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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Ontarians as a "Charter Group"
Booklet on Western CanadaBecause of measures taken by the federal government in the 1870s, during the 1880s and 1890s thousands of people from Ontario migrated to the Canadian West. The addition of the Northwest  Territories to Canada, the signing of treaties with the First Nations, and the creation of the Northwest Mounted Police, all made the region appear safer for settlers. Also, with the surrounding Ontarian frontier now settled, the temptations of rich and available prairie soil lured the adventurous.

With their fluency in English and familiarity with Canadian economic and political institutions, the Ontarians quickly adapted to life in the West and did much to shape it socially, economically and politically. In fact, the impact of the Ontarians until the 1920s was so great that Alberta gained the nickname of "Rural Ontario West." Fitting fairly comfortably into the mould set by the Ontarians, British and American migrants also greatly contributed to the early fabric of the province. Although Alberta also received migrants from many other parts of Canada and the world during this period, no other immigrant group did more to define the future of mainstream society in Alberta than the Ontarians.

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