• Samantha Cowan

Top Ten Explosive Changes to Canada during the First Great War


Did you know?

1. Before the First Great War, a mere 3,100 men served Canada's army...but by September 1914, those ranks had swelled to well over 33,000 men. By the end of 1915, 330,000 had signed up, more than half of the total 619,636 listed total in the whole of the War. 2. Before the First Great War, only one Girl Guides organization existed, but by the end of war, their numbers grew to over 11,000 members across Canada, launching a celebrated institution.

3. We wouldn't have Canadian Saving Bonds without the Great War's influence. Desperate for funding, Canadians were encouraged to invest in Victory Bonds which acted as small war-time loans to the government. Attractive to citizens who disliked foreign creditors, the campaign was hugely successful, raising over $2 billion. The same idea was applied to our now re-named Canada Savings Bond, which were introduced as part of the country's post war financing program. 4. We wouldn't have income tax either... A temporary tax based on a person's income in 1917 was created to raise funds for an extra push during the war effort. However, the government decided to keep the tax, in an effort to relieve the overwhelming amount of debt that Canada had still manage to aquire during the First World War. 5. The Great War gave us an extra hour of summer sunlight. It's true! In an effort to extend daylight hours, Germany started the trend by setting their clock forward an hour, so that they could save fuel and energy, a severely needed resource which cost significantly more to generate after dark. Canada along with many other countries followed suit, passing legislation on Daylight Savings Time in 1916. 6. We would have never known the wondrous adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Winnipegger Lt. Harry Colebourn had bought the bear for $20 in White River Ontario while on his way to Europe. Like many Canadian soldiers in the Great War, Harry had decided to befriend and bring his new found pet, Winnie. Winnie was taken after at the London Zoo while Colebourn left for the battlefields of France, becoming a favorite for the young visitor Christopher Robin, son to A.A. Milne, the author who made Winnie the Pooh his main character. 7. Words like "Snapshot" and "Binge" had been born. Reffered to a quickly aimed rifle shot, the word "snapshot" is now used to describe a quick shot with a camera. "Binge Drinking" was inspired by the lower class British troops and their drinking habits. Other words like "Souvenier" were influenced by the French, and have been quickly adopted into the english language as along with many other commonplace phrases. 8. The blind would be finally recognized. The war left hundreds of survivors blind from either gas attack or flying glass from nearby blasts. With hundreds in need of support and rehabilitation, Canada was quick to realise an organization to support this crucial issue was desperatley needed, thus creating the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, founded in 1919. 9. The Great War gave birth to the first blood transfusions, and the immediate founding of blood banks such as the Canadian Blood Services. An early player in this new procedure, Toronto native, and surgeon Bruce Robertson started conducting blood transfusions, saving the lives of many, during the war. Today, it is considered the most important medical advance to come out of the war, having a lasting impact on the helth of millions today. 10. Canada created it's identity as a country dependant of British rule. The Treaty of Versailles showed Canada its own membershipin the League of Nations, and its own signature on the treaty. It would ne the first time Canada was recognized as its own entity on the world stage. It catapulted Canada towards full independance that would come in 1931.


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