In 1954, hurricane Hazel roared into central and eastern Canada killing 82 people in the Toronto area alone. The hurricane did its worst in Ontario, causing more than $24 million in damage during its two-day rampage. Hazel had been blowing itself out south of the border when a cold front from the north reactivated it over Lake Ontario, producing the heaviest rains in southern Ontario's history.
Also on this date:
In 1542, the great Mogul emperor Jalaluddin Akbar was born in India.
In 1582, the Gregorian calendar was introduced in Catholic countries. As a result, 10 days were lost as the calendar jumped from Oct. 4 to Oct. 15.
In 1701, Mother Marie d'Youville, founder of the Grey Nuns, was born near Montreal.
In 1730, Antoine de Lamother Cadillac, founder of Detroit, died.
In 1754, Anthony Henday sighted the Rocky Mountains, near Red Deer, Alta.
In 1785, writs were issued for the election of the first representative assembly in New Brunswick.
In 1851, Lady Elgin, wife of the governor general of Ontario, turned the first sod of the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Union Railroad.
In 1872, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company was formed.
In 1878, the Edison Electric Light Company, the first electric company, was incorporated.
In 1880, after 600 years of construction, the Grand Cathedral in Cologne, Germany was completed.
In 1884, the first issue of “La Presse” appeared in Montreal.
In 1885, Jumbo, an elephant owned by P. T. Barnum's circus, was killed by a train at St. Thomas, Ont.
In 1908, Canadian-born economist John Kenneth Galbraith, was born in Iona Station, Ont. Among his influential books are “The Affluent Society and The New Industrial State.” An activist liberal, Galbraith was personal adviser to U.S. presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. He died on April 29, 2006.
In 1917, Germany's famed First World War spy, Mata Hari, was executed by an Allied firing squad.
In 1932, the Winnipeg Auditorium, the city's main concert hall until 1968, was opened by Prime Minister R. B. Bennett. The building was remodeled in 1975 to house the Provincial Archives and Library.
In 1944, German radio announced the death of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.
In 1945, former French premier Pierre Laval was executed for betraying his country to Nazi Germany during the Second World War.
In 1946, Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering fatally poisoned himself hours before he was to have been executed.
In 1953, the Trans-Mountain oil pipeline was completed between Edmonton and Vancouver.
In 1957, a $31 million, 24-kilometre throughway bisecting Ottawa was dedicated by Queen Elizabeth as the Queensway.
In 1962, Hamilton quarterback Joe Zuger set a CFL record with eight touchdown passes versus the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders.
In 1964, Roger Jackson and George Hungerford won Canada's only gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics in the coxless pairs rowing event.
In 1967, the “Queen Mary” ended a career as a transatlantic liner and became a floating hotel and museum at Long Beach, Calif.
In 1969, Herbert Gray, an MP for Windsor West, became Canada's first Jewish cabinet minister when he was appointed as a minister without portfolio by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
In 1969, Canada and the Vatican established diplomatic relations.
In 1986, University of Toronto professor John Polanyi was named a joint winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry. He shared the award with Americans Dudley Herschbach and Yuan Lee for their study of energy produced by chemical reactions.
In 1989, hockey star Wayne Gretzky of the Los Angeles Kings surpassed Gordie Howe's NHL scoring record of 1,850 points. (He retired in 1999 with 2,857 points).
In 1990, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was named the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1990, the pillar of South Africa's apartheid system was scrapped as the white government repealed the Separate Amenities Act. Exactly three years later, President F.W. de Klerk and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1993, Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk won the Nobel Peace Prize for working to peacefully end apartheid and for pushing South Africa toward democracy.
In 1993, the Conservatives touched off howls of protest with a series of election ads attacking Liberal leader Jean Chretien. Critics -- including some Tory candidates -- said the ads made fun of Chretien's face, which was disfigured by a childhood disease.
In 1999, Doctors without Borders, the French medical aid group, won the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of the organization's pioneering humanitarian work on several continents.
In 2003, China launched its first manned spacecraft, “Shenzhou 5,” joining the exclusive club of space-travelling nations that previously included only the United States and Russia. The spacecraft landed safely after orbiting the Earth 14 times in 21 hours.
In 2003, 11 people were killed when a Staten Island ferry slammed into a maintenance pier. The ferry's pilot, who'd blacked out at the controls, later pleaded guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
In 2003, doctors removed the feeding tube of Terri Schiavo, a severely brain-damaged woman at the centre of a right-to-die battle. The tube was reinserted six days later after the Florida Legislature rushed through “Terri's Law,” which was later struck down by the Florida Supreme Court. The feeding tube was again removed in March, 2005 and she died on March 31.
In 2009, Richard and Mayumi Heene reported their six-year-old son had floated away in a homemade UFO-shaped helium balloon, touching off a scramble of dozens of emergency responders and two Colorado National Guard helicopters. The boy wasn't on the balloon but was later found at his home in Fort Collins, Colo. Authorities accused the Heenes of staging a hoax to get publicity for reality TV shows they were trying to pitch. Richard Heene was sentenced to 90 days in jail for falsely influencing authorities. Mayumi Heene was sentenced to 20 days for filing a false report.
In 2010, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that a B.C. woman who was conceived through sperm donation won the right to proceed with a lawsuit aimed at getting information about the donor.
In 2010, the Swiss finished drilling the $10 billion 57-km Gotthard Base tunnel that will connect to Europe's high-speed rail network. When it's opened for traffic in 2017, it would supplant Japan's 53.6-km Seikan Tunnel as the world's longest - excluding aqueducts.