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All Should Help (17 September 1914)

The Elmira Signet released an article urging members of the Waterloo Region to join the war cause that was occurring nation wide. This editorial points towards the universal aspects of the war effort by saying “even the farmers, who generally escape the many calls for charity which come to the merchant and business men, have taken action.” Without the demand from the city centers the agricultural industry of the area would be feeble. This, the Signet claims, means the farmers must show their loyalty to the nations multiple causes in order to maintain favour with the local communities they supply. The article urges local farmers of the region to contribute their surplus food to the war effort as the battle rages on in Europe.

(“All Should Help,” Elmira Signet, 17 September 1914)



Ayr Boy Writes Home (17 September 1914)

Lance Corporal Kendall of the Canadian Engineers wrote home to his family in Ayr from the Valcartier training camp. The Ayr native discussed the strenuous training that he and his fellow comrades were undergoing, as they prepared for deployment in Europe. Kendall discussed the division’s eagerness to “get where the bullets are flying.” He also briefly described how his group constructed a bridge across the Jacques Cartier River, Quebec, in order to transport their artillery pieces. This article demonstrates how proud people were of the work and service that men from the region were offering Canada and the British Empire.

(“An Ayr Boy Writes,“ Elmira Signet, 17 September 1914)



Committees on Finance and Relief Work (17 September 1914)

Waterloo County Council met to discuss the rising concern over the funding of the war and international aid. Canada’s Patriotic Fund appointed several members to create the Waterloo division. This group headed the campaign over the next several months to collect donations for the war effort and international aid. A Berlin Daily Telegraph article reported that the only significant individual who was missing from the appointments was Waterloo’s Mayor Kauffman which made this primarily a meeting of Berliners.

(Picture courtesy of the Canadian War Museum; “Committees on Finance and Work Relief,“ Berlin Daily Telegraph, 17 September 1914)

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Soaring Prices (17 September 1914)

Concern over the increasing price of produce and dairy items was addressed in this issue. Locals feared that cheese would continue to skyrocket, as Labrador (an independent colony of the British Empire) could not afford to ship mass quantities of cheese to Ontario with the looming threat of war in the Canada. Internationally, several products were also looking bleak. Liquor from Spain was drying up after heavy rainfall damaged the grape harvest and restricted sea trade. Servia’s herbal exports to Canada also started to dry up as the war effort continued to take its toll on Canadian imports. Another important topic being addressed was the fact that 1914 was a poor harvest year for numerous countries.

(“Soaring Prices,” Ayr News, 17 September 1914)



Unemployed Girls (17 September 1914)

In September, the Provincial Industrial Association convened in Toronto to discuss the recurrent issue of unemployed women. The Berlin Daily Telegraph reported that hundreds of women had been pushed out of factory work over the last several years. Mr. McNaught, head of the committee, was concerned over the possibility of women being forced to walk the streets, begging for employment.

The possibility of reducing minimum wage was also discussed during this meeting. A member of Toronto city council feared that this would only stir up “class antagonism.” Ontario’s concern over unemployment was a crucial issue for industrial centers at the outbreak of the war. The agricultural sector had the opposite problem, as it lacked manpower to bring in the crops and feared that there would be a crop failure in 1915.

(“Unemployed Girls Need Protection,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 17 September 1914)



Buy Canadian (15 October 1914)

A common theme in most of the Waterloo Region’s newspapers was a push for locals to purchase Canadian made goods. Over $618,000,000 was spent importing foreign goods to Canada in 1913. The Hespeler Herald suggested that the town create a “Made-in-Hespeler” motto. There were plenty of industries in the small town, including: R. Forbes Co., which produced knit goods, Hespeler furniture factory; Hall-Zryd Foundry Co., which supplied furnaces; Stamped & Enameled Ware Co., Owen Daveno Co., which manufactured couches; and the local hydro company, the Universal Lighting Rod Co. Not only would locals be supporting the war effort by buying Canadian made goods, Hespeler could also promote its own industrial expansion.

As the war economy gained momentum, there was an evident drive towards keeping production within Waterloo county in order to promote industrial expansion and increased employment opportunities.

(“Buying Canadian” Hespeler Herald, 15 October 1914)

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