Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Saint John, New Brunswick's Firsts

  • Canada's oldest incorporated city, founded by the United Empire Loyalist, 1783.
  • Home of Moosehead Breweries.
  • Home of the late industrialist K.C.Irving, self made billionaire and one of the riches men in the world.
  • Location of the 1985 movie, Children of a Lesser God.
  • The birthplace of Walter Pidgeon and Donald Sutherland and childhood home of Louis Mayer.
  • Home of the Canadian Hockey Association's Atlantic Centre of Excellence.
  • Home of Canada's largest oil refinery.
  • Home of the second largest bilingual workforce in New Brunswick.
  • Ranked as Canada's Premier City for Business by the Globe and Mail's Report on Business Magazine and The Best Business City in Atlantic Canada by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business for its pro-business attitude.
Dunp Box 
for Truck
INVENTOR: Robert T. Mawhinney
Saint John, New Brunswick
(Patent No. CA 203,004, August 17, 1920)
This invention was instrumental in the development of our present trucking industry. To create this first dump truck, a mast was mounted between the cab of the vehicle and the dump box. A cable was threaded over a sheave at the top of the mast and was connected to a winch at the base of the mast and to the lower front end of the dump box. The dump box was pivoted at the rear end of the truck frame. A simple crank handle was used to operate the winch, which raised the front end of the dump box, dumped the load, then lowered the box. A hydraulic system has since replaced the crank handle, but the basic, concept has remained unchanged.
  • Canada's first incorporated city, created by Royal Charter - 1785.
  • First Common-Law market in Canada, created by Royal Charter - 1785.
  • First biscuit factory, established in 1801
  • Canada's first fire insurance company - Munso Jarvis, established 1801
  • Canada's first Chartered bank - 1830 (Bank of New Brunswick).
  • First penny newspaper in the Empire,"Saint John News", established in 1838 (tri-weekly) by George E Fenety.
  • First compound marine engine developed by Benjamin Tibbets - 1842. The "Reindeer" was the first vessel to be propelled by a compound steam engine, i.e., one in which high and low pressure steam were combined. Tibbets was granted $100 for his work by the Legislature of the Province of New Brunswick.
  • Canada's first Y.M.C.A. established in 1870 by Mrs. Agnes A. Blizzard, in a house on Germain Street.
  • The "Long reacher" skate invented by James Welply advanced the 19th century speed skating tradition - mid 1850's.
  • Canada's first industrial exhibition - 1851. (This is the same year as the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London, organized by Prince Albert).
  • First public museum in Canada opened in 1842. Known today as the New Brunswick Museum, it was originally called the Gesner Museum, after its founder Abraham Gesner, a Nova Scotia-born doctor credited with the invention of kerosene.
  • First police union in the world was formed in Saint John in 1919.
  • 1927, Wallace Turnbull invented the first variable-pitch aeroplane propeller and went on to pioneer developments in aeronautics at his home in nearby Rothesay. The Saint John Airport is named in his honour. He also designed boats and invented the first wind tunnel.
  • First female Canadian Golf Champion, Miss Mabel Thompson - 1902.
  • First female commercial air pilot in Canada - Mrs. Tony Shelfoon (nee Daphne Peterson).
  • First Miss Canada Mrs. Harold Drummie (nee Winnie Blair) - 1923.
  • First postage stamp album in the world invented by Robert Reid - 1853. The original is now at the Collector's Club in New York City.
  • First public playground in Canada which was started by Miss Mabel Peters. This playground is known as the Allison Ground Playground in Rockwood Court.
  • First Minister of Health of the British Empire, Hon. W.F.Roberts, M.D.
  • First monitor top railroad cars in the world invented by James Ferguson. The original model is in the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John.
  • First Knights of Pythias in British Empire.
  • Miss Katie Broad, first lady to get a diploma in agriculture - 1915.
  • First Board of Fire Insurance Underwriters in Canada 1865.
  • First overshoes in Canada brought to the country by Francis and Vaughn.
  • First orchestra to accompany a silent moving picture on the North American continent was by Walter Golding in the old nickel theater, May 1907.
  • First wire nails in Canada were manufactured by Penders Ltd. 1891.
  • First soda crackers in Canada by T. Rankine amp; Sons, Church Street 1823.
  • First Boy Scout Apple Day in the world organized by Eli Boyaner on January 30, 1931.
  • Mrs. R. J. Hooper was the first woman to sit as a member on the Board of Health in the British Empire.
  • First automobile fire harness invented by Hiram Webb.
  • Saint John Mallard House - first Legislature of the Province convened on January 3, 1786. In the largest room of the Mallard House the first dramatic performance in New Brunswick was held on March 28, 1789. The plays were "The Busy Body" and "Who's The Dupe?"
  • First steamboat in the province built at Portland Point and launched in May 1816, was named General Smyth.
  • First name for the city was Carleton (which is now termed West Saint John).
Vortex-Flushing Toilet Bowl
INVENTOR: Thomas McAvity Stewart
Saint John, New Brunswick
(Patent No. CA 108,017, October 15, 1907)
The patent for this invention describes a series of oblique openings in the rim of a toilet bowl to form a vortex during flushing, thus providing a selfcleansing effect. Today, most makes of toilet bowls have this feature or otherwise generate this same vortex effect.
  • Canada's first vocational school was erected on Douglas Avenue.
  • Saint John's first social club was on the corner of King Street and Market Square and known as the "Exchange Coffee House" It was owned by William George Cody.
  • The Admiral Beatty was Saint John's first large and modern hotel.
  • The first common clerk in Saint John was Bartholomew Crandall (1785-1790).
  • The first recorder appointed in Saint John was Ward Chipman (1785-1800).
  • The first Chamberlain in Saint John was George Leonard (1785-1787).
  • The first issue of Saint John's "The New Brunswick Magazine" July 1898.
  • Saint John's first large and modern post office was completed 1915.
  • First burial grounds. Graves were marked with wooden head boards near King's Square 1785.
  • Oldest head stone in Saint John - Conrad T. Hendricks - 1784.
  • First grave digger was Edward Burr.
  • Saint John's first fort built by a white man was Fort LaTour (Fort Sainte Marie).
  • First church built by Presbyterians - on a grant of land on the north side of Queen Street (numbers 1-10 of today) from the government of Nova Scotia June 29, 1784.
  • First Mayor of Saint John was the Hon. G. Ludlow, appointed April 4, 1784.
  • First episcopal church, old Trinity, began in 1788 - corner stone was laid by Rev. Dr. Inglis, first Anglican Bishop in North America. The church was opened for use on Christmas Day 1791.
  • First Roman Catholic services in the city were held in City Hall, Market Square in 1813. St. Malachi's chapel opened in 1815.
  • First member of the Royal Family to visit Saint John was the Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria - June 16,1794.
  • First grist mill in Saint John built soon after the Loyalists arrived in 1784.
  • First Grammar School in Saint John - 1805. This Grammar School was later called Saint John High School.
  • First National School in Saint John - 1818.
  • First Girls School in Saint John - 1819.
  • First businesswoman in Saint John was Ann Mott. She printed the Gazette and New Brunswick Advertiser, January 11, 1815.
  • Portland Point was the first French settlement in New Brunswick.
  • First pre-Loyalist English-speaking people settled in Saint John in 1762 with Simonds, Hazen & White (fur traders).
  • Saint John's first major railway was the European and North American Railway. Construction began in 1853 and was completed in 1860. The railway ran from Saint John to Shediac, New Brunswick.
  • First sod broken of the European and North American Railway March 17, 1857.
  • First train ran north on the railroad for three and one half miles, the length already constructed in 1857.
  • Saint John's first water supply came from Lily Lake in1838 after many previous unsuccessful attempts, carried by a flume of wood to a pumping station at the foot of Brussel Street.
  • First gas works commenced in 1844.
  • Streets first lighted in 1845
  • First lumberman in Saint John was John Glasier, son of Benjamin Glasier - 1799.
  • First steam fog whistle in the world was invented by Scotsman, Robert Foulis in 1854. It was erected on Partridge Island in 1859 to aid approaching mariners in determining their direction.
  • First suspension bridge in Saint John completed in 1853 spanned Reversing Falls.
  • First rector in Saint John from Royal Gazette, August 1 1786, Rev. George Bisset
  • The first clock to be placed in the Tower of Trinity Church was in 1812.
  • First Ball held at McPherson's Coffee House on King Street, 1784.
  • Saint John had first cut-rate grocery and first resident dentist in the Province of New Brunswick.
  • First ship built in Saint John was the "Alfred" Frigate built in 1785 and registered in London, August 28, 1785.
  • First attempt at shipbuilding was by John Simonds in 1775.
  • John Lawton was the first Loyalist to engage in shipbuilding.
  • First importation of pig iron into Saint John by Hams and Alla. From it was cast the first Franklyn Stoves in New Brunswick.
  • First tanner in Saint John was William Melick - 1790.
  • First hydrographic survey of the Saint John Harbour in 1761.
  • First manufacture of soap and candles in 1785 by Asa Blakslee.
  • June 1817 - corner stone of the first brick building (Disbrow building) was laid.
  • First case of cholera reported in June 1854.
  • April 1784, first recorded marriage in Parr Town.
  • February 1785, first execution in Saint John.
  • First telephone in Saint John was installed December 1879 by Western Union Telegraph Company, on the corner of King Street and Chipman Hill.
  • G.A. Maguire was granted patent for a "toothpaste holder" in 1937.
  • First dyke at Marsh Bridge 1788.
  • In 1840 Prof. L.A. Laurcat started the first balloon ascension in Canada from Barrack Square. Tickets for select seats were four shillings.
  • First building erected as a theater in Saint John opened January 15, 1856.
  • First home for the aged was W.O. Smith House on Germain Street, 1871.
  • First Loyalist child born in Parr Town was Benjamin Stanton. He was born on King Street in a tent where the horse fountain now stands.
  • June Clark was the first woman in Canada to run for United Church ministry 1945.
  • First Dry Dock customer was the Norwegian Steamer MH Kongsheven under Captain John Palander.
  • First quarantine station in Canada 1785.
  • First waterfront union in Canada
  • First National Historic Streetscape in Canada, Prince William Street - designated in 1981.
  • First Boys and Girls Club of Canada was founded in Saint John circa 1902. Second club in Canada was formed in Montreal.

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