Author: Cynthia R. Comacchio

Publication Date: 2015

Edited: 2023



When the call to fight, "At Britain's side," was sounded in August 1914, Canadians of all ranks across the land rallied to, "Do their bit," as the wartime slogan urged. This, "War to end all wars," signaled the new importance of the home front. As never before, the Great War required massive public participation to supply munitions and food, to provide for the soldiers' dependents, to attend to the mundane 'comforts' so necessary to their own health and morale at the front. This unprecedented range of home front activities was supported by vast organizational networks, new and pre-existing. These included many associations, such as the Red Cross Society and the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE), that were predominantly or entirely comprised of women.1


Although we rarely find them in the pages of standard histories about the Great War, children and youth nonetheless played critical roles on the home front. Often they 'did their bit' symbolically. The Canadian Patriotic Fund (CPF), the Belgian Relief Fund, and the Victory Bonds campaigns frequently depicted children as the especially innocent and tragic victims of war; as the most compelling of reasons to fight and win; and as the very emblems of a better future. Yet children and youth also contributed to home front campaigns in everyday, practical, direct ways that are not readily seen in looking backwards. Moreover, the young rarely tell their own stories, in their own words, to ensure their place and perspective in the historical record. Although they frequently kept diaries and wrote letters - in fact, correspondence with 'our boys at the front,' was seen to be integral to their home front duties. Many of these documents have disappeared. Whatever glimpses we can uncover of 'young Guelph' during the Great War, consequently, are all the more important to our historical understanding of that tremendous upheaval, how it affected the town, and how its citizens of all ages committed to 'doing their bit' for victory.2


Although the home front is itself a creation of the Great War, the involvement of children and youth - more so boys - in imperial matters long preceded 1914. Especially in the years after the South African War (1899-1902), characterized by historians as, "The militarist moment," in Canada; duty to nation and Empire was central to childhood socialization at school, in church, in clubs and associations, and in many homes. Within the large contingent of British emigrants of the Laurier years, many were of tender age, whether transplanted with their families or on their own as 'home children.' Their present, historic, and recent, nurtured an environment of 'imperialist nationalism,' premised on a shared loyalty to Canada and Britain.3 with a population of roughly 16,000 in 1914, Guelph exemplified the dual character of this national identity: about two-thirds of its residents boasted Anglo-Celtic heritage. As its 'Royal City' appellation testifies, the British connection remained strong as war clouds gathered. An early wartime rally in September 1914, saw local Member of Parliament Hugh Guthrie confidently assert that, just as the English valued the colonies, "No colonial... doubts the connection with Great Britain."4


These local values could not help but influence the children and youth of Guelph, especially as they were encouraged by larger currents. By 1914, young Guelph was participating in the nation-wide institutionalization of Empire Day, effectively a school-based celebration of imperial ties. Already in place at many schools, cadet training became compulsory under the Strathcona Fund (1909). Guelph's cadet corps were well-established even before compulsory training became part of the regular physical education curriculum for boys. Following in his father's footsteps, physician and foremost Canadian war poet, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae was an officer in the Guelph Highland Cadet Corps by the age of 16.5 Such paramilitary British groups as the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides were also taking firm hold in Canada: Guelph's first Boy Scout troop was founded in 1915.6 And such popular children's annuals as The Canadian Girls Annual and Young Canada, intended for boys but just as likely to be read by their sisters, consistently published stories about the heroic efforts of Canadian soldiers, and also those of ordinary boys and girls supporting the cause.7


Historic Guelph "G-Bye Mary" V53P44Figure 1: "G-bye Mary, the Patriotic Fund will care for you" [Canada].

(Image courtesy of Archives Ontario War Poster Collection (10016186)).


Judging by the popularity of the 'children's pages' in most daily and weekly newspapers, including the local Mercury, as well as the 'family magazines' found in many middle-class homes, it is likely that most school children were exposed to war news, whether they read it themselves or heard it related by parents, older siblings, and teachers. The notion of insulating the young against harsh realities was not common to contemporary child-rearing: most working-class children left school for the adult world of work before their fourteenth birthdays, already well familiar with the daily struggle. For those who did not have access to newspapers and magazines at home, the Ontario department of education deftly conveyed the imperialist message in its textbooks.8 Most Canadian schools adopted Sir Edward Parrott's 56 volumes of The Children's Story of the War, written expressly for the purpose of, "Recounting for Children the Triumph of British Valour and Endurance by Land and Sea." Probably few children read each volume with equal attention, but the first one, circulated in Canadian elementary schools in 1915, was avidly received. For his juvenile audience, Parrott explained German aggression in terms of the Kaiser's flawed character, as evidence from his own privileged boyhood:


"About forty years ago, a German boy, accompanied by his tutor and other attendants, [were] spending a holiday at a seaside resort in the south of England. One morning this boy went down to the beach and amused himself by throwing stones at the bathing machines. The son of the owner of the machines, a boy of about his own age, saw him so engaged, and, going up to him, told him to stop throwing stones at the bathing machines. Now the German boy had been brought up to believe that he could do as he pleased, without anyone daring to take him to task. So, he drew himself up proudly, and said, 'Do you know who I am?' 'No,' replied the English boy, 'And I don't care either. I only know that I'm not going to let you damage our machines.' Thereupon the German boy hit out and knocked the speaker down. In a moment, the English boy was on his feet again. He pulled off his coat, put up his fists, and a fight began. Just when the German boy was getting the worst of it his tutor arrived, separated the fighters, and put an end to the combat. That German boy is now the Kaiser Wilhelm, the man who has plunged Europe into this terrible war. From the story which you have just read you may learn something of his character when he was a boy."9


The story's moral is obvious: fairness, justice, and the courage to protect what is rightfully owned are embodied in the English lad who stands up to the weak, spoiled, cowardly German bully. Who would question the veracity of this tale, or its larger meaning? Thus, at home, at school, at church and in the community, the children and youth of Guelph were primed for a specific understanding of the nation's role in this conflict, and of their own duty to support. 


Historic Guelph Young Guelph V53P45Figure 2: Young Canada.

(Image courtesy of Children's Literature Library, Ryerson University).


From the start, war charities focussed on children, whether at the front or at home, easily garnered the largest public support. The Belgian Relief Fund promoted its cause with reference to the maimed, brutalized, slaughtered, orphaned, and starving children of Belgium, who were among the war's earliest casualties.10 Symbols of German savagery, these children were integral to the wartime propaganda aimed at Canadians of all ages.11 In the early months of the war, Guelph residents sent 100 bags of flour, "To relieve Belgian suffering", 75 of which were reportedly, "Paid for by school children."12 As the war continued long past Christmas 1914, the end-point initially predicted, these pleas for home front participation and funds increasingly depicted healthy Canadian children as metaphors for Canada's good fortune, emphasizing each citizen's duty to protect and preserve those blessings for presant and future generations. Children were much involved, both figuratively and actively, in the national Victory Bonds campaign that raised funds for the federal government's conduct of the war. An especially effective campaign poster, distributed nationally, portrayed a sweet blonde girl of about five years under the heading, "Oh please do! Daddy," with, "Buy Me a Victory Bond," spelled out at her feet in the wooden alphabet blocks that were ubiquitous in middle-class nurseries. Within two weeks of the poster's release, 419 million dollars in bonds had been purchased.13 And the most popular Canadian song of wartime also emphasized the bond between a little girl and her absent soldier-father. "Good Luck to the Boys of the Allies," was written by Toronto composer Morris Manley for performance by his daughter, "Little Miss Mildred Manley," who was promoted as, "Canada's Greatest Child Vocalist." The lyrics featured a plaintive, "I Want My Daddy" refrain that obviously resonated across generations.14


Historic Guelph V53P46Figure 3: "Oh Please Do Daddy! Buy me a Victory Bond."

(Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada (Acc. No. 1983-28-655)).


In a fundamentally Christian society, the words, "Sacrifice," and, "Service," conveyed expectations of civilians as much as soldiers, children, and youth as well as adults. In Guelph as elsewhere, there was an immediate outpouring of community support in response to the call to arms. Women rallied to help the local Red Cross, the CPF, and the IODE in their home front campaigns. From August 1914 until the Armistice, the Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser is replete with notices about teas, dances, and 'rinks' (skating parties) to raise money for the Red Cross and the Belgian Relief Fund, but most particularly for the Canadian Patriotic Fund. These were the three most important of the home front campaigns in Canada, and all had active participation in Guelph.15 The CPF was established in 1914 by Sir Herbert Ames to provide for soldiers' dependents: its local branch assisted 465 Guelph families for varying periods during the war years. By March 1919, Guelph residents had contributed $252,223, a not inconsiderable sum for a town of only 16,000.16


Women's auxiliaries at the local churches also took up home front causes; there was, of course, much overlap between and among their own and the larger organizations. But while women's home front activities were given due coverage in local newspapers, we know far less about the children, who often worked steadfastly alongside their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and aunts to offer significant labour and donations. In September 1915, the Mercury reported that local children were showing, "Great interest," in Red Cross work.17 The newspaper published a letter from a group of schoolboys, addressed to Red Cross treasurer Mrs. Agnes Torrance. The young writer proudly reported that:


"Bert Logan, George Chapman, Robbie Johnson, and we boys had a big show in our cellar, acrobats and acts. Admission 3 cents. We made $1.11 for the Red Cross. I am sending it to you with this. Yours truly, W. Gordon Young."


Shortly afterwards, the Red Cross Society publicly thanked, "The children of the public schools," for their $40 contribution.18


Historic Guelph 1st Boy Scout Troop V53P47

Figure 4: 1st Boy Scout Troop in front of the Sleeman's residence, 1915.

(Photo courtesy of Guelph Public Library Archives (F5-0-3-2-1-1)).


As well as raising and contributing funds, young Guelph participated in any number of local campaigns to supply front line soldiers with 'comforts.' These were small, pleasant or simply useful gifts, such as socks - for which the need was dire due to trench conditions - as well as chocolates, biscuits and cigarettes. A popular children's 'newspaper club' that boasted members across the country constantly reminded the young about their, "Duty [to] aim in every way to help the boys who are at war writing them bright letters, sending them boxes, and otherwise showing an interest in their welfare."19 Newspaper reports indicate that soldiers appreciated such kindnesses on the part of the young: responding to the Christmas stockings sent by fourth-grade pupils of Central School, one soldier wrote gratefully from Wiley Camp, in Surrey, England: "My Dear Little Friends, You have not forgotten the boys who came over here to fight for you."20


From the earliest days, the knitting of socks, scarves, hats and small personal items was much encouraged for both boys and girls; the girls, at least, would likely already know how to knit, as this was a typical feminine domestic task acquired in early childhood. The slogan, "Knit and Do Your Bit," became ubiquitous. At the very least, children could save their pennies and donate them for the purchase of socks. In 1915, a special Empire Day program for Ontario schools, emblazoned with a photograph of a saluting schoolboy in military uniform, also stressed the urgent need for socks. In addition to promoting the usual patriotic activities, the pamphlet urged that, rather than spend money on flags and toy crackers to celebrate the day, "While our soldiers are lying wounded in shrapnel," children could each donate 40 cents to the Red Cross Society's Sock Fund, because, "They need socks, they tell us, almost more than anything else," The socks were to be sent to France marked, "Empire Day Socks from the Boys and Girls in Canada".21


Historic Guelph Winifred Matheson V53P48

Figure 5: Winifred Matheson, "Farmerette", 1918. Matheson family photographs, Erin Twp., ca. 1860 - ca.1960.

(Photo courtesy of Wellington County Museum 6 Archives (A2001.87)).


The giving up of 'small indulgences' that was strongly urged on all Canadians did not spare the young either. The National War Savings Committee produced and widely distributed a Canada War Book, with succinct advice on saving time, food, fuel, and money. Provincial education departments adopted a version, "Especially for the boys and girls of Canada." Teachers were required to spend at least five minutes on this 'textbook' in the classroom daily.22 Young Guelph also figured strongly in the related campaigns conducted by the new Canada Food Board, established in 1917, These campaigns targeted housewives as well as youngsters. Even in middle-class families, many children and youth were already accustomed to tending gardens and small animals, in town as in the countryside.23 'Victory Gardens' were also promoted as a fitting project for children and youth because they corresponded to the 'new education' initiatives that made school gardens integral to 'manual training' programs. Instigated in 1917, Guelph's Vacant Lot Gardening Club was declared, "The best in the Dominion," by the federal agriculture department early in 1918. The club could lay claim to the largest number of members and of gardens in all Canada.


As the war dragged on, the intensifying need for enlistment brought about a critical shortage of capable farm labourers just when Canadian agricultural production was increasingly vital to the war effort. The result was the instigation of a nation-wide, "Soldiers of the Soil," scheme to rally older boys to the farms. Most of these were readily recruited through the local YMCA and Sunday schools.24 By 1917, some 25,000 urban boys, 13 to 18 years old, were working on farms and in related agricultural work across Canada.25 In Guelph, some 200 boys and girls engaged in work on gardens, vacant lots and as farm workers, with crop results in the town alone estimated at a value of $25,000. The young Soldiers of the Soil took great pride in the labour that they performed. One 13-year-old described how he, "Raked and coiled the hay stook grain, pitched sheaves, helped build loads, stook corn, milked, threshed, and went for the cows." Another recounted that, "I help to milk 16 cows... four or five being my share. I see lots of boys wearing their farm service badge to school. I am only 12, but I felt that I was doing a patriotic service in helping my father this summer."26

Historic Guelph V53P49Figure 6: Soldiers of the Soil poster.

(Image is in the public domain).


Although boys were targeted, in keeping with the view that such 'heavy' outdoor work was a masculine task, girls could volunteer as 'farmerettes.' Unlike the boys, however, they were not paid even a nominal allowance for their efforts.27 Unstinting in their home front duties, many girls signed up enthusiastically, nonetheless. Despite the intended 'girliness' of their titles, they took their work seriously as indicated in their 'work song,' performed, not coincidentally to the tune of the contemporary popular song, "Joan of Arc."


Soldiers are pleading "Foodstuffs we're needing:
Sisters and sweethearts, heed our call.
Corn fields are blowing gardens are growing,
Out to the farms, maidens all!"
Then the girls in answer, with their hoes in hand,
By the farmers take their stand.
Farmerette, Farmerette,
Here's to you, staunch and true, Farmerette!
Good-bye frilly frocks and parasols,
Welcome garden tools and overalls.
With your hoe 'gainst the foe,
We'll win the war we know,
You're in the fight for Liberty,
God bless you, little Farmerettes!
With such reinforcements we are sure to win-
See the Kaiser growing thin!28

On a somewhat more refined literary level, such beloved children's authors as Edith Lelean Groves produced a number of patriotic 'dramatic drills' for performance in Ontario schools, including, "The Soldiers of the Soil and the Farmerettes," which extolled the sacrifice of the young for the nation and the Empire.29 Such plays and drills were commonplace in elementary schools, especially on Empire Day, and at patriotic rallies.


Most Canadians of the time saw the war in terms of moral as well as patriotic obligation. "The two great watchwords of the year," as one local clergyman concluded in his public reflection on the ups and downs of 1917, "Have been sacrifice and service, and the man or woman who has gone through this cosmic upheaval, and has not, through the spirit of self-denial, become chastened or ennobled, must have a heart of granite."30 Not surprisingly like the adults who led the way children and youth also accepted the need for, "Service and sacrifice," individually and in groups, insofar as their ages and abilities permitted.31 Direct appeals to young Guelph became more common, as well as more emphatic, as the war continued, needs grew, and people perhaps became less inclined to give. An emphatic announcement in mid-1918, published in the Mercury under the auspices of the Red Triangle Fund, a joint effort of the YMCA and the Red Cross, underscored the importance of unstinting youth support for home front campaigns:


"Boys! Here's your chance to do a fine stroke in the big war! Help the YMCA to help your big brothers overseas by joining in the 'Earn and Give' campaign. Six thousand Canadian older boys are invited to earn and give at least 10 dollars the Red Triangle Fund... Ask your local YMCA for information and a pledge card. When you have subscribed one or more units of ten dollars, you will receive a beautifully engraved certificate."32


The Red Triangle Fund also canvassed Ontario Agricultural College students for "Work at the front," including the provision of, "Soldiers' comforts."33 Although their objective was to raise $200 among local [male] youth, they successfully collected $500. Nor were the local girls' associations remiss: by the war's final year, the Girls Friendly Society was committed to sending a parcel each week to, "Some soldier overseas who has but few friends," as well as working on behalf of the Belgian Relief Fund.34


By 1918, with victory finally conceivable, public discourses turned to preparing the young for the brave new post-war world. In late spring of 1918, the national YMCA initiated special clubs for high school boys, most of whom were under 16, so that, "Boys will train to take their place in national life." Hopes for the post-war world came to be embodied in the children who represented that future. "While our Canadian possibilities are great in wealth and resources," argued one YMCA representative addressing Guelph high school boys, "We must have the wealth of our boys to look up to... to replace the fine characters lost in war."35 The gendered language obviously reflects the historic role of men as soldiers and civic leaders. Girls and women might well 'do their bit,' even to take up men's work on farms and in factories, but this was intended to be, "For the duration," and consequently just another element of emergency wartime duty. Canadian women were ultimately enfranchised in 1918, in a political stroke signifying the Union Government's gratitude for their own sacrifice and service.36


The Great War affected the generation growing up in its midst in ways both wide and deep. Its impact left few children and youth untouched. The toll of men, many of them young fathers and future fathers - 66,000 casualties - was keenly felt in a sparsely populated young Dominion. The Guelph Cenotaph commemorates 221 soldiers, the majority in their twenties, but also including at least 20 not yet out of their teens.37 Five of these were only 18 years old at their time of death. They had scarcely discarded their personal identification with 'young Guelph' themselves, although mere enlistment was a quick and irrevocable step into adulthood. Their deaths dispelled their prospects for attaining adult citizenship.


Giving up their fathers, whether temporarily or permanently, was the greatest sacrifice that the Great War extracted from the young. Even men who survived the carnage often re-entered families in which they were effectively strangers. Many of these were also wounded in body and in spirit, repercussions of war that would have long-term familial effects. Substantial numbers of Canadian children had little memory of soldier-fathers who had enlisted when they were infants, or even before they were born. Others had come of age without the presence or involvement of their fathers. And all too many would never know their fathers again. John Mitchell's son was an infant when he enlisted in September 1914; Mitchell was killed in August 1918. Only 28-years-old at the time of his death in 1916, Alexander McNicholl already had a wife and four children. Charles Parker died in the slaughter at Passchendaele; he and his wife had one young daughter. George Hall, who enlisted in 1915, was killed in April 1917, leaving behind a wife and five children. Forty- one years old at the time of enlistment in March 1916, with four children, the youngest eight-years old, John McLelland was felled in August 1917. There are doubtless many such sad stories among the engraved names on the Guelph cenotaph that forever testify to their, "Service and sacrifice."38 Few residents in 1918 were unaware of families mourning sons, brothers, cousins, uncles and fathers.


The war's generational consequences would reverberate well into its aftermath. Fourteen years old when it began, too young to fight but old enough to understand the stakes, writer Hugh MacLennan believed that, "The First World War haunted us... We were all children of the First War, and its real horrors were just being revealed when we came of age."39 Yet, despite the tragedies that would imprint so many of the wartime generation of children and youth forevermore, even the slight historical evidence we can uncover the tragedies that would imprint so many of the wartime generation of children and youth forevermore, even the slight historical evidence we can uncover indicates that they were not sidelined, as much as age and gender defined the nature and extent of their contributions. Young Guelph took enthusiastic part in the unrelenting campaigns and chores of the home front. Much of the propaganda of wartime represented the young as victims and 'causes,' both for the Allied fight and for charity at home. The other side, however, as this discussion suggests, is that they were also whole-hearted participants toward the ultimate objective: Supporting Canada's role for bringing about victory for 'British liberties.' In their allotted role as metaphors for the future, the views and activities of children and youth in Guelph, as across Canada during the Great War, reveals much about the kind of society that Canadians wanted to preserve, and the kind of nation that they envisioned after, "The war to end all wars."



  1. Robert Rutherdale explores the role of Guelph women in some detail in Rutherdale, Hometown Horizons: Local Responses to Canada's Great War (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2004).
  2. I'm using this classification, "Young Guelph," to indicate school-age children and also adolescents of pre-enlistment age.
  3. On imperialist nationalism, the standard text remains Carl Berger, The Sense of Power: Studies in the Ideas of Canadian Imperialism (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970); see also Mark Moss, Manliness and Militarism: Educating Young Boys in Ontario for War (Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press, 2001); Susan Fisher, Boys and Girls in No Man's Land: English Canadian Children and the First World War (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011).
  4. Cited in The Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser; September 25, 1914.
  5. John E. Hurst, "John McCrae's Wars," in Briton C. Busch, ed. Canada and the Great War (Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2003), p. 67-68. Leo Johnson discusses Guelph's pre-war military history in Johnson, History of Guelph, 1827-1927 (Guelph: Guelph Historical Society, 1977), p. 299-306.
  6. See photograph, "1st Boy Scout Troop in front of the Sleeman's residence, 1915," File F5-0-3- 2-1-l.jpg, Guelph Public Library Archives. On scouting and militarism, see Moss, Manliness and Militarism, p. 115-116; also, Patricia Dirks, "Canada's Boys: An Imperial or National Asset? Responses to Baden-Powell's Boy Scout Movement in Pre-War Canada," in Canada and the British World: Culture, Migration, and Identity, ed. Phillip Buckner and R. Douglas Francis (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2006), p. 111-128.
  7. See, for example, The Canadian Girls Annual (Toronto: Cassel and Company, 1916); Young Canada: An Illustrated Annual for Boys Throughout the English-Speaking World (Toronto: William Briggs, 1918).
  8. Susan Fisher, Boys and Girls in No Man's Land: English Canadian Children and the First World War (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), p. 82; p. 88-89. On the imperialist tenor of school texts, see also Nancy Sheehan, "Philosophy, Pedagogy, and Practice: The IODE and the Schools in Canada, 1900- 1945," Historical Studies in Education 2, 2 (1990): p. 307-321; and Sheehan, "The IODE, the Schools and World War II,' History of Education Review 13, 1 (1984): p. 29-41.
  9. Sir Edward Parrot, The Children's Story of the War (London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1915), Vol. 1, p. 35.
  10. Dominique Marshall, "Humanitarian Sympathy for Children in Times of War and the History of Children's Rights, 1919-1959," in James Marten, ed. Children and War: A Historical Anthology (New York: New York University Press, 2002): p. 84-99. On the Canadian Patriotic Fund, see Desmond Morton, Fight or Pay: Soldiers' Families in the Great War (Vancouver: University of Toronto Press, 2004).
  11. Fisher, Boys and Girls, p. 8-10.
  12. Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser, January 8, 1915.
  13. Fisher, Boys and Girls, p. 9-10.
  14. Morris Manley, "Good Luck to the Boys of the Allies," Toronto: 1915. See Florence Hayes, "Good Luck to the Boys of the Allies," The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada Online:; also the Sheet Music Collection, York University Library and Archives, available online: http://hdl.handle.netl1031519653; Jonathan Vance, A History of Canadian Culture (Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press, 2009): p. 220-223, Little Miss Mildred Manley headlined at the, "Big Sox Shower," held in Toronto in October, 1916; more than 1,200 pairs of socks were collected. See "Big Sox Shower for Sportsmen's Battalion," The Toronto World, October 7, 1916.
  15. See, for example, the front-page editorial in the Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser, August 20, 1914; Robert Rutherdale, "Send-offs During Canada's Great War: Interpreting Hometown Rituals in Dispatching Home Front Volunteers," Histoire Sociale/Social History 36, 72 (2003): p. 426-464.
  16. Philip Morris, ed. The Canadian Patriotic Fund - A Record of Its Activities, 1914-1919 (Ottawa: Canadian Patriotic Fund, 1920), p. 194-195, Morris was the CPF's Executive Secretary; this is the organization's official report. See also Sir Herbert Ames, "'Fight or Pay': Canada's Solution," The North American Review 205, 739 (June 1917), p. 851-864.
  17. "Great Interest Being Shown in Red Cross Work," The Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser, September 3, 1915.
  18. "Red Cross Fund," The Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser, November 2, 1915.
  19. Nancy Durham, "New Year's Resolutions," Circle of Young Canada page, The Toronto Globe, January 5, 1918. The children's newspaper clubs are discussed in Norah L. Lewis, ed. "I Want to Join Your Club," Letters from Rural Children, 1900-1920 (Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1996).
  20. Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser, January 10, 1918. The letter was signed Cpl. C. Matthews, and it was dated December 17 , 1917.
  21. Jean McPhedran, Convener of Committee, Ontario Red Cross Society's Sock Fund, Empire Day Program, May 1915, p. 1.
  22. Fisher, Boys and Girls, 43-44; The Canada War Book was prepared by the War Savings Committee in 1918, and published by the provincial education departments for use in the schools. In Ontario, it was titled The Canada War Thrift Book.
  23. On the federally appointed Fuel and Food Controllers, appointed in 1917, and the Canada Food Board, 1918, see Cynthia Comacchio, The Infinite Bonds of Family: Domesticity in Canada, 1850-1940 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998), p. 67-68.
  24. Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser, January 10, 1918.
  25. Department of Agriculture advertisement, The Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser, April 13, 1918.
  26. "The Canadian Boy as a War Helper,' Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser, April 6, 1918.
  27. Norah L. Lewis, "'Isn't This a Terrible War?' Children's Attitudes to Two World Wars," Historical Studies in Education 7 (Fall 1995): p. 193-215; also, Lewis, "I Want to Join Your Club," p. 10.
  28. "Farmerette," signed "Maid o' the Dunk," Circle of Young Canada page, Toronto Globe, July 27, 1918.
  29. Edith Lelean Groves, The Soldiers of the Soil and the Farmerettes: A Dramatic Drill (Toronto: McClelland, Goodchild and Stewart, 1918).
  30. "Ups and Downs of 1917, Interesting Address by Rev. Edwin Wyle at Church of Christ," Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser, January 2, 1918. The newspaper reported a "large attendance."
  31. "Ups and Downs of 1917," January 2, 1918.
  32. Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser, April 29, 1918.
  33. OAC students, many of them older adolescents, supported the CPF throughout the war years; see, for example, "Works and Wants of the Canadian Patriotic Fund," OAC Review 29 (December 1916), p. 137.
  34. Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser, January 18, 1918.
  35. "Y High School Club Secretary Addressed Guelph Boys," Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser, January 19, 1918. The Secretary, C. M. Wright, was travelling across Canada to Promote the new club for high school students within the Y; it would later come to be called "Hi-Y."
  36. On the role of women of all ages, see the essays in Amy J. Shaw and Sarah Glassford eds. A Sisterhood of Suffering and Service: Women and Girls of Canada and Newfoundland during the First World War (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012).
  37. Ed Butts, "The Guelph Cenotaph: Names of the Fallen from the First World War," Guelph Mercury, June 25, 2014.
  38. I am grateful to Ed Butts for his excellent series on Guelph during the Great War, published in the Guelph Mercury. The information about these individual fathers was gathered from two of these pieces: "Guelph Soldiers Gave Their Lives in 'Minor Operations," Guelph Mercury, January 26, 2015; and "Guelph's First World War Deaths Weren't Always on the Front Line," Guelph Mercury, February 12, 2015.
  39. H. MacLennan, "What It Was Like to Be in Your Twenties in the Thirties," in Victor Hoar, ed. The Great Depression (Toronto: Copp Clark, 1969), p. 144.