In the beginning, there was a city. Bytown in the 1840s was a rapidly growing settlement, but had not yet received the infrastructure which would allow it to expand beyond its construction-camp roots. The roads were primarily dirt (or mud, for most of the year), there was only a couple of churches, and internal commerce was practically non-existent. Into this void stepped the first Town Council of Bytown in 1847. The articles of incorporation for Bytown ensured that Lower Town (which roughly corresponds to the area of Byward Market today) held the balance of power on the council, and thus John Scott, a lawyer whose office was based in Lower Town and a strong Reformer (analogous to the later Liberal Party), became the mayor.[1] One of the first tasks faced by the new Council was establishing two markets in Bytown, one for Upper Town and one for Lower Town; this decision, however, proved unexpectedly controversial.

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