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Making Ontario: Agricultural Colonization and Landscape Re-Creation before the Railway Paperback – Sep 1 2000
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About the Author
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world's largest association devoted to human resource management with more than 550 affiliated chapters and members in more than 100 countries.
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At the opening of the 19th century, the region known as Upper Canada had a population in the 10s of 1000s, mainly Loyalist emigres from the nascent American republic, and was still densely forested. By mid-century, Ontario had a population of approximately 1 million, was heavily agricultural, increasingly urbanized and connected to an international economy (both to the USA and Britain), and in terms of distribution of population and cities, and regional distribution of agriculture, had a similar pattern to that of modern Ontario. Wood makes the point strongly that this occurred without the railroad, often thought of as a primary vehicle of modernization. Wood discusses the process of transformation is a series of thematic chapters that cover population, agricultural changes, social changes, and patterns of urbanization. Much of the carefully compiled data and assessments are quite interesting but a bit disjointed and major themes emerge more implicitly than explicitly.
Major themes include the substantial impact of geographic features with settlement significantly limited by poor quality of soils in the Canadian Shield, the important of water routes, the slow but profound transformation of the countryside, the demographic impact of both intrinsic growth and immigration, increasing engagement with an international economy and export of primary products, and the importance of state actions in providing crucial physical and human infrastructure. As a source of information for how much of North America was transformed, this book is quite good.
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