French-Speaking Canada

In the 1860s, waves of French Canadians started a migration to New England. In only forty years, the French-Canadian population of New England grew from 37,000 to over 600,000. About 31,000 of these immigrants established their new lives in Lowell, and the number more than doubled over the following ten years. Available work in cotton, wool, lumber, and paper mills and furniture-making proved the draw. Through 1920, Canadians represented the largest immigrant in every New England state but Connecticut. Proximity to Quebec and the Maritimes made the trip more accessible than a multiple-day journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Canadian immigrants who usually settled in neighborhoods where they could preserve their language, religion, and family networks.