Search for "Second World War"
Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet Francisca of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld (born 19 January 1943 in Ottawa, ON) spent her early childhood in Canada during the Second World War. The annual Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa emerged from gifts of thousands of tulip bulbs from the Dutch royal family. Margriet continues to make regular visits to Canada, strengthening ties between Canada and the Netherlands.
Second World War Education Guide
This guide is intended to assist teachers and students as they study Canada’s involvement in the Second World War.
Canada and the Battle of the Scheldt
The Battle of the Scheldt was fought in northern Belgium and southwestern Netherlands in 1944 during the Second World War. It was part of the Allied campaign to liberate northwestern Europe and defeat Nazi Germany. The First Canadian Army played a crucial role in clearing the Scheldt of German forces, opening crucial supply lines via the port of Antwerp. However, this victory came at a cost. The Allies suffered nearly 13,000 casualties during the battle, including more than 6,300 Canadians.
Norman Kirby, soldier (born 9 July 1925 in New Westminster, BC). Kirby served with the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment during the Second World War. He was involved in the D-Day landings and Normandy Campaign, the Battle of the Rhineland and the Liberation of the Netherlands.
Arrival of the War Brides and their Children in Canada
Between 1942 and 1947, the Canadian government brought 47,783 "war brides” and their 21,950 children to Canada. Most of these women were from Great Britain, where Canadian forces had been based during the Second World War. Although the voyage and transition were difficult for many war brides, most persevered and grew to love their adopted homeland.
Canadian Tulip Festival
The Canadian Tulip Festival takes place in and around Ottawa every spring. It is one of the world’s largest tulip displays. During the festival, over a million tulips in over 100 varieties are in bloom in the National Capital Region. The festival’s origins lie in Canada’s role in both liberating the Netherlands and hosting members of the Dutch royal family during the Second World War. After the war, the Netherlands began presenting Canada with tulip bulbs in gratitude. This tradition continues to this day. The inaugural festival was held in 1953. (See also Liberation of the Netherlands.)
Sinking of the SS Caribou
The SS Caribou was a passenger and train ferry that operated in the Cabot Strait between Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and North Sydney, Nova Scotia. On 14 October 1942, the German submarine U-69 sank the vessel, causing the worst loss of life in Canadian waters during the Second World War.
Veronica Foster Guerrette, Second World War icon, model, vocalist (born 2 January 1922 in Montreal, Quebec; died 4 May 2000 in Toronto, Ontario). Foster worked for the John Inglis Company assembling Bren light machine guns during the Second World War. She was featured on propaganda posters that encouraged women to serve Canada by working in munitions factories. Foster became a Canadian icon representing female workers in the manufacturing industry. After the war, she was lead singer with the dance band Mart Kenney and His Western Gentlemen.
Harry George DeWolf, naval officer and veteran of the Second World War, vice-admiral, Chief of Naval Staff, Royal Canadian Navy (born 26 June 1903 in Bedford, NS). DeWolf was best known as the commanding officer of HMCS Haida, one of Canada’s eight Tribal Class destroyers during the Second World War. DeWolf entered the navy in 1918 and retired in 1961. A new class of offshore patrol vessels has been named in his honour.
Lady Byng of Vimy
Marie Evelyn Byng, Viscountess Byng of Vimy, viceregal consort of Canada (1921–26), author (born 11 January 1870 in London, United Kingdom; died 20 June 1949 in Essex, United Kingdom). Lady Byng donated the Lady Byng Trophy for good sportsmanship to the National Hockey League (NHL) in 1925 (it was renamed the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy after her death in 1949). She returned to Canada during the Second World War and wrote about her impressions of the country in her 1945 memoir, Up the Stream of Time.
Remembering D-Day: The Making of a Heritage Minute
On 6 June 1944, Canadian Forces landed on Juno Beach. D-Day was the largest amphibious invasion of all time and marked the beginning of the end of the Second World War. In 2019, Historica Canada released a Heritage Minute telling the story of 47-year-old Major Archie MacNaughton, a First World War veteran and leader of the North Shore New Brunswick Regiment’s A Company. In this article, Anthony Wilson-Smith, president of Historica Canada, reflects on the making of the D-Day Minute.
Léo Major, DCM and Bar, soldier and war hero (born 23 January 1921 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, died 12 October 2008 in Montreal, QC). Major was a veteran of the Second World War and the Korean War. He is the only Canadian to be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for two separate wars.
Liberation of the Netherlands Quiz
Historica Canada released a new Heritage Minute on the Liberation of the Netherlands in May 2020. How well do you know this historic event? Take this quiz to find out!
Canadian Soldiers and the Liberation of the Netherlands
In the final months of the Second World War, Canadians were tasked with liberating the Netherlands from Nazi occupation. In April 1945, the First Canadian Army began clearing the northern and western Netherlands, where many had suffered from food and fuel shortages in what became known as the “Hunger Winter.” Over 1,000 Canadian servicemen died in April 1945 during the last push to liberate the country. The Dutch people greeted their Canadian liberators with cheers and gratitude and continue to honour their sacrifice today.
Normandy Landings: Canada on D-Day
On 6 June 1944, Canadian forces took part in the greatest amphibious operation in military history. Over 10,000 Canadian sailors in 110 warships, 15 RCAF squadrons and 14,000 soldiers took part in D-Day.
Margaret Martha Brooke, MBE, dietician, naval officer, war hero, paleontologist (born 10 April 1915 in Ardath, SK; died 9 January 2016 in Victoria, BC). Brooke was a nursing sister during the Second World War and survived the torpedoing of the SS Caribou. For her heroism immediately after the sinking, she was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), the first Canadian nursing sister so recognized.
Wartime Home Front
The two world wars of the 20th century were total wars that involved the whole nation, and the "home front" became a critical part of Canada’s effort.
William Avery (Billy) Bishop Jr., VC, CB, DSO & Bar, MC, DFC, ED, First World War flying ace, author (born 8 February 1894 in Owen Sound, ON; died 11 September 1956 in Palm Beach, Florida). Billy Bishop was Canada’s top flying ace of the First World War, and was officially credited with 72 victories. During the Second World War, he played an important role in recruiting for the Royal Canadian Air Force and in promoting the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.