Collections and Fonds – 180433

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  • Record Information – Brief
    Colonization and Agriculture Department and Canadian National Land Settlement Association [textual record, graphic material, cartographic material, graphic material: art]
    Hierarchical level:
    RG30M 890678, RG30-V-A-9-f, R231-929-5-E.
    Type of material:
    Art, Maps & cartographic material, Photographs, Textual material
    Found in:
    Archives / Collections and Fonds
    Item number:
    Link to this page:
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    Context of this record:
  • Series includes:
    23 lower level description(s)
    View lower level description(s)
    Bilingual equivalent:
    Click here
    Place of creation:
    62.1 m of textual records.
    ca. 2163 maps.
    633 photographs : 560 b&w prints and 73 b&w nitrate negatives.
    32 posters
    Language of material:
    Scope and content:
    Series consists of records created and maintained by the Canadian National Railways Office of the Director of Colonization and Agriculture for the period 1919-1963. These records, sometimes known as the Devlin papers after T.P. Devlin who was in charge of the Department for much of its existence, cover every aspect, both administrative and operational of the Department. Note that records of the department were considered similar to the Canadian National Land Settlement Association.

    The records document Canadian National's efforts to obtain settlers, their placement on the land and their progress in both report and pictorial form. They include reports, policy and correspondence files, files concerning individuals and organizations (usually identified by ethnic origins), community progress reports, settlement proposals, shipping files, relations with various governments and copies of publications. There is also much internal administrative and financial material.

    Departmental material was classified in various file blocks, including some of the following highlights

    1000 = Administration
    1005 = Accounts
    1035 = Personal Files
    1105 = Canadian National Land Settlement Association
    1110 - 1120 = Edmonton, Prince George, Saskatoon Offices
    1410 = London Office
    1415 - Toronto office
    2025 = Immigrant Arrival Statistics
    4010 = Advertising and Publicity
    5011 = Individual Boat Arrival Files
    5100 - 5200 = Immigration and Colonization (By Nationality)
    5500 = Immigration and Colonization - Organizations and Schemes
    6000 = Land Settlement Reports
    9000 = Steamship Companies
    9005 = Airlines

    For further details, please see lower level sub-series descriptions, including:

    MIKAN 180435 Saskatoon Office of the Department of Colonization and Agriculture

    MIKAN 5085592 Canadian National Land Settlement Association Reports and Photographs

    MIKAN 5123574 Canadian National Land Settlement Association Annual Reports

    MIKAN 5125365 Land Settlement Records for Immigrants

    MIKAN 5128535 Canadian National Land Settlement Association operational and administrative records

    There are also various reference publications and printed materials, located in vols. 5641-5642, 5941-5968 and 6009-6027. These include copies of T. Eaton publications, 5000 Facts About Canada, and Canadian Pacific Railway publications (1928); Radio Talk by CN (1931-1932); Manitoba Free Press Annual Agricultural Financial Review (1929); British Columbia Farm Lands (1928-1930); The Scottish Farmer (Jan 1939 to Dec. 1949), The Northern Argonaut (1938), The Nor'west Farmer (1923-1926; 1932-1936).

    There are also several containers of clippings on agricultural topics. There is an index to the clippings, with main topics such as 1. Alberta's Agricultural Policy; 2. Federal Agricultural Policy; 3. Manitoba's Agricultural Policy.

    There are also several containers of posters. The posters are currently housed in vols. 5879-5890. Please see lower level file level descriptions for more details.

    There is a large quantity of photographic material, which consists of many photographic reports and albums of immigrants. Some albums showing European families settled on land in the Provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba by the Land Settlement Association of the Canadian National Railways, 1927-1930; 73 identified individuals and family portraits taken on their farm and corresponding nitrate negatives of European immigrants (Polish, Hungarian, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Roumanian, Swiss, Austrian, Slovaks, Dutch and Danish settlers) in Saskatchewan, 1926-1935; harvesting and farming activities in Sakatchewan, 1954-1958 - cities and villages include: Sturgis, Morse, Regina, La Ronge, Kipling, Broderick, Rowatt, Indian Head, Leinan, Abernethy, Esterhazy, North Battleford, Maple Creek, Balcarres, Moose Jaw, Macrorie, Kronau, Gull Lake, Davidson, La Loche, Grenfell, Estevan, Rush Lake, Abbey, Humbolt, Moosomin, Craik, Eastend, Cochin, Fort Qu'Appelle, Cumberland, Uranium City, Melville and Lipton - and one album of Dutch immigrants settled in Southern Ontario, 1958.

    There is also cartographic material, dating from ca. 1910-1960, which consists of ca. 2000 maps collected by the Natural Resources Development Dept. of the CNR in Winnipeg. Only a few of the maps were annotated by the office in which they originated and these office stamps and notations are not significant. There are indications that this collection was organized according to a classification system. So maps appear to be classified according to geographical region (whether it be parts of Canada or the world); by type of industry (such as lumbering); or by type of natural resource (geological). There are also tourist maps created by Canadian National Railways within the collection. Since the finding aids no longer exist, it is currently not feasible to reconstitute this organization.(RG30M 890678).

    The maps can be found in the following containers: RG30M 890678 2000866100 to RG30M 890678 2000866114.
    Additional name(s):
    Biography/Administrative history:
    Canadian National Railways was anxious to promote immigration and land settlement in Canada, particularly of agriculturalists in the prairie provinces. This would both increase traffic in these regions and assist the railway to dispose of some of its land grants. A Colonization and Agriculture Department was created in 1919 to attract farm settlers to Canada and to assist them both materially and by advice to become established after their arrival. This work continued (with a name change in the 1930s to include Natural Resources) through the pre-Second World War, wartime and post-war years until the department was closed down in 1963.

    The activities of the department are summarized as follows:
    1. Immigration (in co-operation with various steamship lines)
    2. Colonization;
    3. Agricultural Development.

    The department was split over four regions, with a headquarters office in Montreal and district offices in Toronto, Quebec, and Halifax responsible for Eastern Canada; a regional headquarters office in Winnipeg responsible for Western Canada with district offices in Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Prince George; a United States office in St. Paul Minnesota; and European Office in London, England, with various smaller offices in Europe (including Liverpool, Glasgow, Oslo, Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Gothenburg, Warsaw, and Zagreb).

    A land settlement division within the department was the Canadian National Land Settlement Association. In 1925 the Canadian Department of Citizenship and Immigration enacted regulations, which remained in effect until 1951, and which stated that, where possible, immigrant land settlers from Continental Europe should deposit money in trust with a Government-approved land settlement agency. This was to insure, as much as possible, that the immigrants would settle on farm land upon arrival in Canada. Therefore, under Dominion Letters Patent of March 9, 1925 the Canadian National Land Settlement Association was incorporated to perform this function on behalf of Canadian National Railways. Thousands of immigrants were assisted (one report in 1934 noted that 177000 people were brought to Canada between 1925-1934, including 8000 families). Land was located and money was released to the immigrant for its purchase and the purchase of equipment and livestock. The association also encouraged the movement of residents of Canada to move within Canada.

    There are a couple of names associated with the department and the association. Thomas Parker (T.P.) Devlin (born in Ayleshire, Scotland) joined CN in 1926 as an Assistant Agricultural Agent, and shortly after was promoted to District Superintendent of Colonization and Agriculture for Saskatchewan, a position based in Saskatoon. In 1929, he became Western Region Superintendent, based at the Winnipeg office. In 1942, he came Assistant Director of the Winnipeg Office.

    The other name of note is Joseph Samuel (J.S.) McGowan (born Lurgan, Northern Ireland), who joined CN in 1924. After some time travelling in England and some time working as head of the Western Region Office in Winnipeg, he was posted to Montreal as Assistant Director. In 1938, he became Director of the department, a position he held into the 1950s. McGowan was also a president of the Canadian Railway Club and a Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada.

    Most of the records relating to the department and the CNLSA are for activities in Western Canada. Because both the Colonization and Agriculture Department and the Canadian National Land Settlement Association were closely associated in the work of bringing immigrants to Canada, the association being virtually part of the Department, the records are often intermingled. RG30 General Inventory.
    Finding aid:
    (Electronic) Finding aid 30-29 is a computer generated boxlist relating to volumes 2384- 2385, 2387, and 2398. 30-29 (90:Open)

    (Paper) Finding aid 30-38 is a typed shelf list relating to volumes 3135-3137. 30-38 (90:Open)

    (Electronic) Finding aid 30-39 is a computer generated boxlist relating to volumes 5568-5878, 5891-5915, 5921, and 5924-6043. 30-39 (90:Open)

    (Electronic) Finding aid 30-50 is a computer generated boxlist relating to volumes 8293-8443. 30-50 (90:Open)

    (Electronic) Finding aid 30-70 is a file list relating to volumes 11445-11447. 30-70 (90:Open)

    Cartographic material (No finding aid)
    Additional information:
    General Note:
    Finding aids, as well as copy of the full file block classification system for the department, are currently being scanned and will be available in digital format in the near future.
    Source of title:
    Title is based on the contents of the series.
    Custodial history:
    RG30M 890678 was transferred from the CN Servicentre, Montreal in Sept. 1982, by the Corporate Archivist.
    No further accruals are expected.
    Related material:
    Further photographic material can be found in MIKAN 4958005, a sub-series of the Canadian National Railways photograph series. Several thousand photographic individual photographic prints as well as reports with photos pasted into them can be found here. All relate to immigration in Western Canada between the 1920s and 1950s.
    Related control no.:
    1. 117-040677-6
    2. 1983-84/013 GAD
    3. 1997-00247-7
    4. 1997-98/513 GAD
    5. 890678 CA
    6. RG30
    7. RG30M 890678
    8. S36IBM8900000678
  • Conditions of access:
    RG30M 890678
    Finding aid box
    FA 30-38
    Terms of use:
    Copyright belongs to the Crown.

    Cartographic material: Copyright belongs to the Crown. Credit Library and Archives Canada.

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