Johan Schroder's Travels in Canada, 1863 is the narrative of two months of travel during the summer of 1863 that took Johan Schro/der, a Norwegian gentleman and farmer, through Upper and Lower Canada. Schroder's travels, undertaken with a view to publishing an emigrant guide, brought Canada to the attention of the Norwegian people.
Norwegian emigrant traffic through Canada began in earnest after the repeal of the British Navigation Acts (1849) and was precipitated by a lucrative timber trade between Canada and Britain. Norwegian shipowners, many of whom were acting as carriers for the timber industry, quickly discovered that their return voyages to Canada could be more profitable if their ships were filled with immigrants instead of ballast. The time was ripe for interest in immigration to Canada when Schroder decided to embark on his tour.
Schroder was well received in his Canadian travels and managed in two months to see more of the country than most Canadians did in a lifetime. But, despite his warm welcome, he decided to settle in the United States and advised others to do the same. Four years after his trip he published Skandinaverne i de Forende Stater og Canada (The Scandinavians in the United States and Canada) in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Another edition, containing only the chapters on Canada, was published in Christiania, Norway, as was an abbreviated Swedish translation.
Schroder's account of Canada, which is now published for the first time in English translation, is the only narrative of travel in Upper and Lower Canada by a Scandinavian and one of the very few descriptions of pre-Confederation Canada written by a traveller from outside the English-speaking world. It not only gives us a view of Canada as it appeared to an educated Scandinavian but also sheds light on the reasons why most European emigrants who entered the port of Quebec located in the United States.