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The Portal to Commerce in Western Canada

By the early 1900s, Lake Superior’s north shore evolved from a declining fur trading outpost to an important transportation hub with a bustling grain shipping terminal, a railway centre and fledgling businesses and services. In response to the promise of opportunities, the population of the Lakehead increased rapidly. Immigrants from different regions of Finland were vital to economic development. With their deeply rooted attachment to the land they adapted easily to life in the Boreal Forest, with its isolation, challenging weather conditions, poor transportation and other demands. Familiar with unskilled labour, men worked in the mines, logging camps, railroads and docks. Single women worked as domestic servants and lumber camp cooks. The Finns settled in almost every rural township in Northwestern Ontario believing that they were only in Canada temporarily before returning to their homeland with their fortune.