Monday, January 20, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1954--

Ford is the second best selling car in the Dominion in 1954. The Mainline Tudor Sedan retails for $2,132.

January: The Red Tide is creeping into British Columbia. The Mayor of Victoria, British Columbia tells the press that all Communist books have been removed from the public library system and destroyed.

January 1: The Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto is created. Gone are the villages of Long Branch, New Toronto, Mimico, Weston, Forest Hill and Leaside. The Townships of Etobicoke, York, North York, East York and Scarborough are now boroughs. Metro will be dissolved in 1998 in favour of a more cost efficient City of Toronto.

The compact Hudson Jet is built in Tilbury, Ontario.
January 4:  The market for new cars is so weak that Hudson shuts down its Tilbury, Ontario assembly line. It will be closed for 60 days. In Hamilton, Studebaker has been closed since October 9 of last year and Nash turned off the lights in its Toronto plant on December 9.

The 1954 Meteor Ranch Wagon is built in Oakville, Ontario.
January 6: Ford plays host to nearly 1,000 dealers in Toronto to kick off its Golden Jubilee Conference in Toronto.

January 8: The first oil from Alberta arrives in Sarnia, Ontario courtesy of a new pipeline. The Trans-Canada pipeline makes the country more energy self-sufficient.

January 11: In a bid to stimulate sales, executives at Ford of Canada reduce the prices of the Monarch Lucerne and Mercury Monterey by $373.

January 18: Engineers at Chrysler Canada’s powerhouse go on strike. The car lines will be down for five days and the truck lines for seven, idling 6,000 workers.

January 22: The 1954 Mercury trucks are shown off to the public. New this year is the M-700 in the Big Job series.

January 30: A freak, mid-winter tornado hits White Point Beach, Nova Scotia, producing hail and lightning along the Atlantic seaboard before touching down again near Liverpool.

1954 Nash Rambler four-door sedan tipped the scales at 1 195 kilos on a stretched 2 743-millimetre wheelbase.
February 8: Nash calls its 334 employees back to work. Two days later the company cuts prices of its Rambler by $43 and lowers the price of the Statesman by $270 to clear out a backlog of unsold cars.

February 13: Agnes Campbell MacPhail is dead at the age of 63. The first woman to be elected as a Member of Parliament the House of Commons, the Honourable member represented the Bruce-Grey Riding  in Ontario for 14 years as a strong voice for progressive politics and stood strong on rural issues.

Fargo is sold by Chrysler-Plymouth dealers.
February 28: The revamped 1954 Dodge and Fargo trucks are unveiled to the public.

The Oldsmobile 88 is General Motors' mid-priced entry in the domestic market.
March:  Oldsmobile Rocket engines are now being built for GM Canada by McKinnon Industries in Grantham, Ontario.

March 4: Catherine O’Hara is born in Toronto during a winter blizzard so fierce it forces GM and Nash to shut down their factories for the day. O’Hara will star in two dozen flicks, including Home Alone and Beetlejuice.

The Soviet team at opening  ceremonies of the 21st World Hockey Championship.
March 7: The USSR sweeps Canada to win the World Hockey Championship in Stockholm, Sweden. The final score is 7 to 2.

March 8: Prime Minister St. Laurent inspects the 25th Canadian Brigade, serving in South Korea.

Ford's Plant One in Windsor, Ontario.

March 10: Ford and Meteor assembly is transferred to Oakville from Windsor.

March 26: Figures released today reveal that 8,000 Canadians to have polio and 441 died of the horrible disease last year. It is hoped that a new vaccine currently being tested will stop the epidemic.

This picture was taken on opening day. The 7.4-kilometre long system has 12 stations, stretching from Union Station to Eglinton Avenue.
March 30: The subway system in Toronto opens to the public. Hopefully, the subway will take some of the vehicle traffic off of Yonge Street. By 2010 “The Rocket” will carry 1.5 million commuters daily.

April 8: Trans-Canada Airlines Flight 9 leaves Montreal bound for Vancouver. The pilot of the North Star collides 1,829 metres in mid-air with an RCAF Harvard Mark II training jet that has taken off from Moose Jaw, bound for Saskatoon. All 33 people on board the TCA flight are killed,  the two on board the Mark II and the occupant of a house on which much of the debris fell.

April 16: The Redwings take it to the limit as they trounce the Canadiens in the seventh game to win the Stanley Cup.

April 18: Rick Moranis is born in Toronto. He will become of the world’s funniest people. The TV and Hollywood star will  make many blockbuster movies but he will always be best loved for his role as beer-guzzling host “Bob Mackenzie” in the SCTV comedy sketch, The Great White North.

April 19: Desperate to sell cars, the Chevrolet Bel Air Six convertible’s price tag is slashed by $191.

1954 Fargo YA is built by workers at Chrysler Canada in Windsor, Ontario.
April 23: The last truck built for export rolls out the doors at Chrysler Canada. From now on, all export haulers will be manufactured in the United States.
Joseph R. Smallwood has been Newfoundland and Labrador's only premier since joining Confederation in 1949. He will leave office in 1972.

April 24: The RCMP charges Newfoundland’s former Director General of Economic Development with the crime of extorting money from firms he dealt with. Premier Joey Smallwood is the whistleblower.
The Hudson Hornet and Wasp is imported from the United States. The Jet is built in Tilbury, Ontario.

May 1: Nash and Hudson merge in the US to become American Motors. A de facto merger takes place here but American Motors Canada Limited will not become a legal entity until January 1956.

May 10: The Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway is open for business. The 414-kilometre standard gauge ribbon of steel runs from Sept Isles, Quebec and Schefferville, Newfoundland and Labrador, where there are huge iron ore deposits.

May 12:  Ford’s truck line is closed in Windsor because of slow sales. The 723 men will be called back to work in 24 days.

May 13: American President Eisenhower signs a bill committing the US to spending $103 million on construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway.  Canada’s part of the Seaway project is estimated to cost $300 million.

May 15: GM lays off 1,200 workers until the market strengthens.
People who don't yet have a television set at home can come downtown to Eaton's Department Store on Portage and watch.
May 31: Folks living in Manitoba can warm  up their Electrohomes and tune into CBWT-TV on Channel 4 as the CBC begins television broadcasting in the Keystone Province.  The station will be found on Channel 3 in 1958.

June 3: Daniel Grafton Hill IV is born in Toronto. He will grow up to be a pop singer, best known for his hit songs Sometimes When We Touch and Can’t We Try.

June 4: Some Chevrolet and Pontiac convertibles will no longer be imported. Softtop models 1067D and 2067D are now built in Oshawa.

June 7: At eight pm CHCH TV in Hamilton, Ontario signs on the air for the first time. It will be a CBC affiliate until 1961 when the station becomes an independent broadcaster. CHCH will go national, become a Canadawide superstation on January 1st, 1982.

June 30: Ford reports that soft market conditions and the move from Windsor to Oakville have forced it to lay off 6,100 workers since March 12.

August 7; At the Fifth Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, Roger Bannister of the UK wins the Miracle Mile with a time of 3:58:8. Some 35,000 spectators at Empire Stadium witness the event.

August 9: Hudson assembly in Tilbury, Ontario is closed forever. The cars will now be built in Toronto on the same lines as Nash in its plant on the Danforth.

August 5: In one of the most controversial trials in history, 43 year old Wilbert Coffin is found guilty of killing three American hunters in the Gaspe. The jury took only 34 minutes to deliberate. Death will be by hanging.

August 10: Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, New York Governor Thomas Dewey and Ontario Premier Leslie Frost are on hand in Cornwall, Ontario as construction starts on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Now estimated to cost a cool $1 billion, the first dynamite charge is set off.

August 6: Emilie Dionne is dead of an epileptic seizure at the age of twenty. She is one of the famed Dionne Quintuplets. Made wards of the province, the girls grew up in Quintland where as many as 6,000 tourists a day watched them through one-way mirrors
Workers build 1955 model year Chevs in the new South Plant.

September 8: GM begins operations at its new South Plant in Oshawa, Ontario. Workers will build Pontiac and Chev wagons for the first time in 15 years.

September 9: After 21 hours in the water, 16-year old Marilyn Bell of Toronto reaches the shore of Lake Ontario to the cheers of 250,000 fans who have come to witness her triumph. She tells the press that her 52-kilometre swim is “for the honour of Canada.”
CKLW-TV will become CBET, owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on September 1st, 1975

September 16: CKLW-TV—Channel 9--begins broadcasting at 2.50 pm to the good folks of Windsor, Ontario, Essex County and southeastern Michigan. The station is an affiliate of the CBC and the Dumont Network in the United States.

September 30: As production of the 1955 models gets underway in Hamilton, Studebaker boasts that it has 225 dealerships throughout the country.
The 1955 Buick Super four-door sedan.

October 6: More than 2,000 dealers, managers and salesmen preview the 1955 GM lineup at a week-long extravaganza in Toronto.

October 10: Angry that they have been without a contract since February 19, some 5,200 workers at Ford in Windsor go on strike. Employees in Oakville join their Windsor colleagues on the picket line five days later. They will have to wait until next year for before a new deal is hammered out.

October 15: Hurricane Hazel roars north at the rate of 110 kilometres an hour, killing 81 people in Metro Toronto and leaving 4,000 homeless.

October 29: General Motors introduces the Pontiac Sedan Delivery. It retails for $2,253 with a 4.2-litre six-cylinder mill and $2,373 when an eight-cylinder engine is ordered.

November 9: The government agrees to reduce the cost of GM vehicles shipped to western Canada by 30 cents per hundred pounds. The sweetheart deal will stimulate business and is retroactive to May 7.
The 1955 Studebaker President has a wheelbase of 3 060 millimetres and weighs in at 1 397 kilos. In Regal trim the price is $2,702 f.o.b. Hamilton.
November 24: Despite the strike, Ford of Canada’s stock hits a high of $104 per share. Studebaker shuts down temporarily in order to add the top-of-the-line President to its domestic production mix. Publicity says the President is the style leader with cars “of truly impressive power and superb proportions; each a masterpiece in interior elegance—carrying prestige anywhere in the world.”

The International-Harvester R-Series pickup truck was built from 1952 to 1955.

November 29: International-Harvester officials announce that the company will spend $650,000 to expand its truck plant in Chatham, Ontario. The move will increase domestic content of I-H vehicles.
CKCW will become part of CTV in 1969.
November 30:  Folks in Moncton warm up their Electrohomes and Northern Electric television sets to watch CKCW broadcast for the first time. Part of a regional Lionel Television System, its mascot is Lionel the Lobster. It airs programs from the CBC.

November 30: Chrysler Canada is awarded a $1.3 million defense contract to manufacture practice ammunition.

December 25: It is an uncertain Christmas for the first Newfoundlanders who have been moved from isolated Outports to approved municipal centres. By the time the resettlement scheme is finished in 1975, more than 30,000 people will be relocated and some 300 communities will disappear from the map forever.
The 1955 Packard is imported from Detroit.

December 31: Nash reports it has 117 dealers throughout the Dominion. Studebaker Corporation of Canada, Limited and the Packard Motor Car Company of Canada, Limited merge into a single operation.
The ninth best selling car this year is Monarch. It is slotted between Mercury and Lincoln in the Ford family lineup.

December 31: The Top Ten selling cars for the calendar year are Chevrolet, Ford, Pontiac, Meteor, Dodge, Plymouth, Buick, Oldsmobile, Monarch and Studebaker.

 The imported 1954 Hudson Hollywood Club Coupe sells for $3,697, f.o.b. Tilbury, Ontario. Hudson sold only 842 cars in total during the calendar year, including 211 domestically assembled compact Jets.

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