Life in the 1900s was depressing and was an era filled with extremely hard and strenuous work that didn’t offer any future for the average Canadian to do better. If you were an average wage earner you would be virtually stuck in the same job for the rest of your life, while the rich maintained their wealth mainly caused by the low taxes.

Living conditions were poor for average Canadians and even worse for the arriving immigrants. At this time some of the modern conveniences were just being invented and even if they were for sale only the extremely rich had the option of purchasing the items.

Sports being very new, in the aspect of it being organized was small-time compared to present day. Traveling required time and was uncomfortable. Only the rich could have luxurious accommodations for those long journeys. Many jobs were available to most people but you were under constant scrutiny while working and would have to be willing to do anything the boss wanted.

I believe my friends and I would most likely resent and despise it if we had to live in the 1900s. During the 1900s horses played a significant role in the everyday life. A horse-drawn carriage would bring a doctor to the house where a baby would be born. A hearse was pulled by horses to the cemetery when somebody died.

Farmers used them to pull their plows while town dwellers kept them for transportation around town. Horses pulled delivery wagons for businesses such as bakery, dairy, and coal companies. Horses pulled fire engines through the streets in a fire emergency. The bicycle was widely accepted by Canadians because of its easy maintenance compared to a horse.

The bike allowed an option of transportation. The bicycle also gave a sense of freedom to virtually anybody willing to learn. Henry Ford revolutionized the world we live in by inventing the “horseless carriage”, if it had not been for him, instead of taking the GO bus in the morning we’d be riding a horse named Wanda.

Not only did his invention offer a method of transportation to the public, but it helped with our emergency services such as fire engines, police cars, and ambulances. Now we have a large variety of cars to choose from varying in size and price. He also brought a large profitable industry to North America…The car industry.

Back then there weren’t many problems that they created. Today, we have our deteriorating ozone layer, poisonous chemicals that come from exhaust fumes (CO2)(Carbon Monoxide). Not to mention the traffic accidents, parking problems, and traffic jams in downtown Toronto. 11 years previous to WW I Orville and Wilbur Wright made a successful flight in the first airplane at the beach of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Although the flight only lasted 12 seconds it would change the way we see the world.

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The telephone allowed the house needs to be satisfied without leaving their homes. Women received an opportunity to work as switchboard operators.

Baseball was the most popular sport in the United States where the World Series began in 1903. Tom Longboat was born in Brantford, Ontario, and was known for outrunning a horse over a 19 km course. He set a record of 2 hours, 24 min and 24 seconds when he ran the Boston Marathon.

Jan 22/1901 Queen Victoria died at the age of 63 years. The Queen’s reign stretched across the globe. With her death came modernization. In the early 1900s horses were being used extensively for all transporting duties and some manual labor jobs. A few years later the bicycle hit Canada and presented the Canadians with a better option of transportation mainly because of the simplicity of maintenance.

During these other discoveries, the automobile was being perfected for use by the general public. By the 1920s the automobile was no longer a rich man’s toy and was being used by many people. 1903 saw the first successful flight for the airplane by Orville and Wilbur Wright at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. At about the same time Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in Nova Scotia.

By the turn of the century, telephones had uses increased from ordering household goods to supplying jobs for women and men. 1901, Signal Hill in St.John’s Newfoundland Guglielmo Marcone received the first radio signal sent across the Atlantic Ocean. 20 years would elapse before radio broadcasting becomes mass entertainment. The first movies were seen in the 19th century. 20 years will pass till speaking films arrive. 1903 the United States had its first World Series.

In Canada, Tom Longboat was a famous runner who was famous for running faster than a horse on a 19 km course.

Later to be proclaimed the world’s best marathoner. In the early 1900s, modern conveniences were just being available like bathrooms, electric washing machines, sewing machines, electric hearing aids, vacuum cleaners. The very fortunate who could afford these items would order them from Eaton’s Catalogue.

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All types of goods could be ordered in the Eaton’s Catalogue from fence posts to fashionable hats. In the time period between 1901 and 1911, almost 2 million people immigrated to Canada from Europe, Britain, and the United States. Due to the population growth, in 1905 Alberta and Saskatchewan became a part of the Confederation.

The railway boom in 1903-1904 helped elevate employment. Materials needed to build the railways and the transporting of the materials started the industrialization. Urbanization led to a serious problem of overcrowding. The three economic classes were the rich, average, and the immigrants.

Low taxes allowed the rich to spend on frivolous items such as horses and carriages. In contrast, the average would only use their money for the necessities of survival. At the bottom were the immigrants that were forced to live in unsanitary conditions and dank, damp basements. Not only were there differences of wealth or lack of but there was a difference in women’s and men’s treatment.

For example, women did not have the freedom to enter pool rooms, taverns, and even bowling alleys. Choices for women were working in stores and factories. Even if you came from a rich family your choices would have been nursing or teaching. Coming from a poor family women tended to just become domestic servants. Women didn’t have the right to vote like men.

In 1876 Dr. Emily Stowe formed Toronto Women’s Literary Club (TWLC). The purpose of this club was to inform women of their rights and to help secure women’s rights. This group persuaded U of T to admit women in 1866. Also improved wages and working conditions. Woman’s Christian Temperance Union(WCTU) their goal was to combat problems created by alcohol in society.

A great social speaker Nellie Mclung received her start in WCTU to lead in the fight for equal freedom and for women’s rights.

Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Life In The 1900s in Canada," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019, https://schoolworkhelper.net/life-in-the-1900s-in-canada/.

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B. Andersen
B. Andersen
1 year ago

what are your sources for this information?