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Important Moments in Canadian History

Compiled by Dr. Robert J. Belton

1946 to 1967

1948 Louis St. Laurent succeeds Mackenzie King as prime minister (November 15).

1949 Joey Smallwood brings Newfoundland into Confederation (March 31). Canada joins NATO. Canada’s Supreme Court replaces Britain’s judicial committee as the final court of appeal.

1950 Volunteers in the Canadian Army Special Force join the United Nations forces in the Korean War.

1951 Census shows Canada’s population as just over fourteen million. The Massey Royal Commission reports that Canadian cultural life is dominated by American influences. Recommendations include improving grants to universities and the eventual establishment of the Canada Council (1957).

1952 Vincent Massey becomes the first Native born governor general. Canada’s first television stations begin part time broadcasts in Montréal and Toronto (September).

1953 The National Library is established in Ottawa (January 1). The Stratford Festival opens (July 13). The Korean War ends (July 27).

1954 The post war boom is briefly interrupted by an economic slump. The first Canadian subway opens in Toronto (March 30). Viewers of the British Empire games in Vancouver see two runners break the four-minute mile in the same race. Marilyn Bell is the first person to swim across Lake Ontario (September 9). Hurricane Hazel kills eighty-three people in Ontario (October 15).

1955 The Canadian Labour Congress is formed. Riots in Montréal are caused by the suspension of hockey star Rocket Richard (March 17).

1956 The Liberals use closure to limit the Pipeline Debate, which begins with concern over the funding of the natural gas industry and ends in controversy over proper parliamentary procedure (May 8–June 6). The action contributes directly to their electoral defeat (after twenty-two years in power) the following year.

1957 John Diefenbaker and the Conservatives win a minority government (June 10). Ellen Fairclough becomes the first female federal cabinet minister. The Canada Council is formed to foster Canadian cultural uniqueness. Lester B. Pearson wins the Nobel Peace Prize for helping resolve the Suez Crisis (October 12).

1958 Diefenbaker’s minority becomes the largest majority ever obtained in a federal election (March 31). A coal mine disaster at Springhill, Nova Scotia kills seventy-four miners.

1959 Diefenbaker cancels the Avro Arrow project (CF 105 aircraft) to public outcry. Almost 14,000 jobs are lost (February 20). The St. Lawrence Seaway opens (June 26).

1960 Liberals under Jean Lesage win the provincial election in Québec (June 22), inaugurating the Quiet Revolution, which pressed for special status for Québec within Confederation. A Canadian Bill of Rights is approved. Native people win the right to vote in federal elections.

1961 The New Democratic Party replaces the CCF.

1962 The Conservatives are returned to minority status in a federal election (June 18). Socialized medicine is introduced in Saskatchewan (July 1), leading to a doctors’ strike. The Trans Canada Highway opens (September 3). Canada becomes the third nation in space with the launch of the satellite Alouette I (September 29). Canada’s last executions take place in Toronto (December 11).

1963 The Liberals under Lester B. Pearson win a minority government (April 8). The separatist Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) sets off bombs in Montréal (April–May). A TCA flight crashes in Québec, killing 118 (November 29).

1964 Canadians get social insurance cards (April) Northern Dancer is the first Canadian horse to win the Kentucky Derby.

1965 Canada and the United States sign the Auto Pact (January). The new flag is inaugurated (February 15). Roman Catholic churches begin to celebrate masses in English (March 7). The Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario inadvertently causes a major power blackout in North America (November 9).

1966 The Munsinger affair (in which the associate minister of national defence, Pierre Sévigny, had a liaison with a German divorcée suspected by the RCMP of being a prostitute and a security risk) becomes Canada’s first political sex scandal (March 4). The Canada Pension Plan is established. The CBC introduces some colour broadcasts (October 1).

1967 The air force, army, and navy are unified as the Canadian Armed Forces (April 25). World attention turns to Expo 67 in Montréal (April 27). Centennial celebrations officially begin (July 1). French President Charles de Gaulle says “Vive le Québec libre” in Montréal (July 24).

 

Last reviewed shim10/29/2015 4:22:09 PM