The Last Best WestBook - 2000
As the great tide of settlers surged into Canada in the years 1896-1914, to claim the
free homesteads advertised by the government, immigration officers laboured to record a
bewildering variety of nationalities, languages and occupations.
This book contains photographs taken by professionals and amateurs, combining to form a
striking, visual record of a fascinating diversity of people, of costume and habitation, of churches and stores, of farming methods and implements.
Powerfully evocative first-hand accounts taken from letters and diaries communicate something which the photographs alone cannot: despite all the obvious differences of origin and outlook, of religion and education and personal advantage, settling the west was essentially a common experience.
Interior Department files contain the story of the Government's great campaign for settlers, and the complex chain of officialdom down which the immigrants passed until they reached their destination. A treasure trove of photographs and personal reminiscences exists in public sources across Canada.
Material used in this book comes from:
The GlenBow-Alberta Institute;
The United Church Archives;
The Provincial Archives of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario;
The public libraries of Saskatchewan and Vancouver;
Vancouver City Archives;
The University of British Columbia Library;
The Western Development Museum, Saskatoon, and
The Canadian Pacific Railway.