Wednesday, December 27, 2017


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1916-

The elegant Ford Town Car was offered to Canadians in 1915 and 1916.

January 1: The Dominion Bureau of Statistics reports that 95,284 automobiles are registered throughout the country. That includes 2,300 registered in Nova Scotia and 34 in Prince Edward Island. 

January 8: Acheson Irvine is dead at the age of 79. He served as the third Commissioner of the Northwest Mounted Police from 1880 to 1886.

January 27: Women in Manitoba have won the right to vote in provincial elections and to hold public office as long as they can prove they are of majority age and loyal British subjects. This is a first for Canadian women; other provinces will follow Manitoba’s lead.

January 29: The World War rages on as the Germans make a daring raid over Paris in a Zeppelin. 

February 4: The Parliament buildings in Ottawa suffer heavy damage in a spectacular overnight fire. The Centre Block is completely destroyed. Believing this is the work of German terrorists, more than 1,200 soldiers are ordered to stand guard on Parliament Hill.

February 18: It’s a boy! His name is Jean Drapeau. When he grows up he will become mayor of Montréal, bringing to the city the World’s Fair and the mass transit Metro in 1967, the Montréal Expos Major Baseball League team and the Olympics in 1976. 

March 8: There is anger in Ontario over the proposed alcohol ban. Angry soldiers throw snowballs and heckle a crowd of anti-alcohol demonstrators who are marching to Queen’s Park with a 1,038-metre long petition demanding prohibition. The soldiers want the right to drink. Minor injuries are sustained by both sides in the skirmish. 

Easter bonnets and hats for the 1916 spring season.
March 14: Saskatchewan becomes the second province to give women the right to vote.

March 22: Members of the Provincial Legislature at Queen’s Park formally introduce a bill to introduce the prohibition of liquor sales and consumption throughout Ontario. Private homes will be exempt from the ban.

March 27: Jack M. Warner is born in London, Ontario. He will grow up to be a Hollywood mogul as one of the founders of the Warner Brothers studios.

March 30: The Montreal Canadiens whip the Portland Rosebuds to claim Lord Stanley’s Cup. 

April 17: Alberta grants women the right to vote, citing their considerable contributions to the war effort as proof that they are worthy of this rite of citizenship. 

The Brody steel helmet weighs a kilo but it protects our soldiers from bullets and shrapnel. 

April 18: The war grinds on.  The Battle of the Craters in St. Eloi, France plays out today as the Allies detonate explosives that they have placed under German positions by digging tunnels. This also marks the first time that Canadian troops wear steel helmets in combat. 

May 1: Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford is born in Quebec City. He will grow up, go by the name Glenn and become one of Hollywood’s greatest stars in a career that will span six decades. He will die at the age of 90 in 2006.

May 4: A new law increases the safety of sealers in the Dominion of Newfoundland. No men are to be on the ice after nightfall, a doctor must be part of the ship’s crew and sealers who are injured on the job must be paid compensation. 

May 4: The University of British Columbia holds its first commencement exercises. Degrees are conferred upon the 41 graduates in the ballroom of the Hotel Vancouver. Future graduates will include Prime Ministers Kim Campbell and John Turner as well as author Pierre Burton and athlete Rick Hansen. 

May 9: Lieutenant-General Julian Byng assumes command of the Canadian Corps.

June 1: The taps are turned off as Manitoba becomes a dry province. 

June 28:  The Union Electric Light & Power Company Limited begins construction of a hydroelectric dam in Catalina, Newfoundland. The lights go on in Catalina in mid-1918 and will reach all the way up to Bonavista by 1920. The hydro company is owned by the Fishermen’s Protective Union. 

June 10: Hurricanes don’t have names yet but New Brunswickers will batten down the hatches as a category three hurricane sweeps up the East Coast. By the time it cuts its deadly swatch across the province it has been downgraded to a tropical storm with winds of 90 kilometres per hour. It still does plenty of damage in the Picture Province.

June 12: Some 1,500 munitions workers in Hamilton, Ontario demand to only work a nine-hour day. Wartime restrictions on news that could aid the enemy prompts a ban on publication of the story but there are large advertisements in the papers accusing workers of being influenced by “enemy agents.” 

June 13: The Canadian Corps captures Mt. Sorrel in Belgium after sustaining a horrific 8,000 casualties.

June 28: Anti-German feelings run high as the citizens of Berlin, Ontario vote to change the name of their city to Kitchener. Their intention of the change is to show loyalty to the Crown. 

The Allies set of 18,000 kilos of explosives to capture Beaumont Hamel in France. 
July 1: The Royal Newfoundland Regiment loses 310 men on the first day of the assault on Beaumont Hamel. Before the objective is taken, 57,000 Allied soldiers will be killed, reported as missing in action or wounded. In 1925 the Dominion Government of Newfoundland will erect a memorial on the site  to honour its fallen heroes. 

Canada Post will honour the Number Two Construction Battalion with a stamp in 2016.

July 5: The Department of Militia and Defense announces the formation of the Number Two Construction Battalion. It will be made up strictly of Negroes, though African-Canadian men working in Cape Breton coalmines are needed at home and may not join.

July 11: Minister of Militia, Sir Sam Hughes, arrives in Camp Borden to inspect the troops. Despite 32°C temperatures, soldiers are not allowed to carry water bottles, as it would “spoil their appearance.”   As a result, 36 soldiers faint in the heat and one dies. 

August 11: An explosion in the New Number Three Mine near Sparwood, British Columbia kills eleven miners. The Crowsnest Pass Coal Company, Limited makes history by compensating the families of the dead. 

More than 50,000 soldiers are buried in West Flanders, where Ypres is located.

August 15: Allied troops pull out of Ypres, Belgium after 17 months of stalemate. They are being repositioned 80 kilometres away for a new battle at Somme. 

Wheat farm in Morden, Manitoba.

August 16: There is such an acute shortage of manpower across the land that crops are rotting in the fields. The army gives 30-day leaves to 11,000 soldiers stationed in Manitoba to assist farmers in bringing in the wheat harvest.

August 16: Britain, acting on behalf of Canada, and the United States sign a migratory bird treaty that will stop the senseless slaughter of endangered birds.

September 11: The centre span of the Quebec Bridge collapses, killing eleven. The disaster is believed to be the work of terrorists. The bridge will be guarded by soldiers until it is completed. Because of the war, steel is scarce and Ottawa will authorize its purchase. When the bridge opens next year, people must show special passes to the RCMP in order to cross. It is a safety measure that will stay in effect until the war ends.  

The Mark 1 Tank is a British addition to war machines.
September 15: The Battle of the Somme rages on with bloody hand-to-hand combat. Tanks are introduced into warfare for the first time today. Military opinion is divided as to whether or not the ungainly looking machines will be useful.

In the belief that artificial lights waste energy,  The Germans introduce daylight savings time as a war measure. Great Britain adopts war time and Newfoundland is quick  to follow.
October 1: Members of the House of Assembly in St. John’s pass a bill that will establish daylight savings time throughout the Dominion of Newfoundland next spring. It is the first jurisdiction in North America to do so.
October 31: Berlin, Ontario officially becomes the city of Kitchener in honour of  Herbert Kitchener--the 1st Earl Kitchener--who died in office on June 5th. He was Secretary of State for War of the United Kingdom and her Dominions and Realms.

UGG grain elevator in Whitemouth, Manitoba.

November 30: More than 500 shareholders vote to amalgamate three small grain companies into one. United Grain Growers Limited is established in Winnipeg. The giant prairie wheat company has assets of $5 million. 

December: This year’s Grey Cup is cancelled because of the war. It will not resume until 1920. 

December 9: After three years of construction, the Connaught Tunnel opens in Revelstoke, British Columbia. The eight-kilometre tunnel passes through Mt. Macdonald. It is the longest tunnel in Canada and will eliminate the treacherous and deadly trip up Rogers Pass by CPR trains. 

December 12: The Mary F. Flemming leaves the port of Lunenberg, Nova Scotia. Loaded with $500 worth ofEI potatoes and on its way to New York City, the 94-tonne vessel will never arrive at its port of call. The captain and crew of six are presumed dead.

December 22: Parcels and letters from home arrive for our boys on the Western Front, courtesy of the Royal Mail. 

The 1916 Mclaughlin-Buick Model D-61 cost $1,085 f.o.b Oshawa, Ontario. The valve-in-head  six-cylinder engine generated between 30-35 horsepower.

December 31:  The Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited produced 32,072 automobiles and 1,599 trucks during the year. The McLaughlin Motor Company produced 7,796 Chevrolet passenger cars and 2,859 McLaughlin-Buicks. Canadian brands of automobiles include Bartlett, Galt, Regal and Bell. One could also purchase Canadian-built  Chalmers, Maxwells, Overlands, Studebakers and Willys. 

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