From the 1860s onwards, in the hopes of spurring emigration, the federal government advertised Canada as a land of opportunity. Over the course of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, over one million immigrants arrived in Canada, many of whom took up agriculture.
Canada’s economy in the later nineteenth-century relied heavily on agriculture for trade and export markets. The importance of farming and food production increased during the immigration boom of the later nineteenth-century, due to an unprecedented growth in population. Utilizing the arable land in Canada’s richest agricultural regions, such as southern Ontario and the Prairie West, Canadian farmers became important producers of desirable commodities like wheat, dairy products, apples, potatoes, and livestock.
Canada is marked by its variety of regions and landscapes. Within each province and territory, variances in soil quality, climate, and elevation can be found, which affect the provisioning of agriculture. In the Maritimes, fishing was a major source of revenue because of stiff competition for agricultural goods, though lucrative apple- and potato-growing industries developed. Many Eastern Canadians and recently-arrived immigrants migrated to central Canada in the later nineteenth century where the land was more cultivable.