World War II

Entertainment in wartime

Four ensembles, the Originals, the London Life Troupers, the Tweedsmuir Revue, and the London Little Theatre, performed to entertain men and women in uniform and raise funds for the Citizens Auxiliary War Services Committee.

Giving thanks for peace

Across the Allied world in May 1945, communities like Chesley, Ontario, gathered to give thanks for the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Prayers for soldiers, sailors and airmen

Endorsed by the Archbishop of Quebec, this prayer book was published by the Knights of Columbus within a few months of the beginning of the Second World War.

Recycling rubber

By 1943, Japan controlled up to three-quarters of the world's supply of crude rubber - making recycling essential if the Allied war effort was to continue.

View PDF: Scrap rubber.pdf

Sunday School and Mother's Day

This donation card, directed at Ontario children, conflated Mother's Day, religion, and the need to defeat Nazi Germany

Useful gifts for soldier boys

It was up to Canadians at home to remember their loved ones overseas with the odd gift - bought, of course, from a local retailer.

Made in Canada

This multilingual decal was made in 1943, likely to affix to Canadian war materiel, perhaps vehicles, being exported.

Thanks from the Netherlands

A Canadian soldier brought this home to Canada in 1945, a keepsake from a grateful Dutch civilian.

"Thumbs Up! Beat Hitler"

Torontonians could support the Red Cross by attending this recital, and were also asked to patronize the businesses that supported the cause.

Remembering in Edmonton

Wreaths cover the base of the cenotaph in Edmonton, Alberta, during a service held after the Second World War.

Coming home to the lakehead

This image of the women's pipe band was given to veterans in Fort William, Ontario, as they returned from service during the Second World War.

Buy Canadian!

During the Second World War, the federal government aggressively promoted a "buy Canadian" strategy, to prevent an outflow of currency to pay for foreign-made goods.

Passing the torch

As Canada went to war for the second time in a generations, the Legion president reflected on the meaning of the Vimy memorial and observed that the words "Remembrance" and "Duty" now carried even great meaning and obligation.

Postcards from Camp Debert, Truro, Nova Scotia

Postcards were a routine way of corresponding quickly with family and friends in the age before e-mail. This rare collection shows Canadian infantry training and recreating at Camp Debert in Nova Scotia, ca. 1942.

Field Engineering (All Arms) Military Training Pamphlet No. 30 Part V Protective Works, 1941

This pamphlet instructs field engineers on constructing protective works including mortar emplacements, weapon slits, and shelter for troops. This version of the pamphlet dates from 1941. A somewhat different 1944 version is also available on Wartime Canada.

French Canadians in battle

At the end of the Second World War, a Canadian brewery published this collection of illustrations, as a tribute to French Canada's soldiers and the battles they fought: Beauvoir Farm, Casa Berardi, Bernières-sur-mer, Hill 195, Dieppe, Etavaux, Inchville, the Normandy landings, Nieuwvliet, San Martino, and Termoli.

The Gentleman in Battledress

This speech by Lt.Col. James Mess tried to recruit young men to the Canadian Army.

Canada at War, No. 42

First published in August of 1940, the Canada at War series aimed to provide Canadians with the most up-to-date information on the war effort, both at home and overseas. This is the 42nd issue in that series.

Canadian Affairs: Learning for Living

This last issue in the Canadian Affairs series describes the value of education for Canadians in the post-war world.

Looking Ahead: Canadian Hurdles

The Wartime Information Board released a series of pamphlets, as a supplement to Canadian Affairs, informing Canadians about post-war reconstruction and urging discussions of "the most positive approach to some of the outstanding problems of Canada's future."

Pages