Buying Land in Ontario

I have been interested for quite some time about the
logistics of settling in Ontario in the 1880s. While creating metadata for the
Chaffey brothers’ letters I have gotten a better sense of what life was like in
the early days of the colony. However, more specific details about the cost of
land or the average living wage are rarely mentioned outright. Recently I discovered
a letter that shed light on some of these questions.

In a letter from 1883, George Chaffey outlined the prices
for different types of parcels of land.

For small town lots located on the main Avenue (what is now Euclid
Avenue) the price is $100.

For a large town lot located on other streets the price is

For 2.5 acre lots within the “townsite” the price is $625.

For 10 acre lots within the “townsite” the price is $2500.

For 20 acre lots on the main Avenue the price is $4000.

For all other lots 10 acres and more the price per acre is

For settlers who make “substantial improvements within a
year from date of purchase,” a discount of $25 would be negotiated. Usually the
Chaffey brother expected half of the payment to be paid in cash and the rest
would be paid through 1-, 2-, or 5-year payment plans with 10% interest.

After a settler purchases land, George Chaffey recommends
that the person moves to Ontario in the autumn, before the first rains of the
season. This gives settlers time to “put up his barn and house, purchase his
hay, grain and tools and get things in proper shape to begin work.” Once the
first rains of the season start it will be time to start “plowing and planting
his land.”