Education and assimilation in the Lakehead, 1900-1939


Dixon, Lydia Janice Elizabeth




Through a case study of the Lakehead, this thesis explores whether the provincial school system, with its Anglo-conformity approach to assimilation, was as important or exclusive an influence as Ontario education officials hoped and claimed in assimilating "foreigners" in the Lakehead between 1900 and 1939. The urban and rural areas of Port Arthur and Fort William, which experienced rapid population growth and changes in ethnic composition mainly due to heavy immigration of entrance status immigrants between 1900 and 1930, provided an excellent setting for the study of education and assimilation. The Lakehead's isolation and distance from central Ontario and limited financial and human resources of school boards, coupled with the rapid growth of the Lakehead's population with its particular socioeconomic and ethnic composition, shaped the development of provincial school education locally. These factors appeared to modify the original objectives stated by education officials to create a "homogeneous citizenship" through programs to achieve Anglo-conformity. The provincial school system was neither the only nor necessarily the most important influence on the assimilation process in the Lakehead between 1900 and 1939. Other agencies, which included religious, social, and political organizations sponsored by Canadians and immigrants of charter groups as well as entrance status immigrants, also played an important role in educating immigrants and shaping the assimilation process. Moreover, the role of these agencies changed throughout the period from 1900 to 1939.


Immigrants -- Education -- Ontario, Northern -- Cross-cultural Studies
Children Of Immigrants -- Education -- Ontario, Northern
Minorities -- Canada -- Cross-cultural Studies
Cultural pluralism




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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