Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery
Canada’s economy was a long way from a war footing in 1914 and the transformation that had to occur was enormous. Throughout the war the public was constantly encouraged to be frugal and to increase manufacturing and agricultural production. To this end, posters were designed to make it clear that increasing output not only supported Canadian troops but also those of our allies and, in particular, Britain.
Indeed, Canada was the main supplier to all allied forces during the First World War. As more and more volunteers left for France replacements had to be found to work the land and to work in the factories.
For the first time women were actively encouraged to take the place of men who had left for overseas duties. The Ontario Farm Service Corps, an initiative of the Ontario government, was introduced in 1917 to replace the men who had left the farms with women land workers and during the summer school vacation, high school girls and boys.
The Canada Food Board, established in 1918 the final year of the war, was created with the primary objective of increasing exports of foodstuffs to Britain. A series of posters appeared addressing Canada’s export “opportunities”.
The Canada Food Board also produced posters urging the population to voluntarily go without, such as on “meatless Fridays”.
Also, as more and more food was produced for export it became increasingly important for people to produce as much of their own as possible, and again posters were designed to bring home the message.