Thursday, February 15, 2018


From the big scrapbook of time, here’s a look at Canada in 1904-

Canadian Winter, 1931.
January 4: Margaret Nicol is born in Listowel, Ontario. She will grow up to become an artist, Marry Norman Macleod in 1940 and establish an arts centre for students attending the University of New Brunswick. She will die of cancer in 1949, leaving behind a rich legacy of more than 100 paintings.

March 11: The Ottawa Silver Seven beat the Brandon Wheat Kings two games to zip and lay claim to Lord Stanley’s Cup.

A modern seismometer.
March 21: At 2.04 Atlantic Time an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 on the Richter scale is felt through much of the Maritimes and New England. Covering some 400,000 square kilometres, the epicentre is Passamaquoddy Bay, separating the State of Maine from the Province of New Brunswick. Fortunately, damage is light—there are reports of damaged chimneys up and down the coast.

March 21: Jehane Patenaude Benoît is born in Montréal. She will study at the Cordon Bleu in Paris and receive a degree in food science from the Sorbonne in 1925. The renowned chef will write more than 30 cookbooks, run a vegetarian restaurant in the 1930s and become a well-loved TV chef on Radio-Canada and CBC-TV before her death in 1987.

April 8:  After 200 years of wrangling with Britain, France signs an agreement to give up some of its territorial claims on Newfoundland in exchange for cash and territories in Africa.

April 11: Founded in 1785 as the capital of the Colony of Cape Breton, the City of Sydney is incorporated. It will be merged into a regional municipality on August 1, 1995.

A 1904 Packard Model L. 

April 15: The first Toronto Automobile Show opens. Ford, Packard and Ivanhoe are among the exhibits on display. 

April 16: Marie-Rose Angelina Yvonne Lussier is born in Montréal. She will grow up to become an actress, change her name Fifi D’Orsay and star in many Hollywood movies. She will die of cancer in 1983 and be buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California.

April 19: Fire breaks out at 58 Wellington Street West in Toronto. The flames spread quickly, fanned by strong winds. Firefighters from as far away as Hamilton and Buffalo, New York come to the rescue. By the time the blaze is out, 104 buildings have been destroyed and more than $10 million in damage is done. Astonishingly there is no loss of life in the Great Toronto Fire.

April 24: Paul-Émile Léger is born in Valleyfield, Québec. He will grow up to become a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Leger will die of pneumonia in 1991 and his remains will be interred in Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal. 

May 14: Canada participates in the Olympics for the first time as an independent nation. Montréal fireman Étienne Desmarteau brings home our first-ever gold medal for the hammer throw.  George Seymour Lyon will also earn gold for golf during the Olympiad.

May 14: A pair of moose is imported to the Dominion of Newfoundland from the Canadian province of New Brunswick. The mighty beasts are not native to the island and with no natural predators, they will be responsible for many highway deaths over the years.

July 9: The Peterborough Lift Lock is open to marine traffic. The boat lift was built on the Otonabee River in the Town of Peterborough, Ontario.  Lock number 21 on the Trent-Severn Waterway, it features dual lifts and is the highest hydraulic boat lifts in the world, rising 19.8 metres.  Using 15,000 tonnes of metal and 20,000 square metres of concrete, the Peterborough Lock is the largest in the world. When complete, the waterway will stretch all the way to Lake Huron.

June 11: The Turbine docks in Sydney, Nova Scotia. The fastest ship in the world, she is the first steam turbine ship to ever cross the Atlantic Ocean. 

June 15: Medicine Hat in the North-West Territories is the scene of a great deal of excitement as drillers find a large gas field. An economic boom is expected.

June 18: The last of the square timber rafts departs the nation’s capital, headed down the Ottawa River.

June 24: The North West Mounted Police become the Royal Northwest Mounted Police by decree of King Edward VII, as the force marks 30 years of service. The nation’s law and order organization will become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1920.

July 3: The Intercolonial Railway begins service of its posh new Halifax to Montréal passenger service. The trip is 1,400 kilometres long. The Ocean Limited will run six days a week and stop only at selected urban centres along the way.

July 22: Donald Hebb is born in Chester, Nova Scotia. He will grow up to be an eminent psychologist, spending his entire life studying neurons and their connection to learning. The Father of Neuropsychology will be laid to rest in 1985.

August 17: The Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited opens its doors in Windsor, Ontario. The deal struck between Henry Ford and Gordon McGregor will endure into the 21st Century. 

August 31: The Canadian Pacific Railway begins its annual Harvest Excursion from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Hundreds of young men from the Martimes take the trip to the Northwest (Saskatchewan and Alberta) to help reap the grain. It is hoped that “weird tales from along the route of fighting, stealing, blood, and carnage will be lacking this year.”

September 2: Thousands of Londoners are on hand to welcome Captain John Voss as he docks in a 10.9-metre red cedar dugout Nootka Indian canoe. The 65,000-kilometre voyage of the Tilikum, from Vancouver, by way of Australia, has taken three years, three months and twelve days. The craft will go on display at the Maritime Museum in Victoria, British Columbia on January 8, 1965.

September 7:  Matthew Henry Halton is born in Pincher Creek, Alberta. He will grow up to become a newspaper journalist and start work as a radio reporter for the CBC in 1938. His reports from the front during World War Two will make him a household name. The internationally renowned broadcaster will die in 1956.

September 14: Francis “Frank” Amyot is born in Ottawa. He will grow up to become an athlete, winning the only gold medal for Canada at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The world’s best canoe racer will be inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1955 and die in 1962.

September 29: Lord Grey is named the new Governor General. He will replace his brother-in-law, Lord Minto.  

October 1: The price of kerosene oil for lamps in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia is 26 cents for an Imperial gallon or 5.7 cents a litre.

October 8: Edmonton is incorporated as a city in the North-West Territories. Established in 1795 as a Hudson Bay Post, the current population is 8,350 people. 

The CGS Neptune in Hudson Bay.

October 12: The CGS Neptune arrives in Halifax harbour. The ship has returned from the Arctic where it laid claim for Canada to the eastern Arctic and Hudson Bay. A Royal North-West Mounted Police detachment was established in Fullerton Bay.

October 20: Thomas Clement Douglas is born in Scotland. He will come to Canada with his family when he is six. He will grow up to become a Baptist minister and then enter politics to become leader of the Cooperative of Commonwealth Farmers—today’s New Democratic Party. He will be premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961 and introduce the radical idea of universal health care to its citizens.  Leading the NDP federally until 1979, he will die of cancer in 1983. Douglas will be voted the most influential Canadian of the 20th Century in a 2004 survey conducted by the CBC.

A Laurier election poster. 

November 3: Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier and his Liberals win the federal election, taking Robert Borden and his Conservatives down to defeat. The Grits hold 139 seats and the Tories will have 75 when the House of Commons next sits. 

Sunday Drive by Jean-Paul Lemieux.

November 18: Jean-Paul Lemieux is born in Québec City. He will grow up to become an artist—one of the most important in  the 20th Century.

November 26: Armand Frappier is born in Valleyfield, Québec. His mother will die of tuberculosis when he is quite young and he will vow to eradicate the disease by becoming a doctor. Armand will become a world expert in the field of tuberculosis, establishing the Institut de microbioligie et d’hygiène de Montréal and serve as director for nearly 40 years. King George VI will make him an officer in the Order of the British Empire. Dr. Frappier will die in 1991. The Québec government will establish the Frappier Prize in 1993, an award given to scientists in honour of their careers. Canada Post will honour the pioneer physician with a stamp in 2003.

December 15: The Royal Navy announces it will close its Imperial dockyard in Halifax by year’s end. More than 300 men will lose their jobs as a result. It is hoped the newly formed Canadian Navy will take over the sprawling facility, established in 1770. 

December 18: Wilfred Arthur Charles Carter is born in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia. He will grow up to become a country singer, famous for his three-in-one yodeling technique. Wilf will win many awards and perform for millions of fans until he is 86 years old and die in 1996 at the age of 91.

December 31: The year has closed and workers at the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited has built approximately 25 horseless carriages, though none has sold, yet.

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