Between 1880 and the 1930s, the big railway companies, and the federal and provincial governments launched three aggressive campaigns to "sell" Canada at home and abroad.
A blizzard of posters and pamphlets, portraying the country as a land of milk and honey, persuaded immigrants in the millions to come to Canada's sparsely populated West and become prairie farmers. What wasn't mentioned were the sod houses, backbreaking labour, regular droughts and long, killing winters.
When World War I broke out, thousands of young Canadians volunteered for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure they thought would be over within a few months. As the war ground on, the government produced propaganda aimed at new recruits for the ranks and to convince the home front that the sacrifice was worth it.
Starting in 1885 with the completion of the cpr line and the creation of the first national park in Banff, tourists from around the world were invited to experience Canada's awe-inspiring wonders firsthand, tempted with crisp slogans, new national parks, and festivals like Banff Indian Days.
With compelling research, insight, and wit, Daniel Francis documents how these three campaigns established Canada as a destination for immigrants and tourists and turned us into proud defenders of western civilization. In doing so, they also transformed the way Canadians and outsiders thought about Canada, inadvertently providing the raw material for nationhood. Each campaign produced images expressing what Canadians believed to be fundamental about their country. Those images were incomplete and misleading, providing an idealized portrait of Canada rather than a realistic snapshot.
About the author
Daniel Francis is an historian and the author/editor of more than twenty books, including five for Arsenal Pulp Press: The Imaginary Indian: The Image of the Indian in Canadian Culture , National Dreams: Myth, Memory and Canadian History, LD: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver (winner of the City of Vancouver Book Award), Seeing Reds: The Red Scare of 1918-1919, Canada's First War on Terror and Imagining Ourselves: Classics of Canadian Non-Fiction. His other books include A Road for Canada, Red Light Neon: A History of Vancouver's Sex Trade, Copying People: Photographing British Columbia First Nations 1860-1940, The Great Chase: A History of World Whaling, New Beginnings: A Social History of Canada, and the popular Encyclopedia of British Columbia. He is also a regular columnist in Geist magazine, and was shortlisted for Canada's History Pierre Berton Award in 2010. Daniel lives in North Vancouver, BC.
Other titles by Daniel Francis
Where Mountains Meet the Sea
An Illustrated History of the District of North Vancouver
Prohibition, Rum-Runners, and Border Wars
Trucking in British Columbia
An Illustrated History
A Road for Canada
The Illustrated Story of the Trans-Canada Highway
Who Killed Janet Smith?
The Red Scare of 1918-1919, Canada's First War on Terror
The Story of British Columbia
Imagining British Columbia
Land, Memory, and Place
Springer, Luna and the Struggle to Save West Coast Killer Whales