This week in Canadian pop culture history: Queen Elizabeth II's birth, Sun News Network launch

April 17

Lester B. Pearson in 1945
Lester B. PearsonNational Film Board of Canada / Library and Archives Canada

1967Prime Minister Lester Pearson announced the creation of the Order of Canada.

1998The mega-banks that never were: Three months after the Royal Bank and Bank of Montreal announced plans to merge, Toronto Dominion Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce announced their plans to do the same. The federal government rejected both mergers the following year.

April 18
The first issue of the 'Upper Canada Gazette'
The first issue of the ‘Upper Canada Gazette’ Library and Archives Canada

1793The Upper Canada Gazette published its first issue, and was the first newspaper in Upper Canada, which formed most of what is now southern Ontario.

1999Wayne Gretzky played the final game of his 20-year career.

2011The Sun News Network launched. It attempted to emulate the format of Fox News in Canada, failed, and went off the air in 2015.

April 19
Chris Hadfield
Chris Hadfield NASA

2001The shuttle Endeavor launched with astronaut Chris Hadfield aboard, which marked his landmark, second spaceflight (also see Apr. 22).

2008Canada’s first-ever UFC event took place in Montreal. During the event, hometown hero George St. Pierre defeated Matt Sera to become the Welterweight Champion.

April 20
Pierre Elliot Trudeau
Pierre Elliot Trudeau Lawrytd / Wikipedia Commons

1968As “Trudeau-mania” swept the country, Pierre Trudeau was sworn in as Canada’s 15th prime minister.

1989The last Canadian $1 bill was printed.

2011Sony shut down the PlayStation gaming network after a massive security breach. Many users’ credit card data were reported stolen. The breach affected more than 77 million online accounts — 3.5 million in Canada. It took nearly two months for the service to be re-secured and restored for users in North America and Europe.

2014American-born, but long-time Toronto resident, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter died in his home at the age of 76. The middleweight title contender, whose unjust murder convictions inspired both a Bob Dylan song and a Hollywood film, had suffered from prostate cancer.

April 21
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II Joel Rouse / Ministry of Defence

1926Queen Elizabeth II was born in London.

2010Governor General Michaëlle Jean delivered an apology for Canada’s failure to respond to the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

2016The world mourned as Prince died at the age of 57 at his Paisley Park estate in Minneapolis. He died of an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl.

April 22

1963Lester B. Pearson was sworn in as Canada’s 14th Prime Minister.

1990200 million people in 141 countries celebrate the 20th annual Earth Day celebration. In Canada, participants planted trees, attended parades and author Farley Mowat led a crowd in Parliament Hill to howl like wolves to protest the slaughter of wolves and other wild animals.

1997Flooding in southern Manitoba led the province to declare a state of emergency. Known as the Flood of the Century, the surrounding Red River would continue to rise —
threatening the Red River Valley and Winnipeg — and would eventually peak in the first week of May.

2001Chris Hadfield became the first Canadian to walk in space.

April 23

1851Canada’s first postage stamp was issued, the three-penny beaver.

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