Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery
The Canadian Government sold Victory Bonds to Canadian citizens, private corporations and various organizations in order to raise funds to pay for the war. The bonds were a loan to the government that could be redeemed with interest after 5,10, or 20 years and were released during 5 different campaigns between 1915 and 1919. In 1915 a hundred million dollars worth of Victory Bonds was issued and quickly purchased.
The posters were generally quite large and printed in vivid colour on poor quality paper, often in substantial numbers. For example, the poster “VICTORY BONDS WILL HELP STOP THIS” shown to the right had a print run of approximately 60,000.
The image portrays the sinking of the Llandovery Castle, an unarmed hospital ship that was torpedoed on the 27th of June, 1918 with the loss of 234 lives, 14 of whom were Canadian nurses.
Over 3,000 of Canada’s Nursing Sisters volunteered at the start of the war. They worked in hospitals and other institutions across Europe and often close to the front lines. 61 nurses died during the war, primarily from sickness.
To document the activities of the Canadian forces the Canadian Expeditionary Force sent their own photographers to Europe to record the events. Some of the images they created served as the basis or inspiration for future posters.
To see more of these photographic images visit our Visual Database and do an advanced search using the term Canadian Expeditionary Force in the "Creator" field.
Posters constantly urged everyone to purchase bonds. Women in the home put money aside from their housekeeping allowance and children were encouraged to collect Thrift Stamps that could be accumulated until enough had been saved to buy a Victory Bond.
The Victory Bond campaign of 1918 was one of the most successful raising over $600,000 in three weeks. Although hostilities ended on the 11th November 1918, another campaign was launched in 1919 focusing on the theme of “Bring Our Boys Back” and the need to raise funds for the rehabilitation of returning soldiers.
Victory Loan Flags were designed to reward those communities that made significant contributions to the Victory Bond campaigns. The population of a city, town or district must have purchased a certain value in Victory Bonds and upon reaching that target the citizens were rewarded with the presentation of a Victory Loan Honour Flag.
In 1919 a new flag was commissioned for that year's campaign and it was decided to incorporate the heraldic arms of Prince of Wales, the future Edward the VIII, into the flag's design. The Prince visited Canada in September 1919 and raised the flag at Parliament on Labour Day weekend. The Prince’s remark ” I hope every City and District will win my flag” became part of the poster campaign as seen in the image to the right.
In 1916 the Canadian Government established the War Poster Service to produce posters in both English and French. French posters were often a mirror version of the English design but some unique posters were created just for the French speaking population.
Click to see a larger image (329K)
To Maintain the Prosperity of Canada
[Canada], [between 1914 and 1918]
Archives of Ontario War Poster Collection
Reference Code: C 233-2-1-0-2
Archives of Ontario, I0016142
The Victory Bond Campaign was reintroduced during the Second World War and upon the cessation of hostilities eventually led in 1946 to the government issuing Canada Savings Bonds in order to encourage Canadians to continue the savings habit that Victory Bonds had established.