Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 30 - N.O.W. Day

Founded in 1966, the National Organization for Women is the largest organization of feminist activities in the United States, with more then 500 000 contributing members and more than 500 local campus affiliates in all 50 states, and the District of Columbia.

N.O.W. was founded on June 30th, 1996 by 28 women and men attending the Third National Conference of State Commissions on the Status of Women, successor to the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. The founders included Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique, NOW's first president; Rev. Pauli Murray, the first African-American female Episcopal priest; and Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to run for US President.

NOW's Statement of Purpose was created by Friedan and Murray, scribbled on a napkin in 1966. The statement reads, "To take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men."

NOW stands against all oppression, recognizing that racism, sexism, and homophobia are interrelated, intended to keep power and privilege concentrated in the hands of a few.

Today we celebrate the anniversary of NOW's founding, along with their continued quest for true equality.

Today is also Descendants Day, Leap Second Time Adjustment Day, and Log Cabin Day!

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- King Henry II of France was seriously injured in a jousting match against Gabriel de Montgomery in 1559.
- The 1860 Oxford evolution debate at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History took place in 1860.
- A giant fireball - most likely caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet - impacted in Siberia in 1908.
- A tornado struck the heart of Regina in 1912, killing 28 persons and causing millions in damages.

- "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell, was published in 1936.
- Singer Murray McLauchlan, whose "Farmer's Song" established him across Canada as a popular singer with both folk and country audiences, was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1948.
- A car bomb, intended for Mafia boss Salvatore Greco, killed seven police and military officers near Palermo in 1963.
- MPs voted 148-127 not to reinstate the death penalty in 1976.
- Marvel Comics published "Kiss book", a tribute to rock group Kiss, in 1977.
- Liberal leader John Turner was sworn in as Canada’s 17th Prime Minister in 1984.

- The Royal Canadian Mint ceased production of dollar banknotes in 1989, two years after the introduction of the "loonie".
- Caroline Frolic - formerly Miss Ontario - was crowned Miss Renaissance USA in 1996.
- In 1997, an Angus Reid poll found that the average Canadian student knew the answer to only 10 of 30 questions about Canada, and only 30% could identify John A. Macdonald as Canada's first Prime Minister.
- Canada and the US signed a treaty in 1999, governing the conservation and sharing of Pacific salmon, which migrate between waters of the two nations.

- Also in 1999, thirteen-year-old Tyrell Duek died of bone cancer. His refusal to be treated by doctors for bone cancer, because of his family's belief in faith healing, caused a national debate.
- Approximately 1500 Duplessis Orphans received an apology and a “fault-free” offer of compensation in 2001. Each received a lump sum payment of $10 000 and an additional $1000 for each year spent in an asylum, roughly $25 000 per person.
- Spain legalized same-sex marriage in 2005.
- Mohamed Morsi was sworn in as President of Egypt in 2012.

Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 29 - Tour de France

Today marked the start of the 2013 Tour de France.

The Tour de France is an annual, multi-stage bicycle race, primarily held in France, with passes through nearby countries.

In 1903, the race began as a way to increase paper sales for the magazine L'Auto, and since then has been held annually, with the exception of its suspension during the two world wars. The race is a Union Cycliste Internationale tour, consisting of mainly UCI ProTeams.

Though the route changes each year, the format stays the same; two time trials, a passage through the mountains of the Pyrenees and the Alps, with a finish on the Champs-Élysées. Modern editions of the race consist of 21 day-long segments over a 23-day period, covering around 3200 km. Each stage is times to the finish, the riders' times compounded with their previous stage times. The rider with the lowest aggregate time gets to don the coveted yellow jersey.

Today's winner was Kittel Marcel, racing with Team Argos-Shimano, of the Netherlands.

The Tour de France will be completed on July 21st.

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- Shakespeare's Globe Theater burned down in 1613.
- Leader Peter Verigin, whose powerful personality enabled the Doukhobors to retain their special identity as a sect of Christian pacifist communists in Canada, was born in Slavyanka, Russia in 1859.

- George A. Custer was appointed Union Brigadier-General in 1863.
- A Grand Trunk Railway train plunged off the Beloeil Bridge into the Richelieu River at St-Hilaire, Québec in 1864, killing 99 people and injuring another 100. It was Canada's worst train wreck.

- The National Forest Service organized in 1891.
- Canada House opened in London, England in 1925.
- The 8 Jesuit Martyrs (including Father Brébeuf) killed by the Iroquois in the 1640s were canonized as the first North American saints in 1930.

- In the Batman Comics, mobsters rubbed out a circus highwire team known as the Flying Graysons in 1940, leaving their son Dick (Robin) an orphan.
- Inuk leader Charlie Watt, who negotiated the James Bay Agreement, was born in Fort Chimo, Québec in 1944.
- The Shaw Festival opened its first season in a renovated courthouse in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario in 1962.

- The 1st draft of Star Trek's original pilot, "Cage" was released in 1964.
- The 1st Jewish worship service at the White House occurred in 1969.
- In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled that motorists could seek legal advice before submitting to a breathalyzer test.
- Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defected in Toronto in 1974.
- George Foreman lost the IBF boxing title in 1995, after refusing to fight Axel Schulz.
- In 1999, International Trade Minister Sergio Marchi announced that there would be a review of relations with Cuba after prominent Cuban dissidents were put on trial in Havana.
- Thomas Beatie, born Tracy Lehuanani LaGondino, became the world's first pregnant man in 2008, giving birth to a daughter.

Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!

Friday, June 28, 2013

June 28 - Terry Fox

On this day in history in 1981, Terry Fox passed away at New Westminster, British Columbia.

Terry Fox was a distance runner and basketball player for his high school and university teams. After a diagnosis of osteosarcoma in 1977, his right leg was amputated. He continued to run using an artificial leg. He went on to play wheelchair basketball in Vancouver, winning three national championships.

Terry Fox is perhaps best known for his humanitarianism and cancer research activism. In 1980, he began a Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. His hope was to raise one dollar for each of Canada's then-24-million people.

His marathon began on April 12, 1980, when he dipped his right leg in the Atlantic Ocean near St. John's, Newfoundland. He filled two large bottles with ocean water, intending to keep one as a souvenir, and pour the other into the Pacific Ocean upon his arrival at Victoria, British Columbia.

Terry Fox had become a national star by the time he reached Ontario, making public appearances with businessmen, athletes, and politicians in his effort to raise money.

He was forced to end his run outside Thunder Bay when the cancer spread to his lungs. He passed away 9 months later.

Terry Fox, a national hero, is perhaps one of Canada's proudest sons, living forever in history with annual Terry Fox runs, and the many buildings, roads, and parks named in his honour across the country.

Today we remember his great struggles and perseverance, and thank him for everything he gave us.

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- Samuel de Champlain explored Iroquois country in 1609, entering the Rivière des Iroquois (Richelieu), paddling upriver and reaching a great lake that would later bear his name.

- The French colony of Guadeloupe was established in the Caribbean in 1635.
- A separate government was established for St. John Island in 1769. (It was not named Prince Edward Island until 1799).

- Queen Victoria's coronation occurred in Westminster Abbey, London in 1838.

- Fire struck Saint-Jean, Québec in 1845, jumping from house to house and destroying 1300 homes. In total, more than 18 000 people were left homeless.
- The Saxophone was patented by Antoine Joseph Sax in 1846.
- Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo by young Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip in 1914, the casus belli of World War I.
- The Treaty of Versailles, the peace settlement imposed on Germany after World War I, was signed near the French capital at Versailles in 1919. It took effect on January 10.
- FDR ordered a federal gold vault be built at Fort Knox Kentucky in 1935.
- North Korean forces captured Seoul, South Korea in the opening phase of the Korean War in 1950.
- Playwright Brad Fraser, who blossomed into an international star with the production of Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, was born in Edmonton in 1959.

- UNICEF chose rock group Kansas as ambassadors of goodwill in 1978.
- The Access to Information Act was passed by the House of Commons in 1982. It came into effect in July of 1983. Also in 1982, Prince Charles and Lady Diana gave William his name.
- Federal, Provincial, and First Nations representatives agreed to create a treaty commission to co-ordinate treaty negotiations in British Columbia in 1991, marking a fundamental change in the provincial government's policy toward First Nations.
- Queen Elizabeth II made her 22nd visit to Canada in 2010, visiting 5 cities over 9 days.

Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!

What's Your Favourite Book of All Time?

100 Greatest Books
of All Time.
What is your favourite book of all time?
Cast your vote by commenting here at the bottom of this post,
posting a note on our facebook page or adding it to our in-house ballot box
Each Friday we will tabulate the votes and post them on our
Facebook, Twitter and Blog accounts.

One vote per visit please.

The final Top 100 will be announced at the end of December.

The Stand by Stephen King
is still in the lead with nine votes.

This week's nominees:

 Yann Martel

 George Orwell

Harry Potter

Book of Negroes

Each Friday we will tabulate the votes and post them on our
Facebook, Twitter and Blog accounts.

One vote per visit please.

The final Top 100 will be announced at the end of December.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 27 - Birth of Helen Keller

On this day in history in 1880, Helen Adams Keller - author, political activist, and lecturer - was born. The story of how Keller's teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become widely known through the dramatic depictions of the play and movies, The Miracle Worker.

Helen Keller was born with the ability to see and hear, until the age of 19 months, when she contracted an illness - possibly scarlet fever or meningitis - which left her both deaf and blind. Desperate to find help for Helen, Keller's mother Kate sought physician J. Julian Chisholm, and E.N.T from Baltimore, for advice, who then referred them to Alexander Graham Bell for his work with deaf children at the time. They were then referred to the Perkins Institute for the Blind, where the School's Director asked 20-year old former student Anne Sullivan to become her instructor.

Anne herself was visually impaired, with a protruding left eye. Anne began working with Helen in March of 1887, teaching her to communicate by spelling words into her hand, such as d-o-l-l, m-u-g, though the process frustrated the child. Her big breakthrough came a month later, while Anne was pouring cool water over one hand, while spelling w-a-t-e-r with the other. Helen was finally able to make the connection of the word being spelled with the thing she was feeling/touching. She developed a thirst for knowledge, demanding the names of all the familiar objects in her world.

Anne's relationship with Helen developed from instructor, to governess, and finally to companion.

Helen went on to a formal education with Anne at her side, graduation from Radcliffe College at the age of 24, becoming the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Helen learned to speak, spending much of her life giving speeches and lectures. She even learned to "hear" by reading lips with her hands. She was able to use Braille and read sign language with her hands. By placing her fingertips on a resonant tabletop, she was even able to experience music played close by.

Helen Keller went on to become a world-famous speaker and author, remembered as an advocate for people with disabilities, and numerous other causes.

Today is also "Happy Birthday to You" Day, Industrial Workers of the World Day, National HIV Testing Day, National Bomb Pop Day, and PTSD Awareness Day.

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- The 1st woman's magazine "Ladies' Mercury" was published in London in 1693.
- John Galt's Canada Company was incorporated in 1825.
- Prudence Crandall, a white woman, was arrested in 1833 for conducting an academy for black females at Canterbury Connecticut.
- North America's oldest continuously run horse race, the Queen's Plate, was first held at Toronto's Carleton Track in 1860. It was open to all horses bred in Upper Canada that had not yet won money, and the prize was 50 Guineas.
- Nova Scotian George Dixon won the world bantamweight boxing crown in 1890.

- Slave, Dogrib, Hare, Loucheux, and other tribes ceded the Mackenzie River region of the Northwest Territories to the federal government in 1921.

- Environmentalist Richard Vollenweider, who helped set the limit for phosphorus loading to the Great Lakes, thus avoiding severe eutrophication of the world's largest supply of fresh water, was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1922.
- The first transatlantic air service began with a Pan American flight between Botwood, Newfoundland and Southampton, England in 1939.
- In 1941, the Canadian federal government passed legislation that allowed women to enlist in the army.
- Novelist Malcolm Lowry, author of Under the Volcano, died at the age of 48 in 1957.
- The 1st sci-fi soap opera, "Dark Shadows", premiered on ABC-TV in 1966.
- Synchronized swimmer Sylvie Frechette, who was awarded an Olympic gold-medal a year and a half after she competed in the 1992 Olympics, was born in Montreal in 1967.
- Canada's national anthem, "O Canada", was approved by Parliament under the National Anthem Act in 1980.

- Anne White shocked Wimbledon by wearing only a body stocking in 1986.
- Aerosmith became the first major band to let fans download a full new track free from the Internet in 1994.
- Artist and filmmaker Joyce Wieland, who was passionately concerned with the aesthetic perspective of the woman artist, died in Toronto in 1998.

- Bill Gates steps down as Chairman of Microsoft Corporation to work full time for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2008.
Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26 - National Canoe Day

In 2007, with over 1 million votes cast, the canoe was named one of the 7 Wonders of Canada via CBC Radio. In celebration, the Canadian Canoe Museum founded National Canoe Day with the aim of increasing participation in paddle sports in Canada, engaging new paddlers, and reaching across generational and cultural divides to introduce the canoe to those who haven't before had the opportunity to experience that aspect of our national heritage.

National Canoe Day has grown to become a truly countrywide event, with thousands of paddlers from across Canada and the world celebrating every year by going for a paddle or portage, attending an event, making a canoe-themed craft, or working on their own canoes that day. National Canoe Day is even celebrated internationally by groups in the United Kingdom, the United States, France, South America, and beyond!

So, how will you celebrate National Canoe Day? Check out some of these ideas!
- Go for a paddle
- Make a canoe craft with your family, school, or group
- Create a canoe-themed display in your shop window (or house windows if you have enough)
- Become a member of the Canadian Canoe Museum
- Teach someone how to paddle
- Wear a canoe (I'd love to see pictures of this!)
- Restore of build a canoe
- Adopt a canoe in the collection of the Canadian Canoe Museum
- Join your local canoe club
- Build your own canoe

Maybe you have your own way to celebrate National Canoe Day! Let us know how!

Today is also International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, and International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- Charles Newbold patented his cast-iron plow in 1797. He couldn't sell it to farmers, however, due to their fear of the effects of iron on the soil!
- Lightning struck gunpowder in a Luxembourg warehouse in 1807, causing 230 to die.
- Royal assent was given to Robert Peel's Act repealing the Corn Laws in 1846, terminating the preferential treatment of Canadian grain in Britain.
- The June Days Uprising ended in Paris in 1848.
- The British Navigation Acts were repealed by Britain in a move towards free trade in 1849. The acts were considered a burden in Canada.
- Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden, who headed the Canadian delegation to the Paris Peace Conference 1919, was born in Grand Pré, Nova Scotia in 1854.

- An imperial order-in-council admitted Prince Edward Island into Canada in 1873, effective July1st.
- Dr. Walter Reed began research to combat Yellow Fever in 1900.
- Sherlock Holmes began his "Adventure of 3 Garidebs" in 1902. 
- Painter Marian Scott, who for 50 years experimented with fresh art forms often through repetition of small abstract forms, was born in Montréal in 1906.

- A violent confrontation between police and strikers effectively ended the strike of the miners in Drumheller, Alberta in 1925.
- Author Yves Beauchemin was born at Noranda, Québec in 1941. One of his first novels, Le Matou, which was translated into several languages, made him internationally known and was made into a film by Jean Beaudin in 1985.
- Canada joined the United Nations at its founding in 1945.

- The Yorkshire Ripper killed 16-year old shop assistant Jayne MacDonald in Leeds in 1977, changing public perception of the killer as she was the first victim who was not a prostitute.
- The Canada Elections Act received royal assent in 1970, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18.
- Canada hosted the 3rd-annual G20 Summit in 2010, a forum where 20 of the world`s leaders gathered to discuss critical global issues.

Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25 - Global Beatles Day

On this day in history, in 1967, broadcast to 26 countries via satellite, with 400 million viewers, "All You Need is Love" was performed by The Beatles on the BBC-produced program, Our World, the first live global television link.

Global Beatles Day was created by super-fan Faith Cohen on Facebook in 2009. She considers the creation of the event to be a "thank you note and a love letter to The Beatles".

The purpose of this day is to honour and celebrate the phenomenon and ideals of The Beatles, collectively and individually, for their promotion of peace and love, truth and youth, and of the expansion of the human consciousness. The Beatles paved the way for global changes in personal expression, fashion, imaginations, sex, and art, having as much or more impact on global society as anyone of their time. For this, we thank them.

Celebrate The Beatles today, and remember everything they taught us.

Today is also Color TV Day (CBS), National Columnists Day, Tammuz, and Please Take My Children to Work Day!

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- 5 Canterbury monks reported something exploding on the Moon in 1178. What they saw was likely an asteroid impact that led to the creation of the lunar crater Giordano Bruno, named after Italian philosopher, priest, and cosmologist Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake for heresy in 1600.
- The "Great Canadian Detective" John Murray, a pioneer of scientific crime investigation and one of the first to utilize forensic science and information obtained through autopsies, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1840.
- Barbed wire was patented by Lucien B. Smith of Ohio in 1867.
- American Civil War veterans began arriving at the Great Reunion of 1913.
- Mackenzie King's Liberals were defeated on a motion of censure in 1926. Governor General Byng refused to grant King's request to dissolve Parliament. Byng asked Arthur Meighen to form a government, which he did, on June 29.

Seen above: Mackenzie King with one of his many dogs named "Pat".

- Filmmaker Denys Arcand, who won the highest award by a Canadian film at the Cannes Film Festival, was born in Deschambault, Québec in 1941.
- Michel Tremblay, whose first widely produced play, Les Belles-soeurs, opened the floodgates of theatre in Canada, was born in Montréal in 1942.

- The 1st edition of Anne Frank's "The Back of House" was published in 1947. Also in 1947, tennis shoes were introduced.
- The 1st colour TV broadcast, CBS' Arthur Godfrey from NYC to 4 cities occurred in 1951.
- In the 1968 federal election, in which Liberal leader Pierre Trudeau's popularity reached "Trudeamania", the Liberals won 155 seats and a majority. The Progressive Conservatives won 72 seats, the NDP 22, and the Créditistes 14, with one independent.

- Also in 1968, Leonard Marchand became the first Aboriginal to be elected to the federal Parliament since Louis Riel.
- The CN Tower, at 553.33 m the world's tallest free-standing structure at that time, was officially opened in 1976.

- Roger Rabbit Cartoon Character debuted in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" in 1988.
- Brian Mulroney turned over the office of Prime Minister to Kim Campbell in 1993, making her Canada's first female Prime Minister.
- In 2010, the G8 Summit was held in Canada for the 5th time since the country joined the forum in 1976. Participating countries included Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Summit leaders discussed critical global challenges such as health, education, and peace and security.

Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24 - Discovery Day

On this day in history in 1497, Giovanni Caboto (otherwise known as John Cabot) discovered the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador. Discovery Day (also known as Cabot 500 Day) is celebrated annually on the nearest Monday to June 24th - which is today!

Discovery Day has been celebrated since 1997, the 500th anniversary of the Discovery.

Cabot left Europe on May 20th, 1497, aboard his vessel the Matthew. The small ship was reportedly fast an able, consisting of an 18-person crew. He landed near present-day Bonavista on June 24th 1497, leaving around July 20th of the same year.

Discovery Day is a paid holiday for government employees in Newfoundland and Labrador (lucky them). Celebrations for the day include a visit to the Matthew Legacy Site, a "Kids Walking Parade", talent shows, and a motorcade involving more than 100 cars.

Happy Discovery Day, Newfoundland and Labrador! I hope it's an awesome day!

Today is also International Fairy or Faerie Day, St. Jean Baptiste Day, and Celebration of the Senses Day!

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- The 10th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet occurred in 451.
- In the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Scotland regained independence from England.
- A sudden outbreak of St. John's Dance in 1374 caused people in the streets of Aachen, Germany to experience hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapsed from exhaustion.
- As stated above, John Cabot landed on the Atlantic coast of North America in 1497, claiming it for England. Cabot's discovery led to England's interest in what is now Atlantic Canada, especially the fishery.

- Henry VIII was crowned King of England in 1509.
- Father Denis Jamet performed the first mass ever celebrated in New France on the Île de Montréal in 1615.
- Kingston, Jamaica was founded in 1692.
- John Graves Simcoe arrived in Upper Canada in 1792. He reached Kingston July 1 and took office July 8.

- Caugnawaga and Mohawk warriors ambushed an American force at Beaver Dams in 1813. British general James Fitzgibbon persuaded the Americans to withdraw, though he had only 50 soldiers in the area.
- The St-Jean-Baptiste Society was founded by journalist Ludger Duvernay in 1834, who wanted to stimulate a nationalist spirit among his compatriots and encourage them to defend their linguistic and cultural heritage.
- An American Fur Company boat arrived at Fort Union in 1837, setting off a smallpox epidemic across the prairies, killing an estimated three-quarters of the Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan, Sarcee and Assiniboine peoples of the prairies.

O Canada, composed by Calixa Lavallée, was first performed at a banquet attended by the governor general, the Marquis of Lorne in 1880.

- The decision to hold modern Olympics every 4 years was made in 1894.
- Full Cabinet government was established in the North-West Territories in 1897; F.W. Haultain formed its first government.
- Mary Pickford became the 1st female film star to receive a million dollar contract in 1916.
- With declining business, the Great Gorge and International Railway began using one-person crews on trolley operations in Canada in 1928.
- Publisher and nationalist Mel Hurtig, who first published The Canadian Encyclopedia (1985 and 1988), was born in Edmonton in 1932.

- The entire Jewish male population of Gorzhdy, Lithuania was exterminated in 1941.
- In 1943, BC premier John Hart announced that the government had allocated $6 million to link Prince George with the Alaska Highway.
- Flying saucers were reportedly sighted over Mount Rainier by pilot Ken Arnold in 1947.
- "I Love Lucy," last aired on CBS-TV in 1957.

- Figure skater Barbara Underhill, a world gold medalist with skating partner Paul Martini, was born in Pembroke, Ontario in 1963.
- FTC ruled that health warnings must appear on all cigarette packages in 1964.
- During St-Jean-Baptiste Day riots in Montréal in 1968, 290 people were arrested and 130 injured. Prime Minister Trudeau was showered with rocks and bottles in the reviewing stand.

- In 1974, Prime Minister Trudeau declared that Canada would not seek the extradition of the FLQ members who had fled to Cuba and then France.
- Billy Joel received an honorary diploma from Hicksville Hightschool at the age of 43 in 1992.
- An estimated 2000 people rioted in Québec City after a rock concert, looting shops and damaging the National Assembly building in 1996.
- Female athletes were allowed to compete for Saudi Arabia at the Olympics for the first time in 2012.

Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!