Helen Hogg - Astronomer and Faculty Stephen Leacock - Humorist and Graduate Elsie MacGill - Engineer and Graduate
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University of Toronto
U of T Great Past

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Photo: Michael Visser
 

 

Puzzle of War
Amidst centuries-old volumes of Shakespeare, Greek classics and Italian poetry is a fifty-year-old jigsaw puzzle in a faded cardboard box. Sliced into hundreds of pieces, it is a simple picture of airmen lined up on a prairie field.

You can find it at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Although it isn't a book in the normal sense, it was one way the Second World War effort could be explained to children during that dark period in Canada's history: "This is what your father does, this is where he is." In the eyes of a historian, the fragments represent something quite different; they are a record of Canadian war propaganda.

The puzzle was given anonymously to the Fisher and is just one of the hundreds of gifts-in-kind received by the world-renowned library in 1998. It was found intact at an Ontario flea market, 53 years after the war ended and one year before our planes began flying over Yugoslavia. Although our pilots once again went to fight in Europe, Canada did not engage in war.

But that is an entirely different puzzle.


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