Tuesday, March 4, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1942-

  The 1942 DeSoto boasts hidden Airfoil headlights. Chrysler Canada employees will build 325 DeSotos for civilians during the abbreviated 1942 model year. 

January 12: Hilary Weston is born in Ireland. She will grow up to marry Galen Weston of bakery fame and serve as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1997 to 2002. Reported to be one of the richest women in the world, The Honourable Ms. Weston will have an estimated worth of $6.2 billion.

January 16: Rene Angelil is born in Montreal. He will grow up to be a pop star then move on to manage singers’ careers before marrying sweet songstress Celine Dion in 1994.

January 24: Food rationing begins by order of Parliament.

War Time gives an extra hour of daylight in the mornings.
January 26: Fast Time or Daylight Savings Time takes effect right across the Dominion by Order-in-Council. Quebec and Ontario have been required to use DST since September 28, 1940. The order will be dropped on September 30, 1945.

January 26: Prime Minister Mackenzie King rises in the House of Commons. He asks Members of Parliament to vote in favour of giving Britain $1 billion worth of weapons and foodstuffs to help the beleaguered mother country fight the Nazis. The PM’s proposal is met with wild cheers.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in happier times--in Toronto on the 1939 Royal Tour.
February 3: Queen Elizabeth takes time from her hectic schedule to be the leading lady in a movie made for the Canadian Red Cross Society. The film will be seen in theatres across the country and folks on the home front will learn how important their blood and other donations are to our soldiers on the front.

February 11: All the “T”s are crossed and all the “I”s are dotted in Ottawa and Washington—approval is given for the construction of the Alcan Highway. When complete the 2,237-kilometre long road will stretch from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Delta Junction, Alaska. 

February 24: Lucy Maud Montgomery is dead at the age of 68. The author penned Anne of Green Gables, making the fictitious red head and her Prince Edward Island home famous the world over.

February 26: Ottawa decrees that all Japanese-Canadians living west of the Cascade Mountains in British Columbia will be moved because they live in a “protected area.” 

March 11: A new Crown corporation, the Polymer Corporation, is signed into existence. It will be located in Sarnia, Ontario and be given the responsibility to make synthetic rubber. Imperial Japan owns most of the world's rubber crop.

The 1942 Fargo is built by workers at Chrysler Canada and sold through Chrysler-Plymouth dealers. Dodge trucks are sold by Dodge-DeSoto dealers.
March14: There will be no more manufacture of trucks for the civilian market. The Motor Vehicle Controller in Ottawa decrees that new trucks will be sold only to citizens who can prove they need one and qualify for the Empire and Home Front certificate.

March 18: Housewives in Kentville, Nova Scotia must place grocery orders before noon if they wish same-day delivery.  The ruling is in line with the Wartime Prices and Trade Board's new edict that allows only one delivery each day, in order to save gasoline. Kentville grocers have unanimously decided to make all deliveries in the afternoon with the exception of Wednesdays, when all retail stores are closed for Merchants' Sabbath, anyway.

March 21: James S. Woodsworth is dead in Vancouver at the age of 67. The one-time Methodist minister was the founder of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation party (today’s New Democrats) and was known among parliamentarians as “the conscience of Canada.” Woodworth was the only Member of Parliament to vote against going to war in 1939.

March 22: Barbara Perkins is born in Vancouver.  She will grow up to be a movie star, appearing in movies like Peyton Place, Valley of the Dolls and Asylum.

March 22: The National Selective Service Mobilization Regulations are implemented. This programme is designed to alleviate manpower shortages by directing people to jobs.

March 23: Munitions Minister C.D. Howe takes to the CBC to announce a national speed limit of 65 kilometres (40 miles) per hour. He tells listeners, "When the tires you have now are worn out, your motoring is over until some considerable time after the war ends."

March 24: The age of military service is raised from 26 to 30. Farm labour is critically short and sons of farmers are prohibited from signing up for the forces.

March 24: The skies grow more crowded. Trans-Canada Air has some competition as the birth of Canadian Pacific Airlines, Limited is formally announced. Initially, CP will serve Quebec, Ontario, the Prairie Provinces, BC and the western Arctic.

March 27: Parliament forgives $700 million worth of debt that the United Kingdom has racked up in waging war against the Axis powers.

March 31: All domestic automobile production grinds to a halt. Cars will be built only on an as-need basis. Workers at Ford of Canada put the finishing touches on the last civilian automobile, at “minutes to midnight.” Ready for shipment, the 1942 Mercury 8 will be stored until needed.

April: Fred Moffat invents the electric teakettle. The unique-to-Canada kitchen appliance--with its classic dome design--will be manufactured by Canadian General Electric in Barrie, Ontario until 1962.

April 1: National gasoline rationing comes into effect. Federal Munitions Minister, C.D. Howe warns, "If I tell you frankly that we are likely to lose the war unless we can get enough oil and enough rubber, you will understand how very serious our position is and why the conservation of these two essential materials is causing us so much anxiety." Drivers receive coupons worth 18 litres of gas. There may be no gas but humour abounds as folks joke that they have just enough gasoline to drive to church so they can pray for more. Records show that the rationing has freed up 680,000,000 litres of precious fuel.

April 1: The speed limit is reduced to 65 kilometres per hour throughout the Dominion in a bid to conserve even more gasoline.

April 7: J.H. Berry, motor vehicle controller in the Munitions and Supply Department, in Ottawa, tells reporters that the last new civilian car in Canada left the assembly line about April 1st, and now there are about 4,000 automobiles being held in reserve from which essential users will be supplied. He says grimly,  "These four thousand cars, carefully stowed away by dealers centrally located all across Canada, will be the only new cars available until the end of the war."

April 18: Taking it right to the wire, the Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings in game seven before a record-breaking crowd of 16,200 fans in Maple Leaf Gardens.

April 24: Sharon Carstairs is born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She will grow up to become the gravelly voiced leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party and noted for her opposition to the Charlottetown Accord. She will be appointed to the Senate in 1994.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King votes on the conscription question.
April 27: Voters respond to a nationwide plebiscite giving Parliament the power to conscript men into military service. The national percentage in favour of mandatory conscription is 63 percent but only 30 percent in Quebec.

April 30: The Nazis now control nearly all of Europe. News from the front is bad for the Allied Forces and that makes investors skittish. The Toronto Stock Exchange plunges to a wartime low of 84.8 points.

May 1: Trans-Canada Air begins regular service to St. John’s, Newfoundland. Few seats are available to civilians however, as the route is considered to be a vital part of the ‘eastern hemispheric defence.’

Survivors of the Nicoya are rescued by folks near the Fame Point Lighthouse, Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec.
May 11: The war comes home as German U-boat U-S53 torpedoes two freighters in the St. Lawrence River, off Anticosti Island. The death toll is 14 crewmembers on board the British steamer Nicoya and the Dutch ship Leno.

May 22: Found guilty of murdering his fiancée, Josephine O’Brian, at eight o’clock in the morning, 22-year old Herbert Spratt is hanged by the neck until dead in St. John’s. His is the last execution in  the colony of  Newfoundland and Labrador. The shocking murder will become a book in 1981.

May 27: Ottawa orders the manufacture of 150,000 bicycles. They will fold up, be black in colour and carry no frills. Many will be shipped overseas.

– May: Harrison Randall leaves his home in Fredericton on his CCM bicycle. He will travel 28,170 kilometres on his CCM bicycle. The 'Cycling Serenader' will entertain soldiers, putting on some 900 performances all over North America with his  harmonica, drawing from a repertoire of more than 1,800 songs.

June 1: Sugar is needed to build bombs and shell casings. Rationing of nature’s sweetener begins today by order of the federal government—folks may turn in their coupons and purchase 250 grams of sugar a week.

June 6: The Imperial Japanese Army successfully invades Alaska. Troops take the Aleutian island of Kiska and will shortly secure the neighbouring island of Attu. Completing the Alcan Highway becomes more important than ever.

June 10: Ernest Preston Manning is born in Edmonton, Alberta. Son of politician Ernest Manning, Preston will grow up to create the fiscally and morally conservative Reform Party. He will be Leader of the Queen’s Loyal Opposition in Ottawa from 1997 to 2000.

June 18: Sir Charles Ross is dead. Inventor of the Ross rifle, the standard issue weapon for Canadian soldiers in World War One, soldiers hated it because the gun jammed when it was hot.

June 20:  Japanese submarine I-26 surfaces 3.2 kilometres off the coast and shells the lighthouse at Estevan Point, British Columbia. There are no injuries or deaths.

June 25: Michel Tremblay is born in Montreal. He will grow up to become one of the nation’s most acclaimed playwrights, famous for his hilarious characterizations of French-Canadian women. Among his highest regarded plays are The Good Sisters and It’s Your Turn, Laura Cadieux.

Interrnational-Harvester builds trucks in Chatham, Ontario.
July:  Trucks may not be driven more than 55 kilometres from home and operators must now show a travel permit.

July: The Ministry of Health issues a booklet entitled Canada's Official Food Rules. Designed to ensure adequate nutrition for all during war, the booklet will be renamed Canada Food Guide in 1962 and become the second most popularly requested government publication after the Income Tax Form.

Genevieve Bujold will portray Anne Boleyn in Anne of the Thousand Days in 1969 and earn a Golden Globe.
July 1: Genevieve Bujold is born in Montreal. After twelve years of convent school she will grow up to be an actor with some fifty films to her credit by 2010.

July 20: Members of Parliament pass the Veterans Land Act. The law will award government loans to veterans who wish to buy farmland. There will be additional grant money available for livestock and farm equipment.

July 2: Workers on the line at Ford of Canada in Windsor, Ontario.

Red Rose Tea has been manufactured in Saint John, New Brunswick since 1894.
August 3: Food rationing is tightened. Tea is limited to 30 millilitres a week and the maximum amount of coffee one can buy is now 125 millilitres weekly.

August 19: Allied forces raid the port city of Dieppe. The foray is a disaster. Of the 4,963 Canadian soldiers in the battle Germans kill 900 and capture 3,900 of them.

August 31: The first food ration books are in the mail to millions of households. They contain coupons for tea, coffee and sugar.
British steamer Saganaga sinks in three minutes. 30 hands are lost.

September 5: A German U-boat sneaks into the harbour at Bell Island, Newfoundland and sinks three Canadian iron ore freighters. This will be the only direct attack by the Nazis on North American soil.

September 24: Crews have worked feverishly from both ends of the Alcan Highway. Today they meet at Contact Creek.

September 30: The age limit for conscription is lowered to 19 from 21. That adds some 135,000 men to the pool available for military service.

October 3: A US Navy flying boat crashes upon takeoff from Botwood, Newfoundland where it stopped to refuel before heading to Ireland. Eleven on board the Excalibur are dead.

October 9: The federal government threatens to place all German Prisoners of War in chains if Berlin insists upon fettering captured Canadian soldiers.

October 15: A U-boat torpedoes the SS Caribou as the ferry makes its regular overnight run from Port-aux-Basque, Newfoundland to North Sydney, Nova Scotia. A Royal Canadian Navy vessel rescues 101 people from the icy waters but 137 are dead.

October 28: This Jeep is the first vehicle to make use of the Alcan Highway. To no one’s surprise traffic is exclusively made up of military traffic. Studebaker and Dodge are the military’s vehicles of choice.

October 31: Stripped of property and possessions, more than 21,000 Japanese-Canadians are relocated to work camps or concentration camps for the duration of the war.

November 2: The entire province of Nova Scotia participates in an overnight air raid blackout drill. Only Kentville fails to pass muster in the exercise.

November 6: Cars are rationed for “the duration of the war.” Dealers are selling “Durationalized” vehicles. A 1942 Chevrolet with radio, heater and only 12,000 kilometres on the odometer sells on average for $1,575. Purchasers must be eligible to buy a vehicle according to the regulations of the Dominion and Empire Essential Automobile Act.
SW&A Crosstown bus in Windsor, Ontario.

November 7: The Wartime Industries Transit Plan comes into existence. Its goal is  to get workers to their jobs by car pooling and public transit as a means of saving gasoline and tires.

November 9: Police arrest a German spy in New Carlisle, Quebec. He admits a U-boat dropped him off the coast of the Gaspe Peninsula and his mission was to report on ship movement in the area.
The Cenotaph in Ottawa remembers our fallen heroes who died for King and Empire.

November 11: By order of the federal government, children will not mark Remembrance Day with a school holiday. For the first time since 1918, students will remember those brave soldiers who have fallen during special school-hour assemblies.
1941-1942 Dodge WC-24 1/2-tonne Command Reconnaissance Car on the Alcan Highway.
November 20: After eight months of furious construction, the Alcan Military Highway is officially open. The 2,575-kilometre gravel road runs through bush and wilderness from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Fairbanks, Alaska. It is hoped that when peace comes, civilians will be allowed to use it.

November 24: The 13,500 employees at the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited walk off the job because workers object to women being hired at a lower rate of pay then men. Women are being paid only 50 cents an hour while their male colleagues receive 75 cents for doing the same task. Ford is the single largest war factory in the entire British Empire and negotiators work feverishly around the clock to resolve the labour dispute.

November 27: Nearly frozen UAW-CIO workers walk picket lines in front of the Ford plant in Windsor, Ontario. Canadians are stunned—the nation is at war—and never before has the Ford factory ever been picketed. The vast complex is paralyzed until two o’clock in the afternoon when union leaders allow workers to enter.

December 5: The Toronto RCAF Hurricanes win the Grey Cup after whipping the Winnipeg RCAF Bombers in front of a sold out crowd at Varsity Stadium in Toronto while hundreds of thousands of Canadian soldiers overseas listen on the radio. The final score is 8 to 5.
Makeshift morgue in St. Johns.

December 12: A horrific fire sweeps through the Knights of Columbus Leave Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland, killing 100 and injuring 107 of the 500—mostly service men--in attendance. VOCM is on hand to broadcast the Christmas party on Uncle Tim's Barn Dance. Because of the war, windows are barricaded to comply with blackout regulations. Inward-opening exit doors are locked. Listeners who tune in to the weekly show hear Canadian soldier Eddie Adams begin to sing Moonlight Trail, are horrified when the song is interrupted with people’s dying screams, live and on-air. Many blame Nazi saboteurs for the tragedy but the cause of the fire will never be determined.
Fergie Jenkins will be honoured with a stamp by Canada Post in 2011.
December 13: Ferguson Arthur Jenkins is born in Chatham, Ontario. He will grow up to play baseball, pitching for the Cubs, the Phillies, the Rangers and the Red Sox. He will win the Cy Young Award in 1971 and be the first Canadian to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.

December 21: The Wartime Prices and Trade Board adds butter to the list of rationed food items. Sugar, tea and coffee are already controlled by the board and can only be purchased with ration book coupons.

December 25: There is little joy in this holiday season. Millions attend special church services and eat their rationed Christmas dinners, with thoughts fixed on loved ones in uniform, overseas.

December 28: General Motors of Canada reports that it has 13,789 employees on payroll. Factories in Regina, Windsor and Oshawa are all turning out weapons of war.

December 31: Total vehicle registrations for the year amount to 1,516,500 sets of wheels on the nation's highways and byways, a drop of 2.24 percent from 1941.

No comments:

Post a Comment