Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Robert Sharpe

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The social and political factors which affected nineteenth-century waterworks development have been relatively well researched in the United States. The few Canadian studies have found inequities in the systems of water provision. Using Paris, Ontario as a case study, an attempt is made to fill this research gap in Canada. The research centres on the identification of the social classes which paid for the Paris waterworks and which received the benefits. The spatial distribution of these social classes is determined and then compared to the spatial pattern of waterworks development. A similar comparison is done between the functional zonation of the town and the spatial pattern of waterworks in order to test an hypothesized emphasis on the needs of the owners of the means of production. The correlations found are explained in the course of an examination of nineteenth-century laws concerning council membership and municipal voting. The legislative bias in favour of the owners of capital is anticipated by both Marxism and critical theory. The primary data source used were the local newspapers of the day, which in many instances propagated much of the prodevelopment misinformation. In addition to the analysis of events which occurred after the completion of the waterworks system, there is a detailed examination of the statements and actions of the proponents and opponents of the system before the undertaking was authorized by council and by the electors. The proponents are prominent industrialists and merchants whose coordinated development efforts are generally well-received by municipal politicians and newspaper editors. Support is thus found for Habermas' theories concerning the legitimizing role ol the state, and the systematic distortion of communication which is characteristic of capitalism.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season