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Sunday Newsletter 2001-41Su.
October 14, 2001.
[Craig] Due to personal and work commitments, the Friday Feature we promised this week will be sent next week (on the 19th). My apologies to you and John for this.
[John] Today I bring you some deferred stories from previous issues. It is often difficult to predict, a week or so in advance, the articles that I want to write. I have no idea how my research will go and whether or not I can collect enough information from different sources to be reasonably sure that the finished product will be as accurate as possible. Therefore I have no idea how long articles will end up being and some weeks they just have to be bumped. Today, like most weeks in previous issues, I will try and give those of you that require further information a link or two to get you started in your pursuit of more information on the stories I supply.
On a personal note, I recently purchased a new printer for my wife to go along with the IBM computer I bought her for Christmas last year. (She actually never had her own printer our computers are networked and she printed on the Epson 800 attached to my computer.) I selected another Epson, this time the model 880, and man the capabilities of this one almost put mine to shame. Technology sure is racing on. I made the purchase at Costco and even received a manufacturer's rebate. The final price, including taxes, came in at just over $300. That's less than I paid for mine a couple of years ago. Anyway, without giving you all of the technical details, this 880 is fabulous! If you are in the market and are not into spending a thousand or two on a laser printer, this is my recommendation: Go to a retailer and give this one a trial run. You won't be disappointed.
\\ TABLE OF CONTENTS //
\ Question of the week
\ Biography Elizabeth Catherine Bagshaw ("The Mother of Contraception")
\ A hero's story
\ Geek report
\ Infamous Canadians Evelyn Dick
\ Place names Penticton, British Columbia
\ Also born this week
\ Vancouver International Film Festival
\ It happened this week in history
\ Internationally historic events this week
\ Answer to this week's question
\ Links and resources
\ Legal and subscription information
\\ QUESTION OF THE WEEK //
Last week, in my first entry of the article "It Happened This Week in History", I told you briefly about the second Canadian to reach the summit of Mount Everest, located in Nepal and the highest point on Earth. My question for you this week is: Who was the first Canadian to reach the summit of Mount Everest?
As usual, you can find the answer near the bottom of this newsletter.
\\ BIOGRAPHY //
Elizabeth Catherine Bagshaw "The Mother of Contraception"
Elizabeth Bagshaw was born on October 18, 1881 (a few sources claim that the year was 1883, but the balance of probability lies with 1881), on a farm in Mariposa Township, Victoria County, near Cannington (which is in Durham County), Ontario. She was the youngest and most venturesome of four daughters, and probably the most brilliant as she had a remarkable memory.
She later attended Lindsay Collegiate School and, at the age of 16, decided to go to medical school. This was against the wishes of her mother, but her father was very supportive of the idea. Thus, just before turning 20 in 1901, she enrolled in the Women's Medical College in Toronto. Since this school did not have the power to grant degrees, she also enrolled at the University of Toronto.
Her summers were spent back on the farm, helping out where and when needed, but a year before her graduation her father fell from a ladder, broke his neck, and died a short time later. She briefly tried to manage the farm during the summer of 1904, but clashed with the hired men who resented taking orders from a woman. This was much more prejudice than she even encountered in medical school as an "occasional student" at the University of Toronto. She decided to fire the men, sell the farm and all its equipment, and move the family to Toronto, obviously becoming the leader of the family in the process.
She graduated the next year, but could not set up her own practice or work in hospitals until she passed the required examination and received her license from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. This is where the foresight of simultaneously enrolling at the University of Toronto proved a wise one, and she breezed through the tests. In the summer of 1906 she moved onto a hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, and liked the town so much she moved there. Obstetrics was the prime focus of her practice for years to come. She also joined the Hamilton Medical Society, thus giving her staff privileges at both Hamilton General Hospital and St. Joseph's Hospital.
By the time she was 40 (in 1921) her mother had passed away, as had both of her love interests to whom she had been engaged. So Doctor Bagshaw settled into the life of a career woman, dedicating herself solely to her work. In 1926 she realized something was missing and adopted a seven-month-old son named John. He grew up, studied medicine and eventually the two of them worked together in the same building, although in different fields.
In 1932 she accepted the post of medical director of Canada's first illegal birth-control clinic, despite opposition from colleagues and local clergy members. She directed the clinic to spend as much time providing information to the general public as it did to the clinic's visitors about the importance of contraception, in an attempt to reducing the need for the very facilities of which she was a director. She once reflected, during the Depression years leading up to World War Two, "There was no welfare and no unemployment payments, and these people were just about half-starved because there was no work, and for them to go on having children was a detriment to the country. They couldn't afford children if they couldn't afford to eat. So the families came to the clinic and we gave them information." Along with this information the clinic dispensed pessaries (contraceptive devices), jellies and condoms.
So began Doctor Bagshaw's resolve to help through education those women already pregnant, as well as those who might otherwise experience unwanted pregnancies in the future. She continued in this role for more than 33 years, working both her hospital jobs as well as directing the clinic until she gave up this role in 1966. Three years later (in 1969) the clinic became legal and was supported by government grants. On April 11, 1973, Doctor Bagshaw was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada, after which many other honours and accreditations followed. She continued to practice medicine until 1976 when, at the age of 95, she retired. She died in her 100th year on January 5, 1982, in the town she loved so much Hamilton.
"Maple Flavoured Women" on Elizabeth Bagshaw
"Doctor Woman: The Life and Times of Dr. Elizabeth Bagshaw"
\\ A HERO'S STORY //
William Jackman was a sealing captain and sailing master who was born in Renews, Newfoundland, on May 20, 1837. He is best remembered for the dramatic sea rescue at Spotted Islands, Labrador, on October 9, 1867, one of the greatest stories of heroism ever recorded. In harbour to ride out a storm, Jackman went ashore from where he saw a wooden fishing vessel, the "Sea Clipper", being dashed to pieces on a reef some distance from shore. Jackman threw himself into the icy water and, though battered by the surf, was able to rescue 11 people. Learning that there were a total of 27 on board, Jackman, with a rope and the help of others, swam out 16 more times to bring the remaining men and women ashore.
Newfoundland's Greatest Hero: Captain William Jackman
"Treasury of Newfoundland Stories" on Captain William Jackman
\\ GEEK REPORT //
I promised you some news this week and I'm going to deliver, even though it will mean I send this after midnight. It has been a hectic week and an even busier weekend.
First up is a new feature of our free e-mail system. We know that Web-based e-mail is great in many situations, like when you don't have your own computer, or you need to be able to check your e-mail on the road using just a Web browser in an Internet cafe. However, it's not for all of us. Maybe you love Web-based e-mail, but you need more than the measly 6 MB we provide, or the banner and pop-up advertisements drive you crazy.
Well, now you have the option to get what you want... for a price, of course. If you already have a free e-mail account on the factscanada.com domain, then you will probably have already received a message from Everyone.net (the company that runs the service) telling you about Mail Plus. Mail Plus will give you:
If you're happy with the service as it is, then you don't need to do anything and you can continue to enjoy your e-mail as you always have. If you'd like to take advantage of the added benefits, then all you have to do is log into your factscanada.com account and look for the link that refers to Mail Plus, and click on it. If you don't already have an account, you can sign up for one now and you will be given the opportunity during the sign-up process to upgrade to the Mail Plus account features.
Check it out. It's on our Web site.
I had another item, but I'll cut it short this week and save it for next.
\\ INFAMOUS CANADIANS //
Evelyn Dick was born Evelyn Maclean in Beamsville, Ontario, on October 13, 1920. The Evelyn Dick murder case (also known as the "Torso Murder") is one of the most grisly murder stories on record in Canada. On March 16, 1946, a male body minus head and limbs was found on Hamilton Mountain. The victim was identified as John Dick, and suspicion quickly fell on his wife, Evelyn. An eccentric woman, Evelyn had deserted John Dick apparently because her parents did not approve of their marriage, and because he could not support her expensive lifestyle. Weeks after the discovery of the torso, police found the body of Evelyn's infant son in a suitcase. Dick made statements implicating herself, her lover William Bohozuk, and her father Donald Maclean, in the murders. After three trials she was sentenced to life in prison. Donald Maclean was sentenced to five years and Bohozuk was acquitted. Evelyn Dick was paroled in 1958 and effectively disappeared into the legend she created.
Evelyn Dick (The "Torso Murder")
\\ PLACE NAMES //
Penticton, British Columbia
Nestled between Skaha Lake to the south and the much larger Okanagan Lake to the north, Penticton is a growing city with a population of around 33 000. Originally called Phthauntac by the local Salish tribe (meaning "ideal meeting place"), and Pentaktin ("place to stay, forever") by the Okanagan band of the same tribe, the name Penticton was finally chosen when the post office opened here in 1889 since it was indeed an ideal meeting spot. The town site itself was not even laid out until 1892, with the town taking on the name of the post office, as opposed to the usual rule which worked in reverse.
The first orchards began appearing by the end of the century and, in 1905, the Southern Okanagan Land Company provided irrigation for further development. Later, the Kettle Valley Railway linked Penticton to the Crowsnest Pass and Hope in 1915. Tourism then got a big boom in the region with the completion of the Hope-Princeton Highway in 1949 and increased with the completion of the Rogers Pass section in 1962.
City of Penticton, British Columbia
FactsCanada.ca map of Penticton, British Columbia
\\ ALSO BORN THIS WEEK //
Ronald Lancaster, Canadian Football League (CFL) Hall of Fame (May 28, 1982) player, coach and commentator, born in Fairchance, Pennsylvania, United States of America, October 14, 1938.
John Molson Junior, brewer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, born in Montreal, Quebec, October 14, 1787.
Walter Boudreau, musical composer, conductor and saxophonist, born in Montreal, Quebec, October 15, 1947.
Annie Caroline Macdonald, missionary, social reformer and educator, born in Wingham, Ontario, October 15, 1874.
Honore Mercier, lawyer and premier of Quebec (1887-1891), born in St. Athanase, Quebec, October 15, 1840.
Claude Leveillee, singer, songwriter and actor, born in Montreal, Quebec, October 16, 1932.
David Robert Stuart "Dave" Cutler, CFL Hall of Fame member, born in Biggar, Saskatchewan, October 17, 1945.
Sir Hugh William Hoyles, judge and prime minister of Newfoundland (1861-1865), born in St. John's Newfoundland, October 17, 1814.
Pierre Juneau, administrator and broadcasting executive, born in Verdun, Quebec, October 17, 1922. The Canadian music award known as the Juno Award is named partially after him (for his contributions to the industry) and partially after the Chief Goddess of the Roman Pantheon.
Margot Kidder, movie actress, born in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, October 17, 1948.
Iona Campagnolo (née Hardy), broadcaster, politician and current lieutenant-governor of British Columbia (since September 25, 2001), born on Galiano Island, British Columbia, October 18, 1932.
Patricia Joudry, author, born in Spirit River, Alberta, October 18, 1921.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau, writer, lawyer and twice prime minister of Canada (1968-1979 and 1980-1984), born in Montreal, Quebec, October 18, 1919. (For a tribute to Pierre Trudeau, please see FactsCanada.ca issue 2000-06Fr.)
Tommy Ambrose, singer, composer and advertising-jingle writer, born in Toronto, Ontario, October 19, 1939.
Ian Willoughby Bazalgette, aviator and posthumous winner of the Victoria Cross, born in Calgary, Alberta, October 19, 1918, died in France, August 4, 1944.
Thomas "Tommy" Clement Douglas, Baptist minister and longest-reigning premier of Saskatchewan to date (1944-1961), born in Falkirk, Scotland, October 20, 1904. Douglas was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1980.
Nellie Letitia McClung (née Mooney), suffragette, legislator and author, born in Chatsworth, Ontario, October 20, 1873.
Government House, Victoria, British Columbia
Canadian Music Encyclopedia on Tommy Ambrose
\\ VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL //
I'm not a film buff by any stretch of the imagination. I have known for a long time that I am easily attracted to flickering lights (somewhat like a moth to a flame), and so do what I can to avoid the temptation. I don't own a television because I know I would be up late every night channel surfing and watching infomercials. I long ago gave up seeing movies I wanted to see because, let's face it, there isn't a bad movie out there if you judge them all by their trailers and I'd live in the movie theatre, my skin would start to glow, and my eyes would bulge out. Instead I just watch a movie when it's someone else's idea. It also gets me out of taking any responsibility when the movie turns out to be a bomb.
Well, those two aforementioned symptoms of movie addiction started to rear their ugly heads over the last couple of weeks as I watched eight (I think... I lost count) movies at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Now, I know for the hard-core, film festival aficionados, eight films in two weeks is a mere drop in the proverbial bucket. For me, however, eight films is more than I would usually watch in a whole year.
This year there were 400 screenings of 300 films from 50 countries. Some people might have actually watched all of them... or at least were present in the theatre while the movie was on. Popcorn was deposited down the back of the shirt of anyone caught snoring.
As is traditional for me, I didn't pick any of the movies we attended Sandra did. This is good, because she usually has good taste. On the odd occasion she doesn't, I let her know in no uncertain terms. We saw two Canadian films. The breakdown was as follows:
I found "Westray" to be very annoying at first, both because it used a lot of unnecessary (in my opinion) hyperbole and because the filmmaker used two narrators who traded off sarcastic renditions of various nursery rhymes. However, either that wore off or I just got used to it, and it was a relatively informative film about the mining disaster that took the lives of 26 men in Nova Scotia on May 9, 1992, and the lives of those left behind afterwards. One eerie side note about that film near the end, two towers at the old mine site are demolished with dynamite. Apparently it was screened in Toronto on September 11, and we watched it at the beginning of October. I don't think the visual comparison to the events in New York was missed by anyone in the theatre.
I won't go into too much detail about the others. "Der Tunnel" was the gripping true story of the division of Berlin by the Berlin Wall, and how an East German sports hero escaped to West Berlin and then promptly built a tunnel to the East to rescue his sister, brother-in-law and nephew. In all he managed to rescue 1000 people from the grip of Communism.
"Die Innere Sicherheit" was about life on the run for a couple of former German terrorists and their teenaged daughter, and how their plans for a new life in Brazil go awry when their stash of cash is stolen from their locker at a train station.
"Een Staat van Zijn" was a short film (50 minutes) that, along with "God is my Co-pilot" and eight other shorts was a Dutch project to examine the modern relevancy of the Ten Commandments. "Een Staat van Zijn" was supposed to examine the fourth commandment; "Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy". It was a rather pathetic effort which left us wondering what the point was, but the cat at the end was funny. "God is my Co-pilot" examined the moral dilemma faced by religious American fighter-bomber pilots as they bombed Serbia, while justifying their actions in terms of the fifth commandment, "You shall not kill", and not breaking the second commandment, "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain". We enjoyed that one a bit more, if only for all the scenes reminiscent of "Top Gun", but I have to admit that it left me with an uneasy feeling about some of the people defending freedom and democracy. It also highlighted a strong belief of mine that I believe we have seen proved in recent weeks there are religious zealots on all sides of any issue, and they only differ slightly in their degree of zeal.
"15 février 1839" was the only other Canadian film we saw. It recounted the last 24 hours of five French-Canadian prisoners, jailed since the 1837 rebellion in Lower Canada, who were sentenced by the British on February 14, 1839, to be hanged the next day. At times it seemed to drag, and I wondered how two hours could be expanded to fit 24 (that's not a typo), but overall it was a very good movie.
"L' Emploi du Temps" was a very strange movie about a French guy who gets fired from his job, but doesn't tell his wife and family. He stays out all day driving around the countryside, calling his wife from his cell phone and pretending to be in meetings. He goes so far as to drive to Switzerland, where he invents a job for himself, and then goes home to tell his family. As you can imagine, his house of cards comes tumbling down one day and he has to confess. It reminded me of my second (and last) semester at the University of British Columbia back in 1986. Don't ask why.
Finally, "Promises" was the best of the bunch. In fact, it won the Air Canada People's Choice Award for Most Popular Film. Although credited to the USA, it focused on the lives and opinions of seven children (four Israelis and three Palestinians), wise, knowledgeable and/or articulate (but each not necessarily possessing all three traits) beyond their years, and all living within minutes of each other in or near Jerusalem yet separated by the gulf and the checkpoints that exist between Israelis and Palestinians. The opinions expressed in this film, shot between 1995 and 2000, ranged from, "Kill all the Jews/Palestinians" to "Why can't we just get along?" The magic of this film was the ability of one of the main producers (B.Z. Goldberg, know affectionately by the children as "Bee Zee") to interact and bond with most of the children, culminating in a friendly meeting between four of them. Although a cynic like me would say that nothing is as simple as the children make it out to be, I wasn't the only one in the theatre that shed a tear. It should be required viewing for everyone involved in the conflict in the Middle East, and that is one of the goals of the Promises Film Project which created the film.
There aren't you glad I didn't watch all 300?! You will find a link to the VIFF Web site below. Although you can't buy tickets there right now (because the festival is over and it's a whole year until the next one), I hope the VIFF will do something before then about the insane way in which their Web-based ticket purchasing works. First of all, their page for accepting credit-card information was not secure. I wrote to their technical people about it and got a rather snotty response that informed me that it was indeed secure. While I told them I agreed with their technical explanation, they were violating a simple rule if the customer perceives something to be one way, then that's the way it is even if the customer is wrong. We are all told not to submit credit-card information to a site that is not showing the closed padlock or the un-broken key in the status bar of our browsers, and that is not displaying a URL (Web site address) that begins with "https" (the "s" being the important letter and meaning "secure"). Their credit-card information page displayed neither of these.
The second problem was with their security certificate. A security certificate has two basic purposes:
That's my rant about the VIFF Web site over. Back to the film I had never really considered attending a film festival before. Besides the obvious reasons I gave above (there are too many films to see them all), I have just not been so motivated. However, if you're tired of the same old plots (or lack thereof) coming out of Hollywood, then a film festival is a great place to broaden your mind. I recommend it.
Vancouver International Film Festival
Internet Movie Database on "Der Tunnel"
Internet Movie Database on "Die Innere Sicherheit"
Internet Movie Database on "15 février 1839"
Internet Movie Database on "God is my Co-pilot"
The Promises Film Project
Internet Movie Database on "Promises"
Vancouver International Film Festival on "Promises"
SafeShopping.org on security when shopping on-line
\\ IT HAPPENED THIS WEEK IN HISTORY //
October 14, 1947 The Canadian Arthritis and Rheumatism Society (now known simply as the Canadian Arthritis Society) was founded.
October 14, 1952 Future Canadian prime minister Lester "Mike" Bowles Pearson is elected president of the United Nations General Assembly, which eventually led to his being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1957.
October 15, 1954 When the storm named Hurricane Hazel reached the Toronto, Ontario, area on this date, its warm, tropical air collided with a cold front moving eastward. The ensuing torrent left areas submerged, roads obliterated, houses swept away and over 4000 families homeless, 81 people dead, and damage exceeding $100 million.
October 15, 1987 Although British Columbia's Coat of Arms and motto were granted by King Edward VII on March 31, 1906, it was not until this date that her crest, supporters and compartment were granted by Queen Elizabeth II.
October 16, 1841 Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, was founded upon receiving Royal approval from Queen Victoria, for whom the school is named. Classes began the following year on March 7, 1842.
October 16, 1970 It was on this date, during the "October Crisis" brought on by the FLQ, that the federal government proclaimed the existence of a state of "apprehended insurrection" under the War Measures Act, allowing it to overrule civil rights in order to deal with the crisis. (For more on the "October Crisis", please see FactsCanada.ca issues 2000-08Fr and 2000-06Fr.)
October 16, 1981 Canada Post became the Canada Post Corporation.
October 17, 1878 Sir John A. Macdonald (no relation) begins his second term as prime minister of Canada.
October 19, 1984 Grant Notley, leader of the Alberta NDP, was killed in an airplane crash near High Prairie, Alberta.
October 20, 1818 The Convention of 1818 (also known as the Convention of Commerce) went into effect. It described the boundary between British North America and the United States as a "line from the farthest northwest point of Lake of the Woods 'north or south, as the case may be' to the 49th parallel and thence west along the parallel to the 'Stony' [Rocky] Mountains." The area west of the Rocky Mountains was to be "free and open" to either Britain or the United States for the next 10 years. In 1827 this period was indefinitely extended, but was ultimately terminated by the 1846 Oregon Treaty.
Convention of 1818 between the USA and the UK
\\ INTERNATIONALLY HISTORIC EVENTS THIS WEEK //
On October 14, 1947, American aviator and test pilot Charles "Chuck" Elwood Yeager, became the first human being to ride in a vehicle which broke the sound barrier, creating a use for the term "supersonic speed". Yeager flew the Bell X-1 at rocket 670 miles per hour (or Mach one) in level flight.
Speed greater than that at which sound travels is measured in Mach numbers pronounced "mok" and named after Austrian physicist Ernst Mach. In dry air at zero degrees Celsius (named after Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius who invented the scale) or 32 degrees Fahrenheit (named after German physicist Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, who introduced the scale), sound travels at about 1170 kilometres per hour or 727 miles per hour, but decreases its speed with altitude until, at 12 000 metres or 39 000 feet above sea level, it is only 1060 kilometres per hour or 658 miles per hour. As an aircraft approaches the so-called sound barrier (or approaches the speed of sound), shock waves are built up ahead of the aircraft. As the aircraft penetrates and leaves this shock wave behind it, a sonic boom is heard.
"Popular Mechanics" article by Gen. Chuck Yeager on breaking the sound barrier
\\ ANSWER TO THIS WEEK'S QUESTION //
To refresh your memory, above I posed the question: "Who was the first Canadian to reach the summit of Mount Everest?"
Answer: Laurie Grant Skreslet of Calgary, Alberta.
On October 5, 1982, Laurie Skreslet, the fittest member of this ill-fated expedition, was selected to attempt the final ascent from Base IV. He was accompanied by two Sherpa guides and after five hours of climbing, became the first Canadian to stand "at the top of the world". Two days later, on October 7, as reported last week, Pat Morrow became the second to reach this pinnacle.
For a very informative and exciting, yet simultaneously sad account of this quest, I encourage everyone to visit the first link below.
Everest 1982: The Story of the Climb
Mount Everest Facts and Expeditions
\\ PREVIEW //
This Friday we really will be sending out this month's Friday Feature. I will take a break from all of the heavy subject matter I have addressed recently, and will look at several humour sites dedicated or related to Canada and Canadians.
[Craig] Wow! I almost doubled John's output this week. I hope I didn't bore you to tears and I hope John doesn't call me a hypocrite. I'm just going to mention one final thing with respect to my aforementioned busy weekend. On Saturday we had a by-election in Richmond, British Columbia. (Richmond is, for all intents and purposes, a suburb of Vancouver.) A good friend of mine, Anna Bloomfield, ran for a council seat for the new Richmond Canadian Voters party. She didn't win a seat, but she and her cohorts did very well for a new party with a bunch of political novices running for office. Congratulations Anna, and I'm sure we'll see you on council next year.
== LINKS AND RESOURCES ==
FactsCanada.ca -- http://www.factscanada.ca
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