The Impact of Cholera on the Design and Implementation of Toronto's First Municipal By-Laws, 1834

By Atkinson, Logan | Urban History Review, March 2002 | Go to article overview

The Impact of Cholera on the Design and Implementation of Toronto's First Municipal By-Laws, 1834


Atkinson, Logan, Urban History Review


Abstract

The City of Toronto was incorporated in 1834 amid much political animosity and turmoil. The tension between the executive administration and its tory sympathizers on the one hand, and the promoters of reform on the other, had moved political matters to a critical juncture. Perhaps inconsistent with this struggle between central and municipal authority in Upper Canada was the statute by which the City was created, a statute that settled virtually complete legislative authority on the local government. But the first municipal election returned a reform majority to Toronto's council, with the intransigent William Lyon Mackenzie as first mayor, further heightening the difficulties between the central authority and the local administration.

It might be anticipated that, when the City turned its attention to passing its first set of by-laws in the late spring of 1834, the contest over the right organization of government would dominate the thinking of City councillors. However, a review of those by-laws and the issues that gave rise to them reveals that environmental concerns, including the threat of a repeat of the dangerous cholera epidemic of 1832, had as much to do with the ultimate design of those by-laws as did political orientation. In fact, the environmental pressures felt at the time allowed for the transcendence of political differences for the sake of the defence of public health, a result quite inconsistent with dominant interpretations of the role of law and legal institutions in the Upper Canadian experience.

Resume

La ville de Toronto s'est incorporee en 1834 au milieu de beaucoup d'animosite et d'agitation politique. La tension entre les promoteurs de reforme et la direction municipale, epaulee par les membres du parti conservateur, a pousse les questions politiques vers ten carrefour crucial. Ce debat entre l'autorite centrale et la direction municipale dans le Haut Canada etait incompatible avec la loi par laquelle la ville a creee, une loi qui a donne pour ainsi dire lapleine autorite legislative au gouvernement local. Mais la premiere electoin municipale a remis en place une majorite de reformistes au conseil de la ville de Toronto. Et l'intransigeant William Lyon Mackenzie est devenu le premier maire de la ville et il a contribue a accroitre les dif ficultes entre l'autorite centrale et la direction locale.

Lorsque la ville de Toronto s'est efforcee de passer ses premieres lois a lafin du printemps de l'an 1834, il est fort probable que le debat au sujet de l'organisation propice du gouvernement a domine l'esprit des conseilles municipaux. Cependant, une revision de ces lois et les problemes qui leur ont donne naissance revele que les soucis environnmementaux incluant la menace du retour de l'epidemie die cholera de l'an 1832 ont eu autant d'effet stir la conception ultime de ces lois que l'orientation politique. De fait, les pressions environnementales ont permis le depassement des differences politiques pour defendre la sante publique, un resultat qui difere de l'interpretation dominante du role de la loi et des institutions legales du Haut Canada.

A. Introduction

The City of Toronto was created by Act of the Legislature of Upper Canada passed on 6 March 1834. (1) The first municipal elections were held on 27 March, and the citizens of the new city returned a council dominated by politicians sympathetic to the cause of political reform. Included in this number were the notorious William Lyon Mackenzie and the moderate reformer, Dr John Rolph. At the council's first meeting, Mackenzie was elected mayor from among the successful candidates, and Rolph, unhappy that he had been passed over by council, refused to be sworn in as alderman for St. Patrick's Ward. His position on council was ultimately filled in a by-election on 24 April. (2)

The political dissension (even among apparent allies) that affected the deliberations of Toronto's first council was not uncommon for the time. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Impact of Cholera on the Design and Implementation of Toronto's First Municipal By-Laws, 1834
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.