Tuesday, December 31, 2013


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1959--

Canadians will  buy 26,670 Volkswagen Beetles in 1959.

January 8: Despite the fact that Poland is a Communist country, Ottawa will return to Warsaw priceless artifacts that were smuggled to Canada for safekeeping during World War Two. The items include the first Gutenburg Bible and many original musical scores by composer Chopin. 

February 20: Prime Minister Diefenbaker announces that his government is pulling the plug on development of the Avro CF-105 Arrow jet fighter program. Cancellation of the world’s most advanced airplane throws 13,800 people out of work and puts the economy into a recession. The PM says that defending the country with nuclear-tipped missiles is more cost effective. 

February 23: No longer isolated from the rest of the country, folks in Goose Bay and for many kilometres around that Labrador town now have the CBC. Listeners can tune in to 1340 on their radio dials to CFGB. The station will pick up network programming from the powerful, worldwide Radio Canada International Service transmitter in Sackville, New Brunswick.

March 10: The International Woodworkers of America are on strike against the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company in Badger. The union wants want a 25-cent an hour wage increase, the workweek shortened to 54 hours and better food in the camps, among other things. Legislators in the House of Assembly de-certify the union and send police to roust them from the picket lines. The ensuing confrontation results in the death of 24-year old Constable William Moss. 

March: Studebaker’s compact Lark is so popular with consumers that production schedules have been increased by 50 percent to 48 cars a day. A spokesman for the Hamilton, Ontario company announces that it will hire 100 new employees. The thrifty little car has a modest starting price of $2,100.40.

March 26: York University receives its incorporation papers from the Government of Ontario. The non-denominational, co-educational institution will grow to be the third largest in the nation by 2004.

March 31: The banquet hall in St. John’s is empty; the 500 invited guests have been told to stay home; there will be no public celebration of the tenth anniversary of Newfoundland joining Confederation. Relations between Premier Joey Smallwood and PM Diefenbaker are bitter and have deteriorated to the point that the Newfoundland Premier tells reporters bluntly, “There’s nothing to celebrate.”  
This stamp commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first flight of Alexander Graham Bell's Silver Dart in Nova Scotia, the first flight in the British Empire
April 1: The fiscal year has ended and the Postmaster General will have to rise in the House of Commons to report that Her Majesty’s Royal Canadian Mail has recorded a deficit of $173,142.

April 22: Catherine Mary Stewart is born in Edmonton. She will grow up to be a soap star best known for her role as Nurse Kayla Brady in Days of Our Lives.

May 29: The CBC now broadcasts to folks in and around Hay River, NWT. Part of the new Northern Service, listeners will hear the best of the Trans-Canada and the Dominion network programs broadcast in southern Canada. The CBC now reaches 96 percent of all Canadians no matter where we live. 

May: Employees want a share of the good times at Studebaker Canada. When negotiations fail, 450 workers lay down their tools. They will stay out on strike for 25 days and production of 2,100 cars will be lost. 

May 1: Streetcars are replaced by buses in the nation’s capital. This one is seen on Sparks Street.

May 3: Mother Marguerite d'Youville, founder of the Sisters of Charity, a.k.a. the Grey Nuns, is the first Canadian to be beatified by the Vatican. She will become a saint when Pope John Paul canonizes her on Dec. 9, 1990.

May 27: More than 10,000 spectators gather in Outlook, Saskatchewan for a ceremony to inaugurate the building a dam across the South Saskatchewan River. Prime Minister Diefenbaker pushes a button that sets off 500 kilos of dynamite. When finished in 1967, the project will irrigate more than 200,000 hectares of land at a cost of $185 million. 

June: The CBC Television microwave relay towers between Sydney, Nova Scotia and St. John’s, Newfoundland are operational. Now the country is linked with live feed from coast to coast.  

June 4: Heinz marks its Golden anniversary as a Canadian food producer. The company's two most popular products are ketchup and Junior baby food.

June 6: A tornado destroys a garage in the village of La Salle, Manitoba but doesn’t damage the car parked inside. 

June 12: Scott Thompson is born in North Bay, Ontario. He will grow up to become a comedian and actor, best known for his zany roles on the CBC’s legendary TV show, Kids in the Hall.

June 18: Queen Elizabeth 11 and Prince Phillip arrive in Torbay, Newfoundland. This will be the first of their 45-day visit across the Dominion. 
The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway is a 3,700-kilometre long maritime route dubbed "Highway H20."

June 26: the St. Lawrence Seaway opens officially as the royal yacht Britannia passes through the locks at St. Lambert, Quebec. Fireworks, balloons and hundreds of tiny Union Jacks, Red Ensigns and American flags fall out of the sky into the cheering crowd.  On board the royal yacht are Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Diefenbaker and US President Dwight Eisenhower.

June 29:  North America's first three-digit emergency telephone system is introduced in Winnipeg. There are eight Emergency Telephone Operators who answer when distraught citizens dial 999. Women are hired because the budget cannot afford to pay men ($200 vs. $345 a month). Canada will change its three-digit emergency number to 911 in 1972.

July 11: Rick Mauran owns a burger joint in Richmond Hill, Ontario. He chooses the name “Harvey’s” for his shop when a used car dealer on the Danforth in Toronto sells him the sign because he is going out of business. In 2009 Harvey’s will sell nearly $300 million in hamburgers from coast to coast—except Newfoundland and Saskatchewan-- have 7,000 employees and more than 50 million customers a year who know that Harvey’s “makes a hamburger a beautiful thing.”

July 18: The National Energy Board is open for business. The new federal agency will regulate the gas, oil and electricity industries. It will not be popular with Westerners who, in the 1970s, will plaster their vehicles with bumper stickers that read, “To hell with Shell” and “Let those Eastern bastards freeze in the dark.”

As the nation's 19th Governor General, His Excellency represents the Crown.
August 1: Major-General Georges Vanier is appointed to be this country’s second native-born Governor General. Vanier has a long and distinguished military career, was this country’s first Ambassador to France and served as Canada’s delegate to the United Nations when that organization was being founded in 1945.

August 7: You have heard them since 1934 and now you can see them as Don Messer and his Islanders make the jump from CBC Radio to CBC-TV. The folksy Down East music show is second in popularity only to Hockey Night in Canada and will run for a good dozen years. When the Monday night show is unceremoniously yanked off the air in 1969 an outraged public will demand explanations. Questions will be raised by MPs in the House of Commons.
 The newest and smallest member of the Chrysler Canada family is Simca. Imported from Paris, the Simca Super Deluxe carries a $1,995 price tag.
September: It is reported that 33.4 percent of all new car sales in this country are imported. The top ten foreign cars in order of sales are: Vauxhall, Volkswagen, British Ford, Austin, Renault, Morris, Hillman (and Sunbeam), Simca, Standard (and Triumph) and Fiat.

The Vauxhall Victor is GM Canada's captive import from the UK, sold by Pontiac-Buick dealers. The Vauxhall Victor, Velox and Cresta will add 32,419 sales to the new car market.
September: The Top Ten selling automobiles in the country are: Chevrolet, Pontiac, Ford, Meteor, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, Dodge, Oldsmobile, Plymouth and Buick.

Front Page Challenge is a current events quiz show seen on the CBC from 1957 to 1995.
October: Seven years after taking to the airwaves, CBC Television now broadcasts nine hours a day and even longer on Sundays. The Dominion Bureau of Statistics reports that 90 percent of us live within reach of a CBC Television signal. Popular shows on the CBC include Front Page Challenge, Juliette, Music Hall and The Joan Fairfax Show. The Number One TV show across the land is Hockey Night in Canada.

October 3:  The castle doors open on the second season of the TV show The Friendly Giant, who with his friends Rusty and Jerome, will delight millions of kids each weekday for the next 28 years on the CBC. 
This is the last year for the Canada-only Dodge Regent.

November 24: Chrysler Canada is forced to shut down its factories because a steel strike in the US has resulted in parts shortages. The lines will be idled until December 14. Ford, GM and Studebaker will experience slowdowns, too.

December 31: We have made 8,5 billion local phone calls and asked the operator to connect us to long distance another 194 million times this year.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1960--

 January 1: The national nose count, according to the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, adds up to 18,238,000 of us.  Of that number 4.2 million are kids in elementary or high school, 178,991 students are enrolled in vocational schools and 1,002,000 attend universities.

January 2: Paul Sauve, Premier of Quebec, dies in office. The World War Two veteran has served as Premier for only 112 days.

January 12: Oliver Platt is born in Windsor, Ontario. He will grow up to be an actor starring in such films as The Three Musketeers and Bicentennial Man.

January 16: Gordie Howe surpasses Maurice “Rocket” Richard as the leading scorer in NHL history.

February 12: George Elliot Clarke is born in Windsor Plains, Nova Scotia. He will grow up to become an author, poet and playwright who celebrates his African-Canadian heritage. His gripping novel, George and Rue, tells the story of two New Brunswick brothers who murdered a taxi cab driver in 1949.

February 19:  Figure skaters Robert Paul and Barbara Wagner perform flawlessly at  the Olympic Games in Squaw Valley and skate to Olympic gold at the winter games. A minute into their programme they approached the judges and asked to start over because a skip in the record threw them off balance. . All seven judges give the couple first place scores, marking the first time in Olympic history that the gold medal has been awarded to a non-European pair.

February 22: Paul-Emile Borduas has died in Paris of a heart attack at the age of 54. Born in St-Hilaire, Quebec, he was an artist of world renown, known as a member of the Automatiste school of painting.

February 28: Dorothy Hoogstraten is born in Vancouver. She will grow up, change her last name to Stratten and be Playboy magazine’s Playmate of the year for 1980. She will star in two movies before being murdered by her husband at the age of 20. Her life will be made into the movies, Star 80 and Death of a Centrefold. Bryan Adams will pay tribute to her with his songs, Cover Girl and The Best Was Yet to Come.

Voting in a federal election on a reservation in 1960.
March 10: Indians are given the right to vote in federal elections. Most Aboriginals are fearful this is just one more trick to get native Canadians to give up their independent status, granted by Queen Victoria.

March 28: Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario receives its charter. The institution of higher learning will be officially bilingual.

March 29: Pop singer Paul Anka’s Puppy Love hits number one on the Billboard music chart. The smooth, crooning heartthrob hails from Ottawa.

April 4: The CBC launches a new bilingual FM service for listeners in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. It airs weeknights from 7 pm until midnight and from noon to midnight on weekends.

April 14: The Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs four games to zip. The Habs skate home with Lord Stanley’s Cup for the fifth year in a row.

April 24: Folks in Winnipeg have something new they to do; they can warm up their television sets and watch CBWFT, the newest station to sign on as part of the Radio-Canada network.

April 28: John Cerutti is born in Albany, New York. He will grow up to pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays. When he retires he will be a sports broadcaster on the CBC and later Rogers Sportsnet.

April 29: Robert J. Sawyer is born in Ottawa. He will grow up to be a Top Ten science fiction writer. His books will include Hominids and Mindscan.

By 1980 we will consume 18 million kilos of Kraft peanut butter a year.
April 30: Kraft peanut butter appears on supermarket shelves for the first time. The bears on the label are Crunchie and Smoothie. Two years from now Kraft peanut butter will be the number one selling peanut butter in Canada and hold that spot for the next 50 years.

Prime Minister Meighen was our ninth Prime Minister.
June 5: Former Prime Minister Arthur Meighen dies at home at the age of 86. Though PM twice in the 1920s he never held a seat in Parliament. He was appointed to the Senate but came back to lead the Tories in 1941. When he lost yet another time, the Right Honourable member retired from politics for good. He will be buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Mt. Meighen will be named for him in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia as well an island in the Northwest Territories.

July 9: Seven-year old Roger Woodward is swept over Niagara Falls when the 4-metre aluminum boat he is riding in capsizes. Wearing only a swimsuit and a life preserver, he will miraculously live to tell the tale because he is rescued by the captain of The Maid of the Mist.

July 12: New Brunswickers turf out John Flemming’s Conservatives this election day. The Liberals will form the government in Fredericton for the next decade. Louis Robichaud, the new Acadian premier, is on record as being in favour of making the Picture Province officially bilingual.

July 19: Atom Egoyan is born in Egypt. His family will move to Canada when he is three. He will grow up to become a film maker, best known for Exotica and Where the Truth Lies.

July 25:  It is an age of experimentation. The ten premiers and the Prime Minister will meet for the first time in what will become a regular yearly consultation called The First Ministers Conference.

August 10: Prime Minister John Diefenbaker’s Bill of Rights is given royal assent and becomes law. The eloquently simple document spells out the rights of citizens.

August 25: The six-lane wide Second Narrows Bridge is dedicated in Vancouver. Three years in the building, 18 men lost their lives when the centre span collapsed on June 17, 1958.

The Great Slave Highway will become part of the Yellowknife Highway. The 188-kilometre road will be paved in 2006.
September -- The Great Slave Highway opens, connecting Yellowknife with southern Canada. This important artery is part of the federal government’s $150 million Roads to Resources program.

September – Bilingual York University in Toronto is open for classes for the first time as does the bilingual Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario.

Glen Ivey is host of The Nature of Things. David Suzuki will begin to host the show in 1979.
September – Folks with television sets can warm them up and watch a new show on the CBC called The Nature of Things. Other popular programs broadcast on the people’s network are Don Messer’s Jubilee, Juliette and Front Page Challenge.

September 10: The Halifax International Airport opens. Equipped to handle 180,000 passengers a year, the terminal will expand to accommodate 2.9 million visitors by the end of the century. In 2005 the name will be changed to the R.L. Stanfield International Airport, in honour of former Premier and Leader of the Queen’s Loyal Opposition, Robert Lorne Stanfield.

September 21: David William Smith is born in Milton, Ontario. He will grow up, change his name to David James Elliot and become an actor, starring in TV shows like Street Legal, the Untouchables, Melrose Place, JAG and Close to Home.

September 23: Smokers die sooner than non-smokers says a survey released by the federal Ministry of Health. The startling stats were compiled after studying World War One veterans.

October 6: Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s jersey, the immortal Number 9, is retired by the Montreal Canadiens.

Introduced in World War One, Canada War Bonds will become Canada Savings Bonds in 1946.
October 11: It’s time to buy Canada Savings Bonds. Interest this year is 4.71 percent and the maximum limit has been raised to $10,000 per person.

October 24: Jean Drapeau bests Sarto Fournier at the polls to become Mayor of Montreal. Drapeau had been mayor from 1954 to 1957. His Worship promises clean government and a subway system. The 37-year old visionary will preside over City Hall for 29 years, outlasting nine premiers in Quebec City and seven Prime Ministers in Ottawa.

October 25: Eight women and one man are killed and another 81 people injured when an explosion rips through the Metropolitan Department store in Windsor, Ontario at 2.10 in the afternoon. Investigators will lay the blame on a leaky gas furnace.

November 2: The National Theatre opens in Montreal. Founded by Michel St-Denis, the school offers degrees in French and English. For more than fifty years, the school's alumni are a genuine Who’s Who in the world of performing arts.

November 5: Mack Sennett has died at the age of 80 in his Hollywood Hills, California home. “The King of Comedy” was born in Richmond, Quebec. He moved to Hollywood. He acted but was better known as the founder of the Keystone Studio and producer of more than 1,000 silent films and 25 talkies. He received an Oscar in 1938 for his slaptick comedy technique.

November 27: Prime Minister Diefenbaker attends the 11th annual Grey Cup match at the Empire Stadium in Vancouver.  The Edmonton Eskimos lose the Grey Cup to the Ottawa Rough Riders. The final score is 16 to 6. The game has to be cut short because fans flood the icy field only 41 seconds before the end of the period. Edmonton won't be in another playoff until 1973.

December 6: A Danish teenager is the two-millionth immigrant to arrive in the country since the end of World War Two. One out of every nine people living in Canada today is a post-war immigrant.

December 9: Canadian and Cuban trade officials meet and do business in Ottawa. The $15 million worth of goods that Cuba buys from Canada is expected to jump tenfold now that the Americans have adopted a trade embargo against the Caribbean nation.

December 15: Dorval International Airport has a new name and a $30-million terminal to go with it. The revamped airport is officially opened as a Trans-Canada Air Vanguard touches down on the freshly paved landing field. Dorval is called “the best airport in the world.” Many complain it’s too large to be any good. The airport will be renamed in honour of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 2004.

Homegrown in 1961, the Rambler Classic 6 Super four-door sedan sells for $2,833 and the Classic 8 Super four-door sedan costs $2,995, fob Brampton, Ontario.

December 24:  Studebaker, Ford, Chrysler and GM all take notice as the first Rambler Classic leaves the new American Motors plant in Brampton, Ontario.  Exactly 11,500 imported Ramblers sell during the 1961 calendar year. Had they been made in Canada in 1960, Rambler would have bumped Ford of Canada's compact Frontenac to third place in the domestic compact car race.

December 31: Clarence Decatur Howe is dead at the age of 74. The second most powerful man in politics, the economic genius earned the nickname of “The Minister of Everything" as he guided the nation through World War Two.  He will be buried in the Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal. The C.D. Howe think tank will be instituted in his honour.

 The $25 bill was issued in 1935 to mark the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary. Windsor Palace is engraved on the obverse side.
December 31:  The Bank of Canada reports there are still 46 $25 bills in circulation and 41 $500 bills, even though they were withdrawn years ago.

Built in Oshawa, Ontario, Chevrolet's rear-engined compact Corvair was innovative but not a hit with consumers.