The “Last Best West” was a program developed through the Immigration Branch of the Canadian Department of the Interior from 1896 until the First World War, which produced brochures, pamphlets, and atlases that were distributed in the United States and Great Britain to encourage farmers to settle in western Canada.
Beverley Tallon, Editorial Assistant at Canada’s History talks to Dr Laura Detre, an instructor of history at Washington & Jefferson University, Washington, Pennsylvania, about the subject.
More online extras
From the Museum of Civilization
Browse through this online exhibit called Advertising for Immigrants to Western Canada, 1870–1930 (be sure to scroll all the way down).
From the National Film Board of Canada: Drylanders (1962)
Director: Don Haldane. This epic drama looks at the opening of the Canadian West and the drought that led to the Depression in the Thirties. It is the saga of a family who left Eastern Canada to stake their future in the Prairies. Principle roles are played by Frances Hyland and James Douglas. For more background information about this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
From the National Film Board of Canada: Strangers at the Door (1977)
Director: John Howe. The harrowing story of an immigrant family in the New World. On arrival in Canada, their hopes for a better life were dashed when immigration officials refused to grant entry to their daughter. During a routine medical examination it was found that Kasia had contracted an infectious eye disease. She is separated from her family and sent back to Europe alone.
To see more films, visit NFB.ca.