Settlements in Canada

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Since the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830, Canada has been a home to members of the Church.

Early Missionary Efforts in Canada

In the winter of 1829–30, Oliver Cowdery and Hiram Page visited Upper Canada as part of their journey to acquire funds to finance the publication of the Book of Mormon. Phineas Young, a yet-unbaptized convert to the Church, preached the gospel in March 1830 in the area of Earnestown.

The first official missionaries called to preach outside of the United States were Joseph Smith, Sr. and Don Carlos Smith. They preached in the villages north of the St. Lawrence River beginning in September 1830.

In January 1832, converted brothers Brigham and Phineas Young went to Upper Canada to convince their brother Joseph Young to join the church. After Joseph's baptism, the Young brothers taught their family and friends in Canada and baptized over 150 individuals and established four branches of the church.

Joseph Smith preached in Upper Canada in September 1833 with Sidney Rigdon at the request of Freeman Nickerson, who had come to Kirtland, Ohio, to ask Joseph to preach to his two sons, Moses and Eleazer Nickerson.

Lyman E. Johnson preached in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in 1833. John E. Page (1834) and Parley P. Pratt (1836) served missions to Upper Canada. Among Pratt’s converts were Isabella Walton, John and Leonora Taylor, Joseph Fielding, Mercy Fielding, and Mary Fielding.

By 1850, approximately 2500 residents of Canada—most of them from Upper Canada—had joined the Church. However, most of these members joined the gathering of the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, Nauvoo, Illinois, and later Salt Lake City, Utah. The 1861 census recorded only 73 Latter-day Saints living in Ontario, Canada.

Settlements in Alberta, Canada

Prosecution of those who practiced plural marriage led President John Taylor to encourage a Latter-day Saint settlement in Canada. In 1886, Charles Ora Card left Logan, Utah, and selected a settlement site. In 1887, the town of Cardston was established in the province of Alberta. In 1889, now Church president Wilford Woodruff instructed Card to expand the settlement and Mountain View, Kimball, Beazer, and Leavitt were soon populated by Latter-day Saints. President Taylor’s son John W. Taylor assisted in the establishment of these communities. However, the Canadian government opposed polygamy and outlawed the practice. Most of the opposition to the Church in Canada declined after the 1890 Manifesto.

Other new settlements continued to be colonized before and after 1900. A new surge of settlement began in 1902–1903 when wealthy Utah mine owner Jesse Knight established a sugar factory in Raymond.

The Church participated in the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company to irrigate the region. Two more settlement sites, Magrath and Stirling, were created along the irrigation system. Magrath grew with its woolen mill and later a cannery.

The Canadian Latter-day Saint farming communities have experienced declines in populations as various economic factors led people to migrate to urban areas for work. With a population of 200,000 Latter-day Saints (2019), Canada has nine operating temples: Cardston, Calgary, and Edmonton in Alberta province; Vancouver in British Columbia; Regina in Saskatchewan; Winnipeg in Manitoba; Toronto in Ontario; Montreal in Quebec; and Halifax in Nova Scotia.[1]