It’s Canada’s 150th birthday this year. Any old excuse to throw a party, right? Many might remember the 100th celebrations in 1967 which was an interesting year in this country. The most successful world’s fair up to that time, Expo 67, opened in Montreal in April. The Toronto Maple Leafs won their 13th, and last, Stanley Cup. Ross Thatcher was the Premier of Saskatchewan and won his second straight majority in October. Universal Medicare, which had begun in this province 20 years earlier, was being implemented right across the country, as was the Canada Pension Plan.
Both Prime Minister Lester Pearson and Opposition Leader John Diefenbaker announced they were stepping down. Robert Stanfield would become Conservative leader in November and Pierre Trudeau became Liberal Leader early the next year. 1967’s top news story was French President Charles De Gaulle’s “Vive Le Quebec Libre” (Long Live the Free Quebec) speech in Montreal. I was a history buff even as a youngster and up until then I had thought of De Gaulle as a great Allied war leader and a friend of Canada but, when he came out with that, this was one teenager who figured he should shut the heck up and go home. People also know I’m a music history buff and 1967 was a watershed year for pop music as the Beatles, with the release of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, took rock & roll in a new direction. What will we remember about Canada’s 150th year? Seeing that it’s only May, we’ll have to wait a while to look back at 2017.