Sunday, 5 April 2009

St David’s Ward—Chapter Two

My last blog was a brief description of the ward from a geographical point of view. In this one I want to tell you some things about the people who lived there.
The total population, according to the census, was 7846—of which 3804 were male and 4042 were female. Both sexes were pretty evenly matched in numbers throughout the age range but, between the ages of 16 and 35 there were definitely more females. In the days before many girls had an occupation, they stayed home, while their brothers were in a better position to wander and establish themselves elsewhere. Children under 15 accounted for just over 40 percent of the population. Only 250 people (3 percent of the total) were over 60 and another 5.3 percent were in their 50s. Those who did not give their age or whose ages, for some reason or other, were unreadable amounted to 122 or 1.6 percent. That left 1816 males and 2142 females between the ages of 16 and 50 (47.7 and 53.0 percent respectively).
The population breakdown between the divisions was as follows:
Division One (King St East to Duchess Street, Nelson Street to Caroline Street) 953 people
Division Two (King St East to Queen, Caroline Street to Parliament Street) 1434
Division Three (Duchess & Queen St East to Caroline St, Jarvis St to Parliament St) 2423
Division Four (King St East to Beech St , Parliament St to the Don River) 1881
Division Five (Carlton St to Bloor St East, Jarvis St to Parliament St) 413
Division Six (Beech St north to Bloor St, Parliament St to the Don River) 778
Three of the four streets bounding Division One have had their names changed since the 1860s. Duchess Street is now the eastern part of Richmond St East, Nelson Street is Jarvis Street below Queen, and Caroline Street is now the southern part of Sherbourne Street. In terms of physical area, it was the smallest of the divisions, but probably the most densely populated. On King Street there were many families living “over the shop”.
Division Two extended east from Division One and also added another block north so that it reached Queen. It was still quite densely populated and contained many small shops.
Division Three was much larger in area than Divisions One and Two. Jarvis Street was the home of many merchants and barristers. George Street, which parallels Jarvis, was more likely to contain the homes of workers.
Division Four extended east from Division Two and the two divisions were quite similar, although the density of population continued to ease the more one moved from the centre of the city. On the streets adjacent to the Don River were a number of butchers. This was probably an area where cattle could be kept for a short time immediately before being herded down to St Lawrence Market.
Divisions Five and Six could be considered the “suburbia” of the time. Only a few years before the area was called “The Liberties” and was not exactly part of the city. People were just moving into this area. Division Five was a continuation of Division Three with many merchants, bankers, and a small academic community stretching out from the Normal School and the Medical College situated east of Jarvis. Division Six included not only St James’s Cemetery, but Lamb’s Blacking Factory—the glueworks which formed the location of one of the episodes of Murdoch’s Mysteries.

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