MP-0000.158.40 | A commercial street in Hamilton, ON, about 1918

Photograph, glass lantern slide
A commercial street in Hamilton, ON, about 1918
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1918, 20th century
Silver salts and transparent ink on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
8 x 10 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  automobile (35) , cart (18) , Cityscape (3948) , cityscape (422) , commercial (84) , group (644) , Hamilton (7) , horse drawn (65) , Photograph (77678) , road (36) , streetscape (1737) , streetscape (187) , transportation (338) , view (1387) , view (243)
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"Hamilton: Hamilton, at the west end of Lake Ontario and 40 miles south-west of Toronto, is the third most important manufacturing city of Canada as regards value of output. In recent years, a large number of important industries of the United States have established branch factories here. With cheap electrical power from the Niagara Falls, natural gas and excellent shipping facilities by both rail and water, it has over 700 manufacturing estabishments; and is also situated in the heart of the Niagara fruit district. (Population 124,000)"

Excerpt from "ACROSS CANADA BY C. P. R.", Section 3--The Province of Ontario; booklet, McGill University Illustrated Lectures, 1928.

Keys to History

The new leisure activities of the 20th century

The early 20th century was the dawn of a new era in the history of leisure, the coming of what today is known as mass entertainment. The commercial leisure activities of the late 19th century - amusement parks, freak shows, horse races and professional sports, to name a few - had been only the beginning. Anyone who had paid the price of an entry ticket could enjoy them, in contrast to the days when the elite controlled access to leisure through restrictions based primarily on social status, religion and wealth. Leisure for the masses meant leisure for the general public. The businessmen who organized these new forms of entertainment were mainly interested in attracting large audiences in order to maximize their profits. They were not concerned about educating or improving people as it was the case before, but about entertaining them.

  • What

    The downtown streets provided most of the commercial leisure. Among other recreations to be found there was shopping.

  • Where

    Canadian cities of all sizes, not just the largest, offered a range of mass entertainments.

  • When

    The economic boom that accompanied the arrival of the 20th century was a key factor in the development of mass entertainment.

  • Who

    The entertainment businesses tried to lure young customers, in particular, those with jobs.