100 years of Canadian society


To explore the different ways in which the lives of Canadians have changed during the course of the 20th century.


Students select a study topic below, each one related to one of the articles from the "100 years …" series. These appeared in the four issues of Canadian Social Trends of the year 2000.

  1. What have been the social and economic impacts of women's increased participation in the paid labour force? How has this affected the family and family formation?
  2. Apart from First Nation's people, all Canadians are descended from or are themselves immigrants. What is the history of your family's immigration to Canada? Gather stories from your parents, grandparents or other relatives and create a scrapbook or website. If your family immigrated many generations ago, you could chart its timeline in Canada, relating it to key historical events, such as the British conquest of New France, the American Revolution, Canada's Confederation, W.W. I , etc.
  3. At the beginning of the century, the workforce was largely agricultural. Canada then moved into a mainly manufacturing economy during W.W. II.  What jobs were most prevalent when your parent's generation left school? How do they compare to today's job market?
  4. In the early 1900s, children were likely to leave school before finishing high school. Nowadays, it seems to be important to have a postsecondary education in order to get a job. What kinds of skills were necessary 80 or 100 years ago to make a living?
  5. At the beginning of the century most households owned few possessions; today, households generally own many more possessions. Make a list the things your family owns that you think are essential, and compare it with the essentials of a century ago.
  6. Ask your grandparents about illnesses they may have had as children, and the treatment they received for them. Compare their experience of childhood illness with yours.
  7. Compare today's lifestyles in the city and the country to those of 100 years ago. You could include issues such as transportation, medical care and jobs.

Using other resources

See Historical statistics of Canada as well as other history resources available in Learning resources > Resources by school subject > History