Tuesday, February 20, 2018


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1903-

January 26: Wanduta, an elder of the Dakota tribe in Manitoba, is sentenced to four months of hard labour and imprisonment after being convicted of performing the traditional Grass Dance, a native ceremony in which blankets and horses are given as gifts. The law will finally be revoked in 1951.

February 21: A serious drought in Central Canada causes Niagara Falls to run short of water.

Canada Post will issue this commemorative stamp in honour of Morley Callaghan's 100th birthday. 

February 22: Morley Callaghan is born in Toronto. He will grow up to become a famous novelist, playwright and broadcaster. Morley will box with Ernest Hemingway and knock him out in the 1920s. Morley will write numerous books and articles, win many awards and honours, become a beloved CBC network star and die at the age of 87.

February 23: the passenger ferry Minto is stuck in the ice of Northumberland Strait between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. It will take 48 hours before the crew can the Dominion Government steamship free. Angry citizens demand that Ottawa provide an icebreaker so that Islanders can travel to the mainland without trauma.

February 25: Francis Michael “King” Clancy is born in Ottawa. He will grow up on skates and play defence for the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Retiring in 1937, the King will continue to coach, be GM and later VP of the Leafs. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958, the feisty defenceman will die in 1986 as a result of a post-op infection after having a gall bladder removed.

March 1: La Ligue Nationaliste is formed in Québec to promote a pan-Canadian spirit and independence from Britain. Fed up with the “evils of Imperialism,” Member of Parliament Hénri Bourassa will lead the organization.

March 10: The unstoppable Ottawa Silver Seven whip the Montreal Victorias for the right to “own” Lord Stanley’s Cup. 

March 12: The third session of the Canada’s Ninth Parliament begins. Fearful of a never ending “yellow tide” that will swamp the Dominion, MPs amend the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 to discourage immigration by hiking the head tax on Chinese immigrants from $100 to $500 per person—approximately two years’ salary.

March 25: The long dispute over the boundary between Alaska and British Columbia is finally settled between Britain and the US, mostly to the advantage of the United States of America.

March 25: The National Assembly in Québec City votes that Jewish people are to be classified as Protestants when it is time to collect the annual school tax. Jewish children will attend Protestant schools, but be exempt from taking Christian religion classes.

This 1903 LeRoy was built in Berlin (Kitchener) Ontario. It cost $650 at a time when one earned $250 in a year. 
April 29: The City of Hamilton, Ontario boasts 18 automobiles and all their owners turn out today to organize the Hamilton Automobile Club—the first such organization in the country. It will become part of the Canadian Automobile Association in 1913.

April 30: Fisherman Everett Gorham of Woods Harbour in Shelburne County Nova Scotia grossed $96.06 for lobster caught this month. That works out to 13 cents a kilo. Expenses include bait at 90 cents a barrel, cork cost $3.96 a kilo and gasoline at 10.3 cents a litre.

April 29: At 4.10 this morning, 74 million tonnes of limestone break off of Turtle Mountain and crash into the valley below, killing more than 70 residents in the sleepy town of Frank, in the Northwest Territories (Alberta). The slide demolishes the south end of town, destroys the coalmine and buries the Canadian Pacific Railway. It will take more than a month to clear the rubble.

April 30: Dr. Emily Stowe is dead in Toronto, one day short of her 73rd birthday.  She was Canada’s first female physician and a longtime activist for women’s rights. Emily earned her degree in the States because no Canadian University would allow her to study medicine. The good doctor practised without a license because the government refused to grant one to a woman. Regardless, she saved many lives.  Her daughter, Augusta, will be the first woman to be allowed to study medicine in a Canadian university. 

May 7: Dockworkers in Montréal stage a three-day strike. Teamsters walk off the job in sympathy for the plight of their longshoreman brothers. 

May 21: Provincial officials in British Columbia have a clever new way to stop Asians from entering by requiring they fill out English language forms. Those who can’t read English are sent back to Asia. Ottawa complains the province is interfering with immigration—a federal jurisdiction.

June 12: Niagara Falls, Ontario receives its new charter as a city. The ‘Honeymoon Capital of the World’ is the most visited place in North America.

June 16: Polar explorer Roald Amundsen and his crew of six cast off from Norway aboard the 48-tonne sloop, Gjoa. The expedition will take three years but they will be the first to successfully negotiate the Northwest Passage from east to west, arriving in Nome, Alaska on August 31, 1906. 

Queen Victoria

June 19: Regina is incorporated as a city. It is the new capital of the Northwest Territories and is also the administrative centre of the District of Assinaboia. It is named Regina by Princess Louise, wife of the Governor General, in honour of her late mother, Queen Victoria. The Prairie ville will quickly earn the nickname ‘the Queen City.’

June 23: Paul Martin is born in Ottawa. He will grow up to be a politician and serve in the cabinets of four Liberal prime ministers. He will then be a senator, serve as High Commissioner to the UK, sit as Chancellor of Sir Wilfred Laurier University and teach at the University of Windsor before his death in 1992.

July 16: Carmen Lombardo is born in London, Ontario. When the musical genius grows up, he will form the band, The Royal Canadians, with brother Guy and become known the world over for welcoming the New Year with their unique sound, heard on radio and later seen on TV. Carmen’s compositions will be recorded by Louis Armstrong and used in numerous Woody Allen movies. He will die of cancer in 1971.

July 22: Women golfers in Halifax are publicly reprimanded for their unladylike and un-Christian behaviour after they were heard swearing loudly at a golf course on Sunday. 

Herschel is the Yukon's only island. 

August 7: Arctic sovereignty is on Ottawa’s mind. A Northwest Mounted Police post is established at Herschel Island on the Yukon coast to keep law and order—Canadian style—in this remote and frozen part of the Dominion.

August 23: A government sailing ship, the CGS Neptune, leaves Halifax on a year-long expedition to Hudson Bay. The area is to be mapped by a geologist and police posts are to be established throughout the region.

September 24: The Northwest Mounted Police establish a post at Fullerton Bay in the eastern Arctic. This act is meant to extend Canadian sovereignty over the area, keeping the peace as they deal with American, Canadian and Danish whalers.

October 19: Two federal judges refuse to sign the Alaska Boundary Commission Treaty. They are angry because Lord Alverstone, representing the UK, gave away much of British Columbia’s coastline to the Americans. 

October 31: To date 121,115 immigrants have moved to Canada this year. About a third are from the United Kingdom, another third from the United States and almost all the rest are from Europe. Ottawa gives preference to immigrants with farming skills.

The 1903 Redpath was built in Berlin (Kitchener), Ontario.

December 31: The craze for horseless carriages continues to grow; there are now 178 automobiles registered throughout the Dominion of Canada. 

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