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Victory Housing (1939-1955)

During World War II, homes built in the style known as Victory Housing emerged in suburbs in several Canadian cities and towns.  This small house type was abundant thanks to the Veterans' Land Act of 1942, which was initiated by the Canadian Government to provide housing for returning veterans and their families. The act was designed to avoid the disaster of an earlier act in 1919, the Soldier Settlement Act, which failed to meet the needs of returning soldiers. The newer act put into place measures to build or finance housing for those returning from war. By 1947 nearly 38,000 houses had been constructed by Wartime Housing Limited.


Due to the large demand for new housing to accommodate workers and later veterans, the houses were designed to be sturdy but economical. Victory Housing employed a cheap and simple design. Much of the small building was prefabricated and then shipped to the sites to be constructed. This resulted in very homogenous and uniform developments that sprung up in almost every major city in Canada during the war and post war periods. The houses were often one and a half stories tall with gabled roofs and clapboard siding. 

Adapted from:

Wikipedia contributors, "Strawberry box houses," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

(accessed July 2, 2021).


Some major characteristics of the “Victory House:”

(excerpted  from the Village of Maple Heritage Conservation District Plan 2007, prepared by Phillip H. Carter Architect and Planner in Association with Paul Oberst Architect).


  • Steep gable roof, 12:12, with asphalt or asbestos shingles.

  • Variety of materials Used: Brick, stucco, clapboard, or asbestos siding.

  • Often large fixed ‘picture’ window flanked by narrow double-hung windows 1 over 1.

  • Compact plan 600 to 900 square feet. Non- symmetrical plan with entrance door to the side is usual in small plans..

  • Often a small entrance porch.


For more information:

Blumenson, John. Ontario Architecture: A Guide to Styles and Building 1784 to the Present. Markham, Ont.: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1990.

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