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War Brides and the Baby Boom

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1 War Brides and the Baby Boom

2 “War Brides” Following World War II, nearly British and European women left everything they knew behind to come to Canada as the wives of Canadian servicemen 93% were British, understandable since the Canadians were posted to Britain for most of the war Many of these women had already had children by their Canadian husbands. Approximately children are reported to have arrived with their mothers.

3 Marriage It wasn’t easy to get married
Permission from the commanding officer was required Many of the girls’ parents feared, quite rightly, they’d never see their daughters again. At this time, there was no trans-Atlantic air service, and it took about a week to cross the Atlantic by ship, making the likelihood of visits small.

4 Coupons from ration books were pooled to acquire wedding clothes and enough food for a reception
Even so, weddings during the war were simple affairs. Brides carried silver horseshoes, made from paper, for good luck

5 Waving goodbye to all that is familiar…
L: SS Letitia. Liverpool, April 1946. R: Dutch war brides. 1946

6 A leap of faith L: Billy Hitchon and his mother on the Mauritania, February 1946. R: personnel of the Canadian Red Cross looking after babies of war brides during the crossing. December 1944. Most war brides travelled to Canada in 1946, after the war had ended and the troops had been returned home. They crossed the Atlantic on troop ships and converted luxury liners, like the Queen Mary. From Halifax, the brides and their children were put on special trains to take them to their new homes. This trip took up to several days, and many of the women marveled at the vastness of this country. To many, the deep cold, particularly in the prairies, was a huge shock, and the hardest element of their new lives to get used to.

7 Baby Boom: causes Several hundred thousand Canadians returned home after serving in the war effort Many of these men married and started families right away; others increased the families they already had. This was probably an attempt to get back to normal after the horrors of war.

8 The Canadian government encouraged immigration from Britain and Europe.
Most immigrants were young and in the process of starting or adding to families. Here we see a group of Dutch immigrants at Pier 21 in Halifax. All immigrants passed through here at one time.

9 The combination of the returning servicemen and the increase in immigration caused the birth rate to go up significantly. In Canada, there was an 18% increase in births between 1940 and Couples were marrying younger and having more children and at a younger age than they had previously. In 1940, there were births; in 1960 there were

10 What’s in a name? This huge increase in the birth rate has been dubbed the “Baby Boom” The children born during this period are called baby boomers

11 Baby Boom: impact This change in the demographic had a huge impact on the Canadian economy During the 1950s, Canada was transformed into youth-centred society. Production of toys, child-care products, and bicycles expanded rapidly to keep up the demand.

12 But classes were still overcrowded and teachers in demand.
New schools began to pop up all over, in an effort to accommodate all the new students who required space But classes were still overcrowded and teachers in demand. In fact, this school, which opened in 1968, would have been one of those built to accommodate the boom, or increase, in high school students. While baby boomers born right after the war would have been finished secondary school, the youngest of the boomers would have been about 13, just the age to enter high school in 1968.

13 Tell the Royal York cattle call story.

14 Baby Boom Every time the baby boomers entered a different age group, that age group became the focus of social and economic decision-making in Canada. For example, the1960s saw Canadian Universities prepare for increased enrolment

15 Baby Boom: ripple effect
A second generation or 'echo boom' was created when the baby boomers had children of their own As the baby boomers start to retire in large numbers, more attention is being placed on health care for seniors and the stability of pension funds

16 Turn to page 205 in the text. Look at the population pyramids for Identify the age group that the baby boomers would be in. What percentage of the population do they account for? List 3 needs for each, that would impact the economy. (What new consumer items and social programs are needed?)

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