~ St. Catharines' Wartime Neighbourhoods

The Home Front

With gas rationing, line ups were a regular part of life during the war.

St. Catharines, like much of the country, underwent great changes during the war.  Partly due to the manufacturing boom, the population increase  from approximately 28,500 in 1940 to more than 35,000 by 1946.

The city’s labour force doubled during the war years and, as in most Canadian cities, housing was needed for the influx of new workers.  The federal government created Wartime Housing Ltd. and new neighbourhoods were developed on the edges of the city to the house muntions workers.  These neighbourhoods continued to grow with houses built for returning veterans.

With so many men serving in the armed forces, as was the case during the First World War, women filled their place in the factories and in some new job roles.  The city hired its first female bus driver in 1943 and in 1944, the first female “motorman” for street cars.

Women found many ways to help the war efforts as Farmettes, with the Red Cross, St. John’s Ambulance, Canadian Women’s Voluntary Services and the Canadian Womens’ Auxillary Corps.

Once the war was over, the city slowly returned to a new normal with its many new residents, including many war brides, expanded housing and booming manufacturing industry.

Photo credit – St. Catharines – Canada’s Canal City –
reprinted April, 1993 – John N. Jackson/Sheila M. Wilson