The growth of Winnipeg, 1870-1886

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Rostecki, R. R.
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...Richard Wade argued that a metropolis was established when a dominant centre attracted satellite communities and possessed some specialization of activity. Such a place exercised leadership among cities. "But the metropolitan relationship is a chain, almost a feudal chain of vassalage, wherein one city may stand tributary to a bigger centre and yet be the metropolis of a sizeable region of its own." Thus, Winnipeg during the l870s and 1880s remained dependant upon the manufacturing and financial services of the East, and in turn became the dominating force within the region which it served. In becoming a metropolitan centre, did Winnipeg provide a certain atmosphere of stability? In terms of population, Winnipeg by 1886 was the largest city in the Canadian West. At the same time, it exercised an economic control over its hinterland, thereby performing basically the same functions as Toronto or Montreal exercised over their hinterland. While Winnipeg may have been seen by a Calgarian as the essence of Canadian civilization, a Torontonian might have perceived the "Prairie Metropolis" as rather backward because of a lack of paved streets, primitive sewage disposal or rudimentary cultural facilities. Thus, the Winnipeg of 1886 can be considered mature in function and spatial segregation, even though a further twenty years would make its civilization seem rough and immature...