10 April

Lloydminster in 1904

British Settlers Arrive in Saint John

A wise man once said: "The history of Ireland is something for Englishmen to remember and Irishmen to forget." A parallel might be drawn with Canadians and Englishmen. Canadians who have gone to live in England have usually been welcomed. Too many Englishmen, after coming to live in Canada, have been treated with resentment and disdain.

Yet, many settlers from England proved to rank with the best citizens of Canada, although enduring terrible hardships. The journey made by the founders of Lloydminster on the Saskatchewan-Alberta border exemplifies their courage.

In 1903, Canada was enjoying a great immigration boom, thanks to an almost worldwide drive for new settlers. One of the immigration agents was the Reverend I. M. Barr, a silver-tongued orator in England. Anxious to earn the $5 paid for every head of family and the $2 for every individual sent to Canada, he persuaded a large group of people that life in western Canada was much better than in England. Their ship, an old tub called the Manitoba, arrived in Saint John on April 10, 1903, after a dreadful crossing. Men, women and children slept in the cargo holds. There was no privacy, the most primitive of toilet facilities, and the food and water were unfit to eat or drink.

When they arrived in Saint John, they were loaded into "colonist cars." The train was so slow it was said that the people in the front coaches could shoot a rabbit from a window, jump out, pick it up and get back on one of the coaches to the rear.

When they arrived at Saskatoon, they lived in tents for two weeks before journeying on the wagons they traveled in were overloaded; baggage dropped into mud-holes and coal oil spilled into the food. The temperature was often below zero as blizzards gusted across the prairies.

Many of those people were ordinary city-folk. Yet, they stuck it out, encouraged by one of their members, Reverend G. E. Lloyd. They were the founders of present day Lloydminster, which they named after their fellow member who did so much to keep them going.


10 April

-1606    James I gave large grants in North America to the Plymouth and London Companies.

-1684    An ordinance prohibited emigration from French Canada to English colonies in the south.

-1812    The United States called out the militia in preparation for the war against Canada that began on June 18.

-1841    Halifax obtained its city charter.

-1865    Premier Tupper of Nova Scotia moved for Maritime Union rather than Confederation.

-1959    A nuclear research reactor began operating at McMaster University in Hamilton.