The Revolt of Pontiac and the American Invasion

The Arrival of the Loyalists

A New Population

Men of the King's Royal Regiment of New York settling in Johnstown in 1784

Caption: Men of the King's Royal Regiment of New York settling in Johnstown in 1784

For Canadians of French descent who still had hoped that Canada, with the exception of the Maritime colonies, would be returned to France, the Treaty of Versailles put an end to any such illusions. England, in its turn, was humiliated, but Canada remained a British colony. There was also a serious human problem: the thousands of American Loyalists who had fought alongside the British in their former colonies. These men and their families could not remain in the United States without exposing themselves to reprisals. They had to be evacuated. Thus in 1783-84 approximately 40,000 Loyalists - men, women and children - took refuge in Canada. Most came from regiments of disbanded Loyalist volunteers, and they settled in a new province created for them, New Brunswick. Many others went to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The Loyalist regiments established in Canada during the war were also disbanded. The men of the King's Royal Regiment of New York and the Loyal Rangers settled with their families in eastern Ontario, while the 469 soldiers of Butler's Rangers, with their 111 women and 257 children, were offered land on the Niagara Peninsula.

For the immediate future, these thousands of Loyalist veterans provided an excellent source of defence against possible aggression from the United States. But in the longer term they were to radically alter the composition of the country's population. Ten years earlier, when the Quebec Act was passed, such a demographic influx would have been impossible to predict. The Maritime colonies were sparsely populated, and the St. Lawrence Valley was overwhelmingly French. With the arrival of these tens of thousands of English-speaking Americans, who were Protestant and fiercely attached to their British values, everything was to change.