Cars have become a defining feature in our culture. Love them or hate them, all Canadians have been deeply affected by the automobile. Cars have changed our lifestyles, altered our landscapes, and captured our imaginations. For some, cars are truly ‘more than a machine.’
Cars have become a defining feature in our culture. Love them or hate them, all Canadians have been deeply affected by the automobile. Cars have changed our lifestyles, altered our landscapes, and captured our imaginations. For some, cars are truly ‘more than a machine.’

© 2011, Canada Science and Technology Museum. All Rights Reserved.

“Just Married,” 1942

This photograph was taken three years before the end of the Second World War. During the war years (1939 to 1945), industry focused on the war effort. The production of personal vehicles ceased, and gasoline was rationed.

City of Edmonton Archives, EA-160-898
1942
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA
© City of Edmonton Archives. All Rights Reserved.


Park Royal Shopping Center, 1952

The Park Royal shopping center in British Columbia was Canada’s first park and shop mall.

Photo: Art Jones
Vancouver Public Library, VPL81959
1952
Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA
© Vancouver Public Library. All Rights Reserved.


Copeland Park Suburbs, 1959

This image gives an impression of what early suburbs looked like from the air. The first suburban development in North America was in Levittown, New York in 1951.

Photo: Alex Onoszko
City of Ottawa Archives (COA)/18- D 86 / CA-8153
1959
Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA
© City of Ottawa Archives. All Rights Reserved.


Format: Brainstorming, group discussion

Many of life’s tasks were very different before the easy availability of cars. Think about all of the things you and your family do in one week that might rely on cars. How was this different in your grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ time?

As a class, brainstorm the following:

• Does your family own a car? If so, how many? Who drives them?

• How does having a car shape your daily activities?

• What industries and businesses in your community rely on the prevalence of car ownership?

• How does car ownership impact leisure activities in your community?

Topic for Class Discussion:

Can we say that Canada has a “Car Culture”? Why or why not? What might a “Car Culture” be? In your discussion, consider the formative role that cars have played in shaping Canada’s landscape, Canadians’ reliance on cars, and the ways in which cars influence Canadian art, literature and music. If Canada is a ‘Car Culture’ is this a good thing?
Format: Brainstorming, group discussion

Many of life’s tasks were very different before the easy availability of cars. Think about all of the things you and your family do in one week that might rely on cars. How was this different in your grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ time?

As a class, brainstorm the following:

• Does your family own a car? If so, how many? Who drives them?

• How does having a car shape your daily activities?

• What industries and businesses in your community rely on the prevalence of car ownership?

• How does car ownership impact leisure activities in your community?

Topic for Class Discussion:

Can we say that Canada has a “Car Culture”? Why or why not? What might a “Car Culture” be? In your discussion, consider the formative role that cars have played in shaping Canada’s landscape, Canadians’ reliance on cars, and the ways in which cars influence Canadian art, literature and music. If Canada is a ‘Car Culture’ is this a good thing?

© 2011, Canada Science and Technology Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Format: Research, report

Cars have shaped the landscape through the development of sophisticated road systems. These road networks have allowed Canadians to live further away from urban centers, and enabled the growth of smaller communities outside of urban centers.

Focusing on your community, examine maps from different time periods (spanning at least 20 years). Look for evidence of how the urban landscape has changed as automobiles became more prevalent in Canada.

Write a five-page report that addresses the following points. Conduct additional research where necessary.

• Provide a brief history of your community: how old it is, who founded it, etc.

• How has your community changed over time? Has the population increased or decreased? Why?

• What developments have impacted your community or city? Would these developments have been possible without cars?

• Are the same core services (schools, stores) available in your community? Are they located in the same places? Why?

• How has the need to accommodate cars changed the landscape? Are there more or fewer green s Read More
Format: Research, report

Cars have shaped the landscape through the development of sophisticated road systems. These road networks have allowed Canadians to live further away from urban centers, and enabled the growth of smaller communities outside of urban centers.

Focusing on your community, examine maps from different time periods (spanning at least 20 years). Look for evidence of how the urban landscape has changed as automobiles became more prevalent in Canada.

Write a five-page report that addresses the following points. Conduct additional research where necessary.

• Provide a brief history of your community: how old it is, who founded it, etc.

• How has your community changed over time? Has the population increased or decreased? Why?

• What developments have impacted your community or city? Would these developments have been possible without cars?

• Are the same core services (schools, stores) available in your community? Are they located in the same places? Why?

• How has the need to accommodate cars changed the landscape? Are there more or fewer green spaces? Have waterways moved to make way for roads?

• How do you think your community will look in the next twenty years? What role do you believe that automobiles will play in this change?

© 2011, Canada Science and Technology Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will understand and describe the impact and influence of cars on their current lives, and on the development of their communities over time.
  • Students will summarize and analyze the various impacts that cars have had on the landscape and urban development of Canada.

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