In a situation of great distress': the emigrant agency, poverty, and the Irish in nineteenth century upper Canda

O'Reilly, Rebecca
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of Irish immigration to Upper Canada from 1833 to 1854, and how the Emigrant Agency aided the settlement of migrants throughout the province. Using the Toronto Emigrant Office Records, the aid offered is reviewed, along with contemporary views of the Irish. Many immigrants from Ireland arrived in Lower and Upper Canada in a state of temporary, circumstantial poverty resulting from the often exhausting transatlantic journey, and consequently required some assistance in settling in Upper Canada. The Emigrant Agency provided this support by furnishing information on employment and land availability, by providing food, shelter, medical aid, and free passages inland, and by acting as an intermediary between immigrants and private charitable organizations established for poor relief. Constantly under a tight budget, the Agency used alternatives in helping migrants settle, such as building on family strategies by facilitating linkages between relatives both in the Canadas and overseas.

Emigrant Agency, Irish immigration, Upper Canada, poverty, nineteenth century