Canadian Transportation Museum and Heritage Village Insider's Look

Depression Era Tire

Depression Era Tire

The Depression Era Tire; accession number 2001.39.01; additional information is on the sign in the photograph.

Lisa Wacheski, our curator chose the tire because it is one of her personal favourite items in the collection. It is not as glorious as the automobiles on display and speaks to a time very different from our current society. This artifact shows genuine ingenuity and a true example of recycling when recycling wasn’t itself a “thing”.

This tire is important because it signifies the Canadian way of life. Canadians, historically, have worked with the fabric they were given to create and defend their country. Work didn’t stop just because they couldn’t afford a tire. Work didn’t stop because all of the rubber was being used in the War Effort.  They got the job done at whatever cost, with whatever modification.

The tire is not a very attractive artifact. In fact, it is the simplicity of the design of a solution to a problem that makes this tire special. It may appear as a thorn among roses, but it’s history, it’s story is what is so inspiring.

This tire is a teaching tool for our students and visitors. Today people will just buy a new tire when they need one. If they don’t have the actual money in hand, they will use credit. Our grandparents did not have that luxury. Seeing the tire and hearing about what people did just to get by during war and depression time brings a new perspective to today’s audience. That there are so many safety rules and laws in place today shows such a contrast to what Canada was like between 1917 and 1966.