• 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, Belgium, 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 1950s 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 1950s 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 the 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 1950s
    • 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 1950s
    • 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 1950s
      • This new dispenser is now a Pez trademark and is what Pez is known for
      • Everyone loved throwing the frisbee around
      • Children’s 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 1950s
      • 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 1950s
      • 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 1950s
        • 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
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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