Not the kind of bar that you were probably thinking of, we’re talking Candy Bars here but, it had a massive impact on Canada.
More than 7 decades ago, a countrywide incident happened in Canada in a way that cannot be imagined in the modern era. In the aftermath of the event, every Canadian was shell-shocked. This was one incident involving kids that started as a positive cause, but ended up tarnishing the image of everyone involved. And in educating the world on the events of the candy bar war, a podcast is being produced to highlight every moment of the event that will be forever entrenched in the Canadian history. Here are the excerpts.
Back in 1947, Canada, like the rest of British nations, was struggling with the effects of the Second World War. Having devoted most of its economic resources to the war, other parts of the economy that were very crucial for the livelihood of every Canadian such as consumer goods plummeted to unforeseen abyss. With inflation increasing at an alarming rate, the Canadian Government imposed strict price and wage controls, a move that was aimed to curb inflation.
At the end of the war, the government lifted these controls even though the economy was still on its knees. What followed was catastrophic. Inflation went over the roof; spending power was at its lowest and strikes were rife across the country. What was to follow was far much worse.
In April 1947, a bunch of kids visited the Wigwam Café in the town of Ladysmith in Vancouver to buy their beloved candy bars. To their shock, the candy bars that they had bought just the other day at 5 cents a bar, were now being sold to them for 8 cents, a 60% increase in less than 24 hours.
Unable to tolerate this injustice, the youngsters followed in the footsteps of the striking workers and organized a strike. Within hours, the kids had organized a massive protest outside the Wigwam Café, waving homemade placards that read: “Don’t buy 8 cent bars”, “Lower prices to 5 cents”, “Don’t be a sucker”. Hours later, the protests had spread on the roads with the kids waving their placards and discouraging others from buy candy bars.
When a reporter for the Vancouver Sun caught up with the protesting kids, he coined the term “Candy Bar Strike” and noted that it was a mini-symbol of the problems that every Canadian worker experienced. This story spread all over the country, thereby sparking similar protests countrywide. Every candy store within the country was affected with kids pooling their money to make their own fudge. A parade of protesting kids on bicycles in Burnaby took it to another level by blocking the town’s major street for more than two hours. Government buildings were targeted, while schools joined in by going on strike.
Before long, labor unions endorsed and supported the strikes. They were joined by other organizations that encouraged their members to join in. Others donated placards and banners. After almost a month of protests, things took a twist on May 3 when the Toronto Evening Telegram reported that the Candy Bar Strike was directly sponsored by Communists. It was reported that union groups directly funded by Canadian Communist Party (backed by Kremlin) had discreetly organized the candy bar strike.
These groups were quickly blacklisted and targeted by police as the protests quickly melted away. Kids had to learn it the hard way how world politics worked, and had to buy candy bars at 8 cents without any bargain.