World War I

Pastoral Letter

Written by the Archibishops and Bishops of Quebec, Montreal, and Ottawa, this pastoral letter was issued in the fall of 1914. The letter aimed to solicit contributions from parishioners to the war effort; half of each contribution would go to the national Patriotic Fund and the other half would be directed to assisting local families who would be reduced to poverty during the impending winter, whether due to the wartime or other circumstances.

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War Scandals of the Borden Government

Published by the federal Liberal Party, this booklet critically reviews the behaviours and actions of the wartime Borden government. Of particular note are accusations regarding unnecessary supply shortages, production delays, and the ever-present fear of wartime profiteering.

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Income Tax, 1917

Originally presented as a temporary wartime measure, the Income War Tax Act of 1917 was viewed as a controversial measure at the time. This digest, offered by R. Easton Burns, a certified accountant, goes through the act clause-by-clause to discuss its full impact on Canadians.

Saskatchewan veterans raising funds

The Canadian Legion branch in Kindersley, Saskatchewan, grew from the town's Great War Veterans' Association branch, founded in December 1918. In the 1930s, Legion members were involved in an effort to build a memorial hospital for the region.

An African-American in the CEF

Thousands of Americans enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War - Harrison Webster was one of the few African-Americans. A native of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, he enlisted in #2 Construction Battalion in Saskatoon in October 1916.

Horses for a soldier settler

The program that aimed to turn First World War veterans into farmers allowed them to purchase livestock at reduced prices. Ivor Eastwood had served in the 46th Battalion in France, after enlisting in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, in 1915.

News for the Nova Scotia Highlanders

"The Thistle," published by Nova Scotia's 85th Battalion, provided a mixture of battalion news, humour, and advertisements directed at soldiers.

View PDF: PDF icon Thistle.pdf

National anthems of the Allies

This medley of national songs was introduced at Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition in 1915.

The Soldiers Comic March Song

Written by one of Canada's most successful composers of popular music, this sing was first sung by Little Mildred Manley, "Phenomenal Child Vocalist" - and the composer's daughter.

View PDF: PDF icon What the deuce.pdf

Soldiers far from home

Adorned with an image of a smiling soldier from the 21st Battalion, this song reflected on the homesickness of the soldier serving overseas.

To the horsemen of Mississauga

This song, with lyrics by the noted poet Jean Blewett, was dedicated to the 9th Mississauga Horse, a Toronto-area militia unit.

In honour of returning soldiers

Dedicated to the Returned Soldiers’ Association of Winnipeg, Miller's song looked ahead to the day when soldiers would return to their loved ones.

View PDF: PDF icon Long long way.pdf

Soldiers from the wars returning

Harry Rose was working as a waiter in Toronto when he enlisted in 1914 - after serving with the 3rd Battalion at the front, he enjoyed minor success as a songwriter with songs like this one, which was written to welcome other Canadian soldiers home.

View PDF: PDF icon Victorious.pdf

A waltz by a soldier

Toronto shoemaker Henry Hancock enlisted with the 83rd Battalion in 1915, was wounded in the Somme offensive in 1916 while serving with the 2nd Battalion, and turned to musical composition after the war.

View PDF: PDF icon Privett Waltz.pdf

From returned soldiers to prospective soldiers

This song was intended to be sold by returned soldiers, both as a source of income and to encourage other young men to follow in their footsetps.

View PDF: PDF icon Rally Boys.pdf

The Empire's bond

Dedicated to the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, the piece was privately published before Canadian troops left for the battlefields of Europe.

View PDF: PDF icon Stand by.pdf

Buy Canadian

This handbill, which bears a 1918 postmark from Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, reminded people of the need to buy Canadian-made products, to offset the amount of money being spent purchasing foreign-made munitions and war materials.

"They are gladly dying just to keep the old flag flying"

MacNutt and Kelly were among the more successful song-writing duos of the First World War - this was an attempt to follow up on their hugely popular "We'll Never Let the Old Flag Fall."

View PDF: PDF icon By order.pdf

"Put down the saw for the sword"

In a song that captured the essence of the citizen-soldier ideal, men were asked to "Close up the ledger and put down the pen, Hark to the trumpet call."

View PDF: PDF icon Canada fall in.pdf

March of the Nova Scotia Highlanders

This stirring song used the image of children weeping to bolster support for the war effort.