TODAY IN HISTORY: Death of a Beatle
On this date in 1869, Timothy Eaton opened a small dry-goods store at the corner of Yonge and Queen streets in Toronto. Eaton revolutionized the commercial practice of the day by offering satisfaction or money refunded. His store became one of the largest department stores in North America. In September 1999, Sears Canada announced it would buy the outstanding common shares of the insolvent Eaton’s.
In 1915, the poem “In Flanders Fields,” by Canadian doctor-poet John McCrae, was published for the first time in “Punch” magazine.
In 1925, Adolf Hitler’s political philosophy, “Mein Kampf,” was published.
In 1941, the Japanese army began its attack on Hong Kong during the Second World War. The colony’s British and Canadian defenders surrendered on Christmas Day.
In 1963, Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped at gunpoint from Harrah’s Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nev. He was released after 34 hours when a ransom of $240,000 was paid. The three kidnappers were caught and convicted. In 1998, the junior Sinatra sued the kidnappers after they sold their story to Columbia Pictures for $1 million.
In 1974, voters in Greece voted to abolish the monarchy.
In 1978, former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir died in Jerusalem at age 80.
In 1980, former Beatle John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building as he and his wife, Yoko Ono, were returning from a recording session. Mark David Chapman shot Lennon only hours after Lennon had autographed the album “Double Fantasy” for the 25-year-old drifter. Chapman was later convicted of the killing and remains in prison. The album and lead single “(Just Like) Starting Over” both zoomed to No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
In 1987, Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ron Hextall became the first netminder in NHL history to score a goal, doing so against Boston. Two seasons later, Hextall scored against Washington.
In 1993, the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed into law by U.S. President Bill Clinton. It went into effect on Jan. 1, 1994.
In 2008, Liberal Party Leader Stephane Dion announced he would step down earlier than the planned leadership convention in May. Dion had faced growing pressure from his party to leave due to his handling of a political issues and his widespread unpopularity among voters.
In 2009, the Commissioner for Public Complaints Against the RCMP issued a damning report into the death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver’s airport in October 2007. The strongly worded report made 23 findings and 16 recommendations that were highly critical of both the actions of the four officers who fatally confronted Dziekanski and the followup investigation by the Mounties.
In 2017, former national ski coach Bertrand Charest was sentenced to a 12-year prison term after being found guilty in June of sexually assaulting the teenage girls he trained dating back more than 20 years.
Annie Leibovitz took this photo for Rolling Stone magazine on the morning of John Lennon’s murder.