October 2007

page 3

Les rapports riverains de la ville : Sherbrooke et ses usages des rivières Magog et Saint-François, XIXe – XXe siècles

Stéphane Castonguay et Dany Fougères


This paper analyzes the river–city relationships, and their continual redefinitions and revisions, within the City of Sherbrooke. Sherbrooke is located at the confines of the Magog and Saint-François rivers, which both constrained and enabled the development of the city. We follow the concerns on the presence of water in the city, and see that these relationships also possess material foundations, especially through the diverse urban uses of the rivers: hydraulic and hydroelectric energy production, dredging and retaining walls to regulate the river flow, outfall of sewage, provision of drinking water, recreational facilities. Over a one hundred year period, from the beginning of the industrialization of Sherbrooke to the 1970s, the materiality of each of these relationships was revised and corrected, and the associated practices were replaced. What is left of this succession of concerns and practices are the rivers themselves and the relationships that are embedded materially in the river bed and the river banks. In fact, our findings led us to consider rivers as urban infrastructures: like a public utility or a local public way, they must continually adapt to the changing economic, social and cultural demands, while, conversely, they direct the development of the city, its urban spaces, and their uses.
page 16

Development Controls in Toronto in the Nineteenth Century

Raphaël Fischler


Histories of contemporary development control tend to situate its beginning in the first or second decade of the twentieth century, when modern zoning bylaws were adopted. Yet, as some researchers have pointed out, building and land-use regulations took shape in the nineteenth century and even earlier. This paper focuses on controls set by the City of Toronto between 1834, when it was incorporated, and 1904, when it adopted bylaw no. 4408, which is seen by many as the first step taken by the city toward modern zoning. In technical terms, it appears that a coherent, though minimal, apparatus of land-use regulation was already in place by the 1860s. Over the course of the nineteenth century, building codes and nuisance laws display the growing intervention of public authorities in the development of the industrial city. Municipal control over material production and over human activity diversifies and finds expression in increasingly complex ordinances. In political terms, the bylaws reveal a growing concern with socio-spatial differentiation and with the protection of property values rather than with health and safety. The incremental development of land-use regulation suggests that, even though North American cities borrowed from each other and from their European counterparts, they constructed zoning locally, in accordance to local needs, resources, and constraints (economic, political, and legal) and in a piecemeal fashion, one bylaw, one amendment at a time.
page 32

Swatting Flies for Health: Children and Tuberculosis in Early Twentieth- Century Montreal

Valerie Minnett and Mary-Anne Poutanen


Responding to an appeal by city physicians and health reformers to destroy a prodigious disease carrier, the housefly, the Montreal Daily Star launched an islandwide contest in July 1912, offering prizes to children who collected the most dead flies. Nearly a thousand children, largely from working-class families, participated in a three-week-long “Swat the Fly” competition. Engaging Montreal children in this contest underscores a popular idea at the time that the best way to improve public health and combat the ignorance of a generation was to arm a new one with knowledge. While historians recognize that children’s participation in campaigns to promote public health measures was pivotal to their success, youngsters are often rendered as passive recipients of reformers’ efforts. We argue the contrary: children were active agents in public health crusades both as consumers and as advocates.
page 45

Modernizers and Traditionalists in Postwar Hamilton, Ontario: The Fate of a Farmers’ Market, 1945–1965

Danielle Robinson


Between 1945 and 1965, the Hamilton Farmers’ Market was hailed as both an irreplaceable cultural and historical gem, and condemned as an antiquated institution not worth the land it occupied. The market debates occurred in the midst of post–World War II suburban sprawl, fuelled and facilitated by the automobile. This change in the postwar landscape accommodated the rise of powerful modernist ideology as well as a traditionalist response. Debates over the market’s fate touched on reducing, relocating, or eliminating the market completely. The chosen solution—constructing a parking ramp on the market site, and housing the market on the ground level of the structure—was implemented by October 1960. This was a victory for the city’s modernizers, and foreshadowed the more extensive urban renewal efforts that dominated regional politics in the late 1960s and 1970s.

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