On This Day

December 20


maple leaf Today's Canadian Headline...
1991 OTTAWA SENATORS COME BACKMiami Florida – NHL Governors grant permanent membership to the new Ottawa Senators and the Tampa Bay Lightning teams; the Ottawa group is led by real estate investor Bruce Firestone; the original Senators went out of business in 1932, due to the Depression.

Also On This Day...

Ottawa Ontario – Cabinet passes Order in Council creating the government owned Canadian National Railways, to unite and rescue five near-bankrupt railroads: the Grand Trunk, Grand Trunk Pacific, Canadian Northern, Intercolonial and Canadian Government Railways [National Transcontinental]. The new CNR system is the longest in North America, with over 50,000 km of track in the US and Canada.


And in Today's Canadian Birthdays...

Jean Marchand 1918-1988
union leader, politician, was born on this day at Champlain, Quebec, in 1918; dies in St-Augustin, Quebec, Aug, 28, 1988. Marchand studied labour relations at Laval; 1942 organizer for the Fédération de la pulpe et du papier; 1944 organizer for the Confédération des travailleurs catholiques du Canada; 1947 Secretary General of the CTCC; 1960 helped bring about defeat of Duplessis government; 1961-65 President of the CTCC, renamed the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CNTU); worked with Lesage government to win right of government employees to form unions and strike; 1965 member of Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism; joined the federal Liberal Party; one of the so-called ‘three wise men’ of Quebec, with his friends Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Gérard Pelletier, who served in Ottawa; 1976 resigned to run in the Quebec provincial election against the PQ; Dec. 1976 appointed to the Senate; Mar 1980 Senate Speaker; 1981 involved in debate over constitutional reform; 1983-85 President of the Canadian Transport Commission; 1985 a director of Ports Canada and vice-chairman of the Quebec Port Corporation. Here he is (left) in a picture of the three together in 1968.
Also John Parr 1725-1791
soldier, colonial administrator, born on this day at Dublin, Ireland; died at Halifax Nov. 25, 1791. Parr served in the British Army; 1782 appointed Governor of Nova Scotia; dealt with resettlement of 30,000 Loyalists from the American Revolution in NS and New Brunswick.

Also Thomas Baillairgé 1791-1859
architect, sculptor, painter, teacher, born on this day at Quebec City, the son of architect Franois and grandson of architect Jean Baillairgé; died there Feb. 09, 1859. Baillairgé worked closely with Abbé Jérôme Demers, illustrating his Précis d’architecture (1828); his work includes the interior at St-Joachim in Montmorency (1816-29), Notre-Dame cathedral in Quebec (1843), Ste-Geneviève de Pierrefonds (1844) and St-Roch-de-Québec (1845).

Also David Hanna 1858-1938
accountant, railway director, born on this day at Thornliebank, Scotland; died at Toronto Dec. 01, 1938. Hanna came to Canada in 1882 to work with the Grand Trunk Railway; 1896 joined William Mackenzie and Donald Mann’s Canadian Northern Railway; 1919-22 first President of the board of directors of the Canadian National Railways; 1927-28 first Chairman of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

Also Télesphore-Damien Bouchard 1881-1962
journalist, politician, born on this day at St-Hyacinthe, Quebec; died at Montreal Nov. 13, 1962. Bouchard worked as a journalist, then Mayor of St-Hyacinthe (1917-44); 1912-44 Liberal MLA for St-Hyacinthe; 1930 Speaker of the Quebec legislature; 1935 in Taschereau cabinet; 1936 Leader of the Opposition; 1939 in Godbout cabinet; 1944 appointed by Mackenzie King to the Senate; attacked French Canadian secret society, the Ordre de Jacques Cartier, as a danger to Quebec society.

Also Walter Shaw 1887-1981
farmer, politician, premier of PEI, born on this day at West River, PEI, in 1887; died at Charlottetown May 29, 1981. Shaw was elected provincial Conservative leader in 1957; 1959 won election; reformed civil service and the electoral system in 1963; 1966 defeated by the Liberals under Alex Campbell; 1970 retired as Leader of the Opposition.

Also Michel Chartrand 1913-
union activist, born on this day at Outremont, Quebec. Chartrand spent two years as an Oblate monk before joining the Jeunesses patriotes; took part in the anti-conscriptionist League for the Defence of Canada and the Bloc populaire canadien; 1950s worked for the Fédération nationale des travailleurs du vêtement and the Syndicat des Métallos; helped found the New Democratic Party, but broke with it on the question of Quebec independence; 1963 co-founder of the Parti socialiste du Québec; 1964-65 PSQ President; 1968-78 President of the Conseil central des syndicats nationaux de Montréal; backed the PQ agenda.

Also Edgar Ritchie 1916-
diplomat, born on this day at Andover, New Brunswick Dec. 20, 1916. Ritchie was educated at the UNB; Rhodes scholar; 1940s worked for the British government and the United Nations; 1944-46, 1948-80 with the Department of External Affairs; 1959-64 Assistant Undersecretary; 1964-66 Deputy Undersecretary; 1966-69 Ambassador to Washington; 1970-74 Undersecretary at Ottawa; 1976-82 Ambassador to Ireland.

Also Judy LaMarsh 1924-1980
lawyer, politician, broadcaster, born on this day at Chatham, Ontario; died at Toronto Oct. 27, 1980. LaMarsh served as Liberal MP for Niagara Falls 1960-68; 1963-65 Pearson’s Minister of National Health and Welfare during implementation of Medicare; 1965-68 Secretary of State during Centennial Year; brought in the Broadcasting Act and set up the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada; 1968 published her Memoirs of a Bird in a Gilded Cage.

Also Ray Coburn 1962-
keyboardist, songwriter, of Honeymoon Suite, was born on this day in 1962.

Also Travis Green 1970-
NHL Centre, born on this day at Castlegar, British Columbia; selected by the New York Islanders in the second round (23rd pick overall) of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft; acquired by Anaheim Mighty Ducks with Doug Houda and Tony Tuzzolino for J.J. Daigneault, Mark Janssens and Joe Sacco, Feb. 06, 1998; second on team in goals, power-play goals and shooting percentage. Third on team in assists, points and shots.

Also Cory Stillman 1973-
NHL centre, born on this day at Peterborough, Ontario; selected by the Calgary Flames in the first round (sixth pick overall) of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft; 1997-98 tied for team lead in goals and shorthanded goals. Led team in power-play goals. Second on team in points.

In Other Events…
1995 Toronto Ontario – Burton Cummings records solo album ‘Up Close and Alone’ before a live audience at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto; released March 27th, 1996.
1991 Argentia Newfoundland – US Navy announces plans to close Argentia base in 1994; 500 personnel will leave; once the largest US base on foreign soil.
1990 Montreal Quebec – Jean Campeau and Michel Bélanger finish their hearings, after some 200 briefs and 600 submissions; special Joint Commission set up by Robert Bourassa and Jacques Parizeau to study Quebec’s relationship with Canada; first Bélanger-Campeau report will state that the cost of Quebec independence will be minimal; recommends a referendum on sovereignty by October if Quebec did not receive a suitable offer from the rest of Canada.
1988 Quebec Quebec – Three Liberal anglophones resign from the Bourassa cabinet to protest passage of Bill 178 requiring French only on outside signs, but permitting bilingual signs inside;.Ontario Premier David Peterson later says that Bourassa’s decision to use the notwithstanding clause ‘drove a stake through the heart of the Meech Lake Accord’.
1988 Pittsburgh Pennsylvania – Penguin Mario Lemieux scores his 600th NHL goal.
1985 New York New York – Ottawa native Denis Potvin assists on Mike Bossy’s goal for his 916th career point as his New York Islanders skate to a 2-2 tie with the New York Rangers; breaks Bobby Orr’s NHL record for points by a defenseman.
1983 Montreal Quebec – Guy Lafleur the 10th NHLer to score 500th goals as his Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Rangers, 6-0; Steve Shutt also scores his 400th goal in the game.
1982 Montreal Quebec – Paul Rose freed from jail on parole; former FLQ terrorist sentenced to life imprisonment Mar. 31, 1971 for the murder of Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte.
1982 Toronto Ontario – Wayne Gretzky wins Canada’s Male Athlete of the Year Award; first person to win three consecutive awards.
1981 Winnipeg Manitoba – Doug Small of the Winnipeg Jets ties an NHL record by scoring at the 5 second mark, as his team beats the St. Louis Blues, 5-4.
1980 Ottawa Ontario – Gerald Keith Bouey 1920- Bank of Canada raises lending rate to record 17.36%; prompts emergency Commons debate.
1979 Quebec Quebec – René Lévesque 1922-1987 Quebec Premier announces upcoming referendum for a mandate to negotiate sovereignty-association.
1976 Ottawa Ontario – Hsio-Yen Shih 1933- appointed Director of the National Gallery of Canada.
1974 Ottawa Ontario – Parliament increases number of seats in the House of Commons from 264 to 282; effective at the next federal election.
1973 Ottawa Ontario – Maurice Jean Nadon 1920- succeeds W.L. Higgitt as Commissioner of the RCMP.
1973 Ottawa Ontario – Ottawa to set up Commission of Human Rights and Interests; to protect Canadians from discrimination.
1973 Montreal Quebec – Henri Richard of the Montreal Canadiens scores his 1,000th point with an assist in a 2-2 tie with the Buffalo Sabres.
1972 Ottawa Ontario – Ottawa bans whaling on Canadian east coast, because of declining numbers.
1965 Ottawa Ontario – Canada puts embargo on export of oil and arms from Canada to Rhodesia.
1945 Windsor Ontario – Ford Motor Company and UAW come to agreement to end Windsor Strike; 17,000 workers off the job since Sept. 12; on Dec 13 both parties agreed to binding arbitration under Justice Ivan Rand of the Supreme Court of Canada; Rand’s arbitration award, rendered Jan. 29, 1946, denied the UAW’s demand for a closed shop, but provided for a compulsory checkoff of union dues for all employees in the bargaining unit whether they were union members or not.
1944 Burma – RCAF Squadrons Nos. 435 and 436 fly their first operational mission, supplying Wingate’s Fourteenth Army on its epic march south on the Burma Road.
1943 Ortona Italy – Maj-Gen Christopher Vokes and the 1st Canadian Division ordered to take the medieval seaport of Ortona, as part of the advance of General Montgomery’s Eighth Army up the Italian Adriatic coast; Royal Edmonton Regiment and Seaforth Highlanders of Canada attack from the south, since the town flanked by sea cliffs on the north and east and by a deep ravine to the west; Canadians suffer heavy casualties before German forces withdraw on the night of Dec 27; 1,372 Canadians killed at Ortona – almost 25% of all Canadians killed in the Mediterranean theatre.
1929 Ottawa Ontario – Canada resumes diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.
1919 Ontario – Government rescinds War-Time Restrictions Act; lifting ban on horse racing and grain liquor distilling.
1918 Ottawa Ontario – Cabinet authorizes use of the collective title ‘Canadian National Railways’; Order in Council P.C. 3122.
1901 Ottawa Ontario – Minister of Finance W.S. Fielding assures Gugleilmo Marconi of a warm welcome in Nova Scotia to continue his experiments in wireless telegraphy, and offers Canadian government assistance; the Anglo-American Telegraph Company, with its underseas cable to Europe, had a monopoly in Newfoundland, and threatened to sue Marconi, who then set up shop in Cape Breton.
1893 Quebec Quebec – Official opening of the Chateau Frontenac hotel in Quebec City.
1891 London England – Montreal strongman Louis Cyr 1863-1912 withstands the pull of 4 horses.
1886 New Westminster, BC – All-Canadian telegraph system opens for regular traffic; first official inaugural message sent from New Westminster to Canso, Nova Scotia, in three minutes, and then relayed to England by submarine cable.
1883 Queenston Ontario – Opening of first cantilever bridge between the US and Canada over the Niagara River gorge. The 150 metre long structure is the first to be called a cantilever.
1864 Ottawa Ontario – Canadian militia sent near US border to guard against possible Fenian raids; Irish-American secret society dedicated to end of British rule in Ireland.
1817 Montreal Quebec – Bank of Montreal starts operations; incorporated three years later, on Dec. 20, 1820.
1792 Montreal Quebec – Opening of first Montreal Post Office, with regular twice-weekly mail service opened between Canada and the United States.

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

All Rights Reserved.

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