Before the Second World War, Canada was a rural country. Unlike most industrializing countries, Canada’s rural population grew throughout the century after 1871 – even if it declined as a proportion of the total population. Rural Canadians also differed in their lives from rural populations elsewhere. In a country dominated by a harsh northern climate, a short growing season, isolated households and communities, and poor land, they typically relied on three ever-shifting pillars of support: the sale of cash crops, subsistence from the local environment, and wage work off the farm.
Canada’s Rural Majority is an engaging and accessible history of this distinctive experience, including not only Canada’s farmers, but also the hunters, gardeners, fishers, miners, loggers, and cannery workers who lived and worked in rural Canada. Focusing on the household, the environment, and the community, Canada’s Rural Majority is a compelling classroom resource and an invaluable overview of this understudied aspect of Canadian history.
About the author
R.W. Sandwell is associate professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, and author of Contesting Rural Space: Land Policy and Practices of Resettlement on Saltspring Island, 1859–1891.
Other titles by R.W. Sandwell
In a New Light
Histories of Women and Energy
Powering Up Canada
The History of Power, Fuel, and Energy from 1600
Historical GIS Research in Canada
Contesting Rural Space
Land Policy and Practices of Resettlement on Saltspring Island, 1859-1891
Beyond the City Limits
Rural History in British Columbia