The People of Canada's Immigration Settlements


The best way to get a deep understanding of history and the people that were a part of our history is through living books. Some of the best living books to use for history studies are biographies. History comes alive as you read about someone’s life. Jumping into a biography can make the historical figure and events come to life. Each book will create a connection that will lead to a deeper understanding and memory of them as well.

Canada has a rich history of people, places, and events. Each of the following biographies will take you into history and allow you to make that connection that will continue in your memory and understanding.


Roughing It in the Bush – Susanna Moodie

Susan Moodie, born in England in 1803, emigrated to Ontario in 1832. Her accounts of life as a pioneer in Upper Canada bring the hardships and routines of the settlers to life. Written from a perspective of a wife and mother, her story is unique and centers on the settlers’ lives as they lived in the rough wilderness.


Across the Waters: Ontario Immigrants’ Experiences, 1820-1850

Across the Waters is a collection of immigrants’ handwritten accounts of life as a settler in Ontario. The personal stories of the early settlers will bring their experiences to life in our generation. From preparation to ocean crossings and building shelter, the stories give a clearer understanding of the immigrants’ experiences in the early years of settlement in Canada.


Narrative of a Voyage to Quebec and the Journey from Thence to New Lanark in Upper Canada – John McDonald

Follow the Scots as they immigrated into the New Lanark Settlement in Ontario. Later to be known as the Lanark Society Settlers, these settlers came into Upper Canada with land grants, transportation, and goods provided to them by the British government. Despite the things provided, the hardships were plenty. The account of the obstacles and discomfort of pioneering a new land come alive in this narrative.



Early Voices – Portraits of Canada by Women Writers, 1639-1914

Twenty-nine unique female perspectives take the reader into the world of women during each of their family’s settlements in Canada. Each story is told from a different perspective. The authors range from the wife of a governor general to a fisherman’s wife. Each story is an account of the woman’s life within their own settlements. From fun to hardships, these experiences bring understanding to the pioneers of the time and in particular the women that helped in many ways.


Making It Home: The Story of Catharine Parr Traill – Lynn Westerhout

This biography of Catharine Parr Traill, one of the first to write her account of the Ontario wilderness, brings life to the author in a new way. Catharine Parr Traill was a storyteller that brought the life of pioneers to young people. Her writings encouraged other pioneers and showed the hardship, adventure, and joy of the pioneers. This beautifully written biography tells the story of Catharine and her contribution to literature.


Books can bring new life and understanding to history. They are a beautiful way to impact our lives and be a part of history. Each book allows a different perspective to be explored, taking the reader into the world of the author. Finding books to gather a better understanding of history helps us to grow and understand who we are and what we can become because of what was already done.


See other history articles in the Winter 2020 magazine: 

History of Weapons

The Unwavering Faith of Harriet Tubman


This article has been written by homeschooling staff writers of The Canadian Schoolhouse (TCS). Enjoy more of our content from TCS contributors and staff writers by visiting our Front Door page that has content on our monthly theme and links to all our content sections.

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).