Who Lived Here In 1911 (Part 2)

Back in May, I posted a first analysis of the 179 individuals who were counted as living on Park Drive (later known as Commercial Drive) at the time of the census in 1911.  In this second part, I’ll take a look at immigration patterns, employment, wages and the position of women.

Of the 179 people, at least 103 were immigrants from outside Canada.  We know this because we have the dates of their arrival into the country. We can see from the following graph that the vast majority of these immigrants had arrived after 1900, and that about 30% had only been in the country for three years or less.

Immigration by Date and by Nation (n=103)

It is interesting to note in passing the effect of the global recession of 1907/08 which reduced immigration almost to zero.

The residents of Commercial Drive in the 1911 census included 53 adult men of whom two were retired.  Every one of the other 51 were working.

Professional and office workers included three physicians, three realtors along with a druggist, an architect, an accountant, a clergyman, a nurse and two office workers.  The retail trades included a number of Commercial Drive storekeepers, butchers, bakers, tailors, a jeweler and their staff.  The manual tradesmen included 12 in the building trades, along with transportation workers, deliverymen and others in the logging business.  None were listed as “labourers”.

These figures show a significant difference between Commercial Drive and the rest of Grandview.  I have compiled figures for employment for Grandview residents between 1902 and 1914 which show that 72% of the working population in the wider area were in manual trades, with 16% in professional/clerical occupations, and 12% in retail.

The census also gives us information on the incomes of 26 of these men in 1910.  By dividing their given salaries by the number of weeks they declared they had worked that year, we can gain some idea of weekly wages at that time.

The lowest wage was earned by James Ingles, a 14-year old messenger, who was paid $5 a week.  His older brother, 17-year old Thomas, was next lowest paid at $9.23 a week as an express driver.  Physician George McKenzie and hardware merchant George Elliott both claimed the most — $2,000 for the year, or $38.46 a week.   Carpenters made between $11.17 and $23.88 a week, CPR brakemen made between $22.00 and $31.25, while John Dawson who was a jeweler received $24.00 a week.

Hours of work also differed widely. William Hallett operated his confectionery business for 70 hours a week, bakers and brakemen were on duty for 60 hours, while most of the manual trades worked just 44 hours each week.

The 1911 Census of Commercial Drive residents includes 64 adult women, only 7 of whom worked outside the home (3 others were housekeepers or servants in the household in which they lived).  Amanda Beresford ran a small millinery business, two others were bookkeepers, three more worked as stenographers, while young Elizabeth New worked as a cashier at a cafe.  Only two of the employed women were married.

One of the stenos made $6.00 for a 42 hour week, while another made $6.67 for 48 hours.  The third stenographer, who worked in a doctor’s office, was paid $10 for 42 hours a week.  Mrs. Ethel Mason was paid $11.54 a week for 50 hours as a bookkeeper, while Mary Burns, also a bookkeeper, made $20.00 for the same hours.  We only have financial data for one of the domestics: Amy Yates, a 17-year old servant to Mr. & Mrs. Charles Wood, was paid $360 a year, or $6.92 a week.

Source for all this data is the Canada Census 1911.




One thought on “Who Lived Here In 1911 (Part 2)

  1. And then 4 years later they have joined the Canadian army to go overseas and die in Flanders’ Field.
    Most of the Canadian army at that time was still British, (as were they all, having British Subject in their passports) but died as Canadian.

    Sad, war.


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