Sunday, March 9, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1940-

 Tourist cabins are far and few between but Nash features seats that lay flat and make into twin travel beds. Lucky travellers can stop whenever, wherever they like, when they own a 1940 Nash.

January 25: The Prime Minister surprises the country by calling a snap election only hours after the House of Commons reconvenes after Christmas holidays. Mackenzie King wants a clear mandate to lead the country through the war. It is a bold gamble on the part of the Grits; no one likes to vote in the dead of winter. 

John Buchan is a well-known novelist. His book, 39 Steps, was made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935.
February 6: Lord Tweedsmuir, the Governor General, suffered a stroke while shaving this morning. He fell and injured his head badly. Dr. Wilder Penfield, the famous brain surgeon, will operate on His Excellency twice but the prognosis will not be good. 

Lord Tweedsmuir founded the Governor General's Prize for literature.
February 11: The Governor General is dead at the age of 64. It is the first time that our head of state has died in office. The Prime Minister will eulogize Lord Tweedsmuir in a national radio address, In the passing of His Excellency, the people of Canada have lost one of the greatest and most revered of their Governors General, and a friend who, from the day of his arrival in this country, dedicated his life to their service."

March 4: Premier Hepburn bans the viewing of Canada at War in theatres throughout Ontario, claiming that the March of Time production is “political propaganda of the most blatant kind.”  

March 6: Ken Danby is born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. He will growup to be an artist best known for his 1972 painting of a masked goaltender, At the Crease.

March 7: The Agricultural Supply Board begins its work of making sure there is enough food at home and for our soldiers fighting on the battlefront. The agency will be disbanded when victory comes—but no one can imagine the war will last six long years. 

March 8: Nora Golding is born in Sarnia, Ontario. She will grow up, change her name to Susan Clark and become an actress appearing in movies like The Apple Dumpling Gang, Airport, Porky’s and The Butterbox Babies. She will also star in the TV sitcom Webster, in the role of Katherine Papadopolis.

The Conservative Party wants a national government--made up of members from each political party.
March 26: The Grits sweep the election, winning 179 seats. That gives the Liberals a second consecutive majority government. Even the Leader of the Queen’s Loyal Opposition loses his seat in the House.

March 22: David Michael Keon is born in Noranda, Quebec. He will grow up to be one of the greatest centres in the NHL, skating for the Toronto Maple Leafs for 15 seasons. He will retire from the sport in 1982. 

April 2: Donald George Jackson is born in Oshawa, Ontario. He will grow up to be a figure skater, winning the Canadian Junior Men's title in 1955 at age 14. He will hold the senior crown from 1959 to 1962, bring home a bronze medal at the 1960 Olympics and earn silver at the World Championships that year. At the 1962 World Championships he will win gold by executing the first triple lutz ever jumped in a competition.

April 3: The Earl of Athlone is appointed to be our new Governor General. He will have a devil of time getting here from Britain; his ship will be forced to zigzag across the Atlantic Ocean, as its captain outwits German U-Boats. The new Governor General will finally arrive in Halifax in June.

The Honourable C.D. Howe chats with a worker in an aircraft factory.
April 9: Clarence Decatur Howe is appointed Minister of Munitions and Supply for the duration of the war. The economic wizard will create 28 Crown corporations that supply everything from bullets to tanks and ships for the war effort. 

April 13: The Stanley Cup goes home with the New York Rangers who have beat the Maple Leafs, four games to two.

Franklin D. Roosevelt built 'The Little White House' in 1932.
April 24: Prime Minister Mackenzie King is the personal guest of US President and Mrs. Roosevelt at their winter home in Warm Springs, Georgia. It is private time for all. No press conferences will be held so that the American Neutrality Act is not broken. 

Senator Therese Casgrain has fought hard for women to be allowed to vote in Quebec. She will be honoured with a stamp in 1985.
April 25: All nine provinces now permit women to vote, as Quebec grants the privilege to women residing in la belle province.

May 1: Hitler’s troops don’t seem to be going anywhere. Pundits call it the “Phony War.” Nonetheless, Canada is prepared for the worst as stocks of goods reach a three-year high.

May 22: Jacques Michel André Sarrazin is born in Quebec City. He will grow up to be a movie star, using the name Michael Sarrazin. Movies will include The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, Double Negative, The Reincarnation of Peter Proud and Joshua Then and Now.

May 29: There is no debate as to whether or not there will be war--the question is when. Parliament authorizes a budget of $700 million for the armed forces and announces the creation of two new Canadian divisions.

Ford of Canada and General Motors of Canada will cooperate to built Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) trucks.
June 4: More than 300,000 Allied troops are evacuated from Dunkirk, Belgium and escape death at the hands of German soldiers. The Allies lose virtually all of their 80,000  wheeled vehicles to the Germans. It will be up to Canadian auto industry to fill in the breach. Ford and GM will co-operate to build nearly half a million trucks before victory is won in 1945.

June 5: Ottawa declares all Nazi, fascist and Communist organizations to be illegal. Leaders of these seditious groups are rounded up and sent to prison. 

The Honourable Member of Parliament for Kingston will have a Canadian Coast Guard Ship named in his memory in 1969.
June 10:  The war continues to take its toll as the MP for Kingston and Minister of National Defence, Norman McLeod Rogers, is killed in a plane crash near the Ontario village of Newtonville, while en route to a speaking engagement in Toronto. The 45-year old Rhodes Scholar was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia. His memory will be honoured when the people of Kingston, Ontario name an airport and a street for him. 

Red indicates areas where the Axis Powers have their bases.
June 10: Italy declares war on France, Britain and their allies. By default, Canada is at war with Italy.

June 11: Princess Juliana of the Netherlands arrives in Halifax with her two daughters. The heir to the Dutch throne will choose Ottawa as her home and stay in the Dominion until the war ends. 

June 18: The National Resources Mobilization Act passes Parliament today. It calls for the conscription of men for home front duty. Many of the new soldiers will opt to volunteer for duty overseas. 

June 19: As the Nazis bomb Britain relentlessly the British government begins to evacuate children to Canada. Some 3,000 kids will arrive in Canada, Australia and New Zealand under the government scheme; another 10,000 “Bundles from Britain” will be evacuated privately. Executives at Ford of Canada will take more than 200 children of Ford employees in the UK and welcome them into their homes until they can go home in April 1944. Sadly, German bombs will kill 7,736 British children during the war.

Hitler and his officials use the same railway car where the Germans surrendered to the French in 1918.
June 24: Germany dictates the terms of surrender with France. Britain stands alone in the face of Nazi tyranny with only her colonies behind her.  No one knows where that leaves St. Pierre and Miquelon, a tiny overseas territory of France, located off the coast of Newfoundland.  

Princess Margaret gets her arm tied into a sling by Princess Elizabeth as part of Girl Guides'  training.
July 3: King George VI announces that Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret will not be evacuated to another country for safety but will stay in Britain and help with the war effort on the home front. 

July 4: Ottawa decrees the Jehovah’s Witnesses to be an illegal organization, because the religion does not allow its members to swear allegiance to any nation and forbids them to go to war. 

July 22: George Alexander Trebek is born in Sudbury, Ontario. When he grows up he will graduate from the University of Ottawa with a degree in Philosophy. The budding broadcaster will cut his teeth at the CBC before moving to the US where he will become the host of a TV quiz show called Jeopardy in 1984.

July 26:The Lord's Day Act declares Sunday to be a day of rest. People may not work and merchants must be closed. Mr. Mirsky lives in Ottawa.


Spitfire fighter planes defend Britain.
August 1: The Battle of Britain begins as the Luftwaffe pounds the island nation with bombs night and day. Eighty Canadian pilots take part in Britain’s defense, flying for the Royal Air Force. 

August 5: Montreal’s Mayor, Camillien Houde, is arrested for sedition at 11 o’clock this evening as His Worship leaves City Hall. The police have a warrant issued by the Federal Minister of Justice. Houde is charged with opposing conscription and refusing to turn over offices in City Hall to the federal government to be used for the recruitment of soldiers. 

Millions of Canadians wandered the country, looking for work in the Dirty 'Thirties. The Unemployment Insurance plan will prevent people from being  homeless and starving in the future.
August 7: The Unemployment Insurance Act passes Parliament. This is not a welfare programme. Workers will pay into the scheme and should they lose their jobs, they can draw against the amount accumulated until they find another. 

An Imperial Oil station in Edmunston, New Brunswick.
August 8: Ottawa bans the construction of new gas stations for the duration of the war.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King and President Roosevelt chat in Ogdensburg, New York.

August 18: Canada and the United States sign a joint defense agreement today. It includes an easing of restrictions on delivery of weapons to Canada. It also details common road and coastal defense strategies. 

August 23: All German and Italian immigrants who have not taken out citizenship papers and those who have received them after September 1, 1922 are declared to be enemy aliens who must report to the police. Certificates of Exemption may apply in individual cases if the Registrar-General is satisfied that these immigrants are indeed loyal to the Crown. 

September: The CBC adopts its new logo. It features radio transmission waves and a map of the Dominion. It will serve well until it is replaced in 1958. 

September: The 1941 automobiles are on display at the National Automobile Show held on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition at the Automotive Building in Toronto. The new cars must vie for space with war machines on the 60,000-square metre floor as GM and Ford dedicate half of their display area to the vehicles they are building for the Dominion and Empire governments.

September 1: The first of many thousands of German prisoners of war arrive in a prison ship that docks in Quebec City. They will be interred in secret POW camps throughout the country. 

September 2: Britain grants two 99-year military base leases in Newfoundland to the United States in exchange for ships and other war materiel.

The Heinz factory in Leamington, Ontario is the largest food processing plant in the British Empire.
September 12: Members of Parliament meet with officials of Heinz Canada. Because an army travels on its stomach, the trusted food giant will provide rations for Canadian and Empire troops.

Grenfell is honoured with this stamp, issued in 1940.
October 9: Sir Wilfred Grenfell is dead at the age of 74. The great medical humanitarian spent 40 years ministering to the needs of folks along the Newfoundland and Labrador coasts.

October 10: Berton Churchill is dead in New York City at the age of 63. The Toronto native appeared in more than 125 Hollywood movies and was instrumental in founding the Screen Actors Guild in 1933. He is best remembered for his role in the 1939 movie Stagecoach.

November 20: The Canadian Red Cross has granted an emergency gift of $2,500 to the Red Cross of Greece. It will also donate another $2,500 worth of surgical and medical supplies.

December 14: Federal cabinet minister C.D. Howe is on his way to the UK when U-boat 96 torpedoes the 10,926-tonne M.V. Western Prince. The ship's cargo is base metals and food. Fifteen are dead and the 154 survivors are rescued by the Baron Kinnaird, a tramp steamer whose captain disobeyed orders and returned to the site of the sinking vessel.

November 22: Specials this week at The Farmer’s Trading Store in Calgary include two-pound packages of Sodone Granulated Soap for 20 cents. Quaker Corn Flakes sells for 7 cents a package while a 32-ounce jar of Miracle Whip costs 47 cents. 

November 30: Interrupted by a disputed ruling over the admissibility Winnipeg Blue Bombers to play, this is the only year that the Grey Cup will be played twice. In the first of two games this year, the Toronto Balmy Beach Raiders and the Ottawa Rough Riders face off in Toronto.

December 7: The two football teams go at it again, this time in the nation’s capital. Ottawa wins the Grey Cup in an 8 to 2 victory. 

December 29: Thomas Alexander Russell is dead of heart failure . He was the guiding light behind CCM and the luxurious Russell automobile that was built until 1916. At the time of his death he was president of Massey-Harris Limited.

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