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Post-WW2 Canada


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Title: Post-WW2 Canada

Post-WW2 Canada
Exploring Canada and Canadian Identity
  • After WW2 the attempts to establish an identity
    that is uniquely Canadian becomes quite the focus
    for Canadian government
  • Therefore, the focus of our unit will be to
    identify, to analyze and to assess the ways in
    which Canadas identity was altered and/or formed
    in the years after World War 2

How would you describe this country and its
  • You are travelling to a country somewhere outside
    Canada, you meet a native of said country. They
    ask you about Canada and Canadians
  • Using the sticky note provided, write down as
    many things as you can that you would tell this
    person about Canada and/or Canadians.
  • Next step
  • When given the signal, pair up to create a Top 5
    list from the info you wrote on your sticky
  • Be prepared to share your list with the class.

How would you describe this country and its
How do some people describe Canada and its
  • Canada was a country with "not enough history,
    too much geography. _ Prime Minister Mackenzie

A Canadian is someone who knows how to make
love in a canoe without tipping it. _Pierre
A Canadian is an American with healthcare and no
guns. _ The Economist
Canada was built on dead beavers. _ Margaret
Canada is the essence of not being. Not
English, not American, it is the mathematic of
not being. And a subtle flavour - we're more like
celery as a flavour. _ Mike Myers
Questions to guide viewing
  • List all of the things the video indicates were
    created/developed in the 1950s to create a
    Canadian identity?
  • Why do people in the clip say these were
  • Who is Vincent Massey?

The Fifties Video
  • http//
  • (watch to 1345)

Debrief Answers
  • List all of the things the video indicates were
    created/developed in the 1950s to create a
    Canadian identity?
  • Why do people in the clip say these were
  • Who is Vincent Massey?

From Massey Report Nature of the Task
  • "That it is desirable that the Canadian people
    should know as much as possible about their
    country, its history and traditions and about
    their national life and common achievements that
    it is in the national interest to give
    encouragement to institutions which express
    national feeling, promote common understanding
    and add to the variety and richness of Canadian
    life, rural as well as urban."

Life in Canada after 1945
  • What happens before 1950s to lead to this need
    for a Canadian identity?
  • Soldiers return from war
  • Arrival of War Brides
  • Displaced Person Movement
  • New Immigration Policy
  • The Baby Boom

The Return Home
  • Local officials and volunteer agencies organized
    civic welcome ceremonies.
  • Citizens were urged to give every soldier a
    hero's welcome and many did, often armed with
    coffee, sandwiches and apple pies.

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Opportunities Available
  • Veterans Charter (1944) provided clothing
    allowances, war-service gratuities and one year's
    medical treatment.
  • Disabled soldiers received pensions, ongoing
    treatment for their disabilities and special help
    in finding jobs.
  • Veterans' Land Act offered low-interest loans to
    buy farms.
  • Another program paid for vocational training or
  • Law guaranteed servicemen their prewar jobs but
    not pay raises/promotions they might have missed
    out on.
  • Between 1946 and 1950 the single largest
    government expenditure went to rehabilitation for
    former servicemen.

Extension ActivityOpportunities Available to
  • Read the handout that outlines the story of James
  • Respond to the questions on the flipside of the
  • Be prepared to share your responses with the

War Brides
  • Canadian Wives' Bureau was set up by the
    Department of National Defense in 1944 to arrange
    for war brides and their children to travel to
    Canada by ship and to their husbands' homes by
  • Some 48,000 War Brides came to Canada after
    meeting and marrying Canadian servicemen. Most
    brides were from Britain but there were also some
    from Holland, Belgium, France, Italy and Germany.

Elizabeth Rae and her daughter Ann on the train
from Liverpool to the S.S. Mauretania (below)
bound for Canada (April 2, 1946)
  • To help familiarize war brides with Canadian
    practices, the Canadian government distributed
    booklets such as Welcome to War Brides, Canadian
    Cook Book for British Wives and How to Deliver
    Your Own Baby.

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Displaced Person (DP) Movement
  • In 1946 the Canadian Citizenship Act is adopted
  • In November 1946 the PM calls for measures to
    help resettle European refugees
  • However, it is not until April 1947 that Canadas
    doors open to those without relatives in Canada
  • Between 1947 and 1952, 186,154 displaced persons
    come to Canada

Source Alan G. Green. Immigrationand the
Postwar Canadian Economy.Canada Maclean-Hunter
Press, 1976.
  • Prime Minister Mackenzie Kings directive from
    the House of Commons on May 1, 1947
  • The policy of the government is to foster the
    growth of the population of Canada by the
    encouragement of immigration. The government will
    seek by legislation, regulation, and vigorous
    administration, to ensure the careful selection
    and permanent settlement of such numbers of
    immigrants as can advantageously be absorbed in
    our national economy.

  • King
  • Canada is "perfectly within her rights in
    selecting the persons whom we regard as desirable
    future citizens.
  • On the other hand, "the people of Canada do not
    wish, as a result of mass immigration, to make a
    fundamental alteration in the character of our
    population. Large-scale immigration from the
    Orient would change the fundamental composition
    of the Canadian population."

Chinese Immigration Act repealed
  • At the same time, the government, following
    pressure (e.g. by the Committee for the Repeal of
    the Chinese Immigration Act, formed by church and
    labour groups), repeals the Chinese Immigration
    Act (Head Tax Exclusion Act 1923).
  • Chinese immigration was henceforth regulated by
    the 1930 rules for Asiatics which allowed only
    the sponsorship of wife and children by Canadian

1951 Census
  • TOTAL Population 14,009,429
  • 14.7 were immigrants (i.e. born outside Canada)
  • 47 female, 80 in Canada 10 years, 29 rural
  • 44 UK-born, 13.7 U.S., 9 USSR, 8 Ireland
  • There were 37,145 immigrants from "Asiatic
    countries" of whom 24,166 were from China.
  • There were 18,020 "Negroes" reported (fewer than
    in 1921, 1931, 1941 censuses).
  • About 97 of the population was of European

Baby Boom
  • Between 1940 and 1965, the Baby Boom produced
    about 1.5 million more births than would
    otherwise have occurred (about 8.6 million), an
    increase of more than 18
  • In 25 years, the annual number of births in
    Canada rose from 253,000 in 1940 to 479,000 in
    1960, but dropped to 419,000 in 1965

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  • Next class 1950s then now significant
    cultural elements (and pop culture!)