Motor Car
Canadian Government Colonization Co.

Detroit Publishing Co.

If your immigrant ancestors from Slovakia or the Czech Republic ended up in western Canada, it may have not been by accident. The Canadian government actively solicited immigrants at the turn of the century.

The motor car of the Canadian Government Colonization Company was a an interactive advertisement for the benefits of settlement in western Canada. The photo above was taken circa 1900-1905.

The photo was a gift from the State Historical Society of Colorado to the Detroit Publishing Collection in 1949.

The 1903 Emigration Law of Hungary that applied to much of the area now known as Slovakia banned advertising in the area for immigrants. Once the immigrants reached North America, the Canadian government made a serious effort to attract them to western Canada though the Canadian Government Colonization Company.

Canadian Colonization Companies received blocks of land from the Canadian goverment with a mission to attrack settlers, provide transportation to the land, assist in planting first crops, and building homes on the tracts of land.

The Colonization Companies made their money by owning all the land around the plots given free to settlers. Once the initial free land was built on, the surrounding lands all owned by the Colonization Company became valuable.

It was an interesting concept that worked to a limited degree.

Reaching a peak in the early 1880's, by 1900 the Colonization Companies were run directly by the Canadian Department of Immigration or the Railroad Companies looking to build up towns along their route.

There were many, Czech or Slovak towns in western Canada by the 1920's as the new immigrants told others in the old country about the riches of the Canadian land.

To see if any of your relatives ended up in Canada, do a search for your surname in the Canada 411 Telephone Directory.

You can Search 1911 Canada Census on line. The 1911 Canadian Census has a wealth of information at your fingertips. Check and see if you have long lost family in Canada.

In villages like Koterbach in eastern Slovakia, while most villagers ended up initially in western Pennsylvania working the mines and mills, several familes took up the Canadian government on the assistance offers and settled in Canada.

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright or any other restrictions in the photographs in this collection. However, some of the content may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) and/or by the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations. Additionally, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by privacy and/or publicity rights.

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