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John’s Believe It Or Not… March 29th

John Fioravanti standing at the front of his classroom.

It’s Wondrous Wednesday! Did you know…

* 1982 – Queen Elizabeth II gives Royal Assent to the Canada Act, 1982, to patriate Canada’s Constitution. (Canada’s original constitution was the British North America Act of 1867 [BNA ACT]. It created the political union called “The Dominion of Canada”, but it was still a British colony. Canada was given full independence in 1931 [most Canadians don’t know that!]. Since the BNA Act was a statute of the British Parliament, the original document stayed in London. As of 1931, a foreign government owned Canada’s constitution. Lovely, eh! There were a few attempts to patriate the BNA Act – bring it home to Canada – but squabbles between the provinces and Ottawa over the division of powers thwarted each attempt. Then PM Pierre Trudeau declared he would bring home the constitution with or without provincial approval. He succeeded and added a new Charter of Rights and Freedoms [like the US Bill of Rights] to the patriated constitution. They changed its name to The Canada Act 1982.)

Picture of Queen Elizabeth sitting at a table signing the Canada Act into law. Prime Minister Trudeau is seated at the table looking on.
Queen Elizabeth giving Royal Assent while Pierre Trudeau, also seated, looks on.

* 1993 – Catherine Callbeck of Prince Edward Island the first woman in Canada to be elected premier. (In Canada, there is a Federal Parliament whose chief executive is the Prime Minister. There are also ten Provincial Parliaments who also have chief executives called prime ministers. It would be confusing to have eleven prime ministers running around, so it was decided that the provincial PM’s would be called Premiers – from the French, Premier Ministre. This is similar to the American decision to call the leaders of their state governments Governors rather than Presidents. Sick of politics yet? Hey, I used to teach this stuff!)

Portrait of Callbeck.

* 1973 U.S. withdraws from Vietnam. (Two months after the signing of the Vietnam peace agreement, the last U.S. combat troops leave South Vietnam as Hanoi frees the remaining American prisoners of war held in North Vietnam. America’s direct eight-year intervention in the Vietnam War was at an end. In Saigon, some 7,000 U.S. Department of Defense civilian employees remained behind to aid South Vietnam in conducting what looked to be a fierce and ongoing war with communist North Vietnam.)

Picture of US Army vehicles leaving.

* 1974 Mariner 10 visits Mercury. (The unmanned U.S. space probe Mariner 10, launched by NASA in November 1973, becomes the first spacecraft to visit the planet Mercury, sending back close-up images of a celestial body usually obscured because of its proximity to the sun. Mariner 10 had visited the planet Venus eight weeks before but only for the purpose of using Venus’ gravity to whip it toward the closest planet to the sun. In three flybys of Mercury between 1974 and 1975, the NASA spacecraft took detailed images of the planet and succeeded in mapping about 35 percent of its heavily cratered, moonlike surface.)

Picture of the space probe Mariner 10.

* 1929 Herbert Hoover has a telephone installed in Oval Office. (On this day in 1929, President Herbert Hoover has a phone installed at his desk in the Oval Office of the White House. It took a while to get the line to Hoover’s desk working correctly and the president complained to aides when his son was unable to get through on the Oval Office phone from an outside line. Previously, Hoover had used a phone located in the foyer just outside the office. Telephones and a telephone switchboard had been in use at the White House since 1878 when President Rutherford B. Hayes had the first one installed, but no phone had ever been installed at the president’s desk until Hoover’s administration.)

Picture of Hoover sitting at his desk in the oval office with a telephone.

Look who was born on this date!

Head shot of Cy Young in shirt and tie.*  Cy Young in 1867. (MLB Pitcher:  His 511 wins are the most in Major League history. During his career, he established numerous pitching records, some of which have stood for a century. A year after his death, the Cy Young Award was created to honour the previous season’s best pitcher.)



Head shot of Walton* Sam Walton in 1918. (American Founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club.)





Head shot of John Major.* John Major in 1943. (British Prime Minister: Major presided over British involvement in the Gulf War in March 1991 and negotiated the Maastricht Treaty in December 1991. He also took the UK out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism after Black Wednesday on September 16, 1992.)




Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December 2013 and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (, to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

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