On This Day

 December 21

maple leaf Today's Canadian Headline...
1894 MACKENZIE BOWELL BECOMES PMOttawa Ontario – Mackenzie Bowell 1823-1917 becomes Prime Minister after death of John Thompson. A Senator, Bowell is Canada’s 5th Prime Minister; he serves to April 27, 1896.

Also On This Day...

Ortona Italy – 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade attacks the town of Ortona, starting a week-long battle; a savage house to house fight against heavily barricaded ‘mouseholed’ German infantry. Here’s a picture of Canadian troops moving up a street against sniper fire; 1,372 Canadian soldiers will die during the week of fighting, one quarter of all casualties in the Mediterranean theatre.


And in Today's Canadian Birthdays...

Edward Schreyer 1935-
politician, statesman, born on this day at Beauséjour, Manitoba, in 1935. Schreyer studied at United College and the University of Manitoba; 1958 won election to the provincial legislature for the CCF at age 22; 1965-69 MP; 1968 invited back to Manitoba to lead provincial NDP; 1969-78 Premier of Manitoba; 1977-78 Opposition leader; 1979-84 invited by Trudeau to serve as Governor General; 1984-88 Canadian High Commissioner to Australia.Also Charles Murray Cathcart, 2nd Earl 1783-1859
soldier, scientist, administrator, born on this day at Walton, England, in 1783; died at St Leonard’s-on-Sea, England, July 16, 1859. Cathcart served as a staff officer with Wellington in the Napoleonic wars; commander of British forces in North America, June 15, 1845 to May 13, 1847; Administrator and Governor General, Nov. 26, 1845 to Jan. 30, 1847 during the Oregon boundary dispute; 1841 discovered the mineral greenockite, a sulphate of cadmium.

Also Frank Patrick 1885-1960
hockey player, coach, owner, and league official, was born on this day in 1885 at Ottawa, son of a millionaire lumberman; died at Vancouver June 29, 1960. Along with his brother Lester 1883-1960, Frank Patrick helped set up professional ice hockey in Canada and promoted the expansion of the National Hockey League into the US. He and Les both starred with the McGill University team and with their father’s Renfrew Millionaires (at $3000 each per season) and the Montreal Wanderers; 1911 founded the Pacific Coast Hockey League with their father’s backing; built arenas for all teams in the league, including Canada’s first artificial ice rink in Victoria, BC, for their Victoria Cougars (Stanley Cup 1924) and another for their Vancouver Millionaires; 1925 brothers sold their PCHL rosters to the expanding National Hockey League, and moved to Boston and New York; 1926 Frank coached Boston, then managed the Montreal Canadiens; 1926-46 Lester managed and coached the New York Rangers and led them to three Stanley Cups, while setting up hockey’s first major farm team system; Frank proposed 22 pieces of legislation for the NHL rulebook, including the blue line.

Also Allan Bronfman 1895-1980
financier, born on this day at Brandon, Manitoba, in 1895; died at Montreal Mar. 26, 1980; excluded from Seagrams by his brother Sam; his sons Edward 1927- and Peter 1929- built their own financial empire through Edper Investments.

Also Jean Gascon 1921-1988
actor, director, was born on this day in 1921 at Montreal; died at Stratford, Ontario, April 20, 1988. Gascon studied medicine, but also followed an acting career with Jean-Louis Roux and Les Compagnons de Saint-Laurent; studied in France with Ludmilla Pitoëff; 1951 cofounder of the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, and in 1952, its theatre school; 1956 played Henry V at the Stratford Festival; 1958 toured Europe, the US and Canada; 1959 directed Othello at Stratford; 1960-63 first director of the National Theatre School; 1964 directed The Comedy of Errors at Stratford; 1968-74 succeeded Michael Langham as artistic director of Stratford; 1977 theatre director of the National Arts Centre; 1986-87 directed The Barber of Seville and Tosca at the Opéra de Montréal; 1988 died of a heart attack while directing My Fair Lady.

Also Lloyd Axworthy 1939-
politician, was born on this day at North Battleford, Saskatchewan, in 1939. Axworthy studied at Princeton University; taught at University of Winnipeg and directed its Institute of Urban Affairs; 1973-79 Manitoba MLA; 1979 elected to the House of Commons for Winnipeg South Centre; 1980-83 Minister of Employment and Immigration; 1983-84 Minister of Transport; 1984 only Prairie Liberal to win a parliamentary seat; 1993 Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Diversification; currently Minister of External Affairs; hosted global conference to get a consensus banning land mines.

Also Duncan Suttles 1945-
chess grandmaster, born on this day at San Francisco; grew up in Vancouver; 1964 played on 6 Canadian national teams in the World Olympiads starting at Tel Aviv; 1967 & 1970 represented Canada in the Interzonal tournaments; 1969 won Canadian Closed Championship; 1972 became Canada’s second grandmaster; 1973 won Canadian Open in Ottawa; in 1973; 1975 retired from tournaments to work on stock analysis and correspondence chess; 1981 correspondence grandmaster.

Also Lap-Chee Tsui 1950-
geneticist, professor, born on this day at Shanghai, China in 1950. Tsui studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Pittsburgh; 1981 genetics specialist at the Hospital for Sick Children at Toronto; 1988 senior scientist at HSC, with teaching in Department of Genetics at U of T; 1982 started investigating genetic cause of cystic fibrosis; 1987 joined with Francis Collins and University of Michigan Medical School team; Aug 1989 announces isolation of CF gene-bearing chromosome with Collins and Canadian collaborators Jack Riordan and Manuel Buchwald.

Also Joey Kocur 1964-
NHL left winger, born on this day at Calgary, Alberta; selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the fifth round (88th pick overall) of the 1983 NHL Entry Draft; traded by the New York Rangers to the Vancouver Canucks for Kay Whitmore Mar. 20, 1996; cousin of Colorado’s Wendel Clark.

In Other Events…
1992 St. John’s, Newfoundland – John Crosbie says European Community will stop overfishing on high seas outside Canada’s 200 mile limit; quotas ignored since 1986 on Grand Banks.
1992 Ottawa Ontario – Barbara McDougall says Canada will recognize the new Czech and Slovak republics; Czechoslovakia federation to be dissolved Jan 01 after 74 years.
1990 Ottawa Ontario – Frank Iacobucci appointed to Supreme Court replacing Bertha Wilson; Chief Justice of Federal Court since 1988; Vancouver native ex-Dean of Law at University of Toronto.
1990 Ottawa Ontario – Jean Chrétien becomes Leader of the Opposition.
1990 Montreal Quebec – Montreal Machine football team play first CFL game.
1987 Montreal Quebec – Jacques Parizeau accepts presidency of Parti québécois on the understanding that his first role will be to promote the sovereignty of Quebec.
1983 Moscow Russia – Ottawa files formal claims for $2.1 million in damages from USSR on behalf of Canadian victims of Korean Air Lines flight 007, downed by a Soviet military missile.
1966 Ottawa Ontario – Parliament passes national Medicare Act; effective July 1, 1968.
1965 New York City – Canadian-born film producer Harry Saltzman and his partner Cubby Broccoli premiere their new James Bond movie, Thunderball, starring Sean Connery, at the Premier Showcase and Paramount theaters, where it plays around the clock; the picture will gross $141.2 million worldwide.
1964 Ottawa Ontario – Paul Theodore Hellyer 1923- Defence Minister announces $1.5 billion defence purchase plan; for 200 ground-support aircraft, 4 destroyers, 155 mm howitzers.
1963 Ottawa Ontario – Canadian Weather Service gets first automatic picture transmission via satellite.
1959 Moncton, New Brunswick – First broadcast of Radio Canada’s CBAFT-Moncton TV station.
1942 Ottawa Ontario – Wartime Prices and Trade Board brings in butter rationing in Canada.
1933 St John’s Newfoundland – Dominion of Newfoundland reverts to being a crown colony after bankruptcy.
1914 New York City – Cobourg, Ontario, actress Marie Dressler stars in Tilley’s Punctured Romance with Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand and Mack Swain; the world’s first six-reel, feature-length silent film comedy; directed by fellow Canadian Mack Sennett, it is based on her vaudeville act.
1910 Fort McPherson, NWT – Francis J. Fitzgerald and his Mounted Police patrol leave Fort McPherson on their 800 km mid-winter patrol to Dawson, in the Yukon Territory, to deliver mail and to confirm the presence of the Canadian police; will meet unusually heavy snow cover and – 46 C temperatures; Jan 18 turn back for Fort McPherson, but lose their way and run out of food after eating their dogs; by mid February the Lost Patrol members perish to a man; bodies recovered and buried in Fort McPherson March 28, 1911.
1907 Montreal Quebec – First issue of ‘L’Action Sociale’ newspaper.
1902 Sydney, Nova Scotia – First Wireless Telegraph Message exchanged between Canada and England; via Newfoundland.
1891 Springfield Massachusetts – James Naismith, from Almonte, Ontario, organizes the first game of basketball at Springfield YMCA Training College; played by 18 students who used two peach baskets and a soccer ball.
1891 Quebec Quebec – Charles Boucher de Boucherville sworn in as Conservative Premier of Quebec; replacing Honoré Mercier, who was removed from office on corruption charges; Boucherville dissolves the Assembly and calls an election on the 23rd.
1884 Khartoum Sudan – General Herbert Kitchener leads British troops into Khartoum; find General Charles Gordon’s garrison was wiped out three days earlier; the expedition was transported up the Nile by Canadian voyageurs and Caughnawaga Mohawks recruited by Col. Garnet Wolseley, who had previously employed them during the Red River Campaign in 1870.
1883 Toronto Ontario – George T. Denison organizes first Canadian infantry and cavalry schools.
1859 Ottawa Ontario – John Rose, Commissioner of Public Works breaks sod to start construction of the Parliament Buildings.
1838 Montreal Quebec – Execution of rebels Joseph Cardinal and Joseph Duquet.
1837 Quebec Quebec – Governor Gosford delegates to certain officials the power to swear oaths of allegiance in Lower Canada; those who refuse are arrested under martial law.
1825 Montreal Quebec – Opening of the Theatre Royal in Montreal.
1708 St. John’s, Newfoundland – French troops based in Placentia destroyed an English settlement at St. John’s, bringing the eastern shore under French control.

<!– “The summers, the winters – I have sometimes doubted whether there could be a great race without the hardy influence of winters in due proportion.”
Walt Whitman
US poet
Diary in Canada, 1880

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


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