Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2000


Published in Great Plains Research 10 (Spring 2000). Copyright © 2000 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


There is no Little Canada in the United States; yet the relocation of Anglo-Canadians to the United States ranks among the largest group of foreigners settling in America. Why then is their cultural impact on the American landscape virtually invisible? This is the intriguing question Randy W. Widdis addresses in his aptly titled With Scarcely a Ripple.

Widdis begins his story with the relocation of some 50,000 Loyalists (Americans who remained loyal to the British crown) north during the late eighteenth century and ends with the settlement of the Canadian Prairies. In between his account of these two historic movements of people into Canada, Widdis provides ample evidence of a strong flow of Canadians to the promised land of the United States. As a geographer, he pays particular attention to the regional origins of this migration. The pull to America took Canadians, motivated primarily by economics, into both agricultural areas and industrial centers. Farmland was in short supply in Ontario by the middle of the nineteenth century and jobs were more readily available in America's cities than in Ontario's.