Timeline of Canadian History [1918 - 1939]

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  • Introduction of Prohibition

    Introduction of Prohibition
    In March 1918, the Canadian government enforced a prohibition policy across the country. Pressure from groups such as the Women's Christian Temperance Union and influence from the actions of provincial governments pushed the federal government to introduce the policy. However, secret production of liquor and smuggling became increasingly common. Prohibition was eventually dropped, Prince Edward Island being the last province to drop the policy in 1948.
  • Spanish Flu Epidemic

    Spanish Flu Epidemic
    The war stricken people of Canada had to face another threat at home in 1918: the Spanish Flu. First detected in Spain in May 1918, it is said that returning soldiers brought the flu to Canadian soil. Public places were closed down and even total quarrantine was enforced in some municipalities. The federal government established a Department of Health to cope with it. By the end of the epidemic, fifty thousand Canadians died from the Spanish Flu.
  • The Winnipeg General Strike

    The Winnipeg General Strike
    On May 1st, 1919, the Buildng and Metal Trades Councils in Winnipeg voted to go on strike. They demanded better wages (at least 85 cents a day), an eight-hour work day and better working conditions. Workers from all industries in Winnipeg soon walked off the job and showed their support. Tensions continued to grow, and on June 21st, also known as Bloody Saturday, violence erupted. One man was killed, thirty were injured, and hundreds were arrested. In the days that followed, the strke ended.
  • The Perfection of the Assembly Line

    The Perfection of the Assembly Line
    Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, dreamed of producing a car that would be affordable to everyone. To make this dream come true, he introduced an assembly line into his factories. The assembly line ran from one end of a factory to another. Each worker was in charge of one part of the car manufacturing as the car rolled along, greatly reducing costs. The assembly line changed the world in means of manufacturing and business.
  • Debut of the Group of Seven

    Debut of the Group of Seven
    The Group of Seven held their first public exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario in May 2010, much to the horror of critics. Influenced by the Impressionists, the Group of Seven was a group of seven Canadian artists (occasionally accompanied by friends from the artistic community) that set out to paint the wilderness of Canada in a new way. Their first exhibiition did not behold good reviews, arguably because critics were not used to their style of painting.
  • Foster Hewitt makes History

    Foster Hewitt makes History
    The famous sports broadcaster Foster Hewitt called his first hockey game on February 16th, 1923. He was positioned in a "soundproof box beside the rink" and broadcasted straight from there. The game took place between Kitchener and Toronto and was the first radio broadcast of a hockey game in history. Hewitt continued to broadcast for many years, with his trademark exclamation, "He shoots, he scores!"
  • Introduction of the Chinese Exclusion Act

    Introduction of the Chinese Exclusion Act
    On this day, Canada's federal government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. This act banned all Chinese people from entering Canada, with exceptions applying only for students, merchants and diplomats. A mere eight Chinese people were admitted into Canada from the introduction of the act to 1947, when the act was finally lifted. The Chinese dubbed the date of the introduction of the act "Humiliation Day."
  • The Persons Case and the Famous Five

    The Persons Case and the Famous Five
    Sadly, women were discriminated against in society until quite recently in history. This was called the Persons Case, in which sides argued over whether women were considered persons. Emily Murphy, the first female judge in the British Empire, and four other feminists petitioned to the federal government of Canada that women were considered "persons." The Supreme Court declared so, which was another big step in establishing women rights in Canada.
  • "Black Tuesday" changes Economic History

    "Black Tuesday" changes Economic History
    The Roaring Twenties was brought to a halt with crahs of the New York Stock Exchange, also known as "Black Tuesday," that would change the conditions for the next decade. On this day, sixteen million shares were traded in the stock market. The Dow Jones lost thirteen percent of its value and other stock prices began to plummet. Overall, this day fueled the momentum of the Great Depression forward, and the world braced itself for ten years of hardship to come.
  • King makes Famous "Five-Cent" Speech

    King makes Famous "Five-Cent" Speech
    On this day, Prime Minister Mackenzie King made the famous "Five-Cent Piece" speech, arguably his biggest mistake during his political career. He argued that social welfare among Canadian citizens was the responsibility of provincial government. He also declared that he would not give a "five-cent piece" to any province that did not have a Liberal government. This sparked an outrage and R.B. Bennett was elected into office during the next election.
  • Bennett ousts King for Prime MInister

    Bennett ousts King for Prime MInister
    Following the reaction to W.L.M. King's "five-cent piece" speech, R.B. Bennett and the Conservative party stormed into power on parliament hill. Bennett was cursed with entering office during the Great Depression, but his intentions to battle it were strong. His early efforts were strong, but gradually they fell apart and power was handed back to King and the Liberals. A noted philantrophist, Bennett was known for sending a bit of money to kids who wrote him letters kindly asking for it.
  • Passing of the Statute of Westminster

    Passing of the Statute of Westminster
    Amidst the growing autonomy of Canada, the Statute of Westminster was passed by the British Parliament. It outlined the Balfour Report law, which stated that Canada and other dominions of the British Empire would be self-governing. There were only two minor exceptions to this, but at the end of the day Canada was free from British rule and decisions.
  • Birth of the CBC

    Birth of the CBC
    With the passing of the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Act under by R.B. Bennett, the CRBC (Canadian radio Broadcasting Corporation) was born. It's main purpose was to reduce American dominance in airways over Canadian soil and to promote Canadian identity. In 1936 it was renamed the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and continued to expand to this day.
  • Bennett Proposes "New Deal"

    Bennett Proposes "New Deal"
    As a last-minute attempt to secure votes from a country angry at his stagnant actions to combat the Depression, R.B. Bennett proposed his "New Deal." The deal were intended to take action on conditions in the workforce, with intended reforms including setting minimum wages, limiting the hours of work and creating a positive work environment for employees. Many did not believe Bennett would takeaction and went on to elect Mackenzie King and the Liberals back into power.
  • On-to-Ottawa Trek Begins

    On-to-Ottawa Trek Begins
    Disastisfied with the Bennett's response to the Great Depression, hundreds of men from British Columbia hopped onto trains headed east to rally a demonstration at Ottawa face-to-face with parliament. Their intentions were never fulfilled, as they were halted in Regina by the RCMP, on orders from Bennett. A riot commenced, injuring several and killing an officer. No sympathy was shown to the determined men.
  • St. Louis Denied Entry to Canada

    St. Louis Denied Entry to Canada
    WIth Adolf HItler ruling over Germany, Jews across Europe feared for their lives, escaping to other nations that they believed would shelter them from harm. 937 of these Jews boarded the St. Louis and sailed to Canada, desperately seeking refuge. However, Prime Minister Mackenzie King denied them entry, reasoning that he believed they would not be good settlers. The Jews were forced to return to Europe and many of them eventually fell victim to Hitler's regime.