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Nov. 12 in history: Stalin gives Trotsky the boot, Maple Leaf Gardens opens, Calgary grows up

In 1939, Dr. Norman Bethune died of blood poisoning in northern China.The Canadian-born surgeon joined the Communist Party in 1935 and devotedhis life to the anti-fascist cause -- first in the Spanish Civil Warand then in China, where he's revered as a hero.

In 1939, Dr. Norman Bethune died of blood poisoning in northern China. The Canadian-born surgeon joined the Communist Party in 1935 and devoted his life to the anti-fascist cause -- first in the Spanish Civil War and then in China, where he's revered as a hero.

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In 1774, British citizens in Quebec protested the Quebec Act which restored French civil law.

In 1856, the Grand Trunk Railway was opened from Quebec to Toronto.

In 1884, Calgary became a town.

In 1920, Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis was appointed baseball's first commissioner.

In 1927, Josef Stalin became the undisputed ruler of the Soviet Union as Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party.

In 1930, Norway recognized the sovereignty of Canada over the Sverdrup Islands in the Arctic.

In 1931, Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens was opened with a hockey game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Leafs. Erected in five months at the height of the “Great Depression,” the Gardens was financed by Conn Smythe and associates who had raised $160,000 and bought the Toronto St. Pats in 1927. The veteran of the First World War and an outspoken patriot, Smythe re-named the team the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Gardens remained the Maple Leafs' home until the Air Canada Centre opened in 1999.

In 1942, pharmaceutical giant Bayer patented polyurethane.

In 1942, the Second World War naval “Battle of Guadalcanal” began. (The Allies ended up winning a major victory over the Japanese.)

In 1946, the world's first drive-in banking window was opened by the Exchange National Bank of Chicago.

In 1948, former premier Hideki Tojo and several other Japanese leaders were sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal.

In 1951, the National Ballet of Canada gave its first performance in Toronto. Founded by Celia Franca, it is the country's largest professional dance company. Superstar Rudolph Nureyev, who first danced with the Toronto-based company in 1965, is credited with promoting the careers of dancers Karen Kain, Frank Augustyn and Veronica Tennant and with raising the company's international stature.

In 1956, the formation of the Canada Council was announced. The Council's mandate was to encourage the development of the arts, humanities and social sciences in Canada. A board of 21 members from all 10 provinces are named by the federal government. The Council offers assistance to individual artists and artistic organizations.

In 1962, the International Exhibition Bureau approved Montreal's application to hold a world's fair in 1967.

In 1964, Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg abdicated in favor of her son Prince Jean.

In 1971, Paul Joseph Cini, with 54 sticks of dynamite and a shotgun, hijacked an Air Canada aircraft over the Prairies, but was subdued and arrested.

In 1977, the city of New Orleans elected its first black mayor, Ernest “Dutch” Morial, the winner of a runoff.

In 1980, the U.S. space probe “Voyager One” came within 124,000 kilometres of Saturn, sailing beneath the planet's rings while transmitting data to Earth.

In 1981, the balloon “Double Eagle V,” carrying three Americans and a Japanese, landed about 160 kilometres north of San Francisco after a 8,480-kilometre journey from Japan. It was the first manned balloon crossing of the Pacific.

In 1982, Yuri Andropov, 68, former KGB chief, was chosen to succeed Leonid Brezhnev as General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.

In 1982, Telesat Canada took command of “Anik C3,” Canada's most powerful satellite, five hours after the satellite's launch from the space shuttle Columbia.

In 1987, China's first American fast-food restaurant -- Kentucky Fried Chicken -- opened in Beijing.

In 1987, the American Medical Association issued a policy statement saying it was unethical for a doctor to refuse to treat someone with AIDS or HIV.

In 1990, Japanese Emperor Akihito formally assumed the Chrysanthemum Throne.

In 1992, Canada's Inuit accepted a $580 million federal land claim settlement giving them control over a large part of the eastern Arctic and paving the way for the creation of a third northern territory to be called Nunavut by the end of the century. The territory of Nunavut came into creation on April 1, 1999.

In 1993, H.R. Haldeman, former U.S. president Richard Nixon's chief of staff who served 18 months in prison for helping to cover up the Watergate break-in, died at 67.

In 1995, space shuttle “Atlantis” lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., for an eight-day voyage with a crew that included Chris Hadfield as NASA's first Canadian mission specialist.

In 1995, former Supreme Court of Canada judge Emmett Hall, considered to be one of the fathers of Canada's medicare system, died at 96.

In 1996, a Saudi Arabian jumbo jet collided in flight with a Kazakh cargo plane near New Delhi, India, exploding in flames, killing 349 people.

In 1997, Ramzi Yousef, who plotted to kill 250,000 people in the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York, was found guilty of conspiracy in the 1993 bombing of the Centre, in which six people were killed.

In 1999, a top-secret document was stolen from a CSIS agent's van while the agent attended a Toronto Maple Leafs home game. The briefcase was recovered, but the document was not -- and the woman was fired.

In 2001, what was recognized as the world's longest marriage ended with the death of Harley Utz at an Ohio nursing home. He was 103 years old and had been married to his wife for 83 years. Sylvia Utz was also 103 when Harley died.

In 2001, 260 people were killed when an American Airlines Flight crashed just minutes after taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

In 2003, Douglas Glover, a Canadian who lives in New York State, won the Governor General's Literary Award for English-language fiction for his book “Elle.” Margaret MacMillan's “Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World” won for non-fiction.

In 2003, Tak Mak, a senior scientist at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, became the first Canadian to receive Germany's highest award in biomedicine -- the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize. Mak won the award for being the first to identify and clone T-cell receptors in humans in 1984.

In 2003, a truck bomb rocked the headquarters of the Italian police station in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah, killing at least 18 Italians and eight Iraqis. It was the deadliest attack on Italian forces since the Second World War.

In 2004, Scott Peterson of Modesto, Calif., was convicted of one count of first-degree murder for killing his wife Laci and one count of second-degree murder in the death of their unborn son.

In 2008, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, facing a possible indictment by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur, announced a ceasefire in the region.

In 2008, newspaper publisher and broadcaster Canwest announced it was cutting five per cent of its workforce across the country, or about 560 jobs, as part of its streamlining of operations in the face of an economic slowdown.

In 2009, Paul Wendkos, who directed over 100 films and television shows during a 50-year career, including the 1959 surf movie “Gidget” and its two sequels, died. He was 84. For television, he directed series such as “The Rifleman” and “Hawaii Five-O.” His made-for-TV movies include “The Legend of Lizzie Borden” and “The Ordeal of Patty Hearst.”

In 2010, four spectators at the Canadian Finals Rodeo suffered injuries when a bull hopped the rail at Edmonton's Rexall Place and plunged into the stands, forcing the spectators to scatter before rodeo hands corralled the animal.

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