On St-Jean-Baptiste Day in 1880, guests gathered at Pavillon des Patineurs, a skating rink in Quebec City, were treated to the performance of a new “national hymn.” The song they heard for the very first time? “O Canada.”
Today, June 24, is a special day for most Quebecers and Canadians; it’s St-Jean-Baptiste Day or “fête nationale du Québec,” a public holiday in Quebec. Although it originated as a religious celebration for John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus Christ, the significance of the day has evolved over time. In 1977, St-Jean-Baptiste Day was recognized as the national holiday of Quebec and is now a more secular event that celebrates French Canadian culture, identity, history and achievements.
When you spread peanut butter on your toast tomorrow, think of Marcellus Gilmore Edson. Although peanut butter was originally used by Aztecs, Edson, from Montreal, was the first to patent a peanut paste in 1884.
The popular trivia board game was dreamed up by Chris Haney, a picture editor at the Montreal Gazette, and Scott Abbott, a sports journalist for The Canadian Press, in 1979 in Montreal.
We have Joseph-Armand Bombardier, who was born in Valcourt, to thank for this very Canadian mode of transportation. He patented the sprocket wheel/track system in 1937 and developed the first Ski-Doo that resembled modern day machines in 1958.
The song was first performed in Quebec City on St-Jean-Baptiste Day in 1880 – a century later it was officially declared Canada’s national anthem. It was composed by Calixa Lavallée, and Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier wrote the French lyrics.
Because energy was needed to light the streets of Trois-Rivières, Canada’s pipeline history was born. In 1853, a 25-kilometre, cast-iron pipe was built to transport natural gas to the city. The energy conduit was likely the longest pipeline in the world at the time and Canada’s first gas transmission pipeline.
Quebec has been home to other important milestones in Canada’s pipeline history as well. In 1941, a 380-kilometre oil pipeline from South Portland, Maine, to Montreal was completed to transport oil to refineries in Montreal. That pipeline was one of only three transporting crude oil in the country by 1947. Since those days, Canada’s ability to efficiently move energy where it’s needed has greatly expanded. Today, CEPA members use 115,000 kilometres of pipeline to deliver the energy used by Canadians and the world – 1,150 of those kilometres are in Quebec.
Happy St-Jean-Baptiste Day!
Learn more about pipelines in Quebec by reading this Q & A with a young engineer from Montreal.
The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 115,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2013, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.