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March 29, 2013

Some Anniversaries in Perspectives

Cross Canada Car Trips

Motor vehicles are a pervasive part of our life and our economy but a hundred years ago a vehicle was a rarity.  I wrote about Canada’s first coast to coast car trip in 2003 (Google Heritage Perspectives #136) and this year is the centenary of the event. 

The Canadian Automobile Association magazine wrote about cross Canada trips in their spring issue.  They wrote, as I did, that Thomas Wilby a British snob and a Reo Car company mechanic Jack Haney travelled from Halifax to Victoria on a network of dirt roads.  When there were no roads they loaded the car (a Reo) onto a train or ferry.  Others including Dr. Perry Doolittle the founder of the CAA took the trip in 1925.  At one point he put train wheels on his Model-T to keep going. 

John Nicol wrote a book on the original Wilby/Haney trip in 1999 after taking the trip himself in a 1912 Reo driven by Lorne Findlay.  When Nicol and Findlay stopped in North Bay Arnie Hakala wrote a story for the Nugget and took a photo of the Reo under the Gateway arch in the park on Lakeshore Drive. 

The CAA article noted that two men made the cross Canada trip in 2 weeks in 1946. 

Pierre Trudeau & Queen Elizabeth at the signing of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Charter of Rights & Freedoms 

Thirty years ago the Trudeau government passed the Constitution Act which provides us with a remarkable Charter of Rights & Freedoms which sets the tone for Canadian life today.  The photo of Trudeau and the Queen at the signing is iconic. 

Check the Human Rights Program, Department of Canadian Heritage on line where a full PDF on the Charter  is available.  

Wildlife and Conservation 

The Canadian Wildlife Federation – concerned with the protection and preservation of Canadian Wildlife is celebrating 50 years of progress this year as is the Nature Conservancy. 

Betty Friedan Anniversaries 

Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique is “one of the most influential books of the 20th century” published 50 years ago has sold millions of copies in several languages.  It sparked the so called “second wave of feminism” where many housewives between World War II and the 1960s were locked into roles as wives and mothers playing an important but not as satisfying a job as many would have liked. A new edition with a new introduction by a Friedan fan is in the works. 

Author Betty Friedan

My wife and I have a dog eared and underlined copy that influenced us and our two daughters over the years.  Both daughters have had successful relationships, and are successful authors with Phds. The world is a different place for women today and Frieden was one of the leaders in the evolution. 

The Foundation of Age 

Thirty years ago this year Friedan took on ageism like she did feminism and the above titled book had an influence on the life of my wife and I.  Again another marked copy is close at hand.  The 670 page book looks at all aspects of the “self achieving of aging and the longer life many have these days.

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