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Graduate Students

Elizabeth Armstrong, Marilyn - M.A

Growth Strategy and Land Ownership in the Development of a Community, Guelph, Canada West, 1852-1861 - Dr. Gilbert Stelter, advisor

         Between 1852--1861, Guelph land owners played an important role in community leadership in two ways. As members of Town council, they actively promoted the welfare of the community through the initiation of projects designed to enhance the marketing facilities of the town. As land subdividers, on the other hand, they determined the spatial development of the organic town through the acquisition, subdivision and sale of vacant building lots.
Forty-four men were elected to the Guelph Town council during the period under study. Of the 105 positions available, 34.5% were held by members of the manufacturing class and 24.8% in business and commerce. The predominance of the "commercial class" can be attributed, in part, to legislative rulings in Canada West regarding the disqualification and exemption of councilors. since property ownership was essential for membership on Town council, elected individuals tended to be wealthy, permanent residents of Guelph. As a group, their occupational rating, wealth holding and real property assessment was far higher than the overall statistics for the assessed population.
         Land subdividers on the other hand, were not members of the commercial elite. Of the 30 land subdividers in Guelph, 20% were members of the professional class, 13.3% from government and service industries, and 13.3% from manufacturing. Only 10% were employed in business and commerce. Similarly, no pattern can be discerned in respect to occupational ranking, place of birth and religion. The data available suggests that while they engaged in a similar activity, they had little in common with each other beyond the desire to profit from their investment.