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.
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