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October 2000

page 3

The Politics of Municipal Annexation: The Case of the City of London's Territorial Ambitions during the 1950s and 1960s

John F. Meligrana


Southern Ontario's local government system was under considerable stress immediately following The Second World War as rapid urban growth spilled over traditional municipal units. This situation generated a number of potential local government reforms. The paper focuses on the politics surrounding one type of reform, annexation. The London-Middlesex region is used as a case study, to answer the question: why, how, and under what conditions did annexation come to dominate the regional political discourse? The paper examines the political tactics, procedures, and strategies that the City of London employed to support and articulate its territorial ambitions before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and other forums during the 1950s and 1960s. London's 1961 annexation was the fiercest and final annexation battle that the OMB decided between the city and Middlesex County. The paper also unpacks the politics surrounding the 1961 annexation by reviewing the minutes of local council meetings, government reports, records of the OMB, and newspaper articles. It concludes that London's annexation success resulted front the city's superior political skills, a disorganized rural opposition, and the proceedings and operations of the OMB that divorced the issue of municipal boundaries from local governance, thereby biasing the outcome in favour of annexation.
page 21

The Spread of Commuter Development in the Eastern Shore Zone of Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1920-1988

Hugh Millward


This study uses evidence from archival and recent topographic flaps to plot developing patterns of commuter-induced residential construction in the Eastern Shore sector of the Halifax commuter zone. Building counts were made from 1:50,000 topographic maps surveyed in 1917-20 (pre-commuter situation), 1960-7 (early commuter), and 1988 (mature commuter), and the mapped patterns were analyzed visually and statistically. Both regionally and locally, a typical sequence of development is apparent and is discussed with examples. The evolving pattern of development has been molded by five sets of variables: access, services, environment, socio-cultural factors, and planning. Some variables operate primarily at the regional scale (notably, distance to the city centre), some at the district level (notably distance to an elementary school), and some are highly localized (e.g., the availability of road frontage). The results may be useful for anticipation and control of future development.
page 33

Mortality in an Early Ontario Community: Belleville 1876 1885

Larry A. Sawchuk et Stacie D. A. Burke


This study contributes to our understanding of health in late nineteenth-century communities in Ontario and the major factors contributing to the high mortality of the period. The focus of the study is Belleville, Ontario, from 1876 to 1885. Life expectancies at birth in the low forties characterized the community with infant mortality rates in the very high range, 160 per 1000 live-births. Major contributors to the observed pattern of mortality included tuberculosis, weanling diarrhea, and scarlet fever. Significant differences in the likelihood of dying from these three major causes varied by gender and religious affiliation. It is possible that more extended patterns of breast feeding among Catholics led to lower levels of weanling diarrhea mortality in their infants.
page 48

A Sense of Time and Place: Gilbert Stelter's Contribution to Urban History

John Taylor


These remarks were presented at "The Urban Academic," a conference in honour of the retirement of Dr. Gil Stelter, September 26, 1998, at the University of Guelph. The conference was presented by the History Department of the university.

Gil Stelter was the first president of the Canadian Urban Group after it was founded in 1971 at the annual meeting of the Canadian Historical Association in St. John's, Newfoundland. In retirement, Gil combines his writing on urban history with the hybridizing of day lilies. He is currently president of the U.S.-based Urban History Association.

page 53

Safeguarding "The Frog Pond": London West and the Resistance to Municipal Amalgamation 1883-1897

Greg Stott


The London, Ontario, suburb of London West (1874 to 1897) provides an example of a community that strove to maintain its municipal autonomy. Composed of independent wage earners, artisans, and small-business owners, London West cultivated a sense of identity separate from that of its neighbouring city. While a devastating flood in 1883 devalued property and greatly soured relations between the village and London, it buttressed community unity in London West. The flood similarly caused the villagers to insist upon the maintenance of certain controls in order to assure the security of their property and families in their negotiations with the city for amalgamation. After several protracted periods of discussions, the village tenaciously held out against the city until 1897, when ratepayers had little alternative but to accept London's less than satisfactory conditions. While the ultimate decision to join the city in 1897 was based more upon the village's dismal financial situation, London West's protracted resistance to municipal amalgamation indicates that nineteenth-century suburbs in Ontario were complex communities in their own right and not simply undifferentiated adjuncts that craved amalgamation with their urban neighbours.

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