Category Archives: Canada’s First World War

The Dark Side of Disarmament: Ocean Pollution, Peace, and the World Wars

Alex Souchen On 11 November 2018 the world paused for a moment of silence to commemorate the end of the First World War. The solemn occasion offered people around the world an opportunity to honour the dead and pay homage to peace, freedom, and reconciliation. The theme of peace will likely continue as a prominent feature at future Remembrance Day… Read more »

Remembrance Day 2018 and Canada’s First World War Centennial

By Nathan Smith This past Remembrance Day I was at Don Heights Unitarian Congregation in Toronto to speak about the armistice of 1918 and commemoration. I arrived feeling grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts on the centennial of that moment in time, and was surprised to immediately encounter the congregation’s exhibit of items from the era of the… Read more »

“The town’s gone wild”: Sounds of Victory in Toronto, 11 November 1918

By Sara Karn Come along, be merry, join our Jubilee. Mars has got the knock-out, Peace is in, you see. Toot your little tooter, deck yourself with flags. Grab your feather tickler, be among the wags. Don’t forget the powder, sprinkle it around. Laugh-it will not hurt you; make you strong and sound. Show you are a human – be… Read more »

First World War Postscript: “Fed Up and Tired” in the Months Following the Armistice

Robert Alldritt Following the end of the First World War, representatives of the Allied and Associated nations agreed that a medal, which would be officially known as the “Interallied Victory Medal,” would be awarded in commemoration of victory over Germany[i].  In all, approximately fourteen million bronze medals suspended by distinctive double-rainbow ribbons symbolizing “calm after a storm” were distributed; their… Read more »

“Tom’s Return” — or A Girl’s Heroic Adventure? Great War Fiction by a Canadian Schoolgirl

By Sarah Glassford What did Canadian children think of the Great War? We know they played with war-themed toys and games, read adventure stories and acted out dramas with wartime plots, contributed money and labour to war-related causes, and in some cases lied about their ages in order to enlist[1]… but accessing their youthful thoughts, feelings, and imaginings about the… Read more »

Embodying Anti-German Sentiment during the Great War: An Archival Moment

By Sarah Glassford Can toilet paper have archival value? Within the eclectic collections that comprise MC300 (York-Sunbury Historical Society) at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, we find just such an artifact. (I hesitate to call it a “document” although it is, in fact, ink on paper.) It is tantalizingly described in the finding aid as “#21 ‘Do Your Bit’… Read more »

Art as Prescience: Reflections on Sarah Beck’s 2001 ÖDE

By Laura Brandon Editors’ Preface Two new exhibits were recently opened at the University of Calgary’s Founders’ Gallery in The Military Museums. Gassed Redux is a live recreation of John Singer Sargent’s oil painting Gassed, which depicts victims of a 1918 gas attack on the Western Front.[1] The exhibit was mounted this past June 14th by artist Adad Hannah, and… Read more »

Indigenous Veterans, the Indian Act, and the Origins of National Aboriginal Veterans Day

Eric Story The inaugural National Aboriginal Veterans Day took place on 8 November 1993, and the monument of the same name was unveiled in Ottawa the following year. Since its inauguration, National Aboriginal Veterans Day has grown, as ceremonies are now being held in various cities across Canada with larger crowds each year. With that growth, however, disagreement has arisen…. Read more »

“The Equal and Respected Companions of Men”[1]: The Female Veteran of the Great War

By Eliza Richardson Three years ago, famed and controversial historian Jack Granatstein claimed that Canada botched the Great War centenary. Although numerous commemorative events were planned, institutions like Heritage Canada had fewer funds to organize them. Granatstein argued that to properly commemorate the war, the Canadian government needed to invest in “TV documentaries on the war and its battles and… Read more »

“He Will Again Be Able to Make Himself Self-Sustaining”[1]: Canadian Ex-Officers’ Return to Civilian Life

Brittany Dunn  With the end of the First World War in November 1918 and demobilization following soon after, hundreds of thousands of servicemen returned to Canada and civilian life. Veterans approached their relationships with the government as they applied for state assistance in various ways, but ex-officers typically wanted to avoid dependence on the state, feeling it compromised their status… Read more »