Friday, February 28, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1944--
Workers at Chrysler Canada in Windsor, Ontario turn out Dodge Scout Cars around the clock.

January 1: And then there were two: The CBC inaugurates the Dominion Network. The original CBC is now called the Trans-Canada Network. The new Dominion Network will be a showcase of the best and most popular of homegrown, American and British programming. Folks have 1,558, 060 radio receivers in their homes—only the wealthy can afford radios in their automobiles.

January 3: Household Finance will loan any worker in a war industry the sum of $300 without a co-signer. Payments are $9.46 a month.

January 14: Britain gives Canada two cruisers. Navy Minister Angus Macdonald says the ships are a token gift for all that Canada has done for the United Kingdom during the war.

January 15: Soldiers now have their own newspaper. The Maple Leaf is published by the Canadian Forces and keeps our men and women in uniform up to date as to how the war is going.

January 25: Weather records are being set in Windsor, Ontario as the temperature soars to 15C in Canada’s southernmost urban centre. The warm unusually warm weather has prompted red and black butterflies to appear everywhere in the Rose City.

January 29: There are 580,000 men and women enrolled in the three branches of His Majesty’s Canadian armed forces. 120,000 men have been “struck off strength” as casualties or for other reasons.

Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl is known from coast to coast, featured as the  poster girl, helping to win the war. She builds weapons at the Inglis factory in Torono.
February 17: The new federal Labour Code goes into effect today. The 2.5 million employees working in war industries have the right to negotiate employment conditions with their employers through an eight-member board that will act as a bargaining agent for the workers. The government hopes this will keep the weapons pouring out of factories. Last year 10,000 workers walked off their jobs, war or not.

The airport at Fort Nelson, British Columbia now belongs to Canada.

February 29: Ottawa will spend $46 million to purchase a string of airports built by the US Corps of Army Engineers. The airports stretch from Edmonton to Alaska and are vital to getting goods to the soldiers fighting in the Pacific Theatre.  The purchase will silence critics who claim that the Liberal government has allowed the Americans to overrun the country and weaken our sovereignty.

March 1: The war may not be over yet but Ottawa is confident enough in victory to end meat rationing here at home.

March 6: Major Paul Triquet of Quebec receives the Victoria Cross for valour in combat. He is the fourth Canadian to be presented with the highest decoration His Majesty can bestow upon soldiers.

March 17: International Air Transport Authority is created to regulate air traffic among nations. IATA’s headquarters will be established in Montreal.

March 20: General Henry Duncan Graham Crerar is appointed chief of the Canadian Army. He will retire from military service in 1946 and accept several diplomatic postings before his death in 1965.

Stephen Leacock will be honoured with a stamp in 1969.
March 28: Humourist Stephen Leacock is dead of cancer at the age of 74. Leacock tickled the nation’s fancy with his amusing stories. The economics professor won the Governor General’s Award for Literature in 1937.

March 29: Terry Jacks is born in Winnipeg. He will grow up to become a Juno winning pop star hitting the charts with songs like Which Way You Going, Billy?, That’s Where I went Wrong and Seasons in the Sun.  

April 13: The Montreal Canadians sweep the Chicago Blackhawks four games to zip to take home the Stanley Cup.
April 14: Fed up with high prices and poor service, Quebec City expropriates Montreal Light, Heat & Power Consolidated and its subsidiary, Beauharnois Light, Heat & Power Company. A new Crown corporation--Hydro-Qu├ębec—will serve the people.

April 29: The Royal Canadian Navy destroyer HMCS Athabaskan is torpedoed this night by a German destroyer escort in the English Channel. Sadly, 129 of the goes down with the ship. Another 83 men were picked up from the water are taken prisoner while 44 of the crew members are rescued by the HMCS Haida.

May 1: The Wartime Prices and Trade Board announces that coffee and tea rations will be doubled to 225 grams of tea or a 900 grams of coffee per month. The current rationing coupon still applies.

May 7: A torpedo launched from U-boat 548 hits The HMCS Valleyfield as it sails 80 kilometres south of Cape Race, Newfoundland. The river class frigate sinks, taking 120 souls to the bottom of the Atlantic with her. The HMCS Gifford will rescue 43 but five will die of exposure to the elements.

May 10: The National Wartime Labour Relations Board puts an end to a thirty-day strike in Windsor by 14,000 employees at Ford. Workers have charged Ford with union busting.

The 1940 RCA Victor Little Nipper is manufactured in Canada.
May 11: The Bureau of Broadcast Management is established by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. The not-for-profit research organization surveys radio listeners from coast to coast to determine out our listening habits, establish ratings for popular programmes and decide what to charge sponsors. The BBM will measure TV viewing habits of Canadians beginning in 1964 and be the first rating service in the world to make use of computer sampling. The company will change its name to BBM Canada in 2001.
May 24: The HMCS Shawinigan is torpedoed by a U-Boat while on a routine patrol of the Cabot Strait, near Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland. All 91 hands on board the corvette drowned.

May 28: It’s a girl for coal miner Neil MacNeil and his wife Renee of Big Pond, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Daughter Rita will grow up to be one of the most loved and successful recording artists in the industry. Three Junos, four Canadian Country Music Industry awards, five honourary doctorates, seven East Coast Music Awards and the Order of Canada won’t change the enchanting songstress one bit. Cape Breton's First Lady of Song will die of post surgical complications in 2013 at the age of 68.

June 6: More than 175,00 Allied troops storm the beaches at Normandy, France. Two brigades of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division land at 7:45 AM, local time. Within an hour of landing the division will sustain 50 percent casualties.

June 15: The Canadian, British and American governments will cooperate to build a nuclear energy facility in Chalk River, Ontario. Located 200 kilometres west of Ottawa, the plant will be designed and built by engineers from the National Research Council.

June 29: Charlie Watt is born in Fort Chimo, (Kuujjuaq) Quebec. He will grow up to work for Indian and Northern Affairs and found the Makivik Corporation that will lead the Inuit of Arctic Quebec to form Nunavik. In 1984 Prime Minister Trudeau will appoint him to the Senate, the first Inuk to be so honoured.
Dominion Day: Four people are killed when a pair of deadly tornadoes touches down in Lebret, Saskatchewan.

July 3: Folks in Labrador suffer through scorching heat. The temperature in Goose Bay reaches 37.8C, the hottest it’s ever been.
July 7: The CBC will now collect an annual license fee of $2.50 per radio. The plan is to use the money reduce the amount of advertising heard on air. Last year the CBC grossed $2.9 million through advertising.

July 10: There is a new kind of government for citizens of Saskatchewan as Tommy Douglas, leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, is sworn in as Premier of the province.

Both Ford and GM built Canadian Military Pattern Trucks for the war effort.
August-- More than 700,000 motorized, made-in Canada war machines are on the job, fighting for victory. Universal carriers, scout cars, artillery tractors and trailers, troop and ammunition transports, mobile service workshops, fire trucks, radio trucks and ambulances are pouring out of factories at the unprecedented rate of 3,800 units a week.

August 1: The Family Allowance Programme passes unanimously in Parliament. The scheme will cost $250 million to administrate. Better known as the baby bonus, every mother in the Dominion will receive a monthly cheque.

August 9: Three tornadoes rip through the village of Kamsack, Saskatchewan, destroying 400 homes and 100 businesses. The death toll is three and damage is pegged at $2 million.

August 17: Nearly a million Canadians, one out every ten citizens, is in uniform fighting for King and Country. Farm labour is in such short supply that the Army sends out fresh recruits to harvest tobacco.

The Poplar Hill School serves the municipalites of Daly, Whitehead, Elton and Cornwallis, Manitoba. The one-room school will close in 1967, the 24 students will be sent to larger schools.
September 7: No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks. Lots of kids living in rural Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta get an extra long summer holiday. More than 500 one-room schools in the Prairie Provinces can’t open because there are no teachers to be had.

September –: The CBC launches its own radio station in Halifax. Folks can now tune the dial to 1240 on the AM dial for their favourite programmes. Previously private affiliate CHNS carried some programmes as well as on CHNX, its shortwave relay. CBH will move to the FM band in 1977.

September 16: Prime Minister Mackenzie King, US President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill meet in Quebec City to determine what to do with Europe and Asia when the war ends.

September 20: It is reported that diphtheria has clamed the lives of 25 percent of the Inuit living in Arviat, Nunavut (Eskimo Point, NWT).

September 30: Diane Defresne is born in Montreal. She will grow up to be a rock star, known the world over for her raucous stage antics, incredible voice range and her uninhibited rock-n-roll style, the chanteuse is an icon throughout the Francophone world, richer and more popular than the Beatles.

October 21: Ernest “Smokey” Smith earns the Victoria Cross today for exceptional valour in the face of enemy fire in Italy. The British Columbia native will die at home in 2005 at the age of 91. His ashes will lie in state in the foyer of the House of Commons and flags throughout the land will be flown at half-mast in his memory.

November 3: Jack Miner is dead in Kingsville, Ontario. The naturalist, author and lecturer created a bird sanctuary on his farm in 1904 and banded more than 50,000 ducks in his lifetime. Last year, King George V1 awarded the nature lover with the Order of the British Empire for his conservation efforts. Newspapers say that he is the fifth best-known person in North America after Ford, Edison, Lindbergh and Rickenbacker. A museum will open in 1977 that showcases his important work.

November 13: Defense Minister Colonel James Layton Ralston is forced to resign from Cabinet when he is unable to convince the Prime Minister to introduce mandatory conscription. Bill 80 will be invoked to require inscription in a few weeks. The 16,000 new conscripts will boost morale of soldiers on the front lines who are exhausted and have no replacements.

November 17: Lorne Michael Lipowitz is born in Toronto. He will change his name to Lorne Michaels, move to Los Angeles and write for comedy shows and sitcoms before developing such wildly funny television shows as Saturday Night Live and Kids in the Hall.
Johnny Taylor is MVP and will return to play for the Montreal Allouettes after the war.
November 25: The St. Hyacinthe-Donnacona  Royal Canadian Navy team bests the Hamilton Wildcats to win the Grey Cup. The final score is seven to six.

December 11: Camillien Houde is re-elected as the Mayor of Montreal by 14,000 votes. Houde was recently released from a four-year prison term. His Worship was convicted of sedition under the War Measures Act for speaking out against compulsory military service.

December 22: The Wartime Prices and Trade Board rules that landlords must rent to families with children. Landlords are also forbidden from withdrawing any rental property from the market until they receive further official notice and permission to do so.

December 24: A German U-boat, lurking outside of Halifax Harbour, torpedoes and sinks the Bangor class minesweeper, the HMCS Clayoquot. Eight hands were lost.

This Chevrolet Heavy Utility Ambulance, a.k.a.  the C15TA is a 15-cwt 4x4 armoured truck that uses GM Canada's six-cylinder  4.4-litre (270-cubic inch) engine and is fitted with a two-ratio gearbox. Hulls are built by the Hamilton Bridge Company.During 1943/1944 GM Canada will manufacture 3,961 C15TAs at the Oshawa plant at a price of $4.500 each. 3,000 are ordered by the British and the rest are shipped to the Canadian Armed Forces.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1945--

At General Motors 705 Pontiac passenger cars are manufactured this calendar year. They will all  be sold as 1946 models, however. The Sport Sedan lists for $1,684 f.o.b. Oshawa but the waiting list is as long as a country kilometre.

January 8: Residents of Brantford, Ontario are the first in Canada to add fluoride to their water system. 

January 21: Workers at Ford of Canada labour around the clock to build weapons of war for King and Empire.

February 20: The first Family Allowance cheques are issued and in the mail. This is a test run on Prince Edward Island. A family whose income is less than $1,200 a year will receive the full amount of $5 for a child under six, and up to $8 for a child between 13 and 15 years of age.

February 24: With studios in Montreal and transmitters in Sackville, New Brunswick Radio Canada International takes to the airwaves. The shortwave service broadcasts home front news in English and French to our soldiers overseas.

March 2: Emily Carr is dead. The eccentric writer and painter from British Columbia has changed the world of art with her unusual canvases, influenced by the coastal Indians. Her painting The Crazy Stair will sell at auction in 2013 for $2.9 million.

March 3: Gordon Thomson is born in Ottawa. He will grow up to become a TV star, known for his roles in steamy prime-time soaps as Adam Carrington in Dynasty, Aristotle in Ryan's Hope and Mason Capwell in Santa Barbara. His movie credits will include Poseidon and Little Miss Sunshine.

March 5: Canada is invited to sit at the table in San Francisco with the United Kingdom, the United States, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and China to discuss the formation of a world body that will prevent war. The new institution will be called the United Nations.

1944 and 1945, the National Gallery of Canada commissioned Pegi Nicol MacLeod to paint activities of the women serving in the Royal Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Navy. This painting has no title.
March 8: The first International Women’s Day is marked around the world and here at home, too.

March 18:Montreal Canadien Maurice “Rocket” Richard sets a new record as he scores his 50th goal in as many games before a crowd in Boston.

March 24: This war is nearly over as Allied armies cross the Rhine River. Pouring through a 30-kilometre wide breach, they plan to meet up with Soviet troops who are pressing in on Germany from the east.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians were out of work, homeless and hungry during the Dirty Thirties.
April 12: Ottawa releases a White Paper on Employment and Income that will prevent future economic depressions. The plan calls for government to invest in the economy and create jobs in bad times and tax more heavily in good times to pay off any deficits that might occur during the down cycle.

April 14: The Canadian First Army secures the Dutch city of Arnhem. The rout of Nazi soldiers from Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg is now complete.

April 22: The Detroit Red Wings take it to the wire but the Toronto Maple Leafs whip them in game seven to skate home with the holy grail of hockey, Lord Stanley’s Cup.

The 192-tonne HMSC Esquimalt will the last Royal Canadian Navy ship to be sunk during World War Two.
April 16: A German U-boat torpedoes the HMCS Esquimalt, off the coast of Nova Scotia. Of the 65 men on board, 44 will die. The minesweeper sinks so fast that there is no time to send a distress signal or launch lifeboats. Sailors tread icy water for six hours until rescued by the HMCS Sarnia. 

April 28: Italian dictator Benito Mussolini is executed by resistance fighters.

Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun were married yesterday.
April 30: As Soviet troops close in on Berlin Adolph Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun, commit suicide. His chauffer takes the bodies outside the bunker and burns them with gasoline.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King and Louis St. Laurent, the Minister of External Affairs address the nation on the CBC.
May 8: With Germany’s formal surrender, Victory in Europe is declared. King George VI addresses the Empire on the CBC. Prime Minister Mackenzie King is in San Francisco for the United Nations' summit. The PM follows His Majesty with a speech to the nation. There are parades, bells peal, church services and sadly, riots. Sydney, Kentville and Halifax are trashed by naval personnel whose celebrating gets out of hand. In Halifax a streetcar and two police cruisers are burnt and two people are killed. Damage is estimated to be in the millions.

Montrealers celebrate V-E Day.
May 18: Prime Minister Mackenzie King announces that the 43,500 troops now in Europe will be moved to the Pacific Theatre to fight the Japanese. The war is expected to last until 1947.

May 20: Land surveyor Arthur Oliver Wheeler, age 75, dies in Banff, Alberta,. Wheeler, along with journalist Elizabeth Parker, founded the Alpine Club of Canada.  He was part of the Inter-provincial Boundary Survey team that created the Alberta and British Columbia boundary line.

May 22: With a  successful pilot programme completed in Prince Edward Island, the first Baby Bonus cheques under the Family Allowance Act are issued nationwide.

May 22: Citizens living in Western Canada are advised to be on the lookout for nine-metre paper balloon bombs launched in Japan and carried across the Pacific by the wind. Though warned they are dangerous and not to touch them, it is not revealed that they carry a lethal payload of anthrax or bubonic plague.

May 27: Bruce Douglas Cockburn is born in Ottawa. He will grow up to be a popular singer, best known for his hit Wonderin’ Where the Lions Are and singing the theme song to the TV series Franklin the Turtle.

The Right Honourable William Lyon Mackenzie King lost his riding he wins a by-election in Glengarry, Ontario.
June 11: The voters have spoken in the nation’s twentieth general election since Confederation. William Lyon Mackenzie King and his Grits take 125 seats to the Tories’ 67 seats. The CCF wins 28 seats, Social Credit has garnered 13 seats. Technically the Liberals have a minority government but with the dozen  Independents elected to the House of Commons, the PM can govern as if the Grits have a majority.

June 20: It’s a girl for Dr. James Murray and his wife Marion of Springhill, Nova Scotia. Morna Anne Murray will grow up to be a singer, stealing hearts the world over with her beautiful music. Anne Murray will be the first Canadian to have a Number One hit in the United States with her single, You Needed Me. Her music industry awards will fill a room. In 2006 she will have sold 60 million albums.

June 11: Robert Norman Munsch is born. When he grows up he will work with preschool children at the University of Guelph and be encouraged to write stories for kids. Munsch will become a best selling author, both in this country and the US with more than 30 million books sold by 2006--more than any other Canadian author.

June 26: Canada is one of fifty nations to sign the World Security Charter. This document ushers in the United Nations, an organization that will establish and keep world peace.

July 19: At 6.30 pm Halifax is rocked by an enormous explosion followed by an ominous mushroom cloud when a dock fire spreads to a Canadian naval munitions storage depot in Bedford Basin. The explosions continue until midnight. Some 25,000 residents are evacuated from their homes and spend the night in Halifax and Dartmouth city parks. Damage will be estimated at $4 million but no one is killed.

July 20: Ottawa has issued $20-million worth of Family Allowance cheques.  Those opposed to the scheme call it the ‘baby bonus’ and claim it a waste of money as it will encourage the poor to have more children. The monthly tax-free cheques are based on age criteria. Children under five are eligible for $5; children from 6 to 9 years are allotted $6; those from 10 to12 years, $7; and children aged 13 to 15 are allotted $8. The universal programme will end in 1989 under a Conservative  government. 

August 6: To shorten the war with Japan, an atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima. Two thirds of the city of 300,000 is destroyed and 80,000 people killed instantly.

August 14: Horrified by a second atomic bomb attack--this one on the city of Nagasaki-- Japan agrees to surrender as long as it can keep its current form of government and that the nation will not be partitioned like Germany.

August 15: The guns of war fall silent as Japan’s Emperor Hirohito signs the Potsdam Declaration at twelve o’clock noon. A formal ceremony will take place shortly.

August 16: Gasoline rationing ends but tires continue to be rationed until production for civilian use can begin.

August 18: Quebec City is awash with wild celebrations as citizens flood the docks to greet 23,000 returning soldiers on board the SS Pasteur. The war heroes are greeted with a 20-gun salute.

Folks in Dinsmore, Alberta celebrate the end of World War Two with a parade.
August 19: To mark the end of the war, the PM addresses members of the Armed Forces on the CBC, thanking them for service to King and Country. The speech prompts parades all over the country. In Sudbury 3,000 people riot, smash windows and loot the Ontario Liquor Control Board stores. Damage is estimated at $40,000.

The Bretteville-sur-Laize military cemetery near Calvados, France is the final resting place of 2,958 soldiers, many of them Canadian.
September 2: Imperial Japan formally surrenders. The world is at peace. A total of 1.1 million Canadians served in uniform during the six years of global conflict and of that number 46,250--including 2,656 merchant marines--gave their lives for King and Empire.

September 5: RCMP officials in Ottawa are talking to Igor Gouzenko who wants to defect to Canada. The cipher clerk from the Soviet Embassy has 109 documents. Some prove that Canadian civil servants have been leaking atomic secrets to the USSR.

September 12: The last war machine rolls out the doors of the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited. Unhappy workers in Windsor lay down their tools and walk off the job in a bid to organize a union. A bitter strike will ensue, one that lasts 99 days.

September 30: War Time, Fast Time or Daylight Savings Time is revoked now that victory is here.
Franklin Carmichael was the youngest member of the famed Group of Seven.

October 24: Franklin Carmichael is dead in Toronto at the age of 65. The painter was a founding member of the Group of Seven.

November 2: A.V. Roe Canada Limited comes into existence today. The avition pioneer will build the Avro Jetliner and the first jet fighter, the CF-100 Canuck that will be cancelled by the Diefenbaker government in 1959.

November 8: Luba Goy is born in Germany of Ukrainian parents. They will arrive in Canada in 1951. Luba will grow up to be Canada’s First Lady of Comedy, starring in Royal Canadian Air Farce, a.k.a. Air Farce Live--on CBC Radio and CBC Television--for more than 35 years. When asked why she prefers radio comedy to television, the comedienne will quip, “Because on radio I only have one chin!”

November 13:  Folks who live in the Annapolis Valley warm up their Marconi radios as CFAB takes to the airwaves in Windsor, Nova Scotia.

November 14: It’s a boy for Scott and Rassy Young of Toronto. Baby Neil will grow up to be a singer and songwriter performing with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Buffalo Springfield before moving on to a solo career.

December 1: The Toronto Argonauts trounce the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 35 to nothing and win the Grey Cup.

December 4: Roberta Lynn Bondar is born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She will grow up to get a Ph.D. in neurobiology from the University of Toronto and to become this country’s first female astronaut, flying with the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery in 1992. She will tell the press that Anne Murray is her favourite recording artist and that she listened to Anne in outer space. “Her music is out of this world,” Bondar will quip. She will become Chancellor of Trent University in 1992.
The Cenotaph on Parliament Hill reminds us that many gave their lives for our freedoms.

December 29: We are the dead…41,371 soldiers killed, 42,178 wounded, 10,844 captured and 32 missing in action. Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved and were loved and now we lie in Flanders Fields. We gave our all for King and Country, for freedom, for the right to be Canadian. If ye break faith wish us who die, we shall not sleep though poppies grow in Flanders

 Workers at Ford of Canada build many weapons of war including the Universal Carriers. There is no civilian production at the war’s end as employees go on strike for better conditions.