TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1815, Sir John A. Macdonald’s birth was registered in Glasgow, Scotland. While he was actually born the day before, on Jan. 10, this is the day commonly cited to commemorate the birth of Canada’s first prime minister. The leading figure in promoting Confederation, Macdonald served as prime minister from 1867-73 and from 1878 until his death in 1891. He advocated reciprocal trade agreements with the United States, worked for strong bonds with Britain and oversaw the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
In 1896, Sir William Stephenson was born in Winnipeg. After careers as a wartime fighter pilot, inventor and businessman, Stephenson headed British counter-espionage in the Western Hemisphere during the Second World War. His telegraphic address, “Intrepid,” became popularized as his code name. Stephenson died in 1989. In 1909, Britain and the United States signed a treaty establishing the International Joint Commission. The commission, made up of delegates from Canada and the United States, manages the waters of the Great Lakes with particular attention paid to pollution issues.
In 1914, the “Karluk,” one of three ships commissioned by Canadian explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, was crushed by ice in the Bering Sea near Herald Island, north of Siberia. Stefansson had left the ship before the accident. Capt. Robert Bartlett led the crew to safety on the vessel “Wrangel I” which struggled through ice to Alaska, where the survivors were rescued on Sept. 7, 1914. Sixteen died during the ordeal.