CHARBONNEAU – By the time the trekkers got to Kamloops

On To Ottawa trekkers, 1935. (Toronto Public Library)

IN APRIL of 1935 they left their miserable camps and made their way to Vancouver. The camps had been set up in the middle of nowhere. Young men worked in the military-run camps for 20 cents a day under deplorable conditions in dead-end jobs with no end in sight.

The camps were designed to be harsh. Prime Minister Bennett had reluctantly set them up as a concession to the unemployed victims of the Great Depression. He was opposed to anything that looked like a handout, including even the appalling camps.

He told a labour delegation in 1930: “Never will I or any government of which I am part put a premium on idles or put our people on the dole (Canada’s History magazine, August-September, 2016).”


David Charbonneau is a retired TRU electronics instructor who hosts a blog at

About Mel Rothenburger (5858 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on CHARBONNEAU – By the time the trekkers got to Kamloops

  1. My Dad was lucky,sort of.He survived 4+ years in WW1 as a horse drawn Ambulance driver. He was 25 when discharged in 1919 and died at 57 of a hemmoraging stomach ulcer,a result of his military service to his adopted country. He was a 16 year old Englishman from Derby in 1910 and was the 1283rd Canadian to join up in 1914 to fight in a war that would ” end by Christmas”.He cowboyed and farmed in Sask. in the 20,s and delivered bread in Vancouver during the depression of the 30,s at $13 a week when a loaf of bread was a nickel and a fancy iced cake 2bits,if you could afford one.Times were very tough in Canada,tougher than in the States where President Franklin Delano Roosevelt really cared about his people.

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