Today in History – May 18th
WINNIPEG, MB. – Today in history, Happy Birthday Montreal, 375 years old and still going strong. Winnipeg band The Guess Who stays in the number one spot on Billboard for the third week in a row. A Canadian pilot becomes the first women to break the sound barrier and US President Roosevelt proposes a plan to assimilate French Canadian’s.
1642 – Paul de Maisonneuve lands on the site of Montreal and starts building a fort on the site of Place-Royale after Jesuit Father Barthélemy Vimont, says a thanksgiving mass; he and Jeanne Mance, Madame de la Peltrie and other colonists backed by La Société Notre-Dame begin to develop a settlement they call Ville Marie de Montréal. Said Father Vimont: “That which you see is only a grain of mustard seed. But it is cast by hands so pious and so animated by faith and religion that it must be that God has great designs for it. He makes use of such instruments for His work. I doubt not that this little grain may produce a great tree, that it will make wonderful progress some day, that it will multiply itself and stretch out on every side.” The same evening Maisonneuve, guided by two old Indians, ascends the mountain, and from its top surveys the surrounding countryside; will serve as governor until 1665.
1838 – Commercial depression in Upper Canada leads to emigration. The Toronto Mirror writes: “The people are, in truth, now flying from this Province as if it were a land of pestilence and famine. The Transit [a steamship], which left here on Wednesday last for Lewiston, contained upwards of two hundred persons. Many of them were our most wealthy and enterprising farmers. We learn further, that the applications at the Mississippi Emigration Society in this city, are so numerous as to be almost beyond belief. We trust Sir George Arthur will disentangle himself from the baneful oligarchy that surrounds him. Almost all our merchants are suffering, owing to the impolitic conduct of the late Executive regarding the Banks; our substantial farmers are leaving for what they call more liberal institutions, where they will have a voice in the selection of the men that will govern them; In short, if something be not done soon by Sir George, we are likely to become nothing but a Province of paupers.”
1902 – Last recorded passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) seen in Canada; once abundant, migrating in flocks that sometimes darkened the sky for hours; laid only one egg per clutch; the last survivor died September 1, 1914, in a zoo in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1942 – World War II – US President Franklin D. Roosevelt writes a private letter to Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, in which he proposes that the USA and Canada agree on an unwritten plan to disperse French Canadians in order to assimilate them.
1953 – Jacqueline Cochran pilots a Montreal built North American F-86 Canadair over California at an average speed of 1049.83 km/h (652.337 mph), becoming the first woman to break the sound barrier.
1970 – Winnipeg’s The Guess Who’s hit American Woman/No Sugar Tonight stays at #1 on the Billboard Top 100 for the third week in a row
1995 – Paul Bernardo put on trial, accused of the torture and murder of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristin French.
2016 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally apologizes before the Commons for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident, when a chartered ship carrying Punjabis wishing to immigrate was denied entry at the Port of Vancouver.
Kevin Klein, MyToba News