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.

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