The Great Depression in Canada lasted for most of the 1930s. Pictures of relief camps, soup kitchens, protest marches and drought are vivid reminders of the pain and desperation of those years.
The Great Depression was felt across Canada, although its impact varied from region to region. Areas dependent on mining, logging, fishing and farming were especially hard hit, and drought on the Prairies left the rural population destitute. Unskilled workers and young men faced continuous unemployment and took to the road in search of work. By 1933 more than a quarter of Canadian workers were unemployed. Many others had their hours or wages cut.
Governments in Canada were slow to respond to the desperate economic and social conditions. Until the Great Depression, government intervened as little as possible, letting the free market take care of the economy. Social welfare was left to churches and charities.