This Week in Western Canadian History
April 25 - May 1
April
25
1890

Chief Crowfoot Blackfoot Chief Crowfoot (Isapo-Muxika literally Crow Indian's big foot) was born in southern Alberta in approximately 1830. As a young man, he participated in the raiding parties that were the tradition of his people. Although not born a chief, he soon demonstrated his leadership abilities. In 1874, as his people were suffering from the effects of the liquor and guns supplied by American traders, Crowfoot welcomed news of the formation of the North-West Mounted Police. When the police arrived in the west, he became a friend to James Farquharson Macleod, assistant Riel Rebellion Telegram commissioner. Due largely to Crowfoot's efforts, friendly relations were established and maintained between the police and the Blackfoot tribes. In 1877, Crowfoot signed Treaty 7 on behalf of his people. Unfortunately, the next few years were difficult for the Blackfoot, as the buffalo disappeared and many of his people were starving. Despite this, Crowfoot refused to join Louis Riel in his rebellion, and later was honoured by Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald and Governor General Lord Lansdowne for his loyalty to Queen Victoria. Crowfoot died on his reserve near Gleichen, Alberta, on April 25, 1890.

April
29
1903

Frank SlideEarly in the morning of April 29, 1903, residents of the town of Frank, in the Crowsnest Pass in Alberta, were awakened from their sleep when millions of tons of rock from the face of Turtle Mountain crashed down the slopes, burying people in their homes and trapping miners. More than 70 people died in the slide, but 17 miners and 23 town residents survived. Surveys and studies later showed the mountain was naturally unstable and critically weakened by natural forces, such as erosion and earthquakes. It was also weakened by the workings of the coal mines which were the major employer in the region. Despite the tragedy, and the inquiry's findings, the mine was quickly reopened and remained in operation for a further 10 years.

April
25
1906

To the surprise of many residents of southern Alberta, when the Province of Alberta was created in 1905, the city of Edmonton was named as the temporary provincial capital. For several months afterwards, Calgarians lobbied legislators to designate Calgary as the permanent capital. The citizens of Red Deer, located half-way between the rival cities of Edmonton and Calgary, suggested that their community would be the perfect compromise. On April 25, 1906, the hopes of residents in Calgary and Red Deer were dashed when Edmonton was confirmed as Alberta's provincial capital.

April
28
1911

Curtiss AeroplaneThousands of people gathered at the exhibition grounds in Edmonton to watch Hugh Robinson make the first aeroplane flight in Alberta. The Curtiss biplane executed turns and circles several hundred feet in the air.

April
25
1914

Irrigation FarmingIn partial payment for its construction, the Canadian Pacific Railway was given 25 million acres of prairie land along the railway's right of way, which it then sold to settlers. But the arid lands of southern Alberta required extensive irrigation in order to make them profitable. On April 25, 1914, C.P.R. President Sir Thomas Shaughnessy formally opened the gates of the Bassano Dam, which Scientific American called "America's Greatest Dam Construction on the Bow RiverIrrigation Project." The earthen embankment which at its base is 350 feet wide and extends over 7,000 feet beyond the spillway entailed moving over 10 million cubic feet of earth. A flow of 100,000 cubic feet of water could be accommodated through the sluice gates. The dam and its associated works provide the water for the Eastern Irrigation District, an area of almost 1.5 million acres.

May
1
1917

On Gopher Day, school children from almost a thousand schools across Saskatchewan competed to destroy the greatest number of gophers, agricultural pests responsible for consuming or contaminating thousands of tons of grain. The children killed over half a million gophers, saving an estimated $385,000 in grain.

April
27
1928

The captain of a local militia unit spoke to the members of the Alberta Military Institute about the volatile conditions in the Balkans. The officer had just returned from a tour of Albania where he spoke to several of the country's leaders about the social, political, and military problems that existed in that part of the world. In his opinion, the War had not settled anything and continued conflict was inevitable.

April
27
1942

In a nation-wide plebiscite, Canadians voted to free the government from its promise not to impose conscription. In eight out of the nine provinces and the territories, an overwhelming majority of voters approved a proposal to rescind Prime Minister Mackenzie King's pre-election commitment against conscription. In Calgary, only the poll at the military hospital voted against the proposal with two "yes," and four "no" votes.

April
28
1947

A boycott of chocolate bars, which began on Vancouver Island the previous week, spread to Calgary and other communities in Alberta as young people protested the rise in price from six to eight cents. Children and teenagers picketed in front of local convenience stores demanding the return of the nickel candy bar. Students' unions in high schools and teen organizations were attempting to organise a city-wide boycott. City stores confirmed a significant reduction in sales of chocolate, and some stores were prepared to sell the bars for the lower price and accept the loss.

April
25
1950

The provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island signed an agreement with the federal government for the construction of the Trans-Canada Highway. When completed, it would be the longest national highway in the world. Construction began in the summer of 1950, and was supposed to be completed by December of 1956. In fact, construction proved much more difficult, and expensive than anticipated. The highway was not completed until 1970 at more than three times the original estimate.

May
1
1953

By the early 1950s, more and more women were entering non-traditional jobs in industry and manufacturing. According to Workers' Compensation officials, foot injuries were a common job- related accident because women disliked the heavy and unfashionable safety shoes, and insisted upon wearing heels and open-toed shoes on the factory floors. In response, designers tried to combine style and safety by introducing such things as steel-toed saddle shoes.

April
30
1974

Ralph Steinhauer, a Cree from Saddle Lake, Alberta, became the first Native Canadian Lieutenant Governor of a Canadian province when he was named Alberta's Lieutenant Governor on April 30, 1974. He held the position until 1979.



Back to Calendar

www.glenbow.org

Copyright © Glenbow Museum