Paradise: Class, Commuters, and Ethnicity in Rural Ontario
Published: December 1994© 1973
330 Pages, 6.01 x 8.94 x 0.94 in
What was life like in the 1950s in small communities in Ontario? Lower-class and upper-class residents might have different memories of those days, but on one thing they would agree: it is a much different world in rural Ontario today. The old guard has lost most of its power, displaced partly by ‘big brother’ in the form of bureaucracy, and new comers from the city in search of affordable housing—even if it means commuting daily to work. Unlike their British-origin predecessors, the newcomers who have begun to appear in the countryside represent a wide range of ethnic and economic backgrounds.
Paradise concentrates on the transformed class system of one community in rural Ontario. In a comparison of the decade following the First World War and the 1980s, Stanley R. Barrett analyses the changing face and structure of a town as it has had to adapt to modern social and economic realities. Particular attention is paid to the phenomenon of the commuter in search of affordable housing and the influx of immigrants of varied ethnic backgrounds, and the interaction between these newcomers and long-term residents. What is striking is just how massive the changes in small-town Ontario have been since the Second World War—to the extent of almost obliterating long-assumed distinctions between rural and urban society.