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.

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