Tuesday, January 14, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1956--

January 1: It’s census year. We add up to a total of 16, 080,791 citizens stretched out from St. John’s to Victoria. Ontario’s population surpasses 5 million and Alberta’s population tops a million.

Selling for $3,218, the Nash Statesman Deluxe is built  in Toronto. Records show that 639 were built during the 1956 model year.
January 2: Nash-Kelvinator of Canada Limited and Hudson Canada Limited formally become American Motors Canada Limited—more than 18 months after the merger took place in the United States. Production for the new combine will rise to 3.65 percent compared to .85 percent in 1955 and .7 percent in 1954.

January 10: Men and women will receive equal pay for equal pay—as long as they’re federal civil servants.

January 20: The Quebec movie censor board bans The Wild One, starring Marlon Brando, because the film may encourage young people to commit violent acts.

February 10: Wilbert Coffin is hanged until dead at Bordeaux Prison in Montreal. He was convicted of killing three American hunters in the back woods of New Brunswick. Coffin maintains his innocence right up to the time of death and even shakes hands with the executioner.

February 14: The 144-day strike is over at GM. Some $26 million was lost in wages alone. Despite the strike, workers in Oshawa will build 49,003 Chevrolet passenger cars, enough to make it the number one favourite with Canadians.

February 14: The fifth Commissioner of the Northwest Mounted Police, Aylesworth Bowen Perry, dies in Ottawa. He was 95. Serving as Commissioner from 1900 to 1923, he reorganized the force to become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

March -- Studebaker-Packard of Canada inks a deal with its Hamilton employees. The 800 workers will get an 18-cent pay hike over the next two years.

April 10: The Detroit Red Wings are soundly trounced by the Habs four games to zip. Turn about is fair play: Detroit won the Stanley Cup last season.

April 12: Richard Martin is born in Vancouver. His father is Dick Martin—half of the famed Rowan and Martin comedy duo. Richard will grow up to become a screenwriter and director. His works will include Diminished, Matinee, a tongue-in-cheek thriller, North of Pittsburgh and Air Bud: Golden Receiver.

April 16: The Canadian Medical Association tells the press that this year’s outbreaks of mononucleosis may be caused by kissing.

May 1: The Trades and Labour Congress of Canada merges with the Canadian Congress of Labour. Together they create the Canadian Labour Congress.

May 7: Ford of Canada awards a contract to enlarge the Oakville assembly plant. The new addition will add 1.6 hectares, bringing the plant’s total area to 14 hectares.

May 15: A CF-100 “Canuck” fighter jet crashes into the Grey Nuns convent in Orleans, just outside of Ottawa, killing 15 people, including 11 nuns and the two pilots. It is believed the pilots’ oxygen failed, causing them to lose consciousness.

June 7:  The Trans-Canada pipeline will be built. Ottawa will loan $100 million to the private sector company to get the job done. When finished, Alberta gas will be delivered in Ontario. Debate in the House of Commons has been so heated a backbencher dropped dead of a heart attack during session. This is the first time in Parliamentary history that the government has limited the amount of time a bill could be debated.
Terra Nova is Newfoundland and Labrador's first national park. It will be commemorated with a stamp in 2007.

June – Ottawa announces that the route for the Trans-Canada Highway will be altered so that it runs through the country’s newest national park—Terra Nova—in Newfoundland. The feds will pick up the entire tab for the 101-kilometre extension to the road.

June 30:  Ford announces that sales of its luxurious Lincoln are up by 157 percent over last year. If consumers are interested in compact cars, Ford offers the Anglia, Escort, Prefect, Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac from its subsidiary in the UK.
The 1956 Nash Metropolitan is imported by American Motors from Britain.

Dominion Day: American Motors tells the press it has 451 employees. Kaiser-Willys of Canada tells the press it has 193 dealers from coast to coast.

Dominion Day: Folks in PEI have something extra to celebrate today as CFCY-TV begins to broadcast for the first time. In Grade Nine, Mike Duffy will begin a long broadcasting career with his dance show, Club 62.

July -- International-Harvester unveils its new V-8 engines. They will be imported from the United States until the new engine plant opens next year.

July 8: Terry Puhl is born in Melville, Saskatchewan. He will grow up to play major league baseball for the Astros, the Mets and the Royals before retiring in 1991.

July 17: Chrysler Canada marks a milestone as workers build the 100,000th passenger car the highest number ever reached in a single model year run. The Plymouth Savoy is painted Desert Rose over White. President Ron Todgham drives the sedan off the line in the presence of the company’s oldest employee. Total for the 1956 model year will be 105,600 cars.

July 31:  Chrysler Canada has 22,704 employees, 1,150 dealers. Company payroll to date is $27,026,287.
1956 Hillman Husky

July 31: The top selling imported automobiles to date are Volkswagen, Austin, British Ford, Vauxhall, Morris, Hillman and the Metropolitan, sold by both Nash and Hudson dealers.

August 12: Bruce Greenwood is born in Noranda, Quebec. He will grow up to become a movie star, seen in such films as Exotica, The Core and Double Jeopardy. 

August 23: Marilyn Bell, the eighteen-year old super swimmer, makes it across the Juan de Fuca Strait between British Columbia’s mainland and Vancouver Island. This is Marilyn’s second attempt and she sets a record while doing so.
Billy Bishop will be remembered with a stamp in 1999.

September 14: William Avery "Billy" Bishop, the nation’s most decorated World War One flying ace, is laid to rest in Toronto. Thousands of mourners file past the national hero’s casket to pay their final respects.

September 19: Groundbreaking ceremonies are held in Des Joachims, Ontario for the nation’s first atomic energy plant. Ontario Premier, Leslie Frost and Federal Trade Minister. C.D. Howe, turn the first spade of soil. Canadian General Electric and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited are joint partners in the $17 million project.
Nanette and the Three Stooges.

September 20: Actress Nanette (Francine) Bordeaux is dead of acute pneumonia at the age of 45. The St. George, Quebec native made fifteen Hollywood films--including eight Three Stooges movies.

September 30: The Trans-Canada Telephone System’s microwave radio relay reaches Winnipeg. That means television and radio signals can be broadcast the same day from central Canada.

October 23: Geoffrey Kelly is born in Dumfries, Scotland. He will grow up to play guitars and flutes, write some tunes and sing for The Irish Rovers and folk rock band Spirit of the West.

November 1: Tragedy strikes in Springhill, Nova Scotia as 39 miners die in a coal mine accident.

Lester B. Pearson will become our 14th Prime Minister.

November 4: Lester B. Pearson’s proposal for a peaceful solution to the Suez Crisis will earn him the Nobel Peace Prize.

November 12: Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent stands in the House of Commons to announce the creation of the Canada Council of the Arts.

November 24: Edmonton takes home the Grey Cup having routed the Montreal Allouettes 50 to 27.

November 29: Canada will become home for 35,000 refugees attempting to escape the oppressive Communist regime in Hungary. Ottawa will foot the bill for the escapees’ travel.

December 7: Actor Huntley Gordon is dead. The Montreal native appeared in more than 120 movies in Hollywood and in the UK. He will be interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery in Los Angeles.

December 9: Trans-Canada Airlines Flight 810 from Vancouver to Toronto, with stops in Calgary, Regina and Winnipeg, does not arrive on time in Calgary. Battling severe turbulence and icing, the Canadair Northstar has crashed into Mt. Slesse near Chilliwack, BC. All 62 on board are killed. Five members of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders are among the dead. It will be the sixth worst air disaster in Canadian history and a memorial site will be erected in their remembrance.
George Drew led the Progressive Conservative Party from 1948 to 1956.

December 14: John George Diefenbaker will lead the Tories and George Drew will step down as Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.
1956 Oldsmobile 98 Deluxe Holiday Coupe.

December 31:  Workers build 374,312 passenger cars for a total value of $646 million. We import 76,200 more.

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