By Andrew Holman
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Additional resources for A Sense of Their Duty: Middle-Class Formation in Victorian Ontario Towns
In turn, how the world of work was understood and measured by contemporaries also changed. Perhaps the best illustration of this new understanding comes from the portrayal of the universe of work in Ontario in Canadian censuses. Once per decade, from 1851 on, census bureaucrats compiled occupational statistics in aggregate form, thus constructing a list of work types in the province. The statistics reveal changes as seen through the eyes of the first state recorders. Aggregate statistics from the censuses for 1871, 1881, and 1891 portray an occupational structure at once rapidly expanding and in the midst of qualitative change.
Thought guides the hand of labour and rules the world ... While, then, we honour the strong-armed material worker, let us reverence more highly the brain-workers the clear, deep thinkers that search out the laws of God's universe ... 18 By the 18705 and 8os, the manual/non-manual divide had been replicated in wage scales as well. Systematic wage rates for Ontario in these years are not readily available, and recent research in reconstructing them has focused largely on working-class standards of living.
In rapidly growing towns like these, the process of middle-class formation was consequential and deeply felt in this era. Most medium-sized and small towns in late-Victorian Ontario went from pioneer settlements to bustling, "go-ahead" locales. At the centre of this transformation - as investors, producers, planners, and service-providers - were the middling ranks. In many ways, the transition from countryside to town in this era was a formative process in the making of middle-class Ontario. 9 There is no small difficulty in determining an appropriate point of departure for studying a topic as vast as the middle class in Canadian history.