Monday, January 6, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1957-

January 1: There are 4.49 million telephones across the country. Only 7.7 percent of users have rotary dials, the rest require operator assistance to complete a call. We will make nearly eight million phone calls this year, an average of 483 per person.

January 10: The Royal Commission on Economic Prospects predicts that by 1980 we will make more money, do less work and the work week will be less than the current 40 hours.

January 17: The HMCS Bonaventure, the third and final aircraft carrier of the Royal Canadian Navy, is commissioned. The 16,000-tonne Majestic class ship will be decommissioned in 1970.

January 22: Mike Bossy is born in Montreal. He will grow up to be a powerhouse on skates for the New York Islanders in the 1980s.

February 17: Loreena McKennitt is born in Morden, Manitoba. She will grow up to become a New Age/Celtic recording artist best known for her song, The Mummer’s Dance.

March 10: Shannon Tweed is born in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She will grow up to be Playmate of the year in 1982. She will star in more than 60 movies including Hot Dog…the Movie and Detroit Rock City.

March 15: A Royal Commission on broadcasting calls for the creation of private TV networks to compete with the CBC. It will be four more years before the Canadian Television Network takes to the airwaves. The new kid on the block will promptly change its name from CTN to CTV.

March 20: Miners walk off the job in Murdochville, Quebec. It will take them seven months but they will win important concessions and laws for unionized workers.

March 23: It’s a girl for Sir Christopher Plummer and wife Tammy Grimes. Amanda will grow up to be an actress, winning a Tony in 1982 for her stage role in Agnes of God.

March 28: Members of Parliament pass the Canada Council Act. The new Crown corporation will support the arts and artists. It starts with $100 million in the kitty.
Gabrielle Roy of St. Boniface, Manitoba is this year's winner of the GGs Literature Award.

March 28: Prime Minister St. Laurent is on hand for the first ever Governor General’s Awards for literature.

March 31:  Radio-Canada and the CBC have 34 television stations across the country. A full 60 percent of programs aired are homegrown. In the five years since the two networks went on the air, Canadians have purchased 2.5 million television sets and 86 percent of all residents receive the  public broadcaster's signals.

March 31: Hollywood legend Gene Lockhart is dead of coronary thrombosis at the age of 65 in Santa Monica, California. The London, Ontario native appeared in more than 100 movies. He starred on Broadway and in television as well.
Elvis wore a gold suit for his two performances in Toronto.

April 2: Some 23,000 fans converge on Toronto to see heartthrob Elvis Presley in concert. The rock ‘n’ roll star is condemned by clergy as being untalented, vulgar and overtly sexual.

April 4: E. Herbert Norman, our ambassador to Egypt commits suicide by throwing himself off the top of the Swedish Embassy in Cairo. Although his name has since been cleared of any wrong doing by the RCMP, the 48-year old historian and diplomat stood accused by the United States Senate of being a Communist and possibly even a Soviet spy. The accusation will damage Canada-US relations.

April 10: Parliament unanimously passes the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act. This will lead to a national health care plan in 1967.

April 16: the Montreal Canadiens beat the Boston Bruins four games to one to win the Stanley Cup. The Habs last won the playoffs in 1931.

April 17: Teri Austin is born in Toronto. She will grow up to become a TV soap opera star best known for playing Jill Bennet on the glitzy nighttime soap, Knots Landing as Jill Bennett. She will guest star in many TV shows.

May 12: Hikers, climbing Mt. Slesse, near Chilliwack, BC, discover the wreckage of Trans-Canada Air Lines Flight 810 that took off from Vancouver last December and disappeared. All 62 on board are dead. Because the area is so remote, the deceased are buried on-site in two common graves.

1957 Chevrolet Belair Limousine

June 10: After 22 years of wandering in the political wilderness, the Progressive Conservatives form a minority government in Ottawa. John Diefenbaker, a.k.a., Dief the Chief, refuses to be seen in Cadillacs and immediately orders a fleet of Chev limos for himself and cabinet ministers.
Canada Post will honour Ellen Fairclough's many accomplishments in 2004.

June 21: Ellen Fairclough is the first woman to ever be named to a federal cabinet. The Hamilton, Ontario native is Minister of State. She will be allowed to bow with the other ministers rather than curtsey when Queen Elizabeth II comes to visit. The Right Honourable Ellen Fairclough will die in 2004 at the age of 99.

June 24:  A new program debuts at 9.30 Eastern, 10 o’clock in Newfoundland on the CBC. Viewers watch Front Page Challenge—a  current events game show in which a panel tries to guess the identity of a mystery guest by asking questions. The popular show will air for 38 years, making it the longest-running non-news show in Canadian television history.

Dominion Day: The Shakespeare Theatre opens its doors in Stratford, Ontario as a venue for the Stratford Theatre Festival. The festival grows more popular each passing season.

July 2: Bret Hart is born in Calgary. He will grow up to become a seven-time world wrestling champion. The “Hitman” will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.

The 1957 Meteor Country Sedan could hold six or nine passengers.

July 10: Ford of Canada celebrates the 250,000th Meteor to roll out the factory doors. The Canada-only marque was first introduced in 1949 to fill the price gap between Ford and Mercury.

July 11: Many of the world’s greatest scientists are gathered together in Nova Scotia. They condemn the proliferation of nuclear weapons at the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs. The gathering is hosted by millionaire philanthropist Cyrus S. Eaton.

The 'King-size' 1957 Monarch is slotted between Mercury and Lincoln.

July 15: There is more hoopla at Ford of Canada as the company marks the building of its 1,000,000th vehicle. This one is for export and headed for the Union of South Africa.

August 21: Saskatchewan’s 653-kilometre long portion of the Trans-Canada Highway is complete and officially dedicated. According to the federal-provincial agreement signed in 1949, the road is 6.7 to 7.3 metres wide and capable of bearing a load of 8 tonnes per axle. Ottawa announces the completion date for the entire project will be 1960 but in truth it will be 1965 when the shining asphalt ribbon is complete.

August 26:  Rick Hansen is born in Port Albernia, BC. He will grow up to become an athlete despite an injury that will make him wheelchair bound. His Man in Motion Tour will take him 40,000 kilometres around the world and make him a national hero as he raises funds for spinal chord injury research.

September 2: Out with the old and in with the new. Ford of Canada withdraws the Monarch automobile from the market and replaces it with a new car called the Edsel. Canadians get their first peek at the mid-priced offering at the CNE Auto Show in Toronto. Some reporters don’t like the styling. One writes that it looks like an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon.

September 12:  Canada and the United States will jointly defend the skies of this continent with NORAD—the North American Air Defense Command. A string of some 50 radar stations ring the Arctic to warn of Soviet invaders. Headquarters are in Colorado Springs and St. Hubert, Quebec.

October 4: The space age is begins when the Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1 into orbit. The Free World is caught flatfooted by the achievement and sees the spy satellite as a military threat.

October 4: The CF-105 Avro Arrow, the world’s fastest jet fighter plane, is unveiled to the world from its home in Malton, Ontario. Capable of Mach 2 speeds at 15,240 metres above the earth, five will be built before the program is scrapped as a result of pressure from the Americans who favour their own aerospace industry.
The W.A.C. Bennett Dam and Lake Williston will be complete in 1968.

October 7: The government of British Columbia and a Swedish firm sign a contract to build a hydroelectric complex in Peace River country.

Thanksgiving Day: By order of Parliament, Thanksgiving will now be commemorated on the second Monday in October.

October 14: Queen Elizabeth II is in Ottawa to open Parliament. As Prince Phillip looks on, she reads the Throne Speech, the first reigning monarch to ever do so. Previously the task has fallen to Her Majesty’s representative in Canada, the Governor General.
Canada Post will honour Prime Minister Pearson and his Nobel Peace Prize with this stamp in 1986.

October 14: Lester B. Pearson wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his proposition that the United Nations establish a peacekeeping force. The former World War Two spy will become Prime Minister in 1963.

November 30: The Hamilton Ti-Cats trounce the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 32 to 7 at the Varsity Stadium in Toronto to win the 45th Grey Cup. It is the first time the Fall Classic is aired on TV; the CBC paid $125,000 for the broadcast rights.

December 1: Ford of Canada announces it has 618 Ford-Edsel dealerships and 341 Mercury-Lincoln-Meteor dealerships from St. John’s to Victoria.

December 12: Robert Lepage is born in Quebec City. He will grow up to become one of the nation’s most important actors and playwrights. He will pen The Dragon Trilogy and star in Jesus of Montreal.

December 31: Our dollar is worth 97 cents in US currency. The average price for an Imperial quart of milk (1.2 litres) is 23 cents, sirloin steak costs 83 cents for 500 grams and a 384-ml tin of tomatoes sells for 27 cents.

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