Wednesday, May 15, 2013


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1977-
Dodge Colt was a captive import from Mitsubishi of Japan. Canadians bought 6,131 of the economical little cars in 1977.

January 1: Although there are protests from the United States, Canada’s ocean boundaries are extended to 370 kilometres from 19.8 kilometres. There are quotas for foreign fishing fleets. The law will go a long way to keeping greedy Europeans from overfishing the stocks on the Grand Banks.

January 20: The lowest barometric pressure reading ever taken in the world is recorded in St. Anthony’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The barometer reads 940.2 Hpa.

January 21:  Prime Minister Trudeau proposes to the Premiers that they sit down and find a formula to bring the Constitution home. The British North America Act has been kept in London since Confederation.

January 25: Quebec Premier Rene Levesque tells 1,600 people gathered at the Economic Club of New York it is inevitable that Quebec will separate from Canada. He compares the split to that of the 13 unhappy colonies who left Britain in 1776.

February 6: The Premier of Quebec is involved in a scandal when he hits and kills a homeless man. To compound matters, he has been drinking and is out late with a woman he is not married to.

February 10:  Eaton Centre opens in Toronto. The glitzy, six-storey building with the glass ceiling covers two whole blocks of prime real estate in the city’s downtown core. The breathtakingly beautiful retail centre will draw 50 million visitors annually by 2005.

February 22: Pierre Elliot Trudeau becomes the first Canadian Prime Minister to address a joint session of the US Congress. He tells the Americans that Quebec will not separate from the nation.

February 27: The Mounties raid rocker Keith Richards’ hotel suite in Toronto and bust him for possession of cocaine and heroin.

February 28: There’s a new Crown corporation as Ottawa rescues money losing CN Rail and CP Rail passenger services from the parent companies. VIA Rail will have to earn its keep by making money and starts by renting track from its old owners.

March 9: Health and Welfare Canada bans saccharin from foods, cosmetics, and drugs because lab rats that ate the sugar substitute developed cancer.

March 16: David Steinberg hosts the Juno Awards at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Patsy Gallant and Burton Cummings win Junos as male and female vocalists of the year. Gordon Lightfoot wins a Juno as composer of the year for his hit ballad, The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald. Best Album Juno goes to Andre Gagnon for Neiges and Sweeny Todd wins a Juno for best single, Roxy Roller.

March 24: The PM tells students that if they don’t like the job climate here at home, they should move elsewhere. Many do.

March 31: Statistics Canada reports March unemployment figures at 90,000, or 8.1 percent of the labour pool. This is the highest figure since stats were first recorded in 1953.

April 2: After being closed for a two-year restoration and renovation, The Orpheum Theatre, at 884 Granville Street, in Vancouver reopens. The former movie palace is now the permanent home for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

April 5: A survey conducted at the Osgoode Hall Law School reveals that 70 percent of the students have smoked marijuana.

April 7: Peanuts and popcorn and crackerjack are on the menu as the Toronto Blue Jays play their first game ever. In true national spirit, they whip the White Sox 11 to 5--in a yup--snowstorm.

Katherin Isabelle and Emily Perkins
May 4: Emily Jean Perkins is born in Vancouver. She will grow up to be a movie and television star. She will be seen in movies like Ginger Snap, It and the popular, long-running CBC drama DaVinci’s Inquest.

Adams will serve as a Senator from 1977 to 2009.

May 5: Willie Adams is the first Inuit leader to become a Senator. He will sit in the Red Chamber as a Liberal and represent Nunavik (Northern Quebec).

May 9: the Mackenzie Valley Inquiry is released. The judge concludes that building the pipeline to take Alaskan oil to US markets would mean for an extremely strong American presence on Canadian soil.

Serge Savard and Yvon Cornoyer with the Stanley Cup.

May 14: The Canadiens trounce the Boston Bruins four to zip for the Stanley Cup.

May 27: After six years of marriage, Pierre and Margaret Trudeau separate. The PM is 57; his wife is 28. Rumour has it that the age difference is the main reason for the breakup. He will have custody of their three sons but Margaret will have “generous access to them.”

May 31: The Canadian Wheat Board sells 3 million tonnes of wheat to the People’s Republic of China. The deal is worth $330 million.

June: Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II begins a 25th year Jubilee Tour of the nation.

June 2: Members of the National Assembly in Quebec City raise the province’s minimum wage from $3 an hour to $3.15 an hour—making it the highest in the country.

June 8: Gilbert Labine is dead in Toronto at the age of 87. He was the prospector who discovered uranium in the NWT in the 1930s and Saskatchewan in the 1950s. Made a member of the Order of the British Empire in 1946 and receiving the Order of Canada in 1969, Gilbert will be remembered as the father of our nation’s uranium industry.

June 11: Electoral boundary changes will increase the number of seats in House of Commons by 18 to a total of 282 the next time a general election is called.

June 21: A blaze at the Saint John, New Brunswick city jail kills 21 prisoners and injures another seven, as well as six police officers and a fireman. It will be determined that the fire was set in a padded maximum-security cell. The one surviving prisoner, John Kenney. will be convicted of arson and sentenced to five years behind bars.

June 24: André-Gilles Fortin is killed when his car plunges into a river at approximately three o’clock in the morning near Drummondville. It is believed he fell asleep at the wheel while driving from Quebec City to Montreal. The 33-year old leader of the Social Credit Party had only been on the job eight months when he died.  He leaves behind a wife and two young children.

June 30: The Buchans Railway makes its last run. The mine has played out in the central Newfoundland town and the company that owns it abandons the rail line after 49 years of service.

July 16: Verna Margeurite  Osburne collapses on stage at a concert in Rocklyn, Ontario. Marg will die on the way to hospital. The popular country, folk and gospel singer has been a member of Don Messer's Islanders since 1947. She was 49.

August 26: The contentious Bill 101 is now Law 101 as the National Assembly passes The Charter of the French Language in Quebec City. Francophones outside of Quebec are told they will have to fend for themselves.

September 6: Canadians are metrified.  Kilometres replace miles on highway signs across the nation. Well, mostly. Quebec and Nova Scotia will hang on to miles for a while longer.

October 18: Lights! Cameras! Mr. Speaker! Question Period in House of Commons is broadcast live on TV. The Tories clap and make the desk-thumping Grits look a bit silly.

October 29: Brendan Jacob Joel Fehr is born in New Westminster, BC. He will grow up in Winnipeg and give acting a shot after high school, quickly earning a place on CSI Miami and Roswell.

November 5: Guy Lombardo is dead at the age of 75. The London, Ontario bandleader has ushered in the New Year to millions around the world since 1929 on network radio and later television with “the sweetest music this side of heaven” and his traditional Auld Lang Syne.

November 27: The Alouettes take on the Edmonton Eskimos for the Grey Cup at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. The football classic is dubbed the Ice Bowl this year because a heavy snowfall turned to ice. The Alouettes draw a record crowd of  68,318 and do not disappoint their loyal fans. Final score for the football classic is 41 to 6 for the Allouettes.

November 15: Tommy Prince, the much-decorated World War Two hero dies at the Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg. Receiving nine medals for bravery, the Native Canadian was part of the famous Devil’s Brigade. A Hollywood movie about the Manitoba sharpshooter and his astonishing role in the invasion of Italy was released in 1968 and another, Tommy Prince: Prince of the Devils, will be released in 2011.

Marriage is in decline; only 187,344 couples tie the knot in 1977. Sales are up for Buick Electra by nearly 1,000 units: 5,386 were delivered during the calendar year.

December 31: Despite the fact that inflation is at an all-time high of 11 percent and the government has instituted wage and price controls, it is the domestic auto industry’s third best year on record. The Top Ten selling automobiles this calendar year are—in order--the full-sized Chevrolet, Honda, Plymouth Volare, Dodge Aspen, Toyota, the full-sized Pontiac, Oldsmobile Cutlass, Chevrolet Malibu, Plymouth Fury and the Chevrolet Nova.

Copyright 1997
to James C. Mays
all rights reserved

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