RMG Presents: The Roaring 20s in Oshawa Virtual Exhibition
When one thinks about the Roaring Twenties it’s easy to conjure up an image of a lively Great Gatsby-like scene full of flappers, speakeasies and decadence. In reality, the decade reflected how the horrors and losses experienced during the First World War and the 1918 Pandemic transformed society. For some, but not all, the 1920s was a period of prosperity, political and social change, and economic and industrial growth. This exhibition brings together images from the collections of the Oshawa Museum, Oshawa Public Library and Thomas Bouckley Collection to explore what the term Roaring 20s meant to Oshawa.
In Oshawa, industry boomed, in particular the auto industry, which encouraged a growth in population and infrastructure. In the 1920s, the population grew from 4,000 to 16,000, allowing for the incorporation of Oshawa as a city on March 8, 1924. Meanwhile, Oshawa’s Sons of Temperance continued to advocate passionately for prohibition, but while popular during the war, prohibition was seen less favourably in the 1920s and ended in Ontario in 1927.
While this exhibition depicts the past, it also reflects on today. Will this next decade be similarly roaring as the world responds to the isolation, losses, and economic hardships of the Covid-19 pandemic? Oshawa is already experiencing a rise in population through real estate development, so is an industrial and economic boom to follow?