Monday, August 18, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1920-

January 16: Delegates from Ottawa are in Geneva, Switzerland to place Canada’s signature on a document as a charter member of the League of Nations. The international body plans to preserve national independence and put an end to war forever more.

January 31: “Phantom” Joe Malone, centre for the Quebec Bulldogs, scores seven goals tonight in front of the home team crowd in Quebec City. The final score is Quebec 10, the Toronto St. Pat’s earn six.

February 1: The Dominion Police Force and the Northwest Mounted Police are merged into a single federal law enforcement unit, known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

February 5: The government has decided that Canada does not need a peacetime air force. The Number One Squadron was dismantled last week. Today, the Number Two Squadron is decommissioned, its de Havilland DH9 bombers will be sold off.

February 19: The Grand Trunk Railway is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Shareholders agree to negotiate a sale to Ottawa, who intends to incorporate the sprawling, 13,000-kilometre railway system into the already existing Crown Corporation, Canadian National Railways.

February 24: Ottawa releases the last of the 8,579 Ukrainians, Germans Poles, Italians, Bulgarians, Croatians, Turks, Serbians, Hungarians, Russians, Jews, and Romanians from the 26 internment camps spread across the Dominion. They have been held as “enemy alien” prisoners since the outbreak of the war in1914 because they were born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

February 25: Folks in Kings County, Nova Scotia can light up and plug in; the new hydro plant at Stiver’s Falls started functioning today. It will bring electricity to a dozen communities in the Annapolis Valley including Wolfville and Kentville.

February 26: The new Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings is opened. The original was destroyed in a fire in 1916.

March 3: James Doohan is born in Vancouver. He will grow up to be an actor playing chief engineer Commander Montgomery Scott (Scotty) in Star Trek, Damon Warwick in The Bold and the Beautiful and Pippin in Homeboys In Outer Space.

March 20: It is announced that the nation’s peacetime Royal Canadian Navy will be pared from 1,303 men to 521. The Royal Naval College will be closed. Two submarines, two destroyers and a cruiser are deemed sufficient for coastal defense.

Chalmers is a luxury car built in Windsor, Ontario.
March 21: Spring is here and that is good for automobile agents right across the Dominion because more than 60 percent of all cars are bought after Easter and before Labour Day. This year’s domestically-built automotive offerings include Briscoe, Chalmers, Chevrolet, Ford, Forster, Galt, Gray-Dort, McLaughlin, Maxwell, Overland, Studebaker and Willys.

April 1: The Ottawa Senators whip the Seattle Metropolitans in the fifth game to take the Stanley Cup.

April 6: A judge in Winnipeg sentences five of the six men convicted of spearheading the Winnipeg General Strike to one year as guests of His Majesty’s Canadian prison.

April 15: The Royal Canadian Mint strikes a new penny—much smaller than those previously minted.

April 18: The average cost of living has doubled since the war. The Department of Labour reports that a typical family needs $15.98 a week for basic needs.

April 20: There is worldwide excitement as athletes from 29 countries gather in Antwerp, Belgium; Interrupted by the Great War, it is the first time the Olympic Games have been held since 1912. Germany and Austria are not invited. Hundreds of doves are released during the opening ceremony to symbolize the hope for world peace.  The five-ring Olympic flag is unfurled for the first time. It is also the first time in the event’s history that hockey is played as an Olympic sport.  The Winnipeg Falcons will face off against Sweden to win hockey Gold.

May 1: Employees of The Bell Telephone Company of Canada Limited may now buy stocks in the company.

May 7: The Art Gallery of Ontario opens an exhibition with paintings by men named Carmichael, Harris, Jackson, Johnston, Lismer, MacDonald and Varley. The exhibition is called The Group of Seven. The name will stick and they artists will strongly influence art for years to come.

Heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey (centre) speaks into a microphone during an interview at CFCF in 1922.
May 20: Radio station XWA in Montreal, licensed last year by the government as the first private broadcast station in the world, begins airing musical programmes today. It is the first commercial radio broadcast ever heard in North America. On November 4 the station will change its call letters to CFCF, “Canada’s First, Canada’s Finest.” Radio 600 will sign off the air forever in June of 1999.

Arthur Lismus' Isles of Spruce.

May 7: An exhibition of 114 paintings done by the Group of Seven opens in Toronto. It is the first time that the artists’ works have ever been seen by the public. The exhibit is considered unusual because the paintings are representations of the country as interpreted by homegrown artists.

July 1: The Dominion Elections Act takes effect today. Women may now stand for Parliament. Within 18 months, the first woman will be elected to the House of Commons.

July 10: Arthur Meighen is at Rideau Hall to be sworn into office as prime minister by the Governor General. The former teacher is the ninth Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada. He takes over the helm of government because Sir Robert Borden has retired from public office.

July 12: Pierre Berton is born in Whitehorse, Yukon. He will grow up to become a writer and editor best remembered for his superb historical books, The National Dream and The Last Spike.

This is the current--unofficial--Coat of Arms.

July 13: Ottawa has a formal proposal for an official Canadian Coat of Arms. Today the finalized design is sent through diplomatic channels to London for presentation to His Majesty, who will approve it next year.
July 23: the Province of Alberta takes over operation of the troubled Alberta and Great Waterways Railway Company that runs from Edmonton to Fort McMurray.

July 15: The price of a domestic postage stamp rises to ten cents today.

July 31: Ford of Canada closes out its fiscal year with sales of 55,616 automobiles and 2,335 tractors during the past 12 months.

September 12: The Olympic Games close. The gold medal winning Winnipeg Falcons will be treated to a heroes’ welcome when they get home.

October 1: The 52nd Regiment, a.k.a. Prince Albert Volunteers, are amalgamated with the 105th Regiment, a.k.a. the Saskatoon Fusiliers, to form The North Saskatchewan Regiment.

October 31: Alphonse Desjardins is dead at the age of 65. The Quebecker founded the credit union movement and was invited to Washington by President Woodrow Wilson to spread the concept throughout the United States.

December 4: The Grey Cup game is played for the first time since 1916, cancelled because of the war and then, last year's rules' dispute. The Argonauts beat the University of Toronto 16 to 3 to take home the prized trophy.

December 31: General Motors of Canada closes out the year with production of 13,995 Chevrolet cars and 1,852 trucks. Workers in Oshawa have also built 6,499 McLaughlins.

December 31: Domestic sales for Ford of Canada’s calendar year totals 31,805 passenger cars.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Nicknamed the Whisky Six and popular with rumrunners, the Studebaker is built in Windsor, Ontario. The Windsor Police buy one to chase the lawbreakers. Cops called their car the Police Flyer. A  Special Six is featured above.       


January 20:  Jacques Ferron is born in Louiseville, Quebec. The award-winning writer will found the Rhinoceros Party. Dedicated to satire and silliness, the party platform will be “made of wood and two foot high.” Pledges will include paving Manitoba to make it the world’s largest parking lot; to ban winter; count the Thousand Islands to make sure none are missing and to tear down the Rocky Mountains so that Albertans may see the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. The Rhinos will get more than 100,000 votes in the 1980 election, making it the fourth most popular political party in Canada. Ferron will die at home in 1985 and his party disbanded in 1993.

February 13: In an attempt to stop desecration of the Lord’s Day, a judge in Winnipeg decrees that no moving pictures can be seen on Sundays. Folks can cozy up to Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford on the silver screen six days a week but on Sundays decent Canadians belong in church.

February 19: Folks who live in the North End of Halifax no longer speak to an operator when placing a telephone call as the province’s first permanent self-dial exchange comes into service.

February 25: Pierre Laporte is born in Montreal. He will grow up to be a reporter and then a politician. As Quebec’s Minister of Labour, he will be kidnapped by the FLQ. He will be assassinated on October 17, 1970, his body found stuffed into the trunk of a Chevrolet. 

March 1: The federal government uses the latest technology to stop drug trafficking into British Columbia: an airplane is pressed into service allowing officials to easily observe the movement of ships.

March 10: Cecil “Cec” Linder is born in Poland. His family will move to Canada when he is a small boy and he will grow up to become an actor, appearing in Goldfinger, Lolita and other movies. He will also star in American soap operas and many television shows in Britain, the US and Canada. He will die of a heart attack at his home in Toronto in 1992.

March 12: The Canadian Authors Association is founded in Montreal. The group forms in response to legislation that will strip writers of the sole right to reproduce their articles and stories. Humourist Stephen Leacock is elected as first president.

March 26:  Designed by William RouĂ© and built by Smith and Rhuland, Bluenose is launched at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The vessel is both a working cod-fishing schooner and a racing ship. It will win every contest it ever enters and be immortalized on the back of the dime.

April 13: The British Columbia Liquor Control Board is established. Citizens of BC prefer the regulation of liquor to outright prohibition.

April 27:  Farmers take the step of incorporating the Potato Growers Association of PEI.

May 1: Voters have spoken. The Province of Quebec will sell liquor in retail stores. This makes la belle province one of the few places in North America where one can legally buy booze.

May 3: The Canadian Transit Act is passed. It authorizes a bridge to be built across the Detroit River to connect Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan. The span will open to the public in 1929.

May 12: Farley Mowat is born in Belleville, Ontario. He will grow up to become one of the world’s favourite storytellers with 17 million copies of books like The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be and Never Cry Wolf. His wonderful yarns will be translated into 52 languages.

July 7: Sir George Arthur French, first Commissioner of the Northwest Mounted Police, is dead in London, England at the age of 80. He led the great trek of 1874 that established law and order throughout the western portion of this country.

June 8: Gladys Smith is born in Penticton, British Columbia. When she grows up she will move to Hollywood where her name will be changed to Alexis. She will star in Night and Day, San Antonio and Of Human Bondage. She will win a Tony in 1972 and be nominated for an Emmy in 1990. The gifted actress will die of brain cancer on the day after her birthday in 1993.

The Gray-Dort is built in Chatham, Ontario.

June 26: Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery and her Presbyterian minister husband have a motorcar accident in the village of Zephyr. Ontario—where one of Reverend Macdonald’s congregations was located. Their Grey-Dort collides with a Chevrolet. The damage is $50 to the Gray-Dort and $100 to the Chevrolet.

The Right Honourable Arthur Meighen is our nation's ninth Prime Minister.

June 29: Prime Minister Meighen is adamant that Britain not sign a Pacific Treaty with Japan because it will further damage an already poor relationship between Ottawa and Washington.

July 6: Folks in Quebec City swelter through unprecedented heat as the mercury reaches 40C.

July 12: Overturning last year’s vote, residents of the Yukon vote to turn on the taps and let liquor flow freely again. Booze will have to be shipped from southern Canada, there are no breweries or distilleries in the territory.

July 19: Queen’s Park votes to make the importation of liquor illegal in Ontario. In Quebec City, the government of Quebec goes in the opposite direction, deciding to regulate booze by getting into the business of selling alcohol through government stores.

July 27: Frederick Banting and Charles Best discover insulin in a laboratory at the University of Toronto. They will receive the Nobel Prize for Medicine and sell the patent rights for the diabetes-alleviating drug to the University for $1.

August 4:  Joseph-Henri-Maurice “Rocket” Richard is born in Montreal. He will grow up to play hockey for the Montreal Canadiens. A true sportsman and great Canadian, when the Rocket dies in 2000 more than 115,000 will pass by his casket at the Forum and he will be given a state funeral—the first ever accorded to an athlete. His funeral service will be broadcast live on the CBC and Radio-Canada.

August 8: John Herbert Chapman is born in London, Ontario. He will grow up to be a scientist and aerospace engineer. He will create the Alouette communications satellites that permit instantaneous long-distance communication. He will die in 1979. In 1992 the Canadian Space Agency headquarters will be named in John’s honour.

Vicount Byng of Vimy is the country's 12th Governor General. He is seen here with Lady Bing.

August 10:  Lord Byng arrives in Quebec City. The popular military man commanded the Canadian Corps in The Great War and has been named as Canada’s new Governor General.

August 25: Maurice Halprin is born in Winnipeg. He will change his name to Monty Hall and become one of TV’s most popular game show hosts with Let’s Make a Deal, a concept he helped to create.

September 15: Inventor Frederick Classens unveils his portable X-ray machine in London, Ontario.

Rideau Hall has been the official residence of the Governor General since 1867.
September 21: Newly elected Prime Minister Meighen and his cabinet are sworn in at Rideau Hall by Vicount Byng. Not a single cabinet member from Quebec holds a seat in the House of Commons, Meighen alienated Quebeckers with his stand in favour of conscription during the Great War.

In the year 2000, Captain Angus Walters will pose with just a few of the trophies he won as skipper of the Bluenose.
October 24:  The sleek new Bluenose beats the American schooner Elsie to win the International Schooner Championship. It is her first win and there will be many more in the years to come.

November 21:  By Royal Proclamation of His Majesty, Canada is granted an official Coat of Arms. Our national colours are declared to be red and white.

November 27: The first long-distance phone call in the Dominion of Newfoundland takes places as operators connect parties in the towns of Brigus and Harbour Grace.

December 3: The ninth Grey Cup goes home with The Toronto Argonauts who whip the Edmonton Eskimos 23 to zip.

December 4: Edna Mae Durbin is born in Winnipeg. She will change her name to Deanna when she signs a movie contract with MGM in 1935. The Oscar winning star will retire from the limelight in 1950 and move to France. She will not give interviews in 2006.

December 6: The electorate has spoken and the Liberals, under William Lyon Mackenzie King, will form a majority government. The press speculates that Agnes McPhail, the 31-year old woman schoolteacher elected as an MP from Ontario, may break the Biblical convention that requires women to appear in public with their heads uncovered when she speaks in the House of Commons. The election is broadcast by radio for the first time to listeners lucky enough to live in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Saint John.

December 6: George Frederick “Buzz” Beurling is born in Montreal. Rejected from the RCAF, he will grab a boat to the UK, get into the RAF and become Britain's most successful ace with 32 confirmed kills and a string of decorations. He will die in a plane crash in 1948 while on a mission for the Israeli government.

December 23: Donald Roderick Cameron, British Chief Commissioner for the Boundary Survey across the prairies, is dead in Dingwall, Scotland at the age of 87.

December 29: Liberal leader Mackenzie King is sworn in as Canada’s tenth Prime Minister. He will set a record by holding office longer than any other Prime Minister in the British Empire.

Ford will sell 35,471 passenger cars in 1921, making it the best selling nameplate in the Dominion. A Model T roadster is seen here.