This Week in Western Canadian History
October 12 - October 18
October
14
1754

In October of 1754, Anthony Henday, a trader for the Hudson's Bay Company, finally encountered a band of Blackfoot. His employers had sent him west in hopes that Henday would persuade the Blackfoot to trade directly with the Company and avoid the middlemen who were compromising the Company's profits. On October 14, 1754, Henday was invited to share a pipe and a meal with the band's chief. Henday proposed that the young men of the tribe travel to York Factory (on Hudson Bay, near the present Manitoba-Ontario border) to trade their beaver and wolf skins for guns, shot, cloth and beads. The chief refused, claiming that his young men could not leave their horses, and because they had no experience with boats and paddles. Henday felt these problems could be overcome, but the chief ended the discussion by saying that everything his people wanted, they got from the buffalo, and that there was little point in travelling such a distance for goods that the Blackfoot did not want and could not use.

October
17
1840

Reverend Robert RundleRobert Rundle, one of four Methodist missionaries invited by the Hudson's Bay Company to establish missions in their territories, arrived in Edmonton House on October 17, 1840. Rundle remained in the area for eight years, making Edmonton the centre of his district which extended north to posts at Lesser Slave Lake, east to Fort Carlton and Fort Pitt in Saskatchewan, south to the lands of the Blackfoot, and west to the Rocky Mountains. On one of his trips in July of 1847, Rundle fell from his horse and severely injured his arm. It did not heal, and in 1848, Rundle left the west to seek medical care in England. He never returned.

October
16
1869

As word of Louis Riel's confrontation with the survey party spread throughout the Red River Settlement [see This Week in Western Canadian History, October 5-11], the Metis formed the Comité National des Métis (National Council of the Metis) to represent them in discussions with the federal government. Louis Riel was elected secretary.

October
14
1874

In preparation for the coming winter, the men of the North West Mounted Police began building their first post in today's Alberta. On a level piece of land within the curve of the Old Man River, cottonwood logs were placed upright and plastered with clay. Crossbeams were placed on top and covered with sod as a roof. The floor was bare ground, soon to be trodden down. Stones gathered from the river served for fireplaces and chimneys. Several buildings were constructed, including stables, a hospital and a blacksmith's shop. In keeping with the unanimous wishes of the officers and men, the post was christened Fort Macleod in honour of James F. Macleod the assistant commissioner.

October
12
1923

Calgary Mayor George Webster launched an investigation into city finances following the discovery of the purchase of a $20 canary. The City Engineer's department had conducted an investigation into the safety of a particular gas appliance. Since canaries are particularly sensitive to gas fumes, a stenographer was sent to purchase a bird. Unaware of its purpose, the secretary chose an especially attractive bird with a fine singing voice for $20. The canary was placed in a room with the gas appliance, but, sadly, was discovered upside down in his cage the next morning. The tragedy was concealed and a private burial held. The appliance was removed and the investigation concluded that the money had been well spent.

October
13
1924

The featured star in the movie Find Your Man, on screen at Calgary's Capitol Theatre, was the famous Belgian police dog, Rin Tin Tin. According to his press releases, the dog had first demonstrated his keen intelligence in the trenches of France during the First World War. He was then brought to the United States where his courage, sincerity, and loyalty contributed to his exceptional ability as an actor.

October
18
1929R

Persons Case by Nellie McClungIn April of 1928, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the word "person" in Section 24 of the British North America Act did not include female persons. The justification for the decision was that since persons required for public office had to be "fit and qualified" for such an appointment, women were not eligible. Five Alberta women - Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Emily Murphy and Irene Parlby - appealed the decision in Canada's highest court of appeal, the Privy Council of England. In a landmark decision, on October 18, 1929, the Privy Council ruled that women were indeed persons under the law, and so could be summoned to and serve as members of the Senate of Canada.

October
16
1950

The head of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture called on farm families across the country to stop buying margarine. He noted that the big margarine interests were making much larger profits on the manufacture and sale of margarine than those making and selling butter. He suggested that farm families set an example by purchasing only butter in order to protect Canada's dairy industry.

October
17
1950

City Mayor Don Mackay appealed to Calgarians to donate any old, used and unwanted cowboy hats to his office so that he could send them to Germany. A town official in Karlsruhe, Germany, had written to Mayor Mackay telling him of a rodeo arranged by the members of the German cowboy club, and asked if the mayor of the Stampede City could contribute appropriate headgear.



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