On This Day

December 24

maple leaf Today's Canadian Headline...
1781 CANADA'S FIRST CHRISTMAS TREESorel Quebec – Friedrich, Baron von Riedesel 1738-1800 erects Canada’s first Christmas tree for the garrison in Fort Sorel.

Also On This Day...

Brant Rock, Massachusetts
Quebec physicist Reginald Aubrey Fessenden 1866-1932 makes the world’s first public radio broadcast and the first broadcast of music from his station near Boston on Christmas Eve; featured a female vocalist and Fessenden himself playing ‘O Holy Night’ on his violin to sailors on ships in the Atlantic and Caribbean; also sings carols, reads the Bible. In 1900 Fessenden had sent the world’s first voice communications by radio wave for a distance of 1.6 km between two 13 metre towers. While working as a wireless expert for the US Weather Service, he developed the superheterodyne principle, the basis for all modern broadcasting, as well as the AM (amplitude modulation) broadcasting principle. Here he is with his crew at Brant Rock.


And in Today's Canadian Birthdays...

Joseph Roberts ‘Joey’ Smallwood 1900-1991
journalist, politician, born on this day at Mint Brook, just outside Gambo, Newfoundland; died at St. John’s Dec. 17, 1991. Smallwood worked as a left-wing journalist in New York from 1920-25, and campaigned for the Progressive Party; 1925 returned to Newfoundland to serve as a union organizer and radio broadcaster; 1933 failed to win a seat in the election; 1943-46 ran a piggery at the Gander air base; 1946 elected to the Newfoundland Convention and tirelessly campaigned for admission into Canada; July 22, 1948 won second of two hard-fought and close referenda using the bait of family allowances; April 1, 1949 became interim Premier, May 1949 won election as Newfoundland’s first provincial Premier, a post he held until 1971; Oct. 1971 defeated by the Conservatives led by Frank Moores; 1977 left politics to write his 5 volume Encyclopedia of Newfoundland, but only lived to see publication of three volumes. It was completed in 1994.Also Emile Nelligan 1879-1941
poet, was born on this day at Montreal in 1879; died there Nov. 18, 1941. Nelligan studied at the Petit Séminaire de Montréal and the Collège Sainte-Marie; June 13, 1896 publishes first poem, Rêve fantastique, in Le Samedi; 1897 elected a member of the École littéraire de Montréal; 1899 had a mental breakdown; taken to the Retraite St-Benoît; 1925 transferred to the Hôpital Saint-Jean-de-Dieu, where he stayed until his death.

Also Bill Crothers 1940-
runner, born on this day at Toronto in 1940. Crothers started running seriously at age 15 with Fred Foote and the East York Track Club; 1961 -68 held all Canadian records from the 440 to the 1500 metres; 1964 won silver medal in 800m at Olympics, losing a close race to Peter Snell of Australia; 1965 beat Snell at Varsity Stadium in Toronto.

Also Daniel Johnson 1944-
business executive, politician, born on this day at Montreal in 1944, son of Quebec Premier Daniel Johnson and older brother of Quebec Premier Pierre-Marc Johnson. Johnson studied at the universities of Montreal, London, England and the Harvard Business School; 1973 joined Power Corporation as corporate Secretary; 1978 VP Power; 1981 elected to the National Assembly as a Liberal; 1985 Minister of Industry and Commerce and Deputy House Leader in Bourassa government; 1988 President of the Treasury Board; 1989 re-elected; 1993 Dec. 14 acclaimed as leader of the Quebec Liberal Party on resignation of Bourassa; 1994 Jan. 11 sworn in as Quebec Premier; 1994 Sept. 12 lost election to Jacques Parizeau’s; remained as Opposition leader; 1998 resigned leadership and replaced by Jean Charest.

In Other Events…
1997 Montreal Quebec – Pierre Péladeau dies; founder and Chairman of Québécor.
1991 Port Colborne, Ontario – Mary Kinnear dies at age 93; appointed to the Senate 1967; one of Canada’s first female senators.
1989 Ottawa Ontario – House of Commons approves North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after bitter two-week debate and closure.
1974 Hollywood California – Joni Mitchell goes Christmas caroling with her neighbours James Taylor, Carly Simon and Linda Ronstadt.
1973 Ottawa Ontario – Founding of the Coal Association of Canada, a national body representing the coal industry.
1950 Toronto Ontario – Pianist Glenn Gould makes his CBC broadcast debut on ‘Sunday Morning Recital’; comes to prefer the microphone to the concert stage, and in 1964 gives up performing live.
1948 Ottawa Ontario – Canada formally recognizes the state of Israel.
1942 Ottawa Ontario – National Defence says there are now 681,615 volunteers and conscripts in the Canadian forces.
1924 Montreal Quebec – Illumination of the cross on Mount Royal; Sieur de Maisonneuve had placed a cross on the mountain on this day in 1642.
1894 Montreal Quebec – Founding of the Canadian Artistic Society, funded by a lottery, with the goal of opening a national conservatory of music; started operations in 1896, giving free courses and paying teachers $25 a month; forced to close in 1901 when the federal government banned lotteries.
1888 Copper Cliff Ontario – First smelter blown in at Copper Cliff, near Sudbury.
1879 Winnipeg Manitoba – Temperature in Winnipeg drops to record -44.3 C (-47.8 degrees F).
1875 Sherbrooke Quebec – Sherbrooke gets city charter.
1866 London England – British North America delegates adopt the London Resolutions; choose name Dominion of Canada for new country; agreements made on the Intercolonial Railway, Imperial aid and religious school rights.
1814 Ghent Belgium – Treaty of Ghent ends War of 1812; restores 1783 boundaries; the Americans had declared war on June 18th, 1812, accusing British vessels of violating US neutrality and territorial waters during the first Napoleonic war. There has been peace ever since between Canada and the US.
1783 Montreal Quebec – Loyalist troops stationed in Lower Canada are disbanded.
1642 Montreal Quebec – Sieur de Maisonneuve climbs Mount Royal and plants a cross on the summit.
1584 Red Bay, Labrador – Basque whaler Joanes de Echaniz dictates his last will and testament at Carol’s Cove, near Red Bay; possibly the oldest surviving will in Canadian history.

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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