This Week in Western Canadian History
October 3 - October 9
October
6
1818

In 1813, after a confrontation with local Indians, the traders of Fort Astoria, the Astor Fur Company's post on the Columbia River, were left isolated and with no way to bring in necessary supplies. The inhabitants of the fort were starving when they were rescued by a party of traders from Canada's Nor'West Company. The Americans agreed to sell the fort to the Canadians in exchange for food and, as the United States and Britain were at war, protection from attacks from British forces. In December, a British naval ship appeared in the waters around the post. The English captain was greatly disappointed to find the Union Jack already flying over Fort Astoria. To confirm his authority, he ordered the flag hauled down and then ceremonially raised again. When the War of 1812 ended, it was agreed that all territory taken by military action would be returned. The British claimed Fort Astoria was theirs through legal purchase; the Americans, however, were successful in their claim that the fort had been formally taken through the military action of the British captain. On October 6, 1818, Fort Astoria was returned to the United States, and Britain, and Canada, ultimately lost the territories of the Pacific Northwest.

October
6
1884

Sheep on the RangeThe battle between cattle and sheep ranchers in the West has been long, and often bitterly fought. Cattlemen claim that sheep eat the grass more closely to the ground than cattle, leaving nothing for other livestock. Sheep ranchers concede that the sheep do graze more of the grass, but dispute the claim that the land is contaminated. In the Northwest, the issue was hotly contested in agricultural society meetings, and pressure brought to bear on elected representatives. Cattlemen won the first skirmish when sheep were prohibited in southwestern Alberta from the border north to the Bow River. The battle continued in the newspapers, however, with sheep ranchers claiming government prejudice in favour of the cattlemen. As well, the land was opening up to homesteaders who also challenged the large lease holdings of the cattle ranches. On October 6, 1884, the federal government attempted a compromise by enacting legislation that permitted sheep grazing over a larger area. It was a compromise that satisfied no-one.

October
4
1897

When the North-West Mounted Police arrived at the site of present-day Calgary in 1874, they were greeted by Sam Livingston (sometimes spelled Livingstone), an Irish "Forty-Niner" from the California gold fields. After a life of prospecting and trading, Livingston married and settled down to raise his large family in southern Alberta. He became one of the district's first farmers and was so successful that his farm was shown to the Marquess of Lorne, Canada's Governor General, as an example of the vast agricultural potential of the region. Livingston was the first to bring pigs to the region, introduced the first threshing machine, and was the first to cultivate fruit trees. Before his sudden death in Calgary on October 4, 1895, Sam Livingston had provided convincing evidence that, contrary to popular belief, the prairies of western Canada could indeed support agricultural production.

October
4
1907

South Railway Street in Medicine HatThe Canadian Pacific train to Vancouver was stopped in Calgary for several hours while world-famous author Rudyard Kipling was taken on a brief tour of the city. Kipling was most impressed with Calgary, but regretted that the original names of the streets had been replaced by more practical, and more prosaic, numbers. Kipling also toured Medicine Hat on his way across the country and had many fond memories of the city and its people. In 1910, Medicine Hat contemplated changing its name to something "more smart and progressive." Kipling wrote a letter urging that the original, historic name be kept. As the story of the proposed name change and Kipling's opposition to it was picked up by newspapers across Canada and the United States, the city revelled in its new-found fame. When a city-wide plebiscite was held on the issue, 93 percent of Medicine Hat's population voted to keep the name.

October
4
1909

In late September of 1909, people in Red Deer, Alberta noticed the glow from prairie fires in the distance. A few days later the winds picked up and a huge fire swept south over the prairie of east central Alberta, burning everything in its path. Despite the herculean fire-fighting efforts of area ranchers and homesteaders, within a week almost five million acres had been burned. Several people were killed, and many homesteaders lost their homes and livestock. Many of the prairie animals that survived the fire starved for lack of food. It took several years for the prairies to recover enough to support wildlife and livestock and many settlers left their homesteads never to return.

October
7
1913

Dingman No.1For many years, geologists had known that it was probable that there were vast deposits of oil and natural gas hidden under Alberta's prairies and foothills. In 1911, William Stewart Herron, a local entrepreneur and horse wrangler, noticed gas bubbling out of an old mine shaft near Okotoks, Alberta. He collected samples which clearly indicated the presence of petroleum, and formed a company which drilled at the site. On October 7, 1913, the drillers struck crude petroleum, at what became known as the Dingman Discovery, after one of the backers of the project. The great Alberta oil boom was underway.

October
4
1919

Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) was honoured with the name "Red Crow" when he became the first Kainai Chief at a ceremony in Lethbridge, Alberta. The Kainai (Blood Indians) of southern Alberta created the honorary chieftainship to recognise individuals who have contributed either to the Blood people or to humanity in general. Membership is limited to 40 living persons and the honour is highly prized. Among those who have been members are Douglas Bader (Morning Bird), Pierre Berton (Big Plume), and Pope John Paul II (Big Holy White Father).

October
6
1924

Dr. W.J. Mayo, founder of the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., paid tribute to the work of some Canadian physicians during a brief stop in western Canada. It was due to the pioneering work of doctors such as Frederick Banting (the co-discoverer of insulin that provided an effective treatment of diabetes), he said, that virtually all diseases known to man could be cured. The one exception, noted Dr. Mayo, was cancer, which was often too far progressed before diagnosis to permit effective treatment.

October
9
1935

As Hitler’s power in Germany strengthened, more and more individuals and organizations around the world expressed concern about the Olympic Games scheduled for Berlin in August of 1936. A Calgary rabbi voiced the opinion of many, noting that Hitler’s persecution of Jews, gypsies and other minorities made a mockery of the Olympic philosophy of developing international goodwill through sport.

October
6
1942

In 1882, Cora Hind, a young woman from Ontario, arrived in Winnipeg hoping to secure a position as a journalist with the Manitoba Free Press. The paper was not yet ready for female reporters, and rejected her. Typewriters had just been introduced, and Hind rented one, taught herself to type, and obtained a job as a legal secretary. In her spare time she read everything she could about agriculture and set up a marketing service for the province's dairy industries. She became so respected that, in 1893, the Free Press began publishing her columns and, in 1901, hired her as Canada's first female agricultural reporter and editor. Hind retired in 1935, after a long and productive career. She died in Winnipeg, on October 6, 1942.

October
4
1950

Alberta Premier Ernest Manning officially opened the Edmonton-Regina section of Canada's first major oil pipeline. The oil that flowed through was the first Alberta oil moved out of the province by pipeline. When completed, the pipeline connected the oil fields of Alberta to the refineries in Ontario.

October
3
1954

Appliance stores stayed open late to allow Calgarians a chance to see the new medium of television as CHCT-TV began broadcasting. Crowds gathered around demonstration sets in the stores as the television age began at 9:21 p.m., with the broadcast of a test pattern, followed by short musical featurettes and the full-length film “The Brewster Millions”. The station went off the air at 11:40 p.m. It was anticipated that the station would offer full service, from either 5 or 6 p.m. until 10.00 daily, later in the week.

October
6
1954

The Alberta government announced that, 80 years after it had begun, the plotting of Alberta’s boundaries was finally complete. The project had begun with the 1874 survey of the 49th parallel and concluded with a 66-mile stretch of rocky terrain between the Slave River and the northeastern corner of the province. Through the years survey teams had struggled through all types of terrain, from muskeg to mountain slopes, in virtually every extreme of weather. The Surveys Branch credited the development of the airplane for allowing the survey to be completed in so short a time.

October
5
1982

In August 1982, the Canadian Mount Everest Expedition arrived in Nepal to conquer Mount Everest. The expedition set up camp at the base of the mountain on August 15, and established Camp 2, at 6545 m, by the end of the month. The expedition was halted temporarily, however, when three Sherpas and a cameraman were killed in two separate accidents. On September 22, Camp 2 was re-established and, on October 4, Camp 4, at 7980 m, was set up. On October 5, climber Laurie Skreslet, of Calgary, and two Sherpas left camp at 4 a.m.; by 9:15 a.m. they were standing on the summit of the world's highest mountain.

October
4
1998

It took only seconds to turn Calgary’s General Hospital into a pile of rubble when the abandoned buildings were imploded in a ceremony watched by hundreds on site and thousands more on television. The hospital, the fourth of the name, was opened in 1953 but had deteriorated to the point that health authorities insisted that it could not be renovated to current medical standards. The Calgary Regional Health Authority announced plans to closed the facility in July of 1994 and the last patient was discharged in June of 1997.



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