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On March 14, Henry Joseph Clarke becomes the third premier of Manitoba, and the third since the formation of Manitoba in 1870.
On March 25, the Toronto Printers’ begin to strike, looking to get a nine-hour day. This strike will become one of the biggest events for the year.
On March 31, the first issue of the Toronto Mail is published. Over time, this newspaper will become the Globe and Mail, one of the most popular newspapers in Canada.
On April 15, 10,000 people come out to Queen’s Park in support of the Toronto printers and their strike. George Brown of the Globe, the head of the Masters Printers’ Association, has the police arrest the entire 24-man strike committee.
Three days later, Sir John A. Macdonald introduces a bill to legalize trade unions, which will become law and allow labour unions on June 14. When that becomes law, the Criminal Law Amendment Act also makes picketing illegal.
On May 15, the first nationwide labour protest in Canada’s history happens when marchers come out in support of a nine-hour workday.
On June 20, Phoebe Campbell would be hanged for the murder of her husband the previous year.
On June 22, a Grand Trunk Railway running from Toronto to Montreal derails near Shannonville, Ontario, killing 34 people.
On June 25, Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, who is the First Earl of Dufferin, becomes the Governor General of Canada. As Governor General, he worked to have a more active role in the position. He would become known for being charming and very hospital. He would also involve himself in politics as much as was allowed and in 1873 he would establish the Governor General’s Academic Medals. To date, 50,000 have been awarded.
On July 5, George Luther Hathaway, the third premier of New Brunswick, would pass away. He had been seriously injured on June 25 when he suffered an injury to his hand after jumping from a moving train. He would die due to blood poisoning from the incident.
On July 20, the 1872 federal election is held. In the election, the Liberal Party was able to increase its representation heavily. Under Edward Blake, the party gained 33 seats, reaching 95. The Conservative Party gained no seats and lost none. The reason for this was the establishment of new ridings with British Columbia and Manitoba becoming part of Canada. This would technically be the first minority government in Canadian history, but the support of two independent MPs helped to give Macdonald a very slim majority.
On Sept. 1, John Kent, who served as the premier of Newfoundland from 1858 to 1861, would pass away in St. John’s at the age of 67.
On Oct. 31, Oliver Mowat would become the premier of Ontario, replacing of Edward Blake. Blake would go on to serve as premier for the next 24 years, and would then become Lt. Governor of the province from 1897 to 1903.
On Nov. 10, Frederick Alderdice is born in Belfast, Ireland. He would be the tenth and last prime minister of Newfoundland, serving in 1928 and from 1932 to 1934. He would pass away two years later in 1936.
On Nov. 21, the Victoria Memorial was completed and unveiled by Lord Dufferin. The memorial, which is a sculpture of Queen Victoria, is located in Montreal and was built through donations from regular residents.
On Nov. 30, John McCrae would be born Guelph, Ontario. He would write In Flanders Field in 1915, which has become a part of our heritage and an iconic poem related to the First World War. He would unfortunately not survive the war, dying in 1918 in France.
On Dec. 23, Amor De Cosmos would become the second premier of British Columbia. He would serve for the next two years.
Many important initiatives and events would happen this year as well.
One of the biggest was the Dominion Lands Act providing land to settlers for only a small fee. While this would bring many Europeans out to the country to live, it would severely limit the lands of the First Nations people.
The Winnipeg Free Press was published for the first time this year, and is still published. It is currently the oldest newspaper in western Canada.
An unfortunate law would be put through in British Columbia this year, banning all Asian and First Nation people from being able to vote in any election in the province. George King would become the premier of New Brunswick for the second time, making him both the second and fourth premier of the province. He would serve until 1878.
Elijah McCoy would invent the first of several devices for oil engines that would be used in trains and factories. Related to that, in a roundabout way, is the new Patent Act that was introduced this year that encouraged the importing and licensing of technology and foreign patents by allowed the legal use of a patent in Canada if it was not registered within two years.