HISTORICAL EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE ON THIS DAY IN CANADA
William Lyon Mackenzie (1795-1861)
Anyone can make good in Canada regardless of his background. Take William Lyon Mackenzie King, who was prime minister for most of the years between 1921 and 1948, longer than any other leader in the British Commonwealth. Yet his grandfather, William Lyon Mackenzie, probably caused more trouble than any other man in the history of the country.
Like Joseph Howe, Mackenzie was a reformer and a newspaper editor. In his paper, the Colonial Advocate, he kept bombarding the governor and his advisers with criticisms. He made the ruling classes so angry that a group of gay sparks from the "best families" raided his office, and threw his type into Toronto Bay. Mackenzie sued them and used the $3,000 he received in damages to pay off his debts and make a fresh start.
The raid helped him more than financially. In 1828 he was elected to the Upper Canada Assembly as one of two members for York.
During his parliamentary career he was expelled five times, but was always re-elected! On January 2, 1832, he won a by-election by 119 votes to 1 and was presented with a gold medal. In 1835, the year after York was renamed Toronto, Mackenzie became its first mayor.
Gradually Mackenzie's emotions overcame his commonsense, and in 1837 he led an armed revolt against the government of Upper Canada. It was easily crushed, and he fled to the United States. He established a base on Navy Island above Niagara Falls, proclaimed a provisional government, and even attacked a military establishment at Chippawa. Canadian militia led by Allan MacNab, who later became prime minister set his supply ship Caroline on fire and sent it over the falls. One American was killed in the fighting.
This caused so much indignation that war almost broke out between Britain and the United States. Cooler heads prevailed, and Mackenzie was put in jail for a while. Soon after, he was allowed to return to Canada.
William Lyon Mackenzie King, his grandson, was always proud of his rebel ancestor.
THER NOTABLE EVENTS ON THIS DAY IN CANADIAN HISTORY
-1826 The Supreme Court of Newfoundland was established by Royal Charter.
-1895 The Privy Council reversed a Supreme Court decision on Manitoba separate schools.
-1908 The Royal Mint opened at Ottawa.
-1929 Canada and the United States signed an agreement to preserve Niagara Falls.
-1942 Canada promised to use its full resources against the Axis Powers