Homesteading

THE LAST BEST WEST

by B.B French

Early in the twentieth century the Immigration Department of the Canadian Government launched an advertising campaign within Canada and some foreign countries for settlers.The campaign was especially focussed on the area that is now the Provinces of Manitoba, Saskat­chewan and Alberta. To add to the persuasiveness of the advertising, the euphemism "The Last Best West" was the caption adopted. Really, this was not a misnomer, because, as a whole, the area contained an apparent potential for almost all the necessities of life. To achieve this potential, the land homesteaded first had to be developed by the settlers in order that a greater variety of the necessities of life could be produced for the general betterment of all the settlers.

Portion of an advertisement which was used to promote settlement in "the Last Best West"

The area that is being considered for this article covers the approximate distance between St. Paul eastward towards the Saskatchewan border, and north from the Saskatchewan River. The first inhabitants of this area were Indians. The first trails, roads, fords, bridges and corduroys were constructed by them. Some of them are still in use today.