Goldberg, Sonya - M.A
The Meeting of the City and the Country: The Ontario Provincial Winter Fair, 1900-1940 - Dr. Catharine Wilson & Dr. Gilbert Stelter
This thesis is an investigation of the connections between, and the nature of, urban and rural communities in early twentieth century Ontario. Traditionally historians have viewed the city and the countryside as separate spheres of study. The Ontario Provincial Winter Fair, which ran in Guelph from 1900 to 1940, however, provides a window into understanding the relationships between and the perceptions, values and concerns held by the rural and urban communities. The early twentieth century was a period of considerable growth, change and disruption for both the city and the countryside. The fair provided a vehicle for rural communities to examine the changing nature of agriculture and the rising status of urban life. Simultaneously, the OPWF allowed the city of Guelph to understand and manipulate its status among rural communities and more importantly within the greater urban hierarchy. Ultimately, the fair illustrated the conflict of confidence and insecurity inherent in Ontario's urban and rural communities in the early twentieth century and points to the value of such institutions as the OPWF, in gaining a greater cultural understanding of community life.