Tuesday, March 18, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1937--
This year 1,103,012 automobiles will be registered in Canada’s nine provinces and another 149 in the Yukon Territory. McLaughlin-Buick represents wealth, prestige and power in the nation’s capital. The Prime Minister uses a McLaughlin-Buick limousine.

January 13: Police estimate that 18,000 devout mourners filled the streets in Montreal for the funeral of Brother André. He was a member of the Holy Cross Order and an important religious figure who had miraculously healed thousands of sick and crippled believers. A cathedral will be built in his memory on Mount Royal and he will become St. Andre in 2010.

January 28: Hockey star Howie Morenz is injured in a freak accident during a game against the Chicago Blackhawks. The three-time Hart Trophy winner and All-Star will die of his injuries on March 8 at the age of 35. His funeral will be held in the Montreal Forum and 15,000 will attend the service.

February 13: Prince Valiant appears in newspapers for the first time. It is the brainchild of cartoonist Hal Foster. The character in the strip is inspired by and loosely based on the life of recently abdicated King Edward VIII. Foster is already famous as the creator of the Tarzan cartoon strip. The Halifax native will continue to draw Prince Valiant until 1971 but the strip will continue is still popular today.

A state-of-the art radio studio in 1937--this is CKFC, a competitor of CRVC in Vancouver.
February 16: CRVC begins broadcasting from its new home in the Hotel Vancouver. The station’s power is 10,000 watts.

March 1: Parliament amends the Old Age Pension Act to include blind persons over the age of forty. The monthly cheque is for $25.

Daimler-Chrysler will close the Holmes Foundry in 1988, after 70 years of operation.
March 2: Workers at the Holmes Foundry in Sarnia, Ontario stage a sit-down strike for better wages. It doesn’t last long; hundreds of armed citizens believe the workers are Communists. Townsfolk join policemen at the factory to beat and arrest the striking employees, many of whom are recent immigrants from Eastern Europe who don’t speak English.

March 17: Nurse Dorthea Palmer’s trial has lasted six months. Charged by the Crown for unlawfully passing out information about contraceptives to poor mothers in Eastview, a suburb of Ottawa, she is acquitted by Judge Lawson. The Crown will lose both subsequent appeals. The criminal code will be amended only  in 1969.

March 10: Tommy Hunter is born in London, Ontario. He will grow up to be a country singer and in 1965 he will become a network star, hosting The Tommy Hunter Show on the CBC. His weekly series will be on the air for 27 years.

March 23: The Toronto Stock Exchange moves into its new digs at 234 Bay Street. The streamlined, Art Deco building is air conditioned and cost $750,000. It will receive heritage designation in 1978 and the TSX will move to a larger building in 1983.

March 31: Federal Minister of Labour, the Honourable Norman Rogers, releases figures that 1,265,925 Canadians are on the dole. The news is encouraging, that is 250,000 fewer collecting pogey than in 1936.

April 8: Parliament reluctantly approves a trade deal with Berlin in order to redress the balance of imports and exports. Canada now imports twice as many goods from the Third Reich as it sells to Germany.

Gotta be KD! Kraft Dinner is the most popular meal in the Dominion and will be for decades to come.
April –: Kraft Dinner appears for the first time. The slogan is “Make dinner for four in nine minutes.  From Cape Breton to Vancouver Island, we love the macaroni and cheese dish so much that in 2012, Canadians buy 1.7 million boxes of KD every week.

April 8: Negotiations with General Motors of Canada are going nowhere so members of UAW Local 222 walk off the job. GM management is willing to give verbal commitments but the union demands a written contract. GM doesn’t want to waste the paper. An outraged Premier Hepburn threatens to send troops to the factory but the workers hold their ground. The work stoppage is front-page news all over the continent. Twenty days later, the employees will have a set minimum wage, seniority rights, a 44-hour workweek and a guarantee that management will respect the union as the sole bargaining agent for the employees. Best of all, it is a written contract.

April 10: Parliament creates Trans-Canada Airlines. The Crown corporation will change its name to Air Canada in 1965.

April 15: Trade unions are recognized as legal bargaining agents by the province of Nova Scotia.

The sassy 1937 Chevrolet Cabriolet weighs in at 1265 kilos (2,790 pounds) and rides on a 2 844-millimetre (112-and-one-quarter-inch) chassis.
April 28: GM workers return to work in Oshawa, Windsor and Regina. Despite the strike, production figures for the calendar year will reach 44,203 Chevs; 3,378 Pontiacs; 6,880 McLaughlin-Buicks; 15,964 Chevrolet and Maple Leaf trucks and 1,630 GMCs. With 81,742 units built, that is considerably better than the 61,830 vehicle total for 1936.

April 29: Members of rival union locals clash on the docks of Montreal. Police are called to stop the rioting. No one is killed but a police horse has to be put down after being injured.

May --: New coins are minted in honour of King George VI’s ascent to the throne. The monarch’s head is seen on the obverse side of all the coins but the reverse sides show our national pride. The penny carries two maple leaves, the nickel has a beaver on a log, the famed Bluenose schooner is enshrined on the back of the dime and a caribou for the quarter. Canada’s coat of arms graces the 50-cent piece and voyageurs in a canoe are seen on the dollar coin.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
May 12: God save the King! We have a new sovereign. King George VI is crowned in a royal ceremony at London’s Westminster Abbey.  His coronation marks the occasion of the first worldwide radio broadcast. Loyal subjects in Saskatchewan and Manitoba set their alarms for 2:45 AM Central Time to hear historic event, live, on the stations of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

A Woodward Department Store in Vancouver.
June 2: Charles Woodward is dead at the age of 95. In 1902 he founded the chain of department stores that bears his name. Woodward’s will serve folks in Alberta and British Columbia for nearly a century before being purchased by the Hudson Bay Company. The business tycoon will be laid to rest in the Masonic Cemetery in Burnaby, BC.

Robert Paul and Barbara Wagner perform a perfect death spiral at the 1960 Olympic Games. This painting appeared as a collectable sports card in boxes of Wheaties breakfast cereal.
June 2: Robert Paul is born in Toronto. He will grow up to be figure skater, paired with partner Barbara Wagner in 1952. In a 16 day-run of glory they will win the Canadian, North American and World Championships in 1957. The pair will skate home with Olympic gold at the 1960 Squaw Valley winter games. This will mark the first time in Olympic history that the gold medal will be awarded to a non-European pair. All seven judges will give the couple first place scores.

Our eighth Prime Minister will be remembered on the $100 bill in 1976.
June 10: Sir Robert Borden is dead in Ottawa at the age of 84. The Nova Scotia native served as the eighth Prime Minister and led the country through The Great War, 1914 to 1918. He is best remembered for forcing conscription through the House of Commons and instituting the Income Tax Act, a temporary measure to pay for the war.

Canadian Military Pattern trucks were built by Ford and GM Canada. This 1943 CMP example is a Chevrolet.
Summer: Officials of GM Canada and Ford of Canada attend Top Secret meetings with military strategists from Britain and Canada. The rival automakers pledge to work together if there is a war by developing war vehicles that share common parts. War does come in 1939 and when it is over, six years later, workers at Ford and GM have built nearly half a million trucks using the Canadian Military Pattern.

June 14: Folks tuning in to the CBC at 1:00 Eastern Time catch the first broadcast of The Happy Gang. The fast-paced mix of hot music, corny jokes and brilliant comedy sketches quickly make it the most listened to programme in the country as more than 2 million listeners tune in each weekday. The show will air on the CBC for the next 22 years.

June 29: Armand Bombardier is granted a federal patent to build something called a “snowmobile.”  The clever machine glides over the snow on a combination of tracks and skis.  Industry analysts think it may be commercially successful and possibly have future military applications.

July 5: In a repeat of last summer’s scorching hot weather, the mercury reaches 45C in the communities of Midale and Yellowgrass, Saskatchewan. 

July 19: The Bank of Canada issues the first bilingual bank notes.

July 30: The new national air carrier, Trans-Canada Airlines, makes its first flight from Montreal to Vancouver. The 4,025-kilometre trek takes only eighteen hours with stops in Kapuskasing, Sioux Lookout, Winnipeg and Regina. TCA is a Crown corporation, a subsidiary of Canadian National Railways, that is expected to earn money for the federal government.

August 14: The Newfoundland Department of Health and Welfare has suspended its 42-cent a week welfare payments because blueberries are ripe. The ministry intends to save buckets of money by having recipients on the dole earn their wages by picking blueberries and selling them to suppliers for 18 cents an Imperial gallon (4.5 litres).

September 1: The newly formed Crown corporation—Trans-Canada Air Lines begins passenger service between Vancouver and Seattle. The price of a round-trip ticket is a hefty $14.20.

September 8: Barbara Rosberg is born in Niagara Falls, New York. She will grow up in Niagara Falls, Ontario and wed Murray Frum. Barbara Frum will be known to millions for her hard-hitting interviews on As It Happens on CBC Radio and The Journal on CBC-TV. Her character will be immortalized on Sesame Street as Barbara Plum and her show, The Notebook. Barbara Frum will die of leukemia in 1992.

October 1: Albertans now earn the second highest minimum wage in the country. Men with one year’s experience in the same job and with the same employer will earn 33.3 cents an hour or $15 a week. 
A1937 Rogers Majestic Medium and Shortwave Tombstone Table Radio with six Spraysheild tubes.

October 1: The stations of the Canadian National Railways network officially become affiliates of the new Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The broadcast day is expanded from five hours and 45 minutes each evening to an 8 am start and sign off at 11 pm daily.  In Vancouver, CNRV becomes CBV but folks still tune in at 1100 on the AM dial.

November 18: Governor General Lord Tweedsmuir presides over the first Governor General’s Awards for Literature at a glittering gala affair. Bertram Brooker, author of Think of the Earth, accepts the award for best novel. His psychological thriller is set in a small Manitoba town. Lord Tweedsmuir plans to make the award dinner an annual event.

December 31: Workers at the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited have produced 48,601 Ford and Lincoln Zephyr automobiles and 24,196 trucks for the year.

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