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Boom Kids

Growing Up in the Calgary Suburbs, 1950-1970

By James A. Onusko
Subjects History, Canadian History, Cultural Studies
Series Studies in Childhood and Family in Canada Hide Details
Hardcover : 9781771124980, 260 pages, July 2021
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781771125000, July 2021

Table of contents

Table of Contents


1. Mapping Suburbia

2. Bombs, Boom and the Classroom

3. Diversity Deficit and Working Days

4. The Serious Business of Play

5. Healthy Minds in Healthy Bodies

6. Things That Go Bump in the Night






A snapshot of kids growing up in postwar suburbia.


The baby boomers and postwar suburbia remain a touchstone. For many, there is a belief that it has never been as good for youngsters and their families, as it was in the postwar years. Boom Kids explores the triumphs and challenges of childhood and adolescence in Calgary’s postwar suburbs.

The boomers’ impact on fifties and sixties Canadian life is unchallenged; social and cultural changes were made to meet their needs and desires. While time has passed, this era stands still in time—viewed as an idyllic period when great hopes and relative prosperity went hand in hand for all.

Boom Kids is organized thematically, with chapters focusing on: suburban spaces; the Cold War and its impact on young people; ethnicity, “race,” and work; the importance of play and recreation; children’s bodies, health and sexuality; and "the night," resistances and delinquency. Reinforced throughout this manuscript is the fact that children and adolescents were not only affected by their suburban experiences, but that they influenced the adult world in which they lived.

Oral histories from former community members and archival materials, including school-based publications, form the backbone for a study that demonstrates that suburban life was diverse and filled with rich experiences for youngsters.


“This work, grounded in rich evidence, makes a significant and unique contribution to the field of childhood studies and the history of the relations and concepts of children. I particularly enjoyed Onusko’s final chapter ‘Things That Go Bump in the Night,’ which offers fresh content and analysis on the intriguing relationship between childhood and the night but also rings true to me as a child growing up in the late 1960s and early 1970s. ” – Christopher Greig, author of Ontario Boys: Masculinity and the Idea of Boyhood in Postwar Ontario, 1945—1960 (WLU Press, 2014)

“In focusing on age as a category of analysis, the author has unearthed some very interesting material regarding, for example, the impact of the Second World War on the psyche of young baby boomers, the anxieties created by the Cold War, play and suburban space, and nighttime activities. There are still few histories of childhood in Canada, and with Boom Kids, Onusko makes a significant contribution to the field, especially through the author’s use of oral history. ” – Catherine Gidney, author of Captive Audience: How Corporations Invaded Our Schools (2019)