Exhibiting a Nation: Canada at the British Empire Exhibition, 1924-1925


  • Anne Clendinning


The British Empire Exhibition held in 1924 and 1925 presented a chance for Canada to assert a national identity and a prominent place, as a self-governing, “white” dominion, within the British imperial family of nations. Those responsible for the government pavilion consciously sought to understate regional differences and to construct and project a unified, homogeneous image of the nation, despite its vast geographic distances and obvious differences of language and race. While their intentions were to attract investment and improve export markets for Canadian goods, the exhibition commissioners assembled a set of images intended to sum up the idea of Canada. The resulting national representation proved to be contested, fragmented, and sometimes controversial. But for Canadians who visited the exhibit, the pavilion seemed to speak on an emotional level, inspiring national identification and pride.






Nation, Race, and Empire