The People and the Bay: A Social and Environmental History of Hamilton Harbour
Published by: UBC Press
Imprint: UBC Press
Sales Date: 2016-07-01
Published: July 2016
344 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.92 in, 47 illustrations, 6 maps, 9 tables
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This masterful social and environmental history raises questions about how decisions being made about the natural world today will shape the cities of tomorrow.
In 1865, John Smoke braved the ice on Burlington Bay to go spearfishing. Soon after, he was arrested by a fishery inspector and then convicted by a magistrate who chastised him for thinking that he was at liberty to do as he pleased “with Her Majesty’s property.”
With this story, Nancy Bouchier and Ken Cruikshank launch their history of the relationship between the people of Hamilton, Ontario, and Hamilton Harbour (aka Burlington Bay). From the time of European settlement through to the city’s rise as an industrial power, townsfolk struggled with nature, and with one another, to champion their particular vision of “the bay” as a place to live, work, and play. As Smoke discovered, the outcomes of those struggles reflected the changing nature of power in an industrial city. From efforts to conserve the fishery in the 1860s to current attempts to revitalize a seriously polluted harbour, each generation has tried to create what it believed would be a livable and prosperous city.
Foreword: Down by the Bay / Graeme Wynn
Introduction: Whose Harbour?
1 Civilizing Nature: Community Property Transformed, 1823–95
2 Conserving Nature: The Education of John William Kerr, 1864–88
3 Boosting Nature: The Contradictions of Industrial Promotion, 1892–1932
4 Organizing Nature: The Search for Recreational Order, 1900–30
5 Planning Nature: The Waterfront Legacy of T.B McQuesten, 1917–40
6 Confining Nature: The Bay as Harbour, 1931–59
7 Unchaining Nature: Gillian Simmons’s Backyard, 1958–85
8 Remediating Nature: Hamilton Harbour as an Area of Concern, 1981–2015
Conclusion: Choosing Nature
Working in Hamilton, Bouchier and Cruikshank are able to draw on a powerful collection of sources—oral, textual, and photographic—that track the efforts of different civic, government or industrial bodies as they tried to control, study, transform or remediate the places and people of the bay. But the authors also humanize the ideologies that were in play by seeing how they coalesced within individual actors … The work is unabashedly focused on the Hamilton environment and will be a joy to people looking for an intimate understanding of their own community. It also plays a critical role in expanding the repertoire of environmental and urban histories in Canada. Dale Barbour, Ontario History
- CLIO Prize for Ontario, Canadian Historical Association