Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Pioneers, Ploughs, and Politics: New Brunswick Planned Settlements

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Declining Interest in Immigration

20th Century Colonization
New Brunswick's slumbering interest in colonization was awakened in the first half of the 20th century. One of the schemes developed at this time was viewed as a means of combating rural poverty and exodus. During the darkest days of the Great Depression politicians, community leaders, and poverty-stricken New Brunswickers, many from the northern counties of Madawaska, Gloucester, and Restigouche, fought to establish "green farms" on crown lands. This resettlement or back-to-the-land scheme, which involved federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government, helped hundreds of the province's poorest residents regain control of their lives. Allardville, located 12 miles south of Bathurst in Gloucester County, is one of these "green" communities.
Like the 19th century pioneers, the Allardville colonists, led by Father J.-A. Allard, constructed log homes, learned to build roads, prepared land for planting, searched for paid employment, and relied on financial and material assistance to stay afloat. Similarly, they struggled to establish churches, schools, and other institutions necessary for their colony's survival, and they too faced setbacks and disappointments, as they recreated their lives in the New Brunswick wilderness. Despite back-breaking labour and numerous obstacles, both the Allardville settlers and their 19th century predecessors succeeded seemingly against all odds. The retelling of their stories of determination and faith testifies to the strength of the pioneering spirit that created this province and kept its heritage alive for New Brunswickers to celebrate today.