Monday, January 20, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1953--

Meteor is slotted between Ford and Mercury in price.
Meteor continues to be popular with the buying public. Workers at Ford turn out 40,115 of the mid-priced beauties for the 1953 model year. It is the fourth best selling car in the Dominion, after Chevrolet, Ford and Pontiac.

January 4: GM announces completion of a sprawling 7-hectare truck factory in Oshawa, Ontario. The price tag is a cool $4.5 million. Colonel Sam and his boys will recoup the expense handily; the new facility can turn out 50,000 vehicles a year.

January 9:  The Chevrolet Bel Air series is unveiled nationally. The snazzy and jazzy top-of-the line bowtie will cost anywhere from $1,954 to $2,204 f.o.b. Oshawa, Ontario.

January 9: Margeurite Pitre is hanged for her role in blowing up a Canadian Pacific Airlines DC-3, killing all 23 on board so she can eliminate her boyfriend's wife. It is the biggest mass murder in North American history. She is the 13th woman to ever hang and she will be the last because the death penalty will become history in 1976.

January 16: Workers at Ford have done their part to stop the spread of Communism by completing a $4.9 million military order for M-38 four-wheel drive trucks.

January 24: Chrysler Canada is awarded a $3.9 million military contract to build cargo trucks, ambulances and spare parts. Much of what is built will be headed for the conflict in Korea.

January 27: The debate rages on from coast to coast but the Canadian Dental Association and the Canadian Medical Association formally approve of adding fluoride to municipal water in an effort to fight tooth decay.

Crowds throng the fibreglass Chevrolet Corvette.
February 13: General Motors' famed Motorama opens at the Canadian National Motor Show in Toronto. It is the first Motorama exhibit in this country since the end of World War Two.

February 16:  Lanny McDonald is born in Hanna, Alberta. He will lace up his skates for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Colorado Rockies and lead the Calgary Flames to a Stanley Cup Victory in 1989. When he retires he will have 500 goals, 506 assists and 1,111 regular season games under the belt.

The most enduring of Kraft foods, 2010, we will consume 1.7 million boxes of KD of the 7 million boxes sold globally every week. KD will be the single most popular grocery item across the nation.
February 16: James Lewis Kraft is dead at the age of 78. The Stevensville, Ontario native was founder and president of Kraft Foods. As an inventer, he created products such as Velveeta, Miracle Whip and good ‘ole Kraft Dinner.

Introduced last year, the de Haviland DH-106 is the world's first commercial jetliner.
March 3: A Canadian Pacific Airlines de Haviland DH-106 Comet crashes upon takeoff from the airport in Karachi, Pakistan. All eleven on board are killed. This tragic incident marks the world’s first commercial jet crash.

March 13, 1953: The first domestically-built Hudson Jet rolls off the line in Tilbury, Ontario. The starting price for the pint-sized Hudson is $2,393. Only four-door Jets are produced in Canada and production will reach 1,267 units by the end of the model year.

March 19:  It’s Oscar Night in Hollywood and Neighbours, a National Film Board production, brings home a golden statuette.

Montreal architect Ernest Cormier was chosen in1950 to create our gift to the United Nations.
March 27: The people of Canada give a gift to the United Nations. Our gift is seven majestically sculpted doors that open into the General Assembly. Each door is glass and nickel silver with bas relief sculptures of Peace, Justice, Truth and Brotherhood.

March 30:  Domestic manufacturers used 2 million kilos of natural rubber, 2.4 million kilos of synthetic rubber and 770,000 kilos of recycled rubber in making new tires and tubes this month.

Space Command is the CBC's first dramatic series. It depicted life on space station SXW1. William Shatner was one of the stars.
April 8: The chairman of the CBC reports that it costs up to thirty times as much money to develop a programme for television as it does to buy one ready made from the US or the UK.

The 1953 Hudson exhibit at the London Motor Show in Earl's Court.
April 13: Hudson lines in Tilbury, Ontario are shut down because of parts shortages. Workers will be called back in two days but everyone will be glad when the war in Korea is over.

April 16: The Habs beat the tar out of the Boston Bruins in four games to win Lord Stanley’s cup.

April 18: Frederick Alan “Rick” Moranis is born in Toronto. He will grow up to become a comedian best known for being Bob—half of the Mackenzie Brothers. His wife will die of liver cancer in 1991 and he will retire from the limelight to raise his children.

May 3: Communist troops attack and defeat the Royal Canadian Regiment on Hill 97 in Korea. The death count is 26. Another 27 soldiers are wounded and seven have been taken prisoner.

Perhaps Pontiac will be assembled in the converted factory.

May 8: GM announces that its new Oshawa truck factory will be converted to auto assembly and expanded immediately to cover 17 hectares.

May 11: The first car rolls out the doors of Ford’s new assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario. The Ford Custom is the 2,794,525th vehicle built by workers at the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited.

May 14: It’s a boy for Violet and Tuck Cochrane, a bush pilot in Lynn Lake, Manitoba. Their son Tom will be inclined to play the guitar and be lead singer for the group Red Rider. The seven-time Juno winner will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2003.

May 21: It is a little after 4.30 pm when an F4 tornado rips through Sarnia, Ontario leaving four dead, 40 wounded and 500 people homeless. Damage is estimated at $15 million.
1953 Studebaker Champion four- and two-door sedans.

June 1. The doors are shut at Studebaker’s factory in Hamilton Ontario. Because weapons of war have priority over civilian manufacture, there is not a transmission to be had anywhere in the land. Five hundred workers will wait at home until some can be built and shipped and the other 325 men will inventory the goods. They all go back to work nine days later.

June 2:  Millions stand in a London downpour to watch the coronation of our new monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Film crews immediately fly the tapes to Canada, courtesy of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Eight hours later we are watching the historic event on the CBC. Even our soldiers fighting in Korea celebrate by firing red, white and blue smoke shells at the enemy.

June 20: The highest temperature ever --with the Humidex calculated into the equation—is recorded in Windsor, Ontario as folks swelter through 52.1C heat.

July 1:  It is Dominion Day throughout the land. Canada is 86 years old. Workers in Toronto build 238 Nash cars this month.
Listeners who wrote to CBW would receive a QSL card like this one, a written confirmation of reception.

July 5: The CBC affiliate CBW opens for business in a new, state-of-the-art $1 million studio complex located at 541 Portage Street in Winnipeg. Broadcasting at 990 on the AM dial, the clear channel, 50,000-watt signal can be heard throughout much of North America.

July 13: The Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada opens for the very first time in a large canvas tent erected on the banks of the Avon River. in Stratford, Ontario. Actor Alec Guinness is first to appear on the makeshift stage. The six-week event is a success and will grow into an eight-month long love affair with theatre. Sixty years later the Stratford Shakespeare Festival will draw hundreds of thousand of people the world over.

July 15: It is the birth date of Mila Pivnicki. When she is three, her family will move to Canada from Yugoslavia so that her father can study for a graduate degree in psychiatry at McGill University. Mila will study engineering at McGill but will drop out at nineteen, to marry a lawyer by the name of Brian Mulroney. Mrs. Mulroney will be active in many good causes, including the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

July 22: Paul Quarrington is born. When he grows up he will write quirky novels including Home Game and Hometown Heroes: On the Road with Canada’s National Hockey Team. The Toronto author will win the Stephen Leacock Award in 1987 and the Governor General’s Award for fiction in 1989.

July 27: The war is over. The North Koreans and the United Nations sign a truce to end the three-year long bloodbath. Millions of civilians are dead. Sadly, 314 Canadians were killed and 1,211 more injured. The troops can come home and life will get back to normal for all of us but Korea will still be divided sixty years later.

August:  The RCMP begin moving Inuit off their traditional lands and into settlements. The first to move are 53 Inuit who are taken from Inuujuak (Port Harrison), Quebec, and Pond Inlet, Cornwallis Island and Ellesmere Island to new land much farther north. The idea behind this scheme is to establish sovereignty over the Arctic.
The Right Honourable Louis St. Laurent is our 12th Prime Minister. He will serve as PM from 1948 to 1957.

August 9: The federal election is over. Voters have handed “Uncle Louis” and his Grits a commanding majority in the House of Commons. The Tories could only muster enough votes for fifty seats. The CCF takes 23, Social Credit wins 15 seats and six are taken by independent candidates.

August 24: A second heat wave that hits southern Ontario is so fierce that in Hamilton, Studebaker is forced to send the workers home for two days until the weather breaks.

October 7: The war is over but it is virtually impossible to find parts to build cars. GM cuts the workweek to 37 hours while waiting out the misery of parts shortages.
Canadian soldiers in Dieppe, France being marched to prison by their Nazi captors on August 19, 1942.

October 8: The Canadian War Claims Commission releases its shocking report filled with a long list of horrific abuses suffered by the 9,000 Canadian soldiers in Nazi POW camps.

October 16: The Roman Catholic Church issues a statement calling on parents not to allow teens to form romantic attachments. The social custom leads far too frequently to the “occasion of sin.”

October 25: The first privately owned television station in the Dominion takes to the airwaves in Sudbury, Ontario. CKSO will change its call letters to CISI in 1971 but it will still serve the area as a CTV affiliate in the 21st Century.

November 19: It’s a boy for Robert and Geneva Mays. They will joke that James’ first word will not be “mama” or “dada” it will be “Buick.” He will grow up to become an automotive historian, specializing in documenting stories of the Canadian industry.

November 23:  Built at Vickers shipyard in Sorel, Quebec, the 107-metre long M.V. William Carson is launched today. The 8,300-tonne freight and cargo ferry will sail between North Sydney, Nova Scotia and St. John’s, Newfoundland until the terminal in Port-aux-Basques is upgraded. She will sink in 1977 after striking an iceberg.

November 28: The 41st  Grey Cup match is won by the Hamilton Tiger Cats, having thumped the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 12 to 6 before a crowd of 27,313 fans at Varsity Stadium in Toronto.

December 10: A fire in seat cushion stock at Ford’s trim department does $10,000 worth of damage and causes the entire production line to be stopped for a day-and-a-half in Windsor.

December 10: Canadian Press reports that Manitoba has a total of 2,318 cases of polio, of which 85 have died. Government officials say this incidence exceeds all known Canadian and world figures.
Five-year old Elinor will help raise money for the March of Dimes, an organization that raises money to fight polio.
December 31: The nation reels in fear as 8,734 people have contracted polio this year. It will turn out to be the worst year on record for this horrible disease that cripples and kills.

December 31:  The Top Ten selling cars this year were Chevrolet, Ford, Pontiac, Meteor, Dodge, Plymouth, Buick, Oldsmobile, Studebaker and Monarch.

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