On This Day

December 06

maple leaf Today's Canadian Headline...
1921 CANADIAN WOMEN EXERCISE FIRST FEDERAL VOTECanada – Agnes McPhail 1890-1954 is elected to the House of Commons for the United Farmers of Ontario in the first election in which all Canadian women exercise their right to vote (wives of soldiers could vote during World War I); a country schoolteacher, she is Canada’s first female MP. Mackenzie King 1874-1950 wins the election with 40.7% of popular vote; gets 116 seats to 50 for Arthur Meighen’s Conservatives, 64 for Progressives, 5 others; Meighen loses own seat in Portage La Prairie; CCF member J. S. Woodsworth 1874-1942 is the first socialist elected to the House of Commons.

Also On This Day...

Halifax Nova Scotia –
Downtown Halifax is blown to pieces as a French munitions freighter, the Mont Blanc, coming through the Narrows carrying 2,300 tons of picric acid, 200 tons of TNT, 35 tons of high octane gasoline, and 10 tons of gun cotton, collides with the Belgium steamship Imo, outbound to New York City, at 8:45 am. The Mont Blanc is propelled towards the shore by the collision, its picric acid ablaze, and the crew abandon ship, after failing to alert the harbour of the peril. Minutes later the blazing ship brushes by a pier, setting it ablaze. The Halifax Fire Department respond quickly, and are just positioning their engine up to the nearest hydrant when the Mont Blanc explodes at 9:05 am in a blinding white flash. The blast levels downtown Halifax, killing 2,000, injuring over 8,000, leaving 10,000 homeless, and doing $50 million damage. The shock wave shatters windows at Truro, 100 km away, and the sound can be heard in Charlottetown. A recent theory suggests that this, the greatest manmade explosion before the atomic bomb, may have been due to enemy sabotage.


And in Today's Canadian Birthdays...

Susanna Moodie 1803-1885
author, pioneer, born on this day at Stowe House, Suffolk, England in 1803; died in Toronto April 8, 1885. Moodie came from a family of writers. In 1831 she and her husband Lt. J.W.D. Moodie and their 2 sons and 5 daughters emigrated to Upper Canada to take a military land grant, and settled at Lakefield, north of Peterborough, Ontario. Her memoir of that time, Roughing It In the Bush (1852), is a Canadian literary classic. Here she is with her sister, author-naturalist Catherine Parr Traill.Also David Stirling 1822-1887
architect, was born at Galashiels, Scotland in 1822; died at Charlottetown Apr. 13, 1887. Stirling immigrated to St John’s, Nfld. in 1847 to help rebuild the town after the 1846 fire; 1872 appointed Dominion Architect for federal works in Nova Scotia; buildings include Pictou County Court House (1855), the Halifax Club, Hensley Chapel, King’s College, Windsor (1877, with W.C. Harris), and the Kirk of St James, Charlottetown.

Also William Sullivan 1843-1920
journalist, lawyer, politician, judge, born at Hope River, PEI in 1843; died at Memramcook, NB Sept. 30, 1920. Sullivan worked for the Charlottetown Herald; 1872 elected to PEI Assembly; 1877 Leader of the Opposition; 1879-89 Conservative Premier; 1889 Chief Justice of PEI.

Also Mabel ‘Timmie’ Timlin 1891-1976
economist, professor, born at Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin in 1891; died at Saskatoon Oct. 19, 1976. Timlin came to Saskatoon in 1917; 1921-29 studied at the University of Saskatchewan as a secretary while taking classes; 1940 PhD at the University of Washington; 1950 Professor at U of S; works include Keynesian Economics (1942), Does Canada Need More People? (1951) and The Social Sciences in Canada: Two Studies (1968), with Albert Faucher.

Also King Gordon 1900-1989
journalist, socialist, born at Winnipeg Dec. 06, 1900, the son of writer Ralph Connor (pen name of Charles Gordon; died at Ottawa Feb. 24, 1989. Gordon studied at the universities of Manitoba, Oxford and Union Theological Seminary; founding member of Fellowship for a Christian Social Order, League for Social Reconstruction and Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF); 1944-47 editor of The Nation; 1947 joined the UN, serving in Korea, the Middle East and the Congo; 1962 taught international relations at the universities of Alberta and Ottawa; later Chairman of CUSO.

Also York Wilson 1907-1984
painter, born at Toronto in 1907; died there Feb. 10, 1984. Wilson studied commercial art at Central Tech; 1926 worked at Brigden’s engraving house in Toronto; 1939 exhibited with the Canadian Group of Painters at the NY World’s Fair; 1950 trip to Mexico stimulated him to paint murals; known for murals at McGill University Library (1954), and Toronto’s Imperial Oil Building (1957) and O’Keefe Centre.

Also George ‘Buzz’ Beurling 1921-1944
Canada’s top World War II air ace with 31 1/2 kills, was born on the Miramachi on this day in 1921, and brought up in Verdun Quebec. A high school dropout, Beurling hung around airports until he learned to fly, failed to join the RCAF, but got into the RAF, where he shoots down 15 planes; June 09 1942, posted to Malta with 249 Squadron, RAF; shoots down 27 German planes in a two week period, earning him the DFC, DSO, DFM and Bar; Oct. 14, 1942 wounded and shot down over Malta; transferred to the RCAF as a flight lieutenant, with 403 and 412 Squadrons; Oct. 1944 rebels against service discipline and released from RCAF; 1948 joins Israeli Air Force; May 20, 1948 killed at age 26 when the Norseman plane he is piloting to Palestine for the Israeli underground army Haganah blows up during a landing at Urbe airport in Rome; buried in Rome’s English cemetery between the graves of Keats and Shelley, but two years later the grateful state of Israel exhumes his body, lays him in state in Haifa, and buries him at the base of Mount Carmel, near the cave of Elijah the Prophet.

Also Dennis Burton 1933-
painter, born at Lethbridge, Alberta in 1933. Burton studied at Ontario College of Art 1952-56; explored erotic themes in such works as Smokeshop Sex Marauder, 1960, and Garterbeltmania, 1965.

In Other Events…
1996 Montreal Quebec – Radio-Canada International announces it will have to stop broadcasting March 31, 1997, unless a new source of funds can be found; campaign to save RCI temporarily successful; backed by Heritage Minister Sheila Copps, who said that ‘Canada’s voice to the world ‘must not die.’
1995 Los Angeles, California – Canada’s Joni Mitchell honoured with Billboard’s Century Award.
1995 Montreal Quebec – Montreal Canadiens trade goaltender Patrick Roy to the Colorado Avalanche for Jocelyn Thibault; Roy and GM Réjean Houle did not see eye to eye.
1995 Ottawa Ontario – New firearms legislation comes into force on the anniversary of the Montreal massacre; bans imports of automatic assault weapons; new rules and regulations for owning a firearm include a waiting period to buy guns, safe-storage rules, and full registration in stages.
1994 Quebec Quebec – Premier Jacques Parizeau tables draft bill declaring Quebec a sovereign country with Canadian economic association; sets terms for the referendum debate; PQ government also sets up regional commissions, invites Quebec people to contribute their ideas for a new Quebec society; 50,000 people will respond, but the Quebec Liberal Party boycotts the hearings.
1992 Oshawa Ontario – NHL star Eric Lindros arrested after an altercation with a woman in a bar; charges later dropped.
1992 Edmonton Lberta – Ralph Klein wins the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party; former Mayor of Calgary.
1990 Tampa Florida – Bruce Firestone heads group awarded new National Hockey League franchise, Ottawa Senators, for 1992-93 season; an original NHL team, the Senators started operating in 1917; but moved to St. Louis as the Eagles in 1934.
1989 Montreal Quebec – Supreme Court of Canada denies Quebec’s claim to veto over constitutional amendment; says constitution unassailable.
1989 Montreal Quebec – Marc Lepine, age 25, armed with a Sturm Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle, knives and bandoliers of ammunitions, kills 14 women engineering students in a classroom at the École Polytechnique, Université de Montréal, wounds 13 others, shouting ‘You’re all a bunch of feminists’; then turns the gun on himself. The dead: Genevieve Bergeron, 21: Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 22; Sonia Pelletier, 28; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.
1973 Ottawa Ontario – Ottawa to establish national oil company; part of national oil policy; origin of PetroCanada.
1967 Montreal Quebec – Opening of 4.8 km of walkways under Montreal; from Place Bonaventure to Place Ville Marie; the world’s largest underground walkway.
1954 Ottawa Ontario – Charlotte Whitton reelected Mayor of Ottawa.
1938 Sydney, Nova Scotia – Cable at Sydney Mines breaks, sending a riding rake plummeting into the mine; 16 killed.
1930 Toronto Ontario – Toronto Balmy Beach defeat Regina Roughriders, 11-6 18th Grey Cup game.
1928 Ottawa Ontario – John Aird appointed by Mackenzie King to chair the Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting, and to discuss the merits of public broadcasting; need to stop privately owned Canadian stations falling into American hands; also need to provide alternative to US programming flooding across the border; assisted by Charles Bowman, editor of the Ottawa Citizen; submits report Sept. 11, 1929; recommends creation of a national broadcasting company like Britain’s BBC, to develop a service capable of ‘fostering a national spirit and interpreting national citizenship’.
1927 Ottawa Ontario – Ottawa city council approves installation of first automatic traffic light control system.
1916 BC – CPR completes Connaught Tunnel 8 km through Macdonald Mountain in the Selkirk Range; opens Dec. 09; Canada’s longest rail tunnel took two years to blast, and cost $2 million; built to avoid the climb over Rogers’ Pass, and eliminate 8 km of snowsheds that protected the main line from frequent avalanches.
1911 Calgary Alberta – Calgary judge convicts two dairy delivery men for theft after they removed a rival firm’s milk bottles from doorsteps and milk chutes, to get annoyed customers to switch companies.
1908 Baddeck, Nova Scotia – Alexander Graham Bell’s Aerial Experiment Association test original Silver Dart airplane, made of steel tube, bamboo, friction tape, wire, wood, and covered with rubberized silk balloon-cloth; designer J.A.D. McCurdy will make the first controlled powered flight in Canada Feb. 23, 1909 from the ice at Baddeck.
1907 Baddeck, Nova Scotia – Thomas Selfridge takes first recorded flight in Canada of a heavier-than-air machine; he is lifted into the air in a tetrahedral kite, Cygnet I, designed by the Aerial Experimental Association (AEA) with funding from Alexander Graham Bell’s wife Mabel; the kite crashes, but Selfridge is not seriously injured.
1900 Lévis Quebec – Quebec parliamentary reporter Alphonse Desjardins 1841-1912 opens the first credit union in North America; goals are to fight usury, improve the living conditions of workers, let French Canadians build savings and slow the exodus to US mill towns; the first branch is what is today les Caisses populaires Desjardins.
1880 Edmonton Alberta – First issue of the Edmonton Bulletin newspaper published.
1869 Ottawa Ontario – Governor General John Young, Baron Lisgar 1807-1876 proclaims pardon for Metis if they disperse peacefully.
1866 London England – Alexander T. Galt pushes through the adoption of draft Article 93, guaranteeing minority education rights in Ontario and Quebec; at Confederation Conference in the Westminster Palace Hotel.
1838 Montreal Quebec – Montreal court martial begins for Lower Canada rebels accused of high treason; 9 are acquitted and 99 condemned to death; by May 01, 12 will be executed, 58 deported to Australia and 27 freed under a caution.
1837 Moore’s Corner (Philipsburgh), Quebec – Militia Colonel Kemp and 300 Canadian volunteers ambush a group of 80 rebels at 8 pm coming across the US border with newly acquired weapons and 2 cannon; during the 20 minute skirmish, 4 Patriotes are captured, one killed; the rest retreat across the border when Colborne dispatches 600 British regulars and 3 cannon to St-Armand.
1837 Ontario – Rebel leader Dr. John Rolph flees Upper Canada for the US.
1752 Halifax, Nova Scotia – John Bushell 1715-1761 publishes 8-page pamphlet for government; first book published in Canada.
1678 Niagara Ontario – François de Salignac de La Mothe-Fénélon arrives at Niagara River with Hennepin from Fort Frontenac; they observe Niagara Falls the next day.

Today in Canadian History is written, compiled, edited and produced by Ottawa Researchers © 1984-2002.



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