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American Settlement - The Homeseeker Excursion

Prospective Settlers Arrive Here and Must Almost Board Next Returning Train

American settlers looking for a home on Stephen Avenue (8th Avenue), Calgary, Alberta, ca. 1900-1903. Inscription on bottom right corner of photograph reads: \"U.S. settlers looking for a home.\" On several occasions complaints have been received from Americans seeking homes in Canada, especially those from Arkansas and the states adjoining, in regard to certain homeseekers' excursion run by American railways, notably the New York Central Railway and the Wabash line.

It is the practice of the American railways to run homeseekers' excursions and to issue round trip tickets which are good for twenty-five days only. The purchaser of the ticket must board a train on his return journey twenty-five days after the ticket is issued, for after that date the return half is worthless.

No Use for Extended Trip

Three covered wagons from the United States in southern Alberta, crossing a riverbed, ca. 1893. Photograph captioned: \"Prairie schooners: \"Alberta or Bust\", from Uncle Sam to John Bull.\" This excursion ticket is very satisfactory for homeseekers who only desire to go to neighboring states to look for land, but it is practically of no value to a man who intends to seek land in the Canadian West, as the time limit is obviously too short. Notwithstanding this, American railway companies are advertising these homeseekers' excursions as suitable for Americans wishing to locate on land in Canada. Most of the southern settlers who come to Canada from Arkansas are manifestly unacquainted with the condition existing in the Canadian west today, and do not in the least realize the extent of country which they will have to look over before locating on land, or the lack of railway transportation to homestead lands, which are usually some days' travel from a railroad.

Edmonton Bulletin, August 19, 1910
Courtesy of the City of Edmonton Archives

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