Sunday 29 November 2015

The planning begins for our cross Canada trip

The farmhouse in Prosperous Valley, Webb Sask.

From 2009-2015 Gordon and I spent our holidays in Europe journeying along many of the ancient pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela and to Rome. All of these trips were self-propelled, either on foot or with our bicycles, following the traces of all the  pilgrims that made the journeys before us.

While there are no ancient  religious pilgrimage routes that cross Canada, most of us trace our ancestry to people who gave up home and family and journeyed to Canada in search of a better life. My Grandmother Freda came as a child with her family from Minnesota to homestead in the area of Webb Saskatchewan, attracted by Clifford Sifton's promise of free land in the "The Last Best West."


Gord's Grandfather Horace Howard Leeney, was one of 24 boys sent in 1893 by the  Fegan Boy's Home in London to Canada as child labourers. Horace was only 7 when  his ship the Oregon pulled into the Port of Quebec. It was not until 1895, following two unsuccessful placements, that he was adopted by Fred D.Webster of  Brantford Ontario.

Gord's French ancestry goes back to an arrival in  New England in the 1660's. My ancestor, Stephen Hopkins came to Jamestown in 1609 and returned with his family on his second voyage on the Mayflower.

Travelling by bike across Canada will allow us to pursue some of these stories and gain a better sense of our own and Canada's immigrant history.

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