NOTE: Here is transcribed, as closely as possible (warts and all), the text as it appears in the source entries but sometimes only incomplete segments. For internet readability some discrepancies involving formatting and accents are likely. Do not always expect accuracy in the entries themselves (which is not to deny their “truth” or value or even, shall we say, occasional accuracy), but innaccuracy is often the least of their offense: what we call sexism, racism, homophobia and just a general colonial Western superiority complex pervades much of the popular knowledge of the late 19th and early to mid 20th century. I suggest, however, you resist the urge to judge too much from a position of 21st century self-righteousness, for how much has really changed? How much of our contemporary knowledge is inaccurate, dogmatic, prejudiced and offensive in ways we can and cannot even recognize?
This is a work in progress…
Canada. A Record of the Year by Charles Clay, Author and Journalist.
Several events made 1949 a remarkable year for Canadians. British Columbia was rocked by the heaviest earthquake in the nation’s history. Tidal waves did extensive damage. Ontario had more forest fires than usual, and a long dry spell during the summer made fire-fighting difficult and dangerous. The dryness also cut the farmers’ field and orchard crops in many parts of the country. A great tragedy took place in Toronto Harbour when the Noronic, one of the most important passenger ships on the Great Lakes caught fire and became a blazing furnace. A great number of victims were trapped because it started in the middle of the night when people were sleeping.
Three Anniversaries made Canadians realize that even though Canada was only eighty-one years old as a nation, she was getting along in years as a North American country. In the 1640s French soldiers and missionaries were pushing up the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa rivers, trying to win land for the King of France and converts for the Catholic Church. The natives did not always welcome them, however, and in 1649 at Midland, Ontario, on the site of the battle, Canadians remembered the three-hundred-year-old event with songs sung by Iroquois women and a sermon preached by an ordained Iroquois Jesuit priest.
There were two other important anniversaries, both on the Atlantic coast. The city of Halifax celebrated its two hundredth birthday with colourful pageants throughout the summer. Within the city, St. Paul’s Church, built in 1749 as the first Protestant church in Canada, held commemorative services. Canadian newspapers tried to surpass each other in reporting these anniversaries, and in reporting the one hundredth birthday of the London, Ontario, FREE PRESS. That paper outdid all others by printing a 262-page edition on it centenary. It was the thickest newspaper ever printed in Canada.
There was much celebrating throughout Canada on April 1, when the ancient island colony of Newfoundland became the Confederation’s tenth province. This made Canada almost as big as all of Europe.
Because Canada is a democracy, Canadians are interested in politics, in political parties and in elections. There was a nationwide election on June 27 that caused great excitement. Prime Minister Louis S. St. Laurent led the Liberal party back into power with the biggest majority any Canadian government has ever had. The Liberals won 193 out of 262 seats in the House of Commons, an increase of 68 seats for them. The other political parties fell back from their former parliamentary positions. The Progressive Conservative party dropped from 69 to 42 seats, the socialistic Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, from 32 to 12, the Social Credit party, from 12 to 10. There were five “independents”–members who did not belong to any political party–in the new Parliament. Although several women tried to get elected, none of them won.
Before the end of the year there were several changes in the Government, which meant by-elections. Although some of these were won by the Liberal party, the Liberals had lost 3 seats by the end of the year. Even so, the victory of the Liberals was overwhelming, and it was much discussed throughout the country for many months. No Canadian could find a simple explanation for the Liberal success. Some said it was due to the fact that the Liberals were giving Canada a government somewhat like President Truman’s “Fair Deal” government in the United States. Some said it was that the Liberals were giving Canada prosperity. Some said it was that the new Liberal leader, Mr. St. Laurent, was a brilliant man and a sincere one.
–From The Book of Knowledge Annual 1950. New York and Toronto: The Grolier Society, 1950. Pgs. 99-100.
–From Chambers’s Encyclopædia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge for the People. Vol. II. Bel to Chi. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippencott Company, 1875. pg. 551.
Mademoiselle Mance, Hospital Founder and Nurse [Segment from Some Canadian Heroines]
This is the story of a young woman who in the fever of religious enthusiasm gave up her home and friends and came voluntarily to the dangerous wilds of America in order that she might bring relief to suffering humanity. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe men’s interest in religion had been greatly aroused. As soon as new lands were discovered they were anxious to bring the teachings of Christianity to the inhabitants…
One rich young French widow, Madame de la Peltrie, sold all that she possessed in order to found the great Ursuline convent at Quebec. Her sacrifice formed the subject of conversation among all her friends in France, and many felt the force of her example and wished to follow it. Of these was one Mademoiselle Jeanne Mance, a delicate and devout woman, thirty-four years of age, who longed for an opportunity to come to Canada to do what she could toward converting the Indians… Before long she met with two men who, marvelous to relate, gave her the chance she longed for.
Her new acquaintances were as filled with zeal and devotion as herself, and had decided upon three distinct and difficult undertakings on the Island of Montreal in Canada. These undertakings were: the founding of a hospital, the organization of an order of priests to do the work among the Indians, and of another order of nuns (besides the Ursulines founded by Madame de la Peltrie). Mademoiselle Mance was appointed to take charge of the hospital and thus realized her heart’s desire…
They did not reach Quebec until late in October, and the Governor there did not hesitate to express strong disapproval of the plan. The Indians were everywhere swarming about the settlements; no one knew when a general massacre of the French might occur, and this idea of establishing a hospital one hundred and eighty miles from Quebec seemed foolish.
In vain the new colonists pointed out what a desirable site the island was… The Governor was responsible for the safety of the whites rather than the welfare of the Indians and shook his head…
The greater part of the colony dwelt in one large wooden house warmed by blazing log fires. Mademoiselle Mance did not have to wait long for patients. The dreaded Iroquois soon discovered the new settlement and lurked near it in the hope of surprising a colonist. Sometimes the settlers woke to the war-whoop of the tribe. Many a wound from tomahawk and battle-axe was dressed by the hands of Mademoiselle Mance, who tended the sick of the enemy as carefully as those of her own people. Then she taught the young Indians, and assisted in the religious exercises and instructions of the community.
–From The Book of Knowledge The Children’s Encyclopedia, The Maple Leaf Edition. Volume VII. Toronto: The Grolier Society, Limited, 1926. pgs 2286-2287.
Maple Sugar. In the Old Days of “Sugaring Off”: A Tale of the Gay Times That Peoples used to Have When the Sap Was Running in the Sugar Maples.
Are you ever tempted to wonder how people had any fun a hundred years ago, when there were no radios, no automobiles, no baseball, and no “movies”? If sometime you should find yourself in that self-satisfied frame of mind, in which everything outside your own time and country seems very dull and tiresome, just stop a moment and remember the old-time “sugaring off.” There probably is no fun we know today that brings more real joy than did those gay evenings when everyone in the village went out to the forest on a night in early spring, to sample the handiwork of the crew who had been working day and night in the sugar camp. The place was still and beautiful and mysterious. A huge fire cast flickering shadows on the snow that still lay on the ground, and in the rosy light everyone looked happy. And to people whose chief bonbons were a little “rock candy” and a few hard round “peppermint drops,” the hot sugar was a rare treat.
In the good old days many a farmer in the United States and Canada relied on his sugar maples to give him his year’s supply of sugar. In 1860 more than 40,000,000 pounds of maple sugar were made in the United States… Canada’s output is greater still, with Quebec leading.
–From Richards Topical Encyclopedia Vol 9: Basic Industries. New York: J.A. Richards Publishing Co., Inc, 1949. pg 122 & 124.
Quebec [kwəbε’k; ke’bε’k] (Fr. Québec),
the largest of the ten Canadian provinces and second only to Ontario in population. It is bounded on the north by Hudson Strait, on the west by Hudson and James bays and the province of Ontario, on the south by Ontario, the states of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, and the province of New Brunswick, and on the east by the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Labrador…
As of the 1951 census, Quebec’s population was 4,055,681, an increase of 21.7 per cent over 1941…
Quebec is represented in the Canadian House of Commons by 75 elected representatives and in the Canadian Senate by 24 appointees of the federal government. Quebec is now the only province which retains a two-house legislature, a legislative council and a legislative assembly, the former appointed by the provincial government, the latter elected by universal franchise, women having received the provincial franchise in 1940… Parties. At the provincial general election of July 1952 the Union Nationale party won its third successive victory, though by a reduced majority. Its assembly membership was reduced from 82 to 68, while the Liberal opposition increased from 8 to 23, despite the defeat of their leader, Georges Lapalme, who, nevertheless, was elected to the assembly in 1953. Hon. Maurice Duplessis retained the premiership, although three ministers of his cabinet were defeated. A few of his Union Nationale supporters are French-Canadian nationalists. The party favors welfare legislation, but has clashed with organized labor. It is staunchly Catholic. Only the recent shift of the federal Conservatives toward provincial rights has made it possible for some of the supporters of the Union Nationale and the federal Conservative parties to approach even a moderate co-operation in the arena of federal politics…
Quebec is officially a bilingual province. Like the other Canadian provinces, it is served by the radio stations of the government-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and by private stations. Quebec is the center of the CBC’s French network. Montreal is the television center. There are 5 English and 11 French daily newspapers, as well as more than 125 weeklies in circulation. the 1951 census recorded 62.5 per cent of the Quebec population as speaking only French and 25.6 per cent as being bilingual, both more than in other parts of Canada.
At the head of the public educational system of the province is the government-appointed superintendent of education, who executes the directives of the council of education. The council consists of a Roman Catholic and a Protestant committee, each with its own deputy minister. The two school systems administered by these deputies are quite distinct and separate from each other and follow quite different educational patterns. The Protestant system is much like the public educational system in the other provinces. In the Roman Catholic school system, which has no counterpart in any other province, there are more separation of the sexes, which is complete on the secondary level, more clerical teachers, and more religious instruction.
–From Collier’s Encyclopedia Volume 16 PHN-REY. New York: P.F. Collier & Son Corporation, 1957. pgs 501, 504, 505, 507, & 508.
Television Starts in Canada By Lorne Greene, Director, Academy of Radio Arts, Toronto
By the end of 1951 at least two television studies are expected to be in operation in Canada–one in Montreal and one in Toronto. This will be the beginning of a national system of television designed, like Canada’s radio, to suit the needs of Canada, just as Canada’s radio system was designed.
To give a clear idea of the future of television in Canada, we must start with radio and the part it has played in the development of Canada’s cultural resources… In 1929, because radio was in no sense national in its coverage or adequate in its service to Canadians, a Royal Commission (later known as the Aird Commission) was appointed to study the entire question of radio broadcasting in Canada. This led to the Canadian Broadcasting Act in 1936, which created a system of radio in Canada unlike any in the world: on the one hand, a publicly owned national system, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, to serve Canada with network broadcasting, sustaining and commercial; and on the other, privately owned stations to serve individual communities.
Private stations are supported by commercial revenue. The CBC, operating the national network, receives its income from license fees and some commercial charges. Thus, Canadians enjoy the best features of both the British and the American broadcasting systems…
In his address to the House of Commons… Revenue Minister McCann outlined the Government’s proposed plan: “First, the general direction of television broadcasting in Canada… will be entrusted to the Board of Governors of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation which will arrange for television operations by the CBC and by licensed private stations. Second, in order to provide the required services the CBC will (a) establish national television production centers in the cities of Montreal and Toronto: (b) they will provide the services of television programs for broadcasting by stations which may be established in other areas in Canada, thus furnishing part of that programing. This service will be provided by the CBC either by means of kinescope recordings or by direct physical relays when these are available. Third, in any city or area in Canada, including Montreal and Toronto, a license to establish one private station will be granted to a private organization giving adequate assurance of financial means and of service.”
Because television is not yet an actual fact, Canada has been accused of lagging in introducing it. But Canadian TV experts see in television one of the most powerful social forces ever devised by man. They feel that the utmost care should be taken in its development. They have been busy studying the mistakes and problems of other countries, and they are trying to anticipate the problems that great distances and small population will cause..
Like radio, television in Canada will also offer the best from other countries and carry a certain number of commercially sponsored programs… Television will bring more employment opportunities to Canadian artists. Highly skilled technicians will be required as cameraman, set designers, lighting experts–a host of men and women will have to be trained for this new medium. Through them will be developed a new means of communication of ideas and better understanding among Canadians. If Canadian TV programs are planned with equal consideration and imagination, and the required financial support is forthcoming, Canada’s television, like its radio, will become a telling feature of the country’s culture–a vital influence in the lives of each of us in the years that lie ahead.
–From The Book of Knowledge Annual 1951. New York.Toronto: The Grolier Society, 1951. pgs 370-1.