Kelowna Capital News 1941

Cap News Throwback Thursday: 1941, war time

After 86 years of service, we wanted to utilize our amazing treasure trove of Kelowna history and share it with you.

  • Thu Jan 19th, 2017 4:00pm
  • News

Over the last 86 years the Kelowna Capital News has served the Central Okanagan – and over the last 86 years it has printed a whole lot of papers.

A conservative estimate puts it at about 8,000 editions.

The new Black Press Okanagan digital team, based right here in Kelowna, wanted to utilize this amazing treasure trove of pieces of our history and share it with you.

Each Thursday we will present Cap News Throwback Thursday for a fun little peak into the past, and a chance for the digital team to climb through the records room.

Today, we present the Wednesday June 25, 1941 edition of the Kelowna Capital News.

The Second World War is in full swing and the front page of the paper reflects this. The top story is about the growing concern about the lack of Canadians enlisting to fight.

A three-bedroom home in a “good district” with a garden, workshop, shed and chicken house is just $1,600 – with an available mortgage option of $22.50 per month.

Three pounds of Okanagan cherries were just a quarter and three loaves of sliced bread cost you a mere 20 cents.

As the angst grew across the nation over the lack of commitment from Canadians to enlist in the war, those here in the Okanagan also pondered the issue.

“Only around 13,000 recruits have answered the call for 32,000 men which Ottawa requested several weeks ago,” reads the article.

“Surely the government must as last understand they have made a thorough mess of this recruiting business.”

The article goes on to suggest the a ‘conscription’ or a forced draft is the only option to provide enough forces to fight in the war.

“It is definitely discouraging to see one man doing his duty for his country whilst another adds to his material wealth and happiness by keeping free of the conflict,” closes the article.

While some were saying there weren’t enough enlisted, statistics show hundreds of thousands of Canadians, more than 40 per cent of the male population between the ages of 18 and 45 enlisted, most voluntarily.

In the end, the government did not force Canadians to enlist for overseas service until later in 1944, near the end of the war.

Over the course of the war, more than 1.1 million Canadians served. Of those about 44,000 lost their lives and 54,000 were wounded. Canada was the first Commonwealth country to send troops to Britain in 1939.

While Europe was fully entrenched in the war, Hollywood was making light of the situation. The Great Dictator was playing on the screens of Kelowna, a 1940 American political satire comedy-drama film written, directed, produced, scored by and starring Charlie Chaplin as Adolf Hitler.

As Canadians were on the front fighting at the time of the movie’s release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany.

Chaplin plays both leading roles: a ruthless fascist dictator and a persecuted Jewish barber.

The Great Dictator was nominated for five Academy Awards.

To aid in the fight overseas, a 1941 article in this edition of the Cap News noted that Mrs. G. D. Cameron would be opening her home and “beautiful gardens” at the Guisachan Ranch for a fundraiser high tea the following week – in aid of the Bombed Britons Fund.

The Guisachan House is now a historical property in Kelowna, found on Cameron Avenue.

Fun fact: Engagement rings and diamonds were on sale at Thomsons Jewelry store in 1941 for just $15 and up – $15 in 1941 translates to about $250 now. Any recently engaged or married individuals can attest that engagement rings in Canada are a lot more than $250. According to the Financial Post, the average Canadian engagement ring currently costs about $4,000.

Check out our previous throwbacks here: 1936 and 1960.

The Cap News is now owned by Black Press Community Media. Founded in 1975, Black Press now publishes more than 170 titles in British Columbia, Alberta, Washington state, Hawaii, Ohio and California.

Do you have an important date or piece of history you hope we can find in our historical editions?! Let us know at okanagan@bpdigital.ca.