Sunday, May 5, 2013


Dramatically downsized for 1979, the Oldsmobile Toronado could be powered by diesel or a gasoline V-8 mill. Lumped in with sales for the Olds 98, Canadians buy 8,456 units all told during the calendar year.

January 4: The Federal Department of Transport rules that it is safe for pilots to use French in the air. In fact, studies show that bilingual skies are actually safer than English only.

January 8: It’s the birthday of Sarah Polley. At the age of nine, the Toronto-born actress will star in the highly acclaimed CBC Television series Road to Avonlea.

January 17: Edward Richard Schreyer is sworn in as the nation’s 22nd Governor General. The former Premier of Manitoba will act as the Queen’s representative for the next five years.

January 25: The Pepin-Roberts Task Force on Canadian Unity is released. The report recommends that the federal system be revamped to acknowledge regional diversities and that Quebec be given more power.

February 1: The first ever Winterlude opens in the nation’s capital. Hundreds of thousands of visitors who will skate on the Rideau Canal, build ice and snow sculptures and of course, eat those tasty beaver tails.

February 21: Andre Noble is born in Centreville, Newfoundland. He will grow up to be a TV and movie star before dying after accidentally ingesting monkshood while on a camping trip in 2004. He will be best remembered for his role as Cliff in the 2004 oddball romance “Sugar.”

March 21: Burton Cummings hosts the Juno Awards, held at the Harbour Castle Hilton Convention Centre in Toronto. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau is in the audience, the first PM to ever attend the music awards ceremony. Anne Murray wins a Juno as female vocalist of the year. Gino Vannelli wins a Juno for being male vocalist of the year. Best Album Juno goes to Burton Cummings for Dreams of a Child and Nick Gilder wins single of the year Juno for his hit, Hot Child in the City.

March 22: The World Hockey Association is no more as the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Quebec Nordiques and New England Whalers are folded into the National Hockey League.

April 26: Chief Justice Samuel Freedman of the Manitoba Court of Appeals rules that an $5 Winnipeg parking ticket, printed only in English, is not legal because it contravenes the Manitoba Act of 1870, which declared the province to be bilingual.

May 3: Ice jams cause the Yukon and Klondike Rivers to flood Dawson City. The town is submerged in waters two metres deep, causing $8 million in damage.

May 9: Stumping the country for votes, Prime Minister Trudeau pledges to a crowd of 16,000 enthusiastic supporters in Maple Leaf Gardens that he will bring the British North America Act home from London. The PM reminds those at the rally that we are the only country in the world that cannot amend its own constitution.

May 21: The Habs skate past the Rangers for the Stanley Cup in game number five.
The Right Honourable Charles Joseph Clark is the 16th Prime Minister.

May 22: The voters have spoken and the Grits are out of power. Joe Clark and his Tories will assume power, though it will be a minority government.
Mary Pickford won a Best Actress Oscar for her role as the flirtatious Norma Besant.

May 29: Mary Pickford, America’s Sweetheart, is dead of a stroke at the age of 86. The Toronto native was Hollywood’s first star of the silver screen and co-founder of United Artists.  She was re-granted Canadian citizenship last year.

June 1: Statistics Canada counts noses and says there are 23,671,500 of us spread out from sea to sea to sea.

June 4: Pledging to be loyal to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Charles Joseph Clark is sworn in at Rideau Hall as the nation’s 16th Prime Minister. The youngest man to ever lead the country, he will turn 40 tomorrow.

June 13: Ontario Premier William Davis presses a button that causes an explosion in Maple, Ontario. Two years from now Canada’s Wonderland—the world’s newest theme park—with more than 40 thrill rides—will open.

June 20: The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television receives its charter. It will devote itself to excellence in the domestic film and television industries, taking care of the Juno and Gemini Awards.

June 26: No longer private and company-owned, citizens who live in the mining town of Buchans, in central Newfoundland are now residents of a duly incorporated town under the laws of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Acid rain kills forests.

July 13: The Environment Minister tells Parliament that there is so much sulphur dioxide polluting the air that “acid” rain will destroy the nation’s crops and forests in 15 years if levels are not reduced.

July 16: Residents of Point au Gaul, Newfoundland wake up to discover that 200 pilot whales have beached themselves along the shore. No one knows why. Folks try to get them back into the deeper water by tying them to rowboats but without success. Some 135 whales will die—most of them pregnant females.

July 18: Canada will accept 50,000 Vietnamese refugees and another 50,000 may be sponsored privately.

August 3: Evangeline Lilly is born in Ft. Saskatchewan, Alberta. She will grow up to be a missionary before becoming a model, and then an actress and starring in the hit television show Lost seen on ABC and CTV.

August 7:  Eric Johan Johnson is born in Edmonton. When he grows up he will be an actor starring in the TV series Smallville and Flash Gordon.

August 16: The Right Honourable John George Diefenbaker is dead at the age of 83. He was found in his study at 7 AM this morning, parliamentary papers in hand, as he prepared for the daily session on the Hill. Diefenbaker was Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963.

August 18: Fulfilling the late Prime Minister Diefenbaker's 1959 pledge to open up the Arctic, the Dempster Highway opens. The 645-kilometre surfaced road runs from Dawson City, Yukon to Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

September 6: In Winnipeg, the Royal Canadian Mint releases its first ever gold bullion $50 coin. To stimulate gold mining in the country, a total of 5 million will be struck. Queen Elizabeth appears on the obverse side, a maple leaf on the reverse side of the coin.

September 8: The Bank of Canada rate is now 12.25 percent. The all-time high does not please Finance Minister John Crosbie but the Tory government is not in a position to complain about the anti-inflationary measure. Today marks the ninth hike rate since March 1978.
Fiona Reid and Al Waxman star in The King of Kensington on the CBC.

September 13: Prime time television viewing this Thursday night includes The Brady Bunch, The Beverly Hillbillies, King of Kensington, The Muppet Show, Charlie’s Angels and Canadian Stars.
Simpsons-Sears store in the Polo Park Centre in Winnipeg.

September 19: Simpson-Sears is having a Kenmore microwave sale. They range in price from $899.98 for Sears Best with all the bells and whistles down to only $399.98 for the economy model with the defrost feature.

September 25: Windsor, Ontario is home to a new kind of fast food restaurant chain. Well-known in the United States, Taco Bell now serves Mexican fast food to Canadians. This store will be the first in what the company expects will be a 1,000-store chain stretching from St. John’s to Victoria.

September 25: This is the last day one will ever buy a copy of the Montreal Star. After 110 years on the market, the newspaper prints its final edition.

October 7: It’s twins! Shawn and Aaron Ashmore are born in Richmond, British Columbia. The boys will grow up to be actors, appearing in numerous television shows and movies.
October 23: Not just for Torontonians anymore, satellite signals feed local presses from coast to coast to make the Globe & Mail Canada’s National Newspaper.

October 27: Quebec Premier Rene Levesque flips a switch and electricity begins flowing from the James Bay Hydro-Electric Dam to southern markets. The$1.5 billion project will generate as much hydro as 16 nuclear plants.
November 16: Six days after a CP Rail car jumped the tracks and spilled toxic chlorine, the 250,000 evacuated residents of Mississauga, Ontario are allowed to return home. Business owners in the affluent Toronto suburb estimate they have lost $40 million worth of revenue during the evacuation.

November 25: The Montreal Alouettes lose the Grey Cup to the Edmonton Eskimos. Final score for the Fall Classic is 17-9.

December 13: In a vote of non-confidence, the Clark government falls. Like it or not, voters will trudge through ice and snow for a winter election.

December 15: Good friends Scott Abbot and Chris Haney sit around in Montreal this cold winter evening and dream up a clever game called Trivial Pursuit. The question and answer board game will hit the market in 1982 and sell more than 88 million copies in 26 countries and 17 languages by the end of 2004.

December 18: Pierre Trudeau tells the press he will not retire as planned but lead the Grits to victory in the upcoming election.

December 19: Donald Creighton is dead at the age of 77 of cancer. The noted historian wrote many books on the history of Canada and its place in the British Empire.

December 20: The Parti Quebecois unveils the wording of its sovereignty-association referendum question. It takes the form of a four-paragraph question. The Opposition calls it “unfair.”

Despite the rising Deutsch Mark in 1979, West Germany’s Volkswagen takes the Number Nine spot in domestic sales. Only a handful of Volkswagen Beetle convertibles are sold.

December 30: The Top Ten selling automobiles during the calendar year are the full-sized Chevrolet, the Chevrolet Malibu, the full-sized Pontiac, the Oldsmobile Cutlass, Honda, the Chevrolet Chevette, the Ford LTD, the Pontiac LeMans , Volkswagen and Plymouth Volare.

December 31: A horrific fire at a night club in Chaplais, Quebec kills 48 at a New Year’s Eve party.  The Crown will charge a man who was seen deliberately setting Christmas decorations on fire with a cigarette lighter.

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