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    Manitoba needs 13,00 kissable girls

    The iron rails of the Canadian Pacific Railway had not reached as far as Manitoba before young men of Ontario flocked to the fertile prairie province in search of opportunity and adventure. They travelled through the United States by way of St. Paul then down the north flowing Red River, and later on a U.S. railway from St. Paul. By 1879, Winnipeg had a population of more than 6,000. The tide became a flood in the decades after the CPR completed its line to Vancouver in 1885.

    A surplus of bachelors in Manitoba and a surplus of spinsters in Ontario was quickly noted.

    “The emigration to Manitoba is worthy of notice,” the Canadian Illustrated  News noticed early in 1879. “From Brockville, from the environs of London and from the Ottawa Valley, several large parties have already started to Winnipeg. The crops are wonderful; the earth is easily broken, and the roads are generally good. What is wanted is population. Before the Immigration Committee in Ottawa, the other day, a Mr. Loucks very sensibly advocated sending out a couple of thousand of young women for the matrimonial market.”

    Ontario girls lamented their problem in a popular song, Poor Little Girls of Ontario, a couple of versus and the chorus of which complain:

    I’ll sing you a song of that lone pest/ It goes by the name of the Great Northwest/ I cannot have a beau at all/ They all skip out there in the fall.

    Chorus. One by one, they all clear out,/ Thinking to better themselves, no doubt,/ Caring little how far they go/ From the poor little girls of Ontario.

    First I got mashed on Charley Brown/ The nicest fellow in all the town/ But he tipped his hat and sailed away/ And now he’s settled in Manitobay.

    I’ll pack my clothes in a carpet sack/ I’ll go out there and I’ll never come back/ I’ll find me a husband, and a good one, too/ If I have to go through to Cariboo.

    The Manufacturer’s life insurance company noted Manitoba’s need for women in a light-hearted advertisement in the Toronto World, April 25, 1893. The 1890 census was said to show that in Manitoba there were “over 21,000 unmarried men of 20 years old and upwards” while “the number of eligible maidens was but 8,000 so that 13,000 nice kissable girls are wanted immediately.” Since so many “of these young fellow carry large amounts of life insurance in the Manufacturers’ we think all eligible girls should rush for the Prairie Province.”

    About Canada, my latest book, is crammed with more “Amazing stuff” about our great nation, says popular historian Christopher Moore. “I’m a fan,” he adds. For a free sampler copy, more information and accolades, or to order your copy, click here.

    TAGS Kissable Girls,Bachelors,Spinsters,Matrimonial Market,Manitoba,Ontario, Canadian Pacific Railway,Settlement of the Canadian prairies

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