Farm Training Schemes

 

After the First World War, the British Colonial Office established the Overseas Settlement Committee. Successful candidates were offered loans, or free or subsidized passage. The aim was to help deal with post-war hardships in England with the resettlement of ex‑servicemen, female domestics, farmers and juveniles. For the colonies, it addressed the need for workers.

The Committee also assisted established organizations, such as Fegan Homes and the Salvation Army.

In 1922, the passage of the Empire Settlement Act allowed for assistance with additional costs, such as clothing, meals, transportation upon arrival and accommodation.

Many provinces established agricultural training farms. The minimum age accepted varied from 14 to 17; some also accepted those over age 19. When the boys finished their training, the provincial governments were responsible for finding them employment as farm apprentices. There were also incentives for the boys to eventually be able to apply for a homestead in the prairie provinces.

These boys were not Home Children; most were recruited by immigration agents.

In New Brunswick, the provincial government signed an agreement to use the Cossar Farm as the provincial training farm. See the Cossar Boys' Training Farms page.

Programs were also run by other organizations, such as the Canadian Pacific Railway, and some groups outside the United Kingdom.

With the onset of the Great Depression in 1929-1930, most of the programs closed.

Research at Library and Archives Canada

Immigration Branch: Central Registry Files (RG76 B1a)

This series contains correspondence between the Immigration Branch and many of the sending organizations. The files contain a variety of documents relating to the activities of the organizations, often including annual reports, lists of children’s names and medical certificates. The documents within each file are arranged by date. Microfilm reels can be viewed on site.

Most of the microfilm reels in this series are digitized on the free website Héritage. Enter the reel number in the search box, e.g. C-4715. If the reel is digitized, click on the reel title to see the images. The page contents are not searchable, but you can skip ahead through the images to find the volume and file of interest, then browse through the pages in that file.

Provincial Farm Training Schemes

Provincial Boys Schemes (Empire Settlement Act), New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, 1929-1933
RG76, volume 356, file 397430, microfilm C-10260

Nova Scotia

British Public School Boys; Provincial Boys Training Farm; Nova Scotia Training Farm Agreement
RG76, volume 271, file 229574, parts 1 to 4, 1925-1932, microfilm C-7819

The Nova Scotia government rented the Dakeyne farm starting in 1926. See also the page for the Dakeyne Boys' Farm.

Ontario

Public School Boys; Ontario Department of Agriculture; Vimy Ridge Training Farm, near Guelph
RG76, volume 271, file 229575, part 1, 1926-1927, microfilm C-7819
RG76, volumes 271 and 272, file 229575, parts 1 to 3, 1927-1931, microfilm C-7820

Manitoba

Public School Boys; Manitoba Department of Agriculture; Manitoba Boys Scheme; Manitoba Agricultural College
RG76, volume 295, file 270653, parts 1 and 2, 1926-1930, microfilm C-7844
RG76, volume 295, file 270653, parts 2 and 3, 1930-1938, microfilm C-7845

Saskatchewan

Public School Boys; Saskatchewan Boys Training Farm
RG76, volume 296, file 271918, 1922-1933, microfilm C-7845

Alberta

British Public School Boys; Alberta Training Scheme for Boys; Provincial Agricultural School; Agricultural College, Vermilion
RG76, volume 231, file 130761, parts 1 and 2, 1924-1925, microfilm C-7380
RG76, volume 231, file 130761, parts 2 and 3, 1925-1930, microfilm C-7381

British Columbia

British Columbia Boys Training Farm Agreement
RG76, volume 296, file 272173, 1929-1930, microfilm C-7845
RG76, volume 296, file 272173, 1930-1932, microfilm C-7846

Other Schemes

British boys for Macdonald College, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue; Canadian Pacific Railway.
RG76, volume 273, file 230907, 1926, microfilm C7820
RG76, volume 273, file 230907, 1926-1947, microfilm C7821

Council for Social Service of the Church of England in Canada (Church of England Council of Empire Settlement); older boys from England and Scotland placed on farms in Alberta and Saskatchewan, 1926-1933
RG76, volume 284, file 250104, parts 1 to 4, microfilm C-7833

National Association of Boys' Clubs; Dakeyne Farm, Falmouth, Nova Scotia; New Brunswick; Prince Edward Island; 1928-1933
RG 76, volume 344, file 366043, microfilm C-10252

United Church of Canada; Board of Home Missions; Cedarvale Farm; Boys’ Training Farm, Norval, near Georgetown Ontario, 1927-1938, 1951
RG76, volumes 329 and 330, file 325172, microfilm C-10241
That file also contains some copies of the Vanguard magazine, published by the Board of Home Missions. The Vanguard includes copies of letters written by some of the boys.

Non-British Organizations

Armenian Relief Fund (Armenian Relief Association of Canada), Cedarvale Farm, Georgetown, Ontario, 1922-1934
RG76, volume 215, file 89616, microfilm C-7366

Federated Jewish Farmers of Ontario; Morris Saxe; Canadian Jewish Farm School, Georgetown, Ontario, 1925-1948
RG76, volume 260, file 209160, microfilm C-7808

Juvenile Inspection Reports (RG76 C4c)

Immigration officials created inspection reports as they carried out regular inspections of children brought to Canada by various organizations. These records date from 1920 to 1932; however, there are a few from 1911 to 1917 and after 1932. There is usually one page per child, showing name, age or date of birth, year of arrival, ship, sending organization, the names and addresses of employers and final comments, e.g. "completed, gone west".

This series includes references to children sent out by the following organizations:

  • United Church of Canada
  • National Association of Boys' Clubs
  • Armenian Relief Association of Canada (1923-1927)
  • Canadian Jewish War Orphans Committee (1920-1921).

The inspection reports are available on the following microfilm reels, which can be viewed on site. They are also digitized on Héritage, as explained in the section above. Note that the original records have not survived and the quality of the microfilm is poor. The records are arranged in alphabetical order, not by organization.

Microfilm Reel Number First Name on Reel Last Name on Reel
​T-15420 ​A ​CARDNO, Leslie
​T-15421 ​CARDWELL, Andrew ​EVANS, Arthur E.
​T-15422 ​EVANS, Arthur L. ​HENDERSON, Ann F.
​T-15423 ​HENDERSON, Charles H. ​LOCK, Annie
​T-15424 ​LOCK, Herbert ​O'BRIEN, Samuel
​T-15425 ​O'BRIEN, Thomas ​SHAW, Victor
​T-15426 ​SHAW, Walter A. ​WEALE, Walter
​T-15427 ​WEALLS, Eric ​ZYCZYNSKI, Leon

Research in Other Institutions

The McGill University Archives holds the records such as student registers for Macdonald College.

For provincial farm training schemes, there might be records available in the provincial archives.

Research Online

Published Sources

  • The golden bridge: young immigrants to Canada, 1833-1939 by Marjorie Kohli .(AMICUS 28334219)

  • The Georgetown boys by Jack Apramian. (AMICUS 34434315)
    This book is about the Armenian Orphans who were brought to Canada from 1923 to 1932.

Other Resources

See our Home Children 1869-1932 page for links to other research sources, websites and institutions in Canada and the United Kingdom.

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