Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The changing social-cultural and economic character of neighbourhoods is a result of individual decisions, such as households changing their place of residence. This thesis documents and analyzes the effect of such residential mobility on the changing social geography of cities, through a case-study approach; Toronto between 1901 and 1911. More specifically, this thesis investigates the social characteristics that affected mobility behaviour, and the role that residential mobility played in the changing social geography, and suburbanization, of early 20th Century Toronto.
Residential mobility behaviour was determined through the compilation of representative samples from two urban neighbourhoods in 1901 and two suburban neighbourhoods in 1911. The primary sources of data were the Census of Canada (1901 and 1911) and annual city directories, which were used to assess mobility in the intermediate years. Individual-level data for the head of each sampled household were collected from the four neighbourhoods, and assessed for differences in mobility behaviour with respect to social-cultural and economic factors.
Differences in the residential mobility behaviours of households were evaluated based on the distance of moves and the level of mobility (frequency of moves). In general, in the two urban neighbourhoods continental European immigrants (specifically those of Jewish ancestry) moved locally and were highly mobile, while residents of British ancestry (both native-born and immigrant) moved over longer distances and less frequently. Additionally, in the two suburban neighbourhoods recent immigrants commonly originated from the central city and exhibited low mobility, and native-born and established immigrants generally originated from either the outer city areas or other suburbs and were more highly mobile.
Overall, it was found that the observed mobility patterns for the urban and suburban neighbourhoods were directly affected by certain social-cultural and economic characteristics. Furthermore, the role of residential mobility, as a key component of the suburbanization of early 20th Century Toronto, was clearly evident.
McDonald, Ashley M., "Residential Mobility and the Changing Social Geography of Toronto, 1901-1911" (2010). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4526.
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