Perhaps it was...
• The scenery was breathtaking.
• Their relatives lived within a day's train or steamboat ride.
• Nationalism and Canadian pride was on the rise. Canada was heading toward unification and it is doubtful that this had any negative affect on the family.
• They had access to the best doctors and highest state-of-the-art health care of the time.
• Economically, things were looking good. Take a peek at the Canadian Sessional Papers of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, Canada, 1882-1883, Volume 15, Part 3. The 1881 Canadian census shows that even the two teenage boys in the Hersey family had work (William as a clerk, Thomas Jr. as a baker). Most likely the reasons for leaving were not economic. Predictions for work in carpentry (Thomas's employment) were positive.
• Records indicate that their extended families were close, living next to each other, working next to each other, attending the same churches, participating in the same community fraternities.
• It appears that Thomas Albert Sr. may have been somewhat well-off; they owned more than one property.
• There are no records of trouble in their Primitive Methodist Church; there were alternative places of worship if this were true.
• As mentioned above, the weather was not particularly extreme for the area. Actual records for each day of the year can be found in the Canadian Temperature Archives.
Well, then, why leave?