14 December

Earthquake Threatens Towns in British Columbia

One of Canada's most spectacular earthquakes, on February 5, 1663, has already been described. It helped Bishop Laval's campaign to stop his people from selling liquor to the Indians. They gave up the practice for a time, believing that the earthquake was punishment for their sins. The damage might have been worse except that the earthquake took place in the winter when there was a great deal of snow on the ground.

British Columbia, lying between California and Alaska which have both been badly damaged by earthquakes, had a narrow escape on December 14, 1872. A large part of the province was shaken by tremors which began shortly after 9.30 p.m., and continued for about forty seconds, especially in the inland areas. Usually an earthquake of ten seconds will cause a great deal of damage and loss of life, but there was little damage and no loss of life in British Columbia. Possibly the snow helped to cushion the effect.

In places like Clinton, Soda Creek, and Yale, the temperature was 20 below zero, but people ran out of their homes in the snow and bitterly cold weather. Buildings swayed and church bells rang. There was a general feeling of thanksgiving when the tremors stopped and so little damage was clone.

The earthquake was also felt along the coast where there was no snow. It lasted for about ten seconds in Victoria where buildings might have collapsed. Miraculously, little damage was done. Vancouver did not exist in 1872 except for tiny communities like Hastings and Gastown in the general area.


14 December

-1817    The Bank of Montreal was incorporated.

-1837    Rebels at St. Eustache, Lower Canada, were defeated by Sir John Colborne.

-1851    George Brown was elected to Parliament for the first time.

-1885    Yoho National Park was established by Order-in-Council.

-1929    The Federal Government transferred natural resources to Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

-1951    Foreign exchange control regulations were abolished.

-1956    John G. Diefenbaker was elected leader of the Conservative party.

-1960    The University of Ottawa was given $35 million for expansion.

              Legislation, which made the retirement of Superior and Supreme Court judges automatic at age seventy-five, was passed. It became effective in March, 1961.

             Twenty nations, including Canada, signed a new trade agreement to set up the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The purpose was to promote co-operation, more aid to underdeveloped countries, and to expand trade generally.

-1963    A Canadian selection of prints, shown at the First American Biennial Exhibition of Engravings, at Santiago, Chile, won the Grand Award of Honour.

-1964    Closure was imposed in the House of Commons to end the flag debate. One of the longest and most bitter debates in our history was concluded.