Canada in “The Great Depression” The Causes of the Great Depression



Canada in “The Great Depression” The Causes of the Great Depression
Canada in “The Great Depression”
The Causes of the Great Depression
in Canada
Drought in the Prairies
• In 1929, a terrible drought began that lasted
nearly 10 years.
• Crops dried up and the soil turned to dust; the
wind then blew away the dry soil.
• Storms of dust occurred often leading parts of
Alberta and Saskatchewan to be referred to as
the “Dust Bowl”.
• Nearly 14,000 farms were abandoned during
the depression.
“The Dust
• Western farmers in Canada were also unable
to survive because of the failing economy in
the U.S., less demand for their products.
• Finally, in 1931-32 the first swarms of
grasshoppers began destroying wheat fields
across the prairies.
• Many men left their small rural farming towns
(especially in the prairie provinces) and moved
from city to city (towards Ontario) in hopes of
finding work.
• In the Maritime Provinces fishing families and
industries found a significant drop in demand
for their product. This meant less profits and
many workers were laid off.
The Dirty 30s
• Much of what led to the Great Depression of
the 1930's was a result of the prosperity of
the 1920's.
• Through industrialization the economy had
changed in so many ways that people did not
know what the future held.
• The government created basic jobs for the
unemployed in order to get men off the
• These jobs ranged from building much needed
city infrastructure to building roads that led
• In some cases people felt there was no way
out of the despair of the depression and
suicide rates increased.
• The Wizard of Oz,
Gone with the Wind,
Frankenstein, Snow
White and the Seven
Dwarfs and King
Kong were extremely
popular during the
30’s because these
films of fantasy
allowed people
temporarily escape
from the problems
of their daily lives.
• This uncertainty and optimism led to these
underlying causes of the Great Depression:
• Canada’s economy relied heavily on exports to
other countries
• European economies were still weakened by
the effects of WWI
• Overdependence on the United States as a
market and a source of investment funds
• Overproduction of goods- from wheat to
manufactured products
• On-margin stock purchasing (borrowing
money to buy shares)
• Crash of the New York Stock Market, October
29, 1929
Stock Market Crash
• Too many people were buying stocks “on
margin” which means that they borrow
money from the bank in order to buy more
• The crash occurred on “Black Tuesday”,
October 29, 1929.
• Families lost all their money, businesses went
• As the depression carried on, 1 in 5 Canadians
became dependent on government relief.
• Approximately ¼ (25%) of the population was
• Current Unemployment Rate in Canada 6-8%
International Depression
• Depression was world wide
• People desperate for government to help
therefore the development of dictatorships in
Europe become a solution (Italy, Germany,
Government Response to Depression
• Relief Camps
• In 1932, the federal government set relief camps for unemployed
men. The workers cleared bush, built roads, planted trees, erected
public buildings in return for room, board, medical care and 20 cents
a day.
Government Response to Depression
• Hostility in Relief Camps led to major protests
• On-to-Ottawa Trek
• Regina Riot
Government Response to Depression
• No Unemployment Insurance
• Prime Minister Bennett blamed for inability to
end Depression
• Bennett Buggies – Cars pulled by horses
• Bennettburghs – homeless communities
• Bennett blankets - newspapers

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