Urbanization and Industrialization in Canada

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The impact of industrialization and urbanization in the late 19th and early 20th century on the working class in Canada

Submitted By: Elisha Roberton

Course: JWU 100Y1Y L0101
Instructor: Cheryl Shook
Date: Oct 24, 2011

Canada in the late 19th and early 20th century was immensely changed for better and for worse because of the industrial revolution. This revolution, fueled by technological advancements that changed everything from manufacturing to transportation “transformed the lifestyles of Canadians” and sent Canada, along with the rest of the world on a rollercoaster of rapid growth, full of booms and busts. Of all the changes this period endured, the most impacting was the rapid expansion of manufacturing and factory work with the mass exploitation of labor and environment, and the creation, recognition, and suppression of unions by the government of Canada. With the introduction of mass production and the division of labour, industry could produce goods at an unprecedented rate; however, this was only achieved through a complete disregard for environmental impacts and the exploitation of the labour force through poverty wages, and horrid working conditions. Without environmental regulations on industry, businesses were free to emit waste and emissions into the environment that impacted workers not only while they worked, but also in the slums near the factories where the labourers lived. Congestion and pollution became so bad in the cities that the upper class moved to suburban areas that were recently made accessible with the advent of the electric streetcar and automobile. Despite these slum like conditions laborers still paid approximately a quarter of their wages toward rent, or were forced to live in “hastily constructed shacks, in backyard tents, or even on the street”. Although there were many desirable aspects in the cities like “...taverns, sports events, music halls, and, soon the cinema for...
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