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Module 44

Public Spaces: Accommodation and Conflict in the Colonies

Elizabeth Jane Errington

This module explores how British North Americans understood and used "public" space to assert various identities – cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, and economic. In the increasingly complex and heterogenous colonial world, public space could be a site of sociability that fostered a sense of community and shared identity (for example, taverns and celebrations). But public space could also be sites of tension and confrontation between groups of colonists, each of whom were determined to declare their privileged position in the social order.

Primary sources:

1. Photo: Orangemen’s Parade on King Street East, Toronto, late 1860s    page 8
2. Document: Vignettes of Street and Tavern Life in Perth, Upper Canada    page 9
3. Document: Celebrations of the Coronation    page 10
4. Document: Disturbances in Halifax, 1863    page 14

Secondary sources:

1. “A Mixed Assemblage of Persons”: Race and Tavern Space in Upper Canada, Julia Roberts    page 18
2. Trouble in the North End: The Geography of Social Violence in Saint John, 1840–1860, Gordon M. Winder
    page 34

Introduction

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