Canada Act 1791
December 26, 2011 by staff
Today’s highlight in history:
In 1791, British legislation creating Upper and Lower Canada (now Ontario and Quebec) came into effect. Known as “The Canada Act,” it established elected assemblies in the new provinces. Executive and financial power remained with the governor and an executive council appointed by the Crown.
Also on this date:
In 1776, the British suffered a major defeat in the “Battle of Trenton” during the Revolutionary War.
In 1791, John Reeves was appointed the first chief justice of Newfoundland.
In 1823, a chamber of commerce was established at St. John’s, Nfld.
In 1830, William Caven, Scottish-born Canadian Presbyterian leader, was born. He taught at Knox College, in Toronto for the last 39 years of his life. Though staunchly conservative, Caven was genuinely interested in social issues and thoroughly committed to missions. The Caven Library at the University of Toronto is named after him.
In 1852, the sailing ship “Marco Polo,” built in Saint John, N.B., was declared the fastest ship in the world. The ship had gone from Liverpool, England, to Melbourne, Australia, and back in 140 days. The trip usually took about 240 days. The “Marco Polo” was caught in a gale and grounded off Cavendish, P.E.I., in 1883.
In 1865, a patent for a coffee percolator was granted to James Nelson.
In 1893, Mao Tse-tung, the Chinese soldier and statesman who led his country’s communist revolution and leader of the Chinese Communist party, was born in Hunan province. He died in 1976.
In 1898, French physicists Pierre and Marie Curie announced the discovery of radium. It took them four more years to isolate the element in its pure form.
In 1908, American Jack Johnson became the first black to win the world heavyweight boxing championship. He defeated Canadian Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia when police stopped the fight in the 14th round.
In 1917, the mercury dropped to a record -57.2 degrees in the Northwest Territories.
In 1932, a massive earthquake in Gansu, China, killed 70,000 people.
In 1941, Winston Churchill became the first British prime minister to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.
In 1947, heavy snow blanketed the Northeast, burying New York City under 60 cm of snow in 16 hours; the severe weather was blamed for some 80 deaths.
In 1959, a 16-member Soviet expedition reached the South Pole in three tractor sleds after a three-month trip from Russia.
In 1972, Harry S. Truman, the 33rd U.S. president, died in Kansas City, Mo. He was 88.
In 1976, 21 people died in a nursing home fire in St. John’s, Nfld.
In 1982, “Time” magazine announced its 1982 Man of the Year was a computer.
In 1985, American naturalist Dian Fossey, who had studied gorillas in the wild, was found hacked to death at a research station in Rwanda. She was 53.
In 1989, Maryon Pearson, widow of former prime minister Lester B. Pearson, died at age 88.
In 1989, Romanian television broadcast a videotape showing ousted president Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife at their secret trial, as well as footage of their bodies following their execution. On the same day, Ion Iliescu was named chairman of Romania’s caretaker government.
In 1990, Nancy Curzon, whose case led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on the right to die, died peacefully 12 days after feeding tubes were removed.
In 1996, six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, Colo. The slaying remains unsolved.
In 1999, Wally Distelmeyer, the Canadian figure skater who won bronze in the pairs at the 1948 Olympics and also invented the version of death spiral seen in skating today, died at age 74.
In 2003, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake levelled the ancient city of Bam in southeastern Iran, killing 28,000 people.
In 2004, Tsunamis triggered by an earthquake in the Indian Ocean killed an estimated 228,000 people in 11 countries. Indonesia was hit hardest — because it was closest to the epicentre of the underwater earthquake.
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