The Dirty Thirties

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Introduction VIEW-8727 MP-0000.25.602 MP-1980.32.1.233 II-298323 MP-1978.107.216 VIEW-25900 PA-025535 C-000623


The Great Depression was a calamity of unprecedented scope. "The Dirty Thirties," "The Winter Years," "The Bitter Thirties," "Ten Lost Years" - the book titles say it all.

Canadians who depended on export markets to sell their agricultural, mining, forestry and fishing products soon felt the pain of falling prices and profits, tightening credit and growing unemployment. The effects of the slump spread across Canada like ripples on a pond.

The transportation, construction and capital-goods industries were soon in trouble. Sales of consumer goods and services also declined, with ill effects on the incomes of some store owners, professional people, theatre owners, taxi drivers and many others. Workers in the public sector mostly kept their jobs, but they often had to accept major salary cuts.

Protests, strikes and new political movements promised much, but often accomplished little, other than giving people a needed sense that they were doing something!