Collection 77-023 - Canadian Land and Emigration Company collection.

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Canadian Land and Emigration Company collection.

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  • Textual record

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  • Transcribed [between 1967 and 1977] (Creation)
    Canadian Land and Emigration Company

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Physical description

5 cm of textual records.

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Administrative history

In 1859, the Crown Lands Department in Canada advertised a block of land for sale in the District of Haliburton. The purpose for the sale of the land was to promote rapid settlement of the newly created townships in the District through private enterprise. The townships included in the sale were Dysart, Dudley, Harcourt, Gilford, Harburn, Bruton, Havelock, Eyre, Clyde, and Langford. In 1861, the land was purchased by a group of English gentlemen, headed by the Honourable Mr. Justice T.C. Haliburton, and the Canada Land and Emigration Company Limited was formed under the laws of Great Britain in 1862. The purpose of the Company was to sell land to settlers, and in return, the Company built roads, conducted surveys, and built saw and grist mills. From 1863 to 1870, a large number of emigrants came to settle in the region. In 1869, Messrs. Boyd, Smith & Company, lumbermen from Port Hope, obtained the timber rights on the Company's lands in the townships of Dudley, Gilford, and Havelock. The lumber business caused an economic boom in the region. By 1871, the Company had sold 16,650 acres to settlers and a number of town lots to various purchasers. In 1872, the Company built a road between the villages of Kenneway and Haliburton. Also, the Company contributed greatly to the cost of the connection of a telegraph line to Haliburton. In 1877, the Company contributed to the construction of the Victoria Railroad Company line from Kinmount to Haliburton with the hopes of increasing settlement in the Townships. This did not happen. By 1883, the Province of Ontario had begun to open up neighbouring townships with offers of free land grants. The Company was unable to cope with this competition. As a result, the Company decided to offer for sale its complete holdings and undertakings in Canada. The Company was purchased by W.H. Lockhart Gordon and James Irwin on April 11, 1883. It should be noted that Mr. Irwin had previously been involved in lumbering in the area, beginning in 1877, and had entered into partnership with Mr. Boyd, who was already involved in the timber industry at that time. On April 10, 1889, Letters of Patent were issued by the Province of Ontario incorporating the new Canadian Land and Immigration Company of Haliburton Limited. From 1890 to 1897 little activity took place. Sales of land and timber cutting right had practically ceased. In 1895, Mr. Irwin declared bankrupcty and the bank (most likely the Canadian Bank of Commerce) took possesion of his rights and interest in Haliburton, which included Irwin's shares in the new Company. During the 1920's the Company sold the entire township of Bruton to the Ontario Hydro-Electric Commission and proceeds from the sale allowed the Company to buy back from the bank the timber cutting rights previously licensed to Irwin. During the depression, lumbering activities ceased once again, but as more roads were constructed, the region began to develop as a tourist and vacation area, and land sales began to increase. At the outbreak of World War II, lumbering activities intensified, and carried on into the post-war years. By the end of 1946, all of the land originally purchased by the Company had been sold. The Canadian Land and Immigration wound up its affairs, surrendered its charter, and ceased to exist. (Taken from a history of the Canandian Land and Emigration Co. Limited located in 77-024/14/12, and Cummings, H.R. "Early Days in Haliburton." Ontario: Department of Lands and Forests, 1963.)

Custodial history

The copies of the items in the collection were acquired by the Honourable Leslie M. Frost from Mr. Harley Cummings, author of "Early Days in Haliburton." This collection was compiled by Harely Cummings in the process of researching his book "Early Days in Haliburton."

Scope and content

This collection consists of transcripts of minutes of the Board of Directors' of the Canadian Land and Emigration Company, 1868-1885, and annual reports of Bronson and Weston, lumber merchants, 1876-1884, with whom the Company did business. Also included are excerpts from the diaries of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Stewart, agent for the company in Haliburton, and their son Charles E. Stewart, 1865-66 and 1870.

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The collection was donated the Honourable Leslie M. Frost.


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The original minute books of the Canadian Land and Emigration Company are in the custody of the Archives of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

There is also a copy of the minute books of the Canadian Land and Emigration Company at Queen's University Archives.

For related records see: 77-024 (box 14 and 15).

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