Monday, January 29, 2018


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1906-

January 1: The nation’s first movie theatre opens. With seats for 500 patrons, the  Ouimetoscope is located in Montréal at the corner of Ste-Catherine and Montcalm.

January 24: The 1,598-tonne iron-hulled passenger steamer SS Valencia strikes a reef in sight of land near Pachenea Point and sinks off the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, taking 136 lives with her. In 1933 the passenger ship’s lifeboat number five will be discovered in good condition—floating in Barkley Sound.

January 27: Farmers in Saskatchewan found the Grain Growers' Grain Company in the town of Sintalulta. The cooperative will do its best to promote fair trade. Stocks are listed at $25 and there are plans to buy a seat on the Winnipeg Stock Exchange.

The Basilica, Mary Queen of the World, was built in 1852. It is one-third size replica of St. Peter's in Rome.

February 18: The Archbishop of Montréal demands that Roman Catholics refrain from attending horse racing events, baseball games, concerts and secular performances on the Sabbath.

February 23:  Boxer Tommy Burns wins the World Heavyweight Championship in Los Angeles. Born near Hanover, Ontario, the boxer accidentally started his career by punching out a second mate while working on a ship.

February 25: The first ever automobile show opens its doors in Toronto at the Armouries.

The 1906 Ford Model N. There are 41 automobiles registered in Alberta.
March – H.W. White follows the 333-kilometre trail from Edmonton to Calgary in his new Ford. The trip takes only two days.

March 8: Parliament convenes. During this second session of the 10th Parliament, MPs will pass The Lord’s Day Observance Act banning work and many secular activities on Sunday. 

March 9: Coalminers in Lethbridge, Alberta walk off the job. They want better working conditions. The colliers will stay off the job until December 2nd.

The Desjardins Credit Union will have more than 7 million members in 2017.
March 9: The Québec National Assembly recognizes credit unions as legitimate banking institutions. 

March 16: The Alberta legislature sits for the first time. Business will be conducted in The Thistle curling rink until the new building is complete.

March 17: The Montréal Wanderers whip the Ottawa Silver Seven to win this year's Stanley Cup.

April 2: The first ever session of the Saskatchewan legislature opens in Regina.

April 9: Folks who live in the “Gateway to the West” are glad to learn the strike against the Winnipeg Electric Railway Company is over. The engineers and motormen have accepted a 10-hour workday and a pay increase.

Torchy Peden in 1929.

April 16: William Peden is born in Victoria, British Columbia. Because of his flame-red hair he’ll be known as ‘Torchy’ and become the world’s most famous bicycle racer. At a time when hockey players earn $10,000, Torchy's annual earnings will exceed $50,000.

April 21: Montréalers catch the horseless carriage bug. Many shell out 25 cents to attend the first automobile salon and the exhibition is a resounding success.

1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

April 23: The Alberta Legislature sets the provincial speed limit at 16 kilometres per hour within city limits and 32 kilometres per hour in the country.

April 30: The Ottawa Public Library opens. Millionaire Andrew Carnegie donates $100,000 to the city for building the facility because citizens have pledged to raise $7,500 a year for its operational costs. 

March 31: King Edward VII grants a coat of arms to the province of British Columbia.

May 1: It’s gold for Canada as William Sherring of Hamilton, Ontario wins the Marathon at the Olympic Games in Athens.

May 8: American stagecoach robber Ezra “Bill” Miner holds up a CPR train near Kamloops, BC. He nets only $15 for the caper. The legendary crook, who originated the phrase, “Hands up!” will be captured a few days later, then escape from the prison in New Westminster, BC. The Gentleman Robber’s story is told in the movie,  The Grey Fox.

May 8: The University of Alberta receives its charter. Students will receive their first degrees from the institution in 1912. At the start of the 21st Century, the UofA will be the fifth largest university in the country.

May 9: Taxpayers may grumble but federal Members of Parliament vote to keep their salaries at the new rate of $483 a month. The primary argument is that a high wage is required to attract good candidates to public office.

May 14: Ontarians are about to be shocked into the 20th Century as the Hydro-Electric Commission of Ontario is established as a Crown corporation. The first goal is to generate power from Niagara Falls.

May 19: Gabriel Dumont dies peacefully at the age of 68 on his farm, near Batoche, Saskatchewan. The military strategist and Métis leader was Louis Riel’s right-hand man during the Northwest Rebellion.

City Hall will be completed next year.

May 23: It’s official—Regina is named the capital of Saskatchewan. Work is underway already to build a city hall and a provincial legislature. The Queen City will be a hub of commerce, growing to 192,000 in population in 2015. 

Downtown Saskatoon. The city is home 4,500 people.

May 26: With a population of 4,500 people, the villages of Nutana, Riversdale and Saskatoon are incorporated as the City of Saskatoon. The “Paris of the Praries” will grow to be home to more than 200,000 Saskatonians in the 21st Century.

May 26: Residents of Saskatchewan must pay $10 to the Provincial Secretary to license their automobiles. They must also make their own license plates until 1912.

July 5: Lift a pint before midnight as the alcohol taps will be turned off everywhere on Prince Edward Island, where citizens in all three counties have voted to “be dry.” PEI is the first province to embrace the temperance message and ban booze.

July 8: Lord’s Day Act or not, the City of Winnipeg has decided to operate its streetcars on Sundays, despite protests from the churches. 

July 11: It has taken nearly 20 years of lobbying but the Lord’s Day Act is now a national law. Canadians are required to refrain from labour and frivolous amusements from midnight Saturday night until midnight Sunday night.  It is illegal to shop, hunt, have a beer or even go to a movie.  The law will be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1985.

The posh 1906 Ford Model K had a six-cylinder engine.

August 2: The first Ford cars are boxed at the plant in Windsor, Ontario and shipped to Australia. 

August 24: Organizers of “harvest excursion trains” that traditionally carry unemployed Cape Breton labourers to work in Prairie wheat fields are having little success in filling their quotas this year. The collieries are in a boom period and hiring every able-bodied man willing to go down in the mines.

August 26:  By Royal Warrant, King Edward VII grants the Coat of Arms of Saskatchewan.

The Gjoa registers 45-tonnes.

August 30: Explorer Roald Amundsun of Norway along with his crew of six arrive in Point Barrow, Alaska. It has taken them three years to make the journey but Captain Amundsun is the first to pilot a ship through the Northwest Passage.

October 30: There won’t be much trick-or-treat fun in Kent County, New Brunswick with more than 100 cases of small pox spread throughout the area. All of those affected are under quarantine. 

Canadian communications pioneer Reginald Fessenden poses for the camera at his first broadcasting studio.

Christmas Eve: Reginald Fessenden makes the first radio broadcast in world history. by playing music and speaking. It will take another 13 years before the world’s first radio station opens in Montréal. 

1906 Locomobile Model H.
December 31: St. John’s City Council has been made responsible for motor vehicle registrations in the Dominion of Newfoundland. Annual fees are $12 for a car with less than ten horsepower, $12 for a car with ten to 20 horsepower, $18 plus 50c for a car with more than 60 horsepower and $38 plus 75c for each horsepower rating more than 60. 

1906 Ford Model N.

December 31:  Workers at the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited in Windsor, Ontario have built 101 vehicles—76 for export throughout the Empire and 25 sold domestically.


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1907-

January 21: The Montreal Wanderers lose their bid for the Stanley Cup before a hometown crowd as the Kenora Thistles take home the Holy Grail of hockey.

January 26: Hans Selye is born in Vienna. He will immigrate to Canada, settle in Montréal and become an endocrinologist. The imminent physician will teach at the Université de Montréal. He will be given credit for coining the word ‘stress’ and chart many discoveries about it and human reaction to it.  The Order of Canada recipient will die in 1982.

January 29: Mild Prairie winters have been replaced by a bitter cold that grips Alberta. More than 10,000 cattle have stampeded into Lethbridge, desperate for food and shelter. Another 6,000 cattle have trashed the town of Macleod. 

January 31: Timothy Eaton is dead of pneumonia in his 73rd year. The founder of the T. Eaton & Company Limited specializes in the sale of dry goods in its nationwide stores and by mail order throughout the Dominion.  Though the retail empire will go bankrupt in 1999, millions will seek good luck by continuing to rub Timmy’s toe, on statues of his likeness erected in Winnipeg and Toronto.

February 1: More than 400 operators have walked off the job in Toronto. The Bell Telephone Company demands that the female workforce put in eight-hour shifts. The women complain that is far too long and claim the five-hour shifts they have now are the maximum a female can handle. The dispute has landed on the desk of William Lyon Mackenzie King, the federal Deputy Minister of Labour.

March 8: The Supreme Court of Saskatchewan comes into existence today. 

March 9: A Hamilton, Ontario man is fined $30 for selling newspapers on the Lord’s Day. 

March 13: The Alberta legislature pledges to establish a university in the newly formed province. There is much speculation that the educational institution will go to Calgary since Edmonton is the capital city. 

March 18: The Railway Commission orders the Grand Trunk Railway and Canadian Pacific Railroad to cut its passenger fares to three cents a mile.

March 29: Hugh MacLennan is born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. He will grow up to be an author, winning the Governor General’s Award five times. Best known for his 1945 book, Two Solitudes, MacLennan will teach at McGill University, receive the Order of Canada and be made a Knight of the National Order of Québec. He will die in 1980.

The Curve Dash Oldsmobile was built from 1901 to 1907.

March 30: Auto clubs in Hamilton, Toronto, Kingston and Ottawa unite to form the Ontario Motor League. They will become part of the Canadian Automobile Association in 1913.

April 3: Members of the Legislative Assembly in Regina vote to establish an institution of higher learning to be called the University of Saskatchewan. The bill receives Royal Assent the same day.

April 6: William Henry Drummond is dead of a cerebral haemorrhage while visiting Cobalt, Ontario. The 50-year old medical doctor was a delightful speaker and author of several highly successful and popular books of hilariously funny poetry that captured the flavour of French Canada. He will be buried in the Mount Royal Cemetery in Montréal.

April 16: Joseph-Armand Bombardier is born in the sleepy little village of Valcourt, Québec, southeast of Montréal. He will tinker with engines and mechanical things at an early age and become the inventor of the snowmobile. The transportation pioneer will die in 1964 and in 2000 be honoured by Canada Post with a stamp bearing his likeness.

Tom's birth name is Cogwagee. It means 'everything'.

April 19: Tom Longboat wins the Boston Marathon in two hours, 25 minutes and one-fifth of a second--in front of a 100,000 spectators. The 19-year old youth is an Onandaga Indian, hailing from the Six Nations reserve outside of Brantford, Ontario.

April 20: Situated at the head of Lake Superior, the towns of Port Arthur and Fort William incorporated as cities. On January 1, 1970, they will merge to become the City of Thunder Bay.

The Chatham was built in Chatham, Ontario.
April 28: The Motor Vehicle Law comes into effect in the province of Nova Scotia. Mechanics and chauffeur-drivers must now pay a one-time $2 fee to register with the provincial Secretary. They pay an additional $5 to register a plate and affix the black plate with white numbers that measure 7.6 centimetres in length. In addition, the driver must wear a badge on his clothing.

The Stock Exchange building will open in 1929.

May 7: The Vancouver Stock Exchange is incorporated. The VSE will supply roughly 25 percent of the world's total mineral exploration funding before being folded into the Canadian Venture Exchange in November of 1999.

The 1907 Oldsmobile Model A.

May 8: The government of Nova Scotia issues license plate No. 1 to Mr. William Black of Wolfville.  He will bolt it onto his Oldsmobile. The province will issue a total of 62 plates during the calendar year.

May 8:  In front of a Los Angeles crowd, Canadian boxer Tommy Burns beats American Jack O’Brien in 20 rounds to win the world’s light heavyweight boxing championship.

May 30: King Edward VII grants the Coat of Arms of Alberta by Royal Warrant. St. George’s cross tops blue skies, mountains and wheat fields. In 1980, Queen Elizabeth II will grant a crest, supporters and a motto. 

June 16: The Edmonton, Yukon and Pacific Railway begins operation. Its track runs from Edmonton to Stony Plain, Alberta

June 22: It’s divorce for William and Anna Roeper. A Michigan judge gives one on the grounds of desertion. The proud Canadian refuses to live in the United States, telling reporters she would “never have children on American soil,” while her husband swears he would never want his “children born under the British flag.”

A 1907 Rambler Touring Car.
June 25: Speed limits in Nova Scotia are as follows: 12 kilometres in eight minutes in a town, 19 kilometres in five minutes in a village, and 24 km/h in four minutes in the country.

July 6: George Stanley is born in Calgary. He will grow up to be a renowned professor of history at Mt. Allison University, the University of British Columbia and the Royal Military College. His books and lectures will pale in comparison to his contribution to this country as the creator of our flag. Believing the design should be simple enough that school children could draw it the simple red maple leaf with its two red bars will be chosen from thousands of entries and be presented to Canadians by Queen Elizabeth II on February 15, 1965. The father of our flag will die in 2002 and be laid to rest in Sackville, New Brunswick.

Barney Oldfield behind the wheel of his 1907 Christie V-4 race car. 

July 20: World famous auto racecar driver Barney Oldfield sets a Canadian record in Winnipeg as his car does the mile in 1:19:5. The new benchmark shaves 1.5 seconds off the old record. Oldfield’s machine is clocked at 45 miles per hour.

August 3: Legislators in Regina have passed an act that changes the legal system substantially. Juries will now be composed of a dozen, not six citizens. The new law gives Saskatchewan its own Supreme Court. Five justices will hear cases in Regina and the province is now divided into eight District Courts.

August 29: Tragedy strikes in Québec City as the unfinished Québec Bridge collapses into the St. Lawrence River at 5:45 pm. The final count is 75 construction workers killed and another eleven wounded in the disaster.

In 2017, Vancouver will be home to the nation's largest Chinatown.
September 7: Federal Member of Parliament R.G. MacPherson warns in a public meeting that with increasing immigration from Asia, British Columbia could easily become ‘yellow.’ Should that happen, the MP declares that BC would no longer be “part and parcel of the Dominion.” This prompts hundreds of angry white men to storm through Vancouver’s Chinatown district destroying property and beating up local residents.

Maligne Lake and Spirit Island are part of the Jasper National Park.

September 14: The Jasper National Forest is established by an act of Parliament. The 10,878-square kilometre treasure, located west of Edmonton, is home to stunning mountain glaciers, steamy hot springs and breathtaking waterfalls. The forest will be accorded National Park status in 1930 and receive nearly two million visitors a year in the 21st Century. 

September 15: It’s a girl for Elvina Marguerite and Joseph Heber Wray of Cardston, Alberta. Vina Fay will grow up to become a star of the silver screen, best remembered for her 1933 performance as Ann Darrow in the classic film, “King Kong.” When she dies at the age of 96, in 2004, lights on the Empire State Building will be extinguished for 15 minutes in honour of the veteran actress.

On the road to Dawson City in 1948. 
September 23: The Mounties have punched a 2.4-metre wide trail through the wilderness from Edmonton to Dawson City in the Yukon. The new route is all-Canadian, making the transport of goods much simpler than before.

September 26: Britain grants independence to its oldest colony. The Dominion of Newfoundland will falter in the 1930s and become a colony again before choosing to join Canada in 1949. 

October 7: Robert McLaughlin, president of the McLaughlin Carriage Company Limited of Oshawa, Ontario inks a deal with William (Billy) Durant that will see Durant supply Buick drivetrains for 14 years. This contract will put McLaughlin automobiles on the road next year. The popular upscale car will be around as McLaughlin-Buick until the end of the 1942 selling season.

October 12: Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier stands in the House of Commons to tell MPs that a full investigation will be launched into the recent Vancouver riot and promises Asian Canadians they will be compensated for their losses.

Inventor Guglielmo Marconi sends the first telegraph message to Europe, today.
October 17: Several hundred guests are on hand for opening ceremonies and a banquet in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia as the Marconi Wireless Telegraph station begins operations by sending congratulatory messages to the King Edward VII, the King of Italy, Lord Kelvin among other European dignitaries.

October 26: A dial telephone is installed and put to good use by the town of Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia. The clever device will one day replace telephone operators.

November 5: Sir James Hector is dead at the age of 73. He was the geologist and surgeon who accompanied the Palliser Expedition to explore and map western Canada.

November 20: The McLaughlin Motor Car Company is incorporated with 5,000 shares pegged at $100 each. It will build 154 McLaughlins in its first year of operation. The company will become General Motors of Canada, Limited in 1918.

A new movie projector.

December 1: The Archbishop of Montréal forbids Roman Catholics to attend motion picture shows on the Lord’s Day. One enterprising theatre owner immediately announces that people who buy candy in front of his theatre will then be invited in to see the movie for “free.”

December 7: Fred Rose is born in Poland. He will move to Canada with his parents when he is nine. Fred will grow up to be a politician, representing Montrealers as a member of the Labour Progressive Party—a thinly disguised version of the illegal Communist Party. Expelled from Parliament in 1947 for his beliefs, the popular MP will serve four and a half years in prison for being Communist. Stripped of his Canadian citizenship, he will be deported and die in Poland in 1957.

December 16: The Heinz food company of Pennsylvania announces it will open a plant in Leamington, Ontario to bottle horseradish and pickles. Ketchup will be added to the product line in 1910.
, Canada

December 25: Folks who don’t wish to serve alcohol this Christmas season now have a refreshing alternative. Invented by Robert McLaughlin and bottled in Toronto, Canada Dry, “the champagne of ginger ales” is a success with the thirsty public and purveyor of the bubbly beverage to the Royal Household.

Frank Sobey sits on top of his delivery truck in this photograph.

December 31: It has been a good year for Frank Sobey. His new store, Sobey’s Wholesale Groceteria is a success in his hometown of Stellarton, Nova Scotia. The retail food store chain will spread throughout the nation over the next century, operating more than 1,300 supermarkets in all ten provinces under the Sobey’s, IGA and Price Chopper banners. 

© 2009 James C. Mays. All rights reserved.