Introduction

The construction of the Rideau Canal brought together people from Upper and Lower Canada, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Workers of similar backgrounds and affiliations quickly banded together, and while their alliances were useful in providing camaraderie and protection during tough times, they also heightened tension between groups. Economic disparities between the wealthy citizens of Upper Town and the poor labourers of Lower Town were an early source of conflict; disagreements between smaller factions of workers over politics, religion, and other cultural issues quickly became an increasingly prevalent (and violent) source of unrest. While these issues would eventually diminish with time, young Bytown’s future as a quiet and peaceful government community was by no means assured.

Local Leadership»