Site Purposes

  • To present examples of utopian settlements built in Canada from the early seventeenth century to about 1945. Eventually, several dozen settlements are expected to be described here. This is a work in progress.
  • To explain how and why the term “utopia” applies to the examples. This site is concerned with built utopias; fictional utopias are mentioned only peripherally.
  • To place utopianism within the context of settlement in Canada. Broadly speaking, the context comprised:
    • vast amounts of land and resources in use by Indigenous peoples;
    • colonization by European states (especially France and England) that fought to control the Atlantic and incorporate new world resources into their economies;
    • diverse branches of Christian institutions claiming access to populations to whom they could spread their particular religious beliefs;
    • threats, real and perceived, from the rebellious Americans to the south both as potential invaders and as a successful example of a break-away colony.
  • To provide material that may be useful for comparing imported European utopian ideals with the ideals held by Indigenous peoples. The European notion of utopia is a habitat which is somewhere else or not yet realized, whereas for at least some Indigenous peoples up to the mid-nineteenth century the ideal habitat is here, now.
  • To illustrate how utopianism and city planning have been linked, for better or worse.