Impact of Irish Immigration on Ontario

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What was it like for Irish immigrants to settle in Ontario between 1815 and 1850? Ontario at the time of migration managed to become home to thousands of Irish immigrants who had flown their home. Most of these immigrants were migrating to Ontario in search of better living conditions at the time; their homeland had been infested with poverty and famine. The two factors played a significant function in ensuring that the Irish to flee from their home as the majority of these Irish people were potato farmers. The migration of For Irish migrants occurred in two phases with the first phase of the movement happened in 1815 whereas the second phase occurred ion 1850. However, the arrival of Fir Irish migrants attracted significant impacts that affected both the Fir Irish immigrants and the settlers of Ontario.

The migration led to a significant social change to the French Canadians who had occupied Ontario. The Irish at the time were divided based on faith which included Protestant Irish and the Catholic Irish. The Protestant Irish while in Irish, they were considered being more prominent in comparison to the Catholic Irish’s[1]. However, when the Irish arrived in Ontario in search of better living conditions, region favored the Catholic Irish. The Catholics were more conversant with the English language which made them to easily converse with the British settlers and the French Canadians in the region. The skills that they had acquired from being Catholics played a significant role in enabling them to climb the economic ladder that was present in Ontario at the time. Moreover, the Catholic Irish played a significant role in spreading the Catholic faith to the many settlers that were present in Ontario before the arrival of the Irish in Ontario. The Catholic faith managed to spread to a greater extent that it managed to grow and become the central faith present in Ontario. Protestant faith did not manage to grow as most of the protestant skills were not conversant with the English language. On the other hand, the Protestants who had relocated to Ontario had access to resources due to their dominance in their former homeland. The availability of resources played a significant function in enabling them to acquire land from the settlers of Ontario and practice potato farming. The move made the Protestants be among the most successful agrarian group in the region.

The Irish upon arriving in Ontario, most of the Irish preferred offering labor to the settlers of Ontario. Majority of the Fir Irish had just faced an economic backlash in their homeland and thus lacked the adequate funds to set up farms. The Irish migrants unlike the other settlers of the land were being preferred in term of labor due to the cheap labor that they offered in Ontario. Majority of the Irish laborers upon their settlement in Ontario worked as casual laborers in the majority of the public constructions that were underway in Ontario. However, some of the laborers saved their salaries to acquire land which enabled them to practice farming. The few protestant Irish who had the resources to purchase large tracks of land that they transformed them for agricultural purpose.

The second phase of the Irish migrants was driven out of Ireland due to the great famine that had struck Ireland. The population of the Irish migrants was relatively high as compared to the migrants who had arrived earlier. The hunger had reaped off the health of the majority of the Irish immigrants at the time, and the majority had health problems[2]. Moreover, at the time ether was also a disease that was known as Typhus which had affected the majority of the Irish. The settlers of Ontario claimed that the disease was a result of the poor conditions that were present in the Irish ships which played a significant role in transporting the Irish migrants to Ontario. Upon arriving in Ontario, the disease begun spreading to the original settlers of Ontario. The settlers blamed it on the Fir Irish and decided to put the Irish who were suffering from the disease under quarantine. The other factor that was associated with the Typhus was the Irish ships[3]. The settlers of the region also went an extra mile to name the Irish ship as Coffin ships due to their high susceptibility rate of the vessels spreading the disease. The settlement of the sick Fir Irish led to a shortage of health care facilities in Ontario.

The Fir Irish settlers were farmers who had been driven from their land due to the great famine which had affected their potato crop. Upon arriving in Ontario, the majority of the Irish farmers acquired land and transformed the land into their settlement scheme. The Fir Irish managed to carry on with their economic activities which were farming in the region. The agricultural produce that was practiced in the area led to an increase in agricultural production. All in all, it is evident that the migration that occurred between 1815 and 1850 led to significant impacts both to the immigrants and the settlers of Ontario. The immigration impact was influenced in terms of cultural factors, social factors, and economic factors.

Bibliography

Killick, John. "Transatlantic steerage fares, British and Irish migration, and return migration, 1815–60."The Economic History Review 67, no. 1 (2014): 170-191.

Mokyr, Joel. Why Ireland starved: a quantitative and analytical history of the Irish economy, 1800-1850. Routledge, 2013.

Reid, John G. "Immigration to Atlantic Canada: Historical Reflections."Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society 19 (2016): 38.

[1] Reid, John G. "Immigration to Atlantic Canada: Historical Reflections."Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society 19 (2016): 38.

[2] Mokyr, Joel. Why Ireland starved: a quantitative and analytical history of the Irish economy, 1800-1850. Routledge, 2013.

[3] Killick, John. "Transatlantic steerage fares, British and Irish migration, and return migration, 1815–60."The Economic History Review 67, no. 1 (2014): 170-191.

November 24, 2023
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Social Issues

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Immigration

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Immigrants

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