Monday, April 7, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1926--

Handwritten entries into the ledger at Ford reveal that an even dozen stately Lincolns will be imported into the Dominion of Canada this calendar year.

One of the most luxurious hotels in the country, Chateau Frontenac opened in 1893.
January 14: Fire rages through the Chateau Frontenac Hotel in Quebec City, causing more than $2 million in damage. Guests are evacuated to a special CPR train. Five firemen are injured as they fight the blaze but there are no deaths. 

January 25: Canadian National Railways announces it will buy 120,000 tonnes of coal to provide unemployed and starving Cape Breton miners with work. No one wants coal these days. The culprit is identified as electricity—the newfangled energy source has cut the need for coal by as much as 25 million tons.

John Baird and one of his early television receivers.
 January 27: The Empire is not so vast after all. In London, scientist John Baird explains to the press a process that allows talking pictures to be transmitted through the air. He calls the process “television” and predicts it will bring all subjects of the King closer together.

February 7:  Red Lake, Ontario is the scene of an enormous gold rush. The remote area is more than 200 kilometres from the railroad but that doesn’t stop countless people from tramping their way into the region in hopes of striking it rich.

 February 11: Leslie Nielson is born in Regina, Saskatchewan. He will grow up to be a comedian and movie star, famous for his roles in Airplane and the Naked Gun series. His older brother Erik will be Deputy Prime Minister during the Mulroney years.

February 18: In New York City, police find 138 cases of champagne hidden in a boatload of potatoes from PEI. Now all potatoes from Canada will be thoroughly searched for illegal hooch.

March 27: Hockey immortal Georges Vezina is dead of tuberculosis at the age of 39.  He earned his nickname, “The Chicoutimi Cucumber” for his cool demeanour on the ice. George played five seasons for the Canadiens before he collapsed on the ice last season, running a temperature of 105F.  The Vezina Trophy, given to the top NHL goaltender each year, is named in his honour.

The 1926 Daimler Double-Six Saloon is built in the UK. King George V owns one.
 April 15: The finance minister stands in the House of Commons to announce that the tariff on imported automobiles costing less then $1,200 will be cut to 20 percent and cars with a price tag higher than that will be taxed at the rate of 27.5 percent.

The Princess Elizabeth at two.
April 21:  Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor is born at 17 Bruton Street in London, England. She will grow up to be crowned sovereign of Canada and 15 other nations when her father, King George VI, dies on February 6, 1952. In 2012, Her Majesty will turn 87 years of age and mark her 60th year on the throne.

May 3: Matt Baldwin is born in Blucher, Saskatchewan. He will grow up to be a curler of renown, skipping to the Canadian Briar championship in 1954, 1957 and again in 1958.

The Norge was constructed in 1923. It is 103-metres long and has a top speed of 115 kilometres an hour.
May 9: Polar explorer Roald Amundsen traverses the North Pole in the Italian airship Norge. 

May 12: Nova Scotia's first radio station takes to the airwaves. CHNS has studios in the Carleton Hotel in Halifax and broadcasts from a 500-watt transmitter at 930 on the AM dial. The station will become independent in 1940, be part of the CBC's Dominion Network in 1944 and become an independent broadcaster in 1962.

May 15: The National Hockey League awards a franchise to the New York Rangers. The team will make Madison Square Garden their home.

 June 14: The Supreme Court of Canada rules that peaceful picketing during a strike constitutes a crime.

June 23: It is the birthday of Flora MacDonald. She will grow up to become a politician, known as a Red Tory for her compassionate views of the world and representing the good citizens of Kingston-Thousand Islands in the House of Commons. Flora will be Minister of External Affair in the Clark government. The Cape Breton native will be involved in humanitarian work in 2006.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King; His Excellency Lord Byng and Arthur Meighen, Leader of the King's Loyal Opposition.
 June 29: The Liberal government of Mackenzie King falls, the result of corruption scandal at Canada Customs.  Governor General, Lord Byng, refuses to allow King to dissolve Parliament and call an election. He will instead ask the Leader of the Opposition to form a government.

 July 1: The economy is booming and Ottawa returns to the gold standard as our monetary system.

The Right Honourable Arthur Meighen is the nation's ninth Prime Minister.  He will be remembered with this stamp, issued in 1961.
 July 2:  The Tory government, under Prime Minister Arthur Meighen, collapses after being sworn in only three days ago. The non-confidence motion is lost by one vote.

July 12.  A tornado rips through the area around Lac La Hache, British Columbia, felling trees and flattening farm buildings.

July 13: Though defeated by a non-confidence vote, Arthur Meighen is technically prime minister and he announces his cabinet today. The press will refer to the PM as the “Three-day Wonder" when his government falls to a non-confidence vote.

July 18: Jean Margaret Lawrence is born in Neepawa, Manitoba.  Her mother will die when she is four and her father will succumb to pneumonia when she is 11. The orphan will grow up to write The Stone Angel and The Diviners, among many great books. She will be Chancellor of Trent University from 1981 to 1983.  Upon learning she has inoperable lung cancer, she will commit suicide in 1987.

July 21: Norman Frederick Jewison is born in Toronto. He will grow up to become one of the most distinguished movie directors in Hollywood, known for In the Heat of the Night, Fiddler on the Roof, Agnes of God and Moonstruck.

August 5: Viscount Willingdon is appointed to be the next Governor General. He replaces Baron Byng who stands accused of manipulating Parliament and creating the current constitutional crisis.

September 14:  The voters have spoken, sending 128 Grits and 91 Tories to Ottawa.  Mackenzie King’s Liberals are still a minority government but the 11 Progressives will prop them up. King’s victory was a surprise. He turned a corruption scandal into a fight for national sovereignty by accusing Lord Byng of interfering in domestic politics on behalf of King George VI.
 September 19: Charlie Ed, the last of five elephants who escaped the circus six weeks ago, is captured near Cranbrook, British Columbia.

October 1: Ben Wicks is born in London, UK. He will come to Canada in 1957 and after a brief stint as a milkman in Calgary will become a cartoonist for the Toronto Telegram. The Outsiders will be carried in more than 50 papers and when the Telegram folds, his comics will appear in the Toronto Star and 183 other newspapers in Canada and the US. Wicks will die at home, of cancer, in 2000.

 October 13: Edward Walter Spulnik is born in Windsor, Ontario. He will grow up to be a strapping two metres (6 foot seven inches) and quit university to become a professional wrestler. Under the stage names of Hercules Kowalski, The Masked Executioner, The Masked Destroyer and Killer Kowalski he will win many championships and thrill crowds until he retires in 1977. Kowalski will die of complications from a heart attack in 2008.

October 14:  A Ku Klux Klan member has been convicted of blowing up a Roman Catholic Church in Barrie, Ontario. The KKK teaches racial purity and is opposed to Papism.

October 21: Barrister Charles Vance Millar is dead at the age of 73. The bachelor lawyer never had children. He leaves the bulk of his sizeable estate to the woman who gives birth to the most children in the next decade. The wild and crazy wish became known as The Great Stork Derby with a surprising twist at the end. The story will be made into a movie—The Great Stork Derby-- in 2002, starring Megan Follows.

November 16: The New York Rangers take to home ice for the very first time. They whip the Montreal Maroons one to zip in front of 13,000 fans in Madison Gardens.

 November 18: Dorothy Chandler is born in Windsor, Ontario. She will sing her way to success on radio stations in Windsor and neighbouring Detroit—change her last name to Collins--and make it big in television, radio and Broadway. She will die in 1994 of complications brought about by an asthmatic condition. 

November 18:  Lord Balfour announces in London that Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Irish Free State will be allowed “grow into full nationhood.” The former colonies will become eventually equal to Great Britain. As a result of this new policy, the Governor General no longer represents the British Crown--only represents the monarch as an individual—making the title and its duties ceremonial in nature.

November 26: Vincent Massey will become Canada’s first Ambassador to the United States. Previously, the British Ambassador handled all of Canada’s business in Washington, D.C.

 December 1: Ontario voters put the Tories back into power for a second term. Premier Ferguson will now have to make good on his promise to dump alcohol prohibition legislation in favour of a government-run liquor control board.    

 December 4: In a best of five-game series, the Ottawa Senators whip the University of Toronto 10 to 7 for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

December 31:  General Motors’ workers in Oshawa, Ontario built 142 Cadillacs during the calendar year.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1927--

The 1927 Studebaker EU Standard Six Custom Sedan will be renamed the Dictator later this year.  Studebakers are built in Walkerville (Windsor), Ontario.

Metro Peel in downtown Montreal.
January 1: Jean-Paul Mousseau is born in Quebec. He will grow up to become a famous artist—he believed that art should be integrated into urban life. His works are seen in Montreal’s Metro stations. He will die in 1991.

January 4: Paul Desmarais is born in Sudbury, Ontario. He will grow up to head Power Corp. and be the fourth richest man in Canada when he dies in 2013.

January 9: A horrific fire at the Laurier Palace Theatre in Montreal kills 78 boys and girls during a Saturday matinee.  Laws will be passed to make theatres safer. Children under the age of 16 will not be allowed in cinemas--a statute will stand for 40 years. In 2006 a plaque will mark the tragic site on St. Catherine Street.

January 10: Gisele Marie-Louise Margeurite LaFleche is born in Winnipeg. She will grow up to be a CBC radio star before moving to Hollywood in 1951 where she will change her name to Gisele MacKenzie. The accomplished singer and violinist, will tour with Jack Benny, host Your Hit Parade and be a regular on the Sid Caesar Show. Giselle will have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame before her death in 2003.

January 16: George Young, age 17, swims across the 35-kilometre wide San Pedro Channel—including an oil slick--in California. His time is 15 hours and 48 minutes. Of the 95 participants in the race, the young Torontonian is the only one to complete the course. He receives the $25,000 prize put up by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. for the Wrigley Ocean Marathon.  The teen told the press his widowed mother had given him $135 for the trip and told him not to fail.

February 19: at 8.45 this evening, radio station 9RB begins broadcasting to Torontonians. The call letters will change to CFRB--Canada’s First Rogers Batteryless. The station is the brainchild of Edward (Ted) Rogers who has discovered a way to allow radio sets to be plugged into AC house current.

The National Film Board will chronicle Phyllis Bronfman Lambert's amazing career in 2007.
January 24: Phyllis Bronfman is born in Montreal. She will grow up to study architecture and be briefly married to French Baron Jean Lambert. Phyllis become one of this nation’s most distinguished architects, designing such buildings as the Saidye Bronfman Centre (for her mother), the Seagram Building and the Toronto-Dominion Centre. She will found the Canadian Architectural Centre in 1979 and endow it with 750,000 shares of Seagram’s stock.  She will be named to the Order of Canada and made a Knight in the Order of Quebec in 1985.

Dr. Lewis Urry will teach at the University of Toronto. He is seen here with the Energizer battery and the Energizer Bunny, the mascot that will be introduced in 1989.
January 29: Lewis Urry is born in Pontypool, Ontario. He will grow up to become an engineer and invent both the alkaline and the lithium battery. The Eveready company began producing Urry’s battery in 1980 under the name Energizer. The scientist and inventor will die in 2004 but his long-life battery will be on display in the Smithsonian Institute in 2006, in the same room as Edison’s light bulb.

Train is the only land transporation from Buchans to the rest of Newfoundland until a highway opens in 1956.
January 29: The Buchans Mining Company, Limited is incorporated. The town of Buchans will be privately owned until 1979. Workers' rent, hydro, health care, schooling and travel will be at company whim. One of the largest metal mines in the world, it will close in 1985 after more then 16,000,000 tonnes of ore are mined.

Tim Horton's will sponsor the Brier in 2005.
-- March:  The Nova Scotia curling team walks away from the first Brier with the newly minted Macdonald Brier Tankard. The Bluenosers beat out teams from Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan for the handcrafted silver curling trophy. The Brier will be sponsored by Macdonald Tobacco, Limited of Montreal until 1947. Other sponsors will include Labbatt Breweries and Nokia.

March 2: After studying the issue, Lords of The Privy Council have determined that Newfoundland is the rightful owner of Labrador, not Quebec. The Lords rule that the definition of coast is not “one mile from the shore” but “all lands with rivers flowing to the sea.”      

March 3:  William Kurelek is born on a farm near Whitford, Alberta. He will grow up to become a renowned artist and author of children’s stories. He will be made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1976 and die of cancer in 1977.

March 10: A 6,000-tonne freighter, the SS Eurana, strikes the Second Narrows Bridge in Vancouver. Damage to the bridge is estimated at $10,000. Fortunately, no one is injured and the ship is freed from the bridge.

March 25:  William Barilko is born in Timmins, Ontario. "Bashin' Bill will grow up to skate for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1947 to 1951. Four of those five years the Leafs will win the Stanley Cup. Bill will die tragically in a plane crash in northern Quebec in 1951. The Leafs will not win another Stanley Cup until his body is found in 1962.

This LCBO book is for 1933-1934. The passport-sized book will be replaced with a permit in 1957 and dropped completely in the 1970s.
March 30:  Ontario will sell liquor through an exclusive, province-wide control board. Premier Ferguson says this will put bootleggers out of business while protecting citizens from excess imbibing. Individuals wishing to drink must buy a government permit and shop at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) stores. Purchases will be recorded in a book. Those who tipple too much will lose their permits by court order. Dry communities will not have to participate in the scheme.

April 1: The US Department of Labour slaps quotas on the number of Canadians wishing to enter the country to work.

The giant, 10-metre tall, 6-tonne Guaranteed Pure Milk Co. Limited bottle will become a landmark in downtown Montreal in 1932. It will be restored in 2009.
April 22: Ottawa has asked that the ban on milk produced in and around Montreal be lifted now that the typhoid fever carrier has been caught. The infected man worked in a dairy. As a result of his employment 2,415 people caught typhoid fever and 189 died.

April 19: The Province of New Brunswick will allow the sale of alcohol through a government control board.

April 26: Fishermen on Howe Sound, near Vancouver, claim that nine-metre long sea serpents are eating all the fish stocks. Frederick Parnell tells the press he was in his rowboat when he saw the monsters. He said their heads were nearly 66 centimetres (two feet 0wide, they had huge mouths and bulging eyes.

May 9: The federal government establishes Prince Albert National Park in northern Saskatchewan. The 3,874 square kilometre park boasts prairie grasslands, boreal forests and glacial features.

May 11: Mort Sahl is born in Montreal. He will grow up to pioneer a new kind of humour—the standup comic.

We can't buy Soviet Sapho cigarettes, now.
May 25: Parliament suspends trade with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

May 28:  The Canada Pension Act is introduced in Parliament. When passed, citizens aged 70 and over will receive a cheque for $20 a month as long as they do not earn more than $125 a year.

The Tower of Peace and Victory is 92.2 metres tall. In 2012 it will be featured on the $20 bill.
June 1: The Prince of Wales is in Ottawa and dedicates the new Peace Tower and Dominion Carillon on Parliament Hill. The first one was destroyed in the 1916 fire. 

June 1: After six years as a dry province, Ontario is in the liquor business again as it retails beer, wine and spirits through the newly organized Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Folks who wish to shop at the LCBO will pay a $2 annual fee.

June 1: The Mounties will be the police in Saskatchewan when the 140 men of the Saskatchewan Provincial Police force are absorbed into the RCMP next year. The feds can do the job for $200,000 while the SPP costs taxpayers $500,000.
 June 12: The Privy Council in London refuses to hear legal appeals from Roman Catholics who wish to establish separate school boards in Ontario. The Privy Council will have the last word on Canadian laws until 1982.

June 29:  Wallace Turnbull, an engineer from Saint John, New Brunswick has invented a variable-pitch propeller. The device allows pilots to vary the pitch of the blade on aircraft. Turnbull’s device is currently undergoing tests by the Army at Camp Borden in Ontario. If successful, it will radically change aviation.

The Rogers Batteryless radio, Model 120 was first displayed at the CNE in 1925. It sells for $260 but a speaker costs extra.
July 1: There is a coast-to-coast radio broadcast as the 23 radio stations of the Canadian National Railway are linked together to carry the Diamond Jubilee Confederation celebrations.

July 1: Automobile drivers in Ontario must now purchase a license if they wish to operate their vehicles on the province’s highways and byways. The annual fee is $1.

July 6: Doris Claman is born in Vancouver. She will grow up to write more than 3,000 jingles and songs including the immortal theme to the CBC show,  Hockey Night in Canada.

July 7. A tornado wreaks havoc around Vulcan, Alberta. No one is killed by the twister but the town’s curling rink is destroyed.

July 7: Charles Mair is dead in Victoria, British Columbia at the age of 90. Controversial in life, he claimed to be Canada’s first poet. Detractors said he was a dangerous demagogue. Mair took part in the Red River Rebellion, opposing Louis Riel, in 1869.

August 6:  His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales is on hand to dedicate Toronto’s Union Station. He cuts the ribbon of the eight-storey structure, built in the Classical Revival style, with a pair of gold scissors.  
August 24: The “August Gale” whips furiously at everything on the Atlantic Ocean. The Force 3 hurricane takes down four schooners and claims the lives of 184 fishermen off the coast of Sable Island. 

September 15: Canada is elected to a Council Seat at the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

September 15: The Alberta legislature has restricted public travelling of children in a bid to stop the spread of infantile paralysis. The mysterious disease has killed 11 children and forced another 77 into quarantine in the past three weeks.

October 9: Nearly a thousand of them left Canada nine years ago for a new life in Paraguay and now the Mennonites have returned to Winnipeg. Life is better in the Dominion.

November 3: Harrison McCain is born in Florenceville, New Brunswick. He will grow up and figure out how to freeze French fries. Along with his brothers he will co-found McCain Foods, building the company into the world’s largest French fry company with 55 factories dotting the globe. Harrison will die of kidney failure in 2004.

November 7: The New Orpheum Theatre--at 884 Granville Street in Vancouver--opens today. It is the largest theatre in the country, seating 3,000 patrons. The building cost $1.25 million. It will be a Famous Players movie house until 1969. When it is renovated and restored in 1977, the landmark building will become home to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

 November 8: Peter Munk is born in Budapest, Hungary. He will grow up to found the Clairtone Corporation, maker of Canada’s finest stereo equipment and televisions. Clairtone products were used in the movie, The Graduate. Munk will donate $37 million to the Toronto General Hospital in 2006. 

 November 18: Cyril Knowlton Nash is born in Toronto. He will grow up to be a CBC reporter and will read The National from 1978 to 1988 when he will step down so that Peter Mansbridge can have the job.  In 2006 Parkinson’s will have affected the Order of Canada recipient’s ability speak.

November 26: The Ottawa Senators skate past the Boston Bruins to take the Stanley Cup in a best-of-three series. The score is 3 to 1. It's the Senators' fourth win but they won't be in another Stanley Cup playoff until 2007.

November 26: Ernie Coombs is born in Lewiston, Maine. He will grow up to be loved by millions of children who will know him as Mr. Dressup. With the Tickle Trunk and friends Casey and Finnigan, Mr. Dressup will be the longest running TV programme in CBC history. Ernie will die of a stroke in 2001 but he will be seen every night for years to come because as CBC television stations sign off the air each night with O Canada, they show a clip of Mr. Dressup painting a map of Canada.

The Southam empire is built on newspapers.

December 7: The Southam family incorporates the Southam Publishing Company to consolidate its wide and varied publishing interests.

December 12: A papal bull is published by the Vatican. It decrees that the University of Montreal is now completely separate and autonomous from Laval University in Quebec City.

 December 13: Christopher Plummer is born in Toronto. A great-grandson of Prime Minister Sir John Abbott, Christopher will grow up to become a famous actor appearing in more than 100 movies including The Sound of Music, Malcolm X and Delores Claiborne. In 2006 the knighted, two-time Emmy and Tony winner will receive an honourary doctorate from McGill University.

December 18: Romeo LeBlanc is born in Memramcook, New Brunswick. He will be a reporter for Radio-Canada, be a Member of Parliament and be appointed to the Senate before accepting the position of Governor General in 1985—the first Maritimer and first Acadian to hold the prestigious Vice-Regal post.

December 19: Verna Margeurite Osburne is born in Moncton. Marg will grow up to be a popular country, folk and gospel singer—part of Don Messer’s Islanders for many years. She will collapse on stage at a concert and die at the age of 49 in 1977.

December 31: His Majesty’s Royal Canadian Mail has seen airmail service spread throughout the country. Notable routes are Moncton-Magdalene Islands; Moncton-Charlottetown; Leamington-Pelee Island; Murray Bay-Anticosti Island and Rolling Port-Red Lake.

In 2014, 90% of all Canadians will live with fifteen minutes of a Canadian Tire Store.
-- Hamilton Tire and Rubber Limited changes its name to Canadian Tire Corporation. The founders choose the name because, “it sounded big.” The three stores will grow to be a nationwide concern earning more than $6 million in 2006.

-- Homogenized milk is sold for the first time in North America. Ottawa is the test site and the results are highly successful.

Workers at Chrysler Canada in Windsor built 13,563 cars in 1927, including 2,920 Chryslers for export throughout the British Empire. A total of 761 Model 70 (shown) Chryslers were produced before being replaced with Model 72 in August.