This Week in Western Canadian History
November 8 - November 14
November
8
1873

By November 8, 1873, the small community of Winnipeg (originally known as Fort Garry) had grown to the point that it was incorporated as western Canada's first city. The decision to incorporate came as a result of the frustration residents felt with the provincial government which was not interested in issues such as fire protection and sidewalk construction - things that confronted a municipal district within the vast territory.

November
13
1899

The Sons of England Benefit Society in Calgary held a patriotic meeting and smoking concert for the widows and orphans of soldiers killed in the South African war. The evening included patriotic speeches and rousing songs such as Rule Brittania and Auld Lang Syne. The local Presbyterian minister was castigated for his unpatriotic sermon on the previous Sunday when he indicated his dislike of the war by saying, "The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."

November
9
1905

The newly created Province of Alberta held its first election on November 9, 1905. The size of some of the election districts presented difficulties. The Peace River district in largely unsettled northern Alberta, was 400 miles long and over 350 miles wide with no communication system and few trails. Many people in the riding were unaware of the election and couldn't have reached polling stations if they had known. The campaign was bitterly fought on issues such as separate religious schools and control over the province's natural resources. The Liberal Party almost swept the province, winning 22 of 25 seats, and Alexander Cameron Rutherford became Alberta's first Premier.

November
13
1913

Local newspaper editorials bemoaned the loss of life's little courtesies, apparently due to Calgary's growth. Few people apologised as they jostled each other on congested sidewalks. On streetcars, men forgot to stand for ladies, and when they did the ladies forgot to thank them properly for their courtesy. Young people didn't demonstrate appropriate respect to their elders. In a busy city, one writer commented, manners and consideration were even more necessary for everyone to get along, and a "society for the propagation of courtesy" would be welcomed.

November
13
1913

Health officials in Calgary expressed cautious interest in the theories of a German bacteriologist who claimed it was dangerous to exterminate all bacteria. The professor conducted his experiments on chickens, and discovered that birds placed in a completely sterile environment and eating sterilised food survived for no more than a month. He suggested that some intestinal bacteria was required for proper digestion and were beneficial to humans. Despite his findings, cleaners in local hospitals continued cleaning to their regular high standards.

November
11
1918

Before dawn on the morning of November 11, 1918, in a railway coach on a siding near Compiegne, France, French Field Marshal Foch and the members of the German Armistice Commission signed the formal surrender that brought the First World War to an end. PoppyAfter four years of war, as the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month drew near, the guns fell silent and, incredibly, birds could be heard singing. As the news flashed across Canada, work stopped and thousands of people poured into the streets. Over 60,000 Canadians died in the war, and many more were wounded. In 1923, Armistice Day was merged with Thanksgiving Day. In 1931, November 11 was renamed Remembrance Day and declared a legal holiday in memory of Canadian veterans in this and other wars.

November
13
1919

A group of 27 Hungarians and Austrians from Saskatchewan was prevented from leaving their boat in Kelowna, British Columbia, by members of the Great War Veterans Association. The European families had hoped to purchase farms in the Okanagan region of southern British Columbia, but when they tried to land they were told that returned veterans wouldn't allow an alien colony to be established in the region. After three days, the group agreed to return to Saskatchewan. Germans, Hungarians and Austrians already living in Kelowna were advised to leave the community.

November
14
1922

Robert Edwards Bob Edwards, the colourful editor and publisher of the Calgary Eye Opener, died on November 14, 1922. Edwards was born in 1864 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and gained his first newspaper experience publishing an English-language newspaper for wealthy tourists on the French Riviera. By 1897, he was living in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, where he launched the weekly Free Lance -- the first newspaper to be published in Alberta between Edmonton and Calgary. Edwards later moved to High River, Alberta, and then to Calgary, where, because of his pointed commentaries, his newspaper The Eye Opener soon became both popular and feared. Among his favourite targets were organised religion, politics and politicians, and pomposity wherever it was to be found.

"How many men do you know who let their religion interfere with their business?"
- Bob Edwards, Eye Opener, December 6, 1913

"Most of any government's troubles come from trying to uphold the blunders it makes."
- Bob Edwards, Eye Opener, April 19, 1919

"Probably the saddest thing about Ottawa is the number of fourth-rate intellects applied to first-rate problems."
- Bob Edwards, Eye Opener, September 21, 1918
November
14
1933

The President of the Manitoba Historical Society cast doubt that the markings found on a boulder were in fact a Norse inscription. A Winnipeg farmer discovered the rock on his land and claimed that it was a rune stone, proving that the Norse had journeyed as far as the Canadian West at some point in the distant past. Dr. Bell suggested that the boulder was no more than a weathered piece of limestone, and that people who were so inclined could see "anything from the Royal Coat of Arms to a record of the Lost Tribes of Israel."

November
12
1947

Wedding Picture of Queen Elizabeth IIA young British woman, widowed during the war and recently arrived in Calgary, was surprised that Canadians were so interested in the impending wedding of Princess Elizabeth. In England, people were preoccupied with making a living and some resented what they saw as ostentatious ceremony during a time of austerity.



Back to Calendar

www.glenbow.org

Copyright © Glenbow Museum