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    Canada Year Book

    2011

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    Prices over the decades

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    Older Canadians who lived through the Great Depression can remember working for a dollar a day and paying 25 cents for a pound (454 grams) of sirloin steak. Here is a snapshot of some wages and prices since those days.

    In 1935, average personal income was $313 per year, milk cost 10 cents per quart (0.95 litres) and a dozen eggs would  set you back 31 cents. A tin of tomatoes retailed for 10 cents.

    Twenty-five years later, in 1960, average personal income was $1,672 per year. Milk cost 24 cents per quart and it cost 55 cents to purchase a dozen eggs. That can of tomatoes cost 27 cents.

    In 1985, average income reached $15,903 per year, partly skimmed milk cost 98 cents per litre and eggs cost $1.37 per dozen. Canned tomatoes cost $1.30.

    By 2008, average individual income was $37,700 per year, milk (partly skimmed) cost $1.99per litre and eggs cost $2.57 per dozen. The average retail price of canned tomatoes was still $1.30.

    Table 25.b Average retail food prices
      1935 2008
      $
    Bacon (1 kg) 0.68 8.90
    Sirloin steak (1 kg) 0.51 15.39
    Flour (1 kg) 0.07 1.89
    Sugar (1 kg) 0.14 1.21
    Coffee (1 kg) 0.83 12.93
    Onions (1 kg) 0.09 1.28
    Potatoes (4.54 kg) 0.14 4.58
    Milk (1 litre)1 0.10 2.041
    Eggs (dozen) 0.31 2.57
    Butter (454 g) 0.28 4.25
    Total 3.15 55.04
    Source: Statistics Canada, Canada Year Book 1938 (Catalogue no.11-402-X), CANSIM tables 326-0012 and 003-0022 and Urban Retail Food Prices 1914-59 (Catalogue no.62-514).

     

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