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Geoff Bird
World War, 1914-1918
During the First World War, Canada was part of the British Empire and fought with Britain against Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. These four countries were known as the Central Powers. The Canadian government considered recent immigrants from these enemy nations to be a threat to Canada. This means that many people who had recently moved to Canada were considered enemies. Although they had never committed a crime, more than 8,500 of these “enemy aliens” were imprisoned in 24 different internment camps across Canada. In the camps, the internees did hard labour in very poor living conditions away from their homes, friends, and often their families.
This 11-part series features stories from sites of memory in Canada related to the First World War. Conversation kits that include discussion questions and activities for students and the public, along with web links and ideas for additional resources are available for each story and accessible online. Please note, each vignette opens with 20 seconds of silence.
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