This Week in Western Canadian History
November 21 - November 27
November
23
1846

Syllabics for the Cree languageJames Evans, a Methodist minister and missionary to the Ojibwa and Cree, died in England on November 23, 1846. Evans was sent as a missionary to the Ojibwa in today's northwestern Ontario in 1833; in 1837 he published a grammar of the Ojibwa language. In 1840, while based at Norway House in northern Manitoba, Evans invented a system of syllabics for the Cree language. Using type fashioned from lead taken from tea chests, he printed collections of hymns, prayer books and catechisms that were still used in recent years.

November
27
1885

Eight Cree and Assiniboine who were convicted of murder for the deaths at Frog Lake during the Riel Rebellion were hanged at Battleford, Saskatchewan. In his statement, Wandering Spirit - identified as the leader of the rebels - blamed the Canadian Pacific Railway as the principle cause of his peoples' sufferings because the CPR brought many settlers to the region.

November
27
1896

Canadian immigration postersThe Federal Minister of the Interior, Clifford Sifton, unveiled the largest immigration campaign in Canada's history on November 27, 1896. His campaign of posters, pamphlets and newspaper advertisements was designed to attract steady, honest, willing-to-work farmers to the Canadian West. Unlike many of his colleagues, Sifton encouraged immigrants from central and eastern Europe, enticing them with offers of free and fertile land. Canada attracted 17,000 immigrants in 1896 when Sifton began his programme; when he resigned the post in 1905, over 140,000 came.

November
24
1905

After years of waiting, Edmonton, Alberta, was linked to a direct transcontinental rail route. Lieutenant Governor G.H.V. Bulyea drove home the silver spike to mark the completion of the Canadian Northern Railway line to the city. The first passenger train, composed of two special cars carrying dignitaries including promoters William McKenzie and Daniel Mann, made the trip to the ceremony in Edmonton from Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 27 hours.

November
27
1915

Private Albert Mountain Horse, the only member of the Blood Nation to serve at the front during the First World War was buried in a military funeral in Fort Macleod, Alberta, on November 27, 1915. Although Canada's native peoples were exempt from compulsory military service, Mountain Horse was one of the first from the reserve to volunteer after war was declared. He was sent to France where he was gassed at the Battle of Ypres, developing complications which resulted in his death.

November
25
1922

Two Winnipeg men applied for a charter to form a western branch of the international Brothers Under the Skin Association. The society, active in several cities in the United States and Ontario, was incorporated to establish and maintain the household as a masculine institution, to establish the husband as sole controller of the household budget and bank account, to protect the husband from performing any and all household duties, and to assert the husband's right to be absent from the home in the evenings without criticism.

November
22
1933

Children's DollThe dolls introduced for the 1933 Christmas season had a more rounded silhouette than those of the previous few years. The design of the dolls followed the "Mae West" profile, abandoning the sleek bob and tailored style that had been popular for more generous curves and dimples, and dresses based on the latest Paris creations.

November
22
1938

A special train carrying a group of 150 Jewish refugees from Germany stopped in Calgary on its way to Vancouver. From there, the group, which included doctors, engineers, professors and lawyers, was heading to a new life in Australia. All spoke of their happiness and relief to be in Canada although they had left behind most of their possessions and some had to pay large fines to be permitted to leave Germany. Few members of the party would allow themselves to be photographed and none would speak in detail about their lives in Germany for fear that there would be reprisals against relatives they had left behind.

November
21
1942

Construction of the Alaska highwayAfter the bombing of Pearl Harbour in December 1941, the American military believed that Alaska and the Aleutian Islands were the first line of defence for the North American continent. A series of airfields in northern Canada and Alaska provided some security, but the government and the military recognised the need for improved access to these airfields. The Americans petitioned the Canadian government for permission to build a highway and, on November 21, 1942, following several months of difficult construction, the Alcan Highway from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to Fairbanks, Alaska, was officially opened.

November
27
1947

A young English boy was finally returning home after living in a boys’ home in Calgary for eight years. The little boy and his mother were living in the city in 1939 when war broke out. His mother returned to England to work in a munitions factory but, fearful for his safety, left her six-year old child in Calgary. Although excited to be rejoining his family, the young man, who had grown into a typical “Canuck”, was worried about where he would play his favourite sports of hockey and baseball once he landed in England.

November
27
1948

1948 Grey Cup winnersOver 20,000 football fans cheered as the Calgary Stampeders defeated the Ottawa Rough Riders 12-7 to win the Grey Cup at Varsity Stadium in Toronto. Hundreds of Calgary fans made the three-day train trip to Toronto for the game. Travellers at Union Station in Toronto were caught in a spontaneous square-dance that erupted as the Stetson-topped fans descended from the trains. The Stampeder fans even transported a genuine chuckwagon (complete with horses), and all of Toronto was invited to pancake-breakfasts and roping and riding displays in the days before and after the big game. Staff at the Royal York hotel noted that they had never seen noisier and less destructive fans.

November
21
1953

The latest dining craze in New York was slow to catch on in Calgary. In New York, many lunch counters could barely keep up with the demand for yogurt, where businessmen enjoyed it as a part of lunch “on the run”. It was not as popular in Calgary, where many people reported that no matter the benefits, they just couldn’t stand the taste.

November
21
1996

After five years of hearings and a cost of $58 million, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples released its final report. The mandate of the Commission was to investigate the relationships between Canada's aboriginal peoples, the Canadian government, and Canadian society. Among its key recommendations were the abolition of the federal Indian Affairs Department (to be replaced by two new departments), an extra $2 billion a year in funding for aboriginal communities to improve housing and create jobs on reserves, and the creation of a House of First Nations to provide advice to the House of Commons on aboriginal issues. To date, few of the recommendations have been acted upon.



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