Saturday, March 22, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1931--

January 1: Only 115 Ford passenger cars will be imported into the Dominion of Newfoundland this calendar year. Throughout the Dominion of Canada, dealers will report deliveries of 16,565 Ford cars, 5,030 Ford trucks, 16 Lincolns and 126 Fordson tractors. 

 January 1: Chrysler Canada will report domestic sales of 3,222 Plymouths, 1,788 Dodge Brothers, 1,231 De Sotos, 2,054 Chrysler and 9,230 trucks this year.

January 12: Now that the track extension from Hythe, Alberta is complete, the first Northern Alberta Railways Company train pulls into its new home east of Dawson Creek, BC. Citizens move their entire town to the railhead site.

January 27: Mordecai Richler is born in Montreal. He will grow up to be one of the nation’s most popular novelists. His works will include The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Cocksure, St. Urbain’s Horseman and Joshua Then and Now. Richler will win the Governor General’s Award, the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour the Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Prize and receive an honourary doctorate from McGill university before dying of cancer in 2001.
The Romance of Canada is broadcast from CNRV in Vancouver.
January 31: The first broadcast of The Romance of Canada is heard on the CNR radio network. Never before has drama been aired on national airwaves and the series is very popular.

February – The first aircraft to land at the new airstrip in Halifax is a Curtis-Robin, guided by Atlantic Airways pilot, Robin Kent.

February 27:  It becomes illegal to import goods from the Soviet Union. This is Ottawa’s protest against the repressive Communist form of government.
Therese Casgrain has worked tirelessly for women's rights in Quebec.

March 11: The times they are a-changing. Members of the National Assembly vote to give the women of Quebec the same civil rights as men though they will not be allowed to vote in elections until 1940.

March 13: The Durant Company of Canada Limited is reorganized as Dominion Motors Limited. The automaker will continue to produce the Durant, the Frontenac and Rugby trucks in its Leaside (Toronto) factory.

March 15: Documentary filmmaker Varick Frissel wants more sensational footage of the Newfoundland seal hunt for his film. He sends The SS Viking out to sea with dynamite aboard. The TNT is to be used to “spice things up.” Somehow the wooden whaler explodes near the Horse Islands, killing the filmmaker and 25 crew.

March 22: William Shatner is born in Montreal. He will grow up to be an actor and become famous for his role as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek television show and movies. The two-time Emmy winner will appear regularly as lawyer Denny Crane in television dramas in 2006.
The Memory Board is the touching story of a couple battling Alzheimer's disease.

March 28: Jane Rule is born in New Jersey. She will grow up to teach at the University of British Columbia and write books. She will be best known for her poignant 1987 novel, The Memory Board.

April 13: Clifford Douglas “Cliff” Lumsdon is born in Toronto. He will grow up to become a champion swimmer, winning the world marathon in 1949. In 1955 he will be the first and only competitor to swim the icy 42-kilometre Straits of Juan de Fuca off the coast of British Columbia. He will be inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1976 and become a Member of the Order of Canada in 1982. In March 1988, a park in Toronto will be named Cliff Lumsdon Park in his honour. He will die on August 31, 1991 at the age of 60 after a successful coaching career.

April 14:  The Montreal Canadiens skate to hockey heaven for the second year in a row and earn the Stanley Cup, three games to two. The Chicago Blackhawks are the disappointed losers.

April 15: Some 6,000 hungry and unemployed men gather outside of the Manitoba Legislature while their leaders meet with the premier and demand some kind of relief. Afterwards there is a riot as the men clash with police. Many of the protesters are arrested and six are taken to hospital for injuries.
People blame Prime Minister Bennett for their poverty. When their cars no longer run, they hitch them to horses and derisively refer to them as 'Bennett Buggies.'

April 15: Prime Minister Bennett tells a crowd of unemployed men that they do not deserve “the dole.” He refuses to help them but offers these obvious Communists one-way tickets to the Soviet Union so they can live in paradise.

April 19: It’s a boy for Miller and Margaret Stewart. Son Walter is born in Toronto. He will grow up to be a journalist and broadcaster. Author of more than twenty books, many of them will be best sellers. Stewart will die of cancer in 2001.

May 28: Peter Erasmaus is dead at the age of 97. The Metis trapper and farmer served as interpreter and guide for many explorers, including the three-year loong Palliser Expedition that mapped out much of the country between Lake Superior to the far side of the Rocky Mountains.  
A farmer near Brownlee, Saskatchewan deals with another crop failure as the dust storms roll in for the second year in a row.
June 18: The 'black blizzards' won’t stop. Two of the wild wind tempests deposit more than 5 tonnes of dirt and dust on Winnipeg streets today.

June 27: It is a boy for Sam and Saidye Bronfman of Montreal. Son Charles will grow up to inherit the Seagram’s fortune and be majority owner of the Montreal Expos before selling in 1990. In 2006 Charles will be worth more than $2.5 billion and be listed as the fifth richest person in Canada. 

Soup kitchens spring up all across the land. They are the last resort for desperate people who have lost everything, including hope.
 July 1: The Prime Minister tells the nation he will submit $25 million in relief bills to Parliament. The leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition pledges to speed the bills to passage.
The yellow, orange and red portions of the map show Palliser's Triangle, the driest and  hardest hit parts of the Prairie Provinces, destroyed by drought, dust storms and grasshopper invasions.
July 5: Norman Sommerville, the Red Cross chairman, admits that the drought in Saskatchewan is “the most serious emergency Canada has ever known.”  He reports that 150,000 citizens are in need of life’s most basic necessities, including heating fuel, clothing and food.

July 10:  Alice Laidlaw is born in Wingham, Ontario. She will grow up, marry James Munro in 1951 and move to Vancouver. Sharpening her pen and, Alice win many prizes--including the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature--for her Gothic Ontario short stories and novels including The Progress of Love and Runaway.

July 14: Ottawa announces the purchase of two million bushels of wheat to feed starving Canadians living in the Prairie Provinces.

July 15: Desperate Indians in Saskatchewan perform the illegal rain dance non-stop for 48 hours. To everyone’s surprise--except for the Indians who live on the File Hills Reserve—rain falls on the parched earth for two days solid.

August 31:  Jean Arthur Beliveau is born in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. He will grow up to play hockey for 18 years with the Montreal Canadiens and be on ten Stanley Cup winning teams. He will retire in 1971. Jean will turn down the opportunity to be Governor General in 2004 for personal reasons but will be honoured with a stamp by Canada Post.
The 1931 Durant Model 614 Coupe.

September 3: Durant Motors marks its tenth anniversary with a 100-car dealer drive-away from the factory in Leaside, (Toronto).

September 7: The 600 miners who work in Souris Coal Fields in the Bienfait-Estavan district of Saskatchewan have had enough. The dozen companies they work for have slashed their wages. They walk off the job, demanding better working conditions. They make less than half of their counterparts in Alberta and BC.  The men and boys work ten-hour shifts, six days a week and  are paid only 25c for each tonne of coal mined. They often work in 60 centimetres of water, in tunnels so small they cannot stand up and must pay for their own dynamite.

September 23: Forced off their farms, hungry and homeless, 19 desperate families are sleeping in the halls of the Manitoba legislature.
Funeral procession for the three striking miners killed by police during the Black Tuesday Riot.
September 29:  Miners in Estevan, Saskatchewan count three dead and another 14 in jail after a wildcat strike and an attack on police as they attempted to marche to town hall. A total of 23 people were wounded in the 45-minute brawl.

October:  The Bluenose beats the Thebaud for the International Fisherman’s Trophy. This is the eleventh year in a row that the Bluenose has sailed home with the prestigious award home for Canada. The world’s fastest schooner will never lose a race and will be honoured with a place on the backside of our dime in 1937.
In 2012, The Four Seasons will operate fifty luxury hotels on six continents.

October 6: Mine owners in southeastern Saskatchewan agree to give workers and an eight-hour working day, with a minimum wage of $4 a day. Company housing rent is reduced and miners may now shop at any store they wish. Although the miners don't get to form a union, they consider it a good deal for now.

October 8: Millionaire businessman Isadore Sharp is born. He will found the Four Seasons Hotel chain in Toronto in 1960 and be one of the founders of the Terry Fox Run for Cancer.

November 10: The 4th annual Academy Awards take place in the Sala D’Oro at the posh Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. At the age of 63, film veteran Marie Dressler wins a Best Actress Oscar for her role as Min in MGM’s smash hit Min and Bill. Hailing from Coburg, Ontario, the industry’s top box office draw will be honoured with a stamp by Canada Post in 2008.

Maple Leaf Gardens will be home to the Leafs for 67 years. The last game will be played here on February 13, 1999.

November 12:  A crowd of 13,542 is on hand for the official opening of Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Ticket holders watch the Blackhawks beat the Leafs 2 to 1.

November 14: A Toronto judge sentences seven Communists to five years behind bars for seditious conspiracy against King and Country as members of an unlawful organization.

December 5:  The Montreal AAA Winged Wheelers whip the Regina Roughriders for Lord Grey’s Cup in front of a hometown crowd of 5,112 at Percival Molson Stadium. The final score for the fall football classic is 22 to zip.
The British Empire is now the British Commonwealth.

December 11: The British Parliament passes the Statute of Westminster giving the dominions within the Empire full legal powers of their own.  Constitutional issues will be dealt with in the UK as Ottawa asks Britain to continue to handle changes to the BNA Act.
The 1931 Greater Hudson Eight Standard Sedan is imported from Detroit, Michigan.
December 30: There’s a new kid on the automotive block as Hudson-Essex Canada Limited receives its incorporation papers. Production will get underway in the Tilbury, Ontario assembly plant early next year.

December 31: GM Canada reports production of 17,866 Chevrolet cars, 3,725 Pontiacs, 1,446 Oldsmobiles, 3,582 McLaughlin-Buicks and 252 Cadillacs. Production of LaSalles is suspended for the year but the Cadillac companion car will return in 1932.

The Northern Electric Art Deco telephone is very popular with consumers in all nine provinces.
December 31: It's a sign of troubled times. The Bell Telephone Company of Canada Limited reports more disconnections than installations for the first time in its history.

The 1931 Durant Model 614.

01: Durant is a steady seller in 1931 with 1,973 sales throughout the Dominion. Built in Leaside, Ontario, the parent company in the United States will fold in 1932.

 This Model 41 Town Car is a fine example of the 270 Pierce-Arrows sold domestically in 1931.

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