HISB41 March 11
Exam: 4 short answer questions and one long essay
Post war changes
Post war experts
Consumerism and suburbia
Meaning of booms
Fall of WW2 – canada’s golden age. Period of positive growth and positive expansion
Images of 50s, consumer goods, housewives, idealized suburban lifestyle. Only a reality for certain
sectors of the Canadian population
Baby boom – 12.1 million in 45, doubled to 22.7 mill in 1975
1959, peak of baby boom
Factors: high rate of marriage in the post war period, many people had postponed their marriages
Average age of marriage is younger, people are getting married at a younger age, and they are also
having children at a faster rate. Women are only waiting 1.5 years to have their first child compared to 2
Increase in the number of children in Canada, dramatic pressure on the school system. Not enough
schools to accommodate children. New schools were built and educating teachers, rise in the
professionalism of teachers, more teachers being trained and more schools being built
Post war experts
Mother, father and psychologists interested in child rearing and personality development
Targeting Canadians and also immigrants
Writing advice manuals. Designed to instruct parents on how to raise children, ‘normal’ children.
Canada’s Dr. Spock- permissive parenting techniques
Blatz and Laycock, wanted to bring psychology. Part of this parenting technique advice was the modern
separate spheres of ideology – reinforcing gender roles in the family. Chatelaine- marriage should no
longer be a patriarchal institution where men would exert power over women. Democratize the family,
idea that husbands would no longer dictate to their lives but they should work together to raise good
Idea of marriage as a partnership, women also has responsibility but still based on traditional views of
women staying home to rear the children. Democratic family ideal reinforces gender roles Experts encourage women to maintain their physical appearances to maintain sexual relationships.
Providing not only advice on how to be good mothers and fathers but also good partners/sexual
partners. Rearing “normal” Canadian children. Reason this is happening during this period because of
this growing increase of women into the workforce. Professional women on the rise. Anxiety around
changing gender roles.
1941- 1/10 worked outside the home, 1961 – 1/5 women outside the home
Middle class ideal the experts were targeting
Canadians are concerned about the health of the economy, many had lived through the depression,
don’t want to see Canada go back to those conditions. King had been very concerned about the
economy, there is a slight boom. Wartime companies were converted into different kinds of industries
after the war was over. Govt had heavy hands to play in taking charge of the economy and making sure
the economy didn’t go back to depression era conditions. Provided incentives to industrialists to sell off
part of their war plants on the condition that they would be reopened as consumer industries.
Reconverting war time productions to useful consumer productions after the war was over. Policy of
liberalization in terms of international trade. Lower tariffs on exports (Canada is very reliable on
exports), reduction of taxes, reduced on foreign investments, which brought in a lot of foreign investors
to invest in Cdn economy. Canada signed off on GATT in 1947, which encouraged western nations like
US and Brit to lower their trade barriers and encourage intl trade. Effect is to draw Canada closer
economically with the US. 50s – consumer products and rise in American branch plants in Canada which
are producing many of these new consumer products.
Bought about a growing concern from Canadians of the impact of growing cultural and economical ties
to the US, what it would mean for Cdn economy and culture.
New jobs and industries brought a better standard of living for many Cdns.
1945-56 manufacturing wages doubled. Enforced work week of 40 hours, post war period and intro of
new social programs, social welfare, pensions and family allowance. Not an equal distribution. Central
Canada feels the economic boom (auto industry especially).1951 10% of working cdns are involved in
auto industry in southern Ontario.
Many cdns were still quite poor especially in the Atlantic Provinces. Income disparity- 40% less than Cdn
Despite the unequal economic boom, post war period is overall a period of prosperity, new demand for
consumer goods. After the war, huge growth of consumer goods on the shelves. Alters the lives of
1941 21% had electric fridge, 19610 90% had an electric fridge – could keep different kinds of food
longer. Cdns are also buying more TVs and automatic washing machines.huge market for washing
machines. Disparity between Canada and America on this product, Cdn consumers weren’t as sure of washing
machines, preferred to stick with the wringer washing machine. Women were suspicious because they
couldn’t control the amount of water used in washing machines. Suspicion – consumer goods like
washing machine were a lot more expensive in Canada than the US, same for many other consumer
goods. Parallel between the growth in US and Canada but difference in the kinds of products Cdns are
During the war- housing shortage in the cities, after the war, baby boom, economic boom, ideal
conditions to expand rapidly into urban areas, trends in the WW period – birth of suburbia
Residential areas characterized by low density and typically located at the urban fringe. Just outside the
perimeter of cities. Part of its growth was b/c of govt. Central mortgage and housing, provided cheap
mortgages on new homes- made it possible for more cdns to own their own homes than it had been
possible before. Period when Scarborough, north York and etobicoke came into being and developed.
Don mills suburb- huge development which served as the prototype for other suburban developments
Suburbs were built by corporations and selling houses – new development. Building houses on
standardized plan. Development of suburbia in terms of all of the houses look the same, built on model
of uniformity and conformity. Arranged differently than what we see earlier, not on grid pattern but
curval linear construction. Immigrant families tended to stay and live within in the cities because they
couldn’t afford a car or mortgage. Suburbia was possible because of cars, not readily accessible by public
Development of consumerism based around cars – drive thrus
First McDonalds in Canada 1967 in BC, designed for drivers. Had no indoor seating, pick up the food and
at in the car, new type of leisure
Construction of strip malls –new consumer and culture, build new social spaces. Park your car and shop
fr the day and spend leisure time. Not all were enjoyed in public spaces
TV – enjoyed in the privacy of the home. 1952, 146,000 cdns who owned a television ,1957- 3 million
families who owned TVs. TV was in the family room and used as a family activity, people believed it
could be used to educate the masses. BBC/CBC balanced their broadcasts, info-tainment.
Cdns are also watching American shows like I love lucy and leave it to beaver, being exposed to
American culture that no one before them had.
Meaning of the booms – interrelated. Fit together, possible because of govt initiatives which were
encouraging growth and development. Also part of expansion and federal control of the economy.
Concern of American influences (especially culture). Advent of fast food – changing Canadian food
patterns. Life changes for CDNS in other ways, flushing toilets and running water for people in both rural
and urban areas. Changes in daily life for Canadians. 1941 61% of homes had running water, 1961 – 89%
Growth in a Cdn middle class. Idealized pictures from 50s of housewife with suburban home and
consumer products – new professional class.