This Week in Western Canadian History
April 18 - April 24
April
24
1779

For over a century, the Hudson's Bay Company enjoyed a virtual monopoly over the fur trade of the Canadian Northwest. In 1776, a group of independent Scottish traders in Montreal pooled their resources and reduced competition between themselves. On April 24, 1779, the North West Company was formally established.

April
22
1870

As the disaffection of the Red River colonists continued, a motion to annex the colony to the United States was introduced in the United States Congress. It was suggested that the Americans send commissioners to the territory to negotiate terms with the settlers directly. The motion was defeated.

April
19
1884

For many years, the tribes of the Northwest Coast practised the ceremony of the potlatch to mourn the dead or to celebrate the initiation of a new chief. During the ceremony, goods such as blankets, food, and canoes were given away or destroyed in order to demonstrate the status and power of the clan. Missionaries and federal officials had long opposed the practice, claiming that the ceremonies took up too much time and interfered with more industrious activities. On April 19, 1884, the Indian Act was amended to outlaw the potlatch. Although the ceremonies were still held in secret, the participants faced arrest and confiscation of their property if they were caught. The ban on the potlatch was repealed in 1951, and potlatches are again held today.

April
23
1906

In response to the growing number of cars on the province's roads and the recklessness of many drivers, J.R. Boyle, member of the Provincial Legislature for Sturgeon, introduced a motion to "regulate the speed and operation of motor vehicles on highways." The speed limit was established at 20 miles per hour in the country and 10 in the city. If a horse was on the road and appeared startled, the vehicle had to come to an immediate and complete stop until the horse moved on. Despite complaints that the regulations were only a means for the province to raise revenue, all vehicles had to be registered and the owner had to take out a permit.

April
23
1928

City of Calgary officials met with representatives from Canadian General Electric to discuss the advisability of installing electric "stop and go" traffic signs in Calgary. The Company's representative noted that the system worked very well in Toronto, successfully taking the place of traffic policemen and freeing them to investigate more serious matters. City officials were concerned that the electric traffic lights were just a fad, and that city drivers and pedestrians wouldn't want to be regulated by a mechanical device.

April
24
1928

Women across Canada woke up on the morning of April 24, 1928, to discover that Canada's Supreme Court had ruled unanimously that they were not persons. Emily Murphy, a magistrate in Edmonton, had faced challenges to her rulings because some claimed that, as a woman, she held her position illegally. Calgary Magistrate Alice Jamieson faced similar challenges. Alberta's "Famous Five" (Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby) initiated the case in law by asking the Supreme Court to rule on whether or not a woman, as a "qualified person," could be appointed to the Canadian Senate. Disappointed, although not surprised by the ruling, the women continued the appeal through the British Privy Council until in October, 1929, women became persons under the law. [see This Week in Western Canadian History, October 18, 1929].

April
22
1935

In a speech he made in Calgary, Baron Baden-Powell, the world's Chief Scout, praised the progress that scouting had made in Alberta and called for new leaders to assist Canada's youth in becoming a great force for peace. He then visited the Sarcee Reserve. On his previous visit to the Reserve, Baden-Powell was made an honorary chief with the title of Chief Spotted Eagle.

April
19
1941

Seven cannon that were on display in city parks were contributed to Calgary's Red Cross salvage effort. Five of the cannon were captured from German forces during the First World War and brought home as war trophies. The other two were of black powder and cannonball vintage and were first brought to the city by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1911. The Red Cross also appealed to veterans, asking them to donate any shell cases or old steel helmets that they might have brought home as souvenirs. "They can do some good in this war too," said one old soldier who had already contributed his personal collection.

April
18
1951

City barbers demanded that the cost of a child's haircut on Saturdays be raised to the same price as that of an adult's. All haircuts would cost 85 cents, which was an increase of 35 cents for a child's haircut. The barbers pointed out that cutting a child's hair took as much time and skill as cutting an adult's and that they were losing money on Saturday, their busiest day. Many parents complained that since their children were in school during the week, Saturday was the only day that children could visit the barber so they couldn't take advantage of the cheaper rate on Saturdays.



Back to Calendar

www.glenbow.org

Copyright © Glenbow Museum