Ever wonder what Nature Canada has in common with Batman, Lou Gehrig, Margaret Atwood and Frank Sinatra?

18 neat facts you probably don’t know about life in 1939

Nature Canada turns 75 this year. The first edition of the magazine Canadian Nature — the precursor to what would eventually become Nature Canada — was published on September 30th of 1939.

Ever wonder what the world was like when Canadian Nature made its first debut?  Here are 18 interesting facts about what life was like 1939!

  1. Women did not yet have the right to vote in Quebec provincial elections. They wouldn’t gain that right until 1940.
  2. King George VI was the newly crowned King of the United Kingdom and Canada, having just inherited the throne from his brother Edward three years earlier. In 1939, King George VI toured Canada along with his daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth  II, who was just 13 years old at the time.
  3. Canada declares war against Germany on September 10th, marking the beginning of Canada’s involvement in World War II. The magazine Canadian Nature would make a conscious effort to try not to mention the war as much as possible in order to provide a respite for readers during this difficult period.
  4. The Boston Bruins, lead by coach Art Ross, defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs to win the 1939 Stanley Cup Championship.
  5. Iconic singer and future movie star Frank Sinatra makes his recording debut in March, 1939.
  6. Newfoundland wasn’t yet a part of Canada. It wouldn’t join Canada until 1949.
  7. First Nations people did not yet have the right to vote in Canada unless they surrendered their treaty status.  They would not gain that right until 1960.
  8. Future Prime ministers Brian Mulroney and Joe Clark were both born this year, as was prominent Nature Canada supporter Margaret Atwood.
  9. Famed Canadian singer and songwriter Gordon Lightfoot turned one year old.
  10. Most people living in Saskatchewan still relied on outhouses. It wasn’t until a massive public infrastructure campaign in the 1940s and 50s that most people in Saskatchewan were able to use indoor toilets with plumbing for their… ahem, “business”
  11. Bobby Hull, the hockey legend known as the “Golden Jet” for his blonde hair, fast skating and a very powerful slapshot, was born on January 3rd.
  12. Batman makes his first appearance in the pages of Detective Comics #27 in May, 1939. If you’d bought a $0.10 copy of Detective Comics issue #27 in 1939 and kept it, it would be worth over $1,075,000 (USD) today. If you’d bought a copy of the first issue of Canadian Nature that same year, we wouldn’t be able to offer you quite that much money, but we’d think you were pretty swell!
  13. It was a landmark year for cinema! Two all time classics were released in 1939: The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind. Gone with the Wind would go on to win 10 Academy Awards and remains to this day the highest-grossing film in box office history (adjusted for inflation).
  14. Legendary Chicago gangster Al Capone is released from Alcatraz prison. American prosecutors had been unable to convict Capone on more serious offenses, so he had been serving time in Alcatraz for tax evasion.
  15. The first NCAA basketball championship was held.
  16. Canada’s first transcontinental commercial flights were less than a year old. They were run by Trans-Canada Airlines — better known today as Air Canada.
  17. On May 2nd, 1939, New York Yankee’s Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig ended his 2,130 consecutive games played streak on account of his battle with ALS, a disorder now commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease in North America. After the stadium announcer informed the audience that, for the first time in 14 years, Gehrig wouldn’t be playing that day, Detroit Tigers fans gave Gehrig a standing ovation while he sat on the bench with tears in his eyes.
  18. In 1939, Robert L. May and Montgomery Ward introduce Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer as Santa’s 9th reindeer.

Those are some pretty amazing facts! Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page and let us know your favourite fact about 1939!

Cover of first issue of Canadian Nature, 1939

First edition of the magazine “Canadian Nature”, published in 1939.

Frank Sinatra in recording studio

Frank Sinatra in a recording studio with his tie loosened.

image of an outhouse

Outhouses were commonly used in Saskatchewan at the time the first edition of “Canadian Nature” was published.

First appearance of Batman cover of Detective Comics #27

Batman first appeared in “Detective Comics #27″ within months of the first publication of the magazine “Canadian Nature”.

Lou Gehrig playing baseball for the Yankees

Lou Gehrig played his last major league game of baseball in 1939 a few months before “Canadian Nature” was first published

 


This blog post was made possible by the research of guest blogger Jacob Longpre.