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 contribute to the national war…

"Are your dollars shirkers or workers?"

During the Second World War, War Savings Certificates were a practical way to invest one's money while also helping the Canadian war effort. In other words, it was a patriotic way to put one's money "to work." This envelope would have been used by a civilian worker to purchase and register their War Savings Certificates through mail.  

Young Canada Confers: YMCA Conference Report

This book is a report on the Second National YMCA Canada conference at Hart House, at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario on April 23, 24 and 25 of 1943. This conference was particularly interested in dealing with the effect that the Second World War had on the organization. It also dealt with specific advice for social cohesion creation, and the discussion of more abstract topics such as democracy.

Knitting Instructions for Field Comforts

A guide to knitting field comforts for members of the military - such as scarves, socks, turtlenecks, and pullovers. It also teaches readers how to knit more specialized items like a ribbed balaclava helmet, gunner's and observer's half mitts, and steel helmet caps.

An Act relating to War Charities 1939, 1941 and 1942.

The first Act relating to War Charities was passed by the Canadian Parliament in 1939. This first act was passed in order to set the regulations and limitations of war charities. The intent of Parliament was to ensure that the funds collected by registered war charities were easily traceable, reported, and donated. This first Act also includes an example of the Application for Registration for War Charities, the form that charities would have had to file with the Canadian Government to perform their activities.

"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.

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.

Thorold ARP.pdf (13.22 MB)

"I is for Incendiary"

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

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.