URBAN HISTORY REVIEW Vol. XXXV, No. 2
Introduction / Photography by David W. Lewis
Victoria Debates Its Post-industrial Reality: Tourism, Deindustrialization, and Store-Hour Regulations, 1900–1958
AbstractBy examining local debates about store-hour regulations in Victoria, BC, this article highlights the extent to which the city’s decision to pursue tourism promotion as an economic alternative to traditional industry divided the local community. Some community members championed tourism as an effective alternative economic strategy and fought to eliminate the city’s store-hour restrictions, especially the Wednesday half-holiday, because they believed these restrictions limited tourist expenditures. Others strenuously opposed the elimination of these restrictions on the grounds that they served the social and cultural interests of the local community. The article calls for a more flexible understanding of “deindustrialization” that views the term less as an “era” and more as an inherent characteristic of capitalism and argues that the recent literature on deindustrialization holds important lessons for historians examining the period before 1970.
When Ghosts Hovered: Community and Crisis in a Company Town, Britannia Beach, British Columbia, 1957–1965
AbstractThis article compares two shutdowns in the copper-mining town of Britannia Beach, British Columbia. It explores the extent to which community was a “sufficiently empowering myth” to unite residents against their employers’ respective closure attempts. During a 1958 shutdown triggered by plummeting copper prices, divisive notions of community, coupled with loyalty to long-time employer Britannia Mining and Smelting Company, produced despair rather than resistance among residents. Most left Britannia to find other work, and few returned when the mine reopened ten months later. Conversely, when the town’s future was again at risk during a labour dispute in 1964, workers reacted with stiff resistance. When the new owner, the Anaconda Company, threatened to close the mine, striking employees mounted a united campaign and called for support from across Canada to keep the mine open. When the dispute was settled seven months later, the union claimed victory over an American corporate giant. This commuter workforce with loose social ties had successfully used notions of local and national community to foster militancy against their employer. The case of Britannia demonstrates how community can both restrain and rouse workers and town residents, shaping their diverse reactions to deindustrialization.
Industrial Sunrise? The Chrysler Bailout, the State, and the Re-industrialization of the Canadian Automotive Sector, 1975–1986
AbstractAfter 1980 deindustrialization was the prevailing condition in the North American automotive industry—but not in Canada. Much of that difference was due to an aggressive federal intervention that demanded investment and production from foreign automakers. Using Chrysler as a case study, the paper asserts that state policies such as the 1980 bailout and the 1965 Canada-U.S. Auto Pact actually led to a re-industrialization of the Canadian sector. The paper challenges older dependency theories that assume deindustrialization, and recent work that focuses upon worker activism, as the reason that Canada’s industrial heartland did not rust.
Interpreting Personalized Industrial Heritage in the Mining Towns of Cumberland County, Nova Scotia: Landscape Examples from Springhill and River Hebert
AbstractAs analysis of deindustrialization shifts from economic processes to community response, public landscapes become the locus for the struggle over memory. The interpretation of collective memory has been considered through oral histories, worker narratives, and public art. Missing from this analysis, however, are the personalized landscapes that also contribute to the understanding of industrial heritage in deindustrializing cities and small towns. This article considers a small number of artifacts and constructed objects that create personalized landscapes of industrial heritage in two mining towns in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia. Interpreting these landscapes highlights their ambiguity, the contributions they may make to processes of local cultural resistance, and their intensely personal motivation. The analysis questions the extent to which these landscapes reflect a wider coherent heritage discourse or function to reinforce local community, family, and place identity.
“A Future in the Past”? Tourism Development, Outport Archaeology, and the Politics of Deindustrialization in Newfoundland and Labrador in the 1990s
AbstractThe fishing industry crisis of the 1990s saw the already precarious economic base of the many towns and small communities further eroded in Newfoundland and Labrador. The situation was made worse by both federal and provincial pursuit of programs of economic liberalization that sought to limit the role of the state in economic and social affairs.
As the effects of the crisis were felt, and established state supports were weakened, tourism was embraced by a growing body of local development and heritage organizations as a way of restoring the shattered economic base of many communities. Limited, short-term funding for some tourism-related projects was provided mostly from government programs, largely as a means of politically managing the structural adjustment that was being pursued.
This paper examines the role of the state policy in deindustrialization. After discussing the crisis in Newfoundland and Labrador and the promotion of community development in response to that crisis, some of the problems associated with tourism development and “outport archaeology” are outlined. Focusing on sustainability and survival, an assessment is made of the role of tourism in dealing with crisis in the once-fishing-dependent communities of Newfoundland and Labrador.