This Week in Western Canadian History
August 22 - August 28
August
24
1870

As Colonel Garnet Wolseley, commander of the military expedition to the Red River, approached Fort Garry, Louis Riel fled to the United States, ending the Red River Rebellion.

August
26
1872

In possibly the most famous telegram in Canadian history, on August 26, 1872, Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald wired railway lawyer J.J.C. Abbott "I must have another ten thousand." The telegram provided the Opposition with proof that Macdonald had accepted money in return for his support in Parliament of a group bidding for the contact for the construction of a national railway. The resulting Pacific Scandal eventually brought down the government.

August
28
1872

James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok starred in the Grand Buffalo Hunt at Niagara Falls, Ontario. Although there were only three buffalo to be "hunted", the Native American and Mexican cowboys presented a thrilling display of roping and riding in Canada's first Wild West show.

August
26
1876

Treaty #6 Following its assumption of sovereignty over the North-West Territories, the Government of Canada began negotiating treaties with the native peoples of the region. The Government was anxious to avoid the situation in the United States, where the American government was spending over $20 million a year fighting the Plains Indians, and the native peoples of the North- West recognised that they needed to protect their own interests in a rapidly-changing world. On August 26, 1876, the Cree, Saulteaux and Chipewyan of present-day central Alberta and Saskatchewan signed Treaty #6. Like most of the numbered treaties, Treaty #6 provided for the building of schools on newly established Indian reserves, and for the supply of farm implements, seeds, farm animals and instruction in agricultural techniques. Treaty #6 also included a provision that the people would be provided with medicine when needed, and that the Crown would assist in case of "any pestilence" or "general famine".

August
23
1882

By 1882, it had become evident that the capital of the North-West Territories, which had been located at Battleford, Saskatchewan, had to be moved to a more central location on the railway line. Lieutenant Governor Edgar Dewdney selected a site known as Wascana, Cree for Pile of Bones, for the huge piles of whitened buffalo bones left on the prairies from years of buffalo hunts. It was recognised, however, that the new capital city would require a more appropriate name than Pile o' Bones Creek, and Canada's Governor General, the Marquis of Lorne, was asked to suggest one. On the morning of August 23, 1882, the new capital of the North-West Territories was christened Regina, meaning Queen, and glasses were raised to toast "the success of Regina, Queen City of the plains".

August
22
1884

Exhibit at a Calgary fair As the bumper crops of 1884 ripened, enthusiasm for the agricultural potential of the lands surrounding the new settlement of Calgary spread. On August 22, 1884, the Calgary and District Agricultural Society was formed. Its immediate goal was to organise an agricultural exhibition to show the best of the district's crops that would then travel by rail back to Ontario as testimony to the promise of the district. It was quickly recognised, however, that there was not time to organise such an ambitious display in the fall of 1884. The Rebellion of 1885 disrupted plans for an exhibition that year but it was held successfully in 1886. This began the long tradition of the annual Calgary Exhibition which, in time, turned into the famous Calgary Exhibition and Stampede.

August
26
1909

Anticipating the possibilities of air travel, Calgary lawyer C.T. Jones applied to Howard Douglas, Commission of Banff National Park, for permission to build a station for airships at the top of Cascade Mountain in Banff. In his application the promoter noted that the station would attract tourists since it would provide an access to the beauties of the national park not presently available.

August
25
1917

In 1913, two Inuit, Sinnisiak and Uluksuk, were hired by two Oblate missionaries to act as guides and to take the priests on their journey in the Coppermine district of the Northwest Territories. During a dispute, one of the priests struck Sinnisiak; the two Inuit then killed the priests and stole some of their possessions. The Mounted Police tracked down the men in 1916, and arrested them. In August of 1917, in the first trial of Inuit in a Canadian court, the pair were tried for the murder of one of the priests and acquitted. On August 25, 1917, a Calgary court found them guilty of the murder of the other priest. They were sentenced to death but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. After two years, they were released.

August
25
1919

Stampede Poster To celebrate the victory of the Allies in the First World War, E.L. Richardson approached Calgary's Big Four (Pat Burns, A.E. Cross, George Lane and A.J. McLean, who had financed the first Stampede of 1912) to sponsor the great Calgary Victory Stampede, to be held August 25 to August 30, 1919 at Calgary's Exhibition Grounds. The group persuaded Guy Weadick to return to Calgary to organise another rodeo. The Stampede guaranteed $25,000 in purses for the rodeo events of bucking horse riding, steer roping and bulldogging, and also featured chariot races and trick roping. All profits were to be split among the Great War Veterans Association, the Salvation Army, and the Young Men's Christian Association. Unfortunately, attendance was disappointing and, although all expenses were covered, there were no profits to split. The proposal for an annual Calgary Stampede had to be deferred once again.

August
26
1929

The Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill, British statesman and former Chancellor of the Exchequer, spoke of the strength of the British Empire and the important contributions of Canada to it at a luncheon at Calgary's Palliser Hotel. He noted that, unlike other confederacies, within the British Empire all countries were equal, and that every one participated in the continuing health of the whole.

August
22
1935

Social Credit Scrip, 1936In a stunning victory, the Social Credit Party under William Aberhart won Alberta's provincial election on August 22, 1935. The misery caused by the Great Depression, scandals within John Brownlee's United Farmers' government and Aberhart's own charismatic personality caused many people to turn to the new party. The Social Credit government remained in power until 1971.

August
28
1942

A Turner Valley man found that it literally didn't pay to be a Good Samaritan in wartime. A young Calgary woman appealed to him for help when her car ran out of gas in the small town south of Calgary. He siphoned two gallons of gasoline from his own vehicle and she gave him two dollars for his trouble. He was charged and convicted of selling gasoline illegally while she was convicted of obtaining gasoline without the proper ration coupons. Both were fined.

August
22
1949

Scientists in Philadelphia announced the development of a giant "artificial brain" that could perform 500,000 additions and 200,000 multiplications in two hours, something that would have taken a mathematician years to do using a standard adding machine. The inventors of the automatic computer, as they called it, acknowledged that their machine was not yet capable of independent thought, but they were confident that a fully independent thinking machine would be developed in the immediate future.

August
26
1957

Joseph Burr Tyrrell, geologist and explorer, died on August 27, 1957. During his career with the Geological Survey of Canada, Tyrrell explored much of western and northern Canada, collecting and consolidating information on the natural history and mineral resources of many remote regions. In 1884 he discovered the rich dinosaur beds of the badlands of southern Alberta. The Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, near Drumheller, Alberta, is named for him.

August
26
1962

Prior to 1962, Canadian hockey was represented by club teams at amateur events such as the winter Olympic Games. It became increasingly difficult to find amateur teams who were willing to compete against the well-trained and well-funded national teams from other countries. On August 26, 1962, the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association approved Father David Bauer's proposal for a Canadian Olympic Hockey team. In 1965 this became the permanent national team for Canada.



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