1680 – The “Great Comet” appeared during the month, close to earth, causing considerable alarm. It was visible until February 1681. Aside from its brilliance, it is probably most noted for being used by Isaac Newton to test and verify Kepler’s laws.
1775 – General Montgomery joined General Arnold in an attack on Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec.
1798 – The Gazette and Oracle issue on this day published “Last Monday William Hawkins was publicly whipped and Joseph McCarthy burned in the hand, at the Market Place, pursuant to their sentence.” There was no mention of what crime they had committed.
1837 – Louis Joseph Papineau was declared a rebel for his role in the 1837 rebellions against British rule. £1,000 was offered for his capture so he escaped to the United States until 1845. In 1848, he was elected member of the new united Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada in the riding of Saint-Maurice.
1841 – The first copyright in Canada was the Canadian Spelling Book.
1855 – The post office authorized a money order branch. It opened on February 1.
1868 – Baron Lisgar succeeded Viscount Monck as governor general.
1899 – Victoria Bridge, Montreal, was rebuilt for vehicles and pedestrians as well as trains.
1903 – The central building, University of Ottawa, was destroyed by fire.
1926 – Fifty-six per cent of the Ontario voting public approved government control of liquor sales.
1927 – Hamilton Tire and Garage Ltd was founded by John W. and Alfred J. Billes of Toronto. This was the beginning of what became the largest automobile-supply house in Canada, the Canadian Tire Corporation.
1952 – A federal-provincial agricultural conference opened at Ottawa.
1960 – Duty was increased on the importation of European automobiles.
1960 – The provincial premiers met in Ottawa for the first time.
1962 – The 50th Football Grey Cup game of 1962, referred to as the renowned Fog Bowl was played for two days in Toronto as a result of thick fog and smog. The game was played between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as well as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium. The fog was so thick that fans could not see the action on the field, receivers lost sight of the ball after it left the quarterbacks’ hand. It is still the only Grey Cup game ever suspended during play. Blue Bombers won the game by a score of 28 – 27. The 1962 Grey Cup game is still to be one of the 10 best Grey Cup games of all time.
1853 – Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island, commissioned four citizens to serve as magistrates and justices of the peace. James Douglas also established the Supreme Court of Vancouver Island. In 1858, the population rose from just a few hundred to many thousands due to the gold rush on the Fraser River, almost overnight. Hence, the British Columbia Provincial Police Force was established in 1858.
1919 – Ambrose Joseph Small, born in Bradford, Ontario on January 11, 1863, was a Canadian theatre magnate. He owned many theatres across Ontario, including the Grand Opera House in Toronto. After selling his chain of theatres for $1,750,000 and making a $1,000,000 bank deposit, Small left his Grand Opera House office about 7:00 p.m. and was never seen again.
1653 – Nicholas Denys was granted all the land between Cape Canso and Cape Rosier in Acadia.
1738 – Pierre La Vérendrye and his sons entered the village of the Mandans (now North Dakota) where they hoped to obtain information about a route to the Pacific.
1827 – Presbyterians in Montreal asked for a share of the clergy reserves.
1839 – The Erie and Ontario Railroad, a horse tramway, was opened between Queenston and Chippewa, Ontario.
1855 – The Great Western Railroad was opened between Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario.
1861 – Fourteen thousand British troops were sent to Canada because of the Trent affair.
1908 – A C.P.R. train wreck occurred at Pembroke, whereby the engineer of the passenger train, Fred Rowe, was killed. The collision between two locomotives occurred at 07:55. The passenger train should have stopped at the Graham Station, but because the engineer’s watch was found to have stopped at 07:36, it is believed that that misled him as to the time he should make it to arrive at Pembroke.
1919 – The Federal Government made $25 million available to enable those returning soldiers to purchase homes.
1951 – The Federal and Ontario Governments agreed on the St. Lawrence Power development.
1960 – Edmonton Airport was opened. It was the largest civilian airport in Canada.
1982 – Toronto experienced its highest-ever December temperature – 19.9 ºC.
1800 – David Thompson, a British-Canadian fur trader, surveyor, and map-maker, crossed the Rocky Mountains. He was known to some native peoples as “Koo-Koo-Sint” or “the Stargazer.” Over his career he mapped over 3.9 million square kilometres of North America and for this has been described as the “greatest land geographer who ever lived.”
1835 – Sir Richard Cartwright, finance minister of Canada from 1873 to 1878 and minister of trade and commerce from 1896 to 1911, was born in Kingston (Ontario).
1837 – In order to warn Lieutenant Governor Sir Francis Bond Head that armed rebels were progressing towards Toronto (Ontario), Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Moodie, an expert of the Napoleonic Battles as well as the Battle of 1812, tried to pass 800 rebels who were obstructing Yonge St at Montgomery’s Tavern. Moodie was shot and fatally injured.
1838 – A force of about 140 American and Canadian supporters of William Lyon Mackenzie, led by “General” Bierce of the Brotherhood of Hunters, crossed to Windsor from Detroit. After capturing and setting fire to a close-by militia barracks, they acquired Windsor before being routed by a force of 130 militiamen commanded by Colonel John Prince. Four of those apprehended were summarily executed.
1856 – Bonding arrangements were made so that American goods could pass through Canada.
1866 – The Confederation delegates began meetings with the British Government at the Westminster Palace Hotel in London, England.
1961 – Dr. Marcel Chaput, Quebec separatist leader, resigned from the Defence Research Board.
1775 – The Americans under Generals Benedict Arnold (wounded) and Richard Montgomery (killed) at siege of Quebec. Daniel Morgan and more than 400 men were taken prisoner. The city’s garrison, a motley assortment of regular troops and militia led by Quebec’s provincial governor, General Guy Carleton, suffered a small number of casualties.
1794 – Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe of Upper Canada went from New York to Kingston in an open boat.
1821 – The Hudson’s Bay Company grant was renewed for twenty-one years with exclusive trade rights.
1837 – Montreal was placed under martial law. The Rebellions of 1837-1838 were one of the most remarkable political event in Canadian’s history. Issues such the control of Canada’s future and the rights of French Canadians, working individuals in Upper Canadian shops and in the countryside, triggered arguments that became violent. Men talked of republicanism and independence and soon started carrying arms and shooting at soldiers and their neighbours. The rebellions were forcibly put down, their leaders were hung or exiled, and the country was put under martial law. The rebellions shook not just Upper but Lower Canada as well.
1837 – William Lyon Mackenzie led a force down Yonge St to Gallow’s Hill, where they encountered government troops. The fighting lasted only a few minutes, with the rebels retreating northwards on Yonge St to Montgomery’s Tavern.
1869 – The Métis published a list of rights as the Red River uprising developed.
1902 – Marconi sent signals across the Atlantic from Glace Bay, Nova Scotia.
1904 – On this day, Desmond T. Burke, was born in Ottawa. He is the youngest-ever marksman to win the King’s Prize at Bisley, in England at the age of twenty, in 1924. Burke would go on to win fourteen victories and eleven second-place finishes in his career. For these accomplishments, he was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1972.
1923 – On this day, Sir William Mackenzie died at his Toronto residence “Benvenuto” after a three-week illness. Mackenzie was a Canadian railway contractor and entrepreneur. He was born in Peterborough, Canada West (now Ontario) and he has been a teacher, a polician, owner of a sawmill, gristmill and worked in the railway business. He and his mentor, James Ross, became partners, later joined with Donald Mann. Together they purchased or built rail lines which later became Canada’s second transcontinental railway system, the Canadian Northern Railway (CNR). Both Mackenzie and Mann were knighted in 1911 and were inducted into Ottawa’s Canadian Railway Hall of Fame in 2002.
1925 – The Ottawa Senators won the 13th Canadian Football League Grey Cup for the first time when they defeated the Winnipeg Tigers 42-1.
1962 – Mrs. Claire Kirkland-Casgrain became the first woman cabinet minister in the Province of Quebec.
1678 – King Louis XIV sent four missionaries to New France in May 1675, including Father Louis Hennepin. In 1678, Hennepin was ordered to accompany La Salle on an expedition to explore the western part of New France. Hennepin was 39 when he departed in 1679 from Quebec City to construct the 45-ton barque Le Griffon, sail through the Great Lakes. They were the first recorded European to see Niagara Falls.
1752 – The Halifax Gazette published the first book in Canada, and eight-page pamphlet for the Government.
1880 – The first issue of the Edmonton Bulletin was published.
1907 – The first recorded flight in Canada took place when Thomas Selfridge rose 51 meters (168 feet) into the air in a kite designed by Alexander Graham Bell.
1917 – Canada’s worst disaster took place at Halifax on December 6, 1917, when two ships collided in the harbour. One of them, Mont Blanc, was carrying explosives, and the collision set off a blast that killed 1,630 people, injured thousands more, and wrecked the north end of Halifax. The force of the explosion was strong enough to hurl a clock out of the tower at Truro, 60 miles away, and it was even felt at Sydney, a distance of 200 miles.
1921 – The federal election was won by the Liberals under Mackenzie King: Liberals, 116; Conservatives, 50; Progressives, 64; others, 5.
1649 – The Iroquois attacked the Huron missionary of St. Jean and murdered Father Charles Garnier. The Petun (Tobacco People) village was part of the conflict between the Mohawk and other tribes.
1729 – The Six Nations ceded 3 million acres comprising present-day Norfolk, Haldimand, and Wentworth counties of Ontario. The land was settled by British immigrants.
1899 – Hugh John Macdonald, son of Sir John A. Macdonald, led the Conservatives to victory in the Manitoba election and became premier.
1941 – Canada declared war on Japan, Finland, Hungary, and Romania following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, Hong Kong, and other Pacific bases. The United States and Britain did not declare war until the following day.
1944 – In a vote of confidence on the Liberal government’s decision to send 16,000 NRMA troops to Europe, the Mackenzie King government was sustained by a majority of 73.
1764 – The second registration of paper money took place.
1838 – Colonel Nils Szoltevcky von on Schultz and nine other Hunters were hanged at Kingston for their attack on Prescott. The defence lawyer for all these men was the young John A. Macdonald.)
1852 – Laval University, Quebec, received a royal charter.
1869 – Timothy Eaton opened the front door of his dry goods shop at 178 Yonge St, Toronto, with a staff of three. In February 1997, the company shocked Canadians for asking for protection under bankruptcy laws. The T. Eaton Company, a Canadian icon, had 90 Stores and 24,500 employees. By 1998, they closed stores except for 64 and restructured the corporate management, yet still reported a loss of $72 million. In August 1999, the company went bankrupted and closed.
1897 – Pope Leo XIV urged Catholics to accept the settlement propos
ed for Manitoba separate schools.
1913 – An Order-in-Council prohibited the landing of artisans, skilled or unskilled labour at any British Columbia ports. In 1939 about 300 Sikhs were threatened with deportation, but the Supreme Court ruled that they be allowed to remain in the country. In 1947 Indians were finally granted the rights of domicile and citizenship.
1755 – The first post office in Canada was opened at Halifax (Nova Scotia).
1843 – Bishop’s College, Lennoxville (Quebec) was incorporated. In 1854, the first degrees were granted.
1858 – Robert Baldwin, early champion of responsible government, died near Toronto. He was joint premier of Canada from 1848 to 1851.
1878 – The first train arrived at Winnipeg from Pembina, U.S.
1903 – The town of Rainy River (Ontario) was incorporated.
1926 – The session of Parliament that introduced Old Age Pensions was opened.
1949 – The fire-blackened hull of the cruise vessel SS Noronic was towed away from the Toronto waterfront to a Hamilton scrapyard.
1755 – The ships, Violet and Duke William, sank during an Atlantic storm while carrying Acadians from Nova Scotia; 1,200 souls died.
1820 – Robert Randall was an Ottawa valley businessman who purchased land at Niagara Falls and on the Ottawa and Jock rivers. He lost his “empire” to creditors almost overnight, and had his river-front holdings seized and put up for sale in Brockville.
1880 – The contract to build the C.P.R. (Canadian Pacific Railway) came before the House of Commons in Ottawa.
1894 – The Commercial and Union Banks ceased operations. Newfoundland and Labrador entered a brief period of economic, social, and political chaos. Businesses closed, the fish trade halted, and unemployment increased dramatically.
1917 – Sir Mackenzie Bowell died in his hometown of Belleville (Ontario) at the age of 93. He was prime minister of Canada from 1894 to 1896.
1949 – The Trans-Canada Highway (French: Route Transcanadienne) system was approved by the Trans-Canada Highway Act of 1949, with construction commencing in 1950. The highway officially opened in 1962, and was completed in 1971. The highway system is recognizable by its distinctive white-on-green maple leaf route markers.
1949 – The Supreme Court of Canada was made the final authority on judicial matters.
1687 – A French and English commission, under a treaty of neutrality, gave Hudson Bay territory to France.
1753 – George Washington claimed Ohio Valley for Virginia in opposition to the claims of Canada.
1813 – American General McClure burned Newark and Queenston on the Niagara Peninsula before retreating back to the United States
1916 – Saskatchewan voted to abolish liquor stores.
1936 – George VI became king on the abdication of Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor.
1944 – A severe storm paralyzed southern Ontario for days. At Toronto, the one-day snowfall of 48.3 cm is still the greatest on record for the city. By the next day, a total of 57 cm of snow covered the city. 21 people died, 13 of them from overexertion.
1948 – Newfoundland and Canada signed an agreement for Newfoundland to join Confederation.
1801 – William Cooper’s Toronto Coffeehouse, an inn and general store, opened for business. It was Toronto’s first coffee house.
1812 – Canadian-born, unlike most of his English-speaking political contemporaries, John Sandfield Macdonald was born in St Raphael in Glengarry County. He later became the first premier of Ontario after Confederation.
1813 – Captain Black of the Royal Navy captured Fort Astoria.
1831 – W. L. Mackenzie was expelled from the Legislature of Upper Canada. In fact, he was expelled five times in three years!
1837 – Dr. Wolfred and 300 to 400 patriots from a secret group called Frères Chasseurs, distributed copies of a declaration of independence. The document listed the crimes that Great Britain had committed against Lower Canada, as well as the right to overthrow the government. Exiled to Bermuda in 1838, Nelson was granted amnesty by the British colonial government and came back to Montreal in 1842. In 1844, he was elected to the new Parliament of the Province of Canada. In 1854, he became mayor of Montreal.
1885 – The first freight train carrying Manitoba wheat left Portage for Montreal.
1894 – Prime Minister Sir John S.D. Thompson died at Windsor Castle.
1949 – Mrs. Nancy Hodges was appointed Speaker of the British Columbia Legislature.
She was the first woman Speaker on the British Commonwealth.
1951 – The St. Lawrence Seaway Authority was established.
1665 – first Intendant of New France, Jean Talon (Count d’Orsainville) built a ship of 120 tons at his own expense.
1665 –St. John’s, Newfoundland first significant defences were most probably due to commercial interests following the temporary seizure of St. John’s by the Dutch admiral Michiel de Ruyter in June.
1783 – It was estimated that there were 30,000 United Empire Loyalists in Nova Scotia.
1783 – Penal laws against Roman Catholics were repealed in Nova Scotia.
1785 – Loyalists petitioned Governor Carleton for an Academy of Arts and Science. This led to the creation of the University of New Brunswick.
1804 – Joseph Howe, the 3rd Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, was born in Halifax.
1837 – Following the collapse of the rebellion, W. L. Mackenzie occupied Navy Island above Niagara Falls and proclaimed a provisional government.
1893 – Prince Edward Island voted for prohibition.
1907 – The Women’s Canadian Club was inaugurated at Montreal by Governor-General Earl Grey.
1929 – Canadian theatre, film and television actor Christopher Plummer born in Toronto (Ontario).
1817 – The Bank of Montreal was incorporated.
1837 – On Dec. 14, 1837, Arthur Sturgis Hardy was born at Mount Pleasant (Upper Canada, now Ontario). He was 4th Premier of Ontario, Ontario MPP, and Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party from July 21, 1896 to October 21, 1899.
1837 – Rebels at St. Eustache, Lower Canada, were defeated by Sir John Colborne.
1851 – George Brown was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada. He reorganized the Clear Grit (Liberal) Party in 1857, supporting, among other things, the separation of church and state, the annexation of Rupert’s Land, and a small government.
1885 – Yoho National Park, in the Canadian Rocky Mountains (British Columbia) was established by Order-in-Council.
1929 – The Federal Government transferred natural resources to Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
1951 – Foreign exchange control regulations were abolished.
1956 – John G. Diefenbaker was elected leader of the Conservative party by a national convention.
1960 – The University of Ottawa was given $35 million for expansion.
1960 – Legislation, which made the retirement of Superior and Supreme Court judges automatic at age seventy-five, was passed. It became effective in March of 1961.
1960 – Twenty nations, including Canada, signed a new trade agreement to set up the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The purpose was to promote co-operation, more aid to underdeveloped countries, and to generally expand trade.
1963 – A Canadian selection of prints, shown at the First American Biennial Exhibition of Engravings, at Santiago, Chile, won the Grand Award of Honour.
1964 – Closure was imposed in the House of Commons to end the flag debate. One of the longest and most bitter debates in our history was concluded.
1973 – The LeDain Commission (a commission of enquiry on the non-medical use of drugs), appointed in 1969 to examine the extent of drug abuse in Canada, issued its final report. Among other things, it recommended the decriminalization of marijuana.
1818 – The Provincial Agricultural Society was formed in Nova Scotia.
1858 – A railway opened between Halifax and Truro (Nova Scotia).
1891 – The first trainload of British sailors bound for China arrived at Halifax and then crossed Canada by a train that was especially decorated. There were receptions at Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Calgary.
1891 – Premier Mercier of Quebec was dismissed because of public contracts that were used for campaign funds. He was acquitted of the charge in November 1892.
1896 – The Canadian Northern Railway completed a line from Gladstone to Dauphin, Manitoba.
1920 – An Order-in-Council was passed so that no immigrant could enter Canada without having $250, $125 for every member of the family over eighteen, and $50 for each child.
1925 – Canada and Britain signed an agreement reducing transportation rates for immigrants.
1930 – George S. Henry became the 10th Premier of Ontario, in succession to Hard Ferguson.
1943 – Steep Rock Iron Mines Ltd (North western Ontario) began de-watering the middle and east arms of Finlayson Lake in the Seine River system, 225 km west of the Lakehead. In all, 536 billion litres were removed to allow extraction of iron ore 44.90 metres below the surface.
1960 – Montreal’s $30-million airport, the International Air Terminal, was officially opened at Dorval (Quebec).
1973 – Nova Mundo, a Portuguese newspaper in Toronto, published its last issue.
1674 – The French West India Company’s grant was revoked. It was supposed to develop Canada as well as other French colonies in the western hemisphere.
1901 – Dawson City (Yukon) was incorporated.
1910 – A delegation of 1,000 farmers marched in Ottawa demanding an increase in the preference for British goods and trade with the United States.
1949 – The British North America Act was amended, vesting the power to amend the constitution in Parliament.
1953 – Royal assent was given for the formation of the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources.
1867 – British Columbia’s legislature met for the first time at Victoria.
1874 – Mackenzie King, Canada’s 10th prime minister, was born in Berlin (Kitchener).
1893 – The Canadian Bankers’ Association was organized at Montreal.
1917 – Sir Robert Borden’s union government won a bitter election that was fought largely on the issue of conscription.
1924 – The Legislature of British Columbia adopted a resolution opposing further immigration of Orientals to Canada.
1930 – Mitch Hepburn replaced interim W.E.N. Sinclair as leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.
1939 – The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was signed in Ottawa by Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. At the height of operations, it sustained thirty-two air-training schools in Ontario alone.
1603 – Sieur de Monts was granted a monopoly of the fur trade for ten years. It was later revoked.
1813 – A British-Canadian force attacked Fort Niagara in the United States.
1889 – The C.P.R. telegraph joined the Atlantic cable at Canso (Nova Scotia).
1897 – An Order-in-Council changed the boundaries of Yukon, Franklin, and Ungava and established the Geographic Board of Canada.
1901 – The Territorial Grain Growers’ Association was organized at Indian Head (Manitoba).
1813 – British businessman and philanthropist James McGill died, leaving £10,000 for a university.
1813 – A force under Colonel John Murray seized Fort Niagara above Youngstown, New York.
1837 – From Navy Island in the Niagara River, William Lyon Mackenzie proclaimed the 300 acres of Canadian land and 100 dollars in silver would be compensated to volunteers joining the “patriot forces.”
1846 – Canada’s first electric telegraph line was opened between Toronto and Hamilton. Railway service did not begin until December of 1855.
1854 – Sir Edmund Walker Head was appointed Governor-General of Canada.
1854 – A “railcar” whistle signalled the arrival of the first train of the Bytown and Prescott Railway.
1859 – The first sod was turned for the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. The cornerstone was laid on September 1, 1860 when Edward Prince of Wales visited Canada.
1929 – Canada resumed diplomatic relations with Russia.
1620 – The Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. One of the ship’s planks is included in the Peace Arch between British Columbia and the State of Washington.
1708 – The French under St. Ovide captured St. John’s, Newfoundland.
1814 – Colonel Henry Procter was tried by court-martial at Montreal for his defeat at Moraviantown. He was found guilty of “deficiency in energy and judgement,” and suspended for six months without pay. The Prince Regent insisted that the findings and sentence be read to ever regiment in the Army. Procter’s sentence was later reduced to a reprimand, but the conviction effectively ended his military service.
1838 – Joseph Cardinal and Joseph Duquette were executed for crimes during the Lower Canada Rebellion.
1865 – George Brown withdrew from the coalition Government.
1866 – The Bytown and Prescott Railway became the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Railway.
1894 – Sir Mackenzie Bowell became prime minister when Sir John S.D. Thompson who had died at Windsor Castle a week earlier.
1942 – Butter rationing began in Canada as a wartime measure. Gasoline had been rationed since April 1.
1951 – The Department of National Health and Welfare introduced old-age-security payments.
1962 – Prime Minister Diefenbaker went to the Bahamas for talks with Prime Minister Macmillan of Britain, and President Kennedy of the United States.
1856 – The Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway was opened from Fort Erie to Stratford, Ontario. It later became the Grand Trunk.
1869 – Pro-Confederation forces were defeated in Newfoundland.
1889 – St Paul’s Roman Catholic Church at Queen and Power streets in Toronto was consecrated. Designed by Joseph Connolly, it is regarded as one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in the country.
1952 – Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent declared the government’s intention to build a National Library in Ottawa.
1961 – Canada sold grain to China worth $71 million over a period of thirty months.
December 23 means Tib’s eve in Newfoundland, Canada.
Tib’s eve means “never.” As in, “it’ll be Tib’s eve before you get that done!”
Tibb’s Eve, also known as Tipp’s Eve, Tip’s Eve, or Tipsy Eve, originated on the south coast of Newfoundland. It is also widely recognized in other parts of the province stretching from Port-Aux-Basques to St. Anthony. The term is substantially less well known on the more urban avalon portion of the province.
The wild festivity started sometime around the mid-20th century as the first night during Advent when it was appropriate to have a drink. Advent was a sober, religious time of year and traditionally people would not drink alcohol until Christmas Day at the earliest. Tibb’s Eve emerged as an excuse to imbibe two days earlier. According to Dr. Phil Hiscock of Memorial University’s Folklore Department, the tradition of celebrating Tibb’s Eve is similar to 19th century workers taking Saint Monday off from work.
“The more contemporary explanation of St. Tib’s comes from the association of the day with a Christmas tipple. In the 1500s, if you were to go out for a drink you went out to a tipple, or alehouse, and were served by a tippler, the alehouse keeper. In Newfoundland – St. Tib’s became – the first real occasion to taste the homebrew, a day where the men would visit each other’s homes for a taste.”
1855 – The Grand Trunk Railway was completed from Lévis to St. Thomas, Quebec.
1859 – The Perth County Council approved a number of laws restricting work and prohibiting a wide variety of recreational activities – including hunting, dancing, the playing of “profane music” or play noisy games – on Sunday.
1865 – One of Canada’s outstanding publishers, Joseph E. Atkinson, was born in Newcastle (Ontario). It is said that it was his leadership that made the Toronto Star become one of the largest and most influential newspapers in Canada.
1869 – The Western extension of the European and North American Railroad opened from Fairville (Saint John), New Brunswick, to St. Croix on the American border.
1872 – Amor de Cosmos (lover of the world) became Premier of British Columbia.
1963 – The Federal Government approved the establishment in Ottawa of a National Centre for the Performing Arts, and of an annual National Festival. The result was the present-day National Arts Centre.
1964 – Seven Christian Churches of Canada — Roman Catholic, United Church of Canada, Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, Greek Orthodox, and Lutheran — signed an undertaking to share a pavilion at Expo ’67. The $3,500,000 building was financed by industry and business.
1983 – Jeanne Sauvé, Canada’s first female speaker of the House of Commons was named Canada’s first female governor general.
1771 – Samuel Hearne discovered Great Slave Lake. Hearne was an English explorer, fur-trader, author and naturalist. He was the first European to make an overland expedition across northern Canada to the Arctic Ocean. In 1774, he built Cumberland House for the Hudson’s Bay Company, its first interior trading post and the first permanent settlement in present-day Saskatchewan.
1783 – All loyalist corps were disbanded and their officers put on half pay.
1812 – A treaty to end the useless War of 1812 was signed at Ghent in Belgium, just as church bells were ringing in Christmas Day, 1814.
1943 – General Eisenhower was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces to invade France.
1960 – Professor Frank Forward of the University of British Columbia was honoured in the United States for his research in nickel.
1635 – Samuel de Champlain died at Quebec City at age 61.
1785 – Christ Church opened at Sorel, Quebec. It is the oldest Protestant church in Quebec.
1850 – Isabella Valancy Crawford was an Irish-Canadian writer and poet. On this day she was born in Dublin, Ireland. She immigrated with her family to Canada in 1857 and settled in Peterborough in 1869. She was one of the first Canadians to make a living as a freelance writer.
1898 – It was announced that postage throughout the British Commonwealth would be one penny (two cents) for half-ounce letters.
1971 – Justin Pierre Trudeau, current Canadian Prime Minister, born to Prime Minister and Mrs. Trudeau, becoming the second child born to a prime minister during his term of office. The first child born to a prime minister was Mary, daughter of Sir John A. Macdonald, in 1869.
Annual: Boxing Day. Though there are many thoughts about the origin of this day, the most popular one is from the United Kingdom. Employers and customers would receive a “Christmas Box”. It is also celebrated in Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Jamaica, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and other former British colonies.
1791 – The Canada Act, or Constitutional Act, went into effect. It divided Canada into Upper and Lower provinces.
1860 – Architect William Thomas, died in Toronto (Ontario). He designed such buildings as Toronto’s Don Jail and St Michael’s Cathedral.
1610 – Samuel de Champlain made a marriage contract with Hélène Boullé, who was twelve years old!
1789 – The first stagecoach service in Upper Canada was inaugurated between Queenston and Fort Erie, 40 km (25 miles). The fare was one dollar.
1867 – The Legislatures of Ontario and Quebec held their first meetings.
1869 – Louis Riel was proclaimed president of the Red River settlement.
1869 – The first issue of the Ottawa Free Press was published.
1953 – The first Slovak church of the Byzantine rite in Toronto – the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, at Dundas and Shaw streets, was blessed.
1959 – A damaging ice storm occurred northwest of Toronto as thirty mm of freezing rain fell for more than thirty-two hours.
1960 – The Federal and Quebec Governments agreed on the Quebec section of the Trans-Canada Highway.
1972 – 14th Prime Minister Lester Pearson died in Ottawa. He was in office from 22 April 1963 to 20 April 1968.
1602 – The Merchants of Rouen and Saint-Malo were summoned to form a company to colonize Canada.
1720 – The British Lords of Trade proposed the removal of the Acadians.
1795 – Pressing on persistently with the building of Yonge Street in Toronto, Lieutenant Governor Simcoe’s Queen’s Rangers began to cut a road to the Pine Fort near Lake Simcoe.
1835 – Britain withdrew assent to the New Brunswick-Maine border arbitration awarded by the King of the Netherlands. America had already rejected the award.
1841 – Toronto lit up when 100 gas lamps were turned on for the 16,000 citizens. This was the eleventh city in North America to have its streets lit by gas.
1857 – Isabella, the first wife of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, died in Kingston at forty-two.
1858 – Governor Douglas of British Columbia issued an edict that all gold found along the Fraser and Thompson Rivers belonged to the Crown. This meant that prospectors needed licences.
1810 – David Thompson began his journey from the Athabasca River to the Columbia River through the Rockies on snowshoes in -29° C (-20° F) weather.
1812 – The Legislature of Lower Canada met to renew the Army Bill Act and voted £25,000 for the war against the United States.
1868 – Lord Lisgar was appointed Canada’s second Governor-General.
1908 – The first gold coin and sovereigns were minted in Canada.
1919 – One of Ontario’s most famous citizens, Sir William Osler, died in England. Called “the most influential physician in history,” he was born at Bond Head in 1849.
1921 – W. L. Mackenzie King formed his first government and served as prime minister for twenty-one years, five months, and five days.
1650 – The Ursuline convent at Quebec was burned and then rebuilt. A Roman Catholic order founded in 1639, they primarily educated girls and cared for the sick and needy.
1797 – Peter Russell, a leader of government in Upper Canada, issued a proclamation promising the “utmost severity” against anyone doing injury to the “fisheries and burial places” of the Mississauga Natives.
1813 – British and Canadian troops raided Black Rock and Buffalo in retaliation for an American attack on Newark, Ontario
1824 – The Upper Canada Legislature at Toronto was destroyed by fire.
1861 – The 62nd Wiltshire Regiment landed at St. Andres, New Brunswick, because of the danger of war with the United States.
1870 – Manitoba held its first provincial election.
1814 – General Pring was court-martialled for failures at Plattsburg and Lake Champlain.
1855 – Ottawa’s main streets were lit by gas lamps for the first time.
1857 – The decimal system of currency in public accounts came into effect at midnight.
1857 – Queen Victoria announced the choice of Ottawa as the capital of Canada.
1899 – The great bells of the clock at Toronto’s old City Hall rang out at midnight to usher in the 20th century.
1900 – Before a Toronto audience in Massey Hall, twenty-six-year-old Winston Churchill reported on the battles of the Boer War.
1916 – The immigration figure was surprising for a war year: 66,000, of whom 8,500 came from Britain and 52,000 from the United States.
1923 – The wheat crop of 474 million bushels was the largest in history up to that time. Its value was $317 million, and the yield, 21 bushels per acre.
1960 – C.D. Howe, a federal cabinet minister from 1935 to 1957, and the member for Port Arthur during that period, died in Montreal at the age of seventy-four.
1966 – Prime Minister Lester Pearson lit the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill to launch Canada’s centennial year.