by conversation and distribution of advertising matter. 
The reports also detailed the reception the agents received and the numerous erroneous impressions they were able to correct concerning Manitoba lands. Both concluded with a note of optimism - "I am persuaded that, whatever may be the results of the efforts of this committee this season, the work done in Ontario will exert a beneficial effect for years to come." 
The report of the agent at Winnipeg also revealed a considerable amount of activity. Since the 18th of March he had met over 180 trains and had "interviewed almost every passenger and supplied them with all necessary information, answered all enquiries about the lands, talked up the benefits and advantages offered to the settlers on the vacant lands, distributed pamphlets and cards ..." He summed up simply by saying that "good results have been the outcome [as] several of them purchased farms within the twenty mile limit." 
Council was pleased with the report and passed a resolution urging that steps be taken to carry out the work for at least two more years.  Accordingly they asked the city solicitor to draw up a By-Law to raise $15,000 for purposes of the Vacant Lands Committee. This would cover work for two more years and would enable a man to be sent to "the old country." It was also recommended that the system of bonusing be dropped as "money could be spent to better advantage in getting maps and pamphlets printed and engaging travellers in the east."  During this discussion an attempt was also made to answer the criticisms of the Knights of Labor. Alderman Macdonald stated that "the scheme was one of the best things ever undertaken in the city and he thought it would be a great mistake to curtail work for a few thousand dollars. He estimated that when 400 settlers were secured, the taxes collected on stocks kept in the city to supply them would make us twice the interest on money expended." 
The "Colonization By-Law", as it came to be called, was voted on on November 29, 1888. It was defeated by a vote of 279 to 154.  Ostensibly the defeat was largely a result of the concerted activity of the Knights of Labor in rallying voters to their cause. But a more reasonable explanation is the fact that so few voters turned out. Over 5,000 were eligible to vote and undoubtedly the measure would have passed had even half this number voted since the labor movement in the city was hardly powerful. Many of their members could not even vote because of the fact that only those who owned property valued at $500 or more could cast a ballot. In short, the apathy of the majority of the populace, so often spoken of by the civic and business leaders, had curtailed their plans. After this defeat the city's elite were to take more care in their preparations of plans for submitting By-Laws.
Despite this setback - and the possible legal connotations arising therefrom - the Vacant Lands Question was not left entirely in private hands. The Board of Trade and City Council of course, expressed deep regret that the activities of the Joint Committee could not continue to be conducted on the same level as in 1888.  But their subsequent activities showed that these leaders retained their commanding position in the community. In 1889, for example, the Board of Trade drew the attention of City Council to the situation that existed at the C.P.R. station in the city. Apparently many of the towns and villages of the province had employed agents to represent them at the station and the Board argued that unless Winnipeg did the same the city might be in danger of losing her commanding position.  Without any legal authority, council promptly appointed two paid immigration agents.  This time there were no protests.
The report of the two agents, presented in August, revealed that after being appointed they set up offices in the C.P.R. station and notified all the real estate dealers in the City to send them lists of lands available within a twenty mile radius. They also received pamphlets and maps left over from the Joint Committee's activities of the previous year and liberally distributed these to all the passengers on the incoming trains. Also, an exhibition of wheat and oats grown in the district was set up in the station. In concluding their report the agents calculated that at least 73 settlers had located in the district. 
The following year council did not repeat these activities and during the period 1890-1895 took little or no formal action in the matter of securing immigrants.  The Board of Trade, however, continued its activities and was instrumental in the formation of the Winnipeg District Colonization Company in 1893.  There remains little or no record of the successes or failures of this company but it can be noted that as each year passed the problem of vacant lands received less and less attention in the newspapers. Most probably these lands were gradually filling up although the problem still appears to have existed as late as 1898.  In any case, the Council's hesitancy after 1890 to become financially involved in the immigration business was most likely a result of the fact that the city was suffering from financial difficulties. The comfortable prosperity and steady growth which the city had experienced after 1885 came to a temporary halt in the early 1890s as the local economy felt the repercussions of prevailing western difficulties resulting from the low world price of wheat, and the shortage of capital attributable to the depressed conditions prevailing in New York and London. Retrenchment became the watchword as both merchants and farmers reduced their purchases in the light of shrunken western purchasing power consequent on the low price of wheat. The reduction in purchases of merchandise reduced railway traffic and earnings, and the C.P.R. laid off several hundred of its local employees in 1894, blaming the economic conditions.  The Manitoba Free Press referred gloomily to "the universal financial depression that clogged the wheels of progress so materially three years ago, and caused such widespread disaster among all those who were dependent upon an uninterrupted circulation of money." 
This setback in the economic fortunes of Winnipeg proved to be only temporary, however, and in the years following 1896 confidence quickly returned. Indeed, both for the Canadian West and for Winnipeg itself, 1896 marked the termination of one era and the beginning of another. Prairie settlement, heretofore uncertain and hesitant, was transformed as thousands of immigrants poured into the West and the depression of the nineties gave way to a period of unparalleled prosperity and expansion. Political changes played a part as the long period of Conservative domination in Canada was ended and the Liberals took office. With this change the Federal Government began to assume an increasingly vigorous and aggressive role in the problem of filling up the open spaces on the prairies. Without question the creation of a new society in the three prairie provinces was the outstanding feature of Canadian development in the years between 1896 and 1914. 
It was in the years immediately following 1896 that certain basic conditions essential to the successful settlement of Western Canada became favorable. The first of these was a railway or, more specifically, a "favorable ratio between the price of wheat and the cost of transportation.  Although the Canadian Pacific was completed in 1885, it was not until the late nineties that the advance in the price of wheat and the decline in the cost of transportation produced this favorable ratio.  The second requirement was the discovery of a variety of wheat adapted to the short growing season in the West, thereby obviating the recurring damage from frost which had brought discouragement to the settlers in the eighties. By 1896 the planting of Red Fife Wheat on the prairie was general. The third essential was the introduction of farming methods suitable to the prairie environment with its light rainfall. By the close of the century the dry farming technique, developed in the Great Plains area of the United States, had crossed the border to Canada. Thus, "just before the turn of the century a coincidence of these favorable circumstances within the West set the stage for the scene which was to follow." 
Fortunately these developments within Canada coincided with a worldwide economic expansion. Late in 1896 the depression which for several years had gripped the world began to lift. There came an upturn in the price of wheat. New discoveries of gold in South Africa and in the Klondike, combined with the cyanide process for extracting gold from low grade ores, brought a sharp increase in the world's gold supply. And as prices advanced, business confidence was restored. 
Economic recovery and expansion, combined with rapid technological changes, resulted in far-reaching dislocations among the industrial and agricultural workers of Europe. Better transportation facilities gave to these classes a new mobility and Western Canada beckoned to them. For although the United States continued to be the chief beneficiary of this exodus from Europe, Canada attracted increasing numbers the "land-hungry folk" of the Old World. But the movement was not merely one between hemispheres. Within the New World itself the migratory tendency was accentuated. People from the Maritime provinces and from Ontario poured into the West of Canada in increasing numbers. Emigration from the middle western states, hitherto a mere rivulet, broadened into a flood. 
There were special reasons for the exodus of the American mid-westerner to the prairies of Canada. The motives which impelled this migration were principally economic. The rise in the cost of land and in rents in the United States; the mechanization of agriculture which reduced the premium on labor and made possible the profitable cultivation of vast acres of western Canada; and the decline of older soils, resulting in increases in the costs of production, were all forces behind the movement. But also important besides the profit motive were psychological and political incentives; both of which have been dealt with elsewhere.  Finally, there was the often forgotten stimulus of the appeal of Canada to racial and religious groups in the United States.  In any case, thousands of American farmers were disposed to move.
With this happy conjunction of auspicious circumstances, within and without Canada, making possible the large-scale settlement of the prairie provinces after 1896, agencies conducting immigration propaganda could now hope for success where before they had largely failed. And there was no dearth of media for advertising to the world the opportunities of the Canadian West. Land Companies, the C.P.R. and the Dominion Government were quick to seize the chance which awaited them. In eastern Canada the Canadian Pacific made known the possibilities of the West. In Great Britain and Continental Europe both the railway and the Dominion Government carried on a vigorous advertising campaign. In the United States, Canadian government and railway officials enjoyed the cooperation of a multitude of land companies which were then exploiting large tracts of fertile Canadian land.  And, finally, the business leaders of Winnipeg engaged in a new and vigorous program of immigration propaganda to ensure that the City received its share of the incoming settlers.
Winnipeg's renewed interest in the immigrant question began late in 1895 when the city was invited by the Commercial Club of St. Paul, Minnesota to attend an Immigration Convention in that city in November. Accepting the invitation, a delegation consisting of the Mayor, four Aldermen and members of the Board of Trade attended the gathering.  The purpose of the convention was to urge each of the nine northwestern states and Manitoba to establish a "bureau of information" so that propaganda issued about the region would hear the "stamp of authority." This would overcome, it was hoped, exaggerations and misstatements.  To achieve this desired goal the meeting proposed setting up an organization to be called the Northwest Immigration Association. Annual meetings would be held and activities coordinated. 
The most impressive aspects of the gathering for Winnipeg and Manitoba was the presence of Hon. Thomas Mayne Daly, Federal Minister of the Interior. He expressed the desire to see a similar association set up in the Canadian West. Such a body, he believed, could work in conjunction with the Federal Government.  Accordingly plans were made shortly after the meeting to hold a convention in Winnipeg in 1896. This time, however, no Americans would be present in an official capacity and the meeting would deal exclusively with the problems faced by the Canadian West. In view of the criticism leveled at the Winnipeg delegation at St. Paul for co-operating with their rivals, this move was generally applauded in Winnipeg. As the Manitoba Free Press explained:
Initiatives on the part of the city were necessary, it was explained, because "government methods, if they are to be judged by the results, are sorely in need of being supplemented." It was pointed out that even if the proposed meeting in Winnipeg did nothing more than stir up the Federal Government "to more active and systematic efforts" it would be a success.  It was hoped, however, that the meeting would do more than talk about immigration since "we have had enough talk to float a million shiploads of immigrants; what is required now is action, and the convention is expected to present a plan on the likes of which something practical and effective can be accomplished." 
During January and February of 1896 a committee composed of Winnipeg civic and business leaders duly organized the convention that was scheduled to open in Winnipeg on February 27th and run for two days.  Invitations were sent out to all "cities, towns, and municipalities from Port Arthur to the Pacific Coast, as well as to all commercial, railway, and industrial interests of the great west."  The specific aims of this organizing group were set out on the eve of the meeting: "... the promoters had in view the formation of a central, independent and permanent immigration association, with branches covering the whole Canadian Northwest, which would co-operate and work in unison with the governments, railways and land companies and other organizations which could in any way promote a desirable class of immigrants." 
The convention itself was well attended and received wide publicity.  In fact, the Federal Government was sufficiently impressed by the "splendid papers read and speeches delivered" at the convention that it ordered 10,000 copies of the Nor'Wester and 5,000 copies of the Manitoba Free Press for distribution.  But the convention accomplished much more than publicity. Its main attention was directed toward the passage of resolutions designed to deal actively with the immigration question. The name of the permanent organization set up at the meeting was the Western Canadian Immigration Association. The executive committee of the permanent body was to consist of eighteen members, "three of whom shall be elected by the delegation at the convention from each of the following districts: Northwestern Ontario, Province of Manitoba, the districts of Assiniboia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, and the Province of British Columbia.  It was decided to hold an annual meeting in Winnipeg where reports from each district would be dealt with and activities coordinated. The convention, also by resolution, set out some broad guidelines it felt should be followed in dealing with the immigration question. It stressed that since the most effective immigration agent was the "contented farmer" efforts should be made to better the condition of the settlers already in the West by relieving him of "needless burdens." One such method would be the completion of the Hudson Bay Railway; another was the improvement of Red River navigation within the Province of Manitoba. The convention also dealt with the question of the type of immigrant they desired. "Strongest efforts," they pointed out, "should be devoted to securing settlers, first, from the British Isles, and secondly, from the nations of Northern Europe." Among the various methods of promotion dealt with at the meeting were "cheap excursions" into the West to enable "desirable immigrants to see these western provinces and territories." 
The first meeting of the executive committee of the W.C.I.A. was held early in March in Winnipeg and its initial expenses were met by a grant of $500 from the Winnipeg City Council.  At this meeting it was decided to send a delegation to Ottawa to "discuss with the government the various matters arising out of the Convention and affecting this Association."  The delegation, while in Ottawa, dealt with six major points. Point one called for recognition by the Dominion Government of the Association. The second urged that "a bureau of immigration be constituted in charge of a separate, permanent deputy head or commissioner." Thirdly, the executive of the W.C.I.A. was "to be recognized as an advisory board to act with said officials as regards the appointment of officials to carry out the work of immigration, the disbursement of immigration funds, and all other matters pertaining to immigration." The fourth point dealt with the machinery already set up by the W.C.I.A. This included a central office and permanent secretary in Winnipeg; branch offices in each of the six districts; and the beginning of collection of "thoroughly reliable and disinterested information of a practical character," which information was to be gathered at the central office and from there circulated. The fifth point urged that substantial financial assistance be accorded the W.C.I.A. by the Dominion Government. Finally, the delegation urged that the Federal Government endeavor to secure for the association the recognition of the Imperial Government. 
According to the secretary of the W.C.I.A., F. W. Huebach, "the ideas suggested by the deputation were very well received by the ministers and there is not the slightest doubt but that substantial aid will be afforded the association by the Dominion Government."  Further action on the matter, however, was postponed until after the Federal Election was held in June of 1896. The government promised, nevertheless, that "the necessary financial assistance" would be given "when they were in a position to do so, on the assemblage of parliament in July." 
Despite this assurance it is apparent that the Conservative Government was not altogether happy with the points raised by the delegation. In a letter to the Minister of the Interior, the Deputy Minister dealt exhaustively with the points raised by the W.C.I.A.  He urged that the body be recognized since "the co-operation of a society of that kind, in welcoming newly arrived immigrants, assisting them in securing desirable locations or temporary employment, as the case may be, and making them feel at home in the country, will, I am sure, be of the greatest possible value in promoting the settlement of the country." He also pointed out that "the work of securing letters from persons already settled in the country, testifying to their success there ..." would be most beneficial since the Homestead Inspectors had been unsuccessful in their efforts to secure such material.  When the Deputy turned to other points, however, he was not so enthusiastic. He was especially concerned by the apparent suggestion that the work of attracting immigrants be removed from the federal cabinet. "The proposal to hand over any large, or even small sum of the public money, to be administered by an irresponsible Committee, that is to say, men having no direct responsibility to the people, such as the Ministers of the Crown have, is not I imagine very likely to be entertained at this stage in the history of our country ..."  The Deputy Minister went on to point out that even if the Government desired to assist the Association financially it at present had no money on hand to do so. It is interesting to note, in view of these comments, that the Conservative Government did find $1,000 just four weeks before the election.
The severest criticism leveled against the W.C.I.A., however, was that in advocating the settlement of one section of the country it would be open to the "tendency to boom their particular localities at the expense even of disparaging other parts of the country." Accordingly, it was recommended that the promotion of immigration should be vested in the strong central authority of the Federal Government. Finally, it was pointed out the Dominion Government could secure for the association the recognition of the Imperial Government. 
Upon the defeat of the Conservative Government in the Federal Election of 1896 and the advent of the "Laurier Era," the W.C.I.A. found it necessary to once again present its case to the authorities at Ottawa.  In a letter to Sifton, Minister of the Interior, in March of 1897, Secretary Huebach outlined the work he felt the W.C.I.A. could do most profitably in the West. He proposed that the Association gather lists of properties for sale, show the intending settler the properties and otherwise advertise such lands. It was pointed out that such work would in no way duplicate the activities of the Interior Department who would be responsible for disposing of government lands.  Huebach, asked for both financial assistance and "official recognition" for this work. Sifton's reply was noncommittal, however, and the scheme was carried no further. 
But the W.C.I.A., using the grants from Winnipeg City Council and the former Conservative Government, did undertake one project in 1897. During that year the Association communicated with some 5,000 farmers who had achieved a reasonable success on the prairie, sending to each a list of questions to answer. This effort elicited about 2,000 replies, giving information which served as a basis for the pamphlet, A Few Facts. Sifton was sufficiently interested in the pamphlet to give the work his endorsation and financial assistance and during 1897 thirty thousand copies were distributed.  The purpose of this questionnaire was neither new nor original. Alexander Begg had used the same method in the British Isles for the Canadian Pacific in the eighties.  The refinement which the Department of the Interior and the Winnipeg-based W.C.I.A. gave to it was the use of the facsimile of the settler's letter in order to impart a more realistic touch to the procedure. 
Beyond this significant publication the work of the W.C.I.A. was almost non-existent and by December of 1897 the Association was disbanded. The great energy with which the new Minister of the Interior set about the task of populating the west adequately filled the vacuum the W.C.I.A. had been set up to fill. Undoubtedly the work of the Immigration Association would have continued past this date had either the Federal Government or the western districts contributed to it financially. But no funds were forthcoming and during the years 1898-1904 the City of Winnipeg was content to leave the immigration question in the hands of the Federal Government, the C.P.R., and private land companies.  That they did so was an indication of the overwhelming success of these efforts for during these years the city's population grew at an unprecedented rate.
It was not until 1904 that the City of Winnipeg once again found itself involved in the immigration business. The reasons for their efforts at this time, after a lapse of nearly six years, was the fear that the migration of Americans northward, hitherto constant and substantial, was being threatened. Between 1897 and 1904 the Federal Government and the C.P.R. had carried out a large scale publicity campaign in the U.S. designed to direct the stream of population which was flowing from the mid-western states into the Canadian North West. These two agencies were aided in their task by land and colonization companies formed around the turn of the century to exploit railway and dominion land in the western provinces.  These companies were both Canadian and American and were resolved to profit from land sales to settlers from the United States. The background, methods, and successes of such organizations have been dealt with elsewhere.  Winnipeggers looked on all this activity with understandable contentment for it resulted in the movement of hundreds of thousands of Americans into Canada. But, paradoxically, it was the very success of the campaign that forced Winnipeg to act.
By 1904 many Americans had come to believe that the aggressive pursuit of potential American settlers by the aforementioned organizations had resulted in a vast exodus of their fellow countrymen to Canada. This awareness resulted in a series of organized counter-moves. Meeting in St. Paul in March, 1904, a group of Americans formed the American Immigration Association of the Northwest "for the purpose of keeping moving Americans away from Canada."  Coupled with this effort was the work of the National Irrigation Association which by 1904 had "about 20,000 members and a well filled treasury and was preaching everywhere the advantages of irrigated lands."  The U.S. was flooded with its literature and it had sufficient lobbying power in Washington to obtain a pledge of $30,000,000 from this American Federal Government for work on several great irrigation projects. The goal of these projects was to eventually make "room in the west for 75,000,000 people." Finally, other organizations in the South, Southwest, and on the Pacific Slope sprang up designed to press their various claims on intending American settlers. 
Against this combination of forces "making for the retention of American home seekers at home," it was apparent to those owning land in Western Canada that more had to be done to keep the attractions of the Canadian West before the American people. Early in 1904 a meeting of landowners and others interested in this region was held at St. Paul, Minnesota. The initiative for the gathering seems to have come from American businessmen who owned Canadian lands but the meeting was well attended by official delegations from Winnipeg City Council, the Board of Trade and the Real Estate Exchange, as well as private businessmen. Indeed, at this initial meeting such men as Aldermen J. Russell and J. G. Latimer, ex-aldermen G. F. Carruthers and D. W. Bole, and prominent businessmen such as W. S. Evans and W. Georgeson were much in evidence and were subsequently to become members of the executive and standing committees of the new organization. In fact, the executive committee of ten members was made up of no less than seven Winnipeggers. 
At the first session of the convention the name of Western Canadian Immigration Association was chosen for the organization and discussion quickly turned to the methods that could best be employed in promoting immigration to Western Canada. It was decided that general publicity could most usefully be obtained by the use of editorial notices, the general dissemination of news regarding Western Canada, and the correction of false reports and impressions about that region. It was the general feeling of the W.C.I.A. that it would avoid as much as possible receiving inquiries regarding the purchase of land and it would not in any way attempt to duplicate the work of the Canadian Government or the C.P.R. A second line of work would be securing railway rates and other transportation concessions looking to the "facilitation of the movement of settlers to Western Canada."  The meeting also decided that during its first two years of operation $50,000 would be required and the gathering broke up after it was resolved to leave the working out of details with the executive committee; it having full authority to act. 
When the Winnipeg delegates returned to their city they immediately tackled the task of raising their share of the $50,000 required for the W.C.I.A. activities. At the organizational meeting it had been pointed out that the proper method to pursue would be to get a very large amount of private subscriptions before approaching either the federal or local governments of Canada.  (Needless to say, there was no talk of American governmental assistance.) Accordingly, a meeting of Winnipeg businessmen was held February 24th, 1904, and the delegates optimistically explained the organization and purposes of the W.C.I.A. to them.  They then turned to the question of finances. The three Board of Trade delegates - D. W. Bole, W. S. Evans, and D. E. Sprague - explained that:
When some of those present at the meeting suggested that the businessmen of the city should not be canvassed too rigidly for subscriptions but rather that the federal, provincial, and local governments should be the main contributors it was pointed out that it would be unfair to have the workingmen of the city contribute through their taxes. The onus, it was pointed out, "lay wholly on the land men, the bankers, the merchants, the wholesale houses, the hotel men, and others of the business community. If they could not care ... they had better quit."  In the ensuing weeks of canvassing. however, subscriptions from the Winnipeg business community were slow in coming and the major portion of the funds collected or pledged came from the Federal Government ($10,000), Winnipeg City Council ($1,000), the Provincial Government of Manitoba ($1,000), and various large grants from Canadian Railway Companies.  Only when these pledges were made did the Winnipeg business community come forward with pledges amounting to $6,000. Indeed, throughout the life of the W.C.I.A. its major financial support was to come from governmental bodies and railway companies rather than from businessmen who stood to reap immediate benefits from an influx of American settlers.
During the four years of its existence - the W.C.I.A. was disbanded in March, 1908 - the association's activities were largely directed from Winnipeg. Throughout, Winnipeg's business and civic leaders were in the forefront of the work, serving in all capacities within the organization itself as well as acting as effective lobbyists in Winnipeg City Council and in Ottawa.  The annual meetings of the W.C.I.A. for 1905, 1906, 1907, and 1908 were held at Winnipeg and each year the Mayor welcomed the delegates and expressed, on behalf of the city, his appreciation for what the organization "had to do with the prosperity of the city."  This domination of the association, however, caused problems during the four years. One of the major weaknesses throughout its existence was the absence of support from the different cities, municipalities, and towns of the West. Apparently these localities felt they could carry on publicity campaigns for their own areas better than could an organization centered in Winnipeg.  The W.C.I.A. was more successful in getting financial assistance from the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan as both gave grants of $2,500 to the association. 
The methods employed by the W.C.I.A. in their "endeavor to create a Western Canada atmosphere in the United States" were along several varied lines. The secretary of the association - a full time job - wrote a great many articles and secured their publication in American newspapers and agricultural journals. Along these same lines the secretary lobbied with newspapers in an effort to persuade them to direct their attention to Western Canada. But the most effective tool of the W.C.I.A. was the organization of free tours for American correspondents through the West. A description of one such tour is given in the Association's report for 1906 and because of the popularity of this method of securing publicity, deserves to be quoted at length:
The result of this particular trip, as reported by the Secretary, was "one hundred and eighty-two columns of matter on Canada ... The space occupied by the articles would make a book of more than 270,000 words."  After several tours of this type had been completed the W.C.I.A. gathered together the views of the newspaper men and published a pamphlet entitled What Famous Correspondents Say About Western Canada which was widely distributed throughout the United States. 
Among the many other methods of securing publicity employed by the W.C.I.A. only two more need be mentioned. Late in 1906 it was decided to have the association publish its own magazine and after several false starts the first issue of The Canada-West was published in October, 1906. Every inquirer writing to the Association received a year's subscription to the magazine and by January 1907, over 1,468 American farmers and investors were receiving the magazine. During 1907 the circulation increased rapidly and the project was considered one of the most successful operations of the association. The other technique employed was the setting up of a "General Information Bureau" in 1906. Prior to this time the W.C.I.A. had merely sent to interested inquirers a complete list of members - that is, lists of the various land agencies selling land in the West. But at the 1906 general meeting it was decided to send out more material than this standard form of "follow-up" letter. Accordingly, it was decided to include with the list a copy of The Canada-West, copies of regular Dominion Government literature, information about freight and passenger rates from the Canadian Pacific and Canadian Northern Railways, and from the Provincial Governments and various boards of trade in the West general information, crop reports, etc. Thus, from fifteen to twenty-five pieces of literature went to each inquirer. 
It is, of course, impossible to measure the success of the W.C.I.A. in relation to the efforts of either the Dominion Government or the C.P.R. Moreover, the task of determining the effectiveness of this association's efforts is made all the more difficult by conflicting reports regarding its work. According to D. W. Bole, one of the original organizers of the W.C.I.A. and its President for 1905, "a very large portion of the immigration from the Western and Southwestern States has been due to the efforts of the secretary [of the W.C.I.A.] during the past year."  This view was shared by the Manitoba Free Press which stated in an editorial that:
In direct disagreement with these evaluations were the opinions of the Federal Government immigration agents working in the United States. In a memorandum to the Superintendent of Immigration at Ottawa, the Inspector of U.S. Agencies, W. J. Whyte, expressed the following view: "Personally I do not think the Western Canadian Immigration Association, or its Secretary, were the means of bringing six additional people to Canada during the last year. On the other hand this Association interferes in many ways with the general work of the Department."  In an expansion of his views a year later Mr. Whyte reported similar opinions.
The Commissioner of Immigration at Winnipeg agreed wholeheartedly with this assessment. When asked his views by the Superintendent of Immigration he replied that the W.C.I.A. "... is nothing less than a big real estate concern, and they are using the public money for the purpose of assisting real estate men to sell their lands at a profit.  He went on to recommend that in the future no public funds be put at the disposal of the Association.
In view of these adverse comments the Superintendent of Immigration undertook to obtain the views of all the agents working in the United States. The response was unanimous - all stated that the work of the W.C.I.A. had in no way aided their efforts and many agents reported they had not even heard of the body.  In the light of this evidence it is surprising to learn that in 1907 the Federal Government granted the W.C.I.A. $16,200.  One can only conclude that the W.C.I.A. were effective lobbyists in Ottawa.
An interesting sidelight to this whole question of the campaign to attract American settlers to Canada is that in Winnipeg there was no apparent opposition to the program. It has already been observed, of course, that labor groups in the city did oppose the expenditure of public funds for the purposes of attracting immigrants and this observation applies in the case of the W.C.I.A. as well. But in other parts of the country other groups besides labor-notably "imperialists" in Toronto and agricultural societies in the West - were opposed to the American migrations because of what they might do to "Americanize the West."  Significantly the only concern expressed by Winnipeg's governing elite was over the movement of Negroes into the city, which was condemned because Negroes did not prove to be "satisfactory as farmers, thrifty as settlers, or desirable neighbors."  In short, Winnipeg's leaders were so taken up with the problem of rapid and sustained economic growth that they had no time for contemplation of what American influences might do to the fabric of the city's institutions and society. Indeed, in comparison to the "disagreeable" effects of the influx of large numbers of foreigners - the men in "sheepskin coats" about whom the city's elite were concerned - the American immigrant was welcomed with open arms.
But whatever the view of the work of the W.C.I.A., the organization thrived until it was decided at an executive committee meeting in January, 1908, that the work of the organization was completed. The final meeting of the Association was held at the Royal Alexandra Hotel, Winnipeg, on March 31, 1908.  Perhaps the best conclusion that can be reached regarding the work of the W.C.I.A. is that its work was a supplement to that of the Dominion Government and the C.P.R.; with the publicity it created the American influx to the Canadian West was undoubtedly heightened; without it the influx would have taken place regardless. For, as a noted authority has remarked, "propaganda ... was not the basic cause of the migration across the line. 
As W. L. Morton has noted, "1912 was the climax of the great boom in Manitoba."  The end had been prepared by rising freight rates and falling farm and land prices and was ultimately followed by the collapse of the real estate market. By 1912 the real estate agents and the land speculators had found it difficult to dispose of farm lands and impossible to interest buyers in suburban developments. Holders of urban lands were left holding the property and scores of subdivisions and dozens of attractively named suburbs died on agent's prospectuses and on drafting boards. Winnipeg once more found itself surrounded with a belt of lands held for speculation. In looking for the cause of this recession the people of Manitoba noted that while immigration into the West continued at a high level, the census of 1911 had revealed that in population Manitoba was falling behind Saskatchewan and Alberta. And they responded in typical fashion in an effort to continue the golden years of prosperous growth.
Winnipeg's attention was first officially drawn to the problem by a resolution it received from the Louise Municipality in May, 1911. Calling for a general meeting of all Boards of Trade and Municipal Councils of the Province, the resolution outlined the problem:
The outcome of this resolution, and similar ones all over the province, was a meeting called in January in Winnipeg to outline a "gigantic plan to increase immigration into Manitoba."  The meeting was presided over by Mayor Waugh of Winnipeg and it was quickly decided to organize a "Million-For-Manitoba League." After speeches outlining the problems Manitoba faced it was decided to take the following course of action:
It is proposed to divide the province into five districts, of which Winnipeg would be one. In each division a separate organization will take charge of the work. One means of raising funds will be by the sale of attractive buttons. A nominal fee for league membership will be fixed and a definite campaign will be undertaken to secure larger contributions from businessmen, hotelmen, and the public-spirited residents of the province generally. Boards of Trade, real estate exchanges, the lodges of various orders and even the school children will be drawn into the work. 
Following this initial meeting the campaign for funds got underway and by July over $3,000 had been spent on advertising in Great Britain and the United States. But by this time the League was encountering serious financial difficulties as few of the towns or municipalities of the province came forward with expected grants. The League struggled on into 1913 but by the end of that year had been disbanded.  The fact was that by 1913 Winnipeg and the province was entering a depression; credit stringency was manifest throughout the region and no amount of "booming" could bring a return of good times.  Winnipeg was on the threshold of a new era and would soon be forced to face the major consequences of the boom - the unresolved questions of race and class relationships.
The significance of all these various phases of the campaign for immigrants does not lie in the successes or failures of the various programs as measured in terms of the number of newcomers they succeeded in enticing to come to Winnipeg and Manitoba. Rather, they are important in what they can tell us about society in the period. The fact that the business community could persuade the municipal corporation to spend public monies on programs designed to benefit private speculators indicates a great deal about the dominance of material values in this era. Indeed, many of the people active in the W.C.I.A. and in the Vacant Lands Program were themselves large landholders and made substantial profits as a result of the city's efforts. This does not mean there was any explicit corruption involved. The point is that such a connection between private fortunes and municipal government was considered natural. Moreover, when these activities, and the large expenditures of public funds they occasioned, are seen in relation to the social conditions of the mass of the Winnipeg populace at this time, an even grimmer picture emerges. Taken in the light of Winnipeg's shortage of housing, inadequate educational and recreational facilities, lack of proper water and sewage disposal resources, and a host of other problems, programs designed to encourage population growth and thus cause even more acute problems, is something of a paradox.  It was rather like trying to repair, maintain, and fuel a car while pressing the accelerator to the floor boards. And viewed from this perspective, the advertising campaign stands as a monument to the failure of Winnipeg's leaders to develop a mature social conscience.
Not all of Winnipeg's energies in the period of the great boom were directed toward attracting immigrants. Early in 1906, in anticipation of the passing of the Hydro-Power By-Law, two Winnipeg newspapers set out the urgent need of a publicity bureau in Winnipeg. Pointing out that Toronto, Fort William, Regina, "and many other Canadian and American cities" already had such organizations, they warned that unless similar steps were taken by Winnipeg the city would be in danger of losing its position as a manufacturing center "to which she is justly entitled.  As outlined by the Manitoba Free Press such a bureau could be charged with the following functions: inducing new industries to establish themselves in Winnipeg; "extending a helping hand to meritorious, but struggling industries already started;" securing financial co-operation for a new industry or additional capital for a weak industry already started; acting as a means of bringing conventions and public gatherings to the city; and other related activities. 
Acting upon these suggestions the Winnipeg Board of Trade appointed a committee to interview the City Council and the Trade and Commerce Committee of that body "to urge the necessity of having some proper descriptive literature issued for the purpose of affording information regarding the opportunities presented in Winnipeg to industrial enterprises."  The major advantage the Board wished to have publicized was the low power rates to be derived from the hydro-power development. This initiative on the part of the Board met with almost instant agreement for at a meeting held in May, 1906, attended by all the major business organizations of the City, it was decided to organize an Association under the name of the Winnipeg Development and Industrial Bureau. This meeting defined its objects in the following motion:
A committee was appointed to prepare a Constitution and By-Laws and by July the W.D.I.B. was fully organized and operating. 
The speed and apparent unanimity with which the W.D.I.B. was organized serves to confirm the observations made elsewhere that the "growth ethos" of Winnipeg's civic and business leaders was shared by nearly the whole of the populace. But it is significant to point out that one newspaper, The Winnipeg Tribune, was absolutely opposed to this latest venture. In a long editorial it brought forward several objections that were never to be met throughout the life of the Bureau.
Such objections would no doubt have been even harsher had the Tribune foreseen the large expenditure of public funds the W.D.I.B. precipitated. The founders of the Bureau had pledged that any grant from City Council would be matched or even surpassed by the Winnipeg business community. Yet, up to the end of 1914, City Council gave almost $112,000 to the Bureau while subscriptions from the business community totaled only $65,000.  In light of the grave social problems the city was experiencing from its rapid growth before and during this period, such a large expenditure for the purpose of accelerating the growth rate was questionable, to say the least.
During its first seven years of existence the W.D.I.B. was very active in almost every phase of civic life. Publicity was under the direction of a special committee and it carried out a fantastic amount of advertising. Reporting on these activities for the period 1907-1910, for example the Commissioner of the Bureau reported that he had handled 58,000 enquiries for informaion and had in that time sent out as many letters in reply. He went on to say that "we have distributed over 2,000,000 pieces of printed matter including every size from a four page leaflet up to a hundred page, highly illustrated booklet. In our Press service department we have supplied over 1,000,000 lines of news matter about Winnipeg to magazines, newspapers and other publications in the British Isles, Eastern Canada and the United States and with these we have furnished over 2,000 photographs for illustrations." 
The investment in money and energy occasioned by this publicity campaign succeeded, according to the Commissioner, in attracting by the end of 1914, 267 manufacturing plants.  He was quick to point out that the lists he compiled did not include industrial establishment of a wholesale character, "nor does the list take into account any of the big extensions of railway shops and local manufacturers who have added largely to their manufacturing equipment in this time." Although it was undoubtedly stretching the point for the Bureau to take credit for attracting each and every one of the new firms, the fact remains that Winnipeg had developed into a considerable industrial center by 1914. The following table illustrates this change in the economic, and social, character of Winnipeg:
The Bureau was also active in other areas. One of its proudest achievements was the building of a permanent "Exposition Building" in 1912. The idea behind the project was to have a center where businessmen who visited the City could come "to be informed of the industrial conditions and circumstances of our capital, and ... definitely plan out the founding of new enterprises in our midst."  The building had on display all the products manufactured in the city and on hand was the Commissioner of the Bureau, ready to answer any questions he may have been asked. The advantages and educational value of such displays were pointed out in 1913 and ranged from "teaching the people that they can buy almost everything they want made right in Winnipeg" to encouraging bankers to "ask themselves if they really have been liberal enough in their policy toward manufacturers." 
In 1911 the Bureau also began a program "for assisting worthy British workmen to bring their families to Winnipeg."  The objects of this "Imperial Home Reunion Movement" were described by the Bureau as follows: "Apart from promoting better conditions and surrounding men with family life, the plan works out to the betterment of the business community as a whole in-as-much as it gives the workmen a greater degree of stability and contentment; it brings no inconsiderable number of new people to our city as residents and as consumers, where otherwise money for their support was largely sent out of the city."  Although the work of this branch of the Bureau was curtailed by the outbreak of war in 1914, the Imperial Home Reunion Association pointed out with pride that up until the end of 1913 they had brought out a total of 2,427 wives and children.
Other work carried out by the Bureau in "the interests of the city" included the opening of the "first Civic Art Galley in the Dominion" at Winnipeg in December, 1912; preparation of illustrated lecture material for use in England, Eastern Canada and the United States; "investigation of the utilization of Canadian flax straw, wire grasses and other natural resources;" the production of moving pictures; the promotion of an "Annual Business Men's tour of the West to promote closer business relations with Winnipeg;" the setting up of a "Civic Improvement Committee" to work in conjunction with the City Planning Commission; and numerous other activities. 
Of all the decisions taken by Winnipeg's civic and business leaders from 1874-1914, the creation of the W.D.I.B. was perhaps the most typical for it displayed the concern of Winnipeg's leaders with rapid and sustained growth. Many of the activities of the Bureau were worthwhile and added much needed facilities to the community. But again, as in the case of the campaign for immigrants, the program was questionable when seen in relation to the city's social conditions during this period. The folly of such policies made itself apparent in the labor strife Winnipeg was to endure in 1919 and after.
2. The St. Andrew's Rapids development and the hydro-power project are dealt with at length in my PhD dissertation. See "A Social History of Urban Growth: City of Winnipeg, 1874-1914," unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of British Columbia, 1971. Winnipeg's hydro-power project is examined in E. S. Russenholt, "The Power of a City," unpublished manuscript in City Hydro Office, Winnipeg.
6. The Voice, 24 Jan. 1902. Throughout this article repeated reference will be made to the "governing elite" or "social, political, and commercial elite" of Winnipeg. By this term it is generally meant that those in positions of political power (City Council), social power (Manitoba Club), or commercial power (Board of Trade) were members of an elite group in that all were usually fairly wealthy, of Anglo-Saxon origin, and of the Protestant faith. Needless to say, such a thesis requires more elaborate proof that its mere affirmation in a footnote but since this paper is about the activities of that group, rather than the group itself, it has not been dealt with here. I again refer the reader to my PhD dissertation, especially chapters 2 and 3.
8. The early efforts of the Federal Government are dealt with in H. D. Kemp, "The Department of Interior in the West, 1873-1883," unpublished MA Thesis, University of Manitoba, 1950. See also A. S. Morton, History of Prairie Settlement, and C. Martin, "Dominion Lands" Policy (Toronto, 1938); and N. Macdonald, Canada: Immigration and Colonization, 1841-1903 (Aberdeen, 1966).
10. Manitoba Free Press, 19 April 1873; Ibid, 17 May 1873; Ibid, 13 June 1876; Ibid, 14 Oct. 1882. A colorful account of the problems encountered by travellers on the Dawson Route can be found in P. Berton, The National Dream (Toronto, 1970), pp. 52-59.
12. Canada, Sessional Papers, 1878, No. 9, p. 50. This was the Annual Report of the Winnipeg Immigration Agent, W. Hespeler. Hespeler was an Alderman in 1876 so City Council was well aware of the efforts of the Federal Government.
13. Council Communication, Series 1, #1055, read 19 Feb. 1877, C.W. All references to C.W. in the notes indicate that the material cited is from the City Clerk's Office, City Haul, Winnipeg. The communications' numbers are those recorded on the correspondence.
21. See correspondence between Provincial Government and Civic officials in Miscellaneous File "G", C.W. See also Winnipeg Board of Trade, Annual Report for 1890, Provincial Archives of Manitoba. Hereafter cited as P.A.M.
22. See Council Communication, Series I, #1830, read 1 March 1889, C.W.; Ibid, #1950, read 12 July 1880; Ibid, #2041, read 2 Nov. 1880; Ibid, #2134, read 21 Feb. 1881; Ibid, #2527, read 6 Feb. 1882; Ibid, #5116, read 29 June 1885; Ibid, Series II, #191, read 7 June 1886; Ibid, #377, read 20 Dec. 1886; Ibid, #448, read 28 March 1887; Ibid, #1084, read 1 April 1889. These letters contain only a few of the many requests for assistance made to City Council.
25. City Council Minutes, 14 Feb. 1884, C.W.; Ibid, 22 Sept. 1884; Council Communication, Series I, #4334, read 22 Sept. 1884, C.W. The pamphlet is entitled "Souvenir of the City of Winnipeg: Presented to Members of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1884." A copy can be seen in the Rare Book Collection, Provincial Library of Manitoba, Winnipeg.
30. J. E. Page, "Catholic Parish Ecology and Urban Development in the Greater Winnipeg Region," unpublished MA Thesis, University of Manitoba, 1958, pp. 99-105. A map showing these reserves is contained in Morton, History of Prairie Settlement, Figure 5, p. 47.
32. Ibid. The inhabitants of the lands along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers in twelve of the Red River Parishes enjoyed the exclusive right to cut hay on the outer two miles immediately in the rear of their river lots, and this outer belt became known as the "hay privilege." "Staked Claims" were lands that had been surveyed just prior to the transfer of Rupert's Land to Canada. Of this class, some of the lands had been entered upon and occupied constantly since that time. The problem was caused by lands that had been little improved but the ownership of which had been recognized locally. H. D. Kemp, "The Department of the Interior in the West, 1873-1883," unpublished MA Thesis, University of Manitoba, 1950, pp. 111-132.
45. This pamphlet, entitled "Winnipeg: Farm Lands! Cheap Land! Good Lands! Best Markets! ..." can be found in the Rare Book Collection, Provincial Library of Manitoba. Facts about its distribution are available in Winnipeg Board of Trade, Annual Report for 1888, P.A.M.
49. City Council Minutes, 3 April 1888, C.W.; Ibid, 11 April 1888; Department of Agriculture Papers, R. G. 17, Series I, #65, 648, dated 25 April 1888, Public Archives of Canada. Hereafter cited as P.A.C.
66. Manitoba Free Press, 13 July 1888. It should be noted that Alderman Macdonald stood to gain heavily from the sale of these lands. In fact when by 1910 he was a millionaire, the Winnipeg Telegram reported that it was largely as a result of his investments in real estate during this period. Winnipeg Telegram, 29 Jan. 1910.
73. Council Communication, Series II, #2172, read 31 Oct. 1892, C.W.; Winnipeg Board of Trade, Annual Report for 1892, P.A.M.; Council Communication, Series 11, #2257, read 6 Feb. 1893, C.W.; Ibid, #2268, read 20 Feb. 1893. See also Statutes of Manitoba, 1893, chapter 48 for act of incorporation.
75. R. C. Bellan, "The Development of Winnipeg as a Metropolitan Center," unpublished PhD dissertation, Columbia University, 1958, p. 108.
79. After the turn of the century the expansionist railway policies of the Laurier Government added to the lowering of the cost of transportation. See Glazebrook, History of Transportation, Vol. II, Chap. 10. See also T. D. Regehr, "The Canadian Northern Railway: The West's Own Product," C.H.R., Vol. LI, No. 2 (June 1970), pp. 177-187.
81. Bellan, "Development of Winnipeg ..." pp. 110-111.
82. N. L. Gold, "American Migration to the Prairie Provinces of Canada, 1890-1933," unpublished PhD Thesis, University of California, 1933, passim; K. D. Bicha, The American Farmer and the Canadian West, 1896-1914 (Lawrence, Kansas, 1968), passim; and P. F. Sharp, The Agrarian Revolt in Western Canada (Minneapolis, 1948), pp. 1-21.
94. Department of the Interior Papers, R. G. 76, PARC 74, File No. 26817, #27913, dated 13 March 1896, P.A.C.; City Council Minutes, 6 Jan. 1896, C.W.; Council Communications, Series II, #3185, read 20 Jan. 1896, C.W.; Ibid, #3186; Ibid, #3187; Ibid, #3191; Ibid, #3192; Ibid, #3199; read 3 Feb. 1896; City Council Minutes, 3 Feb. 1896; C.W. (In reference to the Department of the Interior Papers there is both a file number and a letter number. In some cases, however, there was no letter number and thus some references include only reference to a file).
107. Ibid. The Deputy explained that the Department's Homestead Inspectors found it hard to get material since "the successful settler will very readily promise to write a letter, but it is another thing to get him to fulfill that promise. It has been suggested to us that in cases of this kind the Homestead Inspector should be instructed to write the letter from the homesteader's dictation, and get him to sign it, but a little consideration will show the unwisdom of adopting such a course. The homesteaders, as a rule, feel themselves under restraint in dealing with Homestead Inspectors, as they feel that the obtaining of their patents ... depends on the attitude of the Inspector with whom they have to deal ... and a settler giving a favourable letter could so easily repudiate it by alleging compulsion if the Inspector used ever so little persuasion, or took hand in either composing or writing out the letter."
115. See "A Few Facts: Issued by the Western Canada Immigration Board, Under the Authority of Hon. Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior ... 1897," Department of the Interior Papers, R.G. 76, PARC 74, File No. 26820, P.A.C.
116. Winnipeg did, however, continue to welcome and conduct tours for Press excursions, etc. organized by the Federal Government and the C.P.R. See, Council Communication, Series II, #5057, read 31 July 1899, C.W. This letter expressed thanks on behalf of Federal Government for these activities. See also Hedges, Building the Canadian West, pp. 134-135.
117. Ibid, 141-168; J. W. Dafoe, Clifford Sifton In Relation To His Times (Toronto, 1931), pp. 306-309.
119. Hedges, Building The Canadian West, p. 165; Department of the Interior Papers, R. G. 76, PARC 181, File No. 294612, dated 12 April 1904, P.A.C. See also Sharp, The Agrarian Revolt in Western Canada, pp. 12-14, for an account of this counter propaganda. It should be emphasized that both sides in this "campaign" realized that much was at stake. For American immigrants - as opposed to "foreigners"-were not only experienced farmers but usually brought with them to Canada "adequate capital and sufficient farm equipment." In other words, the average American immigrant from the states not only brought himself into the country without aid or subsidy, but he became an immediate producer of wealth.
122. "Western Canadian Immigration Association: Its Origin, Organization, and Purposes," Department of the Interior Papers, R. G. 76, PARC 181, P.A.C.; Council Communication, Series II, #7083, read 11 Jan. 1904, C.W.; Ibid, #7124, read 8 Feb. 1904; City Council Minutes, 11 Jan. 1904, C.W.; Manitoba Free Press 30 Jan. 1904. The apparent anomaly of the organizational meeting of a body designed to "depopulate the United States" being held in St. Paul is explained by the fact that a great many Americans were holders of vast tracts of Canadian lands.
129. See W.C.I.A., Annual Reports for 1904, 1905, 1906, and 1907, Department of the Interior Papers, R. G. 76, PARC 181, P.A.C. See also Manitoba Free Press, 12 April 1904; City Council Minutes, 21 March 1904, C. W.
130. For example, in 1905 D. W. Bole was both President of the W.C.I.A. and M.P. for Winnipeg. He was also an ex-alderman. Also, the first vice-president, G. F. Carruthers, was an ex-alderman (1899-1901). Many members of the Board of Trade were also prominent in the executive of the W.C.I.A.
132. W.C.I.A., Annual Report for 1905, p. 23. The desirability of getting representatives from many districts was still being debated in 1907. This is, of course, one example of Winnipeg's "metropolitan" status during these years.
137. W.C.I.A., Annual Reports and W.C.I.A., "Circulars," No.'s 1-40. These bulletins were mailed every 6 weeks or so to all the members of the W.C.I.A. and reported on the activities of the Association. A complete set of these bulletins exist in Department of the Interior Papers, R. G. 76, PARC 181, P.A.C.
154. Bellan, "The Development of Winnipeg " pp. 228-251.
161. Winnipeg Tribune, 25 April 1906. It should be noted that on this subject, and many others, the Tribune was the avant-garde newspaper in Winnipeg during this period. Perhaps because of Dafoe's international reputation, built up during the 1920s and 1930s, the Manitoba Free Press is often regarded as the most cogent Winnipeg newspaper from the date of his assumption of the post of editor in 1901. But, on local matters at least the Winnipeg Tribune under the editorship of R. L. Richardson was much more outspoken. This is not to say the Tribune adopted "radical" views on all subjects - on the question of assimilation, for example, it fell in line with the other newspapers - but it consistently provided the most far-sighted views on most local issues. See, for example, Winnipeg Tribune, 5 Nov. 1903.
163. Board of Control Communication, #5541, dated 26 June 1911, C.W. Reviews of the work of the Bureau are also contained in the following references: Manitoba Free Press, 4 May 1911; Winnipeg Tribune, 4 May 1911; Winnipeg Saturday Post, 6 May 1911, p. 9: C. F. Roland, "Community Advertising," The Canadian Municipal Journal, Vol. VII, No. V (May 1911), p. 178; C. F. Roland, "The Modern Art of Advertising a City," The Western Municipal News, Vol. 5, No. 5 (May 1910), pp. 135-137; "Extracts from an Address ... delivered by C. F. Roland ... " Ibid, Vol. 6, No. 6 (June 1911), p. 192.
166. Fourth Census of Canada, 1901, Vol. III; Fifth Census of Canada, 1911, Vol. III; Postal Census of Manufacturers, 1916. For the census years 1881 and 1891 the number of employees include all establishments, regardless of size. For the census years 1901, 1911, and 1915 only establishments with 5 or more are included. The population figure for 1915 is an approximation; by 1921 it was 179,085.
Page revised: 22 May 2010