In 1885, Metis leader Louis Riel was hanged in Regina for his involvement in the Northwest Rebellions. Riel's lawyer proposed to defend him on grounds of insanity, but Riel repudiated this and he was found guilty of treason. The execution was postponed several times and pleas for clemency came from many parts of the world.
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In 1686, Britain and France signed the Treaty of Neutrality governing possession in North America in the event of war in Europe.
In 1776, British troops captured Fort Washington in New York during the American Revolution.
In 1837, authorities in Lower Canada (Quebec) ordered the arrest of politician and skilled orator Louis Papineau, leader of the nationalist movement or Patriot Party, after a rebellion broke out over demands for democratic reforms. He fled to the United States and later to France.
In 1838, a cross was erected in Oxford, England to commemorate the memory of three major figures in the English Reformation. Bishop Nicholas Ridley, Bishop Hugh Latimer and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, who were all executed for their faith during the reign of Catholic Queen Mary.
In 1857, Able Seaman William Hall of Handsport, N.S., won the Victoria Cross while serving with the British army in Lucknow, India. Hall was the first Canadian sailor, and the first black, to win Britain's highest award for valour.
In 1901, three automobile racers in the New York borough of Brooklyn became the first people to exceed the speed of one mile a minute in a car.
In 1907, Oklahoma became the 46th U.S. state.
In 1933, the United States and the Soviet Union established diplomatic relations.
In 1941, troops from the Quebec-based Royal Rifles of Canada and the Winnipeg Grenadiers arrived in Hong Kong to beef up the colony's British garrison. Japanese troops invaded the island of Hong Kong on Dec. 18 and the garrison surrendered a week later. Of the 1,975 Canadians sent to Hong Kong, 557 died in action or in Japanese prison camps.
In 1950, the Law Society of Upper Canada announced the establishment of legal aid clinics to provide legal service and assistance for needy persons in Ontario.
In 1950, Canadian troops for the Korean War arrived at Fort Lewis, Wash., for training.
In 1960, B.C. fishermen ended a labour dispute that had shut down the herring fishery for 12 months.
In 1965, the Soviet satellite “Venus 3” became the first man-made object to land on Venus.
In 1966, during a 20-minute period, 2,300 meteors a minute streaked over Arizona. It was the greatest meteor shower ever recorded.
In 1973, “Skylab 4,” carrying a crew of three astronauts, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on an 84-day mission.
In 1982, the Federal Cultural Policy Review Committee headed by Louis Applebaum and Jacques Hebert, released its report. Its major recommendations included that government introduce powerful legislation to guarantee autonomy of cultural agencies; boost its grants to Canada Council; force the CBC and private broadcasters to carry more domestic programming; increase the role of the Canadian Film Development Corp. to assist new film and television production. It proposed that the government put more money into the arts, not to build theatres, concert halls and radio and television networks, but to help the people who created and performed and especially to assist new Canadian works.
In 1982, a 57-day strike by National Football League players ended. The strike cost the league an estimated $450 million in lost revenue.
In 1983, Margaret Trudeau filed for divorce from Pierre Trudeau on the grounds of long-term separation. The couple had wed in 1971 and, after several well-publicized differences, separated in 1977, with Pierre retaining custody of their three sons.
In 1985, Larry Grossman was elected leader of the Ontario Conservative Party, defeating Dennis Timbrell.
In 1987, Gillis Purcell, general manager of The Canadian Press for 24 years, died in Toronto at age 82.
In 1989, in a unanimous judgment, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that there is no fetal right to life contained in Quebec's charter of rights nor under the province's Civil Code or the common law that prevails throughout the rest of Canada.
In 1990, the first Canadian-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby died at 29. “Northern Dancer” was destroyed at a Maryland breeding farm after a severe attack of colic. He won both the Derby and the Queen's Plate in 1964, then became the greatest stud horse in history.
In 1993, a U.S. Court of Appeal struck down as unconstitutional the Defence Department's previous long-standing ban on gays in the armed forces.
In 1994, Jean Chretien became the first Canadian prime minister to visit Vietnam.
In 1994, Robert Latimer, a Saskatchewan farmer who killed his severely disabled 12-year-old daughter in 1993, was found guilty of second-degree murder. The conviction was overturned and a new trial was ordered. On Nov. 5, 1997, a second jury returned the same verdict. He started serving day parole in March, 2008 and was granted full parole on Dec. 6, 2010.
In 1994, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops voted overwhelmingly to make way for women to move up to the top ranks of church theologians, administrators and canon lawyers.
In 1997, Robert Thompson, former national leader of the Social Credit Party, died in Vancouver at age 83.
In 1997, China freed its most famous political prisoner Wei Jingsheng, a four-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, who was in the 19th year of captivity.
In 1999, Nathaniel Abraham became the youngest person in U.S. history to be convicted of murder. He was found guilty of second-degree murder for shooting a stranger outside a suburban Detroit convenience store when he was 11.
In 1999, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson failed a drug test for the third time.
Also in 1999, Alberta Premier Raph Klein said his province was planning to pay private hospitals to do major surgeries.
In 2000, Bill Clinton arrived in Hanoi for a historic visit to Vietnam -- the first U.S. president to visit Vietnam since Richard Nixon visited American troops in 1969.
In 2001, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone,” the first movie instalment of the best-selling series, opened in North America. It brought in a record $90 million its first weekend and eventually grossed $976 million worldwide.
In 2002, William Marrie, a former National Ballet of Canada dancer, died in a motorcycle accident in New York at age 33. He had performed on Broadway in the lead role of Eddie in “Movin' Out,” a ballet-infused musical based on the songs of Billy Joel. He studied at L'Ecole Superieure de Danse du Quebec and joined the National Ballet in 1990, becoming principal dancer in 2001.
In 2004, about 30.6 cm of snow fell in Gander, Nfld., breaking a one-day record set in 1992. In St. John's, 64.3 mm of rain was recorded, breaking the one-day record established in 1911.
In 2005, Toronto writer David Gilmour won the Governor General's Award for fiction for his novel “A Perfect Night to Go to China.”
In 2007, Poland's new prime minister, Donald Tusk, formally took office along with a team of former anti-communist dissidents.
In 2008, the Montreal Grand Prix was officially dropped from the 2009 F1 roster. The race was on the F1 schedule since 1967 and became one of sports most attended events, drawing over 300,000 spectators for three days of parties, events, and racing. (It returned in 2010.)
In 2008, seven people died and one miraculously survived after a charter airplane carrying a team of workers bound for a hydro-electric project in northern B.C.'s Toba Inlet, crashed on a small island near the Sunshine Coast.
In 2009, Kumi Naidoo, an anti-apartheid campaigner, became the first African to head Greenpeace.
In 2009, space shuttle “Atlantis” was launched, carrying a payload of 24 Canadian willow tree saplings which were to be part of a Canadian experiment to help determine the role gravity plays in the formation of different kinds of wood.
In 2010, Buckingham Palace announced the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton. (They were married on Friday, April 29th, 2011 in Westminster Abbey.)
In 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Parliament that Canada's combat mission would end in July, 2011 as scheduled, but that the country will keep up to 950 soldiers and support staff in Afghanistan on a training mission until March, 2014.
In 2010, Regina's Dianne Warren won the Governor General's Award for fiction for her debut novel “Cool Water” about a small Saskatchewan town. Allan Casey, a journalist from Saskatoon, won the non-fiction category for “Lakeland: Journeys into the Soul of Canada.”