Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dr. Richard S. Harris
There are large gaps in our knowledge of the journey to work in the first half of the twentieth century, particularly how patterns differed for men and women. My purpose is to examine the changing geographies of work and residence for a sample of men and women in Toronto. The central research problem is how the journey to work differed by gender. Two major hypotheses were developed to address the central research problem: that men travelled farther to work than women, and that the decentralization of work reduced the length of the journey to work in the study period.
City directories are utilized to illustrate the changing geography of home and residence of a sample of over 50,000 Toronto workers between 1901 and 1951. Oral history evidence is also used to provide details on time and the commuting experience of Toronto workers. A discussion of the usefulness of city directories for historical commuting research and gender differences is also a component of the thesis. The conceptual framework for the thesis draws upon two major types of explanation. First, the journey to work was shaped by economic circumstances and, secondly, by cultural norms of the appropriate roles for men and women.
The findings confirm the general patterns observed in the literature, that there were indeed significant gender differences. Men did travel farther to work than women in the early twentieth century. The research illustrates that work in Toronto between 1901 and 1951 generally remained more centralized than residence. Differences by occupation are evident, clerical workers, for example, travelling longer distances than skilled and semi-skilled workers.
Bloomfield, A.V., "Gender Perspectives on the Journey to Work in Toronto, 1901 to 1951" (1995). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2265.