THE TORONTO STAR FRESH AIR FUND: TRANSCENDENTAL RESCUE IN A MODERN CITY, 1900–1915

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Abstract

ABSTRACT. The Toronto Star newspaper began rescuing poor children from the city's hottest, smokiest, and smelliest neighborhoods in 1901. The Fresh Air Fund, like park and playground planning, assumed that proximity to nature modified both health and behavior. Evoking transcendentalism—the idea that providential nature could move humanity into higher forms of existence—the Star sent children to the countryside near Toronto, albeit temporarily, assured of producing tangible health benefits. It also expected “nature” to convert the antibourgeois immorality of poor children into something more tolerable.

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