[Continuing a series of short excerpts from The Story of Canada, the recently republished history of Canada for kids and families that makes such a good Christmas gift.]
From Chapter Four: The Colonists
"Grosse Ile is a beautiful island in the St. Lawrence River, but for tens of thousands of immigrants in the 1800s, it loomed like a deadly barrier across their path to Canada
"In 1815, when the war against Napoleon of France ended, thousands of people began to leave the overcrowded British Isles to seek new lives in British North America. Crossing the ocean was still a desperate venture in the 1820s and 1830s. The voyage might take one month or four -- if the ship was not sunk or shipwrecked on the way. Immigrant families crossed the ocean packed together in dark, airless holds, with their belongings crammed in around them They were just another cargo for the sea captains who hauled timber to Britain on the return voyage.
"The most terrifying danger was cholera...."