Canada's participation in the Second World War was a massive effort involving millions of Canadians from coast to coast. A country with a rich military history, Canada has always remained a nation dedicated to the pursuit of peace. However, during the war more than one million men and women served with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force and numerous support units. Millions more contributed in military and civilian service on the home front in coastal defence, training and other roles and in industry, government, and charitable organizations. The cost of Canada's efforts during the Second World War was high. Nearly 47,000 Canadians (including Newfoundlanders) died and nearly 55,000 were seriously wounded between 1939 and 1945.
There are several ways to tell the story of Canada's role during the war. This exhibit presents numerous images, stories and multimedia clips in an attempt to tell some of this story. The units, formations and corps represented in this exhibit are only a few of the thousands of ships, regiments and squadrons that proudly served Canada during the Second World War. Obviously, the individual stories shown here are only a drop in a river of personal stories of heroism, tragedy and survival.
Emphasis is placed on the stories of individual sailors, soldiers, air force personnel and participants in the efforts on the home front. What were their experiences? What did they wear? What weapons did they carry? What ships, vehicles or aircraft did they serve aboard? What was the impact of the war on their lives, the lives of their families, and on Canadians in general?
To help guide the visitor through these stories this site is divided into four areas detailing Canada's wartime efforts – at sea, on land, in the air and at home.