Volunteering

Introductory Essay

Volunteering was an integral part of the “total war” Canadians experienced during the First and Second World Wars, offering civilians a meaningful and practical way to... Read Full Essay »

A Letter From the Princess of Wales

This is a letter from the Princess of Wales. The gift is unknown, for only the card has survived.

Bingo for War Victims

A huge bingo game at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens in 1941 raised money for the British War Victims' Fund, organized by the Telegram. Hockey announcer Foster Hewitt was a featured guest.

View PDF: Bingo.pdf

Serve by Saving

A pamphlet advertising War Savings Certificates, a program in which civilians purchased stamps and could redeem them after the war for a higher value.

Paying for the war

During the Second World War, the federal government hope to run the war on a pay-as-you-go basis - with funding provided by Canadians themselves, using instruments such as War Savings Certificates.

For Victory Loan donors

The Victory Loan drive was a staple in wartime Canada, as were the receipts given to people who pledged support.

Be prepared for bombs

As the enemy developed new types of incendiary bombs, it was necessary to keep the public informed about new procedures - despite the fact that a fire raid on Halifax or Winnipeg was unlikely.

Pull Together, Canada

Patterned after a successful American number, this song "brings patriotism down to brass tacks and shows, in a simple and compelling way, how every Canadian can play his part."

View PDF: You Can Fight.pdf

"Where does your money go?"

The federal government used every tactic to convince Canadians to help finance the Second World War domestically - including mobilizing cartoon figures by Walt Disney.

"I is for Incendiary"

Poetry was put to many uses during the Second World War - including recruiting volunteers to be Air Raid Wardens.

Preparing for aerial attack

The response to an air raid on Thorold, Ontario, was planned with military precision, but the plans never had to be put into action.

View PDF: Thorold ARP.pdf

Enforcing the blackout

Although the danger of an air raid on Canada seemed slight, the Defence of Canada Regulations gave the authorities special powers to enforce a blackout during air raid drills.

Air raid on Toronto !

Filled out as part of a 1942 air raid drill, these reports revealed that imaginary bombs had been dropped at Castlewood and Roselawn, Glengrove and Duplex, and Roehampton and Banff - and that 534 Roselawn Avenue was on fire.

On Leave in London

The soldier on leave could find much to do in London, and the YMCA was there to provide information and assistance with accommodations, meals, and entertainment.

The British Empire comes to Britain

During the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of men and women came to Britain from all parts of the British Empire, necessitating a massive volunteer effort to ensure that they were well taken care of while on leave and had as little opportunity as possible for getting into trouble.

Another Victory Loan

To prepare people to support the last Victory Loan, organizers in Nova Scotia outlined how their previous investments had been spent.

A home away from home in Scotland

The Scottish Rest Home for Serviceman, which this Toronto soldier visited in 1942, was opened by the Rotary Club of Edinburgh in June 1940; two years later, over 30,000 servicemen had already stayed there.

Speed the victory!

This postcard was sent to a soldier, likely by his former co-workers in Wallaceburg, Ontario, to celebrate their success in the 1943 Victory Bond campaign.

Mobilizing the charitable sector

This handy booklet contained instructions on how to make items for Canadians uniform, but also how to mail them and which charitable organizations were responsible for various activities.

The 1917 Victory Loan campaign

This booklet stressed that money generated in the 1917 Victory Loan campaign would only be spent for war purposes, and would only be spent in Canada.

"Knitted articles for all branches of the service"

In successive editions of this pamphlet, it is possible to see changing understandings of what men and women in uniform needed in the way of knitted articles.

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