This Week in Western Canadian History
August 29 - September 4
August
29
1812

The first group of Highland colonists arrived at Red River in the Canadian Northwest on August 29, 1812, to establish a settlement. The colony was the vision of Thomas Douglas, Fifth Earl of Selkirk, who was concerned about the conditions in which many of the poor in Britain were forced to live and who saw emigration schemes as a way to provide a better life.

August
29
1858

Dr. James Hector, the geologist with the Palliser Expedition, was kicked off his horse and rendered unconscious as the expedition explored the area of the Continental Divide in the southern Rockies. His men could not rouse him and, according to Hector, were about to bury him when, still unable to speak, he signalled with a wink that the action would be premature. The pass was named Kicking Horse Pass and, in future years, became the route of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

September
1875

Fort CalgaryFor many years the First Peoples of the plains set up winter camps near the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers in today's Alberta. They were attracted by the availability of wood from trees that grew along the riverbanks, and by the shelter that the banks provided them and the buffalo they depended on. As the North West Mounted Police expanded its territory in 1875, the same location seemed ideal for the construction of a new fort. In the summer of 1875, Inspector Ephrem Brisebois and his troop of Mounted Police arrived in what is now Calgary (close to the Centre Street bridge). By evening, the men had set up camp along the Elbow River. Within days, construction had begun on the log fort that was to become Fort Calgary.

August
31
1883

Calgary Herald, No1, Vol 1The first issue of the Calgary Herald, Mining and Ranche Advocate and General Advertiser rolled off the press on August 31, 1883. Owners, publishers, editors, typesetters and advertising salesmen Andrew M. Armour and Thomas B. Braden set up their tiny hand-press in a tent on the banks of the Elbow River to issue their first four-page edition. In their first editorial, noting that the public deserved to know the purposes of the publishers, Armour and Braden indicated their commitment to publish news of local interest, to encourage and support local industry and agriculture, and to expose immorality and vice. A year's subscription was available for $3.00 (in advance).

September
1
1905

The Province of Alberta was born on September 1, 1905, when the Alberta Act came into effect. George Hedley Vicars Bulyea was appointed the first Lieutenant-Governor of the new province.

September
2
1912

Tom Three Persons Calgary's first Stampede Rodeo began on September 2, 1912. Guy Weadick, an American showman, convinced Pat Burns, A.E. Cross, George Lane, and A.J. McLean - Calgary's Big Four - to provide the financial backing for the six-day rodeo. Events included the bucking horse ride, steer wrestling, calf roping, and trick and fancy riding. One of the highlights of that first Stampede was Tom Three Persons' championship ride on the notorious bronc Cyclone.

September
3
1912

The Duke of Connaught, the Governor General of Canada, officially opened Alberta's legislative buildings in Edmonton. The Duke was presented with a gold key to ceremonially unlock the Legislature's massive oak doors. Unfortunately, the building was still under construction and there was no lock in the door. As the newspaper reporters gathered around, the Duke pretended to push against the closed door and then inserted the key to open it. A clerk of the Legislature inside the chamber held the door closed until he heard the sound of the key scratching on wood when he swung it wide so that all could enter in a ceremonial procession.

September
3
1920

Local religious leaders deplored the immoral conditions rampant in the Crow’s Nest Pass, where bootlegging was conducted in flagrant violation of Alberta’s prohibition laws. Alberta’s Attorney General warned that the area had to be cleaned up. He noted that conditions were probably no worse than could be expected, since the area was so close to the United States and attractive to American desperadoes, but advised that a special law force would be sent to the area if local forces could not effect an improvement.

August
29
1922

Interior of radio station CFAC, the first privately-owned radio station between Winnipeg and Vancouver, went on air with a broadcast of a concert from Calgary's Salvation Army band on August 29, 1922. The event had been well advertised, and it was believed that listeners for several hundred miles around gathered around their sets to enjoy the concert.

September
2
1922

The symphony orchestra conductor for Calgary's Palace Theatre defended his musicians and his profession amidst charges that movie theatre orchestras were depriving "legitimate" symphonic orchestras of talent and audiences. He left the Edmonton Symphony to join the Palace because of his conviction that more people could be taught to appreciate the classics through popular theatre than through "high-brow" activities such as the traditional symphony concert.

September
2
1938

In an encouraging sign of an economic turn-around, the number of people on relief in Calgary was the lowest since February of 1932. The numbers reflected an increase in employment due to the fall harvest, but many city merchants and manufacturers were also taking on help for the first time in several years.

September
2
1948

Canadian and American authorities expressed concern about a sudden demand for “pen-pals” in Canada’s northern outposts. Several people in remote communities in Canada’s Arctic had received letters, ostensibly from ordinary citizens in Russia and Eastern Europe, asking for photographs of harbors and airplane runway installations, promising photographs of markets and cathedrals in exchange. American chambers of commerce and business firms also reported an increase in requests from East Germany for maps and directories of American centres. Canadian officials warned everyone to be aware of the potential for “pen-pal espionage”.

September
1
1951

Nellie McClung Nellie McClung, author and advocate for women's rights, died in Victoria, British Columbia, on September 1, 1951. McClung began her political activities in Manitoba, where she was active in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and continued her fight for female suffrage and dower rights for women when she moved to Alberta in 1915. She served as a Liberal MLA for Edmonton, Alberta, from 1921-1926. Her first novel, Sowing Seeds in Danny, published in 1908, launched a successful writing career.

August
31
1955

A delegation of Soviet agricultural experts studying the successful farming practices of prairie farmers, remained under protective police guard in their hotel in Winnipeg after a placard-carrying mob greeted them at the airport. Four men, whom the mob believed to be Soviets but who turned out to be plain-clothes Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, were punched and kicked by members of several Ukrainian nationalist groups opposed to the Soviet government. Municipal officials credited the RCMP, Winnipeg city police and the railway police with preventing a full-scale riot.

August
31
1971

Peter LougheedAlberta saw another complete change in government as the Progressive Conservative Party under Peter Lougheed defeated Premier Harry Strom's Social Credit Party in the provincial election on August 31, 1971. Lougheed became Alberta's first Conservative premier, ending 36 years of Social Credit government.

September
1
1980

Terry Fox was a young athlete studying physical education in preparation for a teaching career when he lost most of one leg to bone cancer in 1977. While recovering, he came up with idea for the "Marathon of Hope", a run across Canada to raise awareness of the disease and funds for further research into it. He began his run at St. John's, Newfoundland, on April 12, 1980. In Thunder Bay, Ontario, on September 1, 1980, 135 days and over 5,000 km later, Terry Fox announced that the cancer had returned and had spread to his lungs. The run was abandoned and Fox was hospitalised in Vancouver, British Columbia where he died the following year. Terry Fox runs are held annually across Canada in September and have raised millions of dollars for cancer research.



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