TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1949, scientists at the Mayo Clinic announced they’d succeeded in synthesizing a hormone found to be useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis. The substance was named “cortisone.”
In 1963, 65-year-old Montreal night watchman Wilfred O’Neill was killed by a bomb planted by a newly-formed terrorist group, the FLQ (le Front de liberation du Quebec).
In 1968, Pierre Trudeau was sworn in as Canada’s 15th prime minister, two weeks after winning the Liberal Party leadership. He went on to win a majority government in a general election that was swept by the “Trudeau-mania” craze. Trudeau was Canada’s third-longest serving PM, behind William Lyon Mackenzie King and John A. Macdonald.
In 1968, a Canada-U.S. expedition led by JeanLuc Bombardier and Ralph Plaistead reached the North Pole on four snowmobiles. Bombardier, a nephew of snowmobile inventor Joseph-Armand Bombardier, was the first Canadian to reach the Pole. In 1972, the manned lunar module from “Apollo 16” landed on the moon.
In 1973, “Anik II” Canada’s second communications satellite, was launched.
In 1982, Edmonton millionaire Peter Pocklington was held hostage in his home for almost 12 hours by a gunman demanding $1 million. Both were slightly injured when police rushed the house.
In 1989, the Newfoundland Liberals under Clyde Wells won the provincial election, ending 17 years of Conservative rule.
In 1989, the last Canadian $1 bill was printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company.
In 1999, the Columbine High School massacre took place in Colorado as two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, shot and killed 12 classmates and one teacher before taking their own lives.
In 2008, Danica Patrick became the first female winner in IndyCar history, capturing the Indy Japan 300 in her 50th career start.
In 2009, Jamaican troops stormed a hijacked Canadian charter flight at Montego Bay airport, took the lone gunman into custody and safely released six Canadian crew members. All 159 passengers and two other crew members were able to escape less than an hour into the hijacking of CanJet Flight 918, with help of a quick-thinking flight attendant.
In 2010, General Motors Co. announced it repaid the $8.1 billion loan-portion of the $61.5 billion aid package it received from the U.S. and Canadian governments as it went through bankruptcy protection in 2009.
In 2010, Reynaldo Bignone, Argentina’s last dictator, was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison for torture and kidnappings committed during the nation’s 1976-1983 military regime.
In 2010, a massive explosion caused by a methane gas bubble rocked the British Petroleum-leased Deepwater Horizon offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven workers were killed. The rig was situated 66 km from the mouth of the Mississippi River. It burned violently for nearly two days before sinking on April 22. It took BP 85 days to choke the flow of crude oil spewing from the damaged well located on the sea floor. The U.S. government estimated between 354 million to 698 million litres of oil spilled into the Gulf, making it the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history and the worst ever in the Gulf of Mexico. The environmental disaster killed wildlife and threatened the livelihoods of fishermen, restauranteurs, and oil industry workers from Texas to Florida forcing BP to set up a $20-billion compensation fund.