Canada between the wars 1919 1939
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Canada Between the Wars 1919- 1939. Closing of War Industries major effects such as high inflation, women returning to home, rising unemployment, increasing labour unrest Winnipeg General Strike 1919

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Canada between the wars 1919 1939

Closing of War Industries

major effects such as high inflation, women returning to home, rising unemployment, increasing labour unrest

Winnipeg General Strike 1919

30 000 workers went on strike (demanded .85 cents per hour, 8 hour day, right to collective bargaining)

Bloody Saturday; riots and violence led to 1 death and 30 injuries

Leaders arrested and sent to jail but more attention drawn to social and economic problems of workers

Prohibition & Bootlegging

ban of production, import and distribution of alcohol

Led to bootleg booze- smuggled alcohol and speakeasies

Spanish Flu

Massive epidemic after veterans returned home

Deadly strain killing up to 100 million people; 50 000 Canadians

Canada between the wars 1919 1939

Aboriginal Issues

  • Policy of assimilation seen in the Indian Act 1867, creation of residential schools, and policy of enfranchisement (right to vote if give up Aboriginal status)

  • League of Indians- created in 1919 by Frederick Loft (Aboriginal war veteran) to make a united voice for Aboriginals


  • Xenophobia- intense dislike of foreigners

  • 1919 Immigration Act- made all immigrants pass an English literacy test (emphasis on assimilation)

  • 1923- Chinese Exclusion Act: banned all Chinese immigrants except students, merchants and diplomats (from 1923- 1947- only 8 Chinese immigrants admitted to Canada)

Canada between the wars 1919 1939

  • New technologies: radio, vacuum cleaners, automobile, passenger planes

  • Ford Model Tor “Tin Lizzie” was most affordable car ($395 in 1924) and was mass produced by assembly line

  • Joseph Bombardier: Canadian who invented first snowmobile called “B-7” for medical transport in winter

  • Person’s Case: Famous Five campaigned that women should be considered “Persons” under Canadian Law; finally granted by Britain’s Privy Council and Cairine Wilson was first women appointed to the Senate

Canada between the wars 1919 1939


  • Huge influence of culture & influence from United States


  • mahjong, crosswords, contests, dancing marathons


  • flappers, rising hemlines, bob haircut, knickers, bow ties


  • Jazz Age, Charleston dance

  • “talkies” (talking movies) with stars Charlie Chaplin and Canadian Mary Pickford “America’s Sweetheart”

    Golden Age of Sports

  • Famous amateur athletes such as Lionel Conacher, Bobbie Rosenfeld played multiple sports

  • Women in Sports: Edmonton Grads dominated basketball for over 20 years but by 1930s competitive sports were considered “unfeminine”

  • Professional Sports: hockey (NHL) & Foster Hewitt’s call of Hockey Night and Canada; baseball

Canada between the wars 1919 1939


  • End of post war economic problems

  • New inventions and mass production of products fueled economy and employment

  • High sales, high wages, high prices, high production, high profits, high demand, low unemployment

  • Emergence of ‘branch plants’ in Canada


  • Get rich quick scheme (buy low, sell high)

  • Stock / share: a unit of ownership in a company

  • Price of share dependent on supply and demand


  • ‘credit buying’ of products (appliances)- buy now, pay later

  • ‘buying on margin’ of stocks

Canada between the wars 1919 1939


  • Stocks were highly inflated or overpriced AND company assets were not the same worth

  • Investors became nervous as stock prices were becoming “too high” for what it actually worth

  • ‘Black Tuesday’: October 29, 1929: massive selling of stocks > panic sets in > everyone selling

  • As investors sold, prices of stocks plunged


  • Thousands of investors wiped out

  • Banks demanded payment for loans but borrowers could not repay

  • Many companies had borrowed money to finance expansion of companies and had to shut down > rise in unemployment

  • People had bought many stocks and items on credit- had nothing to pay back; then banks would repossess items (ie. homes)

  • People could not afford to buy clothes, food and other merchandise > forcing more companies to go bankrupt and put more people out of work

  • Trigger to the Great Depression- worst economic downturn in history

Canada between the wars 1919 1939

The dirty thirties
The Dirty Thirties Depression:

  • 1933- 1/3 of people were out of work

  • Riding the rods

  • Relief vouchers

  • Relief Camps

  • Dust Bowl

  • Soup Kitchens

  • Bennett Buggies

  • On to Ottawa Trek