CBC Digital Archives

An early look at post-war Europe

After years of wartime rationing, life is finally getting back to normal for Canadians. So it's a shocking sight when CBC radio's John Fisher travels to Europe to observe the misery in countries still subject to food rationing. More staggering is the sheer destruction of cities like Warsaw. But worst of all, says Fisher, is the situation of war orphans whose parents are looking for them - children who have grown up knowing nothing but war.
• Food rationing was not limited to Europe; it was introduced in Canada by the Wartime Prices and Trade Board in January 1942. The first food subject to rationing was sugar; tea, coffee, butter, preserves and fat were added to the ration list later. Rationing of gasoline began in April 1942.
• CBC Radio advised Canadian homemakers on how to "make do with less" during wartime rationing.

• Rationing in Canada did not immediately end after the war; some food items were allocated for export to Europe. Rationing was gradually phased out, and the Wartime Prices and Trade Board was dissolved in 1951.
• In the United Kingdom, food rationing was not completely eliminated until 1954. Bread was the first food off the ration list, in 1948; it was followed over the next few years by jam, tea, eggs, sugar, butter, cheese and, finally, meat.

• A 1948 CBC program guide noted that John Fisher, whose services were on loan from the CBC, toured post-war Europe on behalf of the Canadian Appeal for Children campaign. He visited nurseries, relief centres, and homes in France, Belgium, Holland, Czechoslovakia and Poland. Fisher also embarked on a speaking tour of Canada for the campaign, and raised $2,600 from CBC employees alone.

• John Fisher was one of the CBC's most popular personalities. Hailing from Sackville, N.S., he held a law degree and was a member of the bar in that province. He was a newspaper reporter before moving on to the CBC in 1943.
• In the summer of 1948 Fisher was a guest at the Saskatoon Travellers' Day Parade, sitting in a car with the mayor as 60,000 people looked on.
Medium: Radio
Program: John Fisher Reports
Broadcast Date: Feb. 8, 1948
Reporter: John Fisher
Duration: 11:14

Last updated: April 15, 2013

Page consulted on February 21, 2014

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