Article & Infographic: What Canada was Like Before WWI (Globe & Mail)

The Globe & Mail always surprises me with the number of articles that link to the Canadian Curriculum. Just this morning I found a perfect article for Grade 8 History!  I have actually found many great articles for history in the Globe (thank you!).  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/what-life-in-canada-was-like-before-the-first-world-war/article19342310/?click=sf_globefb

 

Time machine: What life in Canada was like before the First World War

A by-the-numbers look at the Canada that went to war 100 years ago when rent was cheap, phones were a novelty and income tax didn’t exist.

Read more from our look back at the First World War at tgam.ca/WWI.

DEMOGRAPHICS

GROWING UP – AND WEST

Less than a decade after Alberta and Saskatchewan had become provinces, the westward push was on in earnest. Winnipeg had become Canada’s third largest city just before the war – and just as immigration was making its true mark on the West. Today, Calgary’s population is more than 25 times what it was in 1914, making it third in the nation, while Edmonton (more than 30 times larger) ranks fifth. And Winnipeg? Down to seventh, behind Mississauga, which didn’t even exist 100 years ago.
Population growth, 1911 – 2011
Canada-Population-1911
Canada-Population-2011

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

In 1914 Canada was a nation of young people, probably with the world’s highest ratio of men to women. Today (2011 census) just over half the population is 40 or older (with 15 per cent at least 65), and women outnumber men by more than half a million.

Canada-age-1911

GOD SAVE THE KING

The population outside Quebec was British to the core. Today, however, Canadians claim more than 200 ethnic origins, 13 of them with at least a million members. And which is now the largest? Still the British at more than 11 million strong.

Ethnic origins of the population in 1914 (1911 census)
Canada-ethno-1911

ON GUARD FOR THEE

Canada was not a military nation in 1914. It had been in just one foreign conflict (the Boer War), had no standing army and considered two old cruisers a navy. Defence fell to a militia of 3,110 men (with 684 horses), backed by 74,606 ‘citizen soldiers’ (civilians with some training) and their 16,360 horses. Even today, the Canadian Forces, although professional and about 75,500 strong, is modest by world standards.

Canadian military included
Canada-military-1911

DANGER PAY

Back then privates earned about the same as farm labourers, while now their pay – as much as $92 a day – is slightly better than the national average. Still, that’s barely one-quarter of what a newly minted colonel makes – some things haven’t changed all that much.

Payout for the soldiers (per day)
Canada-danger-page-1911

HOW WE RANK

At almost $18-billion, the current defence budget accounts for just over 7 per cent of federal spending – close to the same as 100 years ago. But as a percentage of gross domestic product, that sum puts Canada in a tie (along with such powerhouses as Belize and the Seychelles) for 98thin the world.

Defence spending in 1914

Canada-defence-spending-1911

LIFE

WAGES

Today’s average wage ($3,947 a month) is almost three times what it was in 1914. But then, we need that extra cash – taxes now consume, on average, almost half of our incomes.

Canada-wages-1911

THE COST OF LIVING

The cost of shelter today is almost double what it was 100 years ago, and food prices have risen even more. A loaf of bread that cost 6 cents in 1914 now goes for $2.92, six quarts of milk for $16.84 and sirloin for $20.12 a kilo. At $3.30 a dozen, eggs are a relative bargain.

Canada-cost-of-living-19111911-food

FUEL AND LIGHTING

THE WIRE

The classic landline was still relatively novel in 1914 – the first coast-to-coast call wouldn’t be made until the next year. Today it’s a relic, and the country has 27.5 million subscribers who use wireless to do more than chat. Are you reading this on your smartphone?

There were…

521,144

TELEPHONES IN CANADA

ABOUT ONE TELEPHONE FOR EVERY 15.5 CANADIANS

SNAIL MAILING

Back then, Canadians loved to write to each other, but now most of the 3.8 billion “letters” Canada Post delivers every year are junk mail – not exactly handwritten. Given the recent news that home delivery’s days are numbered, the inbox clearly has trumped the mailbox.

Canadians mailed…

737,638,000 LETTERS AND POSTCARDS

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Today about 4.4 million travellers ride the rail with CN, CP and Via each year, while another 50 million commute on Southern Ontario’s GO train. Remarkably, that’s less than one-tenth the number of train rides taken in 1914. Blame the rise of the horseless carriage – but gridlock is now so bad that commuters are clamouring to get back on the tracks.

Canadians took…

661,412,099 TRAIN TRIPS

ECONOMY

HEWERS AND DRAWERS

In 1914, the economy was all about production – from forestry and agriculture (especially grain) to manufacturing (which had doubled in a decade with U.S. investment in hundreds of branch plants). Now, however, industries that provide services contribute more than twice as much to the economy as those that actually produce goods.

Top industries

MANUFACTURING*

$1,381,547,225

$29,457,396,764

(converted to 2014 dollars)

AGRICULTURE (field crops)

$638,580,300

$13,615,830,803

*DATA IS FOR 1915.

FOREST PRODUCTS

$176,672,000

$3,767,006,373

MINING

$128,475,499

$2,739,358,945

CANADA REVENUE

In 1910 federal revenue exceeded $100-million for the first time, largely driven by customs duties and excise levies on tobacco and alcohol. Earnings had outpaced expenditures for 17 years in a row, all without taxes on corporate or personal income. Today, personal taxes alone account for half of Ottawa’s take. Customs and excise? A mere 2 per cent.

Government revenue

TOTAL REVENUE

$163,174,394.56

$3,479,209,972.14

(converted to 2014 dollars)

SURPLUS (WOW!)

$35,789,921.57

$763,113,920.93

SOURCES OF REVENUE

CUSTOMS

$104,691,238.43

$2,232,230,134.66

(converted to 2014 dollars)

EXCISE

$21,452,036.88

$457,401,057.54

RAILWAYS

$13,394,317.37

$285,594,089.01

POST OFFICE

$12,954,529.92

$276,216,926.09

MISCELLANEOUS

$10,682,271.96

$227,767,764.84

THE FISCAL BOND

BRITANNIA RULES

Why was the country so quick to join the fight? Because its close ties to Britain were financial as well as personal. Canada attracted fully one-third of all British investment in the sprawling empire. Our railways were the biggest draw for London money – but hardly the only one.

British money invested in Canada

$1,280,286,475

was invested from 1905 to the end of April, 1911.

$27,298,311,619

(converted to 2014 dollars)

HOW IT BROKE DOWN

RAILROADS

$504,226,544

$10,751,135,464

(converted to 2014 dollars)

GOVERNMENT LOANS

$376,068,177

$8,018,538,418

INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENTS

$122,935,532

$2,621,235,581

MUNICIPALITIES

$107,534,118

$2,292,846,109

MINING INVESTMENTS

$69,271,937

$1,477,018,589

LAND AND LUMBER

$67,193,691

$1,432,706,157

FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

$33,056,473

$704,831,238

INTERACTIVE AND ILLUSTRATIONS BY MURAT YUKSELIR/THE GLOBE AND MAIL; RESEARCH BY RICK CASH/THE GLOBE AND MAIL » SOURCES: THE CANADA YEAR BOOK 1914; THE CANADIAN ANNUAL REVIEW 1914; STATISTICS CANADA; CAPITAL INVESTMENTS IN CANADA BY FRED W. FIELD; PUBLIC ACCOUNTS OF CANADA; INDUSTRY CANADA; TREASURY BOARD OF CANADA; SERVICE CANADA; NATIONAL DEFENCE; CN; FRASER INSTITUTE; CANADA POST; GO TRANSIT; CANADIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 1914-1919; OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE CANADIAN FORCES IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1919; SIPRI; CANADIAN WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATION; BANK OF CANADA.

Follow us on Twitter: @globeandmail

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s