By any definition, you would have to say that, yes; the 1920s was a decade that roared. The noises of new Ford automobiles exhaust pipes. Families playing together, laughing together, and enjoying the family life. The crowd cheering on the Toronto Maple Leafs during another thrilling game of Canadian hockey. Women laughing as they finally achieved the freedom so long denied to them. Canada was roaring it’s new found sense of independence and self.
The economy was booming. Manufacturing companies were generating jobs by the dozens – and giving them to women as well as men. The Model T Ford hit the city streets like a plague – they were everywhere. Cars became a sign of wealth, and more than fifty percent of families owned an automobile. They were the thing to have. Teens used them as a portable bedroom (aka. “struggle buggy), and families could use them to transport themselves to their destination. The horse and buggy and other forms of mass transportation were not relied so heavily upon – what for? Everyone had cars and they made enough money to afford gas, now that mom worked as well as dad. Exhaust from all the Fords doubtlessly polluted the city – but who cared, they were living life for the moment! Canada was ready for a taste of adventure.
The family in the earlier 1900s ran with mother at home doing housework, sister helping mother, father out at work, and brother doing whatever it was necessary for him to do at the moment or whatever he felt like. Life was freedom for males, young and old. The Great War changed all of that. Mother began to work outside of the house; sister went to school and played right alongside the boys. Father was working as well as mother. Many families had two working parents, and mother and sister performed the housework. The family ran smoothly. No longer was mother chained to the house. The family had more income, so they could enjoy life – going to movies (aka. “talkies”), or for a family trip to the beach. The Model T Ford helped as transportation. Canadian families were no longer so reliant on one person for a single duty, everybody pitched in.
Family matters weren’t the only things that Canadians joined together in. When the Canadian hockey team the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup with the NHL in 1922, we weren’t silent. Listening to the radio or watching shows at the local movie theatre, there wasn’t a single man, woman, or child among the cities in Southern Ontario who wasn’t cheering the Leafs on. This is a tradition that hasn’t died today. For so long Canada had been a silent colony of the mighty British Empire. After World War One, who would deny us a little roaring? Canada was a proud, strong nation- and we were all ready to cheer ourselves on.
Everything about Canada was becoming more and more liberated. New technology and loosened rules didn’t just affect the family and sports. Women become risky, fun, and carefree. The woman who was of marrying age wasn’t necessary married-hence the invention of “the flapper”. This woman had her hair cut short like a boy’s, and lost the stiff Victorian figure that her mother had taken pride in. Corsets were thrown in the garbage, inches were taken off the hems of their dresses, and even womanly figures disappeared like they’d never been there. This woman was “one of the boys”. She drank, she smoked, she cussed, and she was more fun than a woman had ever been allowed to be before. Females held jobs, won the vote, and were happier than they had even known themselves to be.
But too many good things always mean a catastrophe. October 29th, 1929 was the day it hit. The stock market crashed, North American goods lost all of their value, and there was widespread poverty. Yet the Canadians never stopped roaring. Our beloved hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, kept going. The musicians played on. The movie theatre continued to show movies. Families never stopped loving each other.
Canada has been through many tough times in our history, but we always pull through. The Great Depression of 1929 and the 1930s had us caught in its grip, but we never lost our sense of independence and playfulness. Now we live in a country with a solid economy and a welcoming community. We publicly, loudly, and proudly, roar through the media and in our every day lives “I AM CANADIAN” – and we’ll never stop roaring. Can you hear it?