When kids fought inflation – Canada, 1947

A war, mass migration, rampant inflation, street protests, and democracy versus communism. This combo is too familiar almost everywhere on the planet these days. Sadly, it is not the first time in history, which some say repeats itself.

But wait, add kids and chocolate bars to the mix, and you get a unique moment in Canadian history.

From a 2022 article by Taylor C. Noakes, in the Canadian Encyclopedia, we learn that in 1947, hundreds of kids took angrily to the streets in several cities in the country. Their cause? They were protesting against the drastic price hike of chocolate bars, from five to eight cents.

What began as a seemingly benign and somewhat amusing burst of discontent, eventually turned out to be taken seriously, to the point that the local police intervened in some cases. Within just a few weeks, with popular support, children made candy bar sales drop by no less than eighty percent.

Only after the Toronto press reported on a presumably communist infiltration among the youth, did the public opinion turned against protestors, and their recriminations silenced.

Filmmaker Phillip Daniels made a fantastic documentary about it, back in 2003: The five cent war. The film gives a voice to some of the protestors, half a century after the fact. Two children’s books about the event are also on the market. Maggie and the chocolate war (2007) by , Michelle Mulder, and Candy bar war (2121) by Lindsay Ford.

Spoiler: In real life, the price of the chocolate bars never came down again. In the end only grown-ups told that story. We looked for them, but unfortunately we did not find any children’s drawings coming out of this moment in Canadian history. Sad.

Sad. By Yvon, c1965. Source: CDIC-CIDE.

Oh, mother!

With Mothers’ Day just around the corner, time is right to praise them and their vital contribution to humanity. Did you know that our collection spans several generations of mothers? This is to say that we celebrate them pretty much 24/7. Case in point, three women, three mothers, three doers who are among those who made the collection a reality.

Lisette Tremblay had saved drawings, collages and school works that she made as a child and a teenager in the 1940s. She kept to herself that she had preserved these items dear to her for decades, while raising a family, and until reaching the venerable age of eighty. She did the same for her children, most of whom are also represented in the collection. The collection even includes a collage by a great-grand-son of hers. The fonds named after her spans over sixty years, and is the most significant in this respect.

Gisèle Dallaire’s children are also well represented in the collection. The images were made in Montreal during the late 90s and early 2000s. Gisèle was an early supporter of the idea of our collection, long before it was even incorportated and established. Her two children were adults at the time of their contribution. It was a family initiative.

Sangeetha Gnanavel is from a new generation of mothers. She began volunteering with us from the early days of our activities, and has been a great supporter during the challenging outset of the pandemic. She helped us reach out to young families, precisely where children’s art is created, and also too often discarded, sadly.

Mothers, save your children’s art! Children, say thank you mom.

The parrot. Paper cut collage, 1940s, by Lisette Tremblay. Source: CDIC-CIDE.

Welcome to a new board member

It is with great pleasure that our organization welcomes Nish Parameswaran, our new board member. Bringing her energy and leadership to the table for a two-year term, Nish will help our Collection reach new heights and new followers.

Nish Parameswaran is a Science and Business graduate from the University of Waterloo, with over twelve years of experience in Logistics and Operations. She is a results-driven professional with a passion for creating efficiencies and driving change.

As a mother of two young children, Nish finds inspiration in their creativity and curiosity, which drives her to bring new ideas and fresh perspectives to everything she does.

We would also like to express our many thanks to Maya Grubisic and Dilshani Ranaraja, who both completed their terms with us this spring. Their ongoing support brought to life our current strategic goals and committee structure. Under their watch, we navigated the pandemic and our online visibility kept growing impressively. Thank you!

Nish Parameswaran

National Volunteer Week 2023

We join Volunteer Canada and all its affiliates in celebrating citizens who engage in volunteer activities around the world. Thank you to our current and past volunteers for their support and dedication in making our collection a reality.

We are actually looking for extra help on two of our standing committees this coming year, so please visit our committee mandates page and consider joining us, be it in person or virtually.

For the little ones, Volunteer Canada has this fun coloring page. Bring your colors to this week’s celebrations and share them for everyone to see you care.

In the ad below, a drawing from our collection made in 1970. It shows church goers all smiles on a bright sunny day, part of a religious class scrapbook.

Volunteer Week 2023. Sources: Volunteer Canada and CDIC-CIDE.

Scribbling and fine arts

The Palais des Beaux-Arts in Paris offers an exciting journey into the little known practice of doodling among celebrated artists since the Renaissance.

Titled Gribouillage / Scarabocchio : From Leonardo da Vinci to Cy Twombly, the event is already on until April 30th, 2023. It offers « new comparisons » between these artists and many others, such as Michelangelo, Bernini, Jean Dubuffet, Henri Michaux, Helen Levitt, Cy Twombly, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Luigi Pericle.

If you go, bring the kids, or even better, bring grown-ups who think that great artists never scribble, or that abstract painters can only do just that.

Gribouillage. Pencil, 1976, Dominique Lachance, Fonds Françoise Roy. Source: CDIC-CIDE.

Ask about us at the HPL’s Locke Branch

Residents of the Kirkendall neighborhood in Hamilton (Canada) can now ask to browse our binder at their local public library branch on Locke street. It contains sample reproductions from our collection, ranging from the 1940s until now. Paper copies of our Contribution Form are also available on site, so families can add their own treasures at will. Locke street is the focal point of this friendly community, with small retail stores, good restaurants, busy cafés, and nearby schools.

We are glad to welcome the Hamilton Public Library in our Collection Partners Program. Other public and school libraries please feel free to inquire.

Locke Branch. Source: Hamilton Public Library.

Here we come, Archeion

A few weeks ago, we joined Archeion, an online service provided by the Archives Association of Ontario. A little over one hundred records, or about a fifth of our collection is now accessible on the platform, and all items will eventually make their way there. For easy access from our website, simply click on Browse the collection from the menu to the right.

For now, three of our fonds are visible on Archeion. Together, they present images from the late 1970s until recently. Our images from earlier decades will be added as we continue entering new records in the system.

Special thanks to Jazmine Aldrich, Archeion Coordinator, for kindly assisting us in this important step forward. Many thanks also to volunteer Michael K. Chow, who helped us identify the best online database solution for us.

Archeion logo. Source: Archives Association of Ontario

Showing up in Mississauga

Meet Lakshaan, who was volunteering for us at the Courtneypark Library in Mississauga this week. He took the time to meet visitors, introduce our mission, and show images from our collection. He will be there again next month on Januray 3rd. After Hamilton and Toronto last summer, we are glad to meet families in Mississauga.

Thanks to Senior Librarian, Fareh Iqbal, for kindly hosting us in their inspiring public space, for this outreach activity.

Lakshaan, volunteer. Source: CDIC-CIDE.
Library lobby and main entrance. Source: City of Mississauga.

World Children’s Day 2022

Every year we like to raise our voice, along with other organizations all over the world, in support of broader awareness of the rights of children. During economic downturns, ecological disasters and military conflicts, children are among the most vulnerable and suffer greatly.

We take this opportunity to introduce you to a group of university researchers who dedicate their efforts to bringing greater protection to children. Their work deserves much respect. The Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory on the Rights of the Child is based at the University of Ottawa. Their essay competition will be of interest to undergraduate and graduate students. They publish a blog in English and in French with inspiring and accessible articles.

Play. By Yvon, c1965. Source: CDIC-CIDE.

November 3rd is WDPD

The World Digital Preservation Day (WDPD) is an awareness campaign that takes place annually on the first Thursday of November. The day marks the significant and growing importance of digital information and celebrates those who have made a commitment to prevent the disappearance of digital documents.

The WDPD is an initiative of the Digital Preservation coalition (DPC), a charitable organization based in York (England), with offices in Glascow (Scottland) and Melbourne (Australia). Their WDPD blog includes articles from all over, including Canada. Of interest is also their categorization of twenty different “digital species” and risk classification for each of them. Among the categories, personal archives are considered critically endangered.

Source: Digital Preservation Coalition, 2 November 2022.
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