Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Roaring Twenties

As we move into the inter-war period we begin to look at an exciting decade in the history of Canada. The 1920's is often referred to as the "Roaring Twenties" because this was a time when people made money, they broke social taboos, and they lived on the edge. This was a time when society was changed dramatically with the rise in consumerism, and the social rebellion visible in the form of flapper dresses and dance fads,. The assembly line altered our family living spaces as mass produced products made items like radios, cars and telephones affordable for middle class families. The speculation on the stock market contributed the acceptance of 'credit' as a form of payment, and helped lead to the decline of North America's economy....

We are going to examine how Canadian society, politics and economic systems changed as a result of the 1920s', and also how the values and laws set the stage for the Great Depression, and the rise of the 'Dirty Thirties.'

Class Activities:
Spend some time on this link and try to get a sense for what life was like in the 1920's both in Canada and the U.S.

Extension Activity: What made the 1920's "Roaring"?

Topics: CHOOSE ONE, FIND A VIDEO or PICTURE or ARTICLE or LINK AND SUMMARIZE. (make sure to relate to Canada)

1. Jazz
2. Art
3. Prohibition
4. Movies
5. Sports
6. Inventions (technology)
7. Fashion
8. Other...



    In 1925, Canadian Arthur Sicard invented the first snow blower. It was named the "Sicard Snow Remover Snowblower" and was composed of a truck frame and two engines, one that was used to throw snow over 90 feet away or into the trunk of the machine. In 1927, he made his first sale to the town of Outremont, Quebec.

    It contributed to the era by clearing roads and railways, thus easing transportation during winter. It also produced a lot of noise when operated.

  2. Topic:Inventions - Automobiles
    This article discusses the introduction of automobiles into Canada between the 1910s and 1920s.

    Contrary to popular belief, the Model T was not the first automobile to be assembled and sold in Canada, it was the Model C that was first manufactured and sold. The Model C was not very popular prior to the 1920s because of it's nosiness and high cost. A Model C in the 1910s would cost about $1100, this was expensive considering the average wage was $12000 per year. The Model T, introduced after the Model C cost about $300. It was significantly cheaper due to mass production, an increasing demand for automobiles and the increasing reliability of cars.

    The Ford Model T was an invention that led to the "roaring twenties" in Canada. Ford Motor Company had established a factory at Walkerville Ontario. The establishment of a factory in Canada did two things: it reduced the cost of the vehicle making it affordable for the average family and it created jobs as more assembly lines were made. With jobs, people were able to purchase luxury items such as cars thus adding to the expanding economy.

    -Michael Wong

  3. Topic: Jazz

    Much of the Jazz culture in the 1920s is most widely recognized as having its origins in the United States. Everybody knows the legendary Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington. However, even though Louisiana had many talented artists; Montreal, a town known for its French classical music, was its counterpart. This article is about Willie Eckstein, and can be found in Canada's National Archives. Eckstein, the son of extremely poor parents, showed talent at an early age. At 6, he was studying music at McGill. By 12, he was offered a music scholarship to the prestigious institution. However, he refused it, and went on to perform at public functions in hopes of supporting his family. Touring in Canada and the United States for 6 years, his fame as an improvisationist rose. However, Willie Eckstein received his true fame as a master Ragtime performer. He later became a member of one of the first jazzbands in Montreal, its name, Eckstein's Jazz Band (go figure!). Because of his tremendous success as a Jazz musician, he held considerable influence over his fellow pianists and students. His legacy was that he was able to play extreme passages of classical music very well, but also excelled in jazz - two very different styles. He is one of Canada's most famous Jazz Musicians and it all started in the 1920s.

    -Matthew Lau

  4. Topic: Art (Emily Carr)

    Emily Carr's career was the antithesis of those who were part of the Group of Seven. Just as the Group of Seven was gaining popularity, Emily Carr was struggling to make a career and living for herself on the western coast of Canada. The subjects of her painting, the region she painted in and her family background all contributed to a legacy of artwork that is still popular today.

    However, her big breaks did not come until after the 1920's which were the times when the Group of Seven was big. Her paintings in the early 1900's, although successful and well received by critics could not allow her to make a living. At that time, women were still at a disadvantage in the workplace and for Emily Carr this was no different. She was not well-known and had to supplement for her income by daily drawings in the newspapers.

    Her first big break came in the 1927's, during the height of the Roaring Twenties. She had met Barbeau who was also a supporter of the Group of Seven and impressed with her work, Barbeau urged her to correspond with the Group of Seven in Toronto. At his urging, Carr's works were shipped out to the first major show of her career outside of British Columbia. This was the turning point of her career and the start of the fame that would accompany her and live beyond her in the name of an Art School on Granville Island, Vancouver.

    Emily Carr's career and genius would have never flourished without the Roaring Twenties where economic stability and changing views helped boost and kick-start her livilehood

    -In the Roaring Twenties, US was famous for its technological advances such as the improvement of cars and airplanes. Canada was also a giant contributor in the makings of new cars. During the Roaring Twenties, Two car companies, Sam McLaughlin, who made Buicks in Oshawa, and Gordon McGregor, who made Fords in Walkerville. These two companies were the ones that soared through the skies during the twenties. This is because during that time period, Canadians were buying cars in numbers of ten thousands. Also, the imperial tariff structure in Canada allowed almost all cars to enter the British Empire tariff-free. In some years, nearly fifty percent of cars output-ed in Canada were exported.

    During the booming twenties, Canadian car factories and owners had great improvement due to the amount of people buying cars in Canada, and the number of outputs exported.

  6. 5. sports

    The 1920s, often referred to as the golden age of Canadian sports, was a tremendous success for Canadian athletes. For example, Lionel Conacher, one of the top all round athletes in the 1920s, played professional hockey and football, and won national amateur competitions in boxing and wrestling.

    In the 1928 Olympics held in Holland, Canadian sprinters were quite successful. Fanny Rosenfield won the 100m dash and came second in 100 x 4 relay in the women's division, while Percy Williams won the 100m and 200m dash in men's division. (powerpoint)

    -William Kim

  7. Movies

    Europe was left in ruins politically, economically, and physically, but the U.S. was not. It was virtually unharmed by WWI and instead found itself in a decade of peace and prosperity. Technology significantly contributed bringing this economic and cultural 'boom' to the Americans in the 1920's. Technology and movie formatting and the fact that automobiles were now accessible,attracted massive audiences and gave rise to the creation of the five most significant film studios in America.


  8. Fashion

    With the advent of assembly lines, cars and especially clothing came under the public spotlight. As Canadian and American women enjoyed more freedom and earned more money, the fashion industry boomed like never before; mink coats, high glamor heels, and flowery designed hats were fads of the 1920's. In Canada and the United States, people enjoyed expressing their joy of the prosperity and peace by showing off unique clothing styles. Soon, fashion became an indication of social rank between the high, wealthy class and the low to middle class.

  9. Inventions

    In the Roaring Twenties, there were many inventions as everyone was profiting after the war and it was a period of economic prosperity. Among these inventions, the most important of the inventions was the Radio. The radio was considered to be the greatest communication invention in the 1920s. This allowed many things as people all over Canada could talk to each other much quicker as the radio was there to provide them with nearly instantaneous communication. It provided Canada with many things as this invention led to advertisements on the radio. The advertisements were extremely effective as at night, the people would not have much to do other than listening to the radio. So things like bible readings, the news, operas, music, and sports were all heard on the radio in the 1920s. The thing about the radio and why it was successful was that it was rather cheap. Both the poor and the wealthy could afford this invention.

  10. Al Capone is probably the most notoriously well known gangster in recent history. He started out in small-time gangs, but over the years became more and more powerful. He made a lot of money bootlegging in the Prohibition Era, but inevitably was involved with shifty shenanigans, including murder. In 1925 Capone was seriously injured in an assasination attempt. The movie Scarface is about Al Capone, obviously, but the scars he recieved were from the brother of a woman he inadvertantly insulted while working the door of a Brooklynn night club. So basically hes a badass gangster, who was incredibly powerful in his time and he killed lots of other gangsters and went to jail, and they made an awesome movie about it. Summary complete.

    its the top result if you google al capone.

  12. Topic - Movies

    Before 1922, all films were colorless and silent, the first all-color feature, Toll of the Sea, was released at this time. Warner Bros. released Don Juan, the first feature with sound effects and music. All movie studios quickly converted their movies to have sound immediately. Warner made the first all-color and all talking film in 1929, On with the Show. After this, box office gained a lot of money and movie businesses became popular.

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  14. Architecture
    At the end of the First World War, economy was booming in North America. The architectural style of Art Deco is basically a mixture of many styles such as Gothic and Classical, and it was essentially developed by fashionable Parisians. However, many American and Canadian constructed buildings at the era of the roaring twenties are of the Art Deco style. The style featured many straight edges and streamlines, that built a foundation for other abstract styles such as cubism.
    The eclectic Art Deco style sparked a mini renaissance in art, as paintings and other forms of designs. Futuristic in nature, this design is prevalent worldwide at that time. The style fell out of favor during World War Two, became popular again in the 60's and 80's.
    Despite its decline, there are many living examples of Art Deco building. For example, the Vancouver City Hall is a famous example of the Art Deco style. It was constructed in the 1930's. There are also many other Canadian Art Deco buildings, but they tend to be located in the east (Ontario, Quebec etc). The Empire State Building in New York is another well-known example, the building was constructed in 1930. Another one is the Buffalo City Hall, which demonstrate some classic elements of the style.
    Here's the picture of the Buffalo City Hall:

    -Alex Lin

  15. Topic - Music/Other

    As part of the large movement towards women's rights and the upbringing of new styles of music such as jazz, this song was written in 1926 expressing the new changes in social life. From looking at this song we can see that the people that wrote it were showing the world that in their modernized time women were becoming equal to men. Along with this song there was a poster created and posted saying for men to start growing moustaches since it was the one thing that women could not do. With this we can see that men felt that they still needed to have an upper hand on women and needed something to make them different from them.

  16. Movies

    Dylan posted this link earlier, but I wanted to add to it. During the 1920's, the movie industry began to take off, with capital investment totaling of 2 billion dollars. The volume of movies being produced was also staggering, as about 800 feature films were made each year.
    Movies during this time period also started to become longer and more polished. They were produced 'assembly line' style with each movie being broken down into various components. (writing, costuming, directing, etc...)

  17. Topic: Inventions

    The development of the very first liquid-fueled rocket by Robert Goddard during the mid-1920's was an extremely important stepping stone in mankind's journey towards spaceflight. By basing his revolutionary rocket on principles that would later be essential in landing men on the moon in 1969, Goddard earned himself over 200 patents (rights to an inventor) regarding rocket technology. This was largely due to the fact that many scientists of the time period had dismissed Goddard's belief that such an invention could enable spaceflight and land men on the moon.
    On March 16th, 1926, Goddard launched the first liquid fueled rocket, otherwise known as "Nell, outside his farm in Massachusetts. The flight would last approximately 2.5 seconds, rising 41 feet in the air, and ultimately landing 184 feet away from the launch site in a nearby cabbage field.
    This extremely short test however, would go on to pave the way for one of mankind's most powerful accomplishments.

    - Anthony

  18. braydn smith

    topic: inventions(technology) refering to the automobile.

    during the 1920s mass production made different technologies more affordable. one of the biggest technological industries was the automobile industry. before ww1 cars were a luxury that were only affordable by wealthy upperclass, however after, when mass production hit the US and Canada, the first of a newly affordable technological class was released: the ford model T automobile(see image). the automobile industry not only supported its own profits, but also contributed to other industries like the building of highways, motels (as traveling became more common), gas and service stations, car dealerships, and newly established housing areas.

  19. Saahil Siddoo

    The roaring 20’s provided an atmosphere for the professional sports industry to flourish. In effect, the increased strength of the economy and North America’s isolation allowed the business of entertainment to sky-rocket. This is exemplified as people had more money to buy tickets, and more leisure to develop interest in competitive athletics. In particular, boxing was one of the first sports that “drew the biggest crowds.” This is exemplified as World War 1 had inadvertently promoted boxing through its emphasis of “the manly arts” ( Another contributing factor was that the local laws prohibiting boxing were voided. Furthermore, on July 4th, 1919, Jack Dempsey knocked out Jess Willard in front of 19, 650 people. In addition, the following year the first million-dollar gate in history took place in New Jersey. Thus, the increasing economy of the time effectively strengthened the development of a prominent athletic scene in North America. Other sports such as Basketball, Football, Baseball (although debuted way earlier), and Golf came to prominence. In Canada, baseball in Quebec dates to the 1920’s. Also, many teams had already formed the Canadian Football League by the 1920’s. Thus the roaring 20's, a time of economic prosperity, allowed professional sports to become more popular.

    Check out this link –>

    this is a picture of the Dempsey – Carpentier (New Jersey 1921) fight for the heavyweight title. It was the first million dollar match in history.


    As the economy flourished and technologies were rapidly advancing thanks to the prosperous times people were experiencing, many important medicines were invented. An example of this would be penicillin, which is a highly used medicine throughout the whole world helping cure disease-causing bacterias. If the roaring twenties were never to occur, advances in medicine, such as penicillin, quite possibly may have not come and left people with out-dated, useless remedies.


    ~Sports in the 1920's
    Sports culture started to gain many new followers in the 1920's. This was due to the fact that the media began to promote certain sporting events such as golf and boxing. The main media at this time were the newspapers and the radio. Sporting events began to make serious money especially in the United States. In Canada Lacrosse was a very popular sport. However, compared to modern day sports the athletes competing received very minimal wages.

    Harmillan Oberoi

  22. Movies

    Going to the movies was a great way to socialize, enjoy onself and forget the horrors of the war. At first the films or "moving pictures" were silent but, as technology progressed, sound was added to the films. The movie business grew and soon around 800 movies were released each year.

    Ruaridh Boswell

  23. Topic Jazz
    Jazz originated in the US, by African Americans. During the "Roaring Twenties" this type of music and culture became very popular. Although it was mostly popular to African Americans, it quietly grew onto middle class White Americans. Although the jazz scene was manly in cities in the States like New Orleans, New York..etc, this scene moved to Canada during the twenties thanks to jazz icons such as Thomas Harry, who moved to Montreal and traveled to Nova Scotia to spread jazz around.

    Here is the Jazz Canadian Encyclopedia

  24. Topic: Movies

    During the 1920's the movie industry began growing large and it gave a lot of interest o people. Movies were great ways for family or friends gathering and having fun, also some movies taught people different ways of living and also other people's lives. It grew extremely large and many people were interested in watching them.


  25. The Roaring Twenties was alternatively known as The Jazz Age. This "movement" in which jazz music grew in popularity by immense standards in the U.S., also influenced other parts of the world. Following World War I, around 500,000 African Americans in search of better employment opportunities moved to the northern part of the United States. With them, they brought their culture and in New York, the start of the Harlem Renaissance. During this period of time, the works of African Americans in fields such as writing and music escalated. Styles of music including Dixieland and blues became popular as well. Throughout the 1920's many people took an interest in music. They owned pianos, played sheet music, and listened to records.

    -Sajen Gill