Today in History - June 9

The Canadian Press, May 31, 2013 | Go to article overview

Today in History - June 9


Today in History - June 9

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Today in History for June 9:

On this date:

In 68 AD, the brutal and paranoid Roman emperor Nero committed suicide at age 31. Nero is regarded as one of the worst of Rome's emperors, better known for devoting himself to horse-racing, singing, dancing and sexual exploits than administrative duties. He is often accused of "fiddling while Rome burned" although historians generally agree that he did in fact try to control the fire that destroyed much of the city in 64 AD.

In 597, St. Columba, as he was known to the Irish, died. He spread the gospel from Ireland to the northern British Isles.

In 1549, the Church of England adopted "The Book of Common Prayer," compiled by Thomas Cranmer.

In 1672, Peter I of Russia, known as "Peter the Great," was born. As Tsar of Russia from 1682-1725, he turned his country into a major European power. He founded St. Petersburg, which he made the new capital.

In 1793, the importation of slaves into Upper Canada was prohibited.

In 1829, 30 people attended Canada's first temperance meeting in Montreal.

In 1846, a fire ravaged St. John's, Nfld., leaving nearly 12,000 people homeless.

In 1866, a 20-year-old Irish soldier won the only Victoria Cross awarded for an act of valour on Canadian soil. Private Timothy O'Hea saved 800 German immigrants locked in converted boxcars on a train stopped at Danville, Que. All by himself, O'Hea put out a fire in another boxcar filled with ammunition before it exploded.

In 1870, British author Charles Dickens died. He was 58. Dickens wrote 15 major novels, including "A Tale of Two Cities" and "Great Expectations," as well as countless short stories and articles. The inscription on his tombstone in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey, reads: "He was a sympathiser to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England's greatest writers is lost to the world."

In 1881, Cap. Angus Walters, skipper of the famed schooner "Bluenose," was born in Nova Scotia. Walters took command of the "Bluenose" in 1921 and raced against other East Coast schooners until 1938.

In 1902, the Automat Restaurant, the first restaurant with food vending machines, opened in Philadelphia.

In 1934, the first successful field test of FM radio was conducted by Edwin Howard Armstrong in Alpine, N.J.

In 1940, during the Second World War, Norway decided to surrender to the Nazis, effective at midnight.

In 1947, wartime control and rationing of all dairy products in Canada ended.

In 1959, one of Canada's most sensational criminal cases began when 12-year-old Lynne Harper was murdered near the southwestern Ontario community of Clinton. Fourteen-year-old Steven Truscott was convicted and served 10 years in prison. In 2007, the Ontario Court of Appeal unanimously overturned that conviction, declaring the case "a miscarriage of justice."

In 1961, Canadian actor Michael J. Fox was born in Edmonton. He debuted as a professional actor at age 15, co-starring in the CBC sitcom "Leo and Me." When he was 18, he moved to Los Angeles, where he won the role of lovable conservative Alex P. Keaton on NBC's enormously popular "Family Ties" (1982-89). During Fox's seven years on the show, he earned three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. Fox returned to series TV in 1996 with ABC's "Spin City," portraying Michael Flaherty, New York's deputy mayor. He won critical praise, garnering three Golden Globe Awards, one Emmy Award, a GQ Man-of-the-Year Award, a People's Choice Award, and two SAG Awards. He also appeared in several films, including the "Back to the Future" trilogy. In 1991, he was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's disease. Upon disclosing his condition in 1998, he committed himself to the campaign for increased Parkinson's research.

In 1964, Lord Beaverbrook, the Canadian-born British cabinet minister and media magnate, died at age 85.

In 1968, the first national televised debate of Canadian political leaders was held. …

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