• For Canadians, the late forties and early fifties marked the return to a normal family life
  • Several hundred thousand Canadian veterans returned home after serving in the war effort overseas
  • Some soldiers returned home to their families – others brought home their war brides and their children
  • 93% were British, 7% were from Italy, Belguim, Scottish, Danish etc.
  • In the 1950s, the future looked promising again
  • Young couples didn’t wait long to get married and have large families
  • Expectation to marry
  • Sex before marriage not accepted
  • The result??? 4 million Canadian babies were born in the 1950’s alone!

Baby Boom

  • 1950’s
  • In just 15 years, between 1946 and 1961, Canada’s population increased by 50%, from 12 to 18 million
  • The baby boom made the 1950’s and 1960’s an era of youth, and many of these young people would affect new social change!!!

The rise of Suburbia

  • Economic Boom: large amounts of production and foreign investments in Canadian economy
  • Suburbia: rows of houses with garages and yards. Ample space to play and grow away from the noise and dirt of the city.
  • Led to the creation of drive thru restaurants, plazas, drive in movie theatres

New focus on the family

  • Nuclear family: 2 parents and children
  • Grandparents lived elsewhere and there were few teenagers
    • Suburbs were children focused:
    • Dr. Benjamin Spock: new approaches to child care: “respect children because they’ll grow up to be better people”
    • Praise: children were treated as having feelings, limitations, and a need to be understood. No heavy handed methods were needed
    • Criticism: children were given too much freedom – led to disrespect and laziness
    • Roles of the family:
    • Husband/father – head of the household, earner, provider
    • Mother/wife – heart of the household, carer of children and home
    • While women did work, the expectation was still to be the carer of the home
    • “I Love Lucy” – Lucy Hires a Maid

    Technological Changes

      • Technological changes accompanied the new lifestyle of the 1950’s
      • The key – making life easier and for family centred
      • The growth of suburbs went hand in hand with an upsurge in driving and new car styles
      • Canadians bought over 3.5 million passenger cars in the 1950’s
      • The Automobile – bigger is better
        • Each year’s model seemed to grow longer, lower, and wider
        • Two-tone colours, plenty of chrome, and outlandish tail fins became the fads of the 1957 and 1958 models

        New Fads

        • The popular candy which was created decades before the 50’s, developed a new pocket size dispenser which became very popular in the 1950’s
        • This new dispenser is now a Pez trademark and is what Pez is known for
        • Everyone loved throwing the frisbee around
        • Childrens first reaction to seeing the high flying toy was, ‘Wow! What’s that?‘
        • Even today people still throw frisbees around at parks and beaches but nothing compares to how people enjoyed them in the 1950’s
        • Telephone Booth Stuffing
        • One of the most well known fads of all time was Telephone Booth stuffing.
        • It was started by several college students who would squeeze themselves into a telephone booth until no one else could fit inside.
        • Soon, many colleges around the world were trying to beat each other’s records. The fad died out in 1959, but was reincarnated in the form of Volkswagen stuffing a few years later.
        • 3D Movies
        • Movie studio executives worried that the new medium, television, would steal away their audiences
        • Even though 3-D movies had been around as far back as 1922 and had lost favor, it was decided to try again
        • Arch Oboler’s “Bwana Devil” started the 3-D craze of the 1950’s
        • People were issued glasses, which facilitated the 3-D effect
        • Fashion Fads
        • Poodle Skirts
        • Saddle Shoes
        • Letter Sweaters
        • Virgin Pins
        • Hula Hoop
        • One of the biggest fads of all time is the hula-hoop, invented in 1957, by an Australian
        • The name “hula hoop” came from the Hawaiian dance its users seemed to imitate
        • The invention was licensed to Wham-O, who sold 25 million hula-hoops in two months
        • They were manufacturing 20,000 hoops a day at the peak of popularity
        • Television
          • TV first became widespread in Canada in the 1950’s
          • More Canadians had money to spend in the post-war years and Canada became a consumer society
          • The appliance that everyone wanted first was a television set
          • Changed the way the family interacted and spent time together
          • Family life underwent great changes because of television
          • Families that used to play games or visit relatives suddenly found themselves watching television shows at home
          • Eating habits changed when families bought TV tables so that they could eat their meals in front of the set

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