Thursday, March 14, 2013


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1983--
The 1983 Alliance is a joint effort from American Motors and Renault. The stylish compact is named Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine.  The four-door Limited carries a $9,145 price tag.

January 1: Though it has been in use since 1976, the federal government adopts the Metric System as our official weights and measurements.

Joe Clark was Canada's  16th and youngest Prime MInister, sworn into office when he was 39 years old.

January 2: Parliament reconvenes. There is a standing ovation for The Right Honourable Joe Clark as he enters the House of Commons. To avoid tearing his party apart, he has announced he will resign as leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party as well. 

January 7: Statistics Canada reports 12.8 percent of all Canadians are out of work. That translates to 1,454,000 people collecting pogey. Another 150,000 have grown discouraged and quit looking altogether. It is the highest unemployment figure seen in the country since the Dirty Thirties. 

The grisly murder of JoAnn Thatcher by her politician husband will be made into a CBC-TV movie in 1989, starring Kate Nelligan and Kenneth Walsh.
 January 21: JoAnn Thatcher, estranged wife of Saskatchewan MLA Colin Thatcher, is brutally slain in her Regina residence. It will take the Mounties 16 months to gather enough evidence to charge the politician. He will be found guilty of first-degree murder serve 25 years in prison before being paroled in 2006. 

Point Lepreau is the only nuclear generator in Atlantic Canada.
 January: The Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station comes on line in New Brunswick. Located southwest of Saint John on the north shore of the Bay of Fundy, the facility will add 680 megawatts to the NB Hydro power grid. In 2005, $1.4 billion will be spent to upgrade the plant and keep it in operation for another 20 years. 

February 1: Pay television debuts as First Choice and Premier Choix begin broadcasting.

February 10: Ottawa and Washington sign a deal that permits the US military to test unarmed nuclear missiles over Western Canada. Many citizens are alarmed that our sovereignty is being undermined.

March 2: Philips Electronics unveils the latest way to listen to music as it shows off the compact disc a.k.a. the CD Player. The unit costs $1,000 and comes with all 12 CDs, also manufactured by Philips. 

March 4: Bertha Wilson is appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. She is the first woman to hold the position.

March 5: Steve Podborski wins gold for Canada at the World Cup of Skiing. He is the only North American to ever win the event and he will win it eight times.

April 5: The Juno Awards are hosted by Burton Cummings and Alan Thicke.  Broadcast live on the CBC, 4.4 million viewers watch the music award extravaganza. Album of the Year is Get Lucky by Loverboy, best single is  Eyes of a Stranger by the Payola$. Carole Pope takes home a Juno for best female vocalist and Bryan Adams wins one for best male vocalist.

April 7: Kyle Labine is born in Brampton, Ontario. He will grow up to be a Hollywood star and hold the distinction of being the only actor to be in a Freddy film, a Jason flick and a Michael movie, too.

April 11: Statistics Canada reports that the national unemployment rate for March has reached an all time high of 13.6 percent. That translates into 1,658,000 people unemployed. The figure does not include those who have given up looking for work.

The Sky is Falling will tell the story of the Squamish Five when published in 2010.

April 12: Five Vancouver-area residents, members of an urban terrorist group called Direct Action—a.k.a. The Squamish Five--are charged in a Toronto court with last year’s bombing of the Litton Systems plant in Toronto that builds guidance systems for cruise missiles.

April 12: The controversial movie If you Love this Planet wins an Oscar at the Academy Awards.  The documentary was produced by the National Film Board and shows the dark side of nuclear war. The US State Department classifies the film as propaganda and 'surpresses' the movie. 

April 23: More than 80,000 angry citizens across the nation come out to protest the American government’s plan to test its Cruise missiles in Western Canada.

This will be the last year for the Chrysler New Yorker to be built in Windsor, Ontario.
May 9:  The 5,000,000th Chrysler car rolls out the factory doors in Windsor, Ontario. Company chairman Lee Iacocca is on hand for the milestone as the white New Yorker makes its way down the line.

May 09:  Donald Marshall is acquitted of murder. The Mi'kmaq man from Cape Breton Island spent eleven years in a Nova Scotia prison for a homicide he did not commit.
A traditional lobster trap.

May 11: Angry about new restrictive lobster quotas, a mob of 100 fishermen burn and sink two federal fisheries patrol boats in West Pubnico, Nova Scotia.

May 17:  The Edmonton Oilers make the playoffs for the first time. They lose the Stanley Cup to the New York Islanders four games to zip, their fourth Stanley Cup victory.

May 25: French becomes an official language in Manitoba. Francophones in the Keystone Province were stripped of that right in 1890, twenty years after Manitoba entered into Confederation.

June 2: A flash fire in the washroom forces Air Canada Flight 797, on its way from Houston to Toronto, to make an emergency landing in Cincinnati, Ohio. The disaster claims the lives of 23 of the 41 passengers on board. Folk singer Stan Rogers dies in the fire as he helps others to safety.  The Stan Rogers Folk Festival will be held in his memory each summer in Canso, Nova Scotia.

June 9:  The Supreme Court rules that Canadians who are educated in English have the right to send their children to English-language schools if they live in Quebec. Bill 101, the law protecting the French language in Quebec, is ruled to be unconstitutional.

June 11: A 44-year old lawyer with no political experience has won the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party, beating out former Prime Minister Joe Clark. The vote is 1,584 to 1,234.  Brian Mulroney must now get himself elected to the House of Commons.

June 12: Hollywood star Norma Shearer is dead at the age of 82. Born in Montreal, she moved to Tinseltown early and first appeared on the silver screen in 1920. The Oscar-winning actress will be laid to rest in Forest Lawn Cemetery, next to actress Jean Harlow.
The price tag for BC Place is $126 million.

June 19:  BC Place is officially opens in False Creek, British Columbia. As the new home of the BC Lions, the domed stadium seats 60,000. The facility will be used for the 1986 World’s Fair and the 2010 Winter Olympics.

June 22: Prince Charles and Princess Diana are in Canada for an 18-day royal visit. Despite the fact that acid rain is an extremely sensitive subject with our American neighbours, the Prince of Wales warns that the phenomenon is a major hazard as he speaks to a group of 600 Kinsmen.

June 27: Alden Nowlan is dead. The noted poet won the Governor General’s Award for his book Bread, Wine and Salt. He was the Poet-in-Residence at the University of New Brunswick.

July 13: Author Gabrielle Roy is dead at the age of 74. Born in St. Boniface, Manitoba, her novel Bonheur d’Occasion--translated into English as The Tin Flute-is an unvarnished look at the working poor in the St. Henri neighbourhood of Montreal. She won the Governor General’s Award for literature three times and is considered to be the most important Francophone writer of the 20th Century.

July 15: The federal government approves the US government’s request to test the Cruise Missile in Canadian air space.

July 23: Air Canada Flight 143, en route to Edmonton from Montreal, is forced to land at a mothballed Canadian Forces Base in Gimli, Manitoba. Because of a mix-up in Metric and Imperial measurements, the Boeing 767 ran out of fuel 12,000 metres in the air.

July 29:  Raymond Hart Massey is dead of pneumonia at the age of 87. Born in Toronto, the son of Massey-Harris magnate Chester Massey, Raymond was a Broadway sensation and Hollywood star best remembered for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln.
Canadian astronauts in 2007.

August 3:  The National Research Council tells the press that Canada’s new space programme has brought a tidal wave of applications. Only two of the 1,500 people will be trained as astronauts and go into outer space on NASA missions.

August 12: There are changes on Parliament Hill as Prime Minister Trudeau shuffles his cabinet for the third time this year. There are five new faces and eight ministers are assigned to other portfolios.

August 23: Canada and the United States sign a joint treaty to study the movement patterns of pollutants that may cause acid rain.

September 5:  All flights into Canada by Aeroflot, the official airline of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, are suspended. The measure is to protest last week’s shooting down of a South Korean Airline flight that strayed into Soviet airspace. The death toll on the ill-fated flight was 269.
The Right Honourable Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
September 26: British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is in Ottawa. She addresses a joint session of Parliament.

October 2: Lee Iacocca, Chrysler’s world chairman, is on hand in Windsor, Ontario to dedicate the revamped factory. Some $400 million has been spent to make this one of the most technologically advanced manufacturing facilities in the world. Now it will build mini-vans. The factory has been in operation since 1929.

October 7:  Chrysler makes automotive history as the first front-wheel drive T-115s roll out the factory doors in Windsor, Ontario. The trucks are better known as the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager.

October 16: Folks in Windsor, Ontario now have a television station of their own to watch as CHWI, Channel 16 takes to the airwaves. In 2013 the station will be known as CTV2.

October 20: Author Yves Theriault is dead at the age of 67. He wrote Agaguk, a story of conflict between the Inuit and White cultures. The book is his sixth novel. It will sell more than 300,000 copies, be translated into seven languages and be made into a blockbuster movie.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is the nation's public broadcaster.

October 24: The Minister of Communications, Francis Fox, orders CBC Television to increase Canadian content to 80 percent during prime time viewing hours.

The first minivan off the line will be on display in the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in 2013.

November 2: The Dodge Caravan and the Plymouth Voyager debut. Built in Windsor, Ontario, the Magic Wagons will be a big hit for Chrysler.

November 10: Microsoft Inc. releases Windows. The Globe and Mail speculates that this operating system may change the way people use computers.

Margaret Trudeau will publish her memoirs in 1979.

November 16: Separated for six years, Margaret Trudeau files for a divorce from her husband, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

November 27:  The Toronto Argonauts whip the BC Lions 19 to 17 to take home the Grey Cup.

December 23:  Jeanne Sauvé, former Speaker of the House of Commons, is appointed to the position of Governor General. The Saskatchewan-born broadcaster is the first woman to be named Vice Regal, Canada's head of state.
Built in St. Thomas, Ontario, the 1983 Ford EXP costs $7,740 and the Sport Coupe lists for $9,234.

Copyright to James C. Mays
All rights reserved 2001

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