History of Nova Scotia
with special attention given to
Communications and Transportation

Chapter 18
1 January 1920   to   31 December 1939

1920 February 25

Stiver's Falls Hydroelectric Plant
Begins Operation

This plant, usually known as the old White Rock generating station, was built in 1919 at Stiver's Falls on the Gaspereaux River, near White Rock, about 3km south-west of Wolfville, Stiver's Falls (White Rock) generating plant, about 1940 and produced electricity for the first time on 25 February 1920. "The installation at Stiver's Falls began (in 1920) with a capacity of 375 horsepower 280 kilowatts.

It provided electricity for a dozen Kings County communities, including both Wolfville and Kentville and, on the side, it ground pulp. It did all this with three generators producing, during their best moments, a total of just over 700 kilowatts ... The dam was 32 feet high, 29 feet thick at the base, and about 200 feet long." The plant was built by Roy Joudrey and Charles Wright, and was sold in the spring of 1920 to the Gaspereau River Light, Heat & Power Company Limited for $63,800, which the Public Utilities Board determined was "fair value".

LEFT: Photograph, taken about 1939 or 1940, of the original Stiver's Falls (White Rock) hydro-electric power plant, which was demolished in the late 1940s.  The photograph was generously made available to me in August 1997, by Mr. Jim Sangster, who hired on with Avon River Power in 1936, and was an operator at this plant in the early 1940s.
[The quotes are from the book The Story of R.A. Jodrey, Enterpreneur by Harry Bruce, McClelland and Stewart, 1979.]

1920 March 3

Gaspereau River Light, Heat & Power Company

On this day, the Gaspereau River Light, Heat & Power Company Limited was incorporated by Charles Wright and Roy Joudrey.

1920 March 3

Gaspereau Valley Electric Light Company

On this day, the Gaspereau Valley Electric Light Company Limited was incorporated. On 29 July 1920, the GVEL Co. applied to the Public Utilities Board for authority to issue 800 shares at $10 each, to raise $8,000 to build an electric power line six miles long from the White Rock (Stiver's Falls) power plant to the village of Gaspereau, about 3 km south of Wolfville in Kings County. The authority was granted, and by October 1920 the line was built and carrying electricity to Gaspereau.

1920 March 3

Amherst Talking Machine Company

On this day, the Amherst Talking Machine Company Limited was incorporated.

1920 May 22

Paradise Electric Company Limited

The Paradise Electric Co. was incorporated on this day, to distribute electric power in the village of Paradise, Annapolis County.

1920 October 04

First Flight Across Canada

The Canadian Air Board, forerunner of the Royal Canadian Air Force, began its first flight across Canada on this day.  Wing Cmdr. Robert Leckie took off from Halifax on Ocober 4th, arriving at Winnipeg on October 11th.  From there, Air Commodore A.K. Tylee and three other pilots flew to Vancouver, arriving on October 17th.  Total flying time was 45 hours and 20 minutes to fly 5,488 kilometres, an average flying speed of 121 km/h.
— "Today in History," Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 4 October 2003

One Air Board operation that deserves mention was the trans-Canada flight of 1920.  The Civil Operations Branch of the Air Board flew relays of their branch personnel as well as CAF aircraft and crews from Halifax to Vancouver in ten days; total flying time was only 49 hours and seven minutes.
A History of the Air Services in Canada

Fifty-Hour Airplane Service to be Opened Across Canada

A trans-continental air route, with express airplanes offering fifty-hour air service between Halifax and Vancouver, will be established soon by the Canadian Air Board, it was announced in Ottawa yesterday.  Utilizing seaplanes for the eastern portion of the route and land machines for the west, where water landings are said to be impossible, the air line will offer complete passenger, express, mail and light freight service.  Control stations are to be established at intervals of twenty miles (32km), with air ports at all principal cities along the route.
New York Times, 18 August 1920

Canada has been crossed by airplane!

That's how The Vancouver Sun began its front-page story on the arrival at Minoru Park in Richmond on Sunday, October 17, 1920 – 85 years ago today – of Air Commodore A.K. Tylee of the Canadian Air Board and his crew aboard a DeHavilland D-H-9-A biplane.

The flight had been accomplished in relays of crews and aircraft.  The first crew left Halifax on October 7 aboard a Fairey seaplane.  At Winnipeg the seaplanes and flying boats used throughout the eastern leg of the journey were replaced by three DH9s, of which only one finally made it to Vancouver.

The Sun's reporter was alerted, like the rest of the waiting crowd, to a faint buzzing sound from the east, "and soon a tiny speck could be seen like a bird winging its way across the leaden sky... the speck grew larger until the giant machine could be made out." The plane cut its engine above the Minoru field and glided in for a quiet landing.

In all, the flight had taken eleven days, but time in the air was just 45 hours, when it took trains 132 hours to make the same journey.  It looked like there might be a future for the airplane.
The History of Metropolitan Vancouver

The Canadian Air Board initiated the first Trans-Canada flight on July 17, 1920 from Halifax using a variety of aircraft and crews and on October 13, 1920 Air Commodore A.K. Tylee and pilot Flight Lieutenant George Thompson departed Calgary in de Havilland DH-9A G-CYBF for Vancouver.  The airman were forced to stop in Revelstoke and again at Merritt because their path was barred by cloud and snow, however they completed their quest and arrived at Vancouver October 17, 1920.
First Flight West Air Pilot Navigator (Volume Six) Chris Weicht. Creekside Publications. (2008) ISBN:9781425176891

The first trans-Canada flight, sponsored by the newly-constituted Canadian Air Board, began in Halifax on Oct. 7, 1920, in a Fairey Seaplane piloted by Lt. Col. Robert Leckie and Major Basil Hobbs.  Using six float and land planes along the way, they completed the 3,265 miles (5,253 km) 10 days later, having spent about 45 hours in the air.
Canada in the Air RBC newsletter, v61 n3, March 1980

— Reference: Canadian Air Board page 574 of the 27 May 1920 issue of Flight, "First Aero Weekly in the World" – Official Organ of the Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom: A Journal devoted to the Interests, Practice, and Progress of Aerial Locomotion and Transport

— Note: The Canadian Air Board was reorganized as the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) on 1 April 1924.

1921 February 19

First Dial Telephone Exchange

The first permanent dial telephone exchange in Nova Scotia went into regular operation on this day, in north Halifax.  All other exchanges in the province were still staffed with operators — anyone wanting to make a phone call had to tell the operator what phone number was wanted, and the operator used a special switchboard with retractable plugs to connect the two telephones, and when the conversation was completed, the operator pulled the plug connection.
[Halifax Daily News, 19 February 2001]

1921 June 23

Barss Corner Electric Light Company Limited

The Barss Corner Electric Light Company Limited was incorporated on this day, to distribute electric power in Barss Corner and vicinity, in Lunenburg County.  The BCEL Co. was purely a distributing company, meaning it did not generate any electric power; it purchased all of its electric power from J. Zwicker & Son of New Germany.


CHAC Halifax

Radio station CHAC went on the air in Halifax some time during 1922, on a wavelength of 400 metres.

In the very early days of broadcast radio, the usual practice was to state the carrier as a wavelength.  In the mid-1920s the general practice changed to stating the carrier as a frequency (cycles per second).  By the 1930s, the tuning dials of household radio receivers were marked with the frequency numbers shown prominently, while the wavelength numbers were much smaller or omitted entirely.  The two methods convey the same basic information – if you know either one you can easily calculate the other.

In the 1990s the universal practice is to state carriers as frequencies, but the original terminology lingers in the common parlance of referring to a high-frequency transmitter as being a "short wave" station.  You often see or hear references to "short wave," never to "high frequency."

A wavelength of 400 metres is equivalent to a frequency of 750 kilohertz.  CHAC was an AM (amplitude-modulated) station. In 1922 the transmitter power was probably around 100 watts, but this was reduced in 1923 to about 20 watts.  CHAC operated for about three years, shutting down in 1925.  The call letters may have been chosen from Halifax, Atlantic Canada.
History of Canadian Broadcasting

Radio Stations on the air in April 1922

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
Radio Stations on the air, 1922-1931

Archived: 2000 Aug 17     Radio stations in operation 1922

Archived: 2002 Jun 19     Radio stations in operation 1922

Archived: 2000 Aug 29     Radio stations in operation 1923

Archived: 2002 Jun 21     Radio stations in operation 1923

Archived: 2001 Feb 26     Radio stations in operation 1924

Archived: 2001 Jul 16     Radio stations in operation 1924

Archived: 2001 Feb 26     Radio stations in operation 1925

Archived: 2001 Jul 16     Radio stations in operation 1925

Archived: 2001 Feb 26     Radio stations in operation 1926

Archived: 2001 Jul 16     Radio stations in operation 1926

Archived: 2001 Feb 26     Radio stations in operation 1927

Archived: 2002 Mar 16     Radio stations in operation 1927

Archived: 2001 Feb 26     Radio stations in operation 1928

Archived: 2001 Jul 16     Radio stations in operation 1928

Archived: 2000 May 25     Radio stations in operation 1929

Archived: 2002 Mar 16     Radio stations in operation 1929

Archived: 2001 Feb 26     Radio stations in operation 1930

Archived: 2002 Mar 16     Radio stations in operation 1930

Archived: 2001 Feb 26     Radio stations in operation 1931

Archived: 2001 Jul 16     Radio stations in operation 1931

Jeff Miller's Broadcasting History Pages

Canadian Radio Stations as of 1924, 1926, 1928

This 1924 list of Canadian radio stations came from the Nov. 1, 1924, "Radio Service Bulletin," a publication of the U. S. government...

1922 April 1

Early Radio Stations

In the early years, 1920-1932, of radio broadcasting in Canada, there were no government regulations worth mentioning, just official licensing through the Department of Marine and Fisheries.  Later in the decade those departments were separated, with Marine having the sole control over radio broadcasting.  Many stations were on the air long before they got their license.  Canadian Government records only show which stations were actually on the air in each year on April 1st (the start of the government fiscal year).  The earliest such record is dated April 1st, 1922.
The Early Years, 1920 - 1932

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
The Growth of Radio Broadcasting in Canada
The Early Years: 1920-1932

Archived: 1997 February 10

Archived: 1997 July 16

1922 June

Canadian Government Merchant Marine Service to Bermuda

In June 1922, the Canadian Government Merchant Marine, a government financed operation, inaugurated a Montreal to Bermuda to West Indies service, with Halifax replacing Montreal in the winter months.  The vessels Canadian Fisher and Canadian Forester were employed on the run.

1922 August 2

Death of A.G. Bell

Alexander Graham Bell died at his home Beinn Bhreagh, near Baddeck in Cape Breton.

1922 October 15

Passenger Trains To/From Bridgewater

32 Arrivals and 32 Departures
each week

Nova Scotia: CNR Passenger Train Timetable, October 1922
CNR Passenger Train Timetable, Bridgewater
Bridgewater Bulletin, November 21, 1922
All of these trains were powered by coal-burning steam locomotives.

The above advertisement refers to "Passenger and Mixed Trains". A Mixed Train carried both passengers and freight. Along its route, the train would stop at stations to pick up and drop passengers, and it would switch sidings wherever there were freight cars to be 'set out' or taken away.

For example, the weekly Mixed Train from Bridgewater to Port Wade and return, each Wednesday, had a passenger car to accomodate any passengers who wanted to travel along that route, also it would take freight cars from Bridgewater for delivery to sidings along the way, and it would take away from sidings any freight cars that had been emptied or filled and were ready to go.

Mixed Trains were not a fast way to travel, but they offered dependable, comfortable, low-cost transportation at a time when a traveller had little alternative other than a horse.

1922 November 10

Paradise West Electric Light Company Limited

On this day, the Public Utilities Board gave approval to Paradise West Electric Light Company to issue 45 shares of common stock of par value $100.00 each, to raise $4,500 to build a power line to distribute electric power in the vicinity of Paradise West, Annapolis County.


Commercial Cable Company's
Sixth Trans-Atlantic Telegraph Cable

Cable laying was suspended during the war years 1914-1918, and even after peace came it was next to impossible to obtain new cable from the manufacturers, who were unable to handle the pent-up demand for thousands of miles of new cable. The Commercial Cable Company was able, in 1923, to get delivery of the huge number six cable, with its conductor weighing 1100 pounds of copper to the nautical mile 270 kilograms per kilometre.

Like its predecessors, this was a submarine (underwater) cable, and it was laid on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean along a route from New York to Hazel Hill, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, thence to Horta in the Azores, and from there to Waterville, Ireland. Its purpose was to carry telegraph messages across the ocean (no trans-atlantic telephone cable was available until September 1956).


The Canadian Press News Organization

The Canadian Press (CP) is a national news co-operative of Canada's daily newspapers. It was incorporated in 1910 as Canadian Press Limited — a limited company carrying on a news agency business. In 1923, it was changed into a corporation without share capital by a statute of the Parliament of Canada (13-14 George V, Chapter 102) and thereby became "The Canadian Press" — a news co-operative. The statute limits membership in the co-operative to the owners of daily newspapers in Canada who subscribe for membership. It is a company that operates and contracts in its own name. News from The Canadian Press is made available on a subscription basis to newspapers, broadcasters, corporations, individuals and government offices.

1923 March

Boston & Yarmouth Steamship Company

Nova Scotia: Boston & Yarmouth Steamship Company, 1923
Boston & Yarmouth Steamship Company
Bridgewater Bulletin, March 20, 1923

1923 March 30

D.A.R. Closed to Traffic

The Canadian National Express from Halifax on Friday [30 March 1923] carried a large passenger list for the steamship at Yarmouth owing to the D.A.R. line being out of commission.
[Bridgewater Bulletin, 3 April 1923]

In the early 1920s, each Friday at 6:30pm a steamship departed Yarmouth for Boston, a regular service that many travellers used. The Dominion Atlantic Railway operated a special passenger train each Friday, leaving Halifax and travelling through the Annapolis Valley, reaching the wharf at Yarmouth in time for travellers to transfer to the steamship for Boston.

At that time, this was the fastest way to travel from Halifax to Boston. However, on Friday, March 30th, 1923, trains were unable to operate over the Dominion Atlantic Railway line because of washouts caused by a storm a few days before.

In the 1920s there were two railways operating trains between Halifax and Yarmouth: the D.A.R. from Halifax through Windsor, Kentville, Middleton and Digby to Yarmouth, and the Canadian National Railways line — usually called the Halifax & South Western Railway — along the South Shore from Halifax through Chester, Bridgewater, Liverpool and Shelburne to Yarmouth. When the D.A.R. boat train was cancelled, the two railway managements arranged for the D.A.R. passengers to be transferred to the C.N.R. (H.&S.W.R.) train. The transfer was simple for the passengers because both D.A.R. and C.N.R. trains going to Yarmouth departed Halifax from the same railway station. No doubt a couple of additional passenger cars were added to the C.N.R. train to accomodate the extra passengers.

D.A.R. Still Closed to Traffic

Dominion Atlantic Railway passengers between Halifax and Yarmouth are travelling by the Halifax and South Western both ways today on account of the freshets on the D.A.R.
[Bridgewater Bulletin, 10 April 1923]

N.S.C.R. Also Closed to Traffic

The freshet on Monday [9 April 1923] destroyed some small dams on the LaHave River and piled large pieces of ice over the railway track in many places so that the Caledonia and Middleton trains had to be cancelled for that day.
[Bridgewater Bulletin, 10 April 1923]

The railway between Bridgewater and Middleton — built in the late 1880s by the Nova Scotia Central Railway — in 1923 was owned and operated by Canadian National Railways but was still often called the N.S.C.R. For about fifteen kilometres upstream from Bridgewater this track closely followed the east bank of the LaHave River in Lunenburg County, and in many places was only a metre or two above the river's normal water level.

In late winter and early spring, when rain caused the river ice to break up, it was not uncommon for ice blockades to form here and there along the river. These temporary ice dams formed quickly and could cause the river water to rise two or three metres in a few hours. At such times the railway track was often under water and trains had to be cancelled until the water went down.

The Caledonia train operated six days a week from Caledonia to New Germany and Bridgewater in the morning, returning in the afternoon. The Middleton train operated six days a week from Bridgewater to Middleton and return. Both trains travelled along the N.S.C.R. track between Bridgewater and New Germany, and both had to be cancelled if that track was impassable.

In the 1920s the railways provided the most important transportation service throughout Nova Scotia (and pretty much everywhere else in North America). When the trains were delayed or cancelled, for any reason, there were immediate and serious effects on many people and businesses. Travellers were stranded, and freight could not be moved. The mail was stopped. Any disruption in the normal railway operations had an immediate and far-reaching impact, and such events were newsworthy.

1923 April 15

Highway Driving Rule Changes Sides

Nova Scotia: Now Drive to the Right
Drive to the Right on Nova Scotia Roads
Amherst Daily News, April 14, 1923

On Sunday, 15 April 1923, the “rule of the road” changed, in Nova Scotia.  After this day, all drivers keep to the right-hand side of the road.  Previously, automobiles, streetcars, horses, bicyclists, and all other vehicles and travellers adhered to the left-hand side of the road.  Since 1 December 1922 there had been a problem for automobile drivers who crossed the border between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick — on that date New Brunswick had switched to driving on the right-hand side of the road, while Nova Scotia remained with the left-side rule.  For four and a half months, drivers crossing the border in both directions had to remember to change to the other side of the road, and even with the relatively low traffic levels of that day — especially during the winter months — there were too many near-misses resulting from this conflict.

In 1923, there were four electric railway systems in operation in Nova Scotia: Halifax, Yarmouth, Pictou County (Trenton - New Glasgow - Stellarton - Westville) and Cape Breton (Sydney - Glace Bay).  All four were passenger (what are now called “public transit”) railways operated on public streets, and their track and rolling stock had been designed in conformance with the drive-to-the-left law.  For example, the electric streetcars had been built with the passenger doors on the left-hand side.  The new drive-to-the-right rule required extensive and expensive changes in equipment and track.  Nova Scotia Tramways & Power Company Limited, which owned and operated the electric streetcar system in Halifax, sued the provincial government to recover the cost of changing the doors on all streetcars to the other side, and the cost of changes in track layout. 

In Lunenburg County, 1923 is still known as The Year of Free Beef; the price of beef dropped precipitously because oxen which had been trained to keep to the left could not be retrained — oxen are notoriously slow-witted — and many teamsters had to replace their oxen with new ones trained to keep to the right; the displaced oxen were sent to slaughter.

More information about the change from left to right on Nova Scotia highways

1923 April 17

Telephone Exchange Operator Wanted

Nova Scotia: Night operator for telephone exchange, 1923
[Bridgewater Bulletin, 17 April 1923]

1923 December

Passenger Train Services

For decades, there was a law in Nova Scotia that required a board to be mounted on the outside wall of each railway station, displaying the scheduled times of every passenger train arrival and departure at that station. In December 1923, the train board at the railway station in Bridgewater, Lunenburg County, displayed the following information.

Halifax & South Western Railway
Passenger Train Schedule Board

Bridgewater Station

December 1923


34 arrivals each week
3:45am Train 278 eastbound from
and Liverpool.
Thu. & Sun. only
6:30am Train 284 eastbound from
Mon. & Thu. only
9:30am Train 258 southbound from
and New Germany.
Daily ex. Sun.
9:45am Train 85 westbound from
and Mahone Bay,
   conn. from Lunenburg.
Daily ex. Sun.
3:15pm Train 86 eastbound from
and Liverpool.
Daily ex. Sun.

from Boston Tue. & Fri.
5:30pm Train 254 southbound from
and New Germany.
Daily ex. Wed. & Sun.
7:20pm Train 283 westbound from
and Mahone Bay,
   conn. from Lunenburg.
Daily ex. Sun.
9:15pm Train 256 southbound from
Port Wade,
and New Germany.
Wed. only.

34 departures each week
6:45am Train 284 eastbound to
Mahone Bay,
   conn. to Lunenburg,
and Halifax.
Daily ex. Sun.
7:35am Train 253 northbound to
New Germany,
and Middleton.
Daily ex. Sun.

Wed. only continues as
Train 255 to Bridgetown
and Port Wade.
9:55am Train 85 westbound to
and Yarmouth.
Daily ex. Sun.

to Boston Tue. & Fri.
3:25pm Train 86 eastbound to
Mahone Bay,
   conn. to Lunenburg,
and Halifax.
Daily ex. Sun.
3:25pm Train 257 northbound to
New Germany
and Caledonia.
Daily ex. Sun.
7:35pm Train 283 westbound to
Wed. & Sat. only
11:00pm Train 277 westbound to
and Yarmouth.
Tue. & Fri. only
[Source:  Reconstructed from the public timetables for passenger train services in Nova Scotia, published by CNR in December 1923.  At this time, the Halifax & South Western Railway was wholly owned by Canadian National Railway.  H&SW owned the track and stations, and operated the trains, between Halifax and Yarmouth along Nova Scotia's South Shore, and between Bridgewater, Middleton, Bridgetown, and Port Wade.  These trains were powered by coal-burning steam locomotives.]

This item was first uploaded to the Internet on 29 July 1998.

Detailed Passenger Train Timetables
December 1923


Halifax Radio Stations CFCS and CFCE

Radio station CFCS was on the air in Halifax some time during 1924, on a wavelength of 410 metres, equivalent to a frequency of 730 kilohertz.  CHAC was an AM (amplitude-modulated) station, reportedly set up by Eastern Telephone & Telegraph Company.

Radio station CFCE was on the air in Halifax some time during 1924, on a wavelength of 440 metres, equivalent to a frequency of 680 kilohertz.  It was set up and operated by the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company.

Jeff Miller's Broadcasting History Pages
Canadian Radio Stations as of 1924
This 1924 list of Canadian radio stations came from the Nov. 1, 1924, "Radio Service Bulletin," a publication of the U. S. government...

1924 February 1

CNR Leases IR&C

On this day, Canadian National Railways leased the Inverness Railway & Coal Company for three years at an annual rental of $25,000, with the option to buy at any time during the lease. IR&C owned and operated a coal mine at Inverness, Cape Breton, and a railway 64.1 miles 103.2 km long from a connection with the Truro - Sydney main line of the CNR at Inverness Junction, near Point Tupper, to Port Hood, Inverness, and Broad Cove.

In 2002, 4.8 miles 7.7 km of the original IR&C main line track remains in daily use as a section of the Truro - Sydney main line of the Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway Company; this is the section between the Canso Causeway and the Port Hawkesbury station, and southward from the Port Hawkesbury station about one km to the junction near Point Tupper.

1924 March

Chester Light & Power Company Limited

The Chester L&P Co. was incorporated by "Foreman Hawboldt, Carrol Manning, Roy Hennigar, Harold Hilchie, Owen Zinck, and Eugene Publicover", to distribute electric power in Chester and vicinity, in Lunenburg County. During the summer of 1924, Chester L&P Co. built a small hydro-electric generating plant at East River. In November 1924, the Chester L&P Co. had 73 electricity meters in service.

1924 May 7

Pictou County Electric Company Sold

On this day, the Pictou County Electric Company was acquired by the Pictou County Power Board.

1924 May 31

Londonderry Iron and Mining Company
Sold at Auction

Anouncement of auction sale of the Londonderry Iron and Mining Company
Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management

A History of Mining Activity in Nova Scotia, 1720-1992
Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management

1924 September 3   4:38pm

First Round-the-World Planes
Land at Pictou

In 1924, a squad of American army aviators took 300 hours and 11 minutes airborne time to fly around the world; the time elapsed from takeoff to completion of the trip was 175 days.

On 6 April 1924, four seaplanes took off from Seattle. Twenty-four days later, the leader's plane Seattle crashed on a mountainside in Alaska; the crew survived. The three remaining planes kept going. Boston crashed into the Atlantic off the Faroe Islands; the crew was rescued by one of the U.S. warships patrolling the flight route.

Pictou had been selected as a refuelling stop. On September 3, Chicago and New Orleans took off from Hawkes' Bay in Newfoundland at 10:12am. Strong winds over the Cabot Strait delayed them. They touched down in Pictou at 4:38pm — this was their first landing on mainland North America after going around the world. There was a huge celebration in Pictou. Several reporters from American newspapers were in town for the event. Their telegraphed reports appeared the next day on the front page of numerous papers, including the Boston Globe and the New York World.

After being refuelled, Chicago, New Orleans and Boston II took off at 11:30am on September 5. They reached their point of departure, in Seattle, on September 28. The planes were Douglas World Cruisers.

[Excerpted from James Malcolm Cameron's Yesteryears in Pictou County, 1994, published by the Pictou County Historical Society.]

1924 December 24

McKay Automobile Factory Burned

"Photographs of turn-of-the-century Kentville are dominated by the three-storey Nova Scotia Carriage Company factory," which, in 1910, was taken over by the Nova Scotia Carriage and Motor Car Company Limited and converted to manufacture McKay automobiles. "The building was destroyed in a spectacular fire on Christmas Eve in 1924 and but for a fresh fall of snow, most of Kentville's commercial district would have gone up in smoke with it."
[The quotes are from Ed Coleman's column McKay Motor Car — Valley-Made which appeared originally in the Kentville Advertiser, 27 February 1998.]

1925 February 11

Radios Appearing in Bridgetown

Among the latest to install radios are Mr. Angus P. McDonald and Jack Lockett.
[Bridgetown Weekly Monitor, 11 February 1925]
[75 Years Ago in the Bridgetown Monitor, 15 February 2000]

1925 February 28   10:20pm

Small Earthquake Felt at Bridgetown

About 10:20 on Saturday night (February 28th), a small earthquake was felt by residents of the Bridgetown area. Persons who were walking about the streets did not notice anything unusual but people in their homes noticed furniture shaking, and buildings trembled slightly. The disturbance occurred over all eastern Canada and a large part of the United States.
[Bridgetown Weekly Monitor, 4 March 1925]
[75 Years Ago in the Bridgetown Monitor, 8 March 2000]

1925 March 11

Ice Gone from Annapolis River

The ice went out of the river last week. This is believed to be the earliest on record, or at least the earliest in a long period of years. It is now expected that the S.S. Valinda will come up from Annapolis (to Bridgetown) this week and go to Saint John on Monday next (March 16th), continuing her regular schedule for the season.
[Bridgetown Weekly Monitor, 11 March 1925]
[75 Years Ago in the Bridgetown Monitor, 14 March 2000]

1925 March 21

Grand Central Hotel Burned

The old Grand Central hotel, one of the historic structures in Bridgetown, was badly gutted by a fire which started about 5:30 on Saturday afternoon, March 21st, and continued to burn until about 11:00pm. The fire department was quickly on the scene and were able to restrict the blaze to the old Central itself.
[Bridgetown Weekly Monitor, 25 March 1925]
[75 Years Ago in the Bridgetown Monitor, 28 March 2000]

1925 April

Roads Closed to Motor Vehicles

The highways are to remain closed to motor vehicles until the first day of June.
[75 Years Ago in The Hants Journal, Windsor, 12 April 2000]

1925 April

Ships at Walton

Amongst the recent shipping at the port of Walton, Hants County, was the schooner Whiteway loaded with piling, the steamer Pluto loaded with gypsum, the schooner Lucia P. Dow also loaded with gypsum, the steamer Glenholme with freight for the Cheverie Trading Company, and the schooner Dorothy with coal.
[75 Years Ago in The Hants Journal, Windsor, 26 April 2000]

1925 April 3

Chief of Police Paid $1,000 a Year

At a meeting of the Bridgetown Town Council on Friday evening, April 3rd, 1925, B.A. Bishop was reappointed chief of police at his present salary of $1,000 per year. His duties to include Temperance Act inspection.
[Bridgetown Weekly Monitor, 8 April 1925]
[75 Years Ago in the Bridgetown Monitor, 18 April 2000]

1925 April 21

Train Wreck near Bridgetown

On Tuesday, April 21st, the noon train from Halifax had a bad accident, engine and tender upset at the McLeod Crossing. One man was painfully injured, but no lives were lost.
[Bridgetown Weekly Monitor, 22 April 1925]
[75 Years Ago in the Bridgetown Monitor, 25 April 2000]

1925 May

New Railway Station for Newport Station

Dudley Bezanson was awarded the contract for construction of the new railway station in Newport Station.
[75 Years Ago in The Hants Journal, Windsor, 10 May 2000]

ICS comment, written 10 July 2000:
Newport Station, in Hants County, was (and is — the hamlet known as Newport Station still exists but the railway station disappeared long ago) located on the Windsor Branch, 5.7 miles 9.2km east of the Windsor railway station (measured along the center line of the track). In 1925, this railway line was owned by CGR (Canadian Government Railways), and leased and operated by DAR (Dominion Atlantic Railway, a subsidiary of Canadian Pacific Railway). In 2000, this railway line is owned by CNR (Canadian National Railway), and leased and operated by W&HR (Windsor and Hantsport Railway).

1925 July 16

Eight Locomotives Burned

Fire in C.N.R. Shops with $500,000 Loss

Damage roughly estimated at half a million dollars was caused by fire that broke out in the Canadian National Railways shops at Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, at 12:50 o'clock today, and before being brought under control at 1:20 o'clock had destroyed all the buildings on the east side of the tracks, eight steam locomotives, seven or eight freight cars, and a large quantity of stores. The buildings consumed, included the roundhouse, machine shop, car shop, boiler house, master mechanic's office, field foreman's office, and a number of smaller structures. A snow flanger was badly damaged, and the railway station and station restaurant on the west side of the tracks were on fire several times but not seriously damaged.
[Toronto Globe and Mail, 17 July 1925]

1925 November

Windsor Electric Light & Power Company Sold

The Avon River Power Company bought the Windsor Electric Light & Power Company.

History of Electric Power Companies in Nova Scotia

1926 May 12

Radio Station CHNS Goes On Air

Together with Bill Johnson of the Northern Electric Company, William C. Borrett launched radio station CHNS in Halifax, with studios in the Carelton Hotel. CHNS went into regular operation with a 500 watt transmitter, on a carrier frequency of 930 kilocycles per second 930 kilohertz. The "HNS" part of the call letters stood for Halifax, Nova Scotia. Beginning in 1936 and continuing for about ten years, until the CBC established its own station in Halifax, CHNS played a major role in originating CBC programs to the network.
William C. Borrett, member of CAB Hall of Fame

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
William C. Borrett
Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Archived: 1997 February 10

Archived: 1998 June 10

Archived: 2000 May 30

Archived: 2001 February 14

Archived: 2002 February 15

The radio broadcasting station CHNS was founded in 1925 by Major William Coates Borrett and fellow members of the Halifax Radio Listeners' Club, Cecil Landry, Lionel Shatford and John Redmond.  The group launched its first broadcast from the Carleton Hotel on 12 May 1926, with technical support from the Northern Electric Co.  In the same year, the station came under the ownership of Halifax Herald Ltd.; in 1936 ownership was transferred to the Maritime Broadcasting Company.  Borrett served as CHNS managing director from 1926 until his retirement in 1951.  The station produced news, education, and entertainment programs.  Popular among its early programs were "Uncle Mel" a children's comedy show by broadcaster Hugh Mills, "Atlantic Nocturne", a program featuring readings to organ accompaniment by J. Frank Willis, and "Tales Told Under the Old Town Clock", Borrett's own program on Nova Scotia history.  CHNS also acted as the outlet for CBC programs to the network until the CBC established its own station CBH in Halifax in 1940.  In November of the same year, CHNS moved its studios from the Lord Nelson Hotel to its own building, Broadcasting House on Tobin Street.  In 1947, CHNS launched CHNS-FM to simulcast the programming of CHNS-AM.
—  Source:
Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management

Halifax Radio Station CHNS

Station in operation:   CHNS Halifax
    Northern Electric Company Limited
    930 kilohertz     100 watts
    (to be replaced by CHNS, Halifax Herald, when completed)

Station under construction:   CHNS Halifax
    The Halifax Herald and Mail Radio Broadcasting Station Limited
    930 kilohertz     500 watts

Jeff Miller's Broadcasting History Pages

The Halifax Herald and Mail Radio Broadcasting Station Limited was registered as a joint stock company on 6 August 1929.  On 30 September 1930, the company's name was changed to Maritime Broadcasting Company Limited, and on 1 September 1989 the name was changed to Maritime Broadcasting System Limited.
Source:  Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies [RJSC ID#1001968]

1927 March 9

Minas Basin Pulp & Power Co.

The Minas Basin Pulp and Power Company was incorporated on this day, with the founding shareholders being Roy A. Joudrey, Thomas Akin, and Charles Wright.
[Source:  The Windsor Hants Journal, 22 September 1999, printed excerpts from Hantsport on Avon, 1968, by Hattie Chittick.]

1927 May 20

Lindbergh's Transatlantic Flight: New York to Paris

In the early afternoon of this day, Charles Lindbergh flew over Nova Scotia on his way to Paris. Early in the morning of 20 May 1927 Lindbergh climbed into his airplane, named the Spirit of St. Louis, at Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York.  At 7:52am, the plane took off, vanishing in a drizzle.  Just before nightfall, Lindbergh passed over St. John's, Newfoundland.  Through fog, rain, and sleet, the plane flew on.  At 10:00pm, Paris time, 21 May, a crowd at Le Bourget Field heard the faint drone of a motor.  At 10:21pm Lindbergh landed, having flown 3,600 miles 5,800 kilometres in 33 hours and 30 minutes.  On this flight, Lindbergh was the 67th person to fly non-stop over the Atlantic Ocean, and the first to do it alone.
[21 Oct. 1999:  Thanks to H.G. for correcting the date on this item.]
Also see: Charles A. Lindbergh Wikipedia

Lindbergh's Transatlantic Flight: New York to Paris

7:52am, 20 May 1927 – Charles Lindbergh takes off from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York.  The heavy plane, loaded with 450 gallons [1700 litres] of fuel, clears telephone wires at the end of the runway by only 20 feet [6 metres].

8:52am – Altitude: 500 feet.  Currently over Rhode Island.  Except for some turbulence, the flight over Long Island Sound and Connecticut was uneventful.  Only 3,500 miles to Paris.

9:52am – Boston lies behind the plane; Cape Cod is to the right.  Altitude: 150 feet.  Airspeed: 107 mph (miles per hour).

10:52am – Lindbergh begins to feel tired, although only four hours have passed since leaving New York.  He descends and flies within ten feet [3 metres] of the water to help keep his mind clear.

11:52am, 20 May 1927 (Local time: 12:52pm) – Four hundred miles from New York.  Altitude: 200 feet.  Nova Scotia appears ahead.  After flying over the Gulf of Maine, the Spirit of St. Louis is only six miles, or 2 degrees, off course.

12:52pm – Wind velocity has increased to 30 mph.  Lindbergh flies over a mountain range.  Clouds soon appear and thicken as the Spirit of St. Louis approaches a storm front.

3:52pm, 20 May 1927 – The eastern edge of Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island lies below.  In minutes Lindbergh will be over water again.  Although it's only the afternoon of the first day, Lindbergh struggles to stay awake.

5:52pm – Flying along the southern coast of Newfoundland.  Altitude: 300 feet.  Air speed: 92 mph...

1:52am – Halfway to Paris.  Eighteen hours into the flight...

4:22pm, 21 May 1927 (Local time: 10:22pm) – The Spirit of St. Louis touches down at the Le Bourget Aerodrome, Paris, France.  Total flight time: 30 hrs 30 min.  Charles Lindbergh had not slept in 55 hours.

— Source: Lindbergh's Transatlantic Flight: New York to Paris WGBH PBS

During the next eleven years after Lindbergh's solo flight, three others also made a solo flight across the North Atlantic.  Next after Lindbergh was Amelia Earhart in May 1932, then Wiley Post in July 1933, and the fourth to make this solo flight was Douglas Corrigan — better-known as "Wrong Way" Corrigan — who took off on 17 July 1938 from an airfield in Brooklyn, New York, and landed the next day in Dublin, Ireland.  Corrigan claimed to have planned to fly to California (hence the nickname) but he was an excellent navigator and few take his claim seriously, instead believing that this story was Corrigan's way of avoiding legal complications due to his intentionally making the transatlantic flight in an airplane that did not meet the official requirements.  Earhart flew from Newfoundland to Ireland (thus did not fly over Nova Scotia) but Post and Corrigan both flew across the length of Nova Scotia.
[Globe and Mail, 17 July 2000]

1927 June 26

New Passenger Train Put Into Operation
Halifax to/from Montreal

On this day, The Acadian, Canadian National Railways' new Montreal - Halifax passenger train began regular service.  Known named passenger trains operated by CN or its predecessors to/from Nova Scotia are:
     Date of
    first run          

    1 Mar 1898    The Maritime Express   Montreal - Halifax
    3 Jul 1904    Ocean Limited          Montreal - Halifax
   26 Jun 1927    The Acadian            Montreal - Halifax
   28 Jun 1929    Down Easter            New York - Halifax
   28 Jun 1929    Pine Tree Acadian      Boston - Halifax
    2 Mar 1930    The Gull               Boston - Maritime Provinces
   16 Mar 1941    The Scotian            Montreal - Halifax
   14 Jul 1956    The Bluenose           Edmonton - Halifax
    1 Jun 1967    The Cabot              Montreal - Sydney
[Source: Canadian National in the East, Volume Three (book) by J. Norman Lowe, ISBN 0919487149, October 1985. Published by the Calgary Group of the British Railway Modellers of North America, 5124 33rd Street NW, Calgary, Alberta T2L 1V4.]


Nova Scotia Light & Power Company Limited

In 1928, Nova Scotia Tramways & Power Company Limited changed its name to Nova Scotia Light & Power Company Limited.

History of Electric Power Companies in Nova Scotia

1928 February 14

CJCB Goes On Air

On this day, radio station CJCB Sydney, Nova Scotia, went on air with a 50 watt transmitter working on a carrier frequency of 880 kilocycles per second 880 kilohertz. The "studio" was located in the book and music store of owner Nathaniel Nathanson. "Nate", as his friends called him, had begun to sell radios along with the phonograph records the store had carried for years. But there was little to listen to on these new radios. Sometimes, on a 'good night', you could pick up three or four U. S. stations, but only after dark and only when conditions were right. So Nate bought a ships radio and had it altered to work on land. The station was on the air for one or two hours at lunch time and three hours in the evening.

1928 March 19

Educational Broadcasting Begins

On this day, the Nova Scotia Department of Education began broadcasting experimental educational programs on CHNS radio.
[Halifax Sunday Daily News, 19 March 2000]

1928 May 31

Provincial Senate Abolished

On May 31st, 1928, the Nova Scotia Legislative Council voted itself out of existence.

The Legislative Council was the upper house of Nova Scotia's bicameral Legislature. It was sometimes called the Provincial Senate — for example, on 17 April 1885, while speaking on the floor of the Legislative Council, Hiram Black, a member, referred to "senators and members of the house of commons" meaning members of Nova Scotia's government, the "senators" being officially known as members of the Legislative Council, and the "members of the house of commons" being the MLAs or Members of the Legislative Assembly. The members of the Legislative Council were appointed by the Premier of Nova Scotia, not elected by the citizens (the same system as that which continues in Ottawa today, in which the Members of the federal Senate are appointed by the Prime Minister, not elected).

1928: The Legislative Council is dead ... one room in Province House was used as a bar ... the Feast of Belchazzar was a Sunday school picnic in comparison to the closing days of the Legislative Council...
Politics of Nova Scotia, Volume Two: 1896-1988, by J. Murray Beck, 438 pages, 1988, Four East Publications, Tantallon, Nova Scotia, ISBN 0920427162

An Act Abolishing the Legislative Council... effective 31 May 1928

The Red Room, in Halifax's Province House — the former chamber of Nova Scotia's long-abolished senate — is decorated like a plaster wedding cake.
[Halifax Sunday Daily News, 7 October 2001]

1928 August

Western Nova Scotia Electric Company

On 4 August 1928, the Western Nova Scotia Electric Company Limited was incorporated under the provisions of the Nova Scotia Companies Act.

On 6 August 1928, the Western Nova Scotia Electric Company Limited purchased at Sheriff's Sale all the assets of the Yarmouth Light and Power Company, Limited, which included a hydro-electric generating station at Carleton on the Tusket River, an electric power distribution system in the Town of Yarmouth and vicinity, and a tramway (electric streetcar) system in the Town of Yarmouth. Operation of the tramway system was discontinued in October 1928, and the tracks were scrapped soon after.

In 1929 the hydro-electric plant was sold to the Nova Scotia Power Commission (NSPC). After that sale the Company purchased its requirements of power and energy from the NSPC and carried on the business of the distribution and sale of the same within the County of Yarmouth. By the late 1940s it had extended its electric power system from the Town of Yarmouth to Beaver River in one direction and to Pubnico in the other direction.

Western Nova Scotia Electric Company

1928 August 30

General Order 40
Radio Spectrum Allocations

On 23 February 1927, U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signed the newly passed Radio Act of 1927. It set up a temporary independent Federal Radio Commission, which would have one year to settle the radio mess.

On 30 August 1928, the FRC's General Order 40 was released to the public. It was formally announced "That a band of frequencies extending from 550 to 1500 kilocycles 550 to 1500 kilohertz, both inclusive, be, and the same is hereby, assigned to and for the use of broadcasting stations, said band of frequencies being hereinafter referred to as the broadcast band".

This 1928 definition of the AM (amplitude modulated) broadcasting band survives in the late 1990s with very little alteration. For technical reasons, it was necessary to keep carrier frequencies 10 kilohertz apart, so the 550 to 1500 kHz band allowed for 96 separate frequency assignments, no more and no less, from 550 to 1500 inclusive in steps of 10. On modern (1990s) radio receivers, these numbers appear in the tuning display (or dial) as 550, 560, 570, ... 960, 970, 980, 990, 1000, ... 1460, 1470, 1480, ... (the final zero is sometimes omitted, especially in radio station promotional material). For example, on the receiver dial CJFX Antigonish appears at 580 kHz, CJCH Halifax at 920, CHNS Halifax at 960, CKBW Bridgewater at 1000, CJLS Yarmouth at 1340, CKDY Digby at 1420, and CKEN Kentville at 1490.

Under General Order 40, six of these 96 frequencies were off-limits for United States stations, as 690, 730, 840, 910, 960, 1030 kHz were set aside exclusively for Canadian use. Among the first actions the FRC took, was to clear out the Canadian frequencies; that is, to force stations in the USA, which had been broadcasting on one of the frequencies allocated for exclusive use by Canadian stations, to move to non-Canadian frequencies. The new broadcasting reorganization was scheduled to take effect at 3:00 am on November 11th, 1928. At that moment, 802 of the USA's 893 standard broadcast stations changed their carrier frequencies. By all accounts this reallocation was successful in greatly reducing interference between stations.

On 29 March 1941, the new North American Regional Broadcasting Agreements extended the broadcast band to 1600 kHz. However, the overall structure, established on November 11, 1928, remains intact.

[For a comprehensive account of this important period in the development of commercial radio broadcasting, read Building the Broadcast Band, by Thomas H. White. This article focusses almost exclusively on the United States, but, because the electromagnetic spectrum does not recognize political boundaries (such as the Canada - USA border), and because much of the technology available in Canada was similar or identical to that available in the USA, a Canadian reader will get a pretty good idea what was going on in those rough and tumble long-ago days, in the emerging business of radio broadcasting.]

In 1998, the legal AM broadcasting band in Canada was 525-1705 kHz, which provides for broadcast carrier frequencies at 10 kHz intervals from 530 to 1700 kHz. (The AM band above 1605 kHz is referred to as the "expanded AM band".) The legal FM band was 88-108 MHz.
[Source: DRRI http://radio.cbc.ca/radio/digital-radio/. Digital Radio Research Incorporated (DRRI), Montreal, is a non-profit, research and development joint initiative of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and leading private broadcasting organizations, with financial support from the federal government.]

The standard bandwidth allowance for a commercial AM station is five kilohertz either side of the nominal carrier frequency. For example, a radio transmitter broadcasting at 530 kHz is allowed to use 5 kHz either side, thus occupying the spectrum from 525 to 535 kHz. The next station position available was at 540 kHz, which occupies the spectrum from 535 to 545 kHz. And so on, with station positions available at 550, 560, 570...980, 990, 1000, 1010...1680, 1690, and 1700 kHz. These are the numbers on the tuning dials of radio receivers.

This arrangement provides spectrum positions for exactly 118 broadcasting stations. No more. If more stations are wanted (there are many hundreds of AM radio stations in operation now) the only way is to allow two or more stations to broadcast on the same frequency, which raises all sorts of problems associated with interference between stations – "interference" meaning that in the geographical region where the two signals are of roughly equal strength, people trying to listen to one station will hear the other, with no way to adjust the tuning to eliminate one station because both are at the same dial position.

All of this applies to the analog era. When digital transmission arrives, this twentieth-century analog AM arrangement will become ancient history, along with steam locomotives, slide rules, acetylene headlights, and hot-lead type.
(ICS, written 18 August 2002)

1928 September 21

First Air Mail Stamps

On this day, the Canadian Post Office introduced the first airmail stamps.
[Halifax Daily News, 21 September 1999]

1928 October 20

End of Streetcar Service in Yarmouth

The electric streetcar line, which began running along Main Street in Yarmouth in 1896, ceases operation. The track was dismantled shortly afterward.

Western Nova Scotia Electric Company

1928 December

New Canada - Bermuda Shipping Service

Following the Canadian Government's participation in Bermuda's shipping services from 1925-1926, the Canadian National Steamships Company was established by Act of Parliament in Ottawa in 1927, to consolidate shipping services from Halifax and Montreal to Bermuda and the West Indies. On Saturday, December 15, 1928, the first of five newly built gracious "Ladies" steamed into Bermuda. She was Lady Nelson. Her sisters Lady Hawkins and Lady Drake followed on December 21, 1928, and January 14, 1929, to establish a fortnightly service.

The trio were designed for a combined human and commodity service to the eastern Caribbean, with accomodations for 218 passengers apiece in three classes and their holds designed to bring sugar from the Caribbean to Canada. Although they were known as the "Lady boats," they were "sugar ships," named after wives of famous British admirals. In April, 1929, they were joined by two "banana boats." Lady Somers (named after the wife of Admiral Sir George Somers who colonized Bermuda) and Lady Rodney served the western Caribbean and Bermuda with space for 130 passengers and special refrigerated holds for bananas from Jamaica to Canada.

Their introduction increased the frequency of the Bermuda schedule of the Lady boats from fortnightly to weekly. On their southbound voyages from Montreal or Halifax and Boston, depending on the season, the Lady boats would often bring more than just cargo and passengers for Bermuda. Sometimes they brought water too, for King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. They served Bermuda well until World War II. During World War II, all these vessels were requisitioned for war service and three were torpedoed and sunk. Two resumed service in 1947 until 1952.


The Lady Boats
By Bernard Heydorn

There was a time, in the long ago and far away, when the Lady Boats came calling in the West Indies. In the days before established air services in the Caribbean, the five White Lady boats sailed from Halifax and Montreal, down the islands, and up the Demerara River to Georgetown in Guyana.

I can remember my father speaking with pride and some envy about who had sailed in and out of Georgetown on a Lady Boat, a trip he could only dream of making. These ships, oversized steamers, were named after British Admirals, and were owned and operated by the Canadian National Steamship Co.

Lady Nelson, Lady Drake, and Lady Hawkins sailed from Halifax year round to Bermuda, the Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Guyana, every two weeks. Lady Rodney and Lady Somers which were much bigger than the other three, serviced Bermuda, Nassau and Jamaica, from Montreal in the summer, and Halifax in the winter. Later, Boston was added to the routes.

Lady Nelson, Lady Drake, and Lady Hawkins carried 103 First Class, 32 Second Class, and 50 Third Class passengers and an additional 120 deck passengers across warm, Caribbean waters. In 1928, you could get a passage on one of these ships from about $85 up, and cruise the Caribbean for two weeks eating to your heart's content.

The ships were often loaded with Canadian produce on the way down, such as flour, butter, canned Brunswick sardines and refrigerated fruit — iced apples and grapes, which were treats at a Caribbean Christmas.

They returned with raw sugar, molasses and up to 50,000 stems of bananas at a time. The larger Lady Somers and Lady Rodney carries all First Class passengers, and were in fact floating casinos, as well as refrigerated space for 70,000 stems of bananas.

A Guyanese friend of mine once took a trip on the Lady Nelson from Guyana to Trinidad in 1938.  For the return trip, he put out a hefty $21, which was $14 one way, and $7 more for the return, and ate five strapping meals a day!  Even the stowaways were well fed in those days!  Deck passengers could buy their meals for a nominal fee.

The ships stopped for a few hours in the smaller islands and longer periods in the larger islands and Guyana.  They were fast, safe, and reliable, docking at Bookers #1 wharf in Georgetown on Friday, and leaving on a Saturday, every fortnight.  They employed both Canadian and West Indian crew members.

The popularity of the Lady Boats peaked just prior to World War II in 1939, and then things changed dramatically.  White paint became grey, few passengers surfaced, there were regular black-outs and no bananas, but lots of torpedoes to keep them company.

Lady Somers was the first to go down, torpedoed in 1941 with the loss of many lives.  Within the next four months, three of the four remaining Lady Boats were attacked by German U-boats.

On January 19, 1942, Lady Hawkins was torpedoed between Boston and Bermuda with the loss of 250 lives, including a number of Canadians who worked at the Bauxite Company in Guyana and the West Indian passengers and crew.  Four months previously, the mother of a Guyanese Canadian friend of mine had sailed from Canada to Georgetown on this ship, on a journey that took 21 days under blackout conditions.

In March 1942, Lady Nelson, the original Lady Boat, was torpedoed dockside at St. Lucia by a daring German submarine.  It was practically sunk, but the crew lived on it until repairs were made.  It had been heading for Georgetown.

Lady Drake was sunk 90 miles 150 km from Bermuda.  Ironically, the name of one of the Lady Boat captains at that time was a Captain Coffin.

Lady Nelson and Lady Rodney were repaired and turned into hospital ships later in the war.  Lady Rodney then became a troopship, working Newfoundland and Arctic waters, while Lady Nelson became a "diaper special", bringing war brides and their babies to Canada.

After the war, in 1949, both these Ladies returned to the Caribbean waters, but their days of glory were gone, and they lasted only five years longer.  However, like grand old ladies, they were not prepared to die, and eventually ended up in Egypt as part of the ill-fated British expedition to free the Suez Canal, during the Suez Crisis in 1956.

I take this opportunity to salute these ships and the men and women who sailed and sank on them.  they forged closer ties among the Caribbean people and between the Caribbean and Canada, ties that still exist today.  They also paved the way for commercial air travel in the 1950's.


1929 January 12

Halifax Radio Station Reaches Quebec

To the Editor:
On Friday night around 9 p.m., I was operating my DeForest Crosley 5 Tube Radio set, and I picked up the hockey match between Kentville and Truro being broadcast from the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax — later on, getting the time from Birks store, in chimes.

I am writing because the announcer asked anyone getting this program to please communicate with The Halifax Herald.

I might mention that I got this station very, very clearly and I was very proud to know that we could get Halifax away up in this Lake St. John district.  This town is situated in northern Quebec, about 50 miles 80 km north of Chicoutimi, on the north bank of the Little Discharge on the Saguenay River. 

I might mention that I had the pleasure of knowing Halifax, being an original of the 1st Canadian Siege Battery, and having received training in the South Barracks.  I was a sergeant-signaller, under Lieut.-Col. Beeman. I am now the secretary-treasurer of this municipality, which is a paper mill town of Price Bros. & Company.

Oliver B. Lane
Riverbend, Que. Lake St. John County

[Halifax Herald, Saturday, 12 January 1929]
[Voice from the Past in the Halifax Sunday Herald, 26 January 2003]

The Friday night mentioned in this letter probably was Friday, 4 January 1929.

1929 June 6

CNR Takes Over the IR&C Railway

On this day, the CNR (Canadian National Railway) officially took over the Inverness Railway & Coal Company in Nova Scotia. At the same time CNR also took over the Kent Northern; Montreal & Southern; Quebec Oriental; Atlantic, Quebec & Western; and Saint John & Quebec Railways.
[National Post, 6 June 2000]

Inverness Railway & Coal Company



Distance from
Location Elevation
miles km   feet m
0.0 0.0 Inverness Junction
Junction with the
Intercolonial Railway
at Point Tupper
28 8.5
4.5 7.2 Port Hastings
8 2.4
12.1 19.5 Creignish
road crossing
82 25.0
15.7 25.3 Craigmore
75 22.9
17.7 28.5 Long Point
39 11.9
20.4 32.8 Campbell Point
25 7.6
25.0 40.2 Judique
8 2.4
27.5 44.2 Maryville
6 1.8
32.5 52.3 Port Hood
65 19.8
37.2 59.9 Glencoe
213 64.9
39.6 63.7 Southwest Mabou
83 25.3
44.5 71.6 Mabou
46 14.0
47.0 75.6 Glendyer
14 4.3
51.8 83.3 Glen Dhu
216 65.8
55.3 89.0 Black River
204 62.2
56.0 90.1 Lake Ainslie
water tower
188 57.3
56.6 91.1 Strathlorne
195 59.4
59.4 95.6 Inverness
115 35.1
64.1 103.1 Broad Cove
End of survey
52 15.8

Source: Altitudes in the Dominion of Canada, 2nd edition, by James White, Assistant to Sir Clifford Sifton, Chairman and Deputy Head, Commission of Conservation, Ottawa.

• Elevations are above mean sea level.
Altitudes, published in 1915, gives distances in miles and elevations in feet. Conversions to SI measures by ICS.
Altitudes shows this information for the Inverness & Richmond Railway, which later became the Inverness Railway & Coal Company, and eventually CNR.

1929 June 28

Two New Passenger Trains Put Into Operation
Between New England and Nova Scotia

On this day, Canadian National Railways, working with Canadian Pacific Railway and the Boston and Maine Railroad, began operating two new passenger trains. The Pine Tree Acadian ran between Boston and Halifax, and the Down Easter between New York and several destinations in the Maritimes, including Halifax. Known named passenger trains operated by CN or its predecessors to/from Nova Scotia are:
     Date of
    first run          

    1 Mar 1898    The Maritime Express   Montreal - Halifax
    3 Jul 1904    Ocean Limited          Montreal - Halifax
   26 Jun 1927    The Acadian            Montreal - Halifax
   28 Jun 1929    Down Easter            New York - Halifax
   28 Jun 1929    Pine Tree Acadian      Boston - Halifax
    2 Mar 1930    The Gull               Boston - Maritime Provinces
   16 Mar 1941    The Scotian            Montreal - Halifax
   14 Jul 1956    The Bluenose           Edmonton - Halifax
    1 Jun 1967    The Cabot              Montreal - Sydney
[Source: Canadian National in the East, Volume Three (book) by J. Norman Lowe, ISBN 0919487149, October 1985. Published by the Calgary Group of the British Railway Modellers of North America, 5124 33rd Street NW, Calgary, Alberta T2L 1V4.]

1929 October 30

Prohibition Ends

On this day, prohibition of the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages was ended in Nova Scotia, and replaced by government control of liquor sales.
[On This Day in History in the Berwick Register, 30 October 2002]

1929 November 17   4:32pm AST   2032:00.7 UT (GMT)

Undersea Earthquake Breaks Cables

In 1929 there were 21 submarine telegraph cables linking Europe to North America, and 16 of them were broken by this earthquake. Most of this damage was caused by undersea landslides or avalanches. Some cables, for more than a hundred kilometres, were buried so deeply they were never recovered. Of the 21 cables then working between Europe and North America, 13 landed in Nova Scotia. The quake's epicentre was under the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Newfoundland. It was felt throughout Nova Scotia, with shaking severe enough to throw goods off of store shelves and teacups off of kitchen shelves in Windsor and Chester. In Kentville and Annapolis Royal, bricks fell from chimneys and plaster was cracked in some houses. It was also felt in New Brunswick and in some parts of New England.

Deep Ocean Phenomena
Turbidity Flows

Submarine telegraph cables broken by 1929 earthquake
A powerful earthquake off Newfoundland in 1929 caused a submarine landslide on the edge of the continental shelf. Submarine cables in the slump area broke immediately but cables downslope broke up to several hours later. Apparently a dense current of suspended sediment traveled several hundred kilometres across the sea floor.
Source: Wave Erosion and Marine Geology — Deep Ocean Phenomena — Turbidity Flows
Professor Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
Wave Erosion and Marine Geology, by Steven Dutch

Archived: 2000 August 17

Archived: 2001 January 10

Archived: 2001 July 12


One of most destructive Canadian earthquakes...

The 1929 Tsunami in St. Lawrence, Newfoundland
Tsunami Runup Mapping as an Emergency Preparedness Planning Tool
Ruffman, Alan 1996. Geomarine Associates Ltd., Contract Report for Emergency Preparedness Canada (EPC), Office of the Senior Scientific Advisor, Ottawa, Ontario.
Volume 1 — Report, 107 pages
Volume 2 — Appendices and Enclosures, 281 pages

Description of the November 18, 1929 Earthquake and Tsunami The November 18, 1929 seismic event was felt throughout the Atlantic Provinces of Canada and as far west as Ottawa, Ontario and as far south as Claymont in Delaware. The significance of the 12 submarine cable breaks in the vicinity of the epicentre was not realized for 23 years. Doxsee, for example, in 1948 was still interpreting the offshore disruptions and the down-slope progression of the cable breaks in time as evidence of subsidence in the sea floor related to an assumed (down-dropped) graben forming the Laurentian Channel. Such a graben is no longer hypothesized...

Earthquakes in Eastern Canada


Seismicity Map of Nova Scotia and vicinity, 1568 to 1988

Seismic Zoning Map of Canada Peak horizontal ground acceleration contours

The 1929 Grand Banks earthquake magnitude 7.2

Tidal Wave Disaster Newfoundland November 1929

Paleoenvironmental Evidence For The 1929 Tidal Wave (Tsunami) Disaster
in Southern Burin Peninsula, Newfoundland


1929 Grand Banks Tsunami — First Documented Turbidity Current
The most damaging factor in this event was the undersea landslide. The landslide added to the size of the tsunami and damaged many kilometres of twelve transatlantic telegraph cables. The majority of the monetary damage was due to repair costs of the damaged transatlantic cables ... The tsunami was registered as far as South Carolina and Portugal. In 1952 American scientists from Columbia University put together the pieces of the sequentially broken cables that led to discovery of the landslide and the first documentation of a turbidity current...

Tsunamis of Canada

Determining Magnitudes of Historical Earthquakes
The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
Magnitudes of Historical Earthquakes

Archived: 2001 July 10

Archived: 1999 May 03

Evidence for Turbidity Currents Information used to help resolve the mystery of how turbidity currents move across the ocean floor and carve submarine canyons comes from a well-documented earthquake in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1929 ... At that time, closely monitored Trans-Atlantic telephone [this is an error — in 1929 there were no trans-Atlantic telephone cables] and telegraph cables lay across the sea floor. During the Grand Banks earthquake, a number of these communication cables in the region south of Newfoundland near the earthquake were severed. At first, it was assumed that sea floor movement caused these breaks. Further analysis of the data revealed that these cables broke in an interesting pattern. The cables closest to the earthquake broke simultaneously with the occurrence of the earthquake. Cables that crossed the slope and deeper ocean floor at greater distances from the earthquake were broken progressively later in time. It seemed unusual that certain cables were affected by the failure of the slope due to ground shaking, but others were broken several minutes later. It was deduced that a turbidity current moving down the slope could account for the pattern of cable breaks. Based on the sequence of breaks, the current reached speeds approaching 80 kilometres (50 miles) per hour on the steep portions of the continental slope, and about 24 kilometres (15 miles) per hour on the more gently sloping continental rise. The documentation of turbidity currents moving at these speeds can certainly help to explain how powerfully erosive turbidity currents must be as they move through submarine canyons...

The only tsunami known to have been recorded on the Atlantic Coast of the United States was generated by an earthquake off the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland on November 18, 1929...

Earthquake Search Engine

Heroic Efforts at Sea

Repairing Submarine Telegraph Cables
After the Earthquake

Maudie Whelan's article The Night the Sea Smashed Lord's Cove, in Canadian Geographic, Nov-Dec 1994, is but one chapter recording the effects surrounding the seaquake of November 17, 1929. Another chapter (not written as far as I know) could cover the heroic efforts made by the sailors who put to sea to repair the damage done to the submarine cables by the seaquake. For two months, twelve cable ships and their crews, probably exceeding 1,200 expert seamen, many from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, battled the inhospitable winter months of the North Atlantic to re-establish communications between Europe and North America.

There were a total of 21 breaks, referred to as "faults," in 12 cables. It is generally accepted that those faults occurred on November 17, but it should be recognized that an aftershock of 7.2 — about that of the original quake — was recorded on the seismograph at Dalhousie University in Halifax on the morning of December 12, 1929. This aftershock may have contributed to the large number of cable faults.

Two of the cable ships that fought the gales of the North Atlantic that winter were stationed in Halifax. They were the C.S. (Cable Ship) Lord Kelvin under the command of Captain Bloomer, and the C.S. Cyrus Field under the command of Captain Foote. Consider, if you will, working in gale-force winds and freezing conditions, positioning a ship within a few hundred yards of a desired location using celestial navigation when visibility was suitable, otherwise by dead reckoning, then hooking a cable about one inch 2.5cm in diameter with a grapnel at the end of a four-mile 6km towing line, trying to find a cable possibly buried several inches in the ooze of the ocean floor, which may have been moved from its original and known position by the undersea upheaval, retrieving it from a depth of some three and a half miles five and a half kilometres without imparting any additional damage, for repairs — all with the technology available many decades ago.

I salute those who demonstrated the strength and force of character to accomplish such feats under such conditions. They have made a significant contribution to our Canadian heritage.

J.C.S. Bloomer, P.Eng.
Mississauga, Ontario

Letter to the editor
Canadian Geographic, May-June 1995


CNR Radio in Halifax

Canadian National Railways opened a radio studio in Halifax in 1930, as part of its rapidly expanding system for production and transmission of radio programs in Canada.

1930 March 2

New Passenger Train Put Into Operation
Halifax to/from Boston

On this day, Canadian National Railways, working in association with Canadian Pacific Railway and the Boston and Maine Railroad, began operating The Gull, a new passenger train running between Boston and several destinations in the Maritime Provinces, including Halifax. Known named passenger trains operated by CN or its predecessors to/from Nova Scotia were:
     Date of
    first run          

    1 Mar 1898    The Maritime Express   Montreal - Halifax
    3 Jul 1904    Ocean Limited          Montreal - Halifax
   26 Jun 1927    The Acadian            Montreal - Halifax
   28 Jun 1929    Down Easter            New York - Halifax
   28 Jun 1929    Pine Tree Acadian      Boston - Halifax
    2 Mar 1930    The Gull               Boston - Maritime Provinces
   16 Mar 1941    The Scotian            Montreal - Halifax
   14 Jul 1956    The Bluenose           Edmonton - Halifax
    1 Jun 1967    The Cabot              Montreal - Sydney
[Source: Canadian National in the East, Volume Three (book) by J. Norman Lowe, ISBN 0919487149, October 1985. Published by the Calgary Group of the British Railway Modellers of North America, 5124 33rd Street NW, Calgary, Alberta T2L 1V4.]


Avon River Power Company
Buys Six Small Electric Utilities

During 1931, the Avon River Power Co. bought six small electric utilities located in Kings and Annapolis Counties: History of Electric Power Companies in Nova Scotia

1931 March 23

Cape Breton Electric Company

The Cape Breton Electric Company, which had been incorporated on 30 March 1900 as Cape Breton Electric Tramway & Power Company, went into receivership on this day.

1931 June 9

Eastern Light & Power Company Limited

By Order In Council dated this day, the name of the Sydney Mines Electric Co. Ltd. was changed to Eastern Light & Power Co. Ltd., with head office in Sydney. The company supplied electric power in Sydney and North Sydney and vicinity.

1932 February

All-Canadian Long Distance Network

A Trans-Canada Telephone System ad appeared announcing nationwide long distance network in Canada. Previously, U.S. facilities were used to reach many Canadian destinations.

Ottawa-Regina $5.00
Ottawa-Vancouver $8.00
Halifax-Vancouver $10.00
(These are believed to be the rates for any call up to five minutes.)


1932 February 28

Last Model A Manufactured

On this day, the Ford Motor Company produced its last Model A, successor to the Model T.
[National Post, 28 February 2000]

1932 May 26

CRBC Established

On this day, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Act was passed by the federal government, to set up supervision of all public and private broadcasting (which meant radio — there was no television broadcasting in Canada in 1932). The Act also set up a publicly-owned radio network broadcasting in English and French, owned and operated by the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC) — which in 1936 became the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
[National Post, 26 May 2000]


The South Shore Record
Begins Publication in Mahone Bay

In 1933, a weekly tabloid called the South Shore Record was started in Mahone Bay by R.E. Hyson and a group of businessmen. About six years later it was sold to F.J. MacPherson of Stellarton, who had purchased the Bridgewater Bulletin in 1932. On November 2, 1938, the Bulletin amalgamated with the South Shore Record as The Bridgewater Bulletin and South Shore Record, which it was called for two decades.
[Bridgewater Bulletin, 10 February 1999]


CRBC Radio in Halifax

The newly established Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission took over the Canadian National Railways' system for production and transmission of radio programs in Canada, including the CNR equipment in Halifax. The regular national schedule grew to some six hours a day, on a basic network of 26 stations, 8 of them with facilities owned or leased by the CRBC (Halifax CBH, Chicoutimi, Quebec CBQ, Montreal CBM, Ottawa CBO, Toronto CBT, Windsor CBW, Vancouver CBV). On another 31 stations, Commission programming was optional. In 1936 the national network still reached less than half the population. It operated only in the evenings and on Sunday afternoons, because the rental of long-distance wire line connections, even for a few hours a day, took something like a quarter of the Cornmission's total expenditure.

1933 December 31

Numerous Gasoline Pumps

At the end of 1933 there was in the whole of Canada one retail gasoline pump installed to each 17.2 motor vehicles registered, but in Nova Scotia, at the same time, there was one pump to each 10.2 motor vehicles registered.
[Page 319, 1934 Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities]


Radio Station CHNS
Increases Transmitter Power

Radio station CHNS, Halifax, put into operation a new 1000 watt transmitter; the old 500 watt transmitter was kept as a standby. Both used vacuum-tube technology (this being decades before transistors became available).

1934 May 19

Approval of Conversion of Hantsport Exchange

On this day, the Public Utilities Board issued official approval of the Maritime Telegraph and Telephone Company's plan to convert the Hantsport telephone exchange to automatic (dial) service, which meant that switchboard operators would no longer be needed. This conversion was completed by MT&T by the end of 1934.

1934 June 30

Cunard - White Star Merger

On this day, the Cunard Line merged with the White Star Line. Before this date, the companies were entirely separate, competing lines. During 1931 Cunard had started negotiations to buy out its main rival, the White Star Line. Although these early attempts failed Cunard entered negotiations with the British Government in 1933. In December 1933 an agreement was reached whereby the two companies would merge to form Cunard White Star Limited and the Government would lend the company £9,500,000. Most of this money was to be used to complete Queen Mary, launched on 26 September 1934, and build a sister ship.

Titanic was not a Cunard ship.
Titanic  was  a  White  Star  ship,
two decades  before  the merger
with Cunard.

1935 February 25

Dartmouth Gas & Electric Light & Heating & Power Company
is Sold

On this day, the Public Utilities Board issued official approval for the Dartmouth Gas & Electric Light & Heating & Power Company Limited to sell its entire property, assets and undertaking to the Nova Scotia Light & Power Company Limited.

1935 December 25

Radio Station CJCB
Increases Transmitter Power

In 1935, radio station CJCB bought a 1,000 watt transmitter, which was installed in a new transmitter house at South Bar. It went into regular service this day, on a new carrier frequency of 1240 kHz. The new spot on the dial was required, because the former frequency of 880 kHz was not one of the six broadcast frequencies (690, 730, 840, 910, 960, 1030 kHz ) set aside in 1928 exclusively for Canadian use. CJCB, working at 880 kHz, had encountered excessive interference from stations in the USA, especially at night. The new frequency, 1240 kHz, also was not a set-aside, but the existing U.S. stations in this slot were far away and of relatively low power, so that CJCB could operate with a minimum of interference.


Halifax Streets Nearly One-Quarter Paved

    Halifax and Dartmouth Statistics for 1936

       108 miles of streets, 25 miles paved
       63 miles concrete sidewalk
       67 miles of sewers
       16 miles of Electric Street Railway
       8,000,000 gallons of water supplied daily

       84 miles of streets, 5 miles paved
       800,000 gallons of water supplied daily

       Halifax City Proper....................................64,279
          Suburbs - Armdale, Bedford, Fairview and Rockingham..5,536
       Dartmouth Proper........................................9,391

1,596 Telephones, 972 Motor Vehicles in Dartmouth

       Hailfax      13,598
       Dartmouth     1,596

Halifax     8,140 passenger   1,909 commercial    Total  10,049
Dartmouth     801 passenger     171 commercial    Total     972

       Halifax     8 with seating capacity of 6,200
       Dartmouth   2 with seating capacity of 1,150

       Halifax   5 leading hotels with a total of 785 rooms 
             Carleton, Halifax, Lord Nelson, Nova Scotian, and Queen
       Dartmouth   1 with 42 rooms

       Halifax     32 including 4 high schools
             13,429 pupils   308 teachers
       Dartmouth    5 including 1 high school
              1,778 pupils    40 teachers

Halifax     consists of 95 men, six motor pumpers, two hose cars
            two city service ladder trucks
            one 75 ft. (23 metre) aerial truck
            one chief's car, one deputy chief's car
            four station houses
Dartmouth   consists of 50 men, including 20 members of the Union
            Protection Company, a volunteer association
            with five pieces of equipment
Source: 1936 Might's City Directory

1936 June 10

Cunard Commemoration Ceremony

The maiden voyage of SS Queen Mary and completion of 96 years of ocean steam mail service by the Cunard Company, was specially noted at Halifax on June 10, 1936, by a public presentation of Cunard medals to two ladies.

As a child at Halifax in 1840, Mrs. Fanny Lenoir, 103 years old at the time of the ceremony, visited Cunard steamer Britannia on the occasion of the initial voyage, and was honoured in 1936 as the only living person known to have been aboard Britannia, the first ship built for the Cunard North Atlantic service.

Mrs. Loring W. Bailey, 94, crossed the Atlantic in Cunard steamer Cambria in 1849 and received a "Queen Mary" medal in 1936 as the company's "oldest client".

[Excerpted from the book First Things in Acadia by John Quinpool, published in Halifax in 1936.]

1936 September 4-5

First Trans-Atlantic Solo Flight East to West
from Europe to North America

Ended in Cape Breton

Beryl Markham
26 October 1902 - 3 August 1986
English aviator

East to West across the Atlantic against the prevailing winds
is a much more difficult flight than West to East

In September 1936 Beryl Markham became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west — taking off in England and crash-landing in Nova Scotia twenty-one hours and twenty-five minutes later.

After years of bush flying in Kenya and locating big game by air for safaris, Beryl Markham returned to England, where she hoped to win one of the big prizes that were being offered for record-breaking achievements in aviation. She had originally thought of competing in a race to South Africa with a former flying instructor, Tom Campbell Black, but decided instead to try for the prize of flying solo from London to New York. Such a flight had never been accomplished because it meant flying against the prevailing winds. In the Northern Hemisphere the jet stream travels from west to east.

When Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic, he had the wind pushing him forward. Other aviators had attempted to make the flight from east to west but had fallen short of the mark. In 1932 Jim Mollison had flown from Ireland to eastern Canada; in 1934 John Grierson had flown the whole distance, but his trip took six weeks because he made four stops along the way.

Markham's aim was to fly nonstop from London to New York in order to show that commercial air service between the two cities was possible. For the trip she borrowed an airplane — a single-engine Vega Gull with a 200-horsepower engine — that could fly up to 163 miles per hour and that was fitted with extra tanks so it could travel 3,800 miles without refueling. The plane had no radio equipment, however, so contact with Markham would be impossible once she took off. Markham left London at 8:00pm on September 4, 1936, facing a strong head wind, low clouds, and blustery weather. She was seen over Ireland at 10:25pm; at 2:00 the next afternoon she was spotted by a ship in the Atlantic; and at 4:35pm she was reported to be flying over the tip of Newfoundland, the easternmost part of North America. Then she disappeared.

A telephone call from a small town in Nova Scotia finally brought news of the aviator. She had survived her trip, but the plane had crash-landed in a peat bog on Cape Breton Island. With the nose of the plane stuck in the mud, she had climbed out and greeted two fishermen by saying, "I'm Mrs. Markham. I've just flown from England."

Her flight across the Atlantic had almost ended in tragedy when the fuel line to one of the plane's tanks froze, causing the engine to fail and the plane to fall toward the ocean. Just before Markham reached the sea, the line warmed up and the gasoline started to flow again, allowing her to pull the plane up to safety. It was another frozen fuel line that caused her to crash in Nova Scotia.

Disappointed that she had not managed to fly all the way to New York City, Markham was afraid the flight would be considered a failure. In fact, news services carried the report throughout the world, and she was hailed as a heroine. In Nova Scotia a U.S. Coast Guard plane met her, and she co-piloted it to New York, where she met Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and rode in a motorcade through the city. Markham returned to England to find she had become a celebrity...



1936 September 27

Windsor - Kennetcook - South Maitland - Truro
Truro - South Maitland - Kennetcook - Windsor
Train Schedule

Dominion Atlantic Railway
Truro Subdivision Train Schedule
Effective 27 September 1936
Atlantic Standard Time
read down
read up
No. 3 No. 1 Miles Station No. 2 No. 4
7:55am 4:10pm 0.00 Dp.   Windsor   Ar. 9:30am 7:20pm
8:11am 4:27pm 6.18 Brooklyn 9:10am 7:01pm
8:18am 4:37pm 9.86 Scotch Village 9:02am 6:53pm
8:29am 4:48pm 14.94 Stanley 8:48am 6:42pm
8:54am 5:15pm 26.44 Kennetcook 8:22am 6:17pm
9:23am 5:47pm 40.27 South Maitland 7:46am 5:47pm
9:35am 5:59pm 45.55 Princeport Road 7:33am 5:33pm
9:46am 6:12pm 50.82 Clifton 7:21am 5:21pm
10:05am 6:30pm 57.84 Ar.   Truro   Dp. 7:05am 5:05pm
No. 3 No. 1     No. 2 No. 4

These trains were powered by coal-burning steam locomotives.

Detailed version of above timetable, showing all stations.

Source: DAR Employee's Timetable 91, taking effect 12:01am, Sunday, September 27, 1936.
  • Notes:
  • This timetable shows selected stations only.
  • On this railway line, odd numbers were assigned to trains travelling eastward, from Windsor to Truro, and even numbers were assigned to trains travelling westward, from Truro to Windsor.
  • Trains 2 and 1 constituted the round trip Truro - Windsor - Truro of the First Class mixed (passenger and freight) train which operated six days a week.
  • Trains 3 and 4 constituted the round trip Windsor - Truro - Windsor of the Second Class mixed (passenger and freight) train which operated Saturday only.
  • On Saturday, there were two passenger trains in the morning (one in each direction) and two more in the afternoon.

  • 1936 November 2

    CRBC Becomes CBC

    On this day, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation formally took over the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission's system, eight publicly-owned or leased stations and 14 private affiliates, and all other broadcasting facilities such as studios, equipment, etc. The CRBC employees became employees of the CBC. To help finance the CBC, each radio receiver in the country was required to be licensed. A dated sticker, sold at post offices for $2.00 each and good for one year, was required by law to be affixed to the rear of each radio receiver in the country. In 1937, the annual licensing fee was increased to $2.50 for each receiver; this was continued until 1953. The proceeds of this licencing system went to the CBC.


    The Havana Treaty of 1937

    Inter-American Wavelength Conference

    The North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement
    redistributes North American radio frequency allocations

    In the mid-1930s, AM radio broadcasting in North America had grown in all countries to such an extent that many broadcasting stations caused interference with others – especially at night. There may have been some cases where channel re-arrangements were made with an adjacent country, but these proved to be ineffective because the interferences were continent-wide – not just country to country. Thus a meeting of all North American countries was held in Havana Cuba in 1937 which classified AM channels and set the maximum interference levels permitted from other stations. It then took a few years to have each country confirm that the Treaty would apply in their domain.

    A key deve1opement that was undertaken before the Havana meeting could be called was to have research done and charts developed to show how far signals would go. This had taken years of measurement and analysis, especially for sky-wave signals which are quite variable. To acknowledge this problem the Treaty basically said that for night-time signa1s, a protected station would have its protected contour at a line where the signal was a specific strength for 50% of the time, and the interfering signal (at that protected contour) would be there only 10% of the time. In addition, the interfering signals were specified as being several times lower than the protected signal. These "protection" end "interference" levels were set differently for each class of station.

    There were four major classes stations created — Class 1 ("clear" channels), Class 2, Class 3, and Class 4, — plus some sub-classes such as 1-A, 1-B and 1-C. Most 1-As did not have another station on their channel at night anywhere on the continent, while 1-Bs usually had two stations over 1000 miles 1600 km apart and mutually protecting each other. Class 2s could be on a 1-A channel, but daytime only in some cases. Class 3 dealt with Regional channels and Class 4 dealt with Local channels. The Classes 2, 3 & 4 had progressively poorer protections in order to provide enough stations to serve the many communities.

    Adapted from The Havana Treaty of 1937 (September 2001)
    by Clive Eastwood, Vice-President Engineering, (ret. 1986), CFRB Limited, Toronto
    Canadian Communications Foundation website

    Four Classes of Radio Stations

    Because the signals on the AM radio broadcast band travel farther at night than in the daytime the United States Government designated several classes of stations.

    A Dominant Station meant that the station pretty much had the channel all to themselves.

    A Secondary Station meant that the station was on a relatively clear channel, but there were other stations, a considerable distance away, also using that frequency.

    Regional and Local stations had a shorter range (lower transmitter power) than the first two classes and therefore had to share their assigned spots with hundreds of other stations.


    FCC Classifications

    In the U.S.A., the Communications Act of 1934, 48 Stat. 1064, 47 U.S.C. 151 et seq., 47 U.S.C.A. 151 et seq., directs the Federal Communications Commission to 'classify radio stations', 'prescribe the nature of the service to be rendered by each class of licensed stations and each station within any class', and 'assign bands of frequencies to the various classes of stations, and assign frequencies for each individual station and determine the power which each station shall use and the time during which it may operate'.

    Three classes of standard broadcast channels

    303(a)(b)(c). Accordingly, the Commission has established a plan for allocating the available radio facilities among the stations of the country. Under its Rules there are three classes of standard broadcast channels:
    Clear Channels on which dominant stations render service over extensive areas and which are cleared of objectionable interference within their primary service areas and over all or a substantial part of their secondary service areas;
    Regional Channels on which several stations serving smaller areas operate simultaneously with powers not in excess of 5 kilowatts; and
    Local Channels on which many stations serving local areas operate simultaneously with powers not in excess of 250 watts.

    Four groups of standard broadcast stations

    3.21. Similarly, standard broadcast stations are classified into four groups:
    Class I stations – dominant stations operating on clear channels and designed to render primary and secondary service over large areas and at relatively long distances;
    Class II stations – operating on clear channels and designed to render service over a primary service area which is limited by and subject to such interference as may be received from Class I stations;
    Class III stations – operating on regional channels and designed to render service primarily to metropolitan districts and the rural areas contiguous thereto; and
    Class IV stations – operating on local channels and designed to render service primarily to cities or towns and the suburban and rural areas contiguous thereto.

    Section 3.25 divides clear channels into two further groups: I-A channels, to which only one Class I station is assigned, with one or more Class II stations operating limited time or daytime only, and I-B channels, to which both Class I and Class II stations may be assigned, with more than one station operating at night.


    The History of Clear-Channel AM Radio Stations
    by Mark Durenberger, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    This very detailed article, in six parts, is written from the United States point of view, but it includes much historical information about the problems of assigning AM radio broadcast carrier frequencies that is relevant to Canada's situation (and Mexico, too).
    Part One: The Dilemma

    Part Two: Superpowers Crank It Up   High-power radio transmitters

    Part Three: NARBA changes   The North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement of 1941

    Part Four: 1961 Report and Order

    Part Five: Another Super Try

    Part Six: The Last Word

    History of Broadcasting in Canada

    Building the Broadcast Band by Thomas White
    History of the AM broadcast band in the United States

    North American AM Broadcast Band Clear Channel Frequency List by Marie Lamb

    The Great Frequency Change

    On 29 March 1941, there was a major re-shuffle
    of the carrier frequencies assigned to Canadian
    and United States broadcast radio stations.
    Many AM stations moved to a new dial location,
    where they've been ever since.

    AM Radio Broadcast Frequencies
    Historical Perspective
    written April 2001

    AM broadcasting has existed in Canada since the early 1900s, the first commercial station being CFCF Montreal on 600 kHz.

    1937 - 1950

    The first international agreement was the 1937 North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA), revised in 1950 when the top of the AM band was moved from 1550 to 1600 kHz. This agreement included, though not all at the same time, Canada, USA, Mexico, Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Cuba. It included basic protection criteria which are still mostly applicable today [2001]. It also included a division of channels, with some "clear" channels designated for national coverage, a good number of regional channels which generally were capable of serving large metropolitan areas and a few local channels intended for simple inexpensive operations to serve small cities and towns.


    In 1982, with the signing of the ITU Region 2 Agreement (Rio 1982 Agreement), the channel designations in NARBA were replaced by class designations. The "clear" channels were replaced by Class A which have substantial, but not national, service contours. The local channel stations became Class C, mostly 1000 watts non-directional, and everything else became Class B.

    Simultaneously with ratifying the Rio 1982 Agreement, Canada abrogated — i.e. officially withdrew from — NARBA.


    The Region 2 agreement was complemented in 1984 by a bilateral agreement between Canada and the USA which elaborated the technical criteria somewhat and added a number of allotments which made use of the relaxed protection of the former clear channel stations. Many of these allotments were quickly taken up by existing stations to improve their coverage. For example, CFGO Ottawa improved day and night service moving from 1440 to 1200 kHz, and CFGM (now CFYI) Richmond Hill, which had fairly good day service and very limited night service on 1320 kHz, now serves the entire GTA (Greater Toronto Area), day and night, on 640 kHz...


    In 1988 another Region 2 agreement expanded the AM broadcasting band upwards from 1600 to 1700 kHz. This agreement divided the ten new channels equally among neighbouring countries in border areas, eg. 1610, 1630, 1650, 1670 and 1690 kHz for Canada and 1620, 1640, 1660, 1680 and 1700 kHz for the USA. On its "priority channel", a country can put a one kW non-directional station anywhere within the area designated in the Agreement or can increase power up to ten kW provided that interference would be no worse than could be caused by a one kW station at the border. This "expanded band" has hardly been used in Canada with only a few low power stations, mostly on 1610 kHz. It offers good possibilities for ethnic broadcasting in the GTA and includes two current applications...

    AM propagation modes

    With propagation being much more complex in the AM band than in the VHF and UHF bands used by FM and TV broadcasting, separation distance tables are impractical and protection from interference is obtained using protected contours and ratios. There are two propagation modes in AM broadcasting, groundwave, where the signal travels along the surface of the earth and attenuation varies with the type of terrain, and skywave, where the signal is reflected off the ionosphere.

    Groundwave propagation occurs day and night and varies with frequency as well as terrain.

    Skywave propagation occurs only at night because of the sun's affect on the ionosphere.

    Thus rules differ from day to night, although the same protection ratios apply. The protected contour day-time is generally 0.5 mV/m (millivolts per metre) and is noise limited. The protected contour night-time is generally interference limited and is calculated for each station.

    Three Classes of Broadcast Stations

    As mentioned in the Historical Perspective section, there are three classes of station:

    Class A 50 kW maximum power, protected to 0.1 mV/m contour day and 0.5 mV/m skywave contour night There are very few Class A stations and most use 50 kW with either a non-directional or simple directional antenna. Coverage generally exceeds 100 km day and can exceed 1000 km at night.

    Class B 50 kW maximum power, protected to 0.5 mV/m contour day and 2.5 mV/m or existing interference level at night, whichever is greater. There are many Class B stations with powers ranging from 100 watts to 50 kW, some with very complex directional antennas. Some, mainly in the USA, operate only in the day because they cannot meet protection rules at night. Coverage can range from about 20 km to well over 100 km day, and from a few km to 50 km or more at night.

    Class C 1 kW maximum power, protected to 0.5 mV/m contour day and 4 mV/m or existing interference level at night, whichever is greater. There are many Class C channels, most with 1 kW non-directional power on the former NARBA local channels. Coverage ranges from about 10 to 50 km day, and from about 2 to 15 km at night.

    Protection ratios are:
    co-channel: 20 dB
    1st adjacent: 0 dB
    2nd adjacent: -20 dB
    There is a 0 dB protection ratio for image interference (900 to 920 kHz apart), but exceptions are often made to this rule with little impact. It should be reviewed with modern receivers. There is also a prohibition of overlap of 25 mV/m contours for third adjacent channels. As noted in the Historical Perspective section of this report, the "expanded band" 1610-1700 kHz is subject to a different agreement, which brings in the concept of "priority channel". The particulars of that concept are described in that section. Other than that difference, the rules above apply. Stations in this band are treated as Class C, although they can raise power to 10 kW provided they would not cause more interference than a 1 kW non-directional station at the border...

    Report on AM Broadcasting Possibilities in the Greater Toronto Area
    by Douglas R. Forde, 17 April 2001

    1938 November 2

    The Bridgewater Bulletin and South Shore Record

    On November 2, 1938, two South Shore newspapers, the Bridgewater Bulletin and the Mahone Bay South Shore Record were combined as a single newspaper named The Bridgewater Bulletin and South Shore Record. It continued regular publication under this name for two decades. In the 1990s, it continues weekly publication as The Bulletin.
    [Bridgewater Bulletin, 10 February 1999]


    CBC Installs High-Power Radio Transmitter

    To expand the geographical coverage of its radio broadcasting system, in 1939 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation built a new 50 kilowatt radio transmitter located on the Tantramar Marsh at Sackville, New Brunswick, close to the Nova Scotia border, which sent a strong signal to most of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and all of Prince Edward Island. This new transmitter operated with call letters CBA ("A" for "Atlantic" — "M" for "Maritime" was unavailable because CBM was already in operation in Montreal).

    Go To:   History of Telegraph and Telephone Companies in Nova Scotia

    Go To:   History of Railway Companies in Nova Scotia

    Go To:   History of Electric Power Companies in Nova Scotia

    Go To:   History of Automobiles in Nova Scotia

    Go To:   Nova Scotia History, Chapter One

    Go To:   Nova Scotia in the War of 1812

    Go To:   Nova Scotia Historical Biographies

    Go To:   Proclamations: Land Grants in Nova Scotia 1757, '58, '59

    Go To:   Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1805, edited by Richard John Uniacke

    Go To:   Home Page

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