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.

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