Vol. 44, No. 1-2
Publication Date: 2016-08-10
Number of articles: 16

Environmental Nuisances and Political Contestation in Canadian Cities

Pages: 5–9
Environmental Nuisances and Political Contestation in Canadian Cities: Research on the Regulation of Urban Growth’s Unwanted Outcomes 
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By / par Owen Temby
Pages: 10–23
National and Local Definitions of an Environmental Nuisance: Water Pollution and River Decontamination in Six Urban Areas of Quebec, 1945–1980 
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By / par Stéphane Castonguay


When it created the Water Purification Board in 1961, the Quebec government intended to proceed with a major reorganization of the municipal wastewater treatment and drinking water systems throughout the province. In the following decades, the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment developed a series of programs and policies for the treatment of wastewater. If water pollution then appeared as a national problem and the subject of a consensual definition, neighbouring communities were facing specific problems that government policies tended to obscure. Our analysis of six municipalities (Drummondville, Sherbrooke, Saint-Hyacinthe, Granby, Trois-Rivières, and Shawinigan) located in three river basins (Saint-François, Yamaska, and Saint-Maurice), each with its own topography and hydrology, population, and industrial growth, and political and cultural history, reveals precisely how communities articulated their different understandings of pollution problems, as well as their distinct definitions of nuisance and means of coping with pollution. By identifying, at the local level, multiple representations of pollution phenomena and practices put forward to decontaminate water, we shed light on the difficulties surrounding the implementation of water treatment infrastructure in municipalities across Quebec between 1945 and 1980.

Pages: 24–36
Smelter Fumes, Local Interests, and Political Contestation in Sudbury, Ontario, during the 1910s 
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By / par Don Munton


During the second half of the 1910s the problem of sulphur smoke in Sudbury, Ontario, pitted farmers against the mining-smelting industry that comprised the dominant sector of the local economy. Increased demand for nickel from World War I had resulted in expanded activities in the nearby Copper Cliff and O’Donnell roast yards, which in turn produced more smoke and destroyed crops. Local business leaders, represented by the Sudbury Board of Trade, sought to balance the needs of the agriculture and mining-smelting sectors and facilitate their coexistence in the region. Among the measures pursued, farmers and some Board of Trade members turned to nuisance litigation, with the objective of obtaining monetary awards and injunctions affecting the operation of the roast yards. While the amounts of the awards were disappointing for the farmers, the spectre of an injunction was sufficient to convince the provincial government to ban civil litigation in favour of an arbitration process accommodating industry. This article provides an account of the political activism over Sudbury’s smoke nuisance that failed to bring about emission controls, highlighting the contextual factors contributing to this failure.

Pages: 37–55
Urban Environments and the Animal Nuisance: Domestic Livestock Regulation in Nineteenth-Century Canadian Cities 
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By / par Sean Kheraj


In the nineteenth century, municipal authorities in Canadian cities faced a common set of environmental challenges associated with domestic livestock animals. This article examines the regulation of livestock in Montreal, Toronto, and Winnipeg. As these cities each grew over the course of the nineteenth century, their urban environments became ecologically more alike and their responses to animal nuisances reflected these ecological similarities. Municipal authorities in each of these cities adopted broadly similar approaches to the regulation of livestock animals. Over the course of the nineteenth century, municipal governments developed extensive and increasingly restrictive bylaws, pound systems, and public health regulations to control the use of livestock. These approaches to livestock regulation were the results of emerging common ecological transformations in cities as humans attempted to live together with domestic animals in increasingly densely populated spaces.

Pages: 56–57
Summary and Conclusion to the Special Issue 
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By / par Jessica van Horssen

Feature Article

Pages: 59–72
The Affordances of MacKinnon Ravine: Fighting Freeways and Pursuing Government Reform in Edmonton, Alberta 
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By / par Shannon Bower


This article examines the disputes that erupted in the second half of the twentieth century over the proposal to build a freeway through Edmonton’s MacKinnon Ravine, a landscape some saw as fundamental to the city’s network of recreational lands along the North Saskatchewan River and its extensive ravine system. MacKinnon Ravine, as a possibility-rich landscape, helped successive waves of urban activists articulate opposition to freeway development by serving as the keystone in a multi-decadal arc of civic activism. An orientation to the ravine allowed a series of distinct advocacy efforts to build on each other both in methods and in goals. These successive waves of activism not only altered MacKinnon Ravine’s future but also helped reshape civic governance in Edmonton.

Book Reviews / Comptes rendus

Pages: 76–76
Making Toronto Modern: Architecture and Design, 1895-1975. Christopher Armstrong. . Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014. 406 pp. 280 photos, illustrations and maps 
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By / par Daniel Ross
Pages: 77–77
City of Noise: Sound and Nineteenth-Century Paris. . Aimée Boutin. Springfield, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2015. 208 pp. Photographs. ISBN 978-0-252-03921-8, $95.00 cloth; 978-0-252-08078-4, $25.00 paperback 
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By / par Owen Temby
Pages: 78–79
Tending the Student Body: Youth, Health, and the Modern University. . Catherine Gidney. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. 304 pp. Photographs 
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By / par Roberta Lexier
Pages: 79–80
Nettoyer Montréal : Les campagnes de moralité publique, 1940-1954. . Mathieu Lapointe. Québec : Septentrion, 2014, 395 p. 
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By / par Mathieu Noël
Pages: 80–81
Designing Tito’s Capital: Urban Planning, Modernism, and Socialism in Belgrade. . Brigitte Le Normand. Pittsburgh : University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014, 320 pp. 
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By / par Nari Shelekpayev
Pages: 81–82
The First Green Wave: Pollution Probe and the Origins of Environmental Activism in Ontario. . Ryan O’Connor. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015. 264 pp. Photographs. ISBN 978-0-7748-2809-3 
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By / par Arn Keeling
Pages: 82–83
50 ans de la Place des Arts. Louise Poissant, dir. . Québec : Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2015, 252 p. 
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By / par France Vanlaethem
Pages: 83–84
La gouvernance montréalaise : de la ville-frontière à la métropole. Léon Robichaud, Harold Bérubé et Donald Fyson,dir. . Montréal : Multimondes, 2014, 182 p., coll. « Cahiers de l’Institut du patrimoine de l’UQAM » 
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By / par Giselle Giral
Pages: 84–85
Why Did We Choose to Industrialize: Montreal, 1819–1849. . Robert Sweeny, Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015. 456 pp. 
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By / par Dan Horner
Pages: 85–87
A Town Called Asbestos: Environmental Contamination, Health, and Resilience in a Resource Community. Jessica van Horssen. . Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2016. 256 pp. 
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By / par Amy Hay