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In 1606, “The The­atre of Nep­tune,” a form of dra­matic spec­ta­cle known as a masque, was per­formed by French­men and In­di­ans in barges and ca­noes on the waters off Port Royal, now An­napo­lis Royal, N.S. Di­rected by its au­thor, Marc Lescar­bot, it was the ear­li­est known en­ter­tain­ment con­ceived and per­formed in New France by Euro­peans. The masque in­cluded a four-part song, “Great God Nep­tune,” which was the first choral work ei­ther writ­ten or ar­ranged in Canada. “The The­atre of Nep­tune” was writ­ten to wel­come Port Royal’s founders, Sa­muel de Cham­plain and Jean de Bien­court de Poutrin­court, on their re­turn from coastal ex­plo­rations.

In 1832, the world’s first horse-drawn street­car hit the streets in New York. It held 30 pas­sen­gers who paid 12-anda-half cents for the fare.

In 1849, Toronto be­came the seat of the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment af­ter a mob burned the Par­lia­ment build­ings in Mon­treal ear­lier in the year.

In 1851, Amer­i­can au­thor Her­man Melville’s “Moby Dick” was pub­lished.

In 1889, New York World re­porter Nel­lie Bly set sail from New York on a trip around the world. She was try­ing to beat the 80 days it took Phileas Fogg to go around the world, as de­scribed in Jules Verne’s clas­sic novel. She filed sto­ries dur­ing her trav­els, and a com­pe­ti­tion for read­ers to guess how long the trip would take at­tracted one-mil­lion en­tries. It took Bly 72 days, six hours, 11 min­utes and 14 sec­onds to cir­cle the globe by sea, horse­back, rail and road. In 1891, Sir Fred­er­ick Bant­ing, co-dis­cov­erer of in­sulin and No­bel Prize win­ner, was born in Al­lis­ton, Ont.

In 1907, chil­dren’s writer Astrid Lindgren was born in Swe­den. The cre­ator of the braided, free-think­ing Pippi Long­stock­ing, died Jan. 28, 2002.

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