A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
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A LAND AS GREEN AS THE SEA
Immigration History
Obstacles

Patterns of Scottish immigration and settlement throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries reflected both the forces that pushed them out Scotland and those that greeted them in the new world. When population pressures in the Highland region were high, many Scots were forced off their land and chose to leave because of lack of opportunity. When pressures lessened, Highlanders no longer immigrated to Canada in such substantial numbers(7).

Scots in Canada, meanwhile, increasingly found themselves in an ambivalent position. They were both part of the dominant British culture and yet insistent on maintaining their own identity. What attracted Scottish immigrants to Canada was the burgeoning factories and cities, although many immigrants made their way to the last great agricultural frontier in western Canada. That's the path Tom Radford's ancestors took, but only after a century's worth of migration(8).

After fighting in the Seven Years War, Radford's ancestors received a land grant and settled in Salem, Massachusetts in the 1760s. They married into the Kerwin family, who were magistrates in the Salem Witch Trials and supporters of the King in the American Revolution. As a result, the Americans branded the family traitors and they lost everything. The family had to pull up their roots once again and they emigrated to Nova Scotia, and then Upper Canada. In 1782 they received an United Empire Loyalist Land Grant for their support of the King. It was located at the corner of two country roads called Bloor and Yonge, today probably the most valuable real estate in Canada. But the family's bad luck travelled north with them. They sold the land, moved to Brantford and opened a newspaper. Once again, however, the family didn't quite fit in. This time the problem was the stifling Family Compact that ruled Upper Canada. Ontario society had become as oppressive as Massachusetts.

Finally, like thousands of immigrants at the turn of the century, the family headed out to the Canadian West. Tom Radford's grandparents, Arthur Balmer-Watt and Gertrude Hogg, arrived in Edmonton in 1905, the same year Alberta became a province. Upon arriving Gertrude proclaimed, "If you think I'm going to stay in this dump you've got another thing coming!" Of course she quickly became passionately fond of the place. Radford remembers his grandma used to say that "The family was kicked out of most every place they'd ever been before they settled in Alberta." After one hundred years of wandering these Scottish emigrants had at last found somewhere to call home.

Endnotes:
1-13 - The 1998 Canadian & World Encyclopedia
(McClelland & Stewart, Toronto, 1998).

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