Monday, January 29, 2018


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1906-

January 1: The nation’s first movie theatre opens. With seats for 500 patrons, the  Ouimetoscope is located in Montréal at the corner of Ste-Catherine and Montcalm.

January 24: The 1,598-tonne iron-hulled passenger steamer SS Valencia strikes a reef in sight of land near Pachenea Point and sinks off the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, taking 136 lives with her. In 1933 the passenger ship’s lifeboat number five will be discovered in good condition—floating in Barkley Sound.

January 27: Farmers in Saskatchewan found the Grain Growers' Grain Company in the town of Sintalulta. The cooperative will do its best to promote fair trade. Stocks are listed at $25 and there are plans to buy a seat on the Winnipeg Stock Exchange.

The Basilica, Mary Queen of the World, was built in 1852. It is one-third size replica of St. Peter's in Rome.

February 18: The Archbishop of Montréal demands that Roman Catholics refrain from attending horse racing events, baseball games, concerts and secular performances on the Sabbath.

February 23:  Boxer Tommy Burns wins the World Heavyweight Championship in Los Angeles. Born near Hanover, Ontario, the boxer accidentally started his career by punching out a second mate while working on a ship.

February 25: The first ever automobile show opens its doors in Toronto at the Armouries.

The 1906 Ford Model N. There are 41 automobiles registered in Alberta.
March – H.W. White follows the 333-kilometre trail from Edmonton to Calgary in his new Ford. The trip takes only two days.

March 8: Parliament convenes. During this second session of the 10th Parliament, MPs will pass The Lord’s Day Observance Act banning work and many secular activities on Sunday. 

March 9: Coalminers in Lethbridge, Alberta walk off the job. They want better working conditions. The colliers will stay off the job until December 2nd.

The Desjardins Credit Union will have more than 7 million members in 2017.
March 9: The Québec National Assembly recognizes credit unions as legitimate banking institutions. 

March 16: The Alberta legislature sits for the first time. Business will be conducted in The Thistle curling rink until the new building is complete.

March 17: The Montréal Wanderers whip the Ottawa Silver Seven to win this year's Stanley Cup.

April 2: The first ever session of the Saskatchewan legislature opens in Regina.

April 9: Folks who live in the “Gateway to the West” are glad to learn the strike against the Winnipeg Electric Railway Company is over. The engineers and motormen have accepted a 10-hour workday and a pay increase.

Torchy Peden in 1929.

April 16: William Peden is born in Victoria, British Columbia. Because of his flame-red hair he’ll be known as ‘Torchy’ and become the world’s most famous bicycle racer. At a time when hockey players earn $10,000, Torchy's annual earnings will exceed $50,000.

April 21: Montréalers catch the horseless carriage bug. Many shell out 25 cents to attend the first automobile salon and the exhibition is a resounding success.

1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

April 23: The Alberta Legislature sets the provincial speed limit at 16 kilometres per hour within city limits and 32 kilometres per hour in the country.

April 30: The Ottawa Public Library opens. Millionaire Andrew Carnegie donates $100,000 to the city for building the facility because citizens have pledged to raise $7,500 a year for its operational costs. 

March 31: King Edward VII grants a coat of arms to the province of British Columbia.

May 1: It’s gold for Canada as William Sherring of Hamilton, Ontario wins the Marathon at the Olympic Games in Athens.

May 8: American stagecoach robber Ezra “Bill” Miner holds up a CPR train near Kamloops, BC. He nets only $15 for the caper. The legendary crook, who originated the phrase, “Hands up!” will be captured a few days later, then escape from the prison in New Westminster, BC. The Gentleman Robber’s story is told in the movie,  The Grey Fox.

May 8: The University of Alberta receives its charter. Students will receive their first degrees from the institution in 1912. At the start of the 21st Century, the UofA will be the fifth largest university in the country.

May 9: Taxpayers may grumble but federal Members of Parliament vote to keep their salaries at the new rate of $483 a month. The primary argument is that a high wage is required to attract good candidates to public office.

May 14: Ontarians are about to be shocked into the 20th Century as the Hydro-Electric Commission of Ontario is established as a Crown corporation. The first goal is to generate power from Niagara Falls.

May 19: Gabriel Dumont dies peacefully at the age of 68 on his farm, near Batoche, Saskatchewan. The military strategist and Métis leader was Louis Riel’s right-hand man during the Northwest Rebellion.

City Hall will be completed next year.

May 23: It’s official—Regina is named the capital of Saskatchewan. Work is underway already to build a city hall and a provincial legislature. The Queen City will be a hub of commerce, growing to 192,000 in population in 2015. 

Downtown Saskatoon. The city is home 4,500 people.

May 26: With a population of 4,500 people, the villages of Nutana, Riversdale and Saskatoon are incorporated as the City of Saskatoon. The “Paris of the Praries” will grow to be home to more than 200,000 Saskatonians in the 21st Century.

May 26: Residents of Saskatchewan must pay $10 to the Provincial Secretary to license their automobiles. They must also make their own license plates until 1912.

July 5: Lift a pint before midnight as the alcohol taps will be turned off everywhere on Prince Edward Island, where citizens in all three counties have voted to “be dry.” PEI is the first province to embrace the temperance message and ban booze.

July 8: Lord’s Day Act or not, the City of Winnipeg has decided to operate its streetcars on Sundays, despite protests from the churches. 

July 11: It has taken nearly 20 years of lobbying but the Lord’s Day Act is now a national law. Canadians are required to refrain from labour and frivolous amusements from midnight Saturday night until midnight Sunday night.  It is illegal to shop, hunt, have a beer or even go to a movie.  The law will be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1985.

The posh 1906 Ford Model K had a six-cylinder engine.

August 2: The first Ford cars are boxed at the plant in Windsor, Ontario and shipped to Australia. 

August 24: Organizers of “harvest excursion trains” that traditionally carry unemployed Cape Breton labourers to work in Prairie wheat fields are having little success in filling their quotas this year. The collieries are in a boom period and hiring every able-bodied man willing to go down in the mines.

August 26:  By Royal Warrant, King Edward VII grants the Coat of Arms of Saskatchewan.

The Gjoa registers 45-tonnes.

August 30: Explorer Roald Amundsun of Norway along with his crew of six arrive in Point Barrow, Alaska. It has taken them three years to make the journey but Captain Amundsun is the first to pilot a ship through the Northwest Passage.

October 30: There won’t be much trick-or-treat fun in Kent County, New Brunswick with more than 100 cases of small pox spread throughout the area. All of those affected are under quarantine. 

Canadian communications pioneer Reginald Fessenden poses for the camera at his first broadcasting studio.

Christmas Eve: Reginald Fessenden makes the first radio broadcast in world history. by playing music and speaking. It will take another 13 years before the world’s first radio station opens in Montréal. 

1906 Locomobile Model H.
December 31: St. John’s City Council has been made responsible for motor vehicle registrations in the Dominion of Newfoundland. Annual fees are $12 for a car with less than ten horsepower, $12 for a car with ten to 20 horsepower, $18 plus 50c for a car with more than 60 horsepower and $38 plus 75c for each horsepower rating more than 60. 

1906 Ford Model N.

December 31:  Workers at the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited in Windsor, Ontario have built 101 vehicles—76 for export throughout the Empire and 25 sold domestically.

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