Historical Context

Story Behind the Square [Untitled]

When this poster was created the world was a very different place to what it is in 2016. The second Boer War was won by the British Empire on May 31 1902, putting it within the timeline that this poster may have been created. This war was significant to the people of Canada as it was one of the first major battles that were fought by Canadians and not Brits in Canada (History of Canada 2013). This poster was likely made just after the completion of the war. The poster was also made just a couple years before the first world war, meaning they had never experienced a battle of that magnitude. In just a couple years farm equipment would become the least of their worries. During the years it was created, women in Canada were not allowed to vote nor own property. They were regarded as second class citizens and often were not even seen as people (History of Canada 2013).   

According to census records, Guelph had a population boom of 32% between 1901 and 1911 (OGSPI 1911 Census Menu). This meant that they had to expand very quickly, which helped the Massey Harris Company to sell to more people (Dick 2007).   

The Massey Harris company experienced positive growth between 1901 and 1909 (Ball 2013). They were the leading manufacturer of farming equipment in Canada, especially around Toronto. They also became one of the first companies from Canada to expand into the United States (Ball 2013). More and more farmers were able to afford high quality farming equipment, meaning Massey Harris had a large consumer base. In Canada in the early 1900s, farming was the largest industry and most families owned a farm of some sort (Dick 2007). As capitalism began to take over Canadian society, farms became a source of money for the farmers and so they needed to have equipment that could produce the amount of food they needed (Dick 2007). Massey Harris became the leading supplier for these people, banking on the rise of capitalism in Canada (Ball 2013).