Friday, March 22, 2013


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1981-

January 1:  Say ‘good-bye’ to Imperial gallons, as of today gasoline will retail in Metric measure only. A popular cartoon depicts a Martian landing somewhere in Canada. The space alien marches up to a gas pump and demands that it, “Take me to your litre.”
Sourced exclusively from Chrysler Canada in Windsor, Ontario the 1981 Imperial carries a hefty $23,554 price tag.
January 1:  There are 24, 343,000 of us stretched out from St. John’s to Victoria and from Pelee Island to the Arctic. 

January 20:  Owen Lee Hargreaves is born in Calgary. He will grow up to be a professional footballer, playing for England in the 2006 World Cup.

February 5: Andrea Martin hosts the Juno Awards at the O’Keefe Centre in Toronto.  Anne Murray wins a Juno for best female vocalist, another for her album, Greatest Hits and a third for her hit single, Could I Have this Dance. Bruce Cockburn wins a Juno for best male vocalist. Prime Minister Trudeau announces that Joni Mitchell will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. 

The 1982 Mercury LN7 (above) and the Ford EXP are the first two-seater coupes in the Blue Oval's lineup since 1956.

February 16:  Production of the Ford EXP and the Mercury LN7 begin in St. Thomas, Ontario.  The pair from Ford of Canada holds the distinction of being the first front-wheel drive cars to be produced in the country.

March 23: The Supreme Court hands down a decision that Saskatchewan resident Andre Mercure has the right to trial in French. Mercure was arrested for speeding but has refused to recognize or pay the ticket because it was printed only in English.
The 1981 Mercury Zephyr and the Ford Fairmont were built in St. Thomas, Ontario.

March 30: Ford Canada president, Roy Bennett, says that 1980 sales were off by 36 percent with a total of 289,800 sets of wheels being put in the driveways of Canadians.

April 19:  Hayden Christensen is born in Vancouver. He will grow up to be an actor best known for his role as Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars. Hayden will be named one of the 50 hottest bachelors of 2005 by People magazine.

Petrofina operates 1,000 gas stations in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

May 1: The federal government levies a tax of $1.15 a barrel of oil to pay for Petro-Canada's recent $1.46 billion purchase of the Belgian gasoline retailer Petrofina. 

May 21: the New York Islanders take home the Stanley Cup. They deserve it after trouncing the Minnesota North Stars four games to zip. 

June 1: Statistics Canada says there are 24,343,181 of us stretched out from St. John’s to Victoria and from Pelee Island to Grise Fjiord.

June 14: A drunk driver kills 21-year old Fred Gribble, Jr. in British Columbia. His mother, Sally, is furious to learn the driver is a repeat offender. She will found Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a.k.a. MADD. 

Ken Taylor's heroic action in helping our American neighbours escape from Iran will be made into an Oscar-winning movie in 2012.

June 16: Ken Taylor, Canada’s former ambassador to Iran is in Washington to receive the Congressional Gold Medal from President Reagan. Ken was instrumental in hiding six Americans trapped in Iran and helping them escape. He is the first foreigner to be so honoured. 

A statue of Terry Fox will be erected in Ottawa in 1983.

June 28: The nation is in mourning and flags are lowered to half-mast across the land as 22-year old Terry Fox succumbs to cancer at sunrise. His family is at his hospital bedside in New Westminster.  The one-legged runner ran for 143 days and 5373 kilometres from St. John's, Newfoundland to Thunder Bay, Ontario but cancer had spread to his lungs and he was forced to abandon his quest.  Terry Fox  has raised $23 million for cancer research and leaves a legacy of courage for generations to come. In 2013 there will be annual Terry Fox runs in more than 50 countries.

July 12: Some 48,000 woodworkers walk off the job in British Columbia, effectively paralyzing the forest product sector of the market. 

The automatic WF26 weather station the Nazis installed in Labrador was code named "Kurt."

July 15: As of today there is proof that Nazi Germany established and operated a top-secret automatic weather station in Martin's Bay on the coast of Labrador in 1943. There were indeed Nazi Eyes on Canada—just as the wartime CBC radio drama suggested!

July 17: The government of British Columbia names a mountain peak near the town of Valemont after fallen hero Terry Fox. The mountain is in Terry Fox Provincial Park. The young man will be voted as one of the most influential Canadians of the Twentieth Century.

The Chateau Montebello hotel and resort is part of a 26,000-hectare wildlife sanctuary.

July 20: Leaders of the G-7 nations arrive in Montebello, Quebec for a world economic summit. Prime Minister Trudeau is this year’s host. 

The Halifax police force, 1914.

July 22: The 196 officers of the Halifax police force ratify a three-year contract and return to work after a 53-day strike. 

July 30: The 83-kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway near Thunder Bay where Terry Fox ended his cross-country run is named in his honour. In 2005, the Royal Canadian Mint will issue 20 million loonies bearing his likeness, to mark the 25th anniversary of Terry's Marathon of Hope.  A new elementary school will open in Bathurst, New Brunswick in September of 2005 bearing Terry’s name.

August 31: The Crown lays eight new charges of first-degree murder against 41-year old Clifford Olson of Coquitlam, BC. The self-employed contractor has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. He will eventually confess to murdering eleven children, making him this nation’s most horrific serial killer.

Bill 101, the law that makes French the only language in Quebec, spawns a board game.

September 1: All signs in Quebec must be in French only. The Office de la Langue Francaise will send out inspectors to make sure the law is enforced. Storeowners who use English will pay fines of up to $500.  Shop owner Alan Singer of Westmount refuses, vowing to take his case to the Supreme Court.

September 13:  The Canada Cup goes home with the Soviet Union. Playing before a capacity crowd in Montreal, the final score is 8 to 1. It’s the first time the Soviets win the trophy. 

September 13: The first Terry Fox Run takes place today in more than 700 communities across the country. Some 300,000 Canadians will participate in the 10-kilometre marathon and raise $3.5 million for cancer research and awareness.

September 17: Folks who live in Kitchener, Ontario receive their blue boxes. This is the first recycling programme in the world. The habit will spread around the globe.

Family and Rainstorm by Alex Coleville 1955.

September 25: The Post Office announces the price of a First Class letter will jump from 17 cents to 30 cents next year. 

September 28: The Supreme Court rules that it is legal to repatriate the constitution without the consensus of the provinces. 

September 30: There is much excitement throughout the country as the International Olympic Committee announces Calgary has been chosen to be the site of the 1988 Winter Olympics. 

October 16: No longer a federal ministry, Canada Post becomes a Crown corporation that is expected to turn a profit.
The Fathers of Confederation in Charlottetown, 1864.

November 5: All of the First Ministers except Quebec are in agreement to bring the British North America Act home to Canada. Our constitution has been in British care and keeping since 1867. 
In 2006 The Royal Canadian Mint will strike a $30 silver-and-hologram coin to honour Astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space and 25 years of Canadarm's service.

November 14: the 15-metre long Canadarm waves to Earth from outer space. Attached to the NASA space shuttle Columbia, the device was designed and built by Spar Aerospace in Toronto. It will be used to make repairs as well as load and unload cargo.

November 21: More than 100,000 angry demonstrators jam Parliament Hill to protest 15 percent interest rates. They are out of sight, having hit a 33-year high.

November 24: By decree of Parliament, all 35,000 grocery stores across the nation may only list weights of meat and produce in kilos and grams.

December 27: Wayne Gretzky scores five goals for Edmonton against the Philadelphia Flyers.  The Great One has scored 50 goals in the last 39 games, more than hockey legend Rocket Richard.

December 28: Pioneer motion picture director, producer and screenwriter Allan Dwan is dead at the age of 96. Born in Toronto, his family moved to the US when he was eleven. His first movie was The Gold Lust in 1911. He was one of the few directors to make a successful transition from silent movies to the talkies. Allan directed more than 400 movies including Robin Hood in 1922 starring fellow Canadian Mary Pickford, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm in 1938 with Shirley Temple and the highly successful Sands of Iwo Jimo in 1949.

The 1981 Pontiac Acadian sells for $5,081. Automatic transmission adds $378 to the bill, power brakes cost an extra $90 while air conditioning costs $628 plus the $100 Luxury Tax one pays to Ottawa for air conditioning.

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