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Barr Colony at Lloydminster, Part One

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If everything had gone according to plan, Lloydminster would have been called Barrminster or, at least, the Barr Colony.

According to historian David Leonard, this flawed venture found its roots in the Canadian government's efforts to keep Americans out of the Canadian West.

When Canada acquired Rupert's Land in 1870, and it was made part of this vast Dominion, and there was virtually nothing on the vast open plain between the Rocky Mountains and the Little Selkirk Colony on the Red River in Manitoba, the intent had been to settle this area primarily with people of British sympathies, because they were aware of the annexation sympathies in the States, which had earlier - 20 or 30 years earlier - resulted in the annexation of California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas from the Spaniards. And the feeling was that, unless we get people in the settled regions of the North American continent north of the 49th parallel, there would be a preponderance of people with American sympathies, which would opt for agitation, for incorporation with the United States.
So that was the big emphasis after 1870... to settle the Canadian prairies with people of British sympathies.

In 1896, the Minister of the Interior, Clifford Sifton, embarked on an aggressive advertising campaign to encourage immigration from Britain.

And, therefore when, shortly after the turn of the century, two people, named Isaac Barr and George Lloyd, proposed to the Canadian government a vast colonial scheme on the North Saskatchewan River, right out in the middle of nowhere, which is near the area of Lloydminster today, the immigration branch was very enthused about this and they granted the scheme some 68 townships on which to choose land to settle, hopefully upwards to 2000 people from Great Britain.

Barr and Lloyd were Anglican clergymen. And with Barr's enthusiastic promotion, the pair soon had boatloads of British immigrants ready to take up land at the Barr Colony on the western prairie.

On the Heritage Trail,

I'm Cheryl Croucher.

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