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…

Funds for Belgian relief

Typical of fund-raising concerts held during the First World War, this one promised "patriotic songs and instrumental music" by local performers.

Games for POWs

Boredom was one of the greatest challenges facing Canadian prisoners of war in Germany during the Second World War, but charitable organization did what they could to send games and puzzles to the camps to help pass the time.

The Canadian Patriotic Fund at Christmas

The Franco-Belgian Committee of the Canadian Patriotic Fund advertised its work in Montreal with images of French soldiers from decades past.

Come to Canada Corner

The Knights of Columbus operated a hospitality bureau in Paris for Canadians on leave. Staffed by English-speaking volunteers, "Canada Corner" could arrange sightseeing trips, golf games, theatre nights - one soldier even got to have dinner with a French countess.

The YMCA at war

Using a fictional soldier from Yourtown, Canada, this booklet offered a summary of the breadth of YMCA activities during the Second World War.

Arthur Jones.pdf (5.12 MB)

The Red Cross Corps at work

This postcard, sold to raise funds for the Canadian Red Cross Society, illustrates the work of the Red Cross Corps on behalf of prisoners of war.

Maple sugar for soldiers

Noting that Canada's cities had given generously to war charities, the IODE asked rural groups to donate quantities of maple sugar to be sent overseas, to give soldiers a Canadian treat that could not be found in Europe.

Peace - and another Victory Loan

Although an armistice ended the First World War in November 1918, war spending continued - for the demobilization of soldiers, for food to send to the devastated areas of Europe, and for veterans' programs. In 1919, Canadians were again asked to support the Victory Loan.

Save while supporting the war

During the Second World War, even children were asked to support the war effort. A child could buy War Savings Stamps for 25 cents each; after saving $4 worth of stamps and sending this form to the federal government, the child would receive a War Savings Certificate worth $5.

Safeguarding your home from fire bombs

Because the German Luftwaffe had used incendiary bombs with such devastating effect on Warsaw, Rotterdam, and London, Canadians were advised to be prepared for such attacks on their homes and businesses.