Sunday, October 10, 2021

A Growing Stature

 Today we start with some of the enlistment posters of the First World War in Canada.

As was the case elsewhere, in Canada, suspicions were cast on those non-naturalized residents who had come from enemy countries. Some of those people were merely carefully watched. Others were detained in camps across the country, many of them being Ukrainian, as that land was subject to the Austro-Hungarian empire. Here is a photograph of detainees.

Life in camp, seen in some artifacts: the violin was made by a detainee in a Manitoba camp. A barbed wire cross was found by an archaeologist at the site of a BC camp. And the shovel was made by an detainee as part of an escape plan from that same BC camp.

The war would change the country's sense of itself, with a large part of the population at the time committed to the war, many serving, and many of them dead or wounded in its aftermath. One of the legacies of that war is remembrance; the 11th of November, the day the war ended, remains a day to commemorate the fallen of war, in Canada and elsewhere. Canadian soldier and poet John McCrae, who would not survive to see the end, composed the poem In Flanders Fields, known across the world to this day.

Conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden would see the country through the war and push for a place for his nation during the peace negotiations. This striking painting is here.

In the years following the war, however, the Great Depression would come out of the stock market crash of 1929. Canada was hard hit by it.

People made do with what they could. This is a quilt made of flour sacks.

The Depression would see some fringe parties rise in (relative) popularity, even if that really didn't lead anywhere in elections. Such as the Communist Party of Canada.

Richard Bedford Bennett was the Conservative Prime Minister from 1930-1935, in between terms by the Liberal PM William Lyon Mackenzie King. To combat the Depression he enacted policies very much like that of Roosevelt in the United States.


  1. Presumably there must have been many Canadians with German or Austrian sounding names, I wonder how they were treated during the Great War. Here in England such names would have been rare indeed, though one memorial in a neighbouring village records the name of Weissmann among the fallen; there must be a story there. I consider myself very fortunate indeed never to have been involved in any war; I'm sure I'd have made a very poor soldier!

  2. Sad and scary times. The quilt really stands out and is a great sign of the positive life that was around the corner...

  3. Hello,
    Those were sad and scary times, but people survived. The quilt is beautiful.
    Take care, enjoy your day! Have a happy new week!

  4. In Belgium we have a day off on the 11th November. I think we are the only European country. Most of the people don't know why it's a day off, but appreciate !

  5. The First World War largely passed us by, because the Netherlands remained neutral in that war.

  6. Thanks for this reminder of history, William.

  7. Internment must have been terrible for those who had fled their home country because of conflict there.

  8. @Italiafinlandia: they were.

    @John: there were substantial immigrant communities. Those that had come from enemy countries were deemed suspicious.

    @Gemel: it survived.

    @Iris: it took time.

    @Eileen: thank you.

  9. @Gattina: Belgium is where the Canadians ended that war.

    @Jan: that I knew.

    @Francisco: thanks.

    @David: you're welcome.

    @fun60: it would have been.

  10. ...suspicions of non-naturalized residents has and still is a problem here.

  11. Thoughtful exhibit. Reflecting on how history is shown, how this pandemic era will be displayed is an interesting thought.

  12. My goodness! I didn't know about the WWI internment camps.

  13. I wonder if they put some strings on that violin how it would sound.

  14. I have toured a large camp in Kaninaskis country. This camp housed German prisoners.

  15. @Tom: quite true.

    @Maywyn: I agree.

    @RedPat: very much so.

    @Anvilcloud: it happened.

    @Sharon: good question.

    @Bill: that they were.

    @Red: not a surprise.

  16. Me he fijado especialmente en el violín, ya que mi padre tocaba ese instrumentos. Tiene que tener mucho mérito fabricar un violín, con los escasos recursos, que seguramente tendría.

  17. One of the fascinated exhibits you always share, beautifully documented in your photos. Always fascinating to see the history.

  18. Thank you for the story about the violin and the other articles in that picture. Fascinating. :-)

  19. Awesome handmade violin and it was kept by the country? and the same with the awesome quilt made from flour sacks or did the makers give them to the Museum ~ good post ~ War is always sad. ~

    Living in the moment,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

    1. They eventually ended up in the museum's collection.

  20. That quilting pattern is called Baptist Fan.

  21. very cool. i enjoy musical instruments. i have closed my book blog for now, Amazon made me mad and i don't feel like it is the time, maybe down the line. we will see??! maybe i will chat about something else??! you never know, Beth like to be silly and always changing it up. lol. u have a great week. take care. ( ;

  22. Those posters, the stories of the war -- all fascinating. I love that period.