Wednesday, December 18, 2013


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1961--

The 1961 Monarch Richelieu four-door hardtop retails for $3,850 before tax. Canadians have lost their love for big automobiles and the grand name will be retired at the end of the model year.

Uncle Bobby will be one of the first network stars on CFTO. His show, Kids Corner will be seen across Canada from 1962 to 1979 on CTV.
January 1: Folks in Toronto have a new television station to watch as CFTO—Canada’s Foremost, Toronto’s Own—takes to the airwaves on Channel 9. It is an independent station but will become part of the CTN network on October  1st.

January 17: Prime Minister Diefenbaker and US President Dwight Eisenhower sign a $3 billion deal to develop hydroelectric power on the Columbia River. Residents of British Columbia and Washington will be sleep easier once flooding is under control.

January 18: Mark Douglas John Messier is born in Edmonton, Alberta. He will grow up to be a one of hockey’s greatest legends, being the only man to ever lead two teams to Stanley Cup victories.

January 26: It’s a boy for Walter and Phyllis Gretzky of Brantford Ontario. Their firstborn son, Wayne Douglas will lace up and skate his way into history as the world’s finest hockey player. “The Great One” will be induced into the Hockey Hall of Fame and appointed to the Order of Canada.

The Canadian Bank of Commerce in Brandon, Manitoba
February 3: Ottawa gives its blessing and the Canadian Bank of Commerce will wed the Imperial Bank of Canada. The new name will be the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

The Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker sits to the left of Her Majesty.
March 8: Prime Minister Diefenbaker is in London for the Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference. Dief blasts South Africa for its practise of apartheid.

Massey College is named in honour of Vincent Massey, the first Canadian to be appointed as Governor General.
March 14: Massey College is founded as the graduate studies centre at the University of Toronto.  Robertson Davies will be the first Master.

April 16: The Chicago Blackhawks skate their way to the Stanley Cup by beating the Detroit Redwings four games to two.

May 8: Greg Thomey is born in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The kid will grow up to be a comedian and dramatic actor, best known for his outrageous performances on the CBC comedies CODCO and This Hour has 22 Minutes.

US President Kennedy (left) and Prime Minister Diefenbaker (centre).
May 16: Newly elected president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, is in Ottawa with his wife, Jacqueline. At the white tie dinner held in their honour in Rideau Hall, Kennedy will tell the guests, “Geography has made us neighbours but history has made us friends.”

May 16: Kevin McDonald is born in Montreal. He will grow up to become a comedian best known for his role in the immortal CBC-TV comedy classic, Kids in the Hall.

May 27: Northern Dancer is born at Windfields Farm in Oshawa, Ontario. When he is three years old, the bay colt will win the Triple Crown and go on to be the most successful thoroughbred racing sire horse in history. Northern Dancer will die on November 16, 1990.

May 30: At odds with James Coyne, Governor of the Bank of Canada, over fiscal policy, the government demands his resignation. The governor refuses.

May 30: One of the worst rainstorms in history is recorded in Buffalo Gap, Saskatchewan as 25 centimetres of rain falls in less than an hour.

June 1: The Dominion Bureau of Statistics counts noses. Now we know that there are 18, 238,247 of us living in the ten provinces and two territories.

CUSO doesn't send money, it sends volunteers. By 2011, more than 15,000 volunteers will have served with CUSO in more than 40 countries.
June 6: The Canadian University Overseas Service, better known as CUSO, is founded at McGill University in Montreal. The non-profit organization recruits university students across Canada to make a difference in poverty stricken nations.

June 9: Michael Andrew Fox is born in Edmonton. He will change the Andrew to “J” and become a famous actor appearing on television and the silver screen. Stricken with Parkinson’s disease; he will retire from his craft in 1999 and devote his time to finding a cure for the debilitating illness. He will return to TV in 2013.

The Voodoo will serve from 1961 to 1987.
June 12: The Department of National Defense will do a little horse trading. The DND will receive 66 McDonnell CF-101 Voodoos from the US in exchange for American control of the Pinetree Line—a series of radar stations running roughly across Canada and the United States at the 50th parallel of latitude—the stations are designed to protect North America from Soviet nuclear attack. 

The CF-104 will be built by Canadair in Montreal.

June 12: A Mutual Air Program for the purchase of 200 CF-104 Starfighters is announced.

June 13: National Capital Commission creates a 16,590-hectare Greenbelt. Nature's buffer surrounds Ottawa. In 2011, the Greenbelt will have grown to 203.5 square kilometres, making it the largest urban park in the world.

1961 Suzuki Bellel with Diesel engine.

June 22: The Bladen Commission releases its report on the state of the domestic automobile industry. As a result, Volvo, Renault, Peugeot, Isuzu and Toyota will open assembly plants in Canada.

A federal excise stamp is proof that tax has been paid in full.
June 22: Ottawa rescinds the Federal Excise Tax on cars. It is welcome news throughout the auto industry and will spur sales.

The Governor of the Bank of Canada and his wife, Meribeth, walk to the Bank of Canada. Mr. Coyne will die in 2012 at the age of 102.
July 13: The Governor of the Bank of Canada resigns to protest the Diefenbaker government’s loose monetary policies. James Coyne is of the opinion that expansionism is fiscally unsound. The press calls the very public disagreement The Coyne Affair.

July 14, 1961: in Castlegar, British Columbia, the thermometer hits a nation-wide record high of 53.4C with the Humidex factored in. The record will almost be equaled on July 5th, 2007 when the temperature in Carmen, Manitoba reaches 53C.

1921 Brock Six
July 22: Automotive pioneer William Stansill dies in his hometown of Courtland, Ontario. He was the genius behind the Brock Six built in Amherstburg, Ontario and the sleek and racy London Six automobile of which 98 were built before the company slid into bankruptcy in 1925.

August 3: The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation Party is no more. Delegates to the political convention in Ottawa change the name to the New Democratic Party and elect silver-tongued Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas to be its leader.

August 26: Prime Minister Diefenbaker is on hand at the CNE Fairgrounds to officially open the Hockey Hall of fame and the Sports Hall of Fame. Among those attending the ceremony are hockey heroes Maurice “Rocket” Richard and Babe Pratt.  The Hall of Fame will move to downtown Toronto at the corner of Front and Yonge Streets in 1993.

September 7: The threat of nuclear war grows closer. Addressing the House of Commons, Prime Minister Diefenbaker announces funding to train 100,00 men to handle emergency survival operations for the civilian population. Shelters are to be built outside of large urban centres and stocked with emergency supplies of food and medical supplies.

Canada Post will honour Bob Hayward with a stamp in 2011.
September 10: World champion powerboat racer Bob Hayward is killed instantly when his boat, Miss Supertest II, flips over at 280 kilometres-per hour during the Silver Cup Regatta on the Detroit River. The soft-spoken, 33-year old chicken farmer from of Embro, Ontario won the Harmsworth Trophy for the past three years in a row. After Hayward’s death, the international competition is cancelled permanently.

Electrohome has been building televisions in Kitchener Ontario since 1949.  This is a Kirby Console model. The company will get out of  television manufacturing in 1984, though the Electrohome name will be used under license by several Japanese manufacturers well into the 21st Century.
October 1: The CBC gets some competition is the Canadian Television Network, a.k.a. CTN, signs on the air for the first time. Backed by Marconi and Electrohome, the privately owned broadcaster has affiliates in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver. It will change its name to CTV within months.

k.d. lang in 1989
November 2: Kathryn Dawson Lang is born in Edmonton but grows up in the Prairie town of Consort, Alberta. Known as k.d., she will grow up to become a velvety voiced torch singer, a Juno and Grammy winner and be invested as an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1996.

Protesters and doctors will gather at the provincial legislature in Regina next summer when Medicare becomes law on July 1st.
November 17: The Saskatchewan legislature passes its universal free Medicare bill. To pay for the scheme, the provincial sales tax will jump from three to five percent and citizens will pay $12 a year of $24 per family. Doctors threaten to go on strike.

December 2: The Hamilton Tiger Cats face off with  the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in front of 32,651 fans at the CNE Stadium in Toronto. At the end of regulation play, the score is tied, 14 to 14. It's the first time a Grey Cup match has gone into overtime. Quarterback Ken Ploen makes a touchdown for the Bombers making the final  score 21 to 14.

December 18: Born at 7.30 in the morning in Belleville Ontario, Brian Orser will skate home with Olympic silver in 1984 and 1988, be the World Freestyle Champion from 1984 to 1988 and be made an officer of the Order of Canada.

December 28: The first Bomarc Missile Squadron is formed. Prime Minister Diefenbaker scrapped the Avro Arrow for this joint defense program with the US. The government will dither over whether the Bomarcs on Canadian soil will carry nuclear warheads or not. The controversy will split Diefenbaker’s cabinet and cause the Tories to lose the federal election in 1963.

December 30: Benjamin Sinclair Johnson is born in Falmouth, Jamaica. He will immigrate to Canada when he is fifteen. The world’s fastest man will be the centre of a steroid scandal and be stripped of his 1988 Olympic gold medal when he tests positive.

The mid-sized Ford Fairlane has a wheelbase of 115.5 in 2 934 mm (115.5in).  It is built in Oakville, Ontario.
December 31: The Top Ten selling cars this year are the full sized Chevrolet, the full sized Pontiac, Volkswagen, Ford Fairlane, Ford Falcon, Mercury Comet, Plymouth, Meteor, Dodge and Rambler.

Chrysler Canada’s Valiant is sold as a stand-alone brand, replacing DeSoto in the Chrysler family. In its second year on the market, the compact brand rings up 9,831 sales during the calendar year. The 1961 Valiant V-200 two-door hardtop sells for $2,596 f.o.b. Windsor, Ontario.

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