IT HAPPENED ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
— In 1645, the Company of New France gave up trading rights in Canada to colonists living in the new land.
— In 1671, the first snow of the winter fell in Quebec but the ice and snow had nearly all melted away by the middle of March, making it Canada’s shortest winter on record. But homesteaders weren’t rejoicing at the lack of chill in the air — they depended on the cold to keep food supplies from spoiling. Many starved because of the short winter.
— In 1784, the U.S. ratified a peace treaty with England, ending the Revolutionary War.
— In 1875, the first issue of the “Halifax Herald” hit the streets.
— In 1878, Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated the telephone to Queen Victoria, who spoke with her friend, Sir Thomas Biddulph.
— In 1914, the Ford Motor Company improved efficiency by employing an “endless” chain to transport each chassis along the assembly line.
— In 1943, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and General Charles de Gaulle opened a wartime conference in Casablanca.
— In 1947, Canada was elected to the Economic and Social Council of the UN.
— In 1949, the first non-stop trans-Canada flight, from Vancouver to Halifax, was completed.
— In 1952, an underground gas explosion at the McGregor coal mine at Stellarton, N.S., killed 19.
— In 1952, NBC’s Today show premiered, with Dave Garroway as the host, or “communicator,” as he was officially known. It is television’s longest-running weekday program.
— In 1954, retired baseball great Joe DiMaggio married actress Marilyn Monroe. They divorced nine months later.
— In 1964, in her first public statement since the assassination of her husband two months before, former U.S. first lady Jacqueline Kennedy appeared on TV to thank the 800,000 people who sent her messages of sympathy.
— In 1969, 27 people aboard the aircraft carrier “USS Enterprise,” stationed off Hawaii, were killed when a rocket warhead exploded, setting off a fire and additional explosions that ripped through the ship.
— In 1974, Jules Leger was sworn in as Canada’s 21st governor general.
— In 1976, the T. Eaton Co. announced the end of its catalogue sales operation, citing losses for more than 10 years, laying off 9,000 employees.
— In 1979, FLQ suspect Jean-Pierre Charette returned to Canada after 10 years in Cuba. He was sentenced to jail in March for bombing incidents in 1969.
— In 1982, Clifford Robert Olson was sentenced to life in prison after he pleaded guilty in Vancouver to 11 counts of first-degree murder. The victims, three boys and eight girls, were aged between nine and 18 and died between November 1980 and August 1981. Olson’s family was paid $100,000 by the RCMP after he gave information on the location of the victims’ bodies. Olson died of cancer in prison in 2011.
— In 1990, “The Canadian,” Via Rail’s legendary passenger train, made its final trip across Canada after 34 years of service on the world’s longest rail line, a 4,645-km route. Along with this, and the shutdown of other trains, 2,716 jobs were gone.
— In 1992, the Canadian government announced it would extend patent protection to 20 years for all new, brand-name drugs by multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers — a move that would restrict the ability of Canada’s generic drug manufacturers to enter the marketplace.
— In 1994, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, announced plans to buy 120 Woolco stores in Canada.
— In 2018, Sears Canada, the longtime staple of Canada’s retail landscape, shuttered its few remaining stores for good. It declared bankruptcy in 2017 and announced that it would liquidate inventory and lay off 15,000 employees.