Full Steam to Canada
by Anne Patton
Based on a true story, Full Steam to Canada tells the tale of a British family's 1903 journey to the promise of a better, richer life on the Canadian prairies.
Dorothy Bolton and her family are making ends meet in Britain in 1903, but the growing number of stories about vast expanses of fertile, free land have definitely caught the eye of her father and her brother.
It's her father's dream to have a farm of his own. When young Frank loses his clerk job to a returning Boer War veteran, the Boltons' last good reason for staying where they are is gone with it. They follow the lead of Reverend Isaac Barr, whose stated mission it is to create an exclusively British colony in the new world – one that will keep other peoples out.
In lively language and crystal-clear detail, Anne Patton recreates the Boltons' farewell to friends and family, their journey across the Atlantic Ocean in a ship packed with other emigrants on the Barr Colony mission, and their journey by train from the Maritimes to the middle of the Canadian prairie.
There's a reason the author's descriptions are so precise. She was able to interview the real-life Dorothy Bolton and record hours of her recollections of those times and that experience. Full Steam to Canada is a novel, but it is absolutely "based on a true story".