Today in History: July 10th

1971: Death of Samuel Bronfman, prominent Canadian businessman.

Tough Love at the Table – Pipe Cleaner

1958: Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and President Dwight Eisenhower sign an agreement to have Canada and the United States set up a Joint Committee to guide North American defences in the event of enemy attack.

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1887: A dam breaks in Switzerland, killing 70 people in their homes. The water pressure on the dam slowly eroded the concrete. Rescue boats launched to assist people caught up in the sudden flood were ineffective, as some of those on the boats drowned when they capsized in the roiling waters. For more on Crisis Management: Buy ‘An Ounce of Prevention’.

Today in History: June 29th

1995: A department store in Seoul, South Korea, collapses, killing more than 500 people. The tragedy occurs due to a series of errors made by the designers and contractors who built the store and the criminal negligence of the store’s owner. Rescue efforts continue for weeks and one survivor is pulled out 16 days after the collapse.

1995: The American space shuttle Atlantis docks with the Russian space station Mir to form the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth. This was an historic moment of cooperation between former rival space programs. Daniel Goldin, chief of NASA, called it the beginning of “a new era of friendship and cooperation” between the U.S. and Russia.

1974: With Argentine President Juan Peron on his deathbed, Isabela Martinez de Peron, his wife and vice president, is sworn in as the leader of the South American country. President Isabela Peron, a former dancer and Peron’s third wife, was the Western Hemisphere’s first female head of government.

Today in History: June 8th

1995: Mike Harris wins a majority for the Progressive Conservatives in the Ontario election, defeating Bob Rae of the NDP, in power since 1990. The Conservatives win 82 of the 130 seats.

1992: World Oceans Day is proposed by Canada at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, and though celebrated unofficially, ever since, it was formally adopted by the UN as an international day of recognition 16 years later in 2008.

1966: The city of Topeka, Kansas, is devastated by a tornado that registers as an “F5” – which is the most devastating type of tornado, with wind speed between 419 and 512 km/h. This was the first tornado to exceed $100 million in damages. Sixteen people are killed, hundreds more injured, and thousands of homes damaged or destroyed.

Today in History: May 10th

1940: Winston Churchill is called to replace Neville Chamberlain as British Prime Minister following the latter’s resignation after losing a confidence vote in the House of Commons. Churchill forms an all-party coalition and quickly wins the popular support of Britons. In his first speech Churchill declares that “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.”

1920: The Canadian government sends its own ambassador to Washington, instead of being represented by the ambassador from Great Britain.

1877: President Rutherford Hayes has the first telephone installed in White House. He embraces the new technology, though he rarely receives phone calls as phone service is in its infancy in 1877. It will be another 50 years until President Hoover has the first telephone line installed on the President’s desk in the Oval Office.

Today in History: May 9th

1992: An underground methane gas explosion at the Westray coal mine in Nova Scotia kills all 26 miners who are underground. It’s the worst mining disaster in Canada since the cave-in of the Springhill coal mine in 1958, which claimed the lives of 75 miners.

1974: The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee opens impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon, and votes to impeach him on three counts on July 30. The impeachment is the result of the scandal involving the bungled burglary of the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate apartment complex in 1972.

1955: West Germany formally joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a mutual defense group aimed at containing Soviet expansion in Europe. This action marks the final step of West Germany’s integration into the Western European defense system.

Today in History: May 6th

1954: The U.S. House of Representatives approves a plan to work with Canada to build the St. Lawrence Seaway. Proposals for the two nations to develop the seaway began in the 1890s. With no agreement for decades, Canada looked at building the seaway alone, and then the U.S. finally agreed. The Seaway was opened in 1959.

1937: The hydrogen-filled German dirigible Hindenburg burns and crashes in New Jersey, killing 36 of the 97 people on board. Herb Morrison provides a live radio account of the disaster. For the first time, a recording of a breaking news event is broadcast.  His phrase “Oh, the humanity” is often heard to this day.

1933: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs an executive order creating the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The WPA was just one of many relief programs created during the Depression that  put unemployed Americans to work in return for temporary financial assistance. Out of the 10 million jobless men in in 1935, three million were helped by WPA jobs alone.

Today in History: April 27th

2011: A total of 208 tornadoes touch down in the U.S., making it one of the worst days in U.S. tornado history.  During the period of April 25 to April 28, 2011, a total of 358 tornadoes are confirmed in 21 states from Texas to New York, and even into Canada. In all, 346 people are killed.

1967: Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson officially opens Expo ’67 in Montreal. It’s the first time that Canada is hosting a World’s Fair.

1865: An explosion on a Mississippi River steamboat near Memphis kills 1,547 people. Most of them are Union soldiers returning home after the Civil War.  The steamboat was built to hold 376 passengers, but there were as many as 2,700 people on board. One of the three boilers suddenly exploded.

Today in History: April 26th

1986:  The world’s worst nuclear accident to date occurs at the Chernobyl nuclear plant near Kiev in Ukraine. Thousands of people died and as many as 70,000 suffered severe poisoning. Up to 4,000 clean-up workers died from radiation poisoning. Birth defects among people living in the area have increased dramatically. Thyroid cancer has increased tenfold in Ukraine since the accident.

1982: Grant Devine leads to Progressive Conservatives to power in Saskatchewan, defeating Allan Blakeney and the NDP. The Conservatives take 55 of the 64 seats. The NDP vote falls to its lowest level since 1938.

1954: The Geneva Conference opens in Switzerland, to try to find a way to unify Korea and restore peace in Indochina. The Soviet Union, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and the People’s Republic of China take part.

Today in History: April 15th

2009: The second of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus spreads panic quickly as the world’s nations fear a similar spread of the virus as in the similar 1918 pandemic.

1989: A crush of spectators at Hillsborough Stadium in the FA Cup Semi Final results in the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans.

1912: The Titanic, billed as unsinkable, sinks into the icy waters of the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage, killing 1,517 people.  A relatively mild winter had produced a bumper crop of icebergs in the North Atlantic, but the crew, believing their ship was unsinkable, paid scant attention to warnings.

Today in History: April 6th

1987:  U.S. President Ronald Reagan addresses the Canadian House of Commons in Ottawa. He says he and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney have agreed to discuss a bilateral accord on acid rain.

1968: Pierre Elliot Trudeau is chosen as Liberal Party leader on fourth ballot, replacing Lester Pearson. He gets 1203 votes, while Robert Winters got 954 and John Turner received  194. Trudeau become Prime Minister when Lester Pearson officially steps down on April 22. He serves until June 16, 1984.

1950: A train drops off a bridge in Tangua, Brazil, killing 110 people. The river, swollen from days of torrential rains, had damaged the bridge’s foundation, but there was no warning system to stop the train from attempting to cross the bridge. As it was about halfway across, the locomotive and five cars plunge into the river.