Canada and the Industrial Revolution: Unforeseen Consequences
Industrialization and resulting urbanization occurred later in Canada than in other countries, lagging behind Britain and the United States. Real expansion took place between 1840 and 1890 (Hindman, 446). Industrialization and urbanization transformed Canadian lifestyles, created socially and physically stratified cities that promoted social injustice and inequality. The negative consequences of industrialization then spurred actions to rectify the problems. The Industrial Revolution began in England in the middle of the 1700s. It marked a time period of major change in the nature of production where machines replaced hand tools and steam and other sources of energy replaced human or animal power. Production became efficient and mass production of goods marked the beginning of a new economy (History Guide, Lecture 17).
In Canada the new economy involved the growth of industry and establishment of many factories required to manufacture the increased demand for goods. Many iron and steel factories were created to manufacture agricultural equipment as well as machine shops, textile and shoe factories (Francis et al., 133). A new managerial class was required to run these factories, and a labour force necessary to work in them. As a result, society was divided into three classes: an upper class of factory owners, a middle class of factory managers, and a lower class of labourers (Francis et al., 134). Factory owners were interested in growing and expanding their business and making money in the most efficient manner. They were not concerned with the conditions of the workplace or the needs of the workers (Francis et al., 134).
Since most of the factories were located in towns and cities, Canada saw a migration of people from rural areas into the towns and cities. Industrialization introduced time and labour saving machines such as: hay mowers, reapers, threshers and tractors...