In 1910, the car and nature enthusiasts customized their own vehicles, adding bunks, storage lockers, and often very inventive mechanisms for cooking and storing supplies and water.

When the First World War started, most North Americans who could afford an extended vacation and would normally go to Europe, decided to spend their vacation in their own country.

The greatest difficulty in those days was the absence of roads. There were barely any which were roadworthy or they didn't really lead anywhere. Most of the roads were dirt: dusty in dry weather or impassable in wet weather. There were few, if any, supportive facilities for travelers. Travel was difficult and time consuming.

RV enthusiasm grew during the 1920s with road improvement.

The 1930's saw a change, almost overnight. Even the Great Depression did not curb the public's enthusiasm for these vehicles. The first commercial RVs came into the market. They used aircraft-style construction and offered camper beds, dinettes, electricity and water.

During the Second World War some companies became involved in war work carrying out vehicle conversions, repairs and modification for the war department and other similar work.

In the immediate post World War II years, the trailer manufacturers began to become attracted to the house car image and many began to build what were truly motorized versions of their trailers. The manufacturers began to make them available although they still were quite prohibitive in price.

From home kits that let you build your own RV, to the 30-foot driveable models and travel trailers, RV-ing came into its own in the 1950's. Trailer manufacturers, began building the motor coaches on rear engine "pusher" chassis. They were the first "class A" type motor homes with a body and interior built on a factory chassis.

In the late 1950's, slide-in pickup truck campers began to grow in popularity as an alternative to trailers or motor homes.

The recreation vehicle industry came up with the term "RV" in the early 1960s, as a marketing tool. In the 1960's, a split occurred in the RV's family tree. One branch stayed nomadic and evolved into today's familiar RV. The other put on weight, got bigger, fancier, and remained stationary. The only time they are mobile is when a truck hauls them from the factory or sales lot to a park.

As demands grew for more modern features, RVs became larger which inspired larger slide-ins. By the mid 1960's the desire for all in one units, forced truck camper manufacturers to begin to buy pickup trucks to remove the beds and attach their larger units directly to the truck chassis. This allowed the backside of the cab to be removed and allowed easy access from the driving compartment into the camper body. Some of these early units were extended so long that they required dolly wheels at the back bumper to keep the front end down on acceleration. This led to the extension of the chassis to place the drive wheels where they were needed. In the 1970's, these chassis mount truck campers then evolved onto chopped off and extended van chassis, becoming the "class C" motor home.

In the late 1960's, due to the popularity of RVs, they adopted the concept of producing vehicles everyone could afford. This inspired manufacturers and entrepreneurs alike to come up with new and innovative products. Van campers began to be produced from the early passenger vans. Ingenious owners who saw the opportunity to convert a passenger vehicle into a camper converted these early units at first. This later led to conversion by contract to the manufacturer and availability through new car dealers. These became identified as today's "Class B" van campers.

Through the 60's and 70's RVing has had its ups and down but never totally declined. But by the late 1980's, sales had picked up and interest had doubled. It seems that the lure of the open road keeps RVers coming back.

RVs have became a source of inexpensive holidays. In recent years personal income has increased in real terms, enabling many car owners to be able to enjoy what in years gone by was a very exclusive hobby. If current trends persist experts predict that RVing will continue to grow for years to come.

We plan to bring each month a new decade of the RV's history in Canada to RVHotlineCanada.com. Visit often and remember we welcome your comments and questions. If you have anything to add or know of some information we don't please don't be shy.

Note: Historical information provided by Eicher Mueller

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Did You Know RV History Icon Background

The longest road in the world is Yonge Street in Toronto, listed as a whopping 1,178 miles (1,896 km) in length, roughly the distance from San Diego, California, to Seattle, Washington. It starts on the Toronto lakeshore and winds its way northwesterly along Highway 11 to Rainy River, Ontario, at the Minnesota border. ending at the Ontario-Manitoba-Minnesota border.