CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Rise of Suburbs in Fifties

History, Geography, Business Studies
2 lessons
To identify a sequence of historical events
Students will examine create a timeline to show the events in the rise of suburbs in Canada.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask students when they think the first suburbs started in Canada. Clarify that they became popular in the 1950s. Discuss with students the many changes in Canada in the post World War II period: revived family life, higher birth rate (baby boom), more jobs in the cities, increased population and higher demand for housing in cities, stability and prosperity, more automobiles. Ask: How would these factors influence the move from the city out to the suburbs? Have students work in small groups and make a list of factors that would make suburbs economically viable to developers and feasible for families. Share the factors and discuss.


Outline the Opportunity


Direct students to the topic So Long Cities, Hello Suburbs on the CBC Digital  Archives website. Students should review the clips "White-picket dreams", "A music box on wheels", "Suburban living: 'It's perfect'", and "Choose the suburbs!".  Using the information they gather, they will create a timeline to show the events that influenced the start of suburbs and fostered their development in Canada, and any other significant events they feel are part of the story of the rise of suburbs.


Revisit and Reflect


Gather the students and ask them to share the major events in their time lines. Ask students to consider which events they feel are the most significant in the timeline and to create a newspaper headline for that event. Post the headlines as a collage under the heading: The History of Suburbs.




Students can view additional clips and do further research to identify the major differences in life in Canada before and after World War II. They can make a t-chart to show how life changed for Canadians before and after the war and identify major changes.

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