In a CPR construction site in 1880's British Columbia, a young Chinese worker volunteers to set a dangerous nitroglycerine charge in return for his wife's boat fare to Canada.

Making a home in Canada has always involved hard work and overcoming obstacles.


Between 1840 and 1860, more than 30,000 American slaves came secretly to Canada and freedom. They were aided by "agents" on the Underground Railroad - men and women, white and black, Canadian and American.


In the 1880s many immigrants took advantage of free land offered by the government. The offer sounded like a dream, but the reality was not so wonderful. The homesteaders lived miles from tiny towns, isolated from their neighbours. Women and men worked side by side to create a life in their lonely new home. “Soddie” tells the story of the building of their first shelters.


The settlement of the Saguenay region was just beginning to take hold when the "Great Fire" struck. Despite the terrible toll exacted from the land and the people who worked it, the stricken families of the Saguenay stayed, forging a reputation as a remarkably tough and resilient people.


These Minutes show some of Canada's early struggles.