Today in History: July 16th

1992: Statistics Canada says inflation dropped to an annual rate of 1.1% in June, which is the lowest in 30 years, since John Diefenbaker was Prime Minister in 1962.

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1990: More than 1,000 people are killed when a 7.7-magnitude earthquake strikes Luzon Island in the Philippines. Heroic rescue efforts saved many, but some victims who did not die as buildings collapsed were found dead later from dehydration because they were not pulled out in time.

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1969: Apollo 11, the spaceflight which first landed humans on the Moon, takes off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, crewed by commander Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins.

See also Canada in Space

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 16th

1984: John Turner is chosen as Liberal Party leader on second ballot, with 1,862 votes, to Jean Chretien’s 1,368. Turner is sworn in to replace retiring Pierre Trudeau as Prime Minister on June 30, but loses the September election to Brian Mulroney and the Conservatives.

1963: For the first time, a woman travels in space. She’s Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova. After 48 orbits and 71 hours, she returned to earth, having spent more time in space than all U.S. astronauts combined to that date. The first American woman in space was Sally Ride on the space shuttle Challenger in 1983.

1896: A tsunami in Japan overnight leaves about 25,000 people dead. Entire villages all along the coast are washed away. Fishermen who were working at sea and people living several miles inland, though, had no clue about the destruction until the following morning, when they arrived at the shore to find miles of the coast lined with wreckage and corpses.

Today in History: June 14th

1967: Mariner 5 in launched towards Venus. Arriving near the surface of Venus in October, Mariner 5 showed that it was clear that Venus had a very hot surface and an atmosphere even denser than expected. Mariner 5 continues to send back data until November 1967.

1922:  President Warren Harding becomes the first president to have his voice transmitted by radio. He was speaking at a dedication of a memorial site for Francis Scott Key, the composer of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Harding was also the first president to own a radio and was the first to have one installed in the White House.

1903: A flash flood in Oregon leaves 324 people dead and caused millions of dollars in damage. A third of the town of Heppner is destroyed. The rainstorm lasts only one hour, but it overflows small streams of the area and causes a 20-foot wave of water to gush through the town, sweeping away the victims.

Today in History: May 25th

1993:  Dr. John Savage wins a majority government for the Liberals in the Nova Scotia provincial election, ending 15 years of Conservative rule.

1979: Almost 300 people are killed when an American Airlines DC-10 flight crashes and explodes after losing one engine just after takeoff from Chicago for Los Angeles. The maintenance crew was found to be at fault because they had failed to follow the proper procedures when removing the engine and pylon during repairs and maintenance.

1961: Apollo program: U.S. President John F. Kennedy announces before a special joint session of the Congress his goal to initiate a project to put a “man on the Moon” before the end of the decade.

1966: Explorer program: Explorer 32 launches.

Today in History: May 19th

1967: The Soviet Union ratifies an agreement banning nuclear weapons from outer space. With the advent of the space race in 1957, some begin to fear that outer space might be the next frontier for the expansion of nuclear weapons. With this action, outer space is officially declared off-limits for nuclear weapons.

1958: United States and Canada military formally establish the North American Air Defence Command (NORAD) to coordinate continental defence.

1939:  King George VI becomes the first reigning monarch to address the Canadian Parliament.

Today In History: May 15th

2001: Eight members of the Canadian Alliance leave the party, saying they can no longer support leader Stockwell Day.

1963: The final Mercury mission is launched, with astronaut Gordon Cooper on board. He becomes the first American to spend more than one day in space.

1896: An intense tornado hits Sherman, Texas, killing 73 people. It is estimated that the tornado was a rare F5 tornado, in which winds exceeded 260 miles per hour (418 kilometres per hour.) Storms of that strength happen, on average, less than once a year.

Today in History: May 5th

1989: Clyde Wells becomes takes office as premier of Newfoundland, after the Liberals are elected, ending 17 years of Progressive Conservative rule. Wells became known for his opposition to several provision of the Meech Lake Accord.

1961: Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space and second overall after the Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin.

See also the Resurgence of Russia, Canada in Space

1950: Severe flooding by the Red River in Manitoba kills one person in Winnipeg and causes $600 million in damages. Winds of 80 kph cause waves to break through the dikes of Winnipeg. One third of the population is forced to flee their homes.

Today in History: April 12th

1980:  Terry Fox dips his artificial leg into the Atlantic to start his cross-country ‘Marathon of Hope’ to raise money for cancer research.  He covers 5,373 kilometres and raise $1.7 million. Fox will end his run on Sept.1 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and dies on June 28, 1981.

1961: Yuri Gagarin, Soviet cosmonaut, becomes the first person in space, as well as the first to orbit the Earth.

1917: After three days of fierce combat and over 10,000 casualties, Canadians seize the previously German-held Vimy Ridge in France. Historians have pointed to this victory as a moment of greatness for Canada, when it emerged from Britain’s shadow to attain its own measure of military achievement and earning a reputation for efficiency and strength on the battlefield.

See also Canada in Space, the Resurgence of Russia

Today in History: February 20th

2003: A fire at a nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, kills 100 people and seriously injures almost 200 more. Pyrotechnics set off behind the heavy metal band Great White, performing at the Station nightclub, set fire to the soundproofing foam on the ceiling. The fire spread rapidly and panic ensued as most of the 400 people tried to leave through the front door.

1962: John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth, and the third person in space after the Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin and fellow American Alan Shepard. Glenn later serves as a Senator, and in 1998 he becomes the oldest person to fly in space at the age of 77, when he’s aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

1959: It’s the Canadian aviation industry’s ‘Black Friday’ as the Avro Arrow program is cancelled by the Diefenbaker government. The Arrow is an advanced delta-winged interceptor aircraft. The decision puts the 14,528 Avro employees out of work, as well as another 15,000 other employees at Avro suppliers.