111 years ago today, the world’s first national park department, Parks Canada, was established, 5 years before its counterpart in the U.S. Today they manage the country’s 48 National Parks, 3 National Marine Conservation Areas, 172 National Historic Sites, 1 National Urban Park, and 1 National Landmark. Parks Canada is mandated to “protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage, and foster public understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment in ways that ensure their ecological and commemorative integrity for present and future generations.” WATCH what they do… (1911)

Managing 181,000 square miles of the most important natural and cultural areas in the country, they also study and protect endangered species, expanding the habitat of species, ensuring wildlife corridors remain open, and ensuring all the infrastructure therein is maintained.

Banff National Park, one of Canada’s true jewels – CC license.

Parks Canada plays an important role in educating Canadians about the less-than-beautiful parts of their history, like the residential schools kidnapping/enslavement program of children from indigenous tribes. As time has gone on, Parks Canada, has moved more and more stewardship rights and responsibilities to the First Nations, so as to ensure they maintain a connection to their history, land, and culture.

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • The electric fire alarm system was patented in Boston, Massachusetts, the first city to adopt the method (1857)
  • Oscar Wilde was released from Reading Gaol prison having served 2 years hard labor for “gross indecency” (1897)
  • The Soviet Union ratified a treaty with the United States and Britain that banned nuclear weapons from outer space (1967)
  • Apple, Inc. opened the first Genius Bars (in Tysons Corner, Virginia, and Glendale, California), where customers can get free tech support in the chic Apple retail environment (2001)
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was released into theaters worldwide, completing George Lucas’ 28-year saga, which first appeared in 1977 and includes 6 episodes (2005)

66 years ago today, Major League Baseball player Dale Long set an MLB record by hitting a home run in eight consecutive games.

Playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates that year, his achievement of 8 homers in 8 straight games surpassed the previous mark of 6 straight games, shared by Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays, and three other players.

The 6‘4” first baseman who played for six different teams in his 12-year career stayed atop the record books for 31 years, until he was joined by Don Mattingly in 1987, and also Ken Griffey Jr. in 1993—both of whom tied the record, going deep 8 games in a row. WATCH the play call… (1956)

23 years ago today, Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released in the U.S. The first of the Star Wars prequels, the film marked the directorial return of George Lucas (who also wrote its screenplay) after a 22-year hiatus since the first Star Wars of 1977.

The Phantom Menace stars Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, and Jake Lloyd as a 9-year-old Anakin Skywalker (who would become Darth Vader). The movie takes place 32 years before the original film, and follows Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi as they protect Queen Amidala in hopes of securing a peaceful end to a interplanetary trade dispute while simultaneously contending with the mysterious return of the Sith Lords.

Although the film’s visual effects were widely praised, it got mixed reviews especially regarding the dialogue, plot, and the addition of Jar-jar Binks “a comic relief character who’s frankly not funny,” according to the L.A. Times. The entire Star Wars saga (three prequels and three sequels) came to a final climax in December, 2019 with the release of the ninth film, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. (1999)

1985 photo by Helge Overas, CC license

44 years ago today, Dire Straits released ‘Sultans Of Swing’, their first single from the debut album. With a budget of only $150, the song was first recorded months earlier as a demo in North London. Written by singer-guitarist Mark Knopfler about a musician who doesn’t mind if he “doesn’t make the scene—he’s got a daytime job and he’s doing alright,” the catchy hook rose to No. 4 on the Billboard chart. Mark’s guitar solo went down in history as No. 22 on Guitar World‘s list of greatest solos. (1978)

Fair use – Wikipedia

And, on this day 55 years ago, The Beatles held a press party at the London home of their manager Brian Epstein to launch the Sgt. Pepper’s album. They hired Linda Eastman to be the press photographer, a woman who, four years later, became the beloved wife of Paul McCartney for 27 years–until her death from cancer at age 56. She had been a professional photographer focused on celebrities, and was often published in music industry magazines. Her book, Linda McCartney’s Sixties: Portrait of an Era, features the best of her work. (1967)

Happy Birthday to Pete Townshend who turns 77 today.

Photo by Ross Belot – CC license

The English musician, singer-songwriter and co-founder of The Who. Born in London to musician parents, he taught himself how to play guitar and never learned to read music. Yet, he became one of the most influential guitar players and rock composers in the world, with song like Behind Blue Eyes, Magic Bus, Love Reign O’er Me, Pinball Wizard , Can You See The Real Me, Let My Love Open The Door, See Me Feel Me, Just A Little is Enough, Save It For Later, and Baba O’Riley (Teenage Wasteland)—including 12 studio albums for The Who. Townshend also plays keyboards, banjo, accordion, harmonica, ukulele, mandolin, violin, synthesizer, bass guitar, and drums—and is self-taught on all these instruments. (1945)

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