Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 39 > Page 40 - The Steel Boom Comes to Sydney, 1899

Page 40 - The Steel Boom Comes to Sydney, 1899

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/6/1 (278 reads)

Building a Blast Furnace reported the inspector 1903, "sections were vacant during the year. A niomber of these had few or no pu? pils and others have been so weakened by the removal of many families into the min? ing and industrial centers of the island, that they were unable to support schools." Precisely how many native Cape Bretoners and the proportions per county is not as? certainable. But Crawley, working with the 1901 census, offers some suggestions to? ward a portrait of the work force gathered at Sydney. We know the town grew from 3000 in 1891 to 9909 in 1901. There were 6246 immigrants in Cape Breton County, "second only in Nova Scotia to Halifax with 7014. Of these 6246, 3689 had emigrated between 1896 and the end of 1900, while 358 had emigrated in the first 3 months of 1901. 3392 were from Newfoundland, 1553 from the British Isles, 679 from the United States, 110 from Italy, 94 from Ru&sia;, 92 from France, 82 from Norway and Sweden, 68 from Austria-Hungary, 60 from Syria, and the re? mainder from various other countries." Cape Breton County was the only county on the island to increase in population, and that increase was the largest of any coun? ty in Nova Scotia--from 34,244 to 49,166. The island's "urban population increased from 2427 in 1891 to 26,279 in 1901, while the rural population decreased from 31,817 to only 22,887 in the same period.... We see that 1948 people were bom in other provinces, 'suggesting that the new indus? trial activity attracted Canadians from outside Nova Scotia." It should be added that this continued to be a very mobile work force; a study of street directories revealed that for every 10 that came in, 7 went out (Don MacGillivray). The bulk of the accidents seemed to happen to Newfoundlanders, which may be indica? tive of the kinds of work they were asked to do; and the bulk of the trouble re? ported in the papers was linked to Ital? ians. There were 211 arrests in Sydney in the first 3 months of 1901. Over and over, Italians were in court, reported as fight? ing, stealing money and wives from one an? other, retaliating with guns, picks, and knives. So frequent were arrests at the Coke Ovens and the Pier that a new police station was situated in the vicinity. Try? ing to discuss the topic of the cosmopol? itan nature of Sydney, the Daily Record re? vealed various attitudes that would crop up again in times of labour tension. Re? garding the Italians specifically, they said they were "getting a bad press be? cause of a few 'black sheep.'" They then went on to say: "The trouble with the quar? relsome Italian is that he resorts to the knife or other weapons when aroused, un? like his more northern neighbour." When Newfoundland newspapers reported men com? ing back without having found work in Syd- WHERE TOMORROW'S STYLES ARE FEATURED TODA', Jacobson's Ladies'Wear Hudson's Bay jackets and coats Hudson's Bay blankets Pure wool imported suits from Scotland Imported cashmere coats Eskimo-made jackets All famous Canadian & European designers (40) 33Q CHARLOTTE STREET * PHONE 564-8132 SYDNEY jEcobson's Tweed & Hickory Tartan skirts and kilts (including C.B. & N.S. tartans) Icelandic coats and sweaters Peter Scott lamb's wool and Shetland sweaters Imported pure wool skirts, sweaters and pants 263 CHARLOTTE STREET * PHONE 564-6308
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