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Life in 1900

Life in 1925

Life in 1950

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Rights Overview

First Nations



Justice Department

Life in 1975

Human Rights in Canada: An Historical Perspective

Population and People

January 1, 1950

Almost 60% of the population now lives in cities. Newfoundland has joined Confederation in a close vote, bringing the number of provinces to ten. Scientific and medical advances are fast and furious.

The second half of the century dawns with both optimism and anxiety. The war has been won, the soldiers have returned, the economy and the population is booming. Almost 50,000 war brides have been brought back from England and Europe by their soldier husbands.

During the war, with men abroad and women manning the factories back in Canada, many couples delayed having children. Now, the Second World War has ended, and many couples are they want to make up for it. The result is the "baby boom", which puts a demographic bulge in the population that will be felt far into the 2020s. It seems that every young couple is having babies.

The massive industrial effort devoted to victory in the war is now being turned to economic expansion. Cars are rolling off of the assembly lines, and compact houses for veterans and their families are being built at a dizzying pace.

  • Women's fashions are becoming more feminine, with calf-length skirts and abundant material.
  • After years of deprivation during the war, consumer goods are starting to flow again. Wages are rising faster than prices, and prosperity is in the air.
  • Sour notes? The Cold War has descended like a chill over the nation as potential atomic annihilation is on everyone's mind.
  • While the cities are fully serviced, many rural areas are still waiting for electricity and indoor plumbing. Conditions on many Aboriginal reserves are comparable to those in third world countries.
  • The post-war years have given birth to a new creation - the suburbs. People use to live in the heart of the city. With a strong need for new housing, planners are designing and building communities outside city boundaries. Suburban life will have a major impact on Canadian life and culture.
  • The first half of the 20th Century has been a test by fire for Canadians. Twenty years - almost 40% of the era - has been spent in devastating wars and severe economic depression, punctuated by epidemics of disease. The second half of the century will not bring the same level of hardship.
  • Canadians have been changed by the war experience. In 1914, Canada automatically declared war when Britain did. In 1939, Canada declared war before England. Opposing fascism abroad has strengthened support for human rights at home. Canadians have started to realize that discrimination is just as wrong in Moose Jaw or Fredericton as it is in Berlin or Moscow.


Prime Minister: Louis St. Laurent (Liberal)

Population (Total) : 13,712,000

By Province: (Number in brackets is ranking in 1925)

Ontario 4,460,000 (1)
Quebec 3,935,000 (2)
British Columbia 1,130,000 (6)
Alberta 911,500 (5)
Saskatchewan 807,000 (3)
Manitoba 750,000 (4)
Nova Scotia 520,000 (7)
New Brunswick 500,000 (8)
Newfoundland 350,000 (-)
Prince Edward Island 95,500 (9)
Northwest Territories 15,500 (10)
Yukon Territories 8,800 (11)

Males 6,876,000
Females 6,713,000

Young people between the ages of 10 and 19 - 5,150,000 (est.) (37%)

People per square mile - 3.88

The average number of people per household:

  • in 1950 - 3.7.
  • In 1900 - 5.
  • In 1976 - 3.1.

By Ethnic Origin:

European 13,028,500 (95%)
Aboriginal 161,000 (1.2%)
Asian 73,000 (.005%)
African 19,000 (.001%)

British/Irish 6,507,000 (1) (Irish 1,396,000)
French 4,190,000 (2)  
German 601,000 (3)  
Ukrainian 383,000 (6)  
Scandinavian 274,000 (5)  
Dutch 257,000 (7)  
Polish 212,000(-)  
Aboriginal 120,000 (8)  
Italian 147,000 (-)  
Misc. European 397,000 (6)  
Russian 89,000 (9)  
Asian 73,000 (10)  
Czech/Slovak 62,000 (-)  
Finnish 42,000 (-)  
Africa 19,000 (11)  
Greek 13,500 (-)