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The City Below the Hill

The City Below the Hill

Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1972
Pages: 116
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  • Book Info
    The City Below the Hill
    Book Description:

    The city below the hillis a detailed investigation of social conditions in a working class quarter of Montreal during the 1890s.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5629-1
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. An introduction
    (pp. v-2)

    Under the surface of the unparalleled prosperity of the age of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada faced a gathering social crisis. Economic expansion had brought in its wake a wide assortment of new troubles – urban squalor, rural depopulation, the immigrant problem, ‘big business,’ public corruption, and the like. The press was filled with accounts of deepening uncertainty and confusion. From novels, magazines, conferences, and lectures poured a stream of comment on the new Canadian dilemma of material prosperity and social misery. On the eve of the Great War Clifford Sifton warned that the nation was following the same path as...

  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. 3-4)
  4. Chapter 1 Introduction
    (pp. 5-12)

    If one were to draw a line across the map of a portion of the city of Montreal, following Lagauchetiere street from its junction with Bleury street to the Windsor Station and thence along the tracks of the c.p.r. as far as the city limits, he would divide the south-western half of our city into two occupied districts of nearly equal extent. One of these districts, that to the west, is upon high ground; the other, that to the east, is in the main but little above the river level. The former region, for lack of a better name, we...

  5. Chapter 2 Employment
    (pp. 13-22)

    One of the first matters worthy of consideration in our study of ‘the city below the hill’ is the location and distribution, the quantity and character of the employment therein furnished. We have already learned that the district furnishes homes for nearly thirty-eight thousand persons, and we now further desire to ascertain where and how these residents secure that employment whereby they are enabled to subsist. In choosing a home, all other circumstances being equal, the wage-earner prefers to locate in the vicinity of his daily work, and, therefore, unless counteracting conditions are found to exist, the prevalence of centres...

  6. Chapter 3 The composition of the family
    (pp. 23-30)

    Having investigated, in the previous article, the subject of the employment furnished throughout the district under examination, we next turn from the study of the workshop to the study of the home, and offer a few considerations upon matters affecting family life.

    Two phases of this subject naturally present themselves, since two things are necessary to every home, the examination of the family occupying and of the habitation occupied. This article is on the former theme and is to treat of the composition of the family as it will be found to exist in ‘the city below the hill.’ More...

  7. Chapter 4 Family incomes and workers’ wages
    (pp. 31-38)

    Examination into the question of the family income and the remuneration of the wage-earner, when resident within ‘the city below the hill,’ will form the subject of this, our fourth, sociological study. Although allied topics these two themes may best be considered separately and in the above order. With regard to each we will first survey the field as a whole, then consider the characteristics of certain localities and finally offer some suggestions regarding the utilization of information of this nature.

    Let us turn first then to map d and familiarize ourselves with the meaning of its figures in order...

  8. Chapter 5 The homes of the wage-earners
    (pp. 39-48)

    We are now come to the point where investigation is necessary as to residential conditions in ‘the city below the hill.’ Before we can take up the study of comparative rentals we must know something regarding the differing accommodation which the several localities provide. We have then as our present task to answer a series of questions as these:

    1 Does the industrial class of the west-end, as a rule, occupy lofty tenement houses or small dwellings?

    2 Is any considerable portion of our people to be found in rear tenements?

    3 What sanitary accommodation do the several localities provide?...

  9. Chapter 6 Comparative rentals
    (pp. 49-56)

    In our preceding article we considered the homes of ‘the city below the hill.’ We learned what the dwelling place of the average family offered by way of situation, sanitary convenience and room space. We noted also the local variations from the standard. We are now therefore prepared (1) to enter upon a consideration of the cost of such accommodation to the average family; (2) to examine how this amount varies according to the locality; (3) to consider certain other conditions which influence rental values, and, (4) to ascertain how large a proportion of his income the average wage-earner finds...

  10. Chapter 7 Density and overcrowding
    (pp. 57-66)

    Density and overcrowding, by which we mean two entirely different matters, are to-day regarded by medical authorities as exercising so great an influence upon public health that these subjects demand at our hands full and careful consideration. Density of population is usually expressed in terms of persons to the acre. Overcrowding has come to be regarded as referring to the number of persons per occupied room. Were we to estimate the condition of a neighborhood alone by the former test we might be drawn into quite erroneous conclusions, since of two localities, having the same density per acre, one may...

  11. Chapter 8 The poor of the west end
    (pp. 67-78)

    It is difficult to determine what shall constitute the low water mark of decent subsistence in our ‘city below the hill.’ Since a dollar a day is regarded as the minimum wage for an unskilled laborer, it would seem that $6.00 per week might be taken as the point below which comfort ends and poverty commences. But a dollar a day is by no means equivalent to $6.00 per week, since few are those, among this class of laborers, who can count upon regular work throughout the year. It is also an undeniable fact that there are frugal households, not...

  12. Chapter 9 The death rate
    (pp. 79-86)

    ‘The closer people live to one another’ says Dr. Russell of Glasgow, ‘the shorter their lives are.’ This statement needs no proof, for it is universally admitted that urban conditions are less conducive to general sound health and long life than rural surroundings. With natural conditions against the city, it is only by the exercise of additional precautions that this handicap can be overcome. Now the test to which the cities of the civilized world by common consent annually submit themselves, in order to determine how successful or otherwise each has been in the struggle against these natural disadvantages, is...

  13. Chapter 10 Nationalities and religions
    (pp. 87-100)

    As previously stated, ‘the city below the hill’ has a mixed population. Considered as a whole, the 7670 families therein resident may be classified as follows: French-Canadian, 3218; Irish-Canadian, 2614; British-Canadian, 1596; all others, 242. Thus it will be seen that 42 per cent of the population (taken by families) is French-Canadian; 34 per cent is Irish-Canadian; 21 per cent is British-Canadian, and 3 per cent is of other nationalities.

    That portion of the lower city which lies above Notre Dame street and belongs to St. Antoine ward is the home of 4307 families. Its population is thus divided: The...

  14. The housing of the working classes
    (pp. 101-115)

    It will be necessary for me at the outset to define what I mean by the term ‘the working classes.’ We will seek our answer by means of a process of exclusion. All families that are rich or comfortably well-to-do, that is all households wherein the annual family income exceeds or equals one thousand dollars, I would not regard as properly belonging to the working classes. So also the submerged tenth of society, ‘the dependents, defectives and delinquents,’ those who have fallen below the level of decent subsistence, who could not, without outside help, survive through the rigors of a...

  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 116-117)