Political Tensions & the Cholera Epidemic

Political Tensions and the Cholera EpidemicPinterest
Unveiling of memorial cross commemorating the Irish immigrants who died of cholera in 1849 in 1909. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

As the cholera epidemic grew, and Kingston’s best and brightest continued to fall victim, panic and political tensions flared. Public meetings were held in Kingston to discuss public health strategies. Relations with the French Canadians suffered as they believed the British government was sending their sickly to Lower Canada on purpose. Meanwhile, William Lyon Mackenzie was infuriated to learn that some in the British House of Lords believed the cholera was a scam, concocted by the Canadians to garner a larger portion of the Colonial budgets -- one of the many reasons inspiring him to lead the rebellion in Upper Canada in 1837. The epidemic subsided, sometimes for years at a time, and reappeared throughout the period. Eventually, an advanced understanding of the illness and improvements to public health measures helped loosen the grip of cholera on the city.