What Did British Immigrants Spend When They First Came to Canada?

Standard

lanarkemigrationsociety.jpg

Photo– Bytown.net-read more here

 

Immigrating to Canada in the late 1800s or 1900s? Even though the average cost of a ticket was only $30, larger ships could hold from 1,500 to 2,000 immigrants, netting a profit of $45,000 to $60,000 for a single, one-way voyage. The cost to feed a single immigrant was only about 60 cents a day!

After you left the boat and immigration you had a landing card pinned on your clothes and then moved to the Money Exchange. Here six cashiers exchanged gold, silver and paper money, from countries all over Europe, for American or Canadian dollars, based on the day’s official rates, which were posted on a blackboard. For immigrants  the next stop was the railroad ticket office, where a dozen agents collectively sold as many as 25 tickets per minute on the busiest days.

All that remained was to make arrangements for their trunks, which were stored in the Baggage Room, to be sent on to their final destinations.  At times, corrupt currency exchange officials shortchanged immigrants, concession operators served meals without utensils, and others operated schemes to deprive the newly landed immigrant of their money. Other examples included a clerk failing to deliver money orders to immigrants, resulting in their deportation, and baggage handlers charging twice the going rate. Railroad ticket agents were not immune and often routed immigrants, not by the most direct route to their destination, but by one that required a layover. Some were forced to buy a fifty-cent or dollar bag of food from the restaurant concession for their train trip.

 

 

 

RAILWAYS AND IMMIGRANTS
    For the month of May the railways reached the high-water mark as regards records for the carrying of immigrants.  During May, 40,000 immigrants, the majority of whom were of British origin, passed through Montreal on their way to Western Canada. The Canadian Pacific carried an average of 1,000 immigrants a day, the Grand Truck had an average of 250 a day.
These figures form a striking contrast for the month of May thirty years ago, when the total immigration into the country was 6,601. One railway official said that it was surprising what a big total of hard cash was disbursed in Canada by these immigrants. On an average, he said, they spend in railway fares $15 each, which means a total of $600,000, while expenses of food, beds and other incidentals amount to another $15 by the time they get to their destination. This means that during May British immigrants spent in Canada within the first few days of their arrival considerably over a million dollars– “The Cobalt Daily Nugget” 12 July 1911

 

Lanark County Genealogical Society Website

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

 

The Man Without a Country

Lanark County 101 — It Began with Rocks, Trees, and Swamps

Rock the Boat! Lanark County or Bust! Part 1

It Wasn’t the Sloop John B — Do’s and Don’t in an Immigrant Ship -Part 2

Riders on the Storm– Journey to Lanark County — Part 3

ROCKIN’ Cholera On the Trek to the New World — Part 4

Rolling down the Rapids –Journey to Lanark Part 5

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s