Canadian consumers’ choices are influenced by many things including patriotism, practicality, and the preferences of other Canadians. Canada’s consumers state their preferences whenever they buy a car—their choices determine which cars will dominate Canadian roads. If the car becomes widely popular across Canada, is it somehow ‘more’ Canadian?

Canadians also express their relationships with cars through images, and music. When a car reflects its owner’s personality, or becomes part of the culture, does that make it Canadian?
Canadian consumers’ choices are influenced by many things including patriotism, practicality, and the preferences of other Canadians. Canada’s consumers state their preferences whenever they buy a car—their choices determine which cars will dominate Canadian roads. If the car becomes widely popular across Canada, is it somehow ‘more’ Canadian?

Canadians also express their relationships with cars through images, and music. When a car reflects its owner’s personality, or becomes part of the culture, does that make it Canadian?

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

Volkswagen Beetle, 1958

Canadians loved the Beetle for its reliability, simplicity and low gas consumption. They also liked its low price. The Beetle was first sold in Canada in 1952. Its popularity grew as consumers looked for alternatives to North America’s large, gas-guzzling cars. By 1960, the Beetle was Canada’s third best-selling car.

Volkswagenwerk GMBH
1958
Wolfsburgh, GERMANY
CSTM 1983.0425
© 2011, Canada Science and Technology Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Format: Web Quest using In Search of the Canadian Car  virtual exhibition and history resources.

Visit the In Search of the Canadian Car virtual exhibition’s car Showrooms.
Select three cars, each of which you believe meets one of the following criteria:

• Best-selling

• Most popular

• Most ‘notorious’

• One of a kind

• Most innovative

• Shortest-lived

• Most interesting design

Create a detailed profile for each of the cars you select. Use the following questions to guide you in creating of your profiles:

• What features make this car unique?

• What historical, social, and/or technological influences impacted the car’s commercial success?

• Why did Canadians ‘choose’ the car?
Format: Web Quest using In Search of the Canadian Car  virtual exhibition and history resources.

Visit the In Search of the Canadian Car virtual exhibition’s car Showrooms.
Select three cars, each of which you believe meets one of the following criteria:

• Best-selling

• Most popular

• Most ‘notorious’

• One of a kind

• Most innovative

• Shortest-lived

• Most interesting design

Create a detailed profile for each of the cars you select. Use the following questions to guide you in creating of your profiles:

• What features make this car unique?

• What historical, social, and/or technological influences impacted the car’s commercial success?

• Why did Canadians ‘choose’ the car?

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

Format: Research and discussion

The Beetle was a best-selling car in 1960s Canada—so much so that it became an icon of this era. However, the Beetle has an infamous past—it was Hitler’s “Car of the People.”

Visit the In Search of the Canadian Car virtual exhibition to research the history of the Beetle. Learn more about the Second World War, as well as the 1960s.

Working in small groups, use the questions below to compare and contrast perceptions of the Volkswagen Beetle. Record your answers.

• How was the Beetle perceived by consumers in the 1960s? How was the car perceived by youth?

• What did the Beetle represent in Second World War Germany?

• How are these perceptions different? How might they be similar?
Format: Research and discussion

The Beetle was a best-selling car in 1960s Canada—so much so that it became an icon of this era. However, the Beetle has an infamous past—it was Hitler’s “Car of the People.”

Visit the In Search of the Canadian Car virtual exhibition to research the history of the Beetle. Learn more about the Second World War, as well as the 1960s.

Working in small groups, use the questions below to compare and contrast perceptions of the Volkswagen Beetle. Record your answers.

• How was the Beetle perceived by consumers in the 1960s? How was the car perceived by youth?

• What did the Beetle represent in Second World War Germany?

• How are these perceptions different? How might they be similar?

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

Learning Objectives

  • Students will describe and summarize various events and processes that might lead to the success or failure of a particular Canadian car.
  • Students will describe and analyze historical information related to cars, and draw conclusions about the development of perceptions about certain cars.

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