John’s Believe It Or Not… May 24th

* 1918 – Borden government passes Act to confer the Electoral Franchise upon Women – women over 21 to vote federally. * 1964 Riot erupts at soccer match * 1543 Copernicus dies * 1974 Duke Ellington dies * 1941 The Bismarck sinks the Hood

It’s Thursday! Did You Know…

* 1918 – Borden government passes Act to confer the Electoral Franchise upon Women – women over 21 to vote federally.

In 1867, the definition of the franchise was left to the provinces. This meant that eligibility to vote in a federal election could vary from one province to the other. All provinces, however, restricted the franchise to male British subjects who were at least 21 years old who had a property qualification. For the first 50 years after Confederation, the Liberal and Conservative parties manipulated the federal franchise in a blatantly partisan fashion. At various times up to 1920, the federal franchise was based either on the electoral lists drawn up by the provinces for provincial elections or on a federal list compiled by enumerators appointed by the governing party in Ottawa. Because until 1885 the vote was based on provincial law, elections were staggered, meaning they could be held on different days in different places. Voters in one constituency might already know which party was likely to form government. Given the importance of patronage in this era of Canadian politics, this created a powerful incentive to vote for the governing party. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… May 24th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… May 24th

In 1860 – Queen’s Plate horse race run for the first time. In 1941 The Bismarck sinks the Hood. In 1943 Auschwitz gets a new doctor: “the Angel of Death”. In 1883 Brooklyn Bridge opens. In 1844 What hath God wrought?

It’s Hump Day Wednesday! Did you know…

* 1860 – Queen’s Plate horse race run for the first time. (It is the oldest continuously run stakes race in North America. The Queen’s Plate was inaugurated, with royal blessing, on Wednesday, June 27, 1860, at the Carleton track in Toronto, located in bucolic surroundings near what is now the traffic-strangled southwestern corner of Keele and Dundas streets. Sir Casimir Gzowski and Thomas Patteson were the two men who brought the race into close association with Buckingham Palace. Back on April 1, 1859, the Toronto Turf Club petitioned Queen Victoria to grant a Plate for a race in Ontario. The president of the club was Gzowski, a distinguished engineer whose father had been a Polish officer in the Russian Imperial Guard. There is no reason to believe that Queen Victoria was a wild-eyed devotee of horse racing. However, Her Majesty granted the petition of the little turf club in the boisterous Upper Canada community (the population of Toronto was 44,425) and offered as an annual prize, “a plate to the value of Fifty Guineas.” There are ironic notes here and there in connection with The Queen’s Plate, the annual Gallop for the Guineas. For example, The Queen’s Plate is not a Plate and the Queen’s guineas are not guineas. Outside of that, The Queen’s Plate is indeed the “Gallop for the Guineas.” The guineas? Minting of guineas was discontinued in England during the reign of George III whose forebear, George I, had instituted the gift of fifty guineas in racing, a tradition that remains though the guineas do not. About it not being a Plate; King Charles II began awarding silver plates as racing prizes in the seventeenth century at Newmarket, the size of the plate indicating the value of the race. But the practice became outmoded, perhaps as variety was sought in the prize. Other pieces of silver were instituted as awards and then other metals were used. Nowadays, The Queen’s Plate is actually a gold cup, about a foot high.) Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… May 24th”

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