CWACs & the Paparazzis

Photo: City of Vancouver Archives, 1945. Caption: “Canadian Women’s Army Corps members at play near second beach” (This may actually be Third Beach as Tatlow Trail exits there). Mil P219

The park has had “military reserve” status since 1859. Third Beach was used as a training centre for 300 Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC’s) during WWII, probably due in part to its isolated location protected by a thick forest. This didn’t prevent newspapers photographers in trying to snap pictures of the CWAC’s in their beach wear.
Canada was one of the last countries in the British Empire to sanction female enlistment in its military forces. Over 45,000 women volunteered during WWII, 22,000 in the CWACs worked as secretaries, clerks, canteen workers, vehicle drivers and many other non-combat military jobs. Their basic pay was 2/3rds that of service men of equal rank.