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Is Edmonton Prepared for Immigration?

IMMIGRATION ACCOMMODATION Frank Oliver - Proprietor

When the rush of immigration to Edmonton commenced last spring it found the immigration department thoroughly unprepared to offer any temporary accommodation to immigrants, such as is usually and necessary, under the circumstances. After the necessity of the season was chiefly over and after a great deal of uncertainty and fussing a little 7X9 shed was built near the station, and one or two large tents were supplied. The town of Edmonton also provided an immigration building and tent at considerable expense. These accommodations were sufficient for the requirements of the latter part of the season when the weather was fine and the rush was not great. It was well known even last season that the rush this spring would greatly exceed that of last year, there was not reason to suppose that it would not start as soon and there was no assurance that spring would open any earlier than usual. Nothwithstanding [sic] all this no move was made in proper time to provide this accommodation that every one knew would be urgently needed. Indeed less than nothing was done, for while the shed has not been interfered with the tents that were much more useful than the shed have been taken away. The town of Edmonton have gone out of the immigration business. The spring is more backward than last year and we have nearly a train a day of immigrants and effects coming in, without a finger being lifted by the immigration department to provide them with temporary accommodation. The residents of South Edmonton have at their own expense put up a little building which gives more accommodation than the government building, but this is not enough. The result of this lack of accommodation is not beneficial to the immigrants or to the interest of immigration, and should be remedied promptly. Expensive buildings are not needed or wanted. A supply of common "A" tents with a sheet iron stove for each on hand during the coming week, would be better than a $40, 000 building erected next fall. If cotton tents cannot be procured lumber shanties could be put up in large numbers at a minimal cost, and would answer immediate requirements better than nothing. This energetic immigration department and phenomenally pushing new minister of the interior of ours should get a move on them for once and meet the emergency that has arisen in a prompt practical fashion.
From Edmonton Bulletin, April 10th, 1893
Courtesy of the City of Edmonton Archives

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