There is no question that life as an immigrant would be more difficult in the 1880s for an immigrant.
In 1870s the railway was begun in upper Canada, but an economic depression struck. In 1880, in the town of Emo, Ontario, for example, immigrants encountered many harships. Obviously, the countryside was undomesticated: There were still no good roads, cleared land was rare, towns few and small; the weather was harsh in the long winter.
With the onset of the Industrial Revolution in Canada, people moved into the cities; however, they encountered poverty and harsh conditions such as over-crowding in the "slums." Then, in the late 1890s, many young men were conscripted to fight in the Boer Wars.
On the other hand, immigrants today have been show on network TV to have had an easy passage to Canada. Some recent immigrants were featured on an evening news program; on this program they boasted of receiving housing and free education from the government. Quelle difference!