Monday, February 3, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1952--

A total of 7,541 Buicks will be sold domestically this year. The four-door Roadmaster weighs in at 1,943 kilos (4,285 pounds) and is imported from the US. 

January -- The Federal Government’s tight credit restrictions require that a consumer pay 50 percent down for a new car and pay off the balance of the vehicle in twelve months. Few are buying cars of any kind. Kaiser-Frazer workers build a single Henry J in its Leaside, Ontario assembly plant before shuttering it for good.

His Excellency is our 18th Governor General.
January 24: Vincent Massey, our first Ambassador to the United States, is appointed Governor General. It is the first time that the honour is bestowed upon a native born son, another sign that we are no longer a British colony but a self-governing Dominion within the Commonwealth.

The RCAF used the Beechcraft C-45 Expediter as a training craft from 1939 to 1970.
February 3: At eleven o'clock in the morning Beechcraft C-45 Expediter  flying through heavy fog strikes the CBC transmitter tower in Carman, Manitoba. Winnipeg is the centre for training pilots throughout the Commonwealth. Dead is a decorated RCAF veteran, 29-year old Flight Officer Charles Chow-Leong,  who had more than 6,000 flying  hours. Also deceased are two RoyalAir Force students, Acting Pilot Officer Peter F. Harvey and Acting Pilot Officer Edward Scanlan. The tower will claim two more lives today when it topples over on repairmen, crushing them to death. 

King George VI will be buried in St. George's Chapel, next to his father, King George V and his grandfather, King Edward VII.
February 6: The world mourns when it is learned that King George VI has died in his sleep. Flags are flown at half-mast throughout the Dominion. Many schools will hold memorial services and prayer vigils.  His Majesty’s 25-year old daughter Elizabeth will reign in his stead.

February 11: The Dominion Bureau of Statistics reports that there are 14,009,429 of us from St. John’s to Victoria according to the latest official counting of noses.

February 14: The Sixth Winter Olympics open in Oslo, Norway.  hockey team beats the Americans to bring home Gold. Gordon Audley brings home a bronze medal earned in the 500-metre men’s speed skating event.

The 1952 Monarch.
February 17: Frustrated Ford employees throw up picket lines around the plant in Windsor, Ontario. Talks have broken down over demands that include pay for Thanksgiving Day and the right to $1,000 worth of life insurance for pensioned workers. The tactic works; men return to work on the 19th.  “Steady” men will receive $150 in retroactive wages.

February 27: It is the birth date of Maureen McTeer. Born and reared in the nation’s capital, she will surprise the nation by keeping her maiden name when she marries Joe Clark, who will become leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and the nation’s 16th Prime Minister. As a highly respected lawyer, Ms McTeer will work tirelessly for better health care and gender equality.

The Vice Regal palace is located at 1 Sussex Drive in Ottawa and has 175 rooms.
February 28: Vincent Massey is sworn in at Rideau Hall as the first Canadian-born Governor General of Canada. The Vice-Regal will act on behalf of Her Majesty at public functions.

This North Korean poster reads, :Everybody must take precautions against epidemics to smash the germ warfare of American imperialism!"
March 4: The North Koreans accuse UN forces of using germ warfare against them by sending poison bugs into the country.

Karen Magnussen in 1987.
April 4: Karen Magnussen is born in North Vancouver. She will grow up to become a world champion figure skater, winning silver at the 1972 Winter Olympics. She will be crowned the World Figure Skating champion in 1973 and receive the Order of Canada that same year.

April 15: The Canadiens lose the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row. This time it goes home with the Redwings after only four games.

Groundbreaking ceremony for the new Ford factory.
May 1: The first steel girders go up on the new Ford plant in Oakville, Ontario.

May 8: The University of Saskatchewan awards its first doctorate. A Ph. D.  is given to Alistair Cameron for his thesis on nuclear physics. The University will confer an honorary doctorate on Dr. Cameron in 1977.

The 1952 Viking television receiver is sold exclusively through the T. Eaton's department store chain.
May 13: Even though there are no TV stations in Toronto--yet--a troubling survey of Toronto schools shows that in homes with television receivers, children watch 25 to 30 hours of programs a week. Educators fear that students will do poorly in school.

May 13: Mary Cynthia Walsh is born in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She will grow up, study theatre at Ryerson College and star in movies an sketch comedy TV shows as CODCO and This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

June 2: Debby Foisy is born in Toronto. She will grow up in Vancouver, start writing songs at the age of ten and--with her rich beautiful voice--become a folk singing national treasure who goes by the name of Ferron.

June 22: Graham Greene is born on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario. He will grow up to become a Hollywood star, famous for his roles in Dances with Wolves and The Green Mile. The Ontario native will star on the small screen too, in shows like Northern Exposure and The Red Green Show.

July 1: Daniel Edward Aykroyd is born in Ottawa. He will grow up to be a comedian and movie star appearing in more than 20 movies including Ghostbusters and Canadian Bacon. He will win an Emmy for his performances in Saturday Night Live.

July 4: The Royal Mint in Ottawa will begin to strike $5, $10 and $20 gold coins.

July 9: The CPR begins to replace steam engines with diesel-powered locomotives on the run between Calgary and Revelstoke, BC.

July 19: Our athletes arrive in Helsinki, Finland for the 15th Olympiad. The 107 members take part in the opening ceremonies along with athletes from 68 other countries. George Genereux brings home gold in the men's trap shoot event. Kenneth Lane and Donald Hawgood score silver in the men's 1000-metre canoeing event as does Gerald Gratton in men's middleweight weightlifting event.

August 22: At 2:30 PM, The CBC makes a test when it broadcasts the opening of the 73rd Canadian National Exhibition.

August 30: Henri Bourassa is dead at the age of 84. The Montreal native was a Member of Parliament who favoured Canadian autonomy within the Empire but opposed Imperialism. He was vociferous in his opinion not to send troops to the Boer War, the Great War and World War Two. Best remembered for founding Le Devoir, he edited that prestigious newspaper from 1910 to 1932.

Puppets Uncle Chichimus and his neice Hollyhock announce each evening's shows.
September 6: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation makes good on its promise as the nation’s first TV station signs on the air. With transmitter high atop Mt. Royal, Montrealers tune in to watch CBFT, Channel Six. Programming is bilingual.

Perry Saltzman is the first face that Torontonians see on their TV receivers. The meteorologist will deliver more than 9,000 weather reports during his thirty-year career.
September 8: Now it is Torontonians’ turn to warm up their Electrohomes and watch the CBC as CBLT takes to the airwaves in the nation’s second largest city. The CBC logo flashes on the screen upside down and backward too, but only for a moment. Programming is five hours a day. Programming is unabashedly domestic, not a single minute of content is imported.

Built in 1864, the Don Jail will close in 1977.
September 8: Wanted for bank robberies and murder, the notorious Boyd Gang engineers an escape from the Don Jail in Toronto. The RCMP will apprehend them eight days later, hiding out in an old barn in North York.

September 12: There is such an acute shortage of teachers that many kids in Newfoundland and Labrador are told to stay home.

September 17: There’s a new department store willing to take our money.  Simpsons and Sears have each put up $20 million. Next year the new company will offer a catalogue and start to build a  retail chain that that stretches from St. John's to Victoria.

October 8: Built by AlCan, the Kenney Dam in British Columbia is opened. Water from the dam will power a new aluminum smelter.  The feat comes at a cost to nature--the Nechako River is reversed--it now flows westward.

October 14: Lester B. Pearson, Minister of External Affairs, is elected president of the UN’s General Assembly. The World War Two spy, code-named ‘Mike,’ will win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his brilliant concept of peacekeeping in the Suez dispute. He will become our nation’s fourteenth Prime Minister in 1963.

October 22: The Royal Canadian Regiment defends a piece of Korean geography dubbed “Little Gibraltar.” Though the combined North Korean and Red Chinese forces throw everything they have at it, two days later the fierce fighting ends in a stalemate.

November 27: It’s a girl for Geraldine and Victor Copps. Sheila will graduate from the University of Western Ontario and work as a reporter for the Hamilton Spectator. Entering politics, the Hamiltonian will rise to be deputy Prime Minister before being dumped by PM Jean Chretien, for her outspokenness, in 1997. Retiring from politics in 2004, she will write a column for The National Post.

November 29: The Toronto Argonauts whip the Edmonton Eskimos 21- to 11 in front of a crowd of 27,291 fans at Varsity Stadium in TO to win the Grey Cup. The football extravaganza is carried on television for the first time. The CBC paid $7,5000 for the rights to broadcast the match. It is only seen in Toronto because there are no live links to other parts of the country, yet. Much of the third quarter is audio only because a vacuum tube, worth $1.85 blew, making TV screens black.

The 1952 Austin A40 Somerset is popular with Canadians.

December 31: The Top Ten selling cars for the calendar year are Chevrolet, Pontiac, Ford, Meteor, Dodge, Plymouth, Buick, Studebaker, Austin and Oldsmobile.

Nash Motors of Canada, Limited assembles Canadian Statesman and Canadian Rambler models in its Toronto facility. Listing for $2,173, the luxurious 1952 Rambler Country Club hardtop is imported from Kenosha, Wisconsin.

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