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Sunday Newsletter 2001-34Su.
August 26, 2001.
[John] Gary Murray, a former colleague of mine and occasional guest writer for FactsCanada.ca, sent me some fascinating information on Canadian pianist Ruth Lowe. He did this after he watched a documentary on her put together by one of her two sons, Stephen, and which was broadcast on the History Channel. He came away so impressed by what he saw that he did some research and sent the results to me. I was very intrigued as I read the information Gary had gathered, so much so that I spent the better half of three hours trying to find out more. Alas, after viewing almost 500 Web sites, I could not find out a great deal more but felt I should pass some information along to you, our avid reader.
This Toronto native will always hold a special spot in the history of music, not only in Canada but also on a global scale. She was born in 1915 and, in 1938, young Ruth married fellow musician Harold Cohen. The very next year Cohen died during surgery for kidney failure. Lowe was affected both emotionally and mentally by her tragic loss. Finally, in order to help the healing process, she sat at the piano once again this time to compose the melancholy but, ultimately, inspirational jazz song "I'll Never Smile Again". In 1940, after being played on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's radio program "Music by Faith" (a program dedicated to fellow Toronto native and world-renowned composer Percy Faith), Lowe managed to get Tommy Dorsey to listen to the recording. Dorsey and his band recorded the song on April 23, 1940, accompanied by crooner Francis Albert Sinatra (yes, Frank Sinatra) it was his first recording. Sinatra also sang the song in his movie debut in the 1941 "Las Vegas Nights". The song has been recorded by dozens of performers including Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan and the Ink Spots, and was used in the soundtrack for the 1997 movie "Lolita".
In the years following "I'll Never Smile Again" Lowe composed many other songs, including another Sinatra favourite, "Put Your Dreams Away", which was played at his funeral in 1998. Able to put her loss behind her, Lowe married for a second time in 1945, this time to Nathan Sandler. From this union two sons (Tommy and Stephen) were born. Ms. Lowe died on January 24, 1981 (although some reference sources say the date was January 4, 1981).
In closing Gary mentions that in the documentary it was pointed out that Ruth Lowe has been inducted into the American Music Hall of Fame, but her memory has yet to be honoured with equal recognition in her home country. I could not even locate her in the "Canadian Encyclopedia" or any other printed material, although there are a few reference to her in some Canadian music publications. Hopefully time will rectify this oversight. I will watch this documentary at its next airing. It sounds like something that would be interesting to all of us "Canadianophiles". Thanks Gary.
"Tunesmiths Database" on Ruth Lowe
The lyrics of "I'll Never Smile Again"
A picture of Ruth Lowe with Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey
\\ TABLE OF CONTENTS //
\ Question of the week
\ Biography Alice Evelyn Wilson
\ Place names Pilot Butte, Saskatchewan
\ Awards and prizes Award in Gender Studies
\ Also born this week
\ It happened this week in history
\ Answer to this week's question
\ Links and resources
\ Legal and subscription information
\\ QUESTION OF THE WEEK //
How did the rock group 54°40, formed way back in 1979 and based in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, choose their unique name?
The answer is near the bottom of the newsletter, as usual.
\\ BIOGRAPHY //
Alice Evelyn Wilson
Born on August 26, 1881, in Cobourg, Ontario, this lady not only became a predominant force in her chosen profession of paleontology, but did so in a male-dominated arena. She spent her life devoted to the demands of paleontology, fighting off stereotyping and finally being recognized the world over as a premiere figure in her chosen endeavour. In doing so she achieved two firsts for women, described below.
A little research shows that Wilson was schooled at the turn of the century in both Toronto, Ontario, and Chicago, Illinois, USA. By 1909 she had begun to establishing herself in the field by pursuing avenues of investigation on her own, while still performing mainly clerical duties for the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC).
Formed in 1842 (while Canada was still working out its growing pains in becoming a nation), the GSC is Canada's oldest scientific agency. Today it is the national agency for geoscientific studies and research, focusing on sustainable development, Canada's resources, naturally occurring geological hazards (earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, etc.) and technological innovation. In 1910, director Reginald W. Brock engineered the Survey's largest expansion, which included growing from a staff of one paleontologist up to 14, including Wilson. In being appointed to her position with the GSC she became the first woman paleontologist hired by the GSC.
She did not disappoint. Not only did she spend the remainder of her working life with the GSC (36 years, until 1946), but she also became the recognized authority on the Paleozoic formations of eastern Canada. She especially excelled in her knowledge of the Ordovician age and turned out many papers, held ongoing lectures, produced a series of publications and, through field trips and museum exhibits, helped bring geology to the general public, especially inspiring children.
Her second great achievement came in 1937 when she became the first woman to be elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Today she is further honoured by the Society's annual Alice Wilson Award this award is given to a woman of outstanding academic qualifications who is entering a career in scholarship or research at the postdoctoral level. (The 2001 winner was Kathryn E. Preuss of the University of Waterloo.) Wilson died in Ottawa, Ontario, on April 15, 1964, at the age of 82, but not before forging a way for women to follow for years to come.
Picture of Alice Wilson
The Ordovician Period
More on the Ordovician Period
\\ PLACE NAMES //
Pilot Butte, Saskatchewan
This town of 1500 people was incorporated as such in 1980. Prior to this (between 1963 and 1980) it was designated a village. The town is situated 15 kilometres east of Regina along the main Canadian Pacific Railway line. It is named after a small flat-topped hill (or butte) located on the town site, which was used at one time by the Native Indian people in the area as a camp site and lookout for the plains below.
The area was first settled by farmers around 1884 and by 1890 a brick-building plant had been constructed there. The sand and gravel deposits in the area were used almost exclusively by the railway and the site flourished. By 1912 a post office was built and the name "Pilot Butte" stuck. The word "pilot" in this context refers to brick-factory testing known as a pilot case. By the end of World War One the brick plants (there were now two employing over 1000) closed down and the slow decline of population began. By the 1960s a revival of the town began as affluent Regina residents who preferred a rural setting began moving to the area.
Coincidentally a major storm struck Pilot Butte on this date August 26, 1995, damaging most of the homes in the community.
FactsCanada.ca map of Pilot Butte, Saskatchewan
\\ AWARDS AND PRIZES //
Award in Gender Studies
The Royal Society of Canada has a new award coming up next year. This will be the Award in Gender Studies, created to recognize contributions of Canadian scholars in the humanities and social sciences to furthering our understanding of issues concerning gender.
The first award, in the form of a certificate, is scheduled to be given in November 2002, and every second year following if there is a suitable candidate. The deadline for nominations for next year's award is December 1, 2001.
\\ ALSO BORN THIS WEEK //
John Buchan, First Baron of Tweedsmuir, author, governor general of Canada (1935-1940), and founder of the Governor General's Award for Literacy, born in Perth, Scotland, August 26, 1875.
Rick Hansen, wheelchair athlete, "Man In Motion" tour inspiration, born in Port Alberni, British Columbia, August 26, 1957. (You can read a brief article on Hansen and his tour in FactsCanada.ca issue 2001-11Su.)
Herbert James Palmer, lawyer and premier of Prince Edward Island, born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, August 26, 1851. Son of Edward Palmer (see below).
Charles Stewart, farmer and premier of Alberta (1917-1921), born in Strabane, Ontario, August 26, 1868.
John Edward Brownlee, lawyer and premier of Alberta (1925-1934), born in Port Ryerse, Ontario, August 27, 1883.
William Bennett Campbell, teacher and premier of Prince Edward Island, born in Montague, Prince Edward Island, August 27, 1943.
Alfred Brian Peckford, teacher and premier of Newfoundland, born in Whitbourne, Newfoundland, August 27, 1942.
John Herbert Chapman, physicist, space scientist, and architect of the Canadian Space Program, born in London, Ontario, August 28, 1921.
Robertson William Davies, writer, journalist and professor, born in Thamesville, Ontario, August 28, 1913.
Paul Edgar Philippe Martin, businessman, politician and currently finance minister, born in Windsor, Ontario, August 28, 1938.
Shania Twain (née Eileen Rogers Edwards), singer and performer, born in Windsor, Ontario, August 28, 1965. (You can read Shania's biography in our very first issue FactsCanada.ca issue 2000-01Su.)
Chris Austin Hadfield, astronaut, born in Sarnia, Ontario, August 29, 1959.
Aurele Emile Joliat, hockey player and NHL Hockey Hall of Fame member, born in Ottawa, Ontario, August 29, 1901.
Amanda Meta Marshall, singer and songwriter, born in Toronto, Ontario, August 29, 1972.
Arthur Peters, lawyer and premier of Prince Edward Island, born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, August 29, 1854.
Donald Ross Getty, athlete and premier of Alberta (1985-1992), born in Westmount, Quebec, August 30, 1933.
Raymond Hart Massey, movie and stage actor, born in Toronto, Ontario, August 30, 1896.
Jean "Le Gros Bill" Arthur Beliveau, NHL Hockey Hall of Fame member, player and hockey executive, born in Trois Rivieres, Quebec, August 31, 1931.
Allan Fotheringham (né Murray Allan Scott), columnist, author and humorist, born in Hearne, Saskatchewan, August 31, 1932.
Henri Bourassa, politician and journalist, born in Montreal, Quebec, September 1, 1868.
Edward Palmer, lawyer, judge and premier of Prince Edward Island (1835-1870) prior to its entry into Confederation, born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, September 1, 1809. Father of Herbert James Palmer (see above).
Clifford William Robinson, lawyer and premier of New Brunswick (1907-1908), born in Moncton, New Brunswick, September 1, 1866.
\\ IT HAPPENED THIS WEEK IN HISTORY //
August 28, 1980 The Federal Cultural Policy Review Committee was established on this date to review cultural policies for Canada.
August 29, 1583 The earliest shipwreck in Canadian water may have involved John Cabot, who disappeared in 1498 on his second voyage, or perhaps an anonymous Basque whaler. However the first substantiated was that of the wreck of the "Delight", one of Sir Humphrey Gilbert's ships, on Sable Island on this date. At least 85 men were drowned.
August 29, 1917 The Military Service Act was invoked to reinforce the Canadian Forces in France. The war was going badly, casualties were enormous, and Canada's contribution in manpower compared unfavourably with that of other countries. Voluntary enlistment had not been enough, and the military believed they could not maintain the Canadian Corps at full strength without this conscription.
August 29, 1931 Walter Maxfield Lea, politician and premier of Prince Edward Island since 1930, resigned his post.
August 30, 1943 The "Haida", a powerful World War Two Tribal class destroyer, was commissioned. It was built in England for the Royal Canadian Navy.
August 31, 1997 The entire world, including Canada, was shocked to hear news of the senseless death of the daughter of the 8th Earl Spencer, Diana, formerly married (in 1981) to Prince Charles of England, in a car accident in Paris, France.
September 1, 1557 Navigator Jacques Cartier, who had lead three voyages to the New World (including the St. Lawrence Seaway) died at St-Malo, France. He was 66.
September 1, 1905 The Province of Alberta was created.
September 1, 1937 Although incorporated by an Act of Parliament on April 10, 1937, to provide a publicly-owned air-transportation service, Air Canada did not begin scheduled operations until this date with passenger and mail service between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle, Washington, USA.
September 1, 1985 After numerous attempts to find the "Titanic", a joint American and French expedition discovered the wreck on this date, 73 years after its sinking. It was discovered 590 km southeast of Newfoundland in an undersea canyon at a depth of 3810 metres.
\\ ANSWER TO THIS WEEK'S QUESTION //
The question this week was; "How did the rock group 54°40, formed way back in 1979 and based in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, choose their unique name?"
Answer: From a border dispute between Canada and the United States in the mid 1800s.
The group took its name from the slogan, "54-40 or Fight!" originally attributed to the American president of the day, James Polk. He wanted the Canadian/American border moved north to 54 degrees, 40 minutes north to approximately where the southern border of Alaska with Canada is today. Yeah right! Like we would fall for that one.
DiscoverySchool.com on James Polk, including notes on the dispute
\\ PREVIEW //
Next Sunday I profile Innisfail, Alberta, tell you about National Museum of Canada member Mary Helen Creighton, give you a tasty recipe, and reel off some good old statistics.
[Craig] With what witty words would you want me to while away the time down here? It must be late; I'm tired. Check out our "Canadian Picture of the Week". Do you know it changes every week? See you next week.
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