Wednesday, November 6, 2013


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1966--

With a list price of $5,997 before taxes, for the coupe, the imported, fibreglass-bodied 1966 Chevrolet Corvette will find 365 buyers during the calendar year. 

January 1: The Canada Pension Plan and the Quebec Pension plan go into effect. As of today, workers will contribute 1.8 percent of their paycheques into the retirement scheme until they turn 70. Employers will contribute 3 percent.

February 1: A Canadair spokesman tells the press that the Montreal-based firm intends to build an amphibious aircraft specifically designed to fight forest fires. Production of the CL-215 will begin immediately.

March 4: The worst blizzard in history shuts down the entire city of Winnipeg. Schools are closed. For the first time ever, so is the Winnipeg Grain Exchange. Thousands of people are stranded downtown, 1,482 taking shelter at Eaton’s and another 300 in the Hudson Bay Store. Police call on the services of folks who own snowmobiles and four-wheel drive vehicles to help handle emergencies during “Operation Snowbound.”

March 4: Tory MPs in Ottawa no doubt wish a blizzard would shut down the House of Commons as the Liberals break a juicy sex scandal swept under the carpet by the previous Diefenbaker government. Beautiful East German call girl Gerda Munsinger freely admits to gathering sensitive material from numerous Canadian government officials during pillow talk but denies she is spying on Canada.

A Canadian Pacific Airlines DC-8.

March 4: A Canadian Pacific Airlines DC-8 strikes the approach lights and the seawall upon attempting to land at Tokyo International Airport. Of the 72 on board, only eight passengers survive the crash.

March 4: Studebaker announces it will close the Hamilton, Ontario factory and cease automobile manufacture.

March 10: Ottawa lays out the rules as to how American companies who operate in Canada are expected to conduct business.

March 12: Chicago Blackhawk Bobby Hull breaks Maurice Richard’s NHL record by scoring his 51st goal in a single season.

The last Studebaker ever built is on exhibit at the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana.

March 17: It is the end of the road for Studebaker. The lights go out on 117 years of transportation history as the last Studebaker rolls out the doors of the Hamilton, Ontario factory. The honour falls to Serial #C534654, a Timberline Turquoise Cruiser V-8. Only 8,864 Studebakers were built during the abbreviated 1966 model year.

March 27: Using a Black Brant rocket, the National Research Council launches a 158-kilo instrument package into space from Churchill Research Range in northern Manitoba. The purpose of the exercise is to learn more about the aurora borealis.

Dow was the most popular brand of beer in Quebec for many years.
March 29: The Dow Brewery in Quebec City dumps 4,546,000 litres of beer into the St. Lawrence River after 16 people die from drinking the poisoned brew.  Nine more people will die. The beer will be reformulated without cobalt sulfate but the damage is done and the Dow Beer brand of suds will die a slow death itself.

Stanislaus Lacroix was hanged until dead on March 21st, 1902, in Hull, Quebec.
April 5: In the House of Commons, MPs vote to retain capital punishment. The last hangings were in 1962 and all death sentences since then have been deferred indefinitely.

April 5: Officials from Canada and the China ink a three-year deal that will see $550 million worth of wheat shipped to the People’s Republic.

Bell Island iron ore pier c. 1900.

April 19:  The longest, continuously operating mining operation in Canada is closed. The iron ore mines on Bell Island, Newfoundland have been worked for 71 years.  Stretching five kilometres under the sea, nearly 79 million tonnes of iron ore have been extracted and shipped to Holland, West Germany, Belgium and the United States.

April 20: Celebrated painter Alex Coleville wins the $9,000 design competition to create coins for the upcoming Centennial Year.

May 5: The Montreal Canadiens take home with the Stanley Cup. The Habs whip the Detroit Red Wings, four games to two.

May 9: Civil servants in Quebec walk off the job.  They want better pay.  They won’t go back to work until July 29.

Parliament Hill.
May 18: Paul-Joseph Chartier is dead in Ottawa at the age of 45. The Alberta native is blown up in a washroom in the Centre Block of Parliament by a homemade bomb he intended to throw at MPs  from the Visitors’ Gallery into the House of Commons.

May 23: It’s the birth date of Gary Roberts in Toronto. He will grow up to be a left wing for the Calgary Flames and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

June 1: The first domestic colour television broadcast is transmitted by CFTO in Toronto, a CTV affiliate.
The Presbyterian Church in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick was consecrated in 1818.

June 5: The Presbyterian Church of Canada, a.k.a. the Church of Scotland, ordains its first women clergy.

June 11: David Bailey becomes the first Canadian to break four-minute mile (3:59.1) at a track in San Diego, California. Next year, on July the 23rd, he will beat his own record in his hometown of Toronto when he finishes the race with a time of 3.57.7.

June 13: Longshoremen in Quebec return to work after a 39-day strike. They will receive a pay hike of 34 percent.

June 18: It’s a boy for Dewey and Neva Browning. Son Kurt is born in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. He will grow up to be one of the world’s best figure skaters and enter the Guinness Book of World Records in 1988 for the first quadruple jump. Browning will be inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and Canada’s Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

June 21: Dr. John McCrae’s birthplace is designated as a national historic site in Guelph, Ontario. He was the author of the immortal World War One poem, In Flanders Fields, penned only days before his death.

June 26: Kirk McLean is born in Toronto. He will play for the Vancouver Canucks, the Caroline Hurricanes, the Florida Panthers and end his career with the New York Rangers. His post-player career will be to provide colour commentary for the pay-per-view games aired by the Canucks.

This is the new symbol for the CBC and Radio-Canada.

October 1: Parliament has voted the funds and the CBC makes history as it broadcasts its first network programmes in full colour.

October 6: Hydro Quebec and the British Newfoundland Corporation (Brinco) announce they will co-operate to undertake the largest hydroelectric project on earth. Brinco will spend $600 million to develop Churchill Falls in Labrador and Hydro Quebec will spend $350 million to build power lines for distribution throughout Quebec. The Crown corporation will also sell hydro to the northeastern United States.

October 14: The City of Montreal opens its underground subway system. Today it is free to ride.  The ultra-sophisticated, super quiet Metro is the first subway in the world to roll on rubber tires. Steel wheels won’t do; the track grades going under the St. Lawrence River are too steep. Dirt from the tunnels is used to create the artificial islands in the St. Lawrence River that will be the site of the World’s Fair, Expo ’67, next year.

Records show that 6,500 Chevrolet Corvairs were built in Oshawa, Ontario, including 211 Corsa convertibles.

November: General Motors Canada Limited begins shipping duty-free vehicles to the United States under the rules of AutoPact.

November 18: Say ‘goodbye’ to the fish sticks! As of today, Roman Catholics may eat red meat on Fridays. The proclamation is made by the National Association of Catholic Bishops.

November 26: The Ottawa Rough Riders are downed by the Saskatchewan Rough Riders for the Grey Cup at the Empire Stadium in Vancouver. Final score is 29 to 14.

December 1: Larry Kenneth Robert Walker is born in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. The kid will grow up to play ball for the Montreal Expos, the Colorado Rockies and the St. Louis Cardinals. The homegrown Boy of Summer will be voted the National League’s MVP in 1997.

December 8: Provincial legislators in Regina vote to phase out equalization payments from Ottawa over the next five years because Saskatchewan is no longer a “have not” province. In Ottawa, final reading is given to a bill that will create a universal, government-funded medical programme for all Canadians. The scheme will take effect on July 1, 1968.

December 21: It’s a boy for actor Donald Sutherland and his wife Shirley Douglas. Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus is born in London, UK where his parents both have acting gigs. Keifer's grandfather is NDP Leader Tommy Douglas. Young Sutherland will grow up to be an actor in his own right, appearing in more than 50 movies. He will be the star of the hit TV show 24, seen on Global.

December 31: Thousands of onlookers glow with pride as Prime Minister Pearson lights the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill to kick off the nation’s 100th birthday celebrations.

The 1966 Chevrolet Biscayne.

December 31: Sales are off 1.8 percent from last year’s all time high and the auto market continues to fragment. The Top Ten selling nameplates this calendar year are the Chevrolet Biscayne and Bel Air; the Pontiac Laurentian and Strato-Chief; in third spot are the Pontiac Parisienne and imported full-sized Pontiacs; Ford Galaxie 500, XL and LTD claim fourth place; the Chevrolet Impala and Caprice take fifth; Ford Custom and Custom 500 are number six; Chrysler Windsor and 300 claim the number seven spot; Volkswagen’s Beetle is eighth; Valiant (except for Barracuda sales) is number nine and the Dodge Polara and Polara 440 hold down the tenth place.

When equipped with the six-cylinder engine, the 1966 Ford Falcon Futura two-door Sport Coupe sells for $2,807 f.o.b. Oakville, Ontario. Finding favour with 12,464 purchasers, Ford's compact Falcon is the 20th best selling nameplate in 1966. The cars are built in St. Thomas, Ontario.

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