The staple theory, already discussed in terms of how it applied to resources like fish and furs, can be used to understand the wheat economy as well.The lack of diversification in the Upper Canadian farming economy is a symptom of the limits of a staple-dominated system.Things were made more complex by the Corn Laws, which were protective tariffs put in place as part of the mercantilist system that channelled colonial products to imperial ports and limited colonial imports from non-imperial sources.
Related to the growing farm economy was the rise of a colonial merchant class in Upper Canada that specialized in the wheat business.
Their profits were tied to bulk shipping, so these merchants were inclined to support infrastructure improvements that benefitted the movement of bulk freight.
In other words, grain ships are grain ships, not container ships that can carry a multitude of different products.
Nor are they smaller, faster vessels designed to transport textile products.
After two generations of slow pioneering farm expansion, Upper Canadians were finally in a position to do well on that market.
The post-war economic crisis, coupled with increased production of wheat in the colony (much of it coming from post-war immigrants) made for increased competition in a shrinking market and, therefore, economic uncertainty.
One consequence was that the sale of lands (and the speculation in land values) was a major source of wealth.
Immigrants with a bit of money could buy ready-cleared properties or better located farms facing water routes that positioned them to realize success either in farming or in land resale.
Tobacco was a popular crop in the 1820s, as was dairy production, but neither came close to wheat as a principal product.
Wheat, unlike fur, is not a luxury product: a lot of wheat is needed to turn a profit.