This Week in Western Canadian History
September 26 - October 2
September
29
1902

In a sure sign that the frontier days of the gold rush were over, banks in Dawson City, Yukon, announced that they would no longer accept gold dust as legal tender but would replace it with more prosaic gold and silver coins and paper banknotes. One of the concerns expressed about the dust was that the miners actually lost money on transactions as the gold dust clung to hands and clothing and was lost as it passed from hand to hand.

September
27
1911

Calgarians were warned to check their change carefully as local banks issued $4 bills that could be easily confused with the standard $1 denomination. There was a shortage of paper money in circulation and so the banks were forced to issue a run of the four-dollar bills, used only in such emergency situations. The engraving on the two denominations was identical, with only the numeral and lettering to show the difference between the two.
[I individual banks were permitted to issue their own paper currency until 1945, when it became illegal.]

October
2
1918

Spanish Flu PosterFifteen soldiers suffering from Spanish influenza were removed from a train and placed in Calgary's isolation hospital. These cases were the first identified in Calgary, and local officials took no chances. The men had been isolated in the baggage car Staff at Canadian Bank of Commerce of the train since becoming ill, and were removed by Calgary's medical health officer with the assistance of a military guard. Dr. Mahood emphasised that no one was in danger of contagion from the soldiers, but reminded the public that all precautions should be taken against the affliction.

September
29
1919

At a mass rally in Calgary, over a thousand recently-returned veterans voted to ask the City of Calgary to cancel a proposed reception in their honour and instead to use the money for relief projects for veterans over the coming winter. W.S. Woods, president of the Great War Veterans Association, estimated that more than 5,000 ex-soldiers had only temporary work with little prospect for permanent employment, and suggested that the funds be used to provide temporary assistance for those in need.

September
27
1929

Transit passengers were divided on a recently-passed municipal regulation which prohibited the transportation of baby buggies on Calgary's public transit. Most women opposed the new regulation, suggesting that as the city government was permitting the city to grow ever larger it was also the city's responsibility to provide access for all its residents. Since there were few automobiles and even fewer female drivers, almost all women were forced to depend on the public streetcar system for transportation. Most men favoured the ban on the buggies, complaining that they contributed significantly to the over-crowding on an already strained transit system.

September
30
1932

Thousands of transient harvesters in Alberta left the crops standing in the fields as they tried to get home before a ban on "riding the rails" came into effect. Prime Minister R.B. Bennett had cancelled a federal agreement which permitted the unemployed to ride empty freight cars for free on Canada's two national rail systems. Aware that the Mounted Police were prepared to use whatever force was necessary to enforce the ban, the harvesters deserted, saying that they did not want to spend all their earnings getting home or be stuck in the small prairie towns for the winter. Others attempted to defy the new law – in October, Alberta's jail population grew by more than a third as police arrested and imprisoned men who continued to try to hitch a ride.

September
26
1936

As the latest fashion fad swept the city, Calgary beauty salons were packed with both men and women trying to achieve the perfect head of wavy hair. One operator estimated that of the customers asking for permanent waves, fully one quarter were young men. And moreover, “they come in during the regular hours – they’re not bashful about it. No sir!”

October
1
1937

A motion to amend the Male Minimum Wage Act to provide a minimum wage of $20 per week and a wage scale of 45 cents per hour, was defeated in the Alberta Legislature. Members of the Social Credit government noted that the current law, which provided for a weekly minimum of $14 and an hourly rate of 33 1/3 cents, was comparable to the rates in neighbouring provinces. To raise wages any higher, they said, would place too great a penalty on Alberta's businesses and employers.

September
26
1938

As the Czechoslovakian crisis in Europe worsened and war seemed unavoidable, Calgary travel agents reported business and recreational travel to Europe was almost non-existent. Most of the confirmed bookings were from Britons anxious to get "back home" before travel was suspended. Many local farmers of Scandinavian origin who made annual visits home after the harvest were making only provisional bookings depending on the outcome of events in Europe.

October
1
1945

University of Alberta officials in Edmonton confirmed that its facilities were "filled to capacity and beyond" with returning veterans and that some high school graduates, who in other years might have been accepted, had been turned away. The registrar refused to call the situation an emergency, but did agree that the influx of veterans had put further pressure on an already over- loaded system and that extraordinary efforts were required to resolve the situation.

September
27
1954

A prominent Canadian scientist warned that it was most likely that Vancouver would be the second city in North America to feel the effects of an H-bomb attack in the event of a Third Great War. He anticipated that Seattle would be the first target, as it was the centre of the aircraft industry in the United States, and that the radioactive fallout from that blast would render Vancouver uninhabitable for at least two years.

September
28
1972

In September of 1972, the long-anticipated series between Russian and Canadian hockey players began. Although the two countries had often met at amateur tournaments, this was the first time that Canada's professional players from the National Hockey League had played against the powerful Russian amateur team. When the series began in Montreal, Quebec, the Canadian players and their fans were confident. That confidence was shattered when the Soviet team defeated Canada 7-3 in the first game. But the Canadians rallied, and the series was tied for final game in Moscow on September 28, 1972. The game was televised in Canada, and attracted the largest Canadian television audience on record. With the game tied, and 34 seconds remaining, Paul Henderson took "the shot heard round the world" (well, at least across Canada) and scored, giving Canada the victory in the game and the series.



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