11 September

Churchill at second Quebec Conference, 1944

Quebec Hosts Conference of Allied Leaders

During World War II the Allied leaders met as often as possible to plan for the future. Prime Minister Churchill of Britain and President Roosevelt of the United States met three times in Canada. The first conference was at Argentia, Newfoundland, where the two drew up the Atlantic Charter (see August 11). They met twice at Quebec; the first conference being in August, 1943, and the second, on September 11, 1944.

When the second Quebec Conference took place in  1944, Germany was on the way to defeat. Prime Minister Churchill crossed the Atlantic in the Queen Mary, accompanied by Mrs. Churchill and his chiefs of staff. They landed at Halifax and traveled by train to Quebec, where President and Mrs. Roosevelt were already waiting, with their famous little dog "Falla." Governor-General the Earl of Athlone, his wife Princess Alice, and Prime Minister Mackenzie King were there to extend Canada's greetings, but Canada's part in the conference was only that of any other allied nation.

This conference, the eighth attended by Churchill, was completely different from the others, which had been held in the critical days of the war. Now, as Churchill said, everything the Allies touched was turning to gold.

Churchill missed Harry Hopkins, one of Roosevelt's chief aides, who had done a great deal to overcome difficulties between the British and Americans. He was ill in London and cabled that he did not feel able to tackle another Battle of the Plains of Abraham "where better men than I have been killed."

Hopkin's jest contained a great deal of irony. Although the Allies were winning in Europe, the problem now was to defeat Japan. The British had needed and welcomed American help to defeat Germany, and now they wanted to help the Americans defeat Japan. The American military leaders tried to keep the British out of the Pacific sector as much as possible. Churchill offered to send a British fleet to the Pacific to serve under American command, but American Admiral King turned down the offer. He was over-ruled by Roosevelt.


11 September

-1541    Cartier reached Lachine rapids above Montreal on his third voyage to Canada.

-1738    Pierre La Vérendrye left Lake of the Woods to explore the West, and founded Portage La Prairie.

-1754    Anthony Henday was the first white man to enter what is now Alberta.

-1847    A hurricane off Newfoundland caused the loss of 300 lives.

-1861    The Yonge Street railway was opened at Toronto.

-1898    The city of New Westminster, British Columbia, was destroyed by fire.

-1916    The centre span of Quebec Bridge fell (see August 28).

-1958    Camillien Houde, mayor of Montreal, died. Though he openly espoused Italy's cause in World War II, he was re-elected mayor six times.