History of Wartime Houses

Wartime houses brand every community in Canada. They offer a material glimpse into our collective memory of World War II and the socioeconomic challenges associated with that event.

Between 1941 and 1947, Wartime Housing Limited (later CMHC) built over 30,000 houses to provide affordable housing for munitions workers, returning veterans and their families.

These houses were based on standardized, inexpensive, sometimes pre-fabricated 1 1/2 storey designs that served as models for future housing initiatives across Canada after the war. Although they were conceived during a time of wartime conservation and intended as temporary suburbs, wartime neighbourhoods developed distinct social and cultural networks. While some of these neighbourhoods dissolved after the war, many continue to thrive and currently remain a fixture in Canada’s urban areas. An estimated one million wartime houses are still standing in Canada today.