Seventy years ago.
1951 was a time of continued optimism; a phenomenon that began a few years earlier as the Second World War came to an end. Canadian veterans returned home to Chilliwack; some coming back to families and others bringing brides from overseas. Everyone was eager for life to return to normal. What followed in subsequent years was a boom in Canada’s population that was brought about by a sharp increase in the number of babies being born coupled with an increase in Canada’s immigration. Between 1946 and 1961, Canada’s population increased by 50%, a jump from 12 to 18 million men, women and children.
1951 was also a time of economic prosperity and stability. After suffering through the lean years of the 1930’s and 40’s, Canadians were enjoying an increased standard of living in the years and decades following the Second World War leading to easier access to consumer goods like automobiles, appliances, televisions and home furnishings. Colour televisions were introduced in 1951 and the first colour broadcast on television occurred that same year from CBS Studios in New York. Consumer items would fill new suburban homes across Canada, and Chilliwack was not left out.
Colour not only appeared on television but bright hues were showing up in household linens, furnishings and even appliances were being manufactured in shades of turquoise, yellow and pink. This decorating trend was a reflection of the optimism that prevailed at that time.
Construction in Chilliwack was happening at a frenzied pace during the late 1940’s and into the 1950’s.
Desperately needed were new schools, churches, libraries, a new courthouse and housing for returning veterans and their growing families. New roads were being carved out where there were none; as most households now owned an automobile. Sunday drives were becoming a family tradition. Having your own vehicle equalled freedom.
1951 reflected a period of opportunity, optimism, prosperity and positivity.