Pioneers on the Prairie

Saskatchewan sod house

A sod house in Saskatchewan

During the late 19th and early 20th century many people immigrated to the Canadian prairies to take up an offer of “free” land. They could claim 160 acres at a cost of $10 as long as they built a house on the land and cultivated a certain amount of it during the next three years.

It was not an easy task. It required persistence, optimism, resourcefulness and a whole lot of hard work.

Think of all the things one would have to do after leaving one’s own country behind, sailing across the ocean with probably just a few clothes and precious items, and then travelling by train or by wagon for miles and miles to get to the piece of land that would then be called home.

  • Build a house and a barn and an outhouse
  • Dig a well
  • Make any furniture needed (tables, chairs, beds)
  • Grow a vegetable garden
  • Preserve the garden produce for winter
  • Raise cows, chickens, sheep, pigs and work animals
  • Milk cows, and make butter and cheese
  • Clear fields and grow wheat or corn to sell or eat
  • Spin wool into yarn and then weave it into cloth
  • Make the family’s clothing
  • Forage or hunt for wild foods
  • Cut and dry hay for winter
  • Cut firewood for winter
  • Learn a new language (if not English)



If you are able to, read Pioneer Kids from the Canadian Flyer series.

The people who came to live in Canada were from many different countries in Europe, and for that reason, Canada has always called itself a “cultural mosaic” in the belief that respect for different cultural traditions makes us stronger.

It is not always comfortable to be different or accept people who are different, but it is a good lesson to learn.

In this book, Stefan has an egg that his mother has decorated. Ukrainian Easter Eggs are beautiful. Take a look at how they are decorated here: Ukrainian Easter Eggs.

Activities: Here are a few ideas that may make you feel more like a pioneer.


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