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The Globe and Mail

Time machine: What life in Canada was like before the First World War

A by-the-numbers look at the Canada that went to war 100 years ago when rent was cheap, phones were a novelty and income tax didn't exist.

Read more from our look back at the First World War at



Less than a decade after Alberta and Saskatchewan had become provinces, the westward push was on in earnest. Winnipeg had become Canada's third largest city just before the war – and just as immigration was making its true mark on the West. Today, Calgary's population is more than 25 times what it was in 1914, making it third in the nation, while Edmonton (more than 30 times larger) ranks fifth. And Winnipeg? Down to seventh, behind Mississauga, which didn't even exist 100 years ago.
Interactive and Illustrations by Murat Yukselir/The Globe and Mail; Research by Rick Cash/The Globe and Mail » Sources: The Canada Year Book 1914; The Canadian Annual Review 1914; Statistics Canada; Capital Investments in Canada by Fred W. Field; Public Accounts of Canada; Industry Canada; Treasury Board of Canada; Service Canada; National Defence; CN; Fraser Institute; Canada Post; GO Transit; Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919; Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War 1914-1919; SIPRI; Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association; Bank of Canada.

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