The urban metropolis and its function in society cannot be understood without
studying its composition as a city of immigrants, their newcomer families and
friends and the ties that bind them. By overlooking the ethnic culture and
networks of the city\'s immigrants, the study of the urban centre is at best a
futile effort. Ethnic tendencies and particularly ethnic residential
segregation, are areas of examination than cannot be neglected if we are to
understand the individual and group experiences that ultimately influence urban
growth. It is therefore important to carefully explore these areas so that
insight into the underpinnings of the urban metropolis is achieved. Looking at

Canadian urban centres from 1850-1920, specifically the city of Toronto, I will
examine the issue of ethnic residential segregation and its significance to the
urban centre. I will attempt to prove that this phenomenon is a consequence of
ethnic concentration in particular industries resulting from ethnic networks and
socio-economic inequalities present within society. Furthermore, the existence
of these vibrant yet segregated ethnic communities does not imply that
assimilation is failing to occur. Consequently, standard assimilation
frameworks, which assume that proximity to the majority group increases with
socio-economic gains, must be re-evaluated. Urban and historical geographers
have become increasingly interested in studying residential segregation through
the context of changes in the industrial workplace (Scott, 1986). A number of
industries like clothing, textile, iron and steel have employed large
proportions of immigrant workers (Leiberson, 1933). Toronto is no exception.

Early immigrant settlers came to North America in search of a \'better\' life and
increased economic opportunities (Lindstrom-Best, 1979) and Toronto\'s economic
ambience appealed to them. 1850\'s Toronto saw increased prosperity with
expanding enterprises, jobs and especially railway building. By the 1860\'s, when
this first rail construction boom had faded, the city blossomed into a
regionally dominant railway centre with track access throughout the province,
into adjoining Montreal, Detroit and New York. More importantly though, steam
and iron transport expansion unravelled the way for industrialization (Harney,

1985). Toronto\'s harbourfront thrived with rail traffic, entailing machine and
engine works, coal-yards, moulding and forging plants and steam-driven factories
(Globe, 1866). The new gas works, the Grand Trunk Railway workshops, the Toronto

Rolling Mills, and the Gooderham and Worts distillery exemplified this
flourishing industrialization. Moreover, other processing operations, such as
wood or hardware manufactories, tanneries and meat-packing houses accompanied
industrial growth. All in all, by the 1860\'s, working opportunities in the city
could readily urge on its settlement, which consequently began to accelerate
rapidly (Harney, 1985). In light of these increased working opportunities
distinct Torontonian neighbourhoods developed. St. John\'s Ward bounded by

Henderson, Yonge, Front and University and the Italian neighbourhoods bounded by

Henderson, Manning, Dundas and Ossington are just two of the distinct
communities that resulted. By the 1900\'s, the \'Ward\' as it was popularly know,
primarily consisted of East Europeans of Jewish descent. They initially settled
in the Ward because they had little choice. Upon their arrival, they were in
immediate need of cheap accommodation near steady employment (Harney, 1985). St.

John\'s Ward, adjacent to the commercial centre of the city, provided them this
opportunity. They had relatively few skills and no credit although their
affinity for the garment industry proved valuable (Speisman, 1979). Suffice it
is to say, the Ward was in close proximity to this industry. During the early
twentieth century, the notable clothing firms, the Lowndes Co., Johnson Brothers
and others were located on Front Street, Wellington Street, Church and Bay. By

1910, the T. Eaton company had erected an enormous manufacturing firm bounded by

Bay, Albert, Louisa and James. This company would eventually grow to be the
largest sole employer of Jews in the Ward (Harney, 1985). Factory employees
elected to reside near their places of employment (Harney, 1985). Working long
hours, they wished to minimize travelling time thus choosing to live close to
the companies that employed them. In addition, as proximity to major clothing
firms increased, so too did employment opportunities. The Ward, similar to many
other areas throughout North America, thus evolved into an immigrant haven
adjacent to the central business district. Despite the fact that not all Jews
made their livelihoods in clothing factories, it was the factories\' presence and
proximity to affordable housing that attracted Jewish immigrants to the area (Rischin,

1964) and created a vibrant ethnic neighbourhood. Similar ethnic neighbourhood
appeared as divergent immigrant occupational skills emerged. The first Finnish
inhabitant of Toronto, a tailor named James Lindala, ventured to the city upon
hearing of the high demand for skilled tailors (Lindstrom-Best, 1979). Settling
in the south-central part of Toronto, near the railroad and tailoring shops on

King, Lindala resided as close to prospective employment