Canada's Defining Moments

By: Gurbaaz Mangat


My Smore is on Canada's Defining Moments. Throughout the presentation my four topics are on The Battle of the Somme, Prohibition, Great Depression and . These moments were not only defining for me but also Canada. I also believe Canada would have been different in a way if they were not involved in these moments.

The Battle of the Somme

The battle of the Somme lasted 4 months. It lasted from July 1st to November 18 1916. Canada and other allies helped the French defend Verdun to the south against the Germans. During the first world war Canada only had a population of 8 Million. In the war over 630,000 men and women represented Canada. More than 425,000 Canadians went overseas, 60,000+ were killed, 172,000+ were wounded. When British soldiers “went over the top” of their trenches and the results were deadly, tens of thousands were mown down by machine-gun fire, or caught in barbed wire and then killed as they tried to reach the German lines. The British lost more than 57,000 men killed or wounded on only the first day of the battle, with little to show for their sacrifice. By the end of the war Canadians and their allies learned a valuable lesson.


Prohibition was the result of temperance workers to close down bars. Bars were causing so much drunkenness and misery before social welfare existed. Bar owners believed alcohol and hard liquor was the key to economic success.

Pre-Confederation laws against the sale of alcohol had been passed, including the Dunkin Act in Canada in 1864. This allowed any county or municipality to prohibit the retail sale of liquor by majority vote. The government of Sir Wilfred Laurier decided majority of 13,687 votes registered in favor of prohibition was not large enough to warrant passing a law. Quebec voted the most against the law.

Rum Running

The provincial stopped legal drinking establishments and the sales of alcohol and liquor. The drinks could only be bought through government approval for Scientific, Mechanical, Artistic, and Medical use. Crimes declined in a rapped rate. But home made booze hit the streets and was a big sell. This lead to Bootlegging raising around Canada and illegal drinking places called "Speakeasies."

The End

Prohibition was short lived in Canada to gain any fame. In 1920 British Columbia voted "Wet", and soon after legal alcohol was beginning to sell. In Ontario the legal selling of alcohol started back up in 1927.

Great Depression

The great depression started in the early 1930's. It was social and economic shock that left millions of Canadians unemployed, hungry, and often homeless. Some Canadians still debate if a specific event might have caused the Great Depression. Between 1929 and 1933 the countries overall public and private spending fell by 42%. By 1933, 30% of labor workers were out of jobs. One in five Canadians became dependent on government survival. The unemployment rate would remain above 12% until the start of world war 2. When World War 2 started people began going in to the military. This was happening at a fast rate and the great depression was gone. When World War 2 ended it was a happy time in Canada.

The Dark Secret

During the Great Depression the federal government decided to open relief camps for men who were jobless. These relief camps offered the men jobs where they would get paid a certain amount. The government was often criticised for opening the camps instead of raising work wages. The dark secret behind the relief camps were most men were not allowed to visit their families once they were in the camp, also most men would die inside the camp. If the government saw a homeless or unemployed man they would be put in the relief camp no matter what. In British, Columbia many camps went on strike demanding improved living conditions inside the camps, also new work programs in Ottawa. The strikers failed to convince Bennett’s government to change the camp policy and retreated to Regina, where the protest ended violently on July 1st. By the time the camps closed in June 1936, 170,248 men had lived and worked in them, providing 10,201,103 man days of relief.

Same Sex Marriages

On July 20th, 2005 Canada became the fourth country in the world, first outside of Europe to legalize Same Sex Marriages. Canada lead the way as 10 years later United States of America legalized Same Sex Marriages. This was important to the people of homosexual feelings as they had the freedom to marry their same sex lover. This legal law had a immediate impact as homosexuals were getting married as quick as possible. The law was a great decision made by the government as it gave the people freedom of choice, and how they would not get judged.


Throughout my smore you've heard/read some of Canada's defining moments. Some of these moments include The Great Depression, The Battle of Somme, Prohibition, and Same Sex Marriages. These moments were defining Canada as a strong nation, and a nation of freedom.