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The need to attract settlers to Southwestern Ontario in the 1830s resulted, at least in part, from a growing fear that if the land bordering Lake Erie remained largely unoccupied it could be absorbed into regions to the south of the Great Lakes and ultimately become part of the United States. Indeed, this fear was not unfounded. As late as 1827 the overall population of Middlesex County, which at the time reached Lake Erie and was somewhat larger in area than today, was only 9,838 (History of the County of Middlesex, 1889). In addition, there was considerable sympathy among certain segments of the population for a republican form of government similar to that which had been established in the United States following the American Revolution.

In what follows, we discuss the purpose of The Canada Land Company, the role played by John Galt in organizing the Company, the nature of the immigrants desired by the Crown, and the methods used by the Company to attract these immigrants. To fully understand the experiences of the immigrants who settled this area we also describe the sea voyage for those who travelled in steerage as well as for those with sufficient funds to travel as cabin passengers. We then conclude with the arrangements made by the Crown and the Company to assist the newly arrived immigrants to find jobs and/or to purchase land.



Publication Date



London and Middlesex Heritage Museum




Middlesex County, history, settlers, Canada Land company


Canadian History


with a Map, Illustrations and Excerpts for Letters and diaries of the Times

How Middlesex County was Settled with Farmers, Artisans, and Capitalists: An Account of the Canada Land Company in Promoting Emigration from the British Isles in the 1830s through the 1850s