A fabulous collection: Canadian War Poster Collection – The holdings of the Print Collection in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division include some 250 Canadian posters from the two World Wars.
During the First World War, the imagery of Canada’s posters was, both thematically and graphically, similar to that of British war posters.This visual affinity was partly due to the imperial and constitutional ties between Canada and Britain.In addition, Canada targeted posters at specific ethnic groups. There were specially designed posters for French Canadians, Irish-Canadians and Canadians of Scottish descent. The bulk of the posters encouraged men to enlist and the public to buy Victory Bonds.
In the Second World War, Canadian posters reflected the fact that Canada was not under attack by an aggressor on its own turf. Whereas some countries’ war posters portrayed violence in graphic detail, Canada’s posters generally avoided such direct images. While war posters again encouraged enlistment and financial support of the war effort, advancements in communication made appeals for discretion and secrecy staple messages of many Second World War posters. Another frequent theme was the encouragement of workers to increase productivity.