• Country of Economic Contrasts
  • 1st millionaires appear
  • Cities have slums
  • Stark contrast between the rich and the poor (upper and lower class)
  • 1/4 + of babies die before their 1st birthday
  • New technology makes life easier (for those who can afford the luxury)
  • Technology in the Home
  • 1900s was a time of “gadgets”
  • New “gadgets include:
  • Safety razors
  • Electric irons
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Push lawnmowers
  • Automobiles


    • Term “weekend” is first used
    • Vacations
    • *Note: Many people could not afford to take time off.  This, like gadgets was a luxury for the wealthy elite.


  • Middle/Lower class families need additional income to support themselves
  • Wives are sent to work (aside from their regular duties – caring for the household, raising children)
  • Children are forced to work (most children only achieve a grade 3 education


  • No electricity                        Garbage littered streets
    Little Ventilation                   Polluted air
    Outdoor toilets                     Unpasturized milk
    Tainted Water Supply          High death rate/ disease


  • Large families in small houses (1 to 2 rooms)
    • Could you be a “slum dog millionaire”?
    • It was very difficult to move from lower to upper class.
    • Average wage was $425 / year (women and children earning much less)
    • Rent = $12/month/room (basement appt.)
    • Food = $13.38 / month (little meat, few vegetables)

Changes in the Workplace

  • Mass Production
  • Service Sector
  • Rural Depopulation
  • Mass Production
  • Workers specialize in one area (able to make things faster) as opposed to creating entire product
  • Introduction of the assembly line
  • Assembly Lines and the Model T
  • Service Sector
  • Creation of jobs in the service sector (people who “serve” others)
  • Taxi Drivers
  • Mailman
  • Railroad
  • Bank Teller
  • Accountant
  • Sales Person
  • Cleaner
  • Clerical work
    -invention of
    telephone & typewriter
  • Many clerical jobs are given to women as the economy expands
  • -women are better at detail
  • -women have nimble hands making it easier for them to use the machines
    • Rural Depopulation
    • As farms become more and more mechanized, there
    • are less jobs in rural areas (less farm hands and farmers are needed)
      • Fewer people live are living in rural areas
      • Young people head toward the “city” in hopes for a better future
      • Women (unable to own/inherit land, are often not paid for farm work) in need of supporting themselves must move to the city for employment
      • Working Conditions
      • Working Conditions
      • Hard labour / long hours/ low pay
      • 10-12 hours a day, 6 days a week
      • Companies hire women & children because they can pay them much less than men


  • Poor lighting, ventilation, noisy, dirty, dangerous (from the machines)
  • Poor work conditions saves the companies $
  • No safety regulations
  • workers forced to retire because of poor health that was a direct result from the work environment
  • Job security is non-existant and unemployment is common
  • Little to no compensation for work place related injuries (or deaths)
  • The physically disabled are deemed unemployable (will not be able to find jobs)
  • Unstable Job Market
  • Jobs are not stable
    • Seasonal jobs = job shortages
    • More people than jobs
    • Good for employers
    • Large work force
    • Easily threaten employees
    • Low wages
    • Fire people easily
    • Large inflow of immigrants
    • Able to pay even lower wages
    • Constant labour force
    • Use immigrants as strike breakers
    • Reform Movements
    • Social Gospel
    • Urban Reform
    • Education Reform
    • Struggle for Equality
    • Labour Movement
    • Social Gospel
    • Since the government does not do anything to remedy common problems (exploitation of workers, poverty, crime, disease) private charities help the poor/sick and social reformers leap into action
      • Religious revival
      • Believe that it is everyone’s duty to help the less fortunate


  • Women’s Christian Temperance Union
  • Young Men’s Christian Association
  • Salvation Army
    • Urban Reform
    • Poor city planning is becoming a problem
      • Need to improve living conditions
      • Creation of Public Works
      • Building of infastructure
      • Sewers, gas lines, water lines
      • Telephone / Electrical wires
      • Public Transit
      • Children’s Aid Society
      • Education
      • Begin to provide free schooling
      • Begin educating labourers in work camps far from cities (1899 – Frontier College on Georgian Bay, ON) provides workers with basic literacy skills through evening classes
      • Education is viewed as a means to “Canadianize” immigrants through assimilation (& teaching them “Canadian” customs)
      • Movements to educate rural women
      • Women’s Institute
      • Fights for legislation regarding education, cleanliness and nutrition
  • The Struggle for Equality:
    The Women’s Movement
  • Campaign for women’s sufferage (right to vote)
  • Launched by the Toronto Women’s Literary Club
  • Run by Emily Stowe
  • Denied access into university in Canada
  • Became a Doctor in the United States
  • Denied entry into the College of Physicians and Surgeons
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0


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