This Week in Western Canadian History
September 19 - September 25
September
22
1877

Signing Blackfoot TreatyAfter several days of discussion and negotiation, the Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan, Sarcee and Stoney peoples signed Treaty 7 on September 22, 1877, at Blackfoot Crossing in southern Alberta. In July of 1977, Prince Charles visited Blackfoot Crossing for the centennial celebrations.

September
23
1908

Queen Alexandra School Forty-five students attended the first classes of the University of Alberta. The University - Alberta's first - did not have a building, and classes were actually held on the top floor of an elementary school in Strathcona (today part of Edmonton). The university offered courses towards bachelor of arts and the bachelor of science degrees. All students were required to take an English course. Students in the arts programme also had to take either Latin or Greek, a second foreign language, mathematics and physics. The science students were required to take descriptive geometry, free-hand drawing, lettering, mathematics, physics and a laboratory course.

September
24
1913

How much homework is too much? was the question under discussion at a commission appointed by the Calgary School Board to consider the issue. Teachers and principals from several Calgary schools claimed that the amount of material in the curriculum specified by the provincial Department of Education forced them to assign too much homework to the children. Some of the teachers were concerned that too many children asked assistance of their parents, who did not always have complete or accurate information about the subject assigned. Others believed that some children were spending too much time on their homework at the expense of normal childhood games or even sleep, and that this was evident by the children's performance the next day. John R. Boyle, the provincial Minister of Education, indicated that the Calgary Board of Education was within its power to eliminate homework, providing that the curriculum specified by the Department continued to be taught.

September
25
1925

Clergy in Calgary indicated that they would continue to use the traditional form of the marriage vows despite an attempt by an Episcopalian bishop to remove the word “obey”. Local church leaders insisted that the word simply meant “honour”, and should not be taken too literally.

September
21
1931

World financial markets were in turmoil as Britain temporarily suspended its use of the gold standard. The Canadian dollar tumbled to its lowest level in many years, trading at $93.65 against the American dollar. Financial analysts assured the public that the collapse was merely a temporary reaction to the situation in Britain and that there was no need for concern.

September
24
1935

Alberta Premier William Aberhart announced an issue of prosperity bonds to be sold to Albertans. The bonds were in small denominations ($25.00) and for long terms (10 years). Aberhart noted the bond issue was offered in response to queries from Alberta's "ordinary people," who frequently asked him how they could help their government. He anticipated that the sale of the bonds would allow the province to clear its $150 million debt within 10 years.

September
22
1947

Dr. R.C. Riley, Chairman of the Transfusion Service for the Alberta Red Cross, donated the first pint of blood at Calgary's new blood donor clinic, opened September 22, 1947. The new Red Cross clinic was located in Beaulieu, the renovated former home of Sir James and Lady Lougheed, and its modern facilities impressed medical staff and donors alike.

September
23
1952

The provincial Department of Public Welfare was under attack for its “export trade of helpless babies”. It had been revealed that some of the children placed for adoption each year had been sent to homes in the United States. The minister of the department defended the practice, insisting that the children had been sent to better homes than could be provided in Canada, and that the department had always acted with the best interests of the children in mind. A provincial royal commission had condemned the practice, and most Albertans agreed that children, who themselves had no say in the matter, should not be transported from the land of their homeland and, for all practical purposes, deprived of their Canadian birthright.

September
19
1960

The location of the Province of Alberta's university had been a controversial issue since 1906, when, over Calgary's protests, Edmonton became the provincial capital and the site of the university. The University of Alberta did offer courses in Calgary through Mount Royal College and ater at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. By the early 1950s it was apparent that the province required two universities. In 1958, the government yielded to public pressure and agreed to build a southern campus of the University of Alberta. The first two buildings of the University of Alberta at Calgary, housing Arts and Education, and Science and Engineering, opened on September 19, 1960. The University of Calgary became fully autonomous in 1966.

September
23
1952

A reformed prisoner, who had spent time in Calgary’s police cells, sent two beautifully-bound Bibles to the police department, asking that one Bible be placed in the men’s detention area and the other in the women’s. The anonymous donor explained that he had found time hanging heavy on his hands during his incarceration and that he hoped other prisoners would read the Bibles and permit the Lord to do his good work with them as He had with him.

September
22
1976

Moving Glenbow's CollectionAlberta Premier Peter Lougheed opened the new Glenbow Centre, housing Calgary's Glenbow Museum, Art Gallery, Library, and Archives, on September 22, 1976. The various parts of the institution were scattered throughout several buildings, and the $9 million facility brought them together for the first time in several years. An exhibition of western Canadian contemporary art, Western Untitled, and Through Canadian Eyes : Trends and Influence in Canadian Art were the inaugural art exhibitions. There were also new displays of First Nations cultures, pioneer artifacts, and military history.

September
20
1987

Pope John Paul II visited the tiny community of Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories (1,400 km northwest of Edmonton), fulfilling a promise he had made in 1984 when a planned stop was cancelled because of fog. More than 5,000 people gathered on the banks of the Mackenzie River to greet the Pope and to share in his prayers for a swift and fair resolution to ongoing land claim disputes. The mass was celebrated in a number of languages, including Cree, Slavey and Dene, and traditional songs and chants accompanied the Catholic rituals. The experience was especially meaningful for the approximately 100 young people who received their first communion from the hands of the man the Dene called “Yahtita”, Priest of Priests.

September
22
1988

In a speech in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney formally apologised to the Japanese-Canadian community for the injustices that they suffered during the Second World War. Although the Prime Minister acknowledged that Canadians could not change history, he also suggested that the country must confront its past to face the challenges of tomorrow. In recognition of the sacrifices made, a compensation package was announced that provided each of the 12,000 survivors of wartime internment with a tax-free payment of $21,000 and awarded $12 million to Japanese-Canadian community groups for educational, social and cultural activities.



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