As the population of the United Kingdom ballooned and job opportunities plummeted in the early 1800s, government recruitment programs targeted those who might be willing to start a new life in Canada. In addition to offering financial incentives, recruiters circulated guidebooks that were both a primer and propaganda for life in the New World. What type of soil, weather, and working methods one could expect were included in this material, as were hearty reassurances that the chances of getting lost in the woods were relatively low. Recruiters were also sent to lower-class communities to solicit emigrants – a tactic often necessary with the illiterate poor who were unable to read the promotional materials. But for all the work these recruitment efforts did in painting an idealistic portrait of the many opportunities available in Canada, the reality that awaited most new Canadians – especially those who became involved in the canal’s construction – was far from picture-perfect.