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Additional resources for A Darkened House: Cholera in Nineteenth-Century Canada
They cited the danger of bringing dirty and possibly diseased people to a spot near the city water-supply and close to the point from which boats left for Upper Canada. The committee ignored the protests. 33 The committee also offered to help the board of health enforce its sanitary regulations. The board was glad to accept this offer and also the help of committees established in the suburb of St Lawrence and the East and West wards. The volunteers offered to act as health wardens and to relieve some of the strain on the paid wardens.
In Quebec, the voluntary movement was slower to begin and it was late August before some of the citizens took up the idea. Mr Justice Kerr chaired a public meeting on 20 August which established the Quebec Sanitary Committee. Within three days, nearly 200 volunteers had been named to serve in the various wards. A further group was named on 1 September. The volunteers were told how to disinfect houses with chloride of lime. 37 The late organization of the movement meant that the volunteers played a lesser role in Quebec than they did in Montreal.
In Montreal conditions were always worse than in Quebec; it was late June before any adequate bedding was provided for the cholera hospitals and they remained under the supervision of part-time, non-resident, physicians. It is hardly surprising that people refused to go to hospital - one man's relatives refused to 29 Calculated to unman the ... 12 No one went willingly to the cholera hospitals. They were intended to serve only those severely ill whose homes offered inadequate shelter or who were a threat to the community.