Saint John as an Immigrant City, 1851-1951, G Marquis

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Content: Atlantic Metropolis Centre ~ Working paper Series Centre Mйtropolis Atlantique ~ Sйrie de documents de recherche Saint John as an Immigrant City: 1851-1951 Greg Marquis Department of History and Politics, University of New Brunswick Saint John 2009 Working Paper No.30 2010 Sйrie de documents de recherche 30-2010 The Atlantic Metropolis Centre's Working Papers Series Sйrie de documents de recherche du Centre Mйtropolis Atlantique
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We are pleased to acknowledge the AMC's partner organizations: Federal Government Partners: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Canada Border Services Agency, Canada Economic Development for the Regions of Quebec, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Canadian Heritage, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, FedNor, Human Resources and social development Canada, Department of Justice Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Safety Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, The Rural Secretariat, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Statistics Canada Three Lead Universities: Saint Mary's University, Dalhousie University, and Universitй de Moncton. Community Partners: Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services (ISIS), Multicultural Association of Nova Scotia (MANS), New Brunswick Multicultural Council, PEI Association for Newcomers, Multicultural Association for the Greater Moncton Area, Association for New Canadians (ANC) of Newfoundland, Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), YMCA Newcomer Service.
Le CMA tient а remercier chaleureusement les partenaires suivants pour leur soutien: Partenaires fйdйraux: Agence de promotion йconomique du Canada atlantique, Agence des services frontaliers du Canada, Dйveloppement йconomique du Canada pour les rйgions du Quйbec, Sociйtй canadienne d'hypothиques et de logement, Patrimoine Canada, Citoyennetй et Immigration Canada, FedNor, Ressources humaines et Dйveloppement social Canada, Ministиre de la Justice Canada, Agence de la santй publique du Canada, Sйcuritй Publique Canada, Gendarmerie royale du Canada, Le Secrйtariat rural, Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines, Statistique Canada Les trois universitйs а la direction: Saint Mary's University, Dalhousie University et l'Universitй de Moncton. Nos partenaires communautaires: L'Association multiculturelle de Nouvelle-Йcosse, Le Conseil multiculturel du Nouveau-Brunswick, L'Association multiculturelle du Grand Moncton, Association mйtropolitaine pour l'йtablissement des immigrants, PEI Association for Newcomers, L'association des nouveaux canadiens de TerreNeuve, Conseil canadien pour les rйfugiйs, YMCA Newcomer service, Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services (ISIS),
Saint John as an Immigrant City: 1851-1951 Image 1: Immigrants Arriving at Saint John, 1905 Credit: Library and Archives Canada / C-075992 Prepared by Greg Marquis Department of History and Politics, University of New Brunswick Saint John December 2009 Prepared for: The Immigrant Experience in Saint John Project, funded by the Atlantic Metropolis Centre. 2
Keywords/Mots-clefs: Population, Employment, Labour, Port, Immigrant In the second half of the 20th century, census data revealed that the city of Saint John and the surrounding area comprise one of the least diverse, ethnically and racially, Census metropolitan areas (CMAs) in Canada. Together with Thunder Bay, the Saint John CMA has one of the lowest percentages of immigrants in Canada. The city that is the hub of the CMA, like the province of New Brunswick, has been bypassed by major immigration for more than a century and also, for many decades, plagued by outmigration to the United States and, more recently, to central and western Canada. While the population of the greater Saint John area has remained stable since the mid 1990s, that of the central city, like many older industrial centres, has been in decline. In 1971, the citys population peaked at just under 90,000 at a time when Statistics Canada was still using traditional categories for ethnicity. ,,Canadian was not on the official list, and that year, almost 95% of New Brunswickers claimed either ,,British or French ethnicity. The figure for the Saint John CMA was similar. In 29 census tracts for the city, immigrants represented less than 5% of the population in 20; the highest percentage was in tract 11, where nearly one in ten had been born outside Canada. Nearly four decades later, the city of Saint Johns population has declined to under 70,000.1 If, as Richard Florida has argued, more diverse cities are also more competitive, then Saint John is in trouble.2 The 2001 census indicated that immigrants comprised roughly 4% of the CMAs population and that 93% of the population claimed English as their mother tongue, with 4.6% citing French as a mother tongue. Most foreign born reflected Canadas older immigration patterns, which had changed only slightly following World War II. In order of importance, immigrants hailed from the United Kingdom (excluding Ireland), the United States, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Between 1991 and 2001, the percentage of immigrants in the population grew slightly. Because of these patterns, the Saint John CMA contained a low percentage of visible minorities. For example, before the 1970s, few East Indians lived in the Saint John area.3 In 2006, the newly elected Liberal government committed to a population growth strategy to increase New Brunswicks population by 6,000 by 2009 and 100,000 by 2026. In terms of immigration, the plan envisioned a ratio by 2015 of 60% skilled workers and 40% entrepreneurs.4 The government depicted the provinces stagnating or slowly declining population as nothing less than a crisis of historic proportions. Therefore, a population growth secretariat was established to help fulfill this mandate to assist the government in its goal of making New Brunswick ,,self sufficient. Much of the rhetoric 3
behind the population goals of self sufficiency focused on workforce expansion, which explains why the strategy was supported by the corporate sector and business organizations such as boards of trade and local Regional Development agencies. For example, "the skilled worker stream," was to be "employer driven." The province promised to "continue to aggressively attract entrepreneurial immigrants." Population growth was to be pursued through four paths: encouraging families to have more children; enticing expatriates back to live and work in the province; discouraging New Brunswickers, particularly the young, educated and skilled, from leaving for greener pastures in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver; and encouraging immigrants to locate in the province.5 Immigration as a panacea for economic development, an idea that resonated greatly through rural New Brunswick in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was a fairly radical proposal by 2006, given the inability of the city of Saint John to retain its own population and the level of outmigration from the metropolitan area. During the 1980s, despite massive spending on the Canadian governments patrol frigate program, which employed thousands of skilled workers at the Saint John shipyard and dry dock, the city experienced high levels of unemployment.6 Nonetheless, by the 1990s, business and political leaders and the media were discussing a looming labour shortage as Baby Boom workers began to retire. As a result, the True Growth Strategy, an economic development blueprint for the municipalities of Quispamsis, Rothesay, Saint John and Grand Bay-Westfield, identified increased immigration as a necessary objective for the CMA. Immigrant attraction and retention in the Saint John CMA faces many challenges, even with the areas recent low employment rates. In 2007, the Conference Board of Canada released a study on the attractiveness of 27 of the nations CMAs. Saint John, ranked as a D, finished at 26, ahead only of Thunder Bay. Halifax, by contrast, was rated number seven.7 Although the situation improved between 2001 and 2006, Saint John has one of the highest poverty rates in the country and neighbourhoods with extreme concentrations of poverty. Much of the housing stock in certain neighbourhoods is run down, and the general ,,feel of the city is that of an industrial community. The major infrastructure projects that have received so much attention in the Saint John media in recent years employ engineering firms and blue collar workers and support local suppliers but do not necessarily increase the permanent population. In fact, the $1 billion refit and expansion of the Irving oil refinery coincided with a decline in the population of the CMA.8 This study examines the immigration history of Saint John from 1851-1951. An understanding of the citys immigrant past hopefully will make it more open to immigrants by making the population 4
more receptive to immigration in the future. Beginning with a discussion of Saint Johns ,,winter port as a seasonal entry point for immigrants, the study surveys immigration and ethnic patterns. Next, it examines the impact of immigration on the city during the century ending in 1951.The fourth section discusses how immigration furthered divisions within Saint John society. The paper ends with a number of general conclusions about the immigrant experience in Saint John in the 100 years following 1851. I. The Immigration Gateway In recent years, Halifax, with its refurbished Pier 21 complex, has been positioning itself as the historic Maritime gateway for Canadian immigration in the 20th century. This role has been buttressed by the federal governments recent announcement that Pier 21 will also be the site of a national immigration museum. Less well known is Saint Johns role as an immigration gateway for both Canada and the United States, made possible by the citys role as a ,,winter port starting in the 1890s. Saint Johns port, promoted tirelessly by boosters such as the Board of Trade and the press, together with manufacturing industries, was viewed as the basis for the future of economic development as the timber trade, local sawmills and wooden shipbuilding declined or faded from the scene.9 However, the port played only a minor role in Canadas immigration effort in the immediate post-Confederation years (the Intercolonial Railway, linking Saint John to Quebec via Moncton and the Miramichi was not completed until 1876). From 1867-1871, Dominion officials recorded fewer than 2,000 immigrants arriving from Britain or New York via steamer, equivalent to roughly 2% of all immigrants to Canada in those years.10 5
Image 2: Saint John Helps Build the Nation, Daily Sun, April 3, 1909 Designed to divert traffic from ports such as Portland, Maine, when the St. Lawrence River was blocked by ice, the winter ports primary purpose was landing cargo and shipping out bulk products, such as western Canadian grain and New Brunswick lumber. Connected to central Canada in the 1870s via the Intercolonial Railway (ICR), which later became part of Canadian National Railways (CNR), and, by 1890, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), the port of Saint John soon specialized in winter traffic. Railway facilities, warehouses and grain elevators, all served by a large seasonal workforce, were added over the years. Wooden sailing ships still accounted for regional and coastal trade, but increasingly, the port was dominated by tramp steamers, as well as the vessels of steamship lines carrying general and bulk cargo. Regularly scheduled liners brought not only cargo and mail but also passengers and immigrants. The CPR, which helped shape Saint Johns development as a port, eventually bought the Beaver and Allan line of steamships, many stopping at Halifax before entering the Bay of Fundy and discharging passengers, mail and freight at Saint John. This activity made Saint John highly cognizant of its role in helping to build Canada during the economic boom of the Laurier area. Canadas peak immigration year between 1897 and 1923 was 1913, when 402, 432 immigrants (37% from Great Britain, 34.5% from the United States and 29.5% from other source countries, mainly in Europe) arrived (not all by steamship).11 6
Saint Johns West Side immigration terminal was a busy site between November and April. In the early 1900s, CPR steamers made regular runs between Saint John and Liverpool and Bristol. The Donaldson Line ran to Glasgow, and others had connections with Belfast, Manchester and South Africa. Outbound cargo included wheat and cattle from the western provinces, with outbound sailings for the 1908-09 winter port season totaling 111. In March, 1909, towards the end of the season, the mail steamer RMS Empress of Britain brought a large number of passengers to Saint John, requiring the CPR to arrange four special trains to Montreal. The immigrants on board were "mostly Scandinavians and Britishers, bound for the West."12 Earlier that month the famous liner Empress of Ireland, travelling from Liverpool via Halifax, had arrived carrying 98 saloon, 359 second class and 761 third class passengers.13 Accommodations on ocean liners were based on social class and ticket prices. From time to time, lists of departing saloon (first class) passengers, who included the socially prominent, were published for local consumption, but most immigrants travelled in steerage as third-class passengers. The arrival of the liners made the terminal and station temporary "little Europes." Immigrant trains heading to the West were assembled at Saint Johns Union Station, located on the eastern side of the harbour near the central business district. Press descriptions of the immigrant trains stressed the optimism of the newcomers and their exotic dress, food and manners, reflecting the diversity of the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires.14 Immigrants who disembarked at the immigration facility at Sand Point on the western side of the harbour travelled on to the United States or central and western Canada. U.S. officials carried out medical screening of prospective immigrants at the port. On a typical steamer, 10% of the immigrants were heading on to the United States. In one nine-week period in the 1901-02 season, American officials cleared 4,000 immigrants. Some were rejected, or halted temporarily, for having insufficient funds or for health reasons. On occasion, however, local citizens intervened and saved stranded newcomers from immigration officials, who would have had them deported.15 In 1905, a CPR liner delivered 600 immigrants, most European Jews heading west to a Baron Hirsch Institute colony; 62 immigrants were heading to the United States. When one or more liners were in port, the city was transformed. For example, in 1908, the Canadian Bible Society distributed more than 16,000 bibles in 34 languages to newcomers.16 In addition to religious organizations, groups such as the Kings Daughters, the Travellers Aid, the YWCA and the local Jewish Aid Society helped immigrants. Sometimes the travellers were assisted emigrants, such as groups of ,,Home Children sent out to the colonies by British organizations such as the Middlemore Homes, the Salvation Army, and the Barnardo 7
Homes (see Image 3) or the 181 London emigrants who arrived en route for Ontario in 1909 under the sponsorship of Lord Rothschild.17 Over the decades, up to 100,000 Home Children, who included orphans and members of poor families, were sent to Canada, mainly to rural areas. Many were not adopted but put to work as domestic servants and farm hands. The Salvation Army promised to bring settlers to New Brunswick in the early 1900s, but once assisted British emigrants reached Saint John, most were more interested in heading west.18 The federal government controlled immigration, whose purpose was to build up industrial Canada (urban Quebec and Ontario), the western agricultural belt in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and the resource and construction frontier in British Columbia and other western provinces, as well as in central Canada. Immigration promotion by the New Brunswick government in the late 1800s and early 1900s consisted mainly of publications and advertisements and, also, speakers trying to entice agricultural settlers, not immigrants to urban centres such as Saint John.19 In the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, the province maintained an agent general in London to promote trade at a time when New Brunswick had several steamship lines connecting to the British Isles. The provinces agent visited Britain in 1900 and 1901 to give newspaper interviews, attend meetings and speak in public. In a speech in Bristol, he declared that New Brunswick desired "the best quality of the British farmer."20 In the face of steady outmigration and sporadic immigration, the population of the Saint John area was replenished by rural and small-town dwellers. Most came from southern New Brunswick, but by the 1920s, the internal migrants included French-speaking Acadians, attracted to the citys blue-collar jobs. 21 The winter port was celebrated and understood not only as a provider of employment and revenue but also as part of Canadian nation building. As Knowles has noted for Canada in general, the public may have questioned the cultural suitability of many newcomers, but it supported large-scale immigration during boom periods.22 Saint Johns people and press took a keen interest in the newcomers, even if few remained in the city or region. In an age when most workers laboured six days a week, many families 8
Image 3: British Immigrant Children from Dr. Barnardo's Homes on Landing Stage, Saint John, N.B. c. 1910 Credit: Isaac Erb/Library and Archives Canada made excursions to the facilities at Sand Point to view incoming steamers and their passengers. In 1907, the Carleton Sentinel remarked on the exotic nature of the 2,000 immigrants who arrived on the Mount Temple. Many of the women were described as wearing "long boots such as a man wears when ploughing" and shawls "pinned in some manner around their head."23 Most press accounts were neutral or positive, but in 1901, a party of immigrants heading to the Northwest Territories, consisting of Russians, Rumanians, Hungarians, Tyrolese, Germans and Norwegians, was described as "a motley throng."24 The CPR liner Montreal from Antwerp and the Allan liner Tunisian from Liverpool in 1906 brought Russians, mainly Jews, fleeing unrest and persecution in Odessa. The passengers were so overjoyed at reaching Canada that they took part in singing and dancing on the deck, accompanied by a Polish immigrant on accordion.25 9
The incident that best captured the citys excitement at being one of the gateways for the Dominion in a period of rapid growth and optimism was the arrival of the Doukhobors in 1899.26 This pacifist sect had lived in Russia under the Czars protection, but during the 19th century, they suffered persecution and the hardship of forced relocations. By the 1890s, many were seeking a new land of opportunity. The Canadian government had already established a precedent by recruiting groups of German-speaking Mennonites, also pacifists, for western settlement. In 1899, the first of several thousand Doukhobors arrived in Canada destined for the farm belt in the Saskatchewan district of the North West Territory. A group of 2,000 from the Tiflis province of the Caucasus left Batum on the Black Sea on the Beaver line steamer Lake Huron. The vessel reached Halifax, where the passengers were inspected and placed in brief quarantine. They then began the last leg of their long sea voyage. When the Lake Huron reached Sand Point on Monday, January 23, 1899, several thousand Saint John residents were waiting to greet the refugees from "Russian tyranny." The citizens cheered loudly for the newcomers, who removed their hats and bowed in gratitude. A Doukhobor choir then chanted a hymn and recited a prayer. The men and boys were described as wearing sheepskin coats, wool caps and high leather boots, while the women wore brightly coloured skirts and shawls. Observers agreed that the Russians immigrants were "a fine and hearty looking lot of people," with quiet, tidy and happy children. The latter were presented with treats by the Saint John Council of Women. After disembarking, the immigrants left for the west on five special CPR trains.27 Although some immigrants arrived from the United States between 1914 and 1918, oceanic migration dropped off during World War I. One echo of the war was the passage through the port of Saint John of tens of thousands of Chinese "coolies," construction workers who had served in France. In 1919, specialized trains picked up thousands of these workers, landed from CPR steamers at Saint John, each month and carried them west to Vancouver for steamship connections with China.28 New Brunswick at this time hoped to lure British ex-servicemen and their families as immigrants. Following the war, organizations such as the Canadian Council of Immigration of Women for Household Service expected that large numbers of British ex-service women would emigrate to Canada to work as maids. One response in Saint John was the establishment of a boarding house for immigrant women seeking employment as domestic servants. By 1920, the hostel, located in the South end, had a matron. Also, in the years following World War I, the federal Department of Immigration maintained a "conductress" at Saint John to help immigrant women and children who arrived by steamship.29 Other welfare workers who assisted women and children at the immigration facility in the 1920s were Protestant and Catholic 10
chaplains, Red Cross nursery staff, a female physician and several ,,VADs- Voluntary Aid Detachment nurses.30 Immigration to Canada picked up briefly immediately following World War I but then tapered off as a result of an economic downturn and more restrictive immigration policies. Nevertheless, the CPR and other lines maintained regular winter connections with ports such as Glasgow, Southampton, Liverpool and Antwerp. The door reopened partially in the late 1920s as a result of agreements between the federal government and the major railway companies, who wanted to import European settlers and labourers to the West. However, although a new immigration hall was added in 1920 and transatlantic passengers continued to travel through Saint John, immigration declined. The provincial government maintained official interest in rural ,,colonization, and a number of ,,British Empire families were settled on land during the 1920s. In the 1928-29 shipping season, CPR steamers alone landed 20,000 passengers at Saint John and embarked 6,700, but many were Canadian and British tourists.31 In the 1930-31 season, roughly 5, 800 immigrants landed at Saint John, most of them ,,farming class, headed for the West. That year, New Brunswick received only 1,068 immigrants at ocean ports and 930 via U.S. land crossings, as much of this small stream was destined for agricultural districts.32 Saints Johns fate as an immigration port was sealed by two factors: the economic downturn of the 1930s and a human-made disaster. In the early 1920s, the federal government had imposed quotas on various countries of origin; however, during the Great Depression, international migration dried up altogether so that even the national quota for preferred British immigrants was not filled. The port of Saint John, however, continued to be visited by freighters from all over the word. In 1927, the port was ,,nationalized, coming under the authority of the National Harbours Board (NHB). In 1931, the West Side port, which was in the process of being expanded by the NHB, experienced an extensive fire that destroyed the passenger and immigration facilities. Damage to the facilities and shipping was estimated at $10 million, but rebuilding of modern grain and cargo handling facilities began immediately. In the meantime, the CPR signed a ten-year renewable agreement with Canadian National Railways to use its Halifax passenger terminal. Fortunately, much of Saint Johns port infrastructure for handling freight was rebuilt and modernized as a badly needed public works program during the Depression.33 For the rest of the 1930s and well past the end of World War II, CPR liners disembarked most of their passengers at Halifax and then steamed on to Saint John to unload cargo and remaining passengers. Small numbers of passengers arrived on tramp steamers and the vessels of smaller lines, but the yearly totals were insignificant. In mid-March, 1947, for example, near the end of the winter port season, 11
nearly 40 ships were in port discharging or loading general cargo, but only 21 passengers had arrived so far that month.34 World War II interrupted any new major construction projects by the NHB. After much lobbying by the Saint John Board of Trade and the municipal government, a new federal immigration depot was rebuilt for the 1949-50 winter port season. Yet that season passed without the CPR transferring its immigration focus to New Brunswick, much to the disappointment of local officials. The CPR continued to unload in-bound passengers and immigrants at Halifax and steam to Saint John to discharge freight.35 The new immigration and passenger terminal was used in the 1950-51 winter port season but not to the degree that the Sand Point facilities had been before the war. In 1950-51, the port handled 8,000 passengers, comprising some tourists and businessmen returning to Europe, others being incoming tourists, ,,displaced persons (refugees from Europe) and immigrants. Canadian Pacific liners such as the Empress of France, which visited Saint John in the winter of 1951, represented the last great age of the transatlantic steamship. CPRs liners and others continued to pick up and land passengers at Saint John during the winter port season, and, in 1956, a new Canadian Pacific Empress of Britain and its sister ships began to visit the port; however, they were described as having accommodations for first-class passengers and ,,tourists, not immigrants. The following year, an Italian liner brought 1,000 Hungarian refugees fleeing Soviet repression in their homeland. Increasingly, however, immigrants would reach Canada by transatlantic air flights, a factor that spelled the ultimate end of both Saint John and Halifax as major entry points.36 II. Immigration and Ethnic Patterns This section indicates that immigration initially had a significant impact on Saint John. Although immigration policy was discriminatory in ethnic and racial terms, immigration to Saint John, as explained in Section III, did produce a more diverse society. However, as Section IV suggests, that diversity was not always welcomed or appreciated by the host society. Table 1 indicates that Saint Johns population patterns have been marked by rapid growth, incremental growth and periods of stagnation or decline. At Confederation, Saint John, a major port and shipbuilding, ship owning, banking and manufacturing centre, was a principal city of the Dominion. It ranked fifth in terms of population, surpassed in the Maritime colonies only by Halifax. In subsequent decades, however, as major immigration stopped and the economy suffered, the population grew slowly, stagnated, or, in some 12
cases, shrank. Saint Johns importance among the cities of the growing nation receded each decade. The decline between 1871 and 1881 was related to the devastating fire of 1877, which leveled most of the citys wards, forcing many people to relocate to the remaining wards or in the neighbouring town of Portland and the parishes of Simonds and Lancaster until rebuilding took place. The increase in population between 1881 and 1891 reflected the amalgamation of the town of Portland with the city in 1889. Saint John continued to be associated with ship owning and shipping; it also was home to several thousand manufacturing workers by the 1880s. During the economic downturn of the early 1890s, however, the citys population fell.37 Founded in the 1780s by Loyalist refugees, most of whom were born in the mid-Atlantic and New England colonies, Saint John attracted few new immigrants until after the War of 1812. The timber trade, a shortage of labour, the availability of free land and push factors in the British Isles brought emigrants from England, Scotland and, particularly, Ireland in the 1820s and 1830s. Immigration also furthered religious diversity; during the War of 1812, Catholics represented probably only 1% of the population. The proportion of Catholics in the city and county began to increase in the 1820s and 1830s, however. In the period following 1815, Saint John was transformed from an American to a British city. One estimate stated that 150,000 Irish entered the colony between 1815 and Confederation. The Irish stream, which had a noticeable impact on Saint John and the surrounding county, was split between Protestants and Roman Catholics. Cheap fares from ports such as Londonderry, owing to the colonial timber trade, helped underwrite this migration.38 Many (and in some years most) were only passing through on their way to Boston and New York. The Irish Famine years redirected the pattern somewhat when thousands of distressed individuals and families, mainly Catholic, arrived. Between early 1846 and late 1847, roughly 25,000 Irish immigrants passed through Saint Johns quarantine station at Partridge Island; hundreds died from disease. At this time, the citys population was less than 25,000. Eventually, tensions that had been building between Irish Catholics and Protestants (immigrant and native born) erupted in 1849 during the York Point riot, which resulted in the death of up to one dozen people. By 1851, 45% of the citys residents had been born in Ireland. Despite the publics fascination with the Famine, it is easy to exaggerate its impact on New Brunswick. According to Peter Toner, the Famine Irish who remained in Saint John in 1851 were outnumbered four to one by earlier arrivals. In the surrounding county, Protestant Irish immigrants also tended to outnumber their Catholic counterparts.39 13
Because Saint John experienced relatively little immigration after 1850, the population that arrived in the 1820s, 30s and 40s had the greatest overall impact. Most immigrants probably arrived as families. The colony as a whole received only 7,000 immigrants between 1854 and 1859, but detailed demographic analysis is challenged by the fact that much of the 1851 and 1861 manuscript census for Saint John did not survive.40 The retention of ethnic identity, reinforced by organized religion, would be strongest among Irish Catholics. More than 120 years after major Irish immigration, the city, similar to the Miramichi region, would experience an ,,Irish ethnic revival within the spirit of the new multiculturalism. The leaders of the revival were, for the most part, descendants of the pre-1850 migrants. The Irish Protestant identity, strong into the 20th century, had all but vanished. As section IV will discuss, ,,the Irish, divided by religion, economic status and often language, lacked a common ethnic identity and would both experience and shape urban life in vastly different ways. Table 1: Saint John Population, 1851-195141
Year 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951
Saint John City
Saint John County
22, 745 27, 317 28, 805 26, 127 24, 184 40, 711 42, 511 47, 166 47, 514 51, 741 50, 779
15, 730 21, 605 23, 315 26, 839 25, 390 11, 048 11, 061 13, 320 14, 099 17, 086 22, 325
Total 38, 475 48, 922 52, 120 52, 966 49, 574 51, 759 53, 572 60, 486 61, 613 68, 827 73, 104
% change since last census +21.3 + 6.5 + 1.6 - 6.4 + 4.4 + 3.5 +12.9 + 1.9 +11.7 + 6.2
By the Confederation era (see Table 2), immigrants had lost their previous numerical dominance of Saint John, but one-third of the population had been born outside of British North America. One-quarter of all residents had been born in Ireland and constituted 79% of the immigrant population. The rest of the county (including Portland, incorporated as a town a decade later) had a slightly higher percentage of immigrants. The Irish born in the rest of the county constituted a higher percentage than in the city and 76% of the countys immigrant population. The 1871 census indicated that of 30, 128 residents of Saint John County, (58%) identified as ethnic Irish, and of these, Catholics comprised roughly 60%. In the city, Catholics were relatively more concentrated in Kings and Sydney wards. Table 2: Immigrants in Saint John City and County, 186142
Birthplace Ireland Scotland England Foreign country Total
City 6, 901 648 501 729
County 5, 697 384 954 421
Percentage City pop. (%) 25.3 2.37 1.8 2.66
Percentage Co. pop. (%) 28.36 1.77 4.41 1.94
8, 779 7, 456 32.1%
Percentage Total (%) 25.75 2.1 6.01 2.38 33.2%
The Irish born were more heavily clustered in Kings and Wellington wards. Catholics (largely Irish) equaled one-third of the population of the adjacent town of Portland, which also was heavily Irish in terms of ethnic identity (62%). Immigrants born in the British Isles formed more than one-fifth of the total county population, and of these, the Irish born, at 9, 268, dominated. Following the Irish, English and Scots, the American born were the fourth biggest group of immigrants. In total, those born outside of Canada constituted slightly less than one-quarter of the population.43 The lessening importance of immigration is evident in the 1881 census report. The immigrant percentage of the countys population had slipped to 18.5%, with the Irish born again constituting the
single largest category (64.4% of total immigrants). Reflecting population flows and tenement construction following Saint Johns ,,great fire of 1877, the Irish born were still present in Kings and Sydney wards, but Wellington and Map 1: Saint John in 1904 Credit: New Brunswick Museum, Saint John, N.B, Prospectus of the proposed apartment house: the Alexandra Apartment House by D.R. Jack. 1904). Prince wards in the citys northeast corner had become more important as residential neighbourhoods. The ,,Loyalist city remained firmly British in origins at 92%. Within the British classification, those identified as ethnic Irish comprised more than 50%. Catholics now made up 33% of the citys 16
population and, owing to the growth of urban Portland, 31% of the population of the county. The census indicated indirectly that Catholics were still largely Irish in terms of ethnicity (the county contained fewer than 500 Acadians). There were also still many Protestants (11,000) in the county identified in the census as Irish.44 The 1891 census listed 11.3% of the countys population as British born, with the Irish born predominating. Non British-born immigrants numbered only 1,089. In an era marked by outmigration to New England, the Catholic percentage of Saint John Countys population had slipped to 30%. Another significant statistic from 1891 is that 32% of the population of the county consisted of native-born Canadians with a foreign-born father. In other words, immigrants and second generation residents were a large minority of the population.45 Immigration to Canada picked up in the late 1890s, responding to international economic conditions and aggressive marketing of and recruitment for the Canadian West. Great Britain, the United States and northern Europe were the preferred sources for immigration, although Lauriers immigration minister, Clifford Sifton, also favoured east European peasants such as Ukrainians. The editor of the Canada Year Book of 1922-23 reflected mainstream opinion when he wrote the following: Settlers from Southern and Eastern Europe, however desirable from the purely economic point of view, are less easily assimilated, and the Canadianizing of the people who came from these regions in the first fourteen years of this century is a problem both in the agricultural Prairie provinces and in the cities of the East. Less assimilable still, according to the general opinion of Canadians, are those who come to Canada from the Orient.46 As in the second half of the 19th century, most of this immigration bypassed New Brunswick and the Maritime provinces in general. By the early 20th century, newcomers were drawn to the farms and cities of the Prairies and the cities and resource frontier of Ontario. From 1901-1923, only 176, 339 immigrants came to the Maritime provinces, less than 5% of the total 3.7 million destined for Canada.47 The 1901 census lists three-fifths of all immigrants living in Saint John County as hailing from Ireland, England or Scotland. At 93%, the British ethnic groups continued to dominate the population of the Loyalist city and its surrounding county. Almost half of the countys population identified with Irish ethnicity. Roughly one-third of all immigrants had arrived before 1861, and one-fifth entered Canada between 1891 and the end of March, 1901. Small numbers of non-British immigrants were also settling in New Brunswick during this period. In 1901, Saint John County contained 1, 513 ,,foreign born (which excluded those from the British Isles); Jews represented one-fifth of this population. Although often classified as Jews or Hebrews in terms of ,,race or nationality, these immigrants came from a 17
variety of European nations. The 1911 manuscript census indicated that widow Dora Weizel, who lived in Wellington ward with her six Hungarian-born children, was of Hungarian nationality. The relative unimportance to immigration to increase the citys population after Confederation was highlighted by the fact that fewer than 800 of the foreign born were under 20 years of age in 1901.48 By 1921, one-tenth of Saint Johns population had been born outside Canada. The British born amounted to 6.4%, and the ,,foreign born, including Americans, comprised 3.8% of the citys population. In terms of ethnic origin (usually defined on the basis of the father of the family), the county was still heavily Anglo-Celtic (91.7%). Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe, Lebanese Christians and a few Italians and Greeks were part of the ,,foreign stream. The latter included Peter Petropulous, a fruit vendor who came from Greece with his wife in 1893. The small Greek Canadian community became associated with Small Business, including two well-known central business district restaurants: the Riviera and the Paradise. In the early 1950s, a Greek Orthodox Church was built on Dorchester Street, near the central business district. A small number of Italian men were present in Saint John as early as the 1870s, working in fruit stores and other small businesses.49 Maronite Christians from villages in northern Lebanon began to arrive in the late 1870s, and between 1879 and 1914, more than 200 Lebanese immigrants took up residence in Saint John. The 1921 census showed that 238 persons of ,,Syrian descent lived in Saint John County. By 1911, the county contained 67.5% of the provinces Jews (under the category of religion). Small numbers of Chinese immigrants, most of them male, also were recorded in the census. According to the Semi-Weekly Telegraph in 1901, the first Chinese immigrants arrived as sojourners, running laundries until they could amass sufficient capital to return home.50 By 1931, immigrants still constituted roughly one-tenth of the citys residents. Residents with one or both parents born outside of Canada constituted 28% of the population. Of the citys 4,592 foreign born, most originated in the British Isles, followed by those born in the United States. Those who had arrived before 1901, mainly the Irish, English and Scottish, constituted 20% of the immigrant population; those who arrived between 1901 and 1910 amounted to 23.2%. Another 30% had landed between 1910 and 1920. The 1921-31 cohort constituted one-quarter of total immigrants in the city in 1931. Two-thirds of the Europeans had arrived before 1915, and half of the ,,Hebrews (listed in the census as a racial origin) settled before 1921.51 The 1931 census recorded 61 individuals of Chinese origin and 110 Italians in Saint John County. Another small ethnic minority were Scandinavians, who had been present in the region in limited numbers. In 1931, with 200 Danish residents in the Saint John 18
area, the community decided to organize its own church, using the services of visiting minister from New Denmark, the major Danish settlement in the province. The Danes hoped that local Swedes and Norwegians would also attend.52 The 1941 census and that of 1951 revealed few changes to Saint Johns basic immigration and ethnic patterns other than the failure of the immigrant minority to replenish itself. In 1941, 8% of the population of Saint John County had been born outside of Canada. One change, evident by the 1930s, was the decline of Irish ethnicity relative to that of the English (42% of Saint John residents in 1941 were classed as ,,English).53 By 1951, the combination of outmigration by members of the small ,,ethnic population and a relative lack of immigration translated into a decline in the foreign-born population, which fell to 5.4% of the citys total. As in the past, the immigrant population remained dominated by the British and American born.54 III. The Immigrant City By the early 20th century, two major waves of immigration (1815-50, 1897-1913) had produced a more diverse community with a rich social, religious and commercial life. Particularly after 1850, Saint John was not a magnet city, but small numbers of immigrants did establish beachheads and, through the process of chain migration, created a more heterogeneous community. Ethnicity was a complex question in the late 19th and early 20th century Saint John because it overlapped with religion. Because of strong cultural ties with Britain, most immigrants were regarded not as outsiders but as fellow British subjects from ,,the old country. The evidence to date is that immigrants and second generation ,,ethnics who enjoyed what modern researchers call ,,social networks had a more successful urban experience, although of course those networks were affected by the social barriers of the day. 19
Image 4: Our Lady of Assumption Church, West Saint John credit: the author The most visible impact of immigration was the growth of the Catholic population and its associated institutions. By 1901, Catholics comprised 30% of the countys population. The original Catholic church near King Square, St. Malachis, had been replaced by the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Construction began on the new centre of the citys Catholicism, located in Wellington ward, before Confederation. In the 1850s, York Point in Kings ward and the nearby waterfront district of Portland were the centres of Irish Catholic life. By the late 1800s, however, the expanding Irish Catholic community was also clustered in Lower Cove and Wellington and Prince wards. In Portland, on the northern border of Saint John, Catholics were served by St. Peters church, near Fort Howe, starting in 1840.55 As with Protestant churches, temperance made inroads by the 1840s. Most parishes had a total abstinence society, and by the 1870s, the city and province had an active 20
Catholic total abstinence movement. By 1880, for example, Portland was home to a 300-strong parish temperance and relief society, which paid sick benefits, as well as a total abstinence society for men.56 Aside from parish religious organizations, Irish Catholics also formed voluntary associations, such as debating clubs and drama societies. The Irish Friendly Society was formed in the 1850s "for the advancement and mutual improvement of young men." It purchased a hall and amassed a considerable library, both of which were lost in the Great Fire of 1877.57 By the late 1800s, the Irish Literary and Benevolent Association and the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) were two of the most active Irish Catholic organizations. The former sponsored banquets, dances and various types of entertainment. The AOH, which also had a ,,ladies auxiliary, hosted dances and concerts and maintained a contributory benefits program to assist sick members and pay for their burial expenses.58 The Hibernians, like many 19th century fraternal organizations, also took part in funeral processions. In the years after World War I, the AOH faded out, replaced by the Knights of Columbus, which, as of 1913, had 300 members in Saint John. The Knights of Columbus was not simply a social and charitable organization; it was tasked, according to its chaplain, with defending Catholic values in the face of threats such as anarchism, socialism and the theory of evolution.59 Immigrant and second-generation immigrant communities also kept strong ties with the homeland. Although the topic has not been researched, remittances from the new world to the old probably eased family burdens in various mother countries and, if the example of Ireland was typical, even funded further migration.60 In Saint John, where the overall public sensibility was quite ,,British, the newspapers and lecture halls were full of news and speakers from England, Scotland and Ireland. The South African War, World War I and World War II also strengthened ties with Great Britain and the rest of the Empire/Commonwealth. Schools in Saint John and elsewhere in the province celebrated Empire Day well past World War II. The British Empire/Commonwealth also created some tensions, on, for example, the issues of Ireland and Palestine, but it was rare for these to filter into the public realm. Decades after major immigration had ended, the Saint John Irish were in one sense ,,transnational communities in that they were deeply interested in events in the homeland. At various times, Saint John raised money for Irish poor relief, and in the 1880s, the city was home to a branch of the Irish National Land League, which attempted to resist evictions of tenants in Ireland.61 In 1920, following the visit of author Katherine Hughes, the local Irish Catholic community organized a chapter of the SelfDetermination for Ireland League, which went on to form 40 branches in the province and enroll 3,000 members, one-third in the Saint John area. The League supported both a negotiated end to the Anglo- 21
Irish war and self-determination for Ireland in the spirit of President Wilsons Fourteen Points and the proposed League of Nations. It also promised to disband once free elections were held in the Irish Free State. The appearance of a League speaker in Saint John stirred up tensions between Catholics and Protestants loyal to the British cause in Ireland, but no violence was reported. The establishment of an independent Ireland in the early 1920s no doubt modified direct interest in Irish issues.62 One of the most visible legacies of this largely forgotten chapter in the citys history is the built environment, particularly in older and poorer neighbourhoods, where the building stock has been preserved more by neglect and low property values than by any conscious heritage sensibility. Churches, church halls and schools, and the Catholic complex near the cathedral on Waterloo Street were visible reminders half a century later of the impact of 19th century immigration. Even the local Catholic funeral parlour, founded by Tipperary native Patrick Fitzpatrick in 1887 (and which is still in business), can be considered part of the Irish Catholic institutional zone in Wellington ward. The Sisters of the Good Shepherd operated a refuge and industrial school for women and children on Waterloo Street until the late 1950s, while St. Vincents orphanage for girls was in the area until 1949. Boys and girls high schools and a Catholic Young Mens Institute also were nearby. Later, the area had a Catholic Youth Organization hall, an alternative to the YMCA and YWCA 63 The proliferation of Saint Johns Catholic parishes, based on territory and population, occurred one or two generations after peak Irish immigration. In the last quarter of the 19th century, St. Peters church was relocated farther to the west and made the centre of its own parish to meet the needs of the Portlands growing population, which, by 1891, was 30% Catholic. The expansion was overseen by the Redemptorist order, assisted by the Sisters of Charity, who opened a convent nearby. In addition, the new parish of St. John the Baptist was established at Lower Cove in the South End, and Holy Trinity was founded for residents in the ,,Valley area along the line of the ICR. Assumption church (see Image 4) served Catholics in the three wards on the west side of the harbour and beyond. In Lancaster, farther to the west, St. Rose of Lima church was dedicated in 1886. Most of these parishes were eventually associated with parochial schools, which under the ,,gentlemens agreement of the 1870s, delivered the provincial curriculum to Catholic pupils but also included Catholic religious instruction. The schools, which added to the territorial basis of Catholic congregations in the city, were owned by the diocese.64 The Irish Catholic community also had its own newspaper, the Freeman, whose editor was Irish immigrant Timothy Warren Anglin, a prominent Anti-Confederation politician. By the early 20th century, the New Freeman was the official journal of the diocese of Saint John. Although often 22
dominated by Irish and Irish Canadian themes, the New Freeman also acknowledged the citys growing Acadian presence.65 Protestants had constituted half or more of the Irish immigrant stream until the mid-1840s; as Toner notes, in 1851 they were dominated by Presbyterians and members of the Church of Ireland, followed by Baptists and Wesleyans. This influx in the 1820s, 30s and 40s helps explain the success of the Church of England, the natural home of members of the Church of Ireland, in greater Saint John. Toners research on the partial census of 1851 reveals that both Irish-born Protestants and Catholics preferred Irish-born spouses. Yet the former, especially the second generation, began to marry outside the group, suggesting a more fluid identity than that of the Catholics, whom Toner describes, based on the partially extant census of 1851, as "the most ethnocentric group in the province."66 In Saint John, Protestants constituted a majority of the members of the St. Patricks Society in the 1820s and 1830s, a largely non-partisan organization that represented the upwardly mobile. Acheson explains that the influx of Irish Protestants into the Anglican and Presbyterian churches in Saint John furthered the evangelical movement in the city.67 Protestants seemed better able to exploit social networks in terms of employment and careers, and such was the case of John Boyd, a Presbyterian who arrived as a boy from northern Ireland in the 1830s, entered the dry goods sector and soon became a partner in a leading retail establishment. Although Irish Protestants, like the English and lowland Scots, were ,,invisible immigrants who were more easily assimilated into the host society, many retained aspects of Irish ethnic identity. Based on the admittedly arbitrary census enumeration criterion of ethnicity of father, it can be estimated that almost 10,000 residents of the county in 1901 were Protestants of ,,Irish origin.68 Irish Protestants, in addition to being more skilled than Catholics in terms of occupation, were identified with the Loyal Orange Association (LOA), which had spread to British North America in the 1810s and 1820s via members of British garrisons. But the LOA, with its pro-Loyalty and anti-Catholic sentiments, also appealed to native-born Protestants and those of English and Scottish descent By the mid -1840s, Saint John was home to ten lodges, in which native-born New Brunswickers were usually in the majority. At first, many within the Anglo elite resented and feared the organization as a threat to order and political stability. The details varied from lodge to lodge, but many were involved in benefits and self-help schemes. Orangemen also supported deceased comrades with funeral processions that included banners, regalia and, on occasion, fife and drum music. These processions sometimes included hundreds of marchers.69 The existence of the LOA and other voluntary associations helped Irish Protestants quickly adapt to life in New Brunswick. Take the case of James Kelly, born in Belfast in 23
1860 to a father who was a member of the lodge. Reaching Saint John in 1882, he married a local woman and worked in tailoring establishments before going into business for himself. He also joined a number of organizations: the LOA, the Masons, the Independent Order of Foresters, the Sons of Temperance and the Odd Fellows. By the 1890s, he was grand master of the Provincial Lodge, LOA, and grand lecturer of British America.70 The first evidence of organized activity by Orangemen in Saint John was in 1838. Over the next decade, the LOA within the colony grew, made connections with the Church of England, produced newspapers and became part of the Tory reaction against political reform.71 In the 1840s, a decade of economic depression, arrival of the Famine Irish caused ethnic and sectarian tensions to heat up and produced social violence, as detailed in the work of Scott See. In 1849, the entry of a large Orange parade into the largely Catholic immigrant quarter of York Point resulted in a violent riot, in which stones and firearms were freely used. Saint Johns rudimentary police force was overwhelmed, and the military authorities failed to intervene between the two factions. Several people were killed, resulting in parades by secret societies being banned for many years. Following the incorporation of the LOA and the lifting of the parade ban in the 1870s, however, the lodges marched again, usually without incident. The Saint John lodges also often hosted visitors from other areas of the province. In 1909, for example, 3.000 Orangemen and 12 bands converged on the city to celebrate July 12 with a parade from the militia barracks to Victoria rink.72 Orange lodges continued to prosper long after major immigration to New Brunswick ceased. In the 1920s, the LOA was involved in the revived politics of race and religion, but most of its efforts by this period were fraternal and charitable. By this time, much of its original association with Irish ethnic identity had been weakened in a city that increasingly saw itself as ,,English. The 1933 city directory listed five LOA lodges and three Ladies Orange Benevolent Association lodges for the Saint John area, as well as related organizations such as the Prentice Boys, the Prentice Ladies and the Queens Royal Black Preceptory.73 By this time, the LOA had also lost much of its earlier image of militancy. In Saint John, Catholic and Protestant orphans were looked after in separate orphanages (the Catholic orphanage, St. Patricks, doubled as an industrial school). In fact, one of the major tasks of Orange associations in the early 20th century was raising money to support the Protestant orphanage that was built in Lancaster, a community bordering Saint John. The tradition of holding July 12th parades in Saint John died out but continued in outlying areas within the county, such as the fishing village of Lorneville, as well as in nearby Kings County.74 24
The other major ,,national organizations were the St. Georges Society for those of English ancestry and the St. Andrews Society (formed in 1798 for local Scots and their descendants), whose chief activities were celebrating their individual patrons days with church services, banquets and other activities. These were not strictly immigrant organizations as many of their members were of Loyalist descent. Freemasonry attracted a large membership in the Saint John area, but it was a de facto Protestant organization because the Roman Catholic Church prohibited members from joining. One of the oldest organizations, the St. Patricks Society, was a rare Irish association for men, not based on religion or politics. Its tradition was to alternate a Protestant and Catholic as president. Although immigration experienced a relative decline by the mid 19th century, New Brunswick was affected by the ,,New Immigration that shaped Canadian society in the period 1896-1913, when Saint John became the centre of the provinces small Jewish community. The first Jewish immigrants, whose numbers were limited, were British and were accepted by the citys Anglo-Saxon middle and upper classes. In 1881, 15 Jews were recorded as living in Saint John city but none in Portland or the rest of the county. In 1891, the census listed 43 Jews in the county; a decade later, the community had grown to nearly 300, constituting 75% of the provincial total. The first wave established a Hebrew cemetery in Saint Johns Rural Cemetery as early as 1873, and despite its small number, the community had an impact on the citys business and social life. Jacob Weiscoph, an Austrian Jew who arrived in the 1860s, reportedly introduced lager beer, "the favourite drink of his native land," to the city.75 The second wave of Jewish immigration was poorer and, hailing from eastern Europe, more exotic. The community would peak in the 1960s with 250 families and close to 1, 500 individuals. By this time, the practice of endogamy, so important to the immigrant generation, had ended, but non-Jewish spouses tended to convert to Judaism.76 With their concentration in small business, the Jews epitomized the contributions that immigrants made to the vibrant early 20th century city, with its streets and neighbourhoods characterized by mixed uses.77 In 1921, most of the countys 865 ,,Hebrews lived in Saint John, where they had developed an active small business and associational life. The preceding census had revealed that Dufferin ward, in the North end, was home to nearly half of the local Jewish population, whose businesses dotted Main Street. Others lived in Kings ward, location of the Union Street area that contained two synagogues and many small businesses.78 Language retention appeared to be strong among the second generation, most of whom were children in the 1910s and 1920s. In fact, the 1931 25
census recorded that 95% of the provinces Jewish population claimed the ,,Jewish language (Yiddish) as their mother tongue.79 The Jewish community was characterized by multiple organizations, some local in orientation, while others, like those of the Irish, were concerned with larger ,,national issues. Saint John Jews were active in the early Zionist movement, the goal of which was to establish a homeland for oppressed Jews in Palestine. The first local organization was formed in 1912. Meyer Budovitch and H. Levy each contributed $500 to a Zionist convention in Montreal in 1921.80 In 1931, the Ezra lodge of Saint John was visited by the head of the Zionist Order of Habonim. Israel Elman, born in Russia in 1880, arrived in Saint John via New York in the early 1900s. Involved in business, including a North End shoe store, he helped the port authorities and served as the vice president of the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society of Canada before his death in 1940. That year, Saint John hosted the eastern division of the Canadian Jewish Congress, which discussed topics such as the urgent importance of bringing more European refugee children to Canada. During World War II, community leaders urged the local Jewish community to support the British Empire in its fight against tyranny. In 1942, for example, like most Jewish organizations across Canada, the Jewish community pledged itself to support the ,,yes side in the national plebiscite on military conscription. Then, in 1948, a large gathering at the Shaarei Zedek synagogue celebrated the proclamation of the independence of the new state of Israel.81 The Young Mens Hebrew Association was organized in 1919, with 200 members. Other organizations followed, including a Young Judean Scout troop and Judean Girl Guides.82 The Jewish Canadian community experienced considerable upward mobility. Abe Calp arrived from Odessa on the Black Sea in 1907 with his wife, mother and siblings. Lacking English skills, he worked for a time as a carpenter before turning to his fathers occupation, retailing. He started selling small articles door to door, then set up a shop on Charlotte Street. By this period, more Jewish retail businesses were clustered in the central business district. By the late 1940s, Calp owned the largest stand-alone mens and womens clothing store in the central business district. During the golden age of local retail, before the advent of shopping malls and national chain stores, many Saint John stores specializing in clothing and footwear were owned by Jewish immigrants or their children. Also, one of Calps daughters graduated with a law degree from the University of New Brunswick.83 Education, professional careers and intermarriage into middle-class Jewish families in other North American cities became recipes for high levels of outmigration by the second and third generations. For example, Aaron 26
Cohen, a prominent East end storeowner (murdered during a robbery in 1937) had arrived from Latvia in 1903 Image 5: Shaarei Zedek synagogue, 1919-2009 credit: the author as a young man of 22; his wife, Leah Jacobson, was a native of Russia. At the time of his death, they had seven children, including Herman, a physician who lived in Cleveland, Ohio.84 The most famous member of the local Jewish immigrant community was Hollywood producer Louis B. Mayer, who was born in northern Ukraine (then part of Russia) in the 1880s. He arrived in Saint John with his family, who lived on Main Street in the North end. After elementary school, Louis worked with his father in the scrap metal business. However, in 1904, at age 19, Mayer, like so many other young men in the city, moved to Boston. He soon became involved in the theatre business and by 1918 was in Hollywood.85 The Lebanese were another immigrant minority that gravitated to small business and experienced rapid upward mobility. They became associated with Prince ward, a working class neighbourhood also known as the East end, and adjacent Wellington ward. An area of gently sloping and flat terrain, the East 27
end was bordered by Courtenay Bay and a branch of the ICR/CNR. By the early 20th century, much of the area had been filled in by rented wooden tenement buildings, interspersed by small businesses and industries such as shipyards, machine shops, a brewery, a cotton mill and foundries. The East end, from the 1910s until its partial destruction through urban renewal in the early 1960s, was usually portrayed as a poor, blue collar ,,reception area for immigrants and intraprovincial migrants, including Acadians from northern and eastern New Brunswick. The neighbourhood figured prominently in a series of exposй articles on Saint John poverty and housing conditions written by Charles Lynch in the late 1930s.86 A Protestant minister, speaking on tenement conditions in the citys East and North ends, declared, "These districts are a rotten blend of sight, smell and sound."87 The small Lebanese community grew through chain migration, often channeled through New York, the centre of Lebanese activity in the New World. Much like the Jews, the Lebanese gravitated to peddling and small business. Peddlers headed out on the road through rural New Brunswick, while in the East end, Lebanese corner stores began to appear. A typical Lebanese family in 1911 consisted of Lewis and Amelia ,,Corey (Khouri), who, according to a census enumerator, arrived from "Assyria" in 1900. Their three children had been born in the United States. Organizations followed; the Syrian Protective Association was formed in 1914, and in the 1920s, a Syrian Boy Scout troop was organized. During the Great Depression, the Lebanese community assumed control of a playground in the East end and also built and maintained a popular swimming pool. Around this time, a number of community leaders established an organization with a more nationalist focus: the Cedars of Lebanon.88 For the Lebanese, language was a barrier to integration, but by the second generation, little Arabic was spoken. Another mark of acculturation was the adoption of European surnames.89 Many early marriages were endogamous, and males sometimes sought spouses in the United States or the ,,old country. Aside from the Chinese, most of whom were unmarried, immigrant communities quickly became dominated numerically by children, and Saint Johns Lebanese were a case in point. The 1921 census listed 238 persons of ,,Syrian origin in Saint John County; only 41% of them had been born in Lebanon.90 Like the Jews, the Lebanese minority faced many barriers, but the second generation advanced its status through education. In time, it and the third generation entered the worlds of business, the professions and politics. In 1948, a Lebanese Canadian was chair of the provincial Liberal partys organization in Prince ward. These efforts eventually produced a Lebanese Canadian Member of Parliament.91 28
IV. The Divided City A diverse city is not necessarily an inclusive community, particularly before the widespread acceptance of the principles of multiculturalism starting in the 1970s. A standard study of AngloCanadian attitudes towards ethnic minorities reveals "a long history of discrimination and racism."92 Immigrants to Saint John in the late 1800s and early 1900s did not encounter an integrated host society. The industrial city, for all its diversity and vibrancy, was not always accepting of difference, as descendants of the Black Loyalists and African American refugees from the War of 1812 knew too well. Although enjoying legal and political equality, the African Canadian population was relegated to poor housing, clustered in low-skilled, low-status occupations and often reported in a mocking or discriminatory fashion in the press well into the 20th century.93 Acadian migrants, attracted to the city by the hope of landing jobs at the port or in other blue collar sectors, also faced discrimination and were forced to have their children educated in English. Ethnic and racial variety, in keeping with the cultural biases and social system of the era, produced prejudice, discrimination and types of social apartheid, some self-inflicted. The best example was the expansion of a separate Catholic school system. Tensions and conflicts also arose within immigrant and minority communities, as suggested by an 1875 newspaper article called "Italian Slavery in St. John." Written in the wake of a violent attack by an employee on an Italian storeowner, the article alleged that an immigrant who had arrived in the 1850s had taken advantage of his fellow countrymen who lacked language skills, capital and connections in Canada. John Belloni, Saint Johns alleged Italian "boss," supposedly used trickery and brutality to exploit the small community of street vendors and shop workers.94 29
Image 6: Anti-Chinese advertisement, Saint John Globe, May 18, 1894 The biggest fault line in the city was religion, with the largely Irish Roman Catholic minority hiving itself off religiously and socially from the Protestant majority. During the 1840s, the police, magistrates and juries, in responding to sectarian violence, appear to have treated the Protestant majority more leniently than the Catholic minority, proof to Scott See that the latter were targets of nativism.95 Ethnicity and religion also were related to social status and a segmented labour market. After 1849, large-scale open violence between Protestants and Irish Catholics subsided, but the citys ,,establishment remained monopolized by the former. T.W. Achesons study of the 1851 census indicated that English- and Scottish-born household heads were more likely than the Irish born to have higher status jobs and household servants. In fact, of household heads who were labourers, 90% were born in Ireland.96 Robert Husson, who lived in the elite neighbourhood of Queens Square, Dukes ward, in 1911, was probably not even regarded as an ,,immigrant. Born in Scotland in 1865, he arrived in Canada in 1893. In 1911, he earned $10,000 a year as a banker, attended the Presbyterian church and 30
lived with his American-born wife, two daughters and two servants. At this time, labourers and sawmill hands earned only $400-500 a year, and many blue collar workers laboured nine hours a day, six days a week. Labour market segmentation and social divisions were replicated in institutions. For example, by the early 20th century, Protestants and Catholics even had separate brass bands. In the late 19th century, policing patterns indicated that Irish Catholics had been more likely to come into conflict with the criminal justice system. In 1861, 53% of those arrested by the Saint John police had been born in Ireland (more than twice their proportion of the population).97 Open sectarian conflict was rare after the 1870s, but specific incidents suggested that Protestant-Catholic tensions ran deep. In 1899, for example, an anti-Catholic preacher who held open-air services caused considerable unrest in the city.98 In 1910, the Orange Lodge protested the new Catholic school on Erin Street in the East end (established in part to serve the areas Lebanese population). The LOA argued that St. Thomas school was a violation of the 1878 gentlemens agreement on separate schools. Anti-Catholic writings and speeches by members of the Protestant majority were not a barrier to social or political advancement, however; John Boyd, mentioned earlier in this study, was an outspoken critic of ,,Popery yet still served as chair of the local School Board before being appointed a Canadian senator in 1880 and lieutenant governor of New Brunswick in 1893. National political and religious controversies also had an impact on local ethnic relations. At a banquet to commemorate Guy Fawkes Day (another LOA celebration), speakers, some prominent politicians, demanded ,,equal rights, praised British Imperialism, denounced Quebec nationalism and described the Catholic church as "a disease."99 Irish ethnic identity for Protestants appears to have waned after World War I and the establishment of the independent Irish Free State. In 1921, only 30% of Saint John County residents were listed as ethnic Irish in the census; however, those of English origin had climbed to 47%, suggesting that many Irish Protestants had changed or forgotten their ethnic identity.100 Like many urban immigrant groups, Irish Catholics were associated with specific neighbourhoods. By the mid 19th century, Irish immigrants and their offspring dominated 31
Image 7: former Loyal Orange Association Lodge, German Street, Saint John, 2009 credit: the author the York Point-Mill Pond area of Kings ward, a crowded waterfront area now the site of the Market Square development, urban roadways and office buildings. Inhabiting poorly built, crowded rented tenements, this working class population was subjected to poor sanitary conditions, which local authorities had pointed out as early as 1834. During the 1854 cholera epidemic, which claimed more than 2,500 lives, York Point suffered heavily.101 Records dating from 1855 and 1856 indicate that the Board of Health prosecuted Irish immigrants and other members of the working class for keeping pigs in the tenements of Portland, York Point and other neighbourhoods.102 Some neighbourhoods were identified with specific immigrant cultures. Peter Murphys 1990 genealogical study of the Lower Cove area of Saint Johns South end raises the issue of chain migration and urban ethnic enclaves. Together in Exile discusses how families from Carlingford parish, County Louth (north of Dublin), established a residential base in Saint Johns Sydney ward. Many arrived in the years after 1844. For a generation or more, the "Coolies" (named after a point of coastal land in Carlingford parish) were active in the harbour and coastal fishery and dominated the fish business in the third quarter of the 32
century. These intermarried families also formed much of the congregation of the new St. John the Baptist parish.103 Irish Catholics, by sheer weight of numbers, gradually enjoyed upward mobility. Toner discovered that the second generation Irish of New Brunswick had as a whole in 1851 clear occupational patterns. Protestants were more likely than Catholics to be farmers, and the latter were more likely to be unskilled labourers. Furthermore, based on the narrow criterion of occupation, the second generation had suffered a loss of status relative to the immigrant generation.104 Irish Catholics such as John Murray, who had immigrated as a child in the 1850s, were more likely than their Protestant counterparts and English and Scottish immigrants to remain in blue collar, unskilled occupations. At age 70, Murray, who lived with his wife and daughter on Pond Street near the waterfront in 1911, was still working as a longshoreman. Future demographic work will reveal the degree to which both Irish Catholics remained largely plebeian into the 20th century and the descendants of Irish immigrants controlled workplaces and institutions at the expense of Acadian and Lebanese Catholics. Catholics dominated the ranks of unionized longshoremen and eventually made inroads in the police and fire departments and among the ranks of municipal outdoor workers. Indications are, however, that they were not always satisfied with their representation at city hall, especially after civic elections moved away from a ward system, which favoured working class and ethnic voters, to an at-large system and, before World War I, a commission of government system. In 1899, a city council of 16 (including the mayor) had only one Catholic. The issue surfaced again in 1906 in a letter to the New Freeman, the Catholic paper. By this point, Catholics comprised almost one-third of the citys population. Opinion differed as to whether underrepresentation was the fault of Protestant prejudice or Catholic apathy, but Saint John did not elect its first Catholic mayor until 1967.105 For the most part, New Brunswick was accepting of newcomers, probably because of their low numbers. But occasional crimes, such as those involving Italian labourers working on railway construction projects in the province, produced negative reactions in the press. For example, the wounding of three men in a "shooting affray" along a railroad line west of Saint John in 1907 inspired one newspaper to denounce "Japs, Chinks, and Dagos, among others."106 The discussion was even more dramatic in 1909, when two Italian labourers, Tony Arosha and Leon Sepeppil, were convicted of and executed in northwestern New Brunswick for the robbery and murder of a peddler.107 Press commentary was more neutral in the 1930s, when a Bulgarian immigrant murdered his New Brunswick-born girlfriend. Another possible sign of anti-immigrant feeling was the burning of a number of crosses at 33
elevated points in the city in 1925, acts attributed to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), which had organized in the province during that decade. The ,,new KKK was associated with not only anti-black feeling but also anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism and hostility towards non-British immigrants and minorities. Although it gathered in communities such as Sussex, Kings County, in the 1920s and probably had members in Saint John, the KKK did not appear in public in the port city.108 The immigrant group/ethnic minority deemed the most alien, the Chinese, was the object of the greatest social exclusion and racialized treatment in the press. Not all newspaper commentary was critical or mocking; much of it was neutral in fact, and, on occasion, reporters were positive in their depictions of Saint Johns smallest visible minority, lauding their conversion to Christianity, their work ethic or the educational attainments of their children. A number of adult Chinese attended Sunday school at Protestant churches. In 1901, a newspaper paid tribute to Lee Johnson, a Chinese laundryman who had been baptized at the Brussels Street Baptist church. In the late 1890s, women in that East end church had started English language and religious instruction for a handful of Chinese. The immigrants involved were all "polite, attentive and exceptionally grateful for any kindness shown them" and generous with gifts to their new friends. They were described as law abiding and orderly, fastidious in their personal appearance and in their shops, and keenly interested in current affairs. Above all, the local Chinese were described as hard working and frugal. Formerly the object of ridicule or curiosity, "now the Chinese are regarded as a necessary part of the community, and are accorded the same privileges and protection as the citizen who has the bluest blood in his veins or the largest account at his bankers" 109 On another occasion, the Standard praised a Chinese cultural evening, well attended by the Chinese community, staged at a local Anglican church.110 But negative accounts in the press were not unknown. In many North American cities, ,,Chinatowns, the local Chinese immigrant residential and business enclaves, were viewed with suspicion or hostility and stigmatized as a menace to the community. Saint John lacked the numbers to produce a Chinatown, but Chinese immigrants operated a number of laundries in various neighbourhoods. Hum Lee and Hum Wing, who arrived in New Brunswick in 1906, were both listed in the 1911 manuscript census as laundrymen living on Brussels Street, Wellington ward. As Image 6 indicates, in the 1890s one non-Chinese laundry published anti-Oriental advertisements in an attempt to protect its business. Also, in 1906, a Saint John newspaper published a letter warning that increased Oriental immigration would lead to conditions similar to those in Vancouver, where the Chinese 34
supposedly were associated with "filth and wretchedness."111 Reporters sometimes referred to the local Chinese as "Mongolians," "Celestials," or even "chinks."112 Criticism often surfaced in stories that dealt with police activity against immigrant cultural practices. It was almost unheard of for a Chinese immigrant to be arrested for drunkenness, fighting, assault or theft, but the host society, partly because of media and popular culture, linked the minority with the racialized vices of drugs and gambling. In 1909, 27 Chinese men were arrested for gambling at Sam Wahs laundry on Mill Street near the waterfront. The defences argument was that the men had gathered to read Chinese newspapers. When the police testified that they had encountered dice, dominoes and small amounts of money during their raid, the magistrate pointed out that "society ladies" daily played bridge and whist for friendly wagers without being hauled into court. In this case, the police magistrate considered the pursuits of the tea-drinking Chinese tame compared to those of the native-born Christian majority of the city, many of whom were perpetually looking for alcohol and games of chance. He found the Chinese laundrymen not guilty.113 A report of an earlier raid on a North end laundry, which netted 13 prisoners, was similarly sympathetic to the plight of the Chinese, whose gambling losses were dwarfed by those of the white majority.114 Enforcement of the federal narcotics law in Saint John, though rare, invariably involved the Chinese. Opium use was part of a bachelor subculture that was in decline numerically as, during the 1920s, the number of Chinese residents of Saint John County (most of whom lived either in the city or in the nearby town of Lancaster), declined from 87 to 61. In 1921, Hum Fong Tung and Hum Wing of Prince William Street were fined for possessing opium. Hum Tung of Brussels Street was given a larger fine for selling the drug.115 Then in 1931, newspaper readers followed the trial of a Chinese Canadian resident accused of shipping opium to Nova Scotia.116 Raids on "celestials" and their gambling "dens" were usually followed by promises of an ongoing police crackdown.117 Canadas Chinese population, which faced barriers such as the notorious Head Tax, first imposed in the 1880s, was essentially frozen by the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, which banned further arrivals. This, and the cultural practice of male sojourners of keeping wives and children in China, left many Canadian cities with small pockets of aging Chinese bachelors. In the years before World War II, under Canadian shipping law, Chinese sailors were not even allowed to land at Saint John and other ports. This was the case when the Shanghai-registered freighter Win On visited in 1937. By the 1920s, several restaurants, such as the Grotto, were owned and operated by Chinese immigrants, indicating a diversification into the hospitality sector. International conditions also 35
continued to complicate the lives of Saint Johns small Asian community before 1951. In the 1930s, Wing Hem, as well as his Canadian-born son, Percy, operated laundries and shops in Fairville, an urbanized part of Lancaster parish to the west of Saint John. Wing Hems wife came to Canada in 1912 and returned to Canton (the city Guangzhou) in 1927. She came back to Canada two years later and in 1932 returned once again to China, accompanied by Percy. In the meantime, the son married and had two children. Percy returned to New Brunswick in 1934, leaving his mother and family behind. As a ,,British subject, he was free to enter Canada; however, his mother, because she was a naturalized citizen who had remained in China for more than four years, was not. In 1937, both father and son were worried that their loved ones were in danger because of Japanese aerial bombardments of Canton.118 The Chinese population remained small and often exclusively male. In 1931, the city was home to 58 Chinese; a decade later, fewer than 30 remained. The Chinese community reached its lowest ebb in decades in 1951, with fewer than 20 males and one female in the city. Married couples and children would be more common in the 1950s and 1960s, however.119 Historical writing on North American Jewish populations invariably stresses anti-Semitism, directed against immigrants, as well as at their descendants. Both English and French Canada were marred by anti-Semitism in the early 20th century, and young Louis B. Mayer experienced anti-Jewish sentiment in Saint John. In one of the more shameful chapters in immigration policy, the Liberal government in the late 1930s, fearful of public opinion, refused to allow greater numbers of European Jewish refugees, fleeing Nazi persecution, into Canada. Saint John Jews also were not immune to prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory treatment. Much of this was ,,quiet discrimination, such as the exclusion of Jews from private clubs like golf clubs, which, in the case of the citys elite Union Club, lasted until the 1970s.120 There were also reports of anti-Semitic attitudes when Hungarian refugees, many of whom were Jewish, arrived in 1956.121 The Saint John press, however, did not racialize, demonize or trivialize the Jewish minority, as was often the case with African or Chinese Canadians. Accounts of Hebrew weddings and other religious ceremonies were detailed and respectful and the activities of Jewish organizations reported faithfully. Guests at the 1882 wedding of Louis Green to Lizzie Hart included clergy of other faiths, the mayor and other prominent politicians. Similar reporting accompanied the opening of the first synagogue, which was purpose built on Carleton Street in 1899.122 Furthermore, the sufferings of the Jews in pogroms in Russia in 1905 were reported in detailed and sympathetic fashion in the Saint John press. The Star reported in the fall of 1905 that local Jews were "rejoicing" at the news of the Russian 36
,,revolution. Family letters, translated into English, were reprinted in their entirety, and Dr. Rabinowitz contributed on Russian affairs.123 The appearance of the Jewish minority in the local press, and in a generally positive portrayal, was an important indicator of a degree of inclusion. According to Marcia Koven, after the 1920s, the Saint John Jewish community began to become involved with non-Jewish service organizations.124 The political coming of age of the Jewish community was symbolized by the election of Sam Davis, born to immigrant parents in 1914, to the Saint John common council in the 1960s. In 1977, Davis would be elected the citys first Jewish mayor. Initial reports of Saint Johns small Syrian or Assyrian ,,colony were not always flattering, but gradually, as the Lebanese community became more involved in business and politics, media coverage improved.125 The ,,Syrians were admired for their patriotic contributions during World War I, and reporting of their community activities became increasingly matter of fact. A published history of the community, based in part on interviews, reveals that the biggest obstacle faced by the first wave of newcomers and their children may have been not the Protestant-dominated host society but the Irish Catholic community. The Lebanese shared the East end tenement district, as well as the Catholic church and schools, with the Irish. As late as the 1940s, however, the Knights of Columbus allegedly did not admit certain Lebanese and Italian Catholics as members, a situation that helped lead to the formation of a Catholic Community Association.126 By the early 20th century, a number of non-ethnic, non-sectarian community organizations had been established as part of what Douglas Rae describes as "civic fauna."127 In addition to trade unions, they included athletic organizations, youth organizations and clubs, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Independent Order of Foresters, the Kiwanis, the Knights of Pythias, the Rotary Club, the Gyro Club, the Canadian Club, the Womens Canadian Club, the Saint John Arts Club, the New Brunswick Historical Society, the Natural History Society, the Womens Council and the Canadian Legion of the British Ex Service League.128 Despite the advent of modern community organizations that depended on consensus, however, Saint John remained a divided community on many levels, with a growing Irish Catholic population augmented by the Lebanese and Acadians. This resulted in an expansion in Catholic schools and the establishment of a new parish, St. Pius X, in the North end in the 1950s. According to a report in 1931, impoverished Catholic children generally were not placed in the Municipal Home (the new name for the Poor House) but were looked after by the Catholic authorities. During World War II, Catholic authorities organized Catholic Charities to undertake family welfare work. The effort, headed by a priest 37
and administered by unpaid clerical staff, augmented municipal relief and social welfare efforts for up to 300 Catholic families living in distress. For decades the Catholic share of the citys population stalled at roughly 30% but by 1951 had climbed to 37%. By the 1950s, the largely Irish Catholic population was beginning to benefit from upward mobility and post-war affluence, and many would move into the new suburban communities developing in Saint Johns Millidgeville area or in Simonds parish and the town of Lancaster (the latter would be amalgamated into Saint John in 1967).129 V. Conclusion The Chinese Commerce Centre near Saint Johns central business district, depicted in Image 8, nicely symbolizes the citys immigration history. The structure in the photograph, attached to an auditorium (once a movie theatre) and a building that now houses a restaurant featuring northern Chinese cuisine, is one of the oldest stone structures in the city, built in 1819. Its original owner was Loyalist C.J. Peters, who had been born at Hampstead, New York, in 1773. Near the outbreak of World War I, the Peters mansion was sold to the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic voluntary organization dominated by third, fourth and fifth generation Irish Catholics.130 Recently the complex was purchased by Chinese interests, who established the restaurant and commerce centre. Two blocks away are the downtown classrooms of UNBs 38
Image 8: Chinese Commerce Centre, Saint John, 2009 Credit: the author Saint John College, a language training institution that, like the university itself, has done much to attract Chinese and other international students to the area. Other Chinese small businesses are visible in the ,,uptown area, which also houses Japanese and Korean eateries. Saint John, like many Canadian cities, also has a mosque, another indicator of internationalization. These visible signs of diversity in the community are encouraging, given that Atlantic Canada currently attracts only 1% of Canadas immigration stream. Saint John became more ethnically conscious in the 1980s and 1990s as federal and provincial multiculturalism policies gained greater momentum. The citys Francophone community also became more organized and visible with education programs, a community centre and a church. The 1984 bicentennial of the founding of New Brunswick underscored not only genealogy and community history but also ethnic history and culture. One result on the provincial level was the formation of the Irish Canadian Cultural Association to revive and promote Irish culture. A specific Saint John manifestation was the organization in 1984 of a Chinese Canadian Cultural Association (CCCA) dedicated to promoting Chinese language and culture. Formalizing a loose network among the areas 50 Chinese 39
Canadian families, the CCCA was supported by the federal Secretary of State. Another significant outcome was the founding of the Saint John Jewish Historical Society, followed by the establishment in 1986 of a museum in the old Jewish Community Centre on Wellington Row. The latter institution, which along with the synagogue has recently relocated to smaller quarters because of the declining Jewish presence in the city, has been assisted by the citys large expatriate Jewish community.131 What lessons can be drawn from Saint Johns immigration history? At one level, it is difficult to draw comparisons between our more tolerant and diverse society of the early 21st century and that of a century ago. In the early 1900s, minorities were often subjected to social exclusion and immigrants expected to be assimilated into the dominant Anglo-Canadian culture. Many immigrants had low levels of education, were confined to low-status, low-pay occupations, and gravitated to low-rent, workingclass neighbourhoods. Prejudice and discrimination were not unknown. Succession into better jobs, improved housing and positions of influence was often gradual and multi-generational. In other cases, it took place within one or two generations. Some immigrants, notably those from England, Scotland and the United States, were immediately accepted as part of the white, Anglo-Celtic Protestant mainstream. They and their children usually fared better economically and socially than many members of more established cultures in the city. Because of policies such as the Provincial Nominee Program, todays immigrants, at least in New Brunswick, are often highly educated professionals and entrepreneurs who move directly to the middle class suburbs, bypassing the classic ethnic succession experience associated with the 20th century North American industrial city. They have high expectations and are highly mobile. Saint John, because of its recent demographic patterns, is not commonly thought of as an immigrant city. However, the "Immigrant Experience" project reminds us that the community would not exist in its present form without the contributions of successive waves of newcomers from within Canada and abroad. The spirit and goal of this report, the first attempt at an overview of Saint Johns immigration experience, is that an awareness of the past can help create a more welcoming climate for current and future immigrants. More work on the history of immigration and race and ethnic relations remains to be done, but the research to date suggests the following broad conclusions: 1. The era of relatively high levels of immigration to New Brunswick, the 1820s, 30s and 40s, was exceptional and likely will not be replicated. 40
2. In the past, economic and transportation factors were the single biggest influences in determining immigration patterns. 3. Through chain migration, which often involved reunification of extended families and intermarriage within the larger diaspora, minority cultures established beachheads in Saint John. This historic practice suggests the importance of family reunification in current immigration policy. 4. Some immigrant streams, such as the Jewish and Lebanese, were refugees, yet they mostly arrived through their own resources. 5. At least several dozen families, at a minimum, were necessary for an immigrant/second generation community to reach a critical mass so that its ethnic or national identity could be preserved and partially expressed. 6. Immigrant contributions to the development of Saint John ranged from unskilled labour, skilled trades, small-, medium- and large-scale commercial and industrial businesses to religious, educational and social leadership within both ,,ethnic communities and the broader civic community. 7. Many, but not all, immigrant cultures experienced various degrees of prejudice and discrimination from the host society. 8. Institutions designed in part to ,,protect minority cultures also contributed to their isolation from the economic, social and political mainstream. 9. Immigrant/ethnic groups, by becoming involved in politics, public life and civic institutions, helped advance democracy. 10. Immigrants who became "responsible, contributing community members" helped promote "equal treatment and opportunity" for their ethnic or national group.132 11. The more successful immigrants belonged to cultures with high levels of social capital.133 41
12. As with native-born New Brunswickers, the children of immigrants with improved skill and education levels tended to migrate out of the region for further education, work or marriage because of the relative weakness of the regional economy and the lack of a major urban centre in the province. My final comment, based on research into Saint Johns immigrant experience, is that we should show greater appreciation for our immigrant and multicultural past--something rarely acknowledged during the heyday of the ,,Loyalist myth, when textbooks, local writers, public celebrations, museums and historical societies celebrated New Brunswicks and Canadas ,,British past.134 Good starts have been made with published histories of the Jewish and Lebanese Canadian communities and the establishment of a Jewish historical museum. Given greater Saint Johns interest in internationalizing the population, the time is ripe to research and promote a more inclusive and realistic history of the community. December 29, 2009 Acknowledgments: The author wishes to thank both the Atlantic Metropolis Centre for funding the project the Immigrant Experience in Saint John and researcher Jon Bruce. Special thanks go to Peter Toner, Kurt Peacock, Peter Murphy, Harold Wright, Enterprise Saint John, the New Brunswick Museum Archives and the staff of the Saint John Free Public Library. NOTES 1 Greg Marquis, "Re-Imag [in] ing the Post Industrial City: Contemporary Saint John," unpublished paper presented at Town and Country: Exploring Urban and Rural Issues in New Brunswick, St. Thomas University, Fredericton, June 23, 2007; D. Michael Ray, ed. Canadian Urban Trends: Saint John CMA (Toronto: Copp Clark, 1976), table 3.4. Between 1991 and 2001, the percentage of foreign born in the Saint John CMA actually declined, from 4.3 to 3.9: Statistics Canada, Proportion of foreign born, by census metropolitan area (1991 to 2001), available online at For recent immigration to New Brunswick, see 42
Heather Steel, "Wheres the Policy? Immigration to New Brunswick, 1945-1971," Acadiensis, XXXV (2) (Spring 2006): 85-105. 2 Richard Florida, The Flight of the Creative Classes (New York: Harper Collins, 2005). 3 CMHC, available online at:; "Citys East Indian Community Discussed," Evening Times Globe, Feb. 7, 1984, 32; Statistics Canada, Community Profiles 2006, available online at: By the mid 1980s, the Saint John area had 35 East Indian families, most of Hindu religion. Family heads worked mainly in the medical and business sectors. 4 "Provinces Population Up," Telegraph Journal, Sept. 30, 2009, A3; New Brunswick, Be Our Future: New Brunswick's Population Growth Strategy. (Fredericton 2008). 5 New Brunswick, Be Our Future, 12-13. See also, Greg Marquis, "New Brunswicks Population Growth Strategy in Historical Perspective," in Michael Boudreau, Peter G. Toner and Tony Tremblay, eds. Exploring the Dimensions of Self Sufficiency for New Brunswick (Fredericton: St. Thomas University, 2009), 100-18; Katie Anderson and Dr. Christopher Leo, "Immigration and Settlement in Saint John, New Brunswick: Community Perspectives on a Federal-Provincial Agreement," (Winnipeg: University of Winnipeg, 2006). 6 Saint John Evening Times Globe, April 6, 1984, 16. 7Available online at; New Brunswick, Be Our Future. 8 Greg Marquis, "Re-Imag [in]ing the Post Industrial City"; Greater Saint John Community Foundation, Greater Saint John Vital Signs 2009 (Saint John: Greater Saint John Community Foundation, 2009). 9 Elizabeth McGahan, The Port of Saint John: A Study in the Process of Integration, v. 1 (Saint John: National Harbours Board, 1982); Globe and Mail, Nov. 2, 2009, A12. 10 Canadian Immigration Reports, The Ships List website, available online at 11 Canada Year Book 1922-23 (Ottawa: Kings Printer, 1923), 200. For an overview of Canadian immigration in this period, see Donald Avery, Reluctant Host: Canada's Response to Immigrant Workers, 1896-1992 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1995). 12 Saint John Daily Sun, March 23, 1909, 5. 13 Saint John Daily Sun, March 6, 1909, 2; April 26, 1909, 3; May 1, 1909, 2 43
14 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, June 18, 1902, 2. 15 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, April 9, 1902, 2; Dec. 3, 1902; 1; Saint John Evening Times, April 6, 1909, 2. 16 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, March 1, 1905, 3; Daily Sun, March 17, 1909, 2. 17 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, Feb. 28, 1908, 8; Saint John Evening Star, Oct. 3, 1919, 14. 18 Saint John Daily Sun, March 30, 1909, 2. 19 Charles H. Lugrin, New Brunswick (Canada) Its Resources, Progress and Advantages (Fredericton: Government of New Brunswick, 1886). 20 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, April 21, 1900, 1; Aug. 17, 1901, 1. 21 For the Acadian presence in Saint John, see Greg Allain et Maurice Basque, De la survivance а l'effervescence : Portrait historique et sociologique de la communautй francophone et acadienne de Saint-Jean, Nouveau-Brunswick (Saint John: Association rйgionale de la communautй francophone de Saint-Jean, 2001). 22 V. Knowles, Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-1997 (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1997). 23 Carleton Sentinel, April 19, 1907, 5. See also, Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, Nov. 22, 1899, 1. 24 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, Dec. 4, 1901, 5. 25 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, April 11, 1906, 3. 26 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, Jan. 25, 1899, 1, 24. For a general history of the Doukhobors, see George Woodcock and Ivan Avakumovic, The Doukhobors (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1976). 27 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, Jan. 25, 1899, 2. 28 Saint John Evening Times and Star, Sept. 12, 1919, 3. 29 Saint John Evening Times and Star, Oct. 3, 1919, 14; Dec. 5 1919, 8; April 29, 1920, 5; Aug. 30, 1920, 2; Report of the Department of Immigration and Colonization, 1930-31 (Ottawa: Kings Printer, 1932), 81-84. 30 Saint John Globe, Dec. 1, 1925, 30. 31 Saint John Globe, Dec. 1, 1925, 28; Dec. 4, 1925; Saint John Evening Times Globe. Nov. 29, 1929, 7. 32 Report of the Department of Immigration and Colonization 1930-31 (Ottawa: Kings Printer, 1931), 13, 22-23, 44. 33 Saint John Evening Times Globe, June 22, 1931, 1-2. 44
34 Saint John Evening Times Globe, March 18, 1947, 5. 35 Saint John Evening Times Globe, April 13, 1944, 9; March 18, 1947, 8; April 2, 1947, 9; Oct. 27, 1949, 11; April 26, 1950, 9. 36 Saint John Evening Times Globe, Sept. 19, 1947, 11; June 5, 1948, 9; March 1, 1951 11; March 29, 1951, 13; June 13, 1956, 13; April 27, 1957, 1; Saint John Telegraph Journal, Dec. 11, 1957, 9. 37 Charles H. Lugrin, New Brunswick (Canada) Its Resources, Progress and Advantages (Fredericton: Government of New Brunswick, 1886), 61. 38 Mary Kilfoil McDevitt, We Hardly Knew Ye: St. Mary's Cemetery: An Enduring Presence, Saint John, New Brunswick (Fredericton: Cummings Typesetting and Service Bureau, 1990), 19; T.W. Acheson, "The Irish Community in Saint John, 1815-1850," in P.M. Toner, ed., New Ireland Remembered: Historical Essays on the Irish in New Brunswick (Fredericton: New Ireland Press, 1988), 29-54; P.M. Toner, "The Irish of New Brunswick at Mid Century: The 1851 Census," in P. M.. Toner, ed. New Ireland, 102-06, 111; Scott W. See, Riots in New Brunswick: Orange Nativism and the Social Violence in the 1840s (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), chapter 3. 39 Peter D. Murphy, Poor Ignorant Children: Irish Famine Orphans in Saint John, New Brunswick (Halifax: Saint Marys University, 1999), 1-14; P. M. Toner, "The Irish of New Brunswick," 110; Mark McGowan, "Irish Catholics, Multicultural Canada, available online at The county included urbanized Portland, which had 15,000 residents by 1881. 40 P. M. Toner, "The Irish of New Brunswick," 107-08; Mary Kilfoil McDevitt, We Hardly Knew Ye, 14-15; Saint John Morning News, May 25, 1860. 41 Table compiled from Census of Canada, 1871-1951. 42 Source: 1861 Census of New Brunswick, Statistics Canada, available online at 43 T.W. Acheson, "The Irish Community," 40. 44 Canada, Census of 1881, Vol. 1. 45 Canada, Census of 1891, Vol. 1, 228; 234-35, 334-35. 46 Canada Year Book, 1922-23 (Ottawa: Kings Printer, 1923), 206 47 Canada Year Book 1922-23, 208. 45
481911 Manuscript Census, Wellington ward, Saint John; Canada, Census of 1901, v. 1, 416-21; 454-55. 49 Canada, Census of 1921, vol. 1; 1911 Manuscript Census, Wellington ward, Saint John; Saint John Daily News, March 16, 1876; Saint John Daily Telegraph, Nov. 29, 1875; Saint John Evening Times Globe, March 29, 1945, 9; Nov. 30, 1951, 13. I am indebted to Harold Wright for the reference to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox church. 50 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, April 14, 1901, 2; Canada, Census of 1901, vol. 1, 454-55; Canada Census of 1911, v. 2, 148-49; Peter D. Murphy and Brenda Peters McDermott, As the Cedars Grow: The Origins of Saint John's Lebanese Community in Canadian History (Saint John: Saint John Canadian Lebanese Association, 2002). 51 Canada, Census 1931, vol. 2, 175-76; 342-43; 766-67; 788-89. 52 Saint John Evening Times Globe, Nov. 28, 1931, 9; Saint John Citizen, May 2, 1938. 53 Canada, Census of 1931, vol. 2, 342-43; Census of 1941, vol. 2, 282-83. 54 Canada, Census of 1951, vol. 1, 12-20-21. 55 Saint John Daily Sun, May 25, 1883, 1. 56 McAlpine St. John City Directory 1880-81 (Saint John: David McAlpine, 1881), 531-32. 57 Saint John New Dominion, Oct. 6, 1877, 360. 58 Saint John Globe, March 18, 1898, 3; Saint John New Freeman, April 7, 1906, 8; Nov. 14, 1906, 3. 59 Saint John Globe, Nov. 27, 1913, 5. 60 Kerby A. Miller, Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1985), 128, 134, 271, 357, 375, 485, 511. 61 Saint John Daily Sun, April 10, 1883, 2. For the early period, see P.M. Toner, "The Rise of Irish nationalism in Canada, 1858-1884," (PhD thesis: University of Galway, 1974). 62 Saint John New Freeman, Aug. 12, 1921, 5; March 22, 1922, 8; March 17, 1923, 1 63 Saint John New Freeman, Jan. 18, 1958, 8. 64 Saint John Daily Sun, June 17, 1884, 2; Saint John Daily Telegraph, May 19, 1886, 3; Oct. 7, 1886, 3, Canada, Census of 1891, vol. 1, 234-35; P.M. Toner, "The New Brunswick Separate Schools Issue, 1864-1876," (MA thesis: University of New Brunswick, 1968); Rev. Dr. Michael McGowan, Pax Vobris: A History of the Diocese of Saint John Its Bishops and Its Churches (China: Diocese of Saint John, 2004). In 1923, the Catholic diocese established a new parish in Simonds, just to the east of Saint John, in the expectation that the areas population would continue to grow. 46
65 William M. Baker, Timothy Warren Anglin, 1822-96: Irish Catholic Canadian (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1977). 66 P. M. Toner, "The Irish of New Brunswick," 110-15; 131. 67 T.W. Acheson, "The Irish Community in Saint John, 1815-1850," in P.M. Toner, ed. New Ireland, 3032. 68 C.M. Wallace, "John Boyd," Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 1891-1900, volume XII. The 10,000 figure was arrived at by subtracting the estimated number of Irish Catholics (14, 360) from the total of ethnic Irish: Canada, Census of 1901, vol. 1, 164-65; 292-93. 69 Scott W. See, "The Fortunes of the Orange Order in 19th Century New Brunswick," in P.M. Toner, ed., New Ireland, 96-99; Saint John Globe, Aug. 24, 1895, 1; T.W. Acheson, Saint John: The Making of a Colonial Urban Community (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985), 109. 70 Saint John Daily Telegraph, Feb. 24, 1894. 71 T. W. Acheson, "The Irish Community," 42-45. 72 See, Riots in New Brunswick; Saint John Star, June 29, 1909, 1. 73 Saint John City Directory 1933 (St. John: MacMillan, 1933). 74 Saint John New Freeman, March 3, 1955. 75 Saint John Daily Telegraph, April 2, 1886. 76 Saint John Daily Telegraph, June 13, 1873; Canada, Census 1901, vol. 1; Marcia Koven, Weaving the Past into the Present: Glimpses into the 130 Year History of the Saint John Jewish Community (Saint John: Saint John Jewish Historical Museum, 1989), vii; ix. 1. 77 Douglas A. Rae, City: Urbanism and Its End (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 4-5. 78 Canada, Census 1911, vol. 1. 79 Canada Census 1931, vol. 2, 812. 80 Saint John Globe, Feb. 27, 1912, 9; Saint John Standard, Feb. 27, 1921, 10. See also, Saint John Evening Times and Star, May 3, 1920, 3. 81 Saint John Evening Times Globe, Jan. 29, 1940, 3; July 3, 1940 3; July 10, 1940, 9; May 17, 1948, 9. 82 Saint John Evening Times and Star, Dec. 5, 1919, 10; Saint John Evening Times Globe, Nov. 3, 1931, 9; Feb. 2, 1931, 16. 83 Saint John Evening Times Globe, May 28, 1947, 1. 84 Saint John Citizen, Dec. 13, 1937, 1-2. 47
85 Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Times of Louis B. Mayer (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005). 86 Saint John Citizen, Feb. 28, 1938, 1, 7; March 2, 1938, 1, 11; March 4, 1938, 1; March 7, 1938, 1. For a visual record of the East end, see Brenda Peters McDermott, Urban Renewal Saint John: A City in Transition (China: MCRL Overseas Printers, 2008). 87 Saint John Citizen, Feb. 24, 1938, 12. 88 Peter Murphy and Brenda Peters McDermott, As the Cedars Grow; 1911 Manuscript Census, Wellington ward, Saint John. 89 Barry R. Mackenzie, "They Came from the Land of Milk and Honey: The Lebanese Immigrant Experience in New Brunswick, 1879-1939," MA thesis UNB (University of New Brunswick, 2009. 90 Canada, Census 1931, vol. 1, 404; vol. 2, 318. Endogamy is the custom of marrying within ones group, culture or religion. 91 Saint John Evening Times Globe, May 19, 1948, 15. 92 Howard Palmer, "Reluctant Hosts: Anglo-Canadian View of Multiculturalism in the Twentieth Century," in R. Douglas Francis and Donald B. Smith, eds., Readings in Canadian History: PostConfederation, 5th edition (Toronto: Harcourt and Brace Canada, 1998), 126. 93 For examples, see Saint John Daily Telegraph, Dec. 20, 1886, 2; Saint John Star, Sept. 1, 1905, 8; Saint John Evening Times, July 27, 1909, 1. In 1840, nearly half of the colonys black population lived in Saint John city and county: 1840 Census of New Brunswick, Statistics Canada, available online at Detailed work on the history of Saint Johns black community waits to be done. One valuable resource is W.A. Spray, The Blacks in New Brunswick (Fredericton: Brunswick Press, 1972). 94 Saint John Daily News, March 16, 1876, 1; Saint John Daily Telegraph, Nov. 29, 1875, 2. 95 Scott See, Riots in New Brunswick, chapter 7. 96 T.W. Acheson, Saint John, ch. 12. 97 Saint John Daily Sun, Nov. 10, 1892, 3; 1911 Manuscript Census, Dukes ward, Saint John; Greg Marquis, " ,,A Machine of Oppression Under the Guise of the Law: The Saint John Police Establishment, 1860-90," Acadiensis, XVI (Autumn 1986), 58-77. 98 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, Aug. 23, 1899, 6. 48
99 C. M. Wallace, "John Boyd"; Saint John Standard, Jan. 13, 1910, 1; Nov. 7, 1910, 1. 100 Canada, Census of 1921, vol. 1, table 26. 101 Mary Kilfoil McDevitt, We Hardly Knew Ye, 105; Geoffrey Bilson, A Darkened House: Cholera in Nineteenth Century Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1890), 105-07. 102 Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Minutes of the Saint John Board of Health, 1855-56. 103 Peter D. Murphy, Together in Exile (Saint John: Lingley Printing Co., 1990). 104 P.M. Toner, "The Irish of New Brunswick," 118. 105 Saint John Progress, March 4, 1899, 1; Saint John New Freeman, May 19, 1906, 1; Richard James Rice, "A History of Organized Labour in Saint John, New Brunswick, 1813-1890," (M.A. thesis: University of New Brunswick, 1968); 1911 Manuscript census, Kings ward. For civic politics, see Greg Marquis, "Regime or Coalition? Power Relations and the Urban Agenda in Saint John, 1950-2000," Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Place in the Global Economy, III (4) 2009: 355-68. 106 Carleton Sentinel, Sept. 13, 1907, 7; Saint John Evening Times Globe, July 28, 1945, 9. 107 Saint John Sun, May 4 1909, 1. 108 Saint John Evening Times Globe, Dec.8, 1938, 11; Dec. 20, 1938, 3; Saint John Globe, July 21 1925, 2. 109 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, April 14, 1901, 2; Saint John Star, Oct. 2, 1906, 8; Saint John Globe, Sept. 17, 1917, 3. 110 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, Feb. 20, 1901, 5; Sept. 11, 1901, 1; Saint John Standard, Sept. 20, 1918, 3. 111 1911 Manuscript Census, Wellington ward; Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, Jan. 5, 1907, 2. 112 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, July 11, 1900, 7. 113 Saint John Evening Times, April 12, 1909, 1; April 13, 1909, 1. 114 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, July 11, 1900, 5. 115 Canada Census of 1921, v. 2, 300-01; 1931, v. 2, 318; Saint John Standard, April 25, 1921, 12. 116 Saint John Evening Times Globe, Feb. 3, 1931, 2. 117 Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, July 11, 1900, 5; Feb. 20, 1901, 5; Evening Times Globe, Jan. 5, 1928, 18; Jan. 6, 1928, 1. 118 Saint John Globe, Dec. 4, 1925, 9; Saint John Citizen, Nov. 13, 1937, 2; Saint John Evening Times Globe, Dec. 13, 1937, 9 49
119 Canada, Census of 1931, vol. 2, 342-43; Census of 1941, vol. 2, 344-45; Census of 1951, vol. 1, 6-21; Saint John Evening Times Globe, July 20, 1956, 11. 120 Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood, 22. 121 Peter I. Hidas, "Canada and the Hungarian Jewish Refugees, 1956-57," East European Jewish Affairs, 37 (1) (April 2007), 79. The incident or incidents were reported by a local Jewish Canadian citizen to the Canadian Jewish Congress. 122 Saint John Daily Sun, Oct. 12, 1882, 2; Saint John Daily Telegraph, Aug. 12, 1886; Feb. 12, 1894; Saint John Semi-Weekly Telegraph, Jan. 14, 1899, 2. 123 Saint John Star, Jan. 12, 1905, 3; Feb. 22, 1905, 5; Oct. 31, 1905, 8. 124 Marcia Koven, Weaving the Past, viii. 125 Saint John Star, Nov. 21, 1905, 8; Sept. 6, 1906, 1; Saint John Globe, Nov. 11, 1912, 10. 126 Peter Murphy and Brenda Peters McDermott, As the Cedars Grow. 127 Douglas Rae, City, chapter 5. 128 Saint John City Directory, 1933. 129 Saint John Evening Times Globe, March 7, 1931, 3; Canada, Census of 1951, vol. 2, 9-17, 9-18; New Freeman, March 3, 1955; May 14, 1955. 130 Saint John Evening Times Star, Nov. 7, 1925, 1. 131 Saint John Evening Times Globe, Nov. 15, 1984, 2; Saint John Telegraph Journal, Oct. 26, 2009, C4. 132 James Frideres, "Creating an Inclusive Society: Promoting Social Integration in Canada," in John Biles, Meyer Burstein and James Frideres, eds. Immigration and Integration in Canada in the TwentyFirst Century (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2008), 83. 133 Abdolmohammad Kazemipur, "Social Capital of Immigrants in Canada," Working Paper, No. WP 04-04, Prairie Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Ethnicity, 2004, 5. The World Bank defines social capital as "the institutions, relationships, and norms that shape the quality and quantity of a societys social interactions." See World Bank, What Is Social Capital? (2000), from 134 Greg Marquis, "Commemorating the Loyalists in the Loyalist City: Saint John, 1882-1934," Urban History Review, XXXIII (1) (Fall 2004), 24-33. 50

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