On This Day

December 12

maple leaf Today's Canadian Headline...
1894 DEATH OF A PRIME MINISTERWindsor England – Sir John Thompson 1845-1894 dies at Windsor Castle of a heart attack a few minutes after being sworn in by Queen Victoria as a member of the Privy Council; his body is brought home by a British warship. Canada’s 4th Prime Minister, since Dec. 5, 1892, he was a former Premier of Nova Scotia, brought to Ottawa by John A. Macdonald to serve as Justice Minister – ‘The great discovery of my life,’ said John A., ‘was my discovery of Thompson.’ Thompson was replaced by Mackenzie Bowell.

Also On This Day...

St. John’s, Newfoundland – Guglielmo Marconi 1874-1937 sends and receives first transatlantic radio message on Signal Hill 3,200 km away across Atlantic from Poldhu, Cornwall; from a box kite trailing a 121 metre long copper wire antenna. The first transatlantic wireless test signal is heard as the faint clicking of Morse code – of the letter ‘S’ repeated over and over. Here he is in his Cabot Tower laboratory on Signal Hill. Four days later, Marconi will be officially notified by the Anglo-American Telegraph Company that it will take legal action against him unless he immediately ceases his wireless experiments and removes his equipment from Newfoundland; Anglo-American has a fifty-year monopoly on electrical communications in Newfoundland starting in 1858, and is determined to hinder radio telegraphy, which it knows is a serious threat to its transatlantic electric telegraph business operated by submarine cables; Marconi soon decides to move his base of operations to Cape Breton.


And in Today's Canadian Birthdays...

John Sandfield Macdonald 1812-1872
lawyer, politician, was born on this day in 1812 at St. Raphael, Ontario; died in Cornwall, Ontario June 1, 1872. Macdonald articled in the offices of A. McLean and W.A. Draper; 1840 called to the bar; opened a practice in Cornwall; 1841 Conservative MLA Glengarry in the first Assembly of the Province of Canada, and served in all 8 parliaments; 1843 joined Reformers; 1849-51 Robert Baldwin’s Solicitor General for Canada West; 1852 Speaker of the Assembly; 1862-64 co-Premier with A-A Dorion; 1867-71 first Premier of Ontario.Also Louis Maheu 1650-
born at Quebec City in 1650; first native-born Canadian to practice medicine; served also as harbour master of Quebec.

Also Al Ritchie 1890-1966
football and hockey player, coach, was born on this day in 1890; died Feb. 22 1966. Ritchie was one of the organizers of the Regina Pats hockey team; coached them to the Memorial Cup 1925, 1928 and 1930; coached the Regina Pats football team to western Canadian titles in 1925-28; credited with naming the Saskatchewan Roughriders; coached them to consecutive Grey Cup finals in 1929-32; hockey scout for the New York Rangers for over 30 years.

Also Huck Welch 1907-1979
football player, was born on this day at Hamilton, Ontario, in 1907; died May 15, 1979. Welch joined the Hamilton Tigers in 1928; helped them win the interprovincial title and the Grey Cup; 1931 led the Montreal Winged Wheelers to the 1931 Grey Cup.

Also George Mara 1921-
sportsman, Olympic athlete, born on this day in 1921. Mara was captain of the 1948 Canadian Olympic hockey team that won the gold medal at St. Moritz; 1970 started fund raising for Olympic teams, which became the Olympic Trust.

Also Ted ‘Teeder’ Kennedy 1925-
NHL forward, born at Humberstone, Ontario, in 1925). Kennedy played senior hockey at Port Colborne and joined the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942; scored 231 goals and 560 points in 696 games; 1955 Hart Trophy; 1957 retired to run thoroughbred training centre in St Mary’s.

Also Jean Doré 1942-
former Mayor of Montreal.

Also Billy Smith 1950-
NHL goaltender, was born on this day at Perth, Ontario, in 1950. Smith was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings as their third pick in the 1970 Amateur Draft; 1971 played the Springfield Kings in their Calder Cup championship; backstopped the New York Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cup championships 1979-83; Nov. 28, 1979 the first NHL goaltender to be credited with scoring a goal.

Also Steve Podborski 1957-
downhill skier, born in Toronto in 1957; Canada’s first World Cup Ski champion in the Downhill.

Also Robert Lepage 1957-
actor, director, playwright, born at Quebec City in 1957. Lepage studied at the Conservatoire d’art dramatique; 1985 produced mixed media work, Circulations; 1986 mounted one-man show, Vinci; recent works include La Trilogie des dragons (1987), Les Plaques tectoniques (1990), Les Aiguilles et l’opium (1991, plays himself, Jean Cocteau and Miles Davis) and Le Polygraphe (1992); 1989-93 French-language director of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa; 1993 directed Bluebeard’s Castle by Bartok and Schoenburg’s Erwartung for the Canadian Opera Company; 1995 produced Strindberg’s Dream Play at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, Sweden.

Also Philippe Laroche 1966-
aerobatic skier, born at Lac-Beauport, Quebec in 1966; winner of World Cup freestyle 1991, 1992 and 1994; 1992 won Olympic gold medal at Albertville; 1992 silver medal at Lillehammer; currently operates a Cage aux Sports franchise in Lac-St-Jean.

In Other Events…
1996 Quebec Quebec – Jean Chrétien names Lise Thibault as Lieutenant Governor of Quebec; first woman and first handicapped person to hold the post; sworn in Jan. 30, 1997.
1996 Montreal Quebec – Moises Alou leaves the Expos to play for the Florida Marlins, then the Houston Astros.
1993 Montreal Quebec – Genie awards held in Montreal for the first time.
1992 Montreal Quebec – Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau marries Lisette Lapointe.
1991 Ottawa Ontario – Justice Minister Kim Campbell brings in new rape shield law that defines consent, allows case questioning only when crucial to defendant; restores protection lost by ruling previous August.
1989 Revelstoke BC – CP Rail runs first regular freight train through 14.5 km Mount MacDonald Tunnel, the longest rail tunnel in the Americas.
1988 Toronto Ontario – The Canadian Football League extends its agreement with CFN through to 1990; CFL game rosters to consist of 20 non-imports, 14 imports and 2 quarterbacks; Roy McMurtry was appointed Chairman-Chief Executive Officer and Bill Baker President-Chief Operating Officer; sale of the Toronto Argonauts from Carling O’Keefe to Harry Ornest approved.
1986 Ottawa Ontario – Former Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau named Canadian delegate to UNESCO in Paris.
1985 Quebec Quebec – Robert Bourassa 1933-1996 sworn in as 29th Premier of Quebec; formerly 26th Premier May 12, 1970 – Nov. 25, 1976; Liberal MLA for Bertrand; author of: Deux fois la Baie-James (1981), L’énergie du Nord: la force du Québec (1985) and Le défi technologique (1985); Claude Ryan his Minister of Education, Gérard-D. Lévesque Minister of Finance.
1985 Gander Newfoundland – US jet transport crashes on takeoff, killing 248 American soldiers on leave; possibly due to bomb planted by terrorists.
1984 Toronto Ontario – Ontario government ends Happy Hours in Ontario bars by banning mixed pricing and cut rate drinks.
1981 Edmonton Alberta – Oiler Wayne Gretzky notches another NHL record, reaching his 50 goal mark in only 39 games.
1980 Quebec Quebec – Jean Lesage 1912-1980 dies, politician, lawyer, born at Montreal June 10, 1912; 1945 first elected as a federal MP for Montmagny-L’Islet; re-elected 1949, 1953, 1957 and 1958; 1953 St. Laurent’s Minister of Resources and Development and then of Northern Affairs and National Resources; May 31, 1958 elected leader of the Quebec Liberal Party; 1960-66 Premier of Quebec, political architect of Quebec’s Quiet Revolution; elected in 1962 with a mandate to nationalize the electricity companies, under the slogan of ‘Maîtres chez nous’.
1975 Toronto Ontario – Toronto Transit Commission bus collides with commuter train at level crossing, killing 9, injuring 20; worst accident in TTC history.
1970 Prince George, BC – Roy Spencer, father of Toronto Maple Leaf rookie Brian ‘Spinner’ Spencer shot and killed by the RCMP outside a Prince George TV station after he had forced it off the air at gunpoint because it was not carrying a game between the Leafs and the Chicago Blackhawks and a interview with his son; Brian Spencer was himself shot and killed in June 1988 in Florida.
1973 Ottawa Ontario – Royal Mint starts sale of commemorative coins to help finance 1976 Montreal Olympics.
1969 Halifax Nova Scotia – Royal Canadian Navy retires aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure after 12 years of service; later sold for scrap.
1968 Alberta – Harry Edwin Strom 1914- takes office as Social Credit Premier of Alberta, succeeding Ernest C. Manning.
1967 Ottawa Ontario – Ottawa joins consortium of Canadian companies exploring for oil and minerals in the Arctic.
1959 Los Angeles, California – Harry Warner dies at age 76; film executive, one of the Warner Brothers, born in Canada Dec 12, 1881.
1953 Hamilton Ontario – Governor-General Vincent Massey opens The Art Gallery of Hamilton.
1951 Ottawa Ontario – Parliament votes to set up the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority; as Canadian project manager in cooperation with US.
1951 Montreal Quebec – De Havilland DHC-3 Otter makes first test flight; larger version of the Beaver; 450 made; US Army and US Navy used Otters and the RCAF operated 69, some serving on UN duties overseas; used to pioneer water-bombing techniques.
1949 Victoria BC – Nancy Hodges 1912- elected Speaker of British Columbia Legislature; first female Speaker of a Canadian Legislature; also first woman in a Commonwealth legislative body.
1946 Montreal Quebec – Demonstration held in Montreal to protest despotism of Duplessis government.
1942 St. John’s Newfoundland – Arsonist sets fire during barn dance in Knights of Columbus hostel, killing 99 people and seriously injuring another 100, mostly military personnel and their dates; reputedly set by German agent.
1938 Montreal Quebec – Camilien Houde re-elected Mayor of Montreal.
1936 Quebec Quebec – Creation of the Crédit Agricole du Québec/ Quebec Farm Credit Corporation.
1933 Boston Massachusetts – Ace Bailey collides with Bruins player Eddie Shore and ends up with a fractured skull; ends playing career after 7 seasons in the NHL; originally played for Toronto St. Pats, later the Toronto Maple Leafs, with Babe Dye and Hap Day; led NHL in both scoring and points in 1928-29; Stanley Cup team 1932-33; stayed active with Maple Leaf Gardens for decades.
1916 Midnapore Alberta – Father Albert Lacombe 1827-1916 dies in the early morning at the Lacombe Home in Midnapore; born in St. Suplice, Quebec, in 1827; after ordination served at Fort Garry; 1852 to Fort Edmonton; lived among the Cree and Blackfoot; negotiated truce between the Blackfoot and Canadian Pacific workers; 1883, Lacombe elected President of the CPR for one hour and given a lifetime rail pass; priest at St. Mary’s Parish in Calgary; 1909 founded the Lacombe Home for the orphaned, aged, and indigent.
1885 Portage La Prairie, Manitoba – First CPR freight train heads east to Montreal with Manitoba wheat.
1883 Langevin Alberta – Canadian Pacific Railway crews digging for water strike natural gas at Langevin, west of present-day Medicine Hat.
1866 London England – Fire breaks out in John A. Macdonald’s bedroom in the Westminster Palace Hotel during the Confederation conference; quickly extinguished.
1859 Montreal Quebec – Opening of the Victoria Bridge to rail traffic, as first passenger train crosses the iron tubular structure; formally opened by the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, on Aug. 25, 1860.
1858 Kingston Ontario – Province of Canada releases first decimal coins; only 421,000 cents are ready.
1843 Victoria BC – James Douglas 1803-1877 renames Fort Camosun Fort Victoria.
1843 Montreal Quebec – William Draper & Denis-Benjamin Viger form Draper-Viger Ministry with Dominick Daly, only member of previous Ministry not to resign.
1813 Astoria Oregon – William Black officially takes possession of Fort Astoria for Britain; renames it Fort George.
1813 Montreal Quebec – James McGill dies; merchant, philanthropist, born at Glasgow, Scotland Oct. 06, 1744; Montreal fur trader, land developer whose bequest of land and money led to the founding of McGill University.
1812 Toronto Ontario – Founding of the Loyal and Patriotic Society of Upper Canada to help destitute families and wounded soldiers in the War of 1812 and American invasion.
1783 Saint John New Brunswick – William Lewis & John Ryan publish first newspaper in New Brunswick, the ‘Royal Saint John Gazette and Nova Scotian Intelligencer’.

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

All Rights Reserved.

Please email your comments & suggestions to at: Ottawa Researchers

2 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Buddy Hope you are well, Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and hope the New year will be a little better , Just looking at the NEw Highway , Yes for sure He Coal cops wouldn’t catch ya , the coal dust would be really flying or the truck Never see ya LOL. Ok Buddy Take care , And Take er easy ,


    • Nice to hear From you Buddy. You take care and have a Merry Christmas all the best to you and family. I was in the line up to buy Junior Hockey play off tickets at the North Sydney Forum when the coal cops pulled up and saw me (They knew me because they had arrested me and took my load of coal previously) and asked if I would buy them their tickets so they wouldnt have to line up – they had a business meeting. I did and delivered them their tickets and never had a problem with the Coal Cops after that. All the best and good health in 2011 Buddy.


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