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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

A Small Price to Pay

Consumer Culture on the Canadian Home Front, 1939-45

We often picture life on the Canadian home front as a time of austerity, as a time when women went to work and men went to war. Graham Broad explodes this myth of home front sacrifice by bringing to light the contradictions of consumer society in wartime. Governments pressured Depression-weary citizens to save for the sake of the nation, but Canadians had money in their pockets, and advertisers tempted them with fresh groceries, glamorous movies, and new cars and appliances. Broad reveals that our “greatest generation” was not impervious to temptation but rather embarked on one of the biggest spending booms in our nation’s history.

Table of Contents


1 Mrs. Consumer, Patriotic Consumerism, and the Wartime Prices and Trade Board

2 Business as Usual: Adworkers and the Coming of War

3 Finding a Place for Wartime Advertising

4 Advertising to Win the War and Secure the Future

5 Buying and Selling Big Ticket Items

6 “The Grim Realities of War, as Pictured by Hollywood”: Consuming Leisure


Appendix: Guns and Butter: Consumer Spending, Inflation, and Price Controls

Notes, Selected Bibliography, Index

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