Old Ontario


In ten original studies, former students and colleagues of Maurice Careless, one of Canada’s most distinguished historians, explore both traditional and hitherto neglected topics in the development of nineteenth-century Ontario. Their papers incorporate the three themes that characterize their mentor’s scholarly efforts: metropolitan-hinterland relations; urban development; and the impact of ’limited identities’ — gender, class, ethnicity and regionalism — that shaped the lives of Old Ontarians.

Traditional topics — colonial-imperial tension and the growth of Canadian autonomy in the Union period, the making of a ’compact’ in early York, politics in pre-Rebellion Toronto, and the social vision of the late Upper Canadian elites — are re-examined with fresh sensitivity and new sources. Maters about which little has been written — urban perspectives on rural and Northern Ontario, Protestant revivals, an Ontario style in church architecture, the late-nineteenth-century ready-made clothing industry, Native-Newcomer conflict to the 1860s, and the separate and unequal experiences of women and men student teachers at the Provincial Normal school — receive equally insightful treatment.

An appreciative biography of Careless, an analysis of the relativism underpinning his approach to national and Ontario history, and a listing of Careless’s publications, complete this stimulating collection.


"A collection of ten quite able essays on a wide variety of subjects in nineteenth-century Ontario history. But is it more than that. It is also a reflection of the influence of an extremely gifted senior historian."

About the Authors

David Keane

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014

David Keane

Formerly a visiting professor of Canadian history at the University of Victoria and post-doctoral fellow in the history of medicine at McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario, David Keane is now a research associate in educational development in McMaster's Health Sciences Faculty. His current work on nineteenth century Ontario is on the social history of medical education and the medical profession.

Colin Read

Posted by Sarah on October 30, 2014

Colin Read

Colin Read is a professor in the Department of History, Huron College, London Ontario, and president (1989-90) of the Ontario Historical Society. He is author or editor of several works on the social and political history of nineteenth century Ontario, including The Rising in Western Upper Canada, 1837-38: The Duncombe Revolt and After (1982) and The Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada (1985).