On this day: the Great Fire of Saint John

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Damage on the dockside. X

The Great Fire of Saint John occurred in New Brunswick, Canada on the 20th of June, 1877.

It was after two in the afternoon when a spark fell onto hay in a storehouse, sparking a fire that burnt for nine hours. At least nineteen people were killed and many more were injured.

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1612 structures were destroyed, including fourteen hotels, eight churches, six banks, and a number of boats. The heat of the flames was so great that some buildings were said to have burst into flames before the fire reached them.

Cities all over the world donated money to the rebuilding effort, including Chicago, a city that had suffered a massive fire less than six years before.

On this day: the first train to Penticton

These images show the first passenger train to Penticton, Canada on the 31st of May, 1915.

Penticton, located in British Columbia, was connected by the Kettle Valley Railway. The railway has since fallen into disuse.

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1st_Passenger_Train_to_Penticton_31st_May_1915_(HS85-10-30388) 1st Passenger Train to Penticton 31st May 1915 British Columbia Canada

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On this day: Victoria Day in 1934

Fête de la Reine (Victoria Day) is a national holiday for Canada, celebrated on the final Monday before Queen Victoria’s birthday in late May.

This image is of children in Quebec celebrating with maypole dancing on the 24th of May, 1934.

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On this day: the death of Winnipeg the bear

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Winnie in 1914 X

Winnipeg (or Winnie), a female black bear from Canada and the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh, died in London Zoo on the 12th of May, 1934. She was twenty at the time.

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Winnie and Harry Colebourn X

Winnie was purchased as an orphaned cub at a train stop in Ontario in 1914. She was bought for $20 by Harry Colebourn, a twenty-seven year old veterinarian who had volunteered for World War One and was on his way to report for duty. He named her after his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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Winnie plays with Canadian soldiers during WW1.

Winnie, who became a military mascot, was kept in London for the years Colebourn served in the war, and he eventually donated her to the zoo.

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Winnie-the-Pooh makes a debut on Christmas Eve, 1925. X

The inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh came after creator A. A. Milne’s son Christopher Robin visited the bear at the zoo and changed the name of his toy bear from “Edward Bear” to “Winnie the Pooh”.

On this day: the founding of a university

The University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada received its charter on the 28th of February, 1877.

The university was officially opened on the 20th of June the same year, and awarded its first degrees in 1880.

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