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-Québec—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.

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