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Canada in the 19th century was more a place of villages and small towns than it is today, although over the course of the century, cities expanded. While there was some movement as European settlers moved into new territory, established communities tended to be more stable than they are today.
Children were born into strong networks of extended family and neighbours. Young people went to school and church together, socialized together, participated as a group in picnics, sleigh rides or dances, and mixed with older and younger relatives and friends. Gradually, as they matured, couples formed within a group and began to marry.
For these reasons, young people needed little supervision, and their parents usually knew the background and character of their children's potential mates. That, not romantic love, was the underpinning for future happiness. Similarity in tastes, background, class and culture would make their lives that much easier.
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