In many respects, Bytown was a planned community modelled after the grid pattern common to European society at the time. Dividing Upper and Lower Town was the prospective canal site, which soon became a physical – as well as a social, religious, and political – line of division between the two classes of early settlers. Upper Town, originally a dense forest, was the first area to be developed: located on higher (and drier) ground, it was home to the more prosperous English and Scottish immigrants. Lower Town, which was originally a cedar swamp, was developed later, once construction of the canal had begun. It was in Lower Town that labourers and immigrants, in particular Irish and French Canadians, eventually took up residence with their families. Unlike Upper Town residents, those living in Lower Town were only permitted to lease their land. Since voting rights were given only to property owners, this zoning decision restricted the ability of the labourers to participate in municipal decisions.