Learning

Introductory Essay

Canada’s participation in the First World War has often been described as a coming-of-age – a trial by fire that transformed an immature colonial polity into an... Read Full Essay »
This short essay focuses on education within schools and universities during the Second World War in order to explore the relationship between war and learning. In... Read Full Essay »

For bubble gum card collectors

Most children were interested in collecting the bubble gum cards, rather than in saving the packaging - which is also an interesting example of contemporary graphic art.

"Brothers-in-Arms"

Presented to a school in Steinbach, Manitoba, as part of the War Memorial Library of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, this booklet told the story of Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and South African soldiers during the First World War.

The Canada War Book

This book was issued to schools in New Brunswick as a text-book to instruct students about Canada's role in the war and their duty as Canadians to save money and materials that are needed for Canada's war effort. Although the armistice had been signed before this book was released, the war was technically not over until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June of 1919.

Canadian Democracy in Action

The Prince Edward Island Department of Education released this book to its schools to describe Canadian democracy and the operation of the government of Canada.

Badges of the Canadian Expeditionary Force

Children who had no access to actual military badges could collect cards of the badges instead.

Modern war in school

A Prince Edward Island schoolboy used these exercise books during the Second World War for mathematics and writing; there were six different books in the "Branches of the Service" series.

Patriotic notebooks

Schoolboy Clarence Geddes used these notebooks for History and Geometry classes. They probably date from early in the First World War.

A school play from 1917

Drill was very popular in Canadian schools before the First World War and became even more popular after 1914, when it was used as a vehicle for patriotic instruction.

View PDF: Rule Britannia.pdf

Reduce, reuse, recycle

The Red Cross Conservation Department was responsible for saving waste material - everything from fat and bones to scrap metal - to be turned into weapons. Collecting such things was a popular activity for schoolchildren.

Collecting cards from cocoa

Children who collected these cards could trade them, or use them to learn semaphore or as a bookmark.

The Kaiser's Last Will

This parody, probably printed at the end of the First World War, was typically of such humour that poked fun at the enemy. Once they had been defeated, Canadians could afford to take them less seriously.

The Empire's Roll of Valour

This keepsake was published after the First World War by a children's magazine, and gave youngsters a place to keep souvenir cards picturing such subjects as the Battle of Vimy Ridge and Victoria Cross-winners Billy Bishop and Tom Dinesen.

View PDF: Wallet.pdf

A children's book in wartime

First published in 1914 as a fund-raising venture in aid of refugee children in Belgium, it was later reprinted to aid the charitable work of the Comtesse de Suzannet.

View PDF: Belgian Hare.pdf

Carrying the Tools to Britain

This game was designed, probably in 1942, by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation "to enable listeners of all ages to better visualize the mobilization of this country's vast resources in the gigantic war effort in which we are now engaged."

Air Raid Precautions - Protection of Schools and School Children

Part of a larger series, this booklet detailed the necessary steps in protecting schools from potential air raids.

An infantry hero

Earl McAllister was rejected as physically unfit by the Royal Canadian Air Force, but earned fame by capturing dozens of German soldiers during the campaign in Normandy in 1944.

View PDF: Scotty Sent Us.pdf

A Yank in the RCAF

Oklahoma native Claude Weaver joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, became an ace, was shot down in Italy, and escaped from a German prison camp.

View PDF: Thrill Hunter.pdf

Battle in the Atlantic

This comic focused on the cooperation between Canadian airmen (in this case, the crew of a Sunderland flying boat) and British sailors of the destroyer HMS Drury in fighting the war against German U-Boats.

View PDF: Sub busters.pdf

Splendid Aircraft

This book, which combined full-colour artwork and detailed technical drawings, must have been a delight to children raised in an era when aviation occupied such a prominent place in popular culture.

Mackenzie King, comic book hero

This comic, probably published in the United States early in 1942, introduced children to prime minister Mackenzie King and the war policies of his government.

View PDF: King of Canada.pdf

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