World War II

"'Foreign' Canadians in the Present War"

This general-interest magazine, created by Polish-Canadian journalists in Toronto, was directed at Canadians whose ethnic heritage was neither English nor French.

"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.

Alphamin - for the fighting man

"The health of a nation is one of its armaments" - and in the absence of a balanced diet because of wartime shortages, vitamin supplements were a way to keep the Allied war effort healthy.

View PDF: Alphamin.pdf

"Poems tragic, poems nostalgic"

The Second World War was a less poetic war than the First had been, but there were enough amateur poets in the Canadian army in Italy to fill this collection of poems, all of which had originally been published in the military newspaper "The Maple Leaf."

View PDF: Rhyme & Reason.pdf

The Allies at war

Published in England, this magazine highlighted the breadth of the Allied war effort, and particularly the wealth in natural resources of the British Empire, for French-speaking readers.

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.

Hockey dominates the news pages

The newspaper of HMCS York, billed as "Canada's No. 1 Navy Weekly", was dominated by sports news, with war bulletins and political news items thrown in for good measure.

View PDF: Yorker.pdf

A smooth transition

These instructions, for military personnel from the Hamilton and Niagara regions, dealt with practical matters such as pay, clothing, and transportation, but also warned returning soldiers, "Don't take V.D. home."

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.

D-Day ... ten years after

On the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, veterans in Gravenhurst, Ontario, organized a church service to mark the occasion.

Music of the New World

Broadcast on the CBC from 17 August to 5 October 1944, this weekly program highlighted the work of Canadian composers such as Healey Willan, J.J. Weinzweig, J.J. Gagnier, and Alexander Brott.

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.

To all who served

Part of the Veterans Charter that emerged from the Second World War was low-cost life insurance for veterans and their families - as explained in this short booklet.

View PDF: What's Ahead.pdf

How to have a happy and efficient ship

Managing seamen, who were typically divided into four Divisions (Forecastle, Foretop, Maintop, and Quarterdeck), relied heavily on an officer's unselfishness, humour, and common sense - the main principles underlying this training manual.

"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.

"Smiles will never be rationed"

The Happy Gang was one of the most popular entertainment groups of the 1940s, and considered its material to be ammunition for the "'second front' at home, the Fun Front."

View PDF: Happy Gang.pdf

Pages