Ontarians called to the West for the Harvest (19-21 August 1915)

As labour demands mounted in the west ahead of harvest season, Canadian railways began to offer direct transit from central Canada to the west. While similar direct routes had been common before the war, it’s clear that the demand for Ontarian labour in the west was particularly strong in August of 1915 and that this year’s efforts were coloured by the ongoing war.

The Canadian Pacific Railway Company advertised in the August 19th edition of the Ayr News, presenting the trip west as akin to a vital military action:

“Thousands of men will be required from Ontario to help in the great work of harvesting the Western crop, and practically the entire task of transporting this great army of the harvesters to the West will fall to the lot of the Canadian Pacific Railway.”

The CPR trains ran from Quebec to Winnipeg from August 19th until the 26th, and would pass near the Waterloo Region shortly after leaving Toronto on August 24th. Tickets for the trip west were discounted to $12, while return tickets from Winnipeg would be $18.

(“Many Thousand Men Required for the Harvest in Western Canada,” Ayr News, 19 August 1915; “Farm’s Call for Men is Still Heard in Ontario,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 20 August 1915; “Harvest Help Excursions,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 21 August 1915.)