Charity and Public Welfare in History: A Look at Ontario, 1830–1950

Several historical works have described 19th-century Ontario as lacking a conception of public welfare, where the poor were largely left to the benevolence of religious charities. Consider here Stephen Speisman’s claim that “prior to 1900, the very religious character of Toronto mitigated against the assumption of social welfare responsibilities by the city government.”1 This assumption,…