There were 40 known prisoner-of-war camps across Canada during World War II, although this number also includes camps that held Canadians of German and Japanese descent. Several reliable sources indicate that there were only 25 or 26 camps holding exclusively prisoners from foreign countries, nearly all from Germany.
The camps were identified by letters at first, then by numbers. In addition to the main camps there were branch camps and labour camps. The prisoners were given various tasks; many worked in the forests as logging crews or on nearby farms; they were paid a nominal amount for their labour. Approximately 11,000 were thus employed by 1945.
The largest number of military prisoners of war was recorded as 33,798 by several sources. In addition to POWs, some civilian internees were held in the camps and some estimates include such prisoners.
All POWs were protected by the conditions of the Geneva Convention. There are claims that conditions in the Canadian camps tended to be better than average, and many times better than the conditions of the barracks that Canadian troops were kept in. They were guarded by the Veterans Guard of Canada, mostly men who had been soldiers during WW I. It is believed by some that the lenient treatment foiled many escape attempts before they even started. It is told that a group of German prisoners returned to Ozada camp after escaping because of encountering a grizzly bear. Starting in 1945, all POWs were released and returned to their home countries. None were allowed to remain in Canada, but some later returned as immigrants.
|Camp||Place||Province||Relative Location||Specific Location||Period|
|10||Chatham||Ontario||260 km southwest of Toronto||1944|
|10||Fingal||Ontario||40 km south of London||1945-1946|
|20 (C)||Gravenhurst||Ontario||170 km north of Toronto||1940-1946|
|21 (F)||Espanola||Ontario||330 km NNW of Toronto||1940-1943|
|22 (M)||Mimico||Ontario||15 km west of Toronto||1940-1944|
|23 (Q)||Monteith (near Iroquois Falls)||Ontario||700 km north of Toronto||1940-1946|
|30||Bowmanville||Ontario||65 km ENE of Toronto||1941-1945|
|31 (F)||Kingston||Ontario||145 km SSW of Ottawa||1940-1943|
|32 (H)||Hull||Quebec||10 km north of Ottawa||1941-1947|
|33 (F)||Petawawa||Ontario||130 km WNW of Ottawa||1942-1946|
|40 (A)||Farnham||Quebec||50 km ESE of Montreal||825 Rue Principale O, Farnham, QC||1940-1941|
|42 (N)||Newington (Sherbrooke)||Quebec||130 km east of Montreal||990 Rue Bowen S, Sherbrooke, QC ||1942-1946|
|43||Ile Ste Helene, Montreal||Quebec||1940-1943|
|44||Feller College / Grande Ligne||Quebec||275 km northeast of Montreal||1943-1946|
|45||Sorel||Quebec||65 km NNE of Montreal||1945-1946|
|70 (B)||Fredericton (Ripples)||New Brunswick||20 km east of Fredericton||1941-1945|
|100 (W)||Neys||Ontario||1100 km northwest of Toronto||1944-1943|
|101 (X)||Angler||Ontario||800 km northwest of Toronto||1941-1946|
|130||Seebe||Alberta||100 km west of Calgary||1939-1946|
|132||Medicine Hat||Alberta||260 km ESE of Calgary||1943-1945|
|133||Ozada||Alberta||130 km west of Calgary||1942|
|133||Lethbridge||Alberta||160 km southeast of Calgary||1942-1946|
|?||Chisholm||Alberta||180 km N of Edmonton||?|
|135||Wainwright||Alberta||190 km ESE of Edmonton||1945-1946|
|(R)||Red Rock||Ontario||Lake Superior||1940-1941|
|?||Whitewater||Manitoba||Riding Mountain National Park||1943-1945|
|N/A||Wainfleet||Ontario||Close to Port Colborne||1943-1945|
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