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"This is not a company; it is a cause": class, gender and the Toronto Housing Company, 1912-1920.


Historians of public housing have recently drawn attention to the ways in which housing designs are not merely reflections of societal attitudes, but rather, form part of the dominant ideological and political agenda. This article takes its cue from these insights by exploring an early Canadian state-assisted housing venture, the Toronto Housing Company (THC). The purposes, development, layout and internal design of Riverdale Courts, the major site of the THC endeavour, evolved through the interplay of class-specific and gendered practices, revealing reformers' recognition of the desire to rectify a perceived crisis in social order. The concentration on the quality and internal ordering of workers' homes went beyond purely economic grounds: the ideological role housing could play in regulating social consent was also a pivotal concern. This early case of social reform represents one facet of the state's and the reform movement's increasing engagement with the daily lives of workers through the attempt to shape a proficient, contented and internally-divided workforce.


Selon une hypothese avancee recemment par les historiens du logement public, le design de l'habitation ne se faisait pas simplement l'echo d'attitudes sociales, mais exprimait surtout les visees politique et ideologic dominantes. S'inspirant de ces constatations, cet article examine l'une des premieres entreprises d'habitation subventionnees par l'etat au Canada, la Toronto Housing Company (THC). Le but, ainsi que l'elaboration, l'amenagement et le design interne de Riverdale Courts, le plus important projet de la THC, evoluerent en fonction de certaines valeures liees specifiquement a la classe sociale et au genre, faisant foi, de la part des reformateurs, d'une perception de crise sociale el d'une volonte d'y remedier. L'interet porte a la qualite et a l'agencement interne des logements proletaires depassait donc un souci strictement economique: il incarnait tout autant le role ideologique du logement dans l'elaboration du consensus social Cet example de reforme sociale, l'un des premieres de son genre, demontre l'immixtion croissante de l'etat et du mouvement reformiste dans la vie quotidienne des travailleurs et travailleuses, l'objectif etant de faconner une main-d'oevre competente, contente et divisee interieurement.

 The factory threatens to become a huge octopus, enclosing within its
 grasp, parents, child and home: moulding them to its service ...
 Dr. Peter Bryce, Chief Dominion
 Medical Officer, 1919 (1)

Historians of housing have recently begun to situate built form within the larger social and economic context that structured the ideas and practices of architects, planners, social reformers and state agencies. In the case of state-assisted housing, the physical form of housing is seen along with the complex dynamics of policy formation, tenant allocation and management as integral to the power relations that lay behind the initiation and development of reform projects. For instance, Mark Swenarton shows how the particular housing designs of Britain's first sustained housing programme were driven largely by concern for political stability in the wake of the working-class upheaval of the First World War period. (2) In effect, he sees ideology as operating through housing design itself: reformers and their allies in government believed that providing sound middle-class dwellings--'Homes Fit for Heroes'--was the key to alleviating social unrest. A similar view has come forth from a multidisciplinary, feminist literature which has traced gender-biased housing design, most clearly seen in state housing, which contributed to women's oppression in the family. (3) These scholars have demonstrated that homes are not merely physical constructs, but embody intricate sets of social relations shaped by prevailing social and economic structures.

This study takes its cue from these insights by focusing on the interrelationship of the realms of production and reproduction in the built form of the Toronto Housing Company (THC). The THC was the earliest fruit of housing reform zeal in Canada's largest city. Hailed by contemporaries as a concrete illustration of orderly social relations, the THC began operations in 1912 as a co-partnership concern to provide a select few of Toronto's burgeoning working class with the chance to purchase the latest in modern, healthy lodgings at an affordable price. Cottage flats were constructed at two locations within the city: a five acre area just east of the Don River on Bain Avenue, named Riverdale Courts, and a smaller lot, Spruce Court, close to the downtown core. Altogether there were 204 cottages constructed at Riverdale Courts, and thirty-two cottages and six houses at Spruce Court, ready for occupancy by 1915. It was the culmination of a determined reform effort involving the city government, numerous philanthropists, prominent businessmen and social reformers such as Dr. Helen MacMurchy and G. Frank Beer.

New social and economic developments--principally monopoly industrial capitalism, rising class conflict and large-scale immigration (4)--forced social reformers and the state to face up to the necessity of undertaking significant interventions in the housing sphere. The drive for rationalization and efficiency, mirrored in the domain of productive relations by the writings of Frederick Taylor, originated as a response to the palpable hazards of such developments. Although Taylor himself was decidedly uninterested in living conditions, reform proponents in Canada explicitly made the link. Emphasis was placed on bettering the sanitary conditions, overcrowding and shoddy construction of workers' dwellings in order to improve the productive capacity and contentment of the labour force. The stress on the rationalization of social life was also applied to the design and internal arrangement of the family home--a cornerstone of the nation and the state in the estimation of reform-minded citizens.

Previous studies of the THC by Shirley Spragge and Lorna Hurl have carefully demonstrated the exigencies of policy formation, but do not fully explore the class and gender attributes of the physical form of the project. (5) The purposes, development, layout and internal design of Riverdale Courts, the major site of the THC endeavour, evolved through the interplay of class-specific and gendered practices, revealing reformers' recognition of and desire to rectify a perceived crisis in social order. The concentration on the quality and internal ordering of workers' homes went beyond purely economic grounds: the ideological role housing could play in regulating social consent was also a pivotal concern. This early case of social reform represents one facet of the state's and the reform movement's increasing engagement with the daily lives of workers through their attempt to ensure a contented, proficient and internally-divided workforce.

The Contours of Housing Reform
 ... Living problems in cities cannot be left to the fortuitous
 outcome of unrelated and unregulated individual interest, and the
 continuous conflict of public and private interest.
 Mackenzie King, 1918 (6)

The 'Queen City' of Toronto underwent considerable transformation during the period of monopoly industrial capitalism. From 1881 to 1921, the population increased five-fold from 96,196 to 527,893. This dramatic process of urbanization resulted from rapid suburban annexation and expanding migration from the countryside, other urban centres and from abroad. The land area encompassed by the city burgeoned by 83 percent between 1902 and 1914. (7)

Demographic change was accompanied by a transformation in the scale and nature of industrial production. This was the age of the large business corporation and high finance. The gross value of manufacturing increased by 500 percent from 1900 to 1921 as manufacturing became the largest employer in the city. The spectacular rise of monopoly corporations led to the "common refrain that Toronto had two classes: the Masseys and the masses." (8) The swelling level of production went hand-in-glove with alterations in the demographic make-up of the labour force. As massive immigration in the years 1898-1913 restructured the working class internally and stimulated demand for housing, new production processes stressed efficiency through technological innovation and the cooperation of labour in an increased drive forproductivity.

Despite the considerable accessibility of self-built dwellings, (9) there was a serious shortage of working-class housing in Toronto throughout the First World War period. The root of the shortage was the growing contradiction between the socialization of industrial production and the essential requirement that the labour force be satisfactorily reproduced. Thus, the major urban difficulty of the period was coordinating the demands of the growing industrial economy with the necessary provision of a well-educated, healthy and stable workforce. (10) Further, inflationary pressures due to the boom and bust cycle of the market economy considerably increased the prices of all consumption commodities. Rapid population growth and some reluctance to invest in the rental housing market led to a considerable squeeze on the availability and cost of rental housing. (11) Edward Chambers has demonstrated that the average rent on a typical six-room house in Toronto increased by 124 percent between 1900 and 1913. In fact, the almost negligible rise in working-class real incomes in these years was due in part to the high price of rent, forcing as many as 50 percent of households in some years to take lodgers. (12) These pressures mounted in the pre-war depression of 1913 and throughout the war years, culminating in the deep crisis of 1918 and 1919 when exorbitant consumption costs, housing shortages and related social unrest dominated the political scene.

The first responses to the dislocations in the housing market caused by the erratic boom and bust cycle of the economy focused on improving the sanitary environment. The pernicious physical and moral effects of poor housing were a common motif in the discourse of the expanding state-directed public health project. Poor housing injuriously impacted on physical health by directly limiting the productivity of the labour force. In an era of competing imperialisms, there was widespread apprehension about detrimental health conditions on economic and military capacity. (13) Sanitary officials promoted building codes, zoning and inspections to eliminate some of the worst excesses of substandard dwellings. (14) Public health and housing acquired a new importance when labour productivity became a fundamental concern of industry; but besides a few minor forays by solicitous reformers, housing provision was left largely to the market.

Since the home was the site of daily and generational reproduction, and to many in the upper classes the very wellspring of national life, early reformers often isolated the effects of substandard housing quality on the family as the prime motive for action. The home in reform rhetoric was more than merely a physical structure, it also reflected a widely held set of ideas about society, the family and women. A stress on the family home, stemming from the importance accorded to the nuclear family, with its segregated gender roles, entrenched ideology of domesticity and 'ideal' environment for raising children, aimed to offset the instability in gender relations provoked by declining marriage and fertility rates, the significant increase of women in the wage labour force, and the development of socialist and feminist political organizations that fought for women's rights. (15) Although modelled on a bourgeois ideal, this preferred family arrangement also became the norm for the working class; the working class was expected to emulate its 'betters' in the area of the family as in other realms. (16)

The rise of domestic science--a family-oriented exercise of practical homekeeping--extended the drive for efficiency in social life to the home and helped entrench the nuclear family by providing the basis on which it could flourish. If Taylorism pledged to increase efficiency in the labour process, home economics vowed to 'modernize' daily home life." ... Until women have learned the science of living and properly regulating the household expenditure in proportion to the income," one domestic scientist confidently asserted, "wage earners at least will be labouring under a disadvantage." (17) A properly kept, compact family home equipped with the increasingly common amenities of electric lighting, water, cooking appliances and indoor toilets offered a certain future, free from the vagaries of cramped, unsanitary lodgings. It gestured as well toward the potential of social mobility. In this way, as Suzanne Mackenzie says, a new "restructured family ideal" was made possible for working-class women. (18)

The crucial economic and ideological significance of the family as a basic unit of social organization would guide reformers' objectives toward both the physical form and the social activity expected to occur within and beyond the domestic environment of the houses at the THC. Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Charles Hastings, an ardent supporter of the THC, would voice this concern succinctly in 1918: "There is no more sacred word in the English language than 'Home'; and on the retaining of the sacredness and significance of our homes depends the future of our municipality and our Nation." (19) The transformation wrought by the concentration and centralization of industrial production in urban centres thus led to an increasing material and ideological investment in the family unit, ensuring a secure means of labour force reproduction while reinforcing the inferior status of women.

Prevailing beliefs about the nature of social relations are often supported by the state. Working-class housing became an important issue of state policy in Canada in an era of growing state intervention in the economy and society. It became urgently clear, especially in times of economic crisis, that only the state had the political legitimacy and the material resources to remedy the seemingly thriving problems of poverty, disease, crime and general 'anti-social' behaviour. (20) Along with the first limited attempts at Mothers' Allowances and Worker's Compensation, early housing policy demonstrates the capitalist state's crucial role in buttressing the reproductive capacity of the family in order to secure a healthy and stable workforce. In the case of the THC, the provincial and local governments respectively provided enabling legislation and financially guaranteed the semi-private venture. The different levels of the state involved in the THC operated on the same assumptions about class and gender advanced by the reform community, seeking state assistance to save capitalism from itself by concealing and ameliorating its most damaging aspects.

Policy Formation
 Daily News, 1913 (21)

The THC was originally planned as a co-partnership venture, a form of assisted housing pioneered in Britain by the Garden City Movement. Co-partnership referred to the practice by which private investors and potential tenants would buy shares in a housing company, pooling the revenues to actually build the homes. The rent paid by tenants would cover maintenance and operating expenses, accumulate equity in their homes, and would pay the non-tenant shareholders a small dividend limited to five or six per cent, thus attracting philanthropic investors only. (22) The schemes were commonly referred to as 'philanthropy and five per cent.'

The Garden City ideal originated in the utopian socialism of Owen, Fourier and St. Simon. Ebenezer Howard, the founder of the Garden City Movement in England, rejected the socialist emphasis on egalitarianism, but retained a solid belief in the values of cooperation, efficiency and sound environment. (23) Although the movement was heterogeneous, the main objective was to provide a social safety-valve through quasi-rural, spacious surroundings, improved housing standards, low-density housing and accessible transportation. In the view of its promoters, it combined the best features of public and private enterprise: prudent government financial intervention, upper-class philanthropy and individual initiative. Wealthy industrialist, G. Frank Beer, the president of the THC and prime mover behind the scheme, emulated these general principles. From the outset, he focused on forging a strong link between hardy home life and efficient industry, reflecting the Garden City theorists' propensity for advocating environmental solutions for social problems:
 We hear a great deal to-day about efficiency. Well efficiency, and
 by this I mean mental as well as physical efficiency should only be
 expected, and can only be secured from workmen if they are surrounded
 by the conditions under which efficiency naturally grows, and the
 houses, and home life of our men is, and always will be at the root of
 this growth. (24)

In a discussion of workers' housing in a letter to Beer, P.H. Bryce, Dominion Health Officer, captured the equally significant apprehension of the upper classes toward the escalating conflict between capital and labour: "Society has to pay for its mistakes and omissions.... Years of individualism can only be remedied by years of co-operation. Class distinctions can be lessened only by a perception of our social relationships." (25)

Like his British counterparts, Beer believed that a combination of limited government assistance, individual self-reliance and beneficence, and strict business sense was the key to solving urban housing problems. In a vein characteristic of Social Gospel thought, he insisted that where private enterprise fails, the government should help, but only in conjunction with the "voluntary cooperation of citizens," (26) by which he meant reform minded individuals and the worthy working class, both willing to endure sacrifice and work together for the betterment of society as a whole. In an article in Garden Cities and Town Planning Magazine, the prominent British housing reform organ, Beer argued for the right balance necessary to uplift the working class:
 It must never be forgotten that nothing the State or private
 initiative can do to help forward social reform will prove of such
 permanent value as enabling those requiring to help themselves. To
 weaken self-reliance is to weaken self-respect, and too extended an
 activity upon the part of the State may end in loss of virility,
 initiative, and perseverance in the class which needs these qualities
 most. (27)

Moreover, Beer resolutely believed that the THC should be a profitable endeavour because potential investment depended on at least some remuneration: "The Company was not organized for profit but for public service--to solve the housing problem. On the other hand, it is not a charity or a philanthropy, but dividends are limited to six-per cent per annum." (28) Oblivious to the contradictions in this formulation, co-partnership epitomized for Beer the sense of cooperation and moderation deemed essential to harmonious relations between classes. The exploitative nature of the workplace and its association with living conditions were not questioned.

The THC also consciously strove to differentiate between different strata within the working class according to respectability and social status. Beer maintained that there were three "classes" of people with which social workers had to deal: those with "physical and mental deficiencies"; the "border-land" men and women who were generally self-sufficient except in times of economic depression; and the "financially self-dependent," whose offspring were nevertheless susceptible to moral degeneration into the first two classes and who needed general guidance and social enrichment. (29) Company directors made sure that the latter were the preferred tenants by restrictive access to tenancy. Two references were required, rent was payable in advance, and a damage deposit was requested. (30) In this way, it was hoped the example of upright working-class tenants living in an efficient and morally virtuous manner would filter down to the lower 'classes' of workers.

Underinvestment and a dawning recognition of the difficulty of selling at a reasonable price to workers soon prompted the company to shift from its goal of selling houses on a co-partnership basis to a straight rental arrangement. In addition, rent was quite dear, ensuring that only families with well-paid breadwinners were able to afford the flats. When the THC first began to rent its Bain Avenue dwellings, rents ranged from $14.50 a month for the one-bedroom flats to $30 a month for the largest four bedroom flats, relatively affordable rates for families with moderately paid breadwinners. There were rental increases for the next four years, however, and by 1918, the THC's flats rented for $28 to $39, almost twice as much for the smallest flats, putting them well out of reach for all except the most well-paid workers. (31)

As a result of the dramatic rental increases brought on by wartime economic conditions, a noticeable shift occurred, especially in the Riverdale Courts complex, from predominantly working-class tenants to middle-class renters by 1923. Lorna Hurl's astute analysis of tenant composition also shows that large families were gradually replaced by a larger number of more affluent small families and single working women who shared accommodation to make ends meet. Although there is little data on the single working women tenants of the THC, a previous Toronto experiment by the YWCA suggests it is likely that they too were expected to stay for a short time in the flats and learn the ways of the scientific housewife in order to prepare for a future as mother and wife. (32) The attempt to assist even the most 'respectable' layers of the working class was proving to be an arduous task.

Dividing the working class into 'respectable' and otherwise was not dissimilar to the Company's perpetuation of an inequitable position for women. This was accomplished by premising tenancy on a strict notion of the nuclear family. The attractions of enhancing the nuclear family were evident in Ontario premier W.J. Hanna's Forward to the THC's First Annual Report: "the advantage [of the THC] is as much to the State as to the individual, for the home must always be the starting point for strengthening and elevating the social conscience and national life." (33) It is likely that the women members of the Company's Board of Directors, such as Dr. Helen MacMurchy, a well-known champion of scientific housekeeping, were specifically brought on to advise on issues pertaining to a women's role as both domestic labourer and mother. In line with these objectives, rental policy stipulated that families with one or two children were required to take flats with at least two bedrooms in order to avoid the social problems associated with overcrowding and maintain ideal family arrangements. While the ideal was never reached, by initially choosing to house worthy families of steady habits, the THC's desire to cultivate a suitably traditional family of a working man with dependent wife and children was apparent. As Margaret Hobbs and Ruth Roach Pierson skillfully demonstrate in their study of the federal-government sponsored Home Improvement Plan in the 1930s, (34) such gender-biased housing policies were particularly suited to further women's subordinate position within the family and society at large.

Government involvement in the undertaking was of particular importance to the Company's objectives and to the success of the project. Enabling legislation negotiated with Ontario premier Whitney allowed municipalities to guarantee housing companies up to 85 percent of bonds, providing share dividends were limited to 6 percent and surplus profits were reinvested. It also stipulated that the municipality hold a first mortgage on the company's assets and required the City to appoint a representative to the Board of Directors. (35) This was consistent with the original intentions of the THC's backers. Beer insisted in the initial stages of the effort that since elected city officials sat on the Board, the Company was a type of "public utility commission representing the city council, and spending public money." (36) In fact, much of the attraction of the venture lay in the city's guarantee of the THC's loans. The Company appealed to the sensibilities of reform-minded government officials, arguing that "moral and economic issues are inextricably woven" so that housing should be considered a "community service." (37)

Two main themes are apparent in this discussion of the policy formulation process: the THC's desire to foster a capable and contented workforce through the explicit regulation of tenants on class, gender and familial lines; and the role played by both the provincial and municipal levels of the state in mediating the social relations of the reform process in a time of great uncertainty. This interaction between different governments and social groups within the dominant social and economic parameters would be reflected and further reinforced by the built form of the THC houses.

Housing Form at Riverdale Courts
 Down with drudgery! That is the slogan of the scientific housekeeper
 of the day.
 Bailey Millard (38)

The house plans and building layout of Riverdale Courts evinced the belief of architects, social workers, and planners that the home was crucial to the larger social and political improvements they championed: efficient living with a stress on peaceful class relations, traditional family values and ideas, and the potential for social mobility. The supervising architect, Eden Smith, was renowned for designing relatively simple, English 'cottage style' homes for Toronto's affluent business class. (39) It is no wonder that neatly arranged cottage flats in a comfortable middle-class neighbourhood were the preferred choice of the THC. Closely reminiscent of the Garden City style (see Figure 1) the flats at Riverdale Courts harked back to an idyllic rural past, where simple family life was free from the insidious influences of the modern urban centre. Smith went out of his way to give the flats a "pleasant domestic association" to differentiate it from the popular association of philanthropic housing with stark functionalism. (40) Toronto would not be treated to any modernist experiments; the Riverdale Courts' design was more in line with one significant aspect of the Romantic critique of capitalism: what Alex Callinicos calls the celebration of the "(fictional) 'original fullness'" of the pre-capitalist past. (41) Unlike the Romantic's denunciation of bourgeois society, however, the Riverdale Courts' design was a revitalized expression of capitalist rationality framed in the discourse of traditionalism.


Toronto was popularly hailed as a 'City of Homes.' Unlike Montreal, with its high incidence of renting and multi-attached residences, Toronto's working-class families were housed for the most part in single-family dwellings; many of them in self-built houses on the urban fringe. Pattern books and designs of 'common' houses in North American architectural journals around the turn of the century show a marked shift to smaller dwellings, with little or no conspicuous ornamentation, reflecting concern over rising building costs and prevailing beliefs among architects and social reformers that compact single-family homes with functionally demarcated internal layouts were essential for efficient family life and, therefore, social stability. External housing form and the allocation and ordering of domestic space thus tended to follow function. (42) But a shift towards more compact housing forms co-existed with widespread evidence that overcrowded, substandard lodgings were a growing problem, especially in the central city (43) and in the burgeoning working-class suburbs.

The common designation of early workers' suburbs as 'shacktowns' neatly captured reformers' concern with the modest nature and haphazard development of self-built habitations. The prohibitive costs of building one's own home necessitated a relatively simple house design. Richard Harris has established that initially they were often poorly constructed one or two room structures with inadequate weather proofing in poorly serviced lots. In the early years, the lack of sewers, water mains, paved roads and public transportation made women's work in the household particularly harsh and burdensome. Taking advantage of the open spaces and lax regulations, however, suburban families devised clever survival strategies, including growing vegetables, raising livestock and making their own clothing. Moreover, the homes were continually improved by a constant process of rebuilding. (44) The perception remained, however, that the unregulated development of self-built suburbs was an obstacle to efficient city planning.

In the absence of hard evidence, it is possible to speculate that the internal design features of self-built and commercially constructed working-class homes tended to emulate the wider North American trends towards what Gwendolyn Wright calls the 'minimal house'--a small, neatly planned home, attentive to more efficient internal design and labour-saving technology. (45) But until further research is done on the actual interiors of workers' homes, the question remains as to whether or not the 'minimal house' was the middle-class ideal or the working-class reality.

In any case, in the eyes of reformers there was a clear perception that working-class housing suffered from defective housing forms that could only be rectified by the scientific application of rational designs intended to nurture efficient living. The project site and the landscaping of River-dale Courts were thus chosen with care to foster not only a 'pleasant' but a rationally wholesome experience for the family. The U-shaped building layout (see Photo 1) allowed for spacious courtyards to be used for children's play areas. As a THC promotional pamphlet

put it: "There the small children will have ample room to play, where their parents can see them, and away from the dangers and dust of the street." (46) The area was also close to local playgrounds, tennis courts, toboggan slides and skating rinks to provide for recreation. Given the prevalent view of the importance of childhood physical development for future social development, the provision of proper play spaces assuaged the fear that poor surroundings were a detriment to the nation's future. Saturday Night magazine spoke for many in the reform community when it complimented the THC on its attention to children: "The whole undertaking is one which appeals with especial force to earnest and patriotic women, who are anxious that the environment of the young Canadian should be such as to mean health and happiness." (47)

The need to rationalize and economize in various aspects of social life was visible in the plans for the house exteriors. The Garden City Movement's penchant for simplicity and tradition was instilled through carefully integrated sets of cottage types, varying predominantly in size (see Figures 2-6). All but the smallest of the 6 flat types included verandas or balconies, which blended neatly with the Tudor-influenced pitched roofs. Building materials selected for Riverdale Courts differed from the common working-class home in both quality and degree. The houses were clad with the more durable and socially 'superior' brick to mesh with the middle-class neighbourhood which surrounded it. Taking advantage of recent innovations within building supplies industries, Smith utilized standardized yet quality windows, doors, and stair-cases. (48) Financial restraints tempered the otherwise choice materials selected to complete the 'country living experience.' Nevertheless, a simple yet refined style was made possible with mindful attention to costs.

The inclusion of features such as balconies, porches and verandas, and numerous windows reflected the Tudor style of the homes, but also pointed to the explicit attempt to avoid what was perceived to be one of the worst ills of tenement housing--the lack of fresh air and sunlight. Prevailing medical opinion on the dangers of dust and germs required that space be made available for adequate ventilation and light. As Gwendolyn Wright argues in her social history of American housing during the Progressive era: "The home would be the quintessential 'therapeutic environment.' " (49) All cottage flats were supplied with large living room, front door and bedroom windows, and the largest flats had basement windows. Scientific housekeeping methods pressured housewives and working women to air out rooms daily, while open windows made the house more susceptible to dust. (50) Middle-class reformers' strict emphasis on improved ventilation and sunlight went beyond technical reasons of sanitation; it also had the effect of raising standards of household cleanliness thereby increasing women's work in the home.


The conscious ordering of domestic space was one of the most conspicuous traits of the social engineering objectives envisaged by the THC's designers. (51) Simplicity, efficiency and economy were the keywords in the arrangement of the interior space of the household. The general predilection for efficiency dictated relatively compact and small rooms that were organized to ostensibly lessen the area requiring cleaning. In the two-storey flats, the downstairs consisted of a living room, kitchen, bathroom, veranda, staircase and one bedroom. The upstairs comprised bedroom/s with large built-in closets. The single-storey apartments varied from the small one bedroom models suitable for the "requirements of a mother and daughter or to sisters who, though working, wish to keep house in a home of their own," to the three-bedroom six roomed family flats, four of which were rented by single working women. (52) Smith thought largeness was unattractive so he collapsed the front and back parlours into one large living room. This was consistent with the trend towards the 'minimal houses' preferred by the middle class of the day, but probably veered from working-class norms. (53) The tightening up of internal space to inspire businesslike living offered social control advantages closely resembling rationalization in the workplace.


General regard for tidiness and an uncluttered domestic environment, free from any obstructions, was the driving influence behind the addition of closets--a relatively novel feature of modern homes. (54) Three of the flat types included built-in shelf space and/or closets in the bedrooms and one unit contained a book shelf, perhaps indicating the THC backers' wish to encourage enlightened opinion in the working class.

Lack of domestic privacy between the sexes and between families were singled out as issues that needed special consideration in the THC's model abodes. "Sanitary conveniences, adequate bedroom accommodation and domestic privacy", (emphasis mine) a company blurb exhorted, "are the primary requirements for proper housing." (55) Every flat had a separate entrance which was angled in such a way that parents could watch their children play, out of sight of neighbours in adjacent units. The sealing off of housing units aimed to redefine the boundaries between the encapsulated family and the surrounding community, thus indicating the social meaning attributed to atomized family and domestic life by bourgeois reformers. (56) Inside, bedrooms were segregated from each other and expected to be used by married couples and single children only. No separate space was allocated for individual partners. Health officials and reformers were adamant in condemning boys and girls sleeping with each other in the same room or with their parents. (57) Bathrooms and toilets were situated adjacent to bedrooms. From a reform viewpoint, suitable moral content was sanctioned through clearly-defined thresholds between those sections of domestic space most in need of privacy. Privacy was hinged firmly on a strict notion of nuclear family life, delimiting individual aspirations, especially those of women. Those most concerned with domestic privacy within and between working-class families saw no contradiction in invading privacy themselves in a paranoic fear of incestuous relationships and sexual promiscuity among workers.


The gender and class assumptions which permeated the reform process of the THC were perhaps most evident in interior furnishings. Officials took great care to promote Riverdale Court as several steps removed from common working-class domiciles. Hardwood floors and stained Georgia pine finishings were prominent attractions sure to win the support of the Company shareholders which included tycoons J.W. Flavelle, Mrs. T. Eaton and a whole host of liberal-minded capitalists. (58) Promotional pictures depicting the insides of homes tellingly painted a rosy picture of the genteel life expected of potential inhabitants (see photo 2). (59) While the general design features recalled pre-industrial simplicity and stability, the intention was clearly to emphasize that this could be accomplished through a shift in class attitudes to the cultured lifestyle of the middle class.


In the name of the preservation and bolstering of the family--and the particular gender-based division of labour within the household--the designers payed particular attention to the kitchen and related spaces and amenities. The stress on household efficiency in the domestic science movement accounts for the compactness of the kitchen area. "The Kitchen," the Ontario Housing Committee articulated in 1919, "is a workroom and should be planned for comfort and convenience in handling work." (60) At Riverdale Courts, it was intentionally layed out with room enough for the woman who shouldered the 'duty' for cooking and cleaning, but there was also an expressed desire to "lessen the labor of the housewives occupying our buildings. The lady members of our Board gave valuable assistance in planning these houses." (61) Since both parlours were collapsed into one living and eating room, the adjoinment of the kitchen to the living room shortened the distance between the kitchen and eating area. The separation of the kitchen, dining room and living room was influenced directly by middle-class housing forms, introducing, as Christian Topalov comments, "a division hitherto virtually unknown in workers' dwellings between the feminine space where food was prepared and the family space where it was consumed." (62) The kitchen area itself was equipped with a number of amenities (see Photo 3) including shelves and work tables (in three of the largest flat types), a gas stove, and an "enamelled combination sink and laundry tub." Hot water for "domestic purposes" was provided year round. "The chief social advantage of this," Beer contended," is that it gives the mothers occupying our houses additional time for their home duties and encourages a free use of hot water for bath and other purposes." (63) Shelf space promised to outfit the domestic environment with an orderly means to store food and cleaning supplies and to assist in tidy meal preparation, proficient laundering and other necessary chores.





The impact of domestic technology on the ordering and use of domestic space significantly changed the nature of women's labour within the home. However much an improvement on the back-breaking work of the 19th century home, it was nevertheless at best a contradictory gain. As many feminist scholars have demonstrated, (64) innovations in domestic appliances and housework procedures may have decreased time expended on some jobs, but increased standards in others--notably laundering--thus burdening women with new but equally difficult and time-consuming methods. The restriction of room size, especially the kitchen, guaranteed that work could not be shared among family members and was thus restricted to women. In addition, the centrality of the kitchen in working-class social life within the home was probably eradicated by restricting size to conform with reform attitudes toward compactness and efficiency. (65) Even the THC's gas ranges represented a contradictory benefit. Although they were not as labour intensive as solid fuel stoves, the addition of such devices separated out and reassigned new duties because coal and wood stoves functioned as more than cooking devices; the traditional stove also functioned to dry clothes, heat irons, and was a site of social enjoyment. (66) Gas cookers were a barren social alternative to the open fire around the kitchen and merely transferred other household duties to different appliances. Other modern amenities such as electricity offered residents the chance to employ an array of new devices such as clothes irons, vacuum cleaners and curling irons. But the ideology of consumerism played a part in shaping these household tastes, as Veronica Strong Boag has established, fuelling endless new product lines for capitalist industry while misrepresenting the actual benefits of household technology. (67) In any case, it is not clear if working-class families could afford these facilities in this period.

Women's economic dependence and confined domestic role were intensified as housing design was delimited by prevailing notions of women's 'natural' position within the nuclear family. The reliance on women's free domestic labour in the home would be effectively reconstituted through technological innovation and consumerism, and spatial reordering, simultaneously reinforcing the ideology of the private, feminine, and maternal traits of women. This family ideal may have actually served to isolate women from their families, as household work was exclusively their domain, and certainly sealed off women from the larger public sphere. The new drudgery of housework was supplemented by the estrangement of the intensified nuclear family.

Housing Consumption and the Social Meaning of the Home
 The silence of the poor is deceptive. The non-realization of ambition
 is not in itself evidence that none is possessed. Even the denizens
 of the vilest slums were not insensible to their environments.
 David Englander, Landlord and Tenant in Urban Britain (1983) (68)

Traditional assumptions about class and gender were inscribed in the very built form of houses at the THC. Design should be treated as an integral part of housing reform, but its meaning is not fixed and static. Architectural form, Martin Daunton argues, has a significant social impact on inhabitants, but the social relations of housing are shaped by a number of factors which are not totally dependant on such architectural form. (69) One can not 'read off' subordination from a 'thing in itself' without considering the use and social meaning of the home. In a fascinating study of the material culture of American working-class homes, Lizabeth Cohen has shown that workers experienced their domestic environments in positive ways, expressing a unique cultural vitality in which domestic appliances, interior furnishings and decoration were appropriated in unique and class-specific manners in spite of the massive reform effort to 'modernize' and 'Americanize' the home to correspond with middle-class values and attitudes. (70) Although little evidence is available on housing consumers in the THC flats, an exploration of the political values and meanings attached to the establishment and management of the project indicate that the reform process was far from one-sided.

Many in the labour movement believed that the municipal government should intervene to rectify the poor housing situation among the working class, but remained skeptical of the intentions of civic-minded businessmen. When the THC proposition was starting to make waves among the reform community and the city government, labour voiced loudly its opinion on the proposed plans. Socialist city councillor James Simpson summed up the critique of the labour movement appropriately, claiming that the THC was
 ... a clear evasion of municipal responsibility. Workingmen should
 always look with suspicion on co-operative schemes called
 co-operation, because invariably they lead them into assuming
 responsibility that makes them easy victims of men who live by
 exploiting them. Toronto is big enough and wealthy enough to undertake
 a housing scheme without soliciting one dollar from private
 individuals who demand market rate of interest. (71)

Workers' organizations were wary of housing projects smacking of social control, particularly when small model flats were advocated, as in the THC endeavour. This perhaps reflected a growing desire for single-family home ownership or for spacious homes compatible with prevailing working-class aspirations. (72) As the head of the special Labour Council committee appointed to study the THC expressed, a proper home is one house to a lot, with room for a vegetable garden and not a plan in which workers "were cooped up like cattle in a barn unable to come out of doors unless he trespasses on his neighbour's doorstep." (73) Workers' "respectable self-conception" of charity also accounts for some of the reticence toward housing reform 'from above.' (74) There was more at stake here than simply a struggle over better houses; the very nature of what was provided was central to labour's concerns.

The THC's problems with the working class were not confined to the labour movement, however. The conviction that the state should play a more active and supportive role in housing betterment also brought tenants into continual conflict with the Company, whose objectives seemed to be shifting rapidly from reform-inspired philanthropy to straight old-fashioned profitability. In spring 1918, tenants at Riverdale Courts lobbied the city to investigate the books of the Company to examine unfair rental practices. In a detailed letter to the Board of Control, signed by thirty-four tenants, it was divulged that management was lax in its duty and rental increases were far too high. Engineers at the complex were fired for asking for higher salaries, they noted critically, and the heat was subsequently left off for a time. It was also alleged that apartments were being rented to favoured tenants at lower costs. The crux of their complaint, however, was a rent increase in 1918 from $17-23 a month (depending on the flat) to $28-39. They compared the raise to the war profiteering that they had recently read about in the papers. Eschewing the benefits of improved legislation, they argued boldly that what was needed was "protective organization." (75)

The importance of the tenants' protest lies in the perceptions renters had of the nature of state-assisted housing. They emphasized that, "It is a well known fact that this Housing scheme was promoted for the purpose of providing decent living quarters for the workingman at a 'moderate' rental." (76) The tenants rationalized the venture in terms of the welfare supplied by supposedly beneficial governments and philanthropists. The superior quality dwellings were not considered a privilege, but a right. Despite its top-down nature, workers, tenants, and unions did take a lively interest in housing reform and assimilated the process in ways which show that social reform could be an important working-class aspiration.

The question remains as to how working class and women tenants experienced the specific built environment of the THC dwellings. No known complaints surfaced regarding the peculiar physical structures of Riverdale Courts. Indeed, it is likely that at least some of the quality features were welcomed. It is not clear if any tenants were able to take full advantage of electricity, given the high rental costs and the relative expensiveness of new household equipment such as vacuums and irons. The proper family abode became tied to specific sex and class roles through carefully designed facilities for conjugal family life and a private, individualized existence, but the bourgeois family ideal was not rammed down women's or the working class's throats. There is no doubt that the working class, albeit influenced by the lack of alternatives, were actively involved in cementing the nuclear family as a central institution of society.

Much research has shown, however, that while the family was the site of labour force reproduction and the source of women's oppression, it was also a respite from the horrors of the job, a place where love and nurturance was sought--"little islands in the midst of an enormous city." (77) Moreover, while the family 'ideal' was strenuously boosted, the reality was often different. Many women and children worked outside the home to supplement the meagre family wage.' (78) Working-class families adopted the rigid nuclear family form in order to improve their living conditions, but the ideology of women's domestic role was strengthened as a result. Just as changes in the nature of the family developed in a contradictory fashion, related physical forms could be interpreted by housing consumers in contradictory ways shaped by the larger structure of power relations in society.


The history of the THC affords a rare glimpse into the multi-faceted social relations of early social policy. Even though it was a limited financial success to the shareholders, somewhat of an embarrassment to the city, and a small contribution to workers' housing, its trials and tribulations illuminate the economic, ideological and political dimensions of social reform in capitalism. Its establishment reflected a drive for capitalist rationality in all areas of social life; simultaneously, it showed the unevenness and contingent nature of the reform impulse which varied according to economic and political constraints. Assumptions about class and gender, centring on notions of the deserving working-class family and the dependent wife and mother, permeated all facets of the reform process. While the built environment of the THC development represents an interesting example of public-assisted housing architecture, it too has to be firmly analyzed within the context of the contradictory social relations of capitalism in order to fully comprehend the importance of the home in everyday life.


I wish to thank Stephen Pender, Bryan Palmer, Jacques Roy, the editors of the Urban History Review and anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this paper.


1. Peter Bryce, "Statistical Review of Conditions Dealing with Infant Mortality in Canada," Social Welfare (October 1919), 8.

2. Mark Swenarton, 'Homes Fit for Heroes' The Politics and Architecture of Early State Housing in Britain (London, 1981), 189-196.

3. For a theoretical overview see Sophie Watson, "Women and Housing or Feminist Housing Analysis," Housing Studies 1 (January 1986), 1-10. A fine Canadian example is Jill Delaney, "The Garden Suburb of Lindenlea, Ottawa: A Model Project for the First Federal Housing Policy, 1918-1924," Urban History Review/Revue d'histoire urbaine 19 (February 1991), 151-165.

4. On the emergence of social policies in Canada see Alan Sears, "Immigration Controls as Social Policy: The Case of Canadian Medical Inspection, 1900-1920," Studies in Political Economy 33 (Autumn 1990), 94. For an excellent analysis of changing gender relations consult Suzanne Mackenzie, "Building Women, Building Cities: Toward Gender Sensitive Theory in the Environmental Disciplines," in Life Spaces: Gender, Household, Employment, ed. Caroline Andrew and Beth Moore Milroy (Vancouver, 1988), 13-30.

5. Lorna Hurl, "The Toronto Housing Company, 1912-1923: The Pitfalls of Painless Philanthropy," Canadian Historical Review XLV (March 1984); Shirley Spragge, "The Provision of Workingmen's Housing, Attempts in Toronto, 1904-1920" (unpublished M.A. Thesis, Queen's University, 1974).

6. Industry and Humanity (Toronto, 1918).

7. Census of Canada, 1921, Vol. 1, p.234. For land annexation see Richard Harris, The Growth of Homeownership in Toronto, 1899-1913 (University of Toronto, Centre for Urban and Community Studies, Research Paper No. 163, 1988), 2. For immigration to Toronto, consult Michael Piva, The Condition of the Working Class in Toronto, 1900-1920 (Ottawa, 1979), 5-11.

8. For statistics on changes in levels and intensification of production see Piva, Working Class in Toronto, 4, 90-91 and J.M.S. Careless, Toronto to 1918, An Illustrated History (Toronto, 1984), 149-155. Quote is from Wayne Roberts, "Studies in the History of the Toronto Labour Movement," (unpublished PhD. Thesis, University of Toronto, 1978), xvii.

9. As Richard Harris has shown, evidence of self-building in Toronto defies much of the common knowledge about working-class housing in North America. Ongoing research shows that self-building constituted around a third of all housing starts in the Toronto urban area from 1899-1913. Consult "Self-building and the social geography of Toronto 1901-1913: a challenge for urban theory," Transactions, Institute of British Geographers 15 (1990), 395.

10. Suzanne Mackenzie, Women and the Reproduction of Labour Power in the Industrial City: A Case Study (University of Sussex, Urban and Regional Studies, Working Paper No. 23, 1980), 36.

11. Richard Dennis, Landlords and Rented Housing in Toronto, 1885-1914 (University of Toronto, Centre for Urban and Community Studies, 1987), 8, 17, 46-47.

12. "A new measure of the rental cost of housing in Toronto, 1890-1914," Histoire Sociale/Social History 17 (May 1984), 169, Table 5. For evidence on lodging see Richard Harris, "The Flexible House: The Housing Backlog and the Persistence of Lodging, 1891-1951," Social Science History (forthcoming-1994).

13. This was a persistent motif which runs throughout Canadian housing reform literature. Consult Public Archives of Canada, (hereafter PAC), MG30 C 105, Cauchon Papers, Vol. 10, Miscellaneous, Report of the First Canadian Housing and Town Planning Congress, July 1912; PAC, MG30 C 105, Cauchon Papers, Vol. 1, Address to the Rotary Club of Hamilton, August 2, 1917. See as well Sears, 93.

14. For examples of the extensive inspections of "nuisances"--especially outdoor privies--see City of Toronto Archives (hereafter CTA), City of Toronto, Reports of the Board of Health, Appendices in City Council Minutes, 1895-1919 and John Weaver, ""Tomorrow's Metropolis" Revisited: A Critical Assessment of Urban Reform in Canada, 1890-1920," in The Canadian City ed. G. Stelter and A. Artibise (Toronto, 1977), 405.

15. For a discussion of women and the family see Dorothy Smith, "Women, Class, Family and the State," in Women, Class and Family ed. Roxanne Ng (Toronto, 1985).

16. Lindsey German. Sex, Class and Socialism (London, 1989), 38.

17. "The Labor Question and Women's Work and Its Relation to 'Home Life'" in The Proper Sphere, Women's Place in Canadian Society ed. Ramsay Cook and Wendy Mitchinson (Toronto, 1976), 153. For a thorough analysis consult Veronica Strong-Boag, The New Day Recalled, Lives of Girls and Women in English Canada, 1919-1988 (Toronto, 1988), Chapter 4.

18. Mackenzie, Reproduction in the Industrial City, 85.

19. CTA, City of Toronto, Minutes of the City Council, 1918, Appendix A, 711. For information on the later more developed relationship between women and the state, see Margaret Hobbs and Ruth Roach Pierson, ""A kitchen that wastes no steps ...": Gender, Class and the Home Improvement Plan, 1936-1940," Histoire Sociale/Social History 21 (May 1988), 9-38.

20. On Canadian intellectuals and the state see the comprehensive, but undertheorized work of Doug Owram, The Government Generation (Toronto, 1986). The federal government's establishment of the Commission of Conservation in 1909, later headed by the influential British town planner Thomas Adams, is illustrative of the emerging bureaucratic state. The Commission conducted numerous studies of public health and housing and published a widely-circulated journal, Conservation of Life, superseded in 1919 by Town Planning and Conservation of Life, devoted to exploring and proposing solutions to various human conservation issues.

21. 9 June 1913.

22. Hurl, 28.

23. See Swenarton, 5-10.

24. Public Archives of Ontario (hereafter PAO), MU 59 Series 1, Beer Papers, Memo re: Toronto Housing Company.

25. PAO, MU 59 Series 1, Beer Papers, Bryce to Beer, Circa 1913.

26. Toronto Housing Company, "Better Housing in Canada: The Ontario Plan," in First Annual Report (Toronto, 1913).

27. "Housing in Canada," Garden Cities and Town Planning Magazine (November 1914), 262.

28. Toronto Housing Company, Cottage Flats at Riverdale Courts (Toronto, 1913), 13.

29. Ibid., 262.

30. Hurl, 42.

31. There are some inconsistencies in the initial rental costs reported at Riverdale Courts. Those cited are from Cottage Flats at Riverdale Courts, 17-27. In 1918, protesting tenants stated that rents varied from $28 to $39. See CTA, Box 20, File 50, R.V. Harrison Papers, Petition from Tenants to Board of Control, 15 May 1918. Such exorbitant increases were a result of the particularly high inflation of the war years. In 1935, rents at the THC units ranged from $23 to $40 a month. Note CTA, SC 18, Toronto Housing Company Records, Box 1, A Record of Something Done--Together with Information Regarding the Present Housing Situation, 18 March 1935. For a comparison of average rents in Toronto with the THC rents, see Hurl, 47.

32. Ibid., 48-53,73. On the housing of single women workers in Toronto note Alice Klein and Wayne Roberts," Besieged Innocence: The "Problem" and Problems of Working-Class Women, Toronto 1896-1914," in Women at Work, Ontario 1850-1930 ed. Janice Acton (Toronto, 1974), 211-260.

33. "Better Housing in Canada," Forward, 9.

34. Hobbs and Pierson, 9-38.

35. Hurl, 40.

36. Labour Gazette (July 1913), 41.

37. PAO, MU 59 Series 1, Beer Papers, Memo of Frank Beer re: Toronto Housing Company, Undated, circa 1912-1913.

38. Cited in "Housewives Need Drudge No Longer," Macleans (August 1912), 159.

39. Stephen Beszedits, Eminent Toronto Architects of the Past, Their Lives and Works (Toronto, 1983), 95-96.

40. William Dendy and William Kilbourn, Toronto Observed, Its Architecture, Patrons, and History (Toronto, 1986), 184.

41. On modernism see Alex Callinicos, Against Postmodernism, A Marxist Critique (London, 1989), 38.

42. Michael Doucet and John Weaver, Housing the North American City (Montreal-Kingston, 1991), 233-235. For a comparable architectural viewpoint from the period consult R.M. Fripp. "Speculations on the Problem of Housing and the Working Classes in Vancouver," Contract Record and Engineering Review 28 (1914). 1276-1278.

43. For the most influential study of housing in Toronto in the period note CTA, City of Toronto, Medical Officer of Health (MHO), Report of the MHO Dealing With the Recent Investigations of Slum Conditions in Toronto (Toronto, 1911).

44. "'Canada's All Right': The Lives and Loyalties of Immigrant Families in a Toronto Suburb, 1900-1945," Canadian Geographer 36, 1 (1992), 13-30. See as well "A Visit to Shackland in Toronto's Suburbs," Globe Supplement, 9 November 1907; "A Shack-town Christmas," Canadian Magazine, December 1909,129.

45. Gwendolyn Wright, Building the Dream, A Social History of Housing in America (New York, 1981), 161.

46. Cottage Flats at Riverdale Courts, 8-10.

47. Saturday Night, (15 November 1913), 37.

48. Dendy and Kilbourn, 184.

49. Gwendolyn Wright, "Sweet and Clean: The Domestic Landscape in the Progressive Era," Landscape (October 1977), 38.

50. Delaney, 160.

51. All references to interior design, unless otherwise notified, are derived from the floor plans of the various cottage types found in Cottage Flats at Riverdale Courts.

52. Cottage Flats at Riverdale Courts, 17, 25.

53. Besdits, 96; Alan Gowans, The Comfortable House, North American Suburban Architecture, 1890-1930 (Cambridge, Mass., 1986), 23; Wright, Building The Dream, 155-195.

54. Delaney, 163.

55. Cottage Flats at Riverdale Courts, 1.

56. Martin Daunton, House and Home in Victorian Britain (London, 1983), 37. Nuclear family privacy is something Lizabeth Cohen has found American reformers sought to inculcate in working-class homes. Consult "Embellishing a Life of Labor: An Interpretation of the Material Culture of American Working-Class Homes, 1885-1915," Journal of American Culture 3 (1980), 759.

57. Marianna Valverde, The Age of Light, Soap and Water, Moral Reform in English Canada (Toronto, 1991), 136-137.

58. See "Better Housing in Canada," 20-21 for a list of shareholders.

59. See Spragge, p. 136 on this point as well.

60. Government of Ontario, Report of the Ontario Housing Committee, Sessional Papers of Ontario, Vol.Ll, Report No.65 1919, 96.

61. "Better Housing in Canada," 8-9.

62. "Scientific urban planning and the ordering of daily life: The First 'War Housing' Experiment in the United States, 1917-1919," Journal of Urban History 17 (November 1990), 22.

63. "Working Men's Houses and Model Dwellings in Canada," Garden Cities and Town Planning, 4 (May 1914), 107.

64. For useful discussions note Strong-Boag, Chapter 4; Ruth Schwartz Cowan, "The "Industrial Revolution" in the Home: Household Technology and Social Change in the Twentieth Century," Technology and Culture 17 (January 1976), 1-23; R.Miller, "The Hoover in the Garden: middle-class women and suburbanization, 1850-1920," Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 3 (1983), 73-88.

65. Cohen, 763 cites a American government survey from 1920 which shows that the majority of working-class families rejected small kitchens in favour of large ones which also served as dining areas. Also note Doucet and Weaver, 234.

66. Hilary Russell, ""Canadian Ways": An Introduction to Comparatives Studies of Housework, Stoves, and Diet in Great Britain and Canada," Material History Bulletin, 19 (Spring 1984), 4-5.

67. Strong Boag, 120.

68. Landlord and Tenant in Urban Britain (Oxford, 1983), xiv.

69. ""Cities of Homes and Cities of Tenements, British and American Comparisons, 1870-1914," Journal of Urban History 14 (May 1988), 283-284. For a critical assessment of studies of politics and housing design see R.J. Lawrence, "Urban History, housing and politics in Britain," Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 3 (1985), 323-336.

70. Cohen, 757.

71. Simpson cited in H.Shostack, "Business and Reform: The lost history of the Toronto Housing Company," City Magazine (September 1978), 26.

72. Richard Harris, The Family Home in Working-Class Life (University of Toronto, Centre for Urban and Community Studies, Research Paper No. 171, 1989), 21-24.

73. On the Labour Council's opinions note Labour Gazette (March 1912), 856, Quote is from PAC, MG 28 144, Reel C-4589, Toronto District Labour Council Records, Minutes, 4 June 1914.

74. Roberts, 190. On working-class respectability see Bryan Palmer, "Social Formation and Class Formation in North America, 1800-1900," in Proletarianization and Family History ed. David Levine (Orlando, 1984), 270.

75. CTA, Box 20, File 50, R.V. Harrison Papers, Letter to Board of Control, City of Toronto From the Tenants of Riverdale Courts-re: Toronto Housing Company, 16 May 1918.

76. Ibid.

77. German, 35; Jane Humphries, "Class struggle and the persistence of the working-class family," Cambridge Journal of Economics 1 (September 1977); Cohen, 764.

78. Bryan Palmer, Working-Class Experience, Rethinking the History of Canadian Labour, 1800-1991 (Toronto, 1992), 164-167; John Bullen, "Hidden Workers: Child Labour and the Family Economy in Late Nineteenth-Century Ontario," Labour/Le Travail 18 (Fall 1986), 163-187.
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Date:Mar 1, 1993
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