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Educational Resource # 2


The resource is being field-tested and is subject to revision.

Critical Question One:

Is Canadian Diversity Because of, or Despite, Historical Government Policies?

This educational resource contains four critical challenges and one culminating critical challenge. The culminating critical challenge asks students to determine the degree to which Canada's ethnic diversity is the result of immigration policy during the period of 1830 to 1920, or whether it is the product of other forces. To come to their conclusions, students examine various pieces of evidence relevant to their assigned time period. The four critical challenges, which guide students' examination of these documents, are:

  1. Profile of an Immigrant in 1904: In a want ad, create a profile of the ideal immigrant sought by the Canadian government as reflected in the 1904 cartoon "Now Then, All Together!".
  2. Considering Public Opinion: Write an editorial offering an opinion about the degree to which government policy reflected public views on immigration during the assigned time period.
  3. Re-working the 1904 Cartoon "Now Then, All Together!": Recreate the 1904 cartoon to reflect the government's immigration objectives for an assigned time period (1830s, 1870s, 1890s, 1910s or 1920s, depending on the focus of the course/unit).
  4. Meeting Economic and Social Goals: Create a concept map that illustrates the connections between Canada's immigration policy and various economic and social objectives during the assigned time period.

Overall Expectations

  • examine whether, historically, Canada's immigration policy has matched the national vision held by governments and citizens
  • explore the economic and social factors which contributed to immigration policies
  • determine the most important historical factors behind Canada's current ethnic diversity
  • support a reasoned judgment using available evidence
  • effectively communicate ideas for a specific purpose and audience

Complete list of historical sources

Activity process

Step 1: Assemble evidence

As students work through the critical challenges, they should gather evidence on the ways in which government economic and social policy as well as public opinion contributed to or undermined Canadian diversity. Students can use the chart "Drawing Conclusions About Canadian Diversity: Because of, or Despite, Government Policies?" to record their evidence and to justify their overall conclusions.

Step 2: Introduce culminating task

Instruct students to use the evidence and conclusions they have gathered on Canadian immigration to prepare one of the following: a political cartoon, an editorial or a concept map. Each of these alternatives has been modeled on the critical challenges. Students should develop their representations from a modern perspective and consider how Canada arrived at its current state of diversity.

Step 3: Prepare draft

Students should prepare a draft of their representation for peer or teacher feedback. Direct students to review these key attributes:

  • The draft cartoon should be a quick sketch of the characters and features to be included, along with brief notes as to the relevance of each to the cartoon's message. A possible title and caption should also be included.
  • The draft editorial should clearly identify the writer's point of view, list three or four arguments with supporting evidence, and include first drafts of the title and the introductory and concluding paragraphs.
  • The draft concept map should clearly identify the student's standpoint and illustrate the key concepts to be included, as well as possible links between concepts. As an option, encourage students to integrate four to six historical images into their concept map.

Step 4: Develop final draft

Students should revise and polish their cartoon, concept map or editorial based on the feedback they receive. Refer students to the checklists accompanying the critical challenges to guide them in their revisions.

Critical Challenge 1

Profile of an Immigrant in 1904

Create a want ad for the Canadian government's ideal immigrant, as reflected in the 1904 cartoon "Now Then, All Together!".

Historical Sources


In this challenge, students identify the ideal attributes sought by the Canadian government at the beginning of the 20th century as reflected in the 1904 cartoon "Now Then, All Together!". Students examine the key conventions for political cartoons to help them deconstruct the cartoon's message. This activity can serve as an important foundation for students regardless of the particular time period they are studying.

Suggested Activities

Step 1: Provide students with an outline of techniques used in political cartoons. An excellent guide to decoding political cartoons is found at www.collectionscanada.ca/education/008-3050-e.html. This guide includes a clear description of the most important techniques used by political cartoonists. Use a current cartoon from a local newspaper that addresses an issue students are familiar with. Ask students to identify the techniques used and then ask them to rate the effectiveness of the cartoon in terms of the techniques previously discussed. Remind students to provide evidence for their ratings.

Step 2: Distribute copies of the 1904 cartoon "Now Then, All Together!". Provide brief background information on the purpose of the cartoon. Invite students to examine the details of the cartoon using the previously discussed techniques as their guide. What does this cartoon tell us about the image of an ideal Canadian family in 1904? In their groups, instruct students to record their thoughts on large paper using the headings: "Race," "Religion," "Class," "Occupation," "Other."

Step 3: Distribute three to four want ads from a current newspaper. Have students read each one and then decide which is the most effective. Invite students to identify features of the ads that make them more or less effective. Arrive at a class consensus of the three most important features of an effective want ad. Post these in the classroom.

Step 4: Instruct students to write a want ad in 30 words or less titled "Immigrants Wanted." The ad should represent their understanding of the message in "Now Then, All Together!." The ad should:

  • accurately capture in words the three most important attributes for immigrants to have, as conveyed by the cartoonist
  • use the conventions for writing want ads, paying attention to the purpose and audience of the ad
  • clearly and concisely explain the ideal immigrant sought by the Canadian government in 1904

Step 5: Have students exchange their want ads. Each student will assess their partner's want ad for clarity, conciseness, accuracy, purpose and audience. Students can then revise and polish their want ads based on the feedback they receive.

Observation, Inference and Conclusion Chart

5 W's Directly observable evidence
(What do you see in the cartoon?)
(What can you infer from what you see and from your background knowledge?)
Who is in the cartoon?    
What is happening in the cartoon?    
Where is the cartoon set?    
When is the cartoon taking place?    
Why did the cartoonist create the cartoon?    
Conclusion: What are the key attributes of immigrants sought by Canada in 1904 that you need to capture in your want ad?
Characteristics Evidence

Critical Challenge 2

Considering Public Opinion

Write an editorial arguing for the three most important attributes of prospective immigrants, according to public opinion.

Historical Sources


In this challenge, students examine primary documents to determine public views on immigration. Students will come to understand the features of an editorial as a form and will apply these features in writing their own editorials. Their editorials should be written as if during the assigned time period. The editorials should focus on the degree to which the public supports the government's immigration policy and the reasons for this support or lack of support.

Suggested Activities

Step 1: Discuss with students the role public opinion plays in setting immigration policy. Suggest reasons why governments should not consider public opinion (for example, unfounded economic concerns, xenophobia or racism, sexism, homophobia). Inform students that they will be examining Canadian attitudes towards immigration to determine public perceptions during a given time period about who should be encouraged to immigrate to Canada.

Step 2: Students will capture the prevalent attitude of the time period by writing an editorial as it may have appeared in a newspaper during that era. To assist students in understanding the attributes of an effective editorial, provide them with a recent news report and an editorial on the same issue. Invite students to read both the news report and the editorial and ask them to explain why the newspaper would choose to publish both considering they address the same event. In explaining this activity, highlight these key features of an editorial:

  • expresses a newspaper's position or point of view or a reaction to an event or important issue
  • attempts to convince the readers to think or act the same way as the writer
  • either a) promotes or opposes an idea or action, or; b) praises or condemns an individual or group

Distribute a sample editorial from the time period studied.

Ask students to identify the following:

  • the author's thesis statement or point of view
  • examples used by the writer to support his or her point of view
  • the opposing point of view

Ask students to rate the editorial's effectiveness in defending a point of view. A rating chart may guide students in assessing the editorial. Ask student to discuss their answers with a partner, providing reasons for their decisions. Call upon students to share their assessments.

Editorial Assessment Chart

Clearly written and understandable Highly Effective Moderately Effective Somewhat Ineffective Completely Ineffective
5 3 1 0
Presents a convincing argument Highly Effective Moderately Effective Somewhat Ineffective Completely Ineffective
5 3 1 0
Addresses counter-arguments Highly Effective Moderately Effective Somewhat Ineffective Completely Ineffective
5 3 1 0
Overall assessment of editorial Highly Effective Moderately Effective Somewhat Ineffective Completely Ineffective
5 3 1 0
Record your thoughts



Step 3: Provide each group of four students with four primary documents that address public opinion on immigration issues. These documents will include editorials and could also include news reports, political cartoons or other primary sources that provide insights into public opinion on immigration. Each student selects one document and, using the sheet "Looking for Clues," records evidence that illustrates the public's view regarding immigration and/or government policy. Allow 10 minutes for documents to be examined and notes made before asking students to exchange documents. Repeat this process until all the students in each group have read the four documents.

Step 4: Share the findings as a class. Compile important conclusions and supporting evidence on a master chart to display in the classroom.

Step 5: Ask students to write a draft editorial patterned on the following structure:

  • open with a strong, clear and concise statement of position
  • show opposing arguments and their weaknesses in the second paragraph
  • offer clear examples to support your point of view in the third paragraph
  • provide reasons why your point of view should be supported in the fourth paragraph
  • restate your position and end on a positive note in the final paragrap

The editorial should:

  • Establish a clear position and use evidence to consistently support that view
  • Accurately reflect the views of Canadians on immigration during the time period being studied
  • Contain the features of an editorial and be written in a voice that reflects the time period being studied
  • Communicate ideas clearly, concisely and with precision

Step 6: Invite students to exchange their draft editorials. Encourage students to use the "Editorial Assessment Chart" to assist in providing feedback. Students are to revise, edit and polish their work based on the feedback they receive.

Title of Source Conclusion (what I think) Clues (why I think this)

Critical Challenge 3

Re-working the 1904 Cartoon "Now Then, All Together!"

Recreate the cartoon "Now Then, All Together!" so that it accurately reflects the Canadian government's immigration objectives during the assigned time period.

Historical Sources


In this challenge, students re-work the 1904 cartoon "Now Then, All Together!" so that it accurately depicts the immigrants most eagerly sought by Canada and Canadians during the period being studied. To complete this task, students examine documentary evidence to determine who the government and the general public hoped to attract and who they hoped to discourage. Considering the evidence, students infer the social goals of Canada and Canadians during the assigned time period. Finally, students re-draw the cartoon "Now Then, All Together!," representing the conclusions they have drawn about Canada's desire to promote diversity or homogeneity.

Suggested Activities

Step 1: Inform students that, historically, the government and the public debated over who should be encouraged to make Canada their home. Historians can learn about government objectives through debates in Parliament and the legislation passed in the House of Commons. News reports, editorials, and political cartoons provide similar insights into the public debate on immigration.

Step 2: Create groups of three to five students. Provide each group with a variety of documents addressing the public debate on immigration for the period being studied. Each student is to be responsible for one of the documents. Ask students to read their assigned documents individually.

Step 3: Provide each group with a large sheet of paper and markers. Ask one group member to divide sheet of paper as follows:

Groups of 4 Groups of 4
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Provide students with the template below to guide them in this activity.

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Step 4: Using "Now Then, All Together!" as a basis for comparison, ask each group to decide whether, during the assigned time period, the government was promoting more, less or the same level of diversity as in 1904. Students may supply evidence to support their findings.

Step 5: Instruct students to individually sketch a revised version of "Now Then, All Together!" based on the evidence and conclusions drawn in steps three and four. The re-worked cartoon should:

  • accurately capture the ethno-cultural make-up sought by the Canadian government during the assigned time period
  • effectively apply the conventions associated with political cartoons, keeping in mind the purpose and audience of the cartoon
  • include an appropriate and effective title and/or caption

Step 6: Instruct students to exchange drafts with two other students. Using the "Rating Political Cartoons" evaluation sheet below, students assess the effectiveness of their peers' re-drawn cartoons. Considering peer feedback, students are to revise and polish their cartoons to create the final product.

Rating Political Cartoons

Rate your peer's cartoon using the criteria listed below. At the bottom, total the score for the cartoon.
Cartoon title: ________________________
Cartoonist: ________________________
Criteria Weak Strong
Title is catchy and informative
-2 -1 0 +1 +2
-2 -1 0 +1 +2
-2 -1 0 +1 +2
-2 -1 0 +1 +2
-2 -1 0 +1 +2
Applies the techniques of political cartooning
Accurately reflects the immigrants sought by the Canadian government
Uses irony, satire or humour
Other criteria
Total score: ___________________

Critical Challenge 4

Meeting Economic and Social Goals

Students investigate to what degree the government's economic and social objectives affected immigration policy.

Historical Sources


In this challenge, students examine primary documents to identify the Canadian government's economic and social objectives during the assigned time period and determine how immigration policy helped to meet those objectives. Students assess the degree to which the economic and social goals of the government impacted immigration policy. They then create a concept map illustrating the relationship between the government's economic and social goals and its immigration policy.

Suggested Activities

Step 1: Inform students that governments use immigration to achieve a number of objectives and that these objectives are not always complementary. Immigration may be a means of:

  • recruiting required workers or skilled trades-people
  • creating a larger economic market by increasing the population
  • diversifying the population or, alternately, reinforcing the dominant culture.

When a government is intent on maintaining their country's dominant culture, they may choose to block immigration from certain countries even though those countries have an over-abundance of required workers. In this case, the government's immigration objectives are contradictory. One of the challenges in this activity is for students to determine the degree to which the goals of Canadian immigration policy were complementary or contradictory.

Step 2: Use the "Pairs Read Chart" to assist students in reading primary documents. As one partner reads, the other makes notes. Partners are to alternate in their roles and take turns actively listening.

Pairs Read Chart

  Economic Objectives Social Objectives Immigration Policy
(Rating done as partners)
Reflects economic objectives Reflects social objectives
Paragraph 1:


Paragraph 2:


Paragraph 3:


Paragraph 4:

Paragraph 5:


Paragraph 6:



Step 3: Have pairs share their findings with the class. Build a master chart to post in the classroom.

Step 4: Have the class identify the key ideas, events, issues or laws collected on the chart. Help students to start completing their concept maps by completing the first two or three connections with them. For example:

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If students are not familiar with concept maps, explain the key features of a concept map or send them to www.yrdsb.edu.on.ca/page.cfm?id=III000133 for an explanation and examples of concept maps.

Step 5: Students are to use the information gathered by the class to create a draft concept map. Once completed, the concept map should answer the question: "Did immigration policy reflect a greater economic or social influence, a balance between them, or other influences?" The concept map should:

  • include the most important events, ideas and laws
  • make clear and accurate links between events, ideas and laws
  • explain the relationship between economic and social objectives and Canada's immigration policy

Step 6: If students have completed the activity "Considering Public Opinion," teachers may want to encourage students to compare government policy with public opinion. This can be done by inviting students to place the most important information from the activity "Considering Public Opinion" and from the "Pairs Read Chart" in the appropriate sections of the diagram "Similarities and Differences in Views on Immigration".

Similarities and Differences in Views on Immigration

Government Policy Public Opinion
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Culminating Critical Challenge

In the culminating task, students prepare an editorial, a political cartoon or a concept map depicting the relationship between official government policy and Canada's developing diversity. Each of the options for the culminating task has been modeled on one or more of the critical challenges. Students can use the scaffolding done in the preliminary assignments to guide them in their culminating task. Alternately, if the class is not assigned the preliminary challenges, teachers can use the materials provided for those exercises as step-by-step supports to guide students in their culminating tasks.

Similarities and Differences in Views on Immigration

Because of, or Despite, Government Policies?

Perspective on Immigration Evidence to Support Diversity Evidence to Support Conformity
Public opinion    
Government's economic objectives    
Government's social objectives    
Ideal immigrant sought    
Canadian diversity is:
Largely because of
government policy
or Largely despite of
government policy
Reason for decision:

Introduction | Copyright/Sources | Comments

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