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War Brides
The women who wed Canadian servicemen during World War II

War Brides, NAC/PA-112366
War brides coming to Canada in 1946.

During the Second World War thousands of British women married servicemen stationed in Great Britian, including Canadians who were posted there as long as six years. Many overseas romances ended in marriage despite discouragement from the Army. The Canadian government finally decided to assist the couples after the end of the war by providing transportation to Canada for dependents of Canadian servicemen. Most of the brides came to Canada in 1946, with a total of 48,000 women emigrating to Canada between 1942 and 1948.

Most of the women and children landed in Halifax at Pier 21, where they were met by immigration officials and then Red Cross workers who arranged temporary accommodation before the immigrants were guided to special trains. More than 90% of the brides were British, and most were welcomed in the communities where they settled across Canada. But many of the new arrivals found it difficult to adapt to their new country. Many were shocked to find wood stoves and outhouses, to settle in rural areas and - far from family and friends - to be incredibly lonely.

The War Brides of World War II affected a generation of Canadians involved in the conflict, and influenced a new generation in Canada by strengthening ties with Britain.

Discover more


  • Canadian War Bride Isobel "Zoe" Boone
    Interview with a Canadian war bride from Scotland. 9:58 min. YouTube
  • Love and War: Canadian War Brides
    A great feature from the CBC Archives, including television and radio clips about the Canadian war brides.
  • Pier 21
    VHS from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. One-hour documentary about Pier 21 where most war brides landed.
  • War Brides: From Romance to Reality
    Kiss the Bride Productions, 2001. 50 min.
    The experiences of five British women who married Canadian servicemen during World War II and emigrated to Canada.
  • War Brides A Way to a New Life. Liverpool to Canada.
    Canadian Army Newsreel. 1:18 min. YouTube
  • Barrett, Barbara B et al, eds. We Came From Over the Sea: British War Brides in Newfoundland. Portugal Cove, Newfoundland: British War Brides Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1996.
  • Granfield, Linda. Brass Buttons and Silver Horseshoes: Stories from Canada's War Brides. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2002.
  • Hibbert, Joyce.The War Brides. Toronto: PMA Books, 1978.
  • Ladouceur, Barbara and Phyllis Spence, eds. Blackouts to Bright Lights. Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 1995.
  • O'Hara, Peggy. From Romance to Reality. Cobalt: Highway Book Shop, 1983.
  • Rains, Olga. We Became Canadians. Hyde Park, Ontario: Overnight Copy Service, 1984.
  • Shewchuk, Helen, ed. If Kisses Were Roses: A 50th Anniversary Tribute to War Brides. Sudbury, Ontario: Journal Printers, 1995.
  • Stacey, C.P. Six Years of War. Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1955.
  • Wicks, Ben. Promise You'll Take Care of My Daughter. Toronto: Stoddart, 1992.


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