Tuesday, April 29, 2014


From the big scrapbook of time, here's a look at Canada in 1923--

   The McLaughlin Master Six Special 5-passenger Touring Car sells for $1,725 f.o.b. Oshawa but government taxes are extra.  The GM division builds 17,255 cars during the calendar year. 

January 1: One more sign that Canada is no longer a mere colony of the UK, the Department of National Defense comes into being. The new entity is an amalgamation of the existing Department of Naval Services, the Air Board and the Department of Militia and Defense. It is hoped the new administrative body will save taxpayers' dollars.

January 12: It's New Brunswick's first radio station. Citizens living in Fredericton can tune in to a new local radio station, 10AD but the name will quickly be changed to CFNB. By 1959 the 50,000-watt powerhouse will reach all of the Maritimes. The call letters and the AM frequency will be retired on June 11, 1996 when CIBX replaces it on the FM dial.

An Irving Oil station ca. the 1970s.

January 16: K.C. Irving of Buctouche, New Brunswick officially opens a Ford dealership. Sister Mary is secretary. Mr. Irving will have success with Ford and in other transportation-related business ventures, including a gas station chain.

January 30: The financially troubled Grand Trunk Railway is absorbed in to the government-owned Canadian National Railway system.  The only private sector railway left in the country is the Canadian Pacific Railway.

February 11:  Susan August Maxwell is dead at the age of 117 in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Canada’s oldest citizen was once a slave who escaped from the United States more than 70 ago. Until recently she was a washerwoman.

March 1:  Members of Parliament defeat a Labour motion to scrap the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The RCMP is efficient and well worth the money, though critics point out  the national police force now costs a whopping $4 million a year to operate.

March 2: Without British officials at his side, Prime Minister Mackenzie King signs an international fishing treaty with the United States. The Halibut Treaty marks the first time that Canada exercises its rights to pursue foreign policy independent of Mother Britain.

CKCK will still broadcast hockey games in 1974.
March 14: The world’s first complete radio broadcast of a hockey games takes place in Regina as Pete Parker calls the play-by-play action for the listeners at home on CKCK.

The Brooks Steamer sells for $3,885 fob Stratford.

March 14: Brooks Steam Motors Limited of Stratford, Ontario is registered under the laws of Ontario. The company will produce 180 handsome and lightening-fast steam-powered automobiles before throwing in the towel in 1929.

CKY studio circa 1930.
March 15: CKY takes to the airwaves for the first time. Serving the entire Keystone Province, the Winnipeg radio station is owned by the Manitoba Telephone System. Owners of radio sets must pay $1 a year to receive the signal.  It will become part of the CBC in 1948 and change its call letters to CBW. CKY will be reassigned in 1949 to a private broadcaster.

March 19:  Henry Morgentaler is born in Poland. He will survive Nazi concentration camps and come to Canada to practise medicine in 1950. The physician will come to believe that women should have the right to abortions and become a leader of the cause. In 2006 he will be active in opening abortion clinics in the Arctic.

Hewett Foster stands in front of a replica of the broadcast booth from which he broadcast his first hockey game.
March 22: An 18-year old Hewitt Foster sits inside a 4-metre square  box with a telephone in front of him to broadcast a hockey game between Toronto and Kitchener on CFRA radio. The glass will fog up but Foster will rise to the occasion.

A state-of-the-art 1923 Ducratet radio receiver.
March 31: Radio gains in popularity with Canadians. There are now 9,954 radio receivers in people’s homes.

March 31: The Ottawa Senators beat the Vancouver Millionaires AND the Edmonton Eskimos in two separate series to capture Lord Stanley’s Cup for the fourth year in a row.

April 1: Commissioner Aylesford Perry retires after 41 years of service with the North-West Mounted Police--23 were spent as Commissioner.

April 6: It is estimated that there are 18,000 automobiles operating in Nova Scotia. This year the license plates have red numerals on a grey background.

April 15: At two o’clock this morning, automobiles operating in Nova Scotia must drive to the right side of the road and overtake on the left—the opposite of longstanding tradition. The government will hand out large stickers that say, “Keep to the right.” They are to be posted on automobile windshields for safety’s sake.

The Bootlegger's Bride will tell the story of Emilio Picariello and Florence Lassandro in 1993.
May 2: Bootlegger Emilio Picariello and his mistress Florence Lassandro are hanged until dead in Lethbridge, Alberta. They gunned down Alberta Provincial Police Sergeant Stephen Lawson in their speeding McLaughlin-Buick as he attempted to arrest them last September.

May 8: The 27 passengers of the steamer SS Kyle reach the shores of Nova Scotia. The ship was ice bound for ten days, so the folks on board walked nearly 13 kilometres over the ocean on chunks of ice.

The Bank of Montreal at the corner of Front and Yonge Streets in Toronto was designed by Frank Darling and S. George Curry. In 1993, the Beaux-Arts building will become the Hockey Hall of Fame.
May 18: Architect Frank Darling is dead in Toronto at the age of 73. He was renowned for his stunning architectural designs that included the Bank of Montreal at Front and Yonge Sreets, Toronto General Hospital, the Bank of Commerce in Winnipeg and many buildings in Montreal, as well.

May 23: John Thompson and James Good open the first Supertest gasoline station in London, Ontario. The business will grow to become a major player with filling stations in Quebec and Ontario and a refinery in Alberta. The company will be sold to British Petroleum in 1971. The Supertest name will disappear by 1973.

Dominion Day: The RCMP capture the Veda M. McKeown off the coast of Nova Scotia. The Mounties seize nearly 8,000 litres of rum, and 190 cases of scotch found aboard the fast ship.

June 22: Folks in Manitoba can purchase alcohol legally as the legislature scraps prohibition in favour of a government operated liquor commission.

June 24: A deadly twister touches down near Hornby, Ontario and churns eastward for a good 20 kilometres, killing four people.

June 29: Troubled or not, the Newfoundland Government Railway marks an important anniversary. The train’s first regular 1,600-kilometre run from St. John’s to Port-aux-Basques took place 25 years ago today.

July 1: Under the Railway Settlement Act, the Dominion government of Newfoundland spends $2 million to take possession of the country’s railway system from the Reid Newfoundland Company.

July 9: Folks attending the Calgary Stampede are treated to the first-ever Chuckwagon Race. The event is billed to the public as “the half-mile of hell.”
July 21: Rudolph Marcus is born in Montreal. He will grow up to earn the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1992 for his theory of electron transfer.

July 22: Drinking alcohol becomes legal in Manitoba with the passage of the Government Liquor Control Act in the legislature. Permits will cost $1 a year and a written record will be kept of purchases made.

July 23: Sir Richard Squires, the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Newfoundland, resigns from the House of Assembly in St. John’s in the midst of scandal. Not so honourable, he will soon be arrested for theft of public funds.

July 26: American president Warren G. Harding visits Vancouver. He is the first US head of state to visit Canada. He attends a civic luncheon held in his honour by the mayor and the Premier of British Columbia at the Hotel Vancouver.

July 31: Ford Canada announces it sold 70,328 passenger cars and 3,395 tractors to folks throughout the Dominion in 1922.

August 3: Robert Campeau is born in Chelmsford, Ontario. He will grow up to be one of the most controversial multi-millionaire businessmen in Canadian history. He will buy out Bloomingdale’s in the 1980s and go bust. Because his assets are sheltered in his wife’s name, he will escape the worst of the setback.

August 17: After 20 years in business, the Home Bank of Montreal is bankrupt. The financial institution was riddled with “bad and doubtful debts.”

Studebaker is built in Windsor, Ontario

August 25: The 1923 national automobile show opens in Toronto on the grounds of the CNE. New makes this year include Chrysler and Brooks Steamer. The former is built in Windsor and the latter in Stratford, Ontario.

September 1: Queen’s Park announces free insulin for diabetic Ontarians who cannot afford the life-saving drug.

September 1: Kenneth Thomson is born in North Bay, Ontario. The son of newspaper magnate Roy Thomson, he will grow up to be the Second Baron Thomson of Fleet and be the ninth richest person in the world with an estimated wealth of $20 billion. Thomson will die of a heart attack in his Toronto office in June of 2006.

September 14: A spokesman for Ford of Canada announces the company’s plants in Windsor and Toronto are valued at $10 million.

September 18: Bertha Wilson is born in Scotland. She and her husband will immigrate to Canada in 1949. Bertha will graduate with a law degree from Dalhousie University in 1957. She will become the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1982.

October 7:  Jean-Paul Riopelle is born in Montreal. He will grow up to become one of the planet’s most famous artists. The painter and sculptor’s works are on display the world over. Riopelle will die in 2002.

October 25: Doctor Banting and biochemist J. R.  Macleod receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of insulin. The honour puts $40,000 in their pockets.

October 22: Prime Minister Mackenzie King is in London for the Imperial Conference of the Dominions. The PM wants to cut the apron strings with Britain. He is demanding independence for Canada.

October 29: The United Farmers of Alberta form the Alberta Wheat Pool in Calgary. Backed with a $15-million line of credit, the coop will handle wheat sales for members.

October 30: Andrew Bonar Law is dead in London at the age of 65. Born in Rexton, New Brunswick, Law became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom only last year but was forced to resign because of throat cancer that claimed his life today.

November 1: Gordon R. Dickson is born in Edmonton. He will grow up to become a science fiction writer, best known for his Childe Cycle books. He will win three Hugo Awards before his death in 2001.

November 2: Harold Horwood is born in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  He will grow up to become an important author. His most widely known work will be White Eskimo published in 1972. The Order of Canada recipient will die of cancer in April 2006.

November 5: Folks in Wild Rose Country can soon raise a glass of cheer. Prohibition is over in Alberta as Members of the Legislative Assembly in Edmonton vote to establish a provincial liquor control board.

November 15: There are more than 1,500 claim seekers for land in and around Wainright, Alberta since British Petroleum announced it has struck oil in the neighbourhood.

November 22: Arthur Hiller is born in Edmonton. He will grow up to become one of the greatest Hollywood directors of all times and will serve as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1993 to 1997.

December 1: The  11th  Grey Cup goes home with Queen’s University as they trounce the Regina Roughriders 54 to zip.

December 5:  Railway mogul Sir William Mackenzie is dead at the age of 74 in Toronto. He was a visionary who believed that railways would make Canada great. His Canadian Northern Railway stretched from Cape Breton to Vancouver Island but went bankrupt in 1918. The failed enterprise was absorbed into the Crown corporation, Canadian National Railways.

The Willys-Knight is built in Toronto.
December 31: There are 16,084 automobiles registered in Nova Scotia.

The elegant Chalmers 5-passenger Sport Sedan weighs in at a hefty 1 403 kilos (3,095 pounds).  A total of 102 of these posh motorcars will be built in Windsor, Ontario in 1923 but the marque will not return in 1924. It will be replaced by a new brand of car called Chrysler.