New Survey to Mark the 65th Anniversary of VE Day

May 6, 2010

New Survey to Mark the 65th Anniversary of VE Day

TORONTO (May 6, 2010)  - A survey for The Historica-Dominion Institute measures Canadians’ attitudes towards veterans as the country prepares to celebrate the 65th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE Day) on May 8.

The online survey of over 1,000 Canadians, conducted by Ipsos Reid, showed that three quarters (77%) of Canadians ‘agree’ (33% strongly/44% somewhat) that ‘the men and women who served in the Second World War deserve to be called “the Greatest Generation”’, as broadcaster Tom Brokaw famously described their American counterparts. Furthermore, almost all (94%) Canadians ‘agree’ (69% strongly/26% somewhat) that ‘Canada’s Second World War veterans deserve to be called heroes’, a widespread feeling across the country and across generations.

Other key findings include:

  • With the benefit of hindsight, knowing the conditions, casualties and ultimate victory of the Allies, a majority (58% of Canadians say they would have signed up to serve in the Second World War (23% definitely yes/35% probably yes) if they were 20 years old and living in Canada in 1939. Canadians aged 18 to 35 are least likely (40%) to say they would have signed up.
  • A majority (62%) of Canadians ‘agree’ (27% strongly/35% somewhat) that ‘compared to other countries, Canada does not do enough to honour its veterans’, with Canadians over 55 most likely to agree (70%).
  • Nearly three quarters (72%) of Canadians ‘agree’ (38% strongly/34% somewhat) that they would be ‘ashamed if Canada had not entered the Second World War’, with Quebecers less likely to agree (56%).
  • Just one half (50%) of Canadians know that we will be marking the 65th anniversary of V-E Day on May 8, 2010.

"We cannot underestimate the impact that the Second World War had on Canada. Sixty-five years later, Canadians still have a deep admiration for the men and women who sacrificed so much,” says Andrew Cohen, President of The Historica-Dominion Institute. "At the same time, we worry that Canadians do not know enough about the war, or its implications for Canada, which is why we remain committed to tell its stories."

The 65th Anniversary of VE Day was celebrated by The Historica-Dominion Institute’s The Memory Project: Stories of the Second World War which hosted a Victory Ball at the Chateau Laurier, where students and veterans gathered for a celebration that included big band music, swing dancing, wartime artifacts and a tribute to Canadian veterans.

The Historica-Dominion Institute is a national charitable organization that was launched on September 1, 2009 through the amalgamation of two existing organizations: The Historica Foundation of Canada and The Dominion Institute. Its mandate is to build active and informed citizens through a greater knowledge and appreciation of the history, heritage and stories of Canada.

For more information, view detailed results.

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