Sunday, March 9, 2014


National Snapshot

From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1941-

The 1941 Pontiac DeLuxe Torpedo Four-door Sedan rides on a trim 3 022-millimetre (119-inch) wheelbase.
More than half a million Canadian men and women are in uniform, serving King and Country. Doing without meat, coffee or even cars is nothing compared to the heartbreaking sacrifice of saying “good-bye” and sending a loved one off to war. GM Canada builds 7,747 Pontiacs this year. All are sold without spare tires, so that the armed forces can have the rubber.

CBC reporters go to war, reporting from the front lines.

January 1: As of today the CBC has its own full-fledged news department with correspondents in the field. No longer will our public broadcaster depend solely on the Canadian Press wire service for reporting world events. News now accounts for 20 percent of all of the CBC’s broadcast programming.

First Ministers object to the federal government's attempt to grab more power from the provinces.
January 15: The Rowell-Sirois Report is roundly rejected by the premiers at a Dominion-Provincial Conference. Despite the fact that Alberta and Quebec refused to participate and the report was three years in the making, the commission recommends that Ottawa be given more jurisdiction over provincial matters, including the creation and administration of a national unemployment scheme.

February 3: Men who are conscripted for military duty will now train for 120 days, not 30 as they did previously.

The 1941 Studebaker Champion
February 18: Automobile rationing begins. Anyone requiring a new car must fill out paperwork and have it approved by the Federal Motor Vehicle Controller. The applicant must prove that owning a new car is “essential to home front” needs. Fewer than 700 cars will be released to civilians during the year.

February 21: Sir Frederick Grant Banting is dead at the age of 49. The co-inventor of insulin is killed in a plane crash near Musgrave Harbour, Newfoundland.  The pilot reported one engine had gone out some 80 kilometres from shore and the second engine failed as the pilot tried to land on a frozen lake. Banting was a doctor on active military duty when he died. He received the Nobel Peace Prize for his insulin discovery and was knighted by King George V in 1934.

February 25: All Japanese residents and citizens alike must be thumbprinted and show their new identity cards wherever they go.

New Fords come down the assembly line.
March: Ottawa decrees that automobile production must be slashed to 50 percent of 1940 levels. Production in automobile plants is now primarily dedicated to building weapons of war.

March 12: Federal Agriculture Minister James Gardiner slashes wheat quotas to 65 percent of last year’s acreage. Furthermore there will be no price increase on the harvested crop. There will, however, be a subsidy of $9.60 for each hectare diverted to summer fallow and a $4.80 payment for each hectare diverted to hay.

The St. Lawrence Seaway is 3 774 kilometres long.
March 19: There has been talk since 1909 but today Canada and the United States sign an agreement to construct the St. Lawrence Seaway. Highway H-2-0 will open in 1959.

U-boat 552 will be scuttled by its crew on May 2, 1945 to keep it from falling into Allied hands.
April 30: Carrying soldiers to Europe, the SS Nerissa is torpedoed by U-552, nicknamed 'The Red Devil' as it nears the Irish coast. The ship sinks in four minutes. Only 84 of the 290 of those on board the steamer will be rescued.

Conscientious objectors build a road through Banff National Park in Jasper, Alberta. COs are looked down by many on as men who don't love their country.
May 29: Men who refuse to carry arms because they are conscientious objectors will now report to labour camps for Alternative Service. This affects some 10,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mennonites, Doukhobors, and Seventh-day Adventists.

June -- the National Film Board is just two months old but it is first class when it comes to production. The NFB wins its first Oscar for the documentary Churchill’s Island. It is part of the Canada Carries On series.

The Boblo Island Amusement Park opened in 1898. It will draw millions of tourists until it closes in 1993.
June 9: More than 10,000 Americans have crowded into the Boblo Island Amusement Park in the Detroit River near Amherstburg, Ontario. Many of the visitors are kids and ferries run until three o’clock in the morning, making  panicked parents furious at the long delays.

June 11: Alexander C. Rutherford is dead at the age of 84. He was appointed as the first Premier of Alberta when it joined Confederation in 1905. Rutherford’s government encouraged the railways, promoted immigration and--fed up with poor service from the Alberta Bell Telephone System--put government money into the development of a publicly owned provincial telephone system.

June 11: The Dominion Bureau of Statistics tells us that Canada's population is growing strong. There are 11,506,655 of us stretched out from Cape Breton Island to Vancouver Island and thousands of homes in between.

June 25: Denys Arcand is born in Deschambault, Quebec. He will grow up to be a Genie and Oscar-winning movie maker, known for such films as On est au cotton, The Crime of Ovide Plouffe, Le Declin de l’empire American and Jesus of Montreal.

June 27: Ottawa announces that in September it will begin recruitment of 21,000 women to serve in non-combatant roles in the military.

July 1: Premier MacMillan of Nova Scotia dedicates the nation’s newest national park. Located in Cape Breton, the 949-square kilometre Highlands National Park is also home to a world-class golf course.

July 1: As of today, all unemployed persons are enroled in a new federal scheme called the Unemployment Insurance Act.

July 2: The Royal Canadian Air Force begins recruiting women to serve in uniform.

Ron Turcotte astride Triple Crown winner, Secretariat.
July 22: Ronald Joseph Morel Turcotte is born in Drummond, New Brunswick. He will grow up to become an internationally famed racehorse jockey, riding to the Triple Crown with Secretariat in 1973. A 1978 accident will leave him disabled. He will be inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and be inducted into the Order of Canada.

July 30: It is the birthdate of Paul Anka, born in Ottawa. He will grow up to croon Top Forty hits that will make girls swoon. City Council will one day name a street in his honour.

The HMCS Arrowhead was built in Sorel, Quebec and commissioned last year.
August: Canadian Corvettes are doing such a good job at hunting down U-Boats in the Battle of the Atlantic that the German press reports submarine captains are “boiling mad.’

August 9: British Prime Minister Churchill and US President Roosevelt meet for the first time on board the USS Augusta in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland for a first summit. Out of these strategic meetings will come the Atlantic Charter, a vision for a post-World War Two world.

September: National Farm Radio Forum adds a new segment to its show. Listeners can now call in to give their opinions on topics. This novel idea makes the CBC programme highly controversial. Two newcomers, Johhny Wayne & Frank Shuster, are first heard on the CBC. The comic duo delivers some very funny sketches as part of the Buckingham Blend Rhythm Show.

September 31: Soldiers riot at an amusement park in Truro, Nova Scotia. Thousands of onlookers watch in fear as the army men utterly trash the place.  Military police are called to subdue the 500 angry men in uniform. The dispute began yesterday when the irate park owner shot and wounded a soldier.

October 18: National price and wage controls take effect today. Everything from salaries to rent is frozen for the duration of the war, in order to prevent inflationary spirals. Inflation is already running at 6 percent.  The Wartime Prices and Trade Board will regulate production of and rationing of all consumer goods.

October 31: An explosion at the Brazeau Collieries in Nordegg, Alberta kills twenty miners. The bodies of the deceased are brought to the surface laid out in the theatre, which has been transformed into a makeshift morgue. The mine will close in 1955 and by the 1980s Nordegg is a ghost town.

November 16: Nearly 2,000 Canadian soldiers arrive in the British Colony of Hong Kong to assist in defense from Japanese attack. Their vehicles never arrive. Some of the men have been whisked off to war so quickly they do not even have basic rifle training.
The USS West Virginia battleship burns and sinks after the Japanese attack the Hawaiian port of Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941. More than 2,400 Americans die in the surprise raid.
December 7: Parliament declares war on Imperial Japan after its navy attacks American military installations in the US Territory of Hawaii.
St. Pierre & Miquelon is the first part of France to be liberated from the pro-Nazi Vichy government.
December 9: The French overseas department of St. Pierre and Miquelon are declared to be part of Free France when three shiploads of French marines under General Charles DeGaulle’s orders step ashore and depose the Governor, who has pledged the colony's allegiance to Marshall Petain. This puts to an end the concerns among  Canada, Newfoundland and the USA as to who should look after the islands located in Cabot Strait between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

December 12:  By order of Parliament rubber tire manufacturing ceases.
This photo shows a few of the more than 1,400 Canadian soldiers who were captured by the Japanese in the Battle of Hong Kong. They will spend four years in miserable conditions before they are liberated.

December 25:  After eighteen days of fierce fighting, the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong falls to the Japanese. Among the Allied losses are 290 Canadian soldiers dead, 493 wounded. They will spend the rest of the war as slave labourers in Japan. Sadly, another 255 will die in Japanese prison camps.

December 30: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill is in Ottawa to address a joint session of Parliament. The House of Commons is filled to overflowing with dignitaries and foreign diplomats. His speech is broadcast nationwide on the CBC.  Churchill tells loyal Canadians how much Britons appreciate their sacrifices on behalf of the mother country. “ We have suffered together and we shall conquer together.” 
1941 Ford C11ADF  started life as a station wagon. It was shipped to Cairo where it was modified for Field Marshall Sir Harold Alexander. It features right-hand drive.

December 31: Ford of Canada closes out the calendar year with production of 13,890 Ford automobiles, 3,676 Mercury passenger cars and 8,826 Ford trucks for civilian uses both here and throughout the Empire. Workers in Windsor have also built 1,311 Ford cars and six Mercurys for the military. The War Department has also purchased 9,593 Ford trucks.
1941 McLaughlin-Buick styling is called 'Mass-Stream' this year.

December 31: GM Canada reports year-end production of 22,502 Chevrolets, 7,747 Pontiacs, 3,098, 3,126 Oldsmobiles and McLaughlin-Buicks. In addition, 67,167 Chevrolet and Maple Leaf trucks were built along with 4,823 GMCs and 101 Pontiac trucks. 

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