Skip to content

History ‘n’ Hockey: Canada’s two-millionth immigrant

On this day in Canadian history, in 1960, our country celebrated the arrival of Danish immigrant Annette Toft, who just happened to be Canada’s two-millionth immigrant from 1945 to 1960.
Danish immigrant Annette Toft, Canada’s two-millionth immigrant, arrives at Pier 21 in Halifax on Dec. 5 1960. Photo: Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
On this day in Canadian history, in 1960, our country celebrated the arrival of Danish immigrant Annette Toft, who just happened to be Canada’s two-millionth immigrant from 1945 to 1960.

Toft was one of 104,111 immigrants who arrived that year and was part of broader surge of people who had departed for Canada in the wake of the Second World War.

Washington Capitals at Montreal Canadiens, 7:30 p.m.

2015-16 Season Records: WSH 17-5-1 (2nd in the Metropolitan); MTL 19-4-3 (1st in the Atlantic)
Leading Scorers: Evgeni Kuznetsov (8G, 18A); Max Pacioretty (13G, 12A)

The bad news continues for Canadiens fan. After losing top-line winger Brendan Gallagher for a minimum of six weeks with two fractured fingers, Carey Price is on injured reserved again after he aggravated an injury in last week’s game against the Rangers.

The Habs should be able to weather the storm as the two recover, but tonight may be a different story. Alex Ovechkin, the most prolific scorer of his generation, is coming to town and he has some scoring history against Montreal. In 36 career meetings against the Canadiens, Ovechkin has 22 goals and 16 assists. The last time he was at the Bell Centre, back in April, he potted two goals.

Prediction: Capitals by two

Chicago Blackhawks at Ottawa Senators, 7:30 p.m.

2015-16 Season Records: CHI 13-9-3 (4th in the Central); OTT 12-7-5 (3rd in the Atlantic)
Leading Scorers: Patrick Kane (15G, 23A); Erik Karlsson (5G, 21A)

If you’re a Senators fan, you were probably excited about Ottawa’s two big wins against the Dallas Stars and the Colorado Avalanche last week, but you should also be very concerned. The Senators were significantly outshot in both games, as they allowed goaltender Craig Anderson to face 37 and 43 shots respectively in those matchups.

Moreover, the Senators somehow were able to score six goals on19 shots against both of Dallas’ net minders. Ottawa will not be able to continue winning games in this fashion (please see the 2011-12 Minnesota Wild, the 2013-14 Toronto Maple Leafs, and the 2014-15 Calgary Flames) and it’s only a matter of time before their underlying numbers catch up with them.

Prediction: Blackhawks by 1

Toronto Maple Leafs at Minnesota Wild, 8 p.m.

2015-16 Season Records: TOR 8-12-5 (8th in the Atlantic); MIN 12-7-4 (5th in the Central)
Leading Scorers: Dion Phaneuf (2G, 13A); Mikko Koivu (4G, 16A)

The Leafs and Wild have only met a handful of times in Minnesota since the latter joined the league for the 2000-01 season. So far, the edge goes to the North Star State. They are 4-2-0 at home against the Leafs since 2003-04.

You know who is probably not happy about that? Jake Gardiner. The Leafs defenceman was born in Minnetonka and is one of 30 players from Minnesota currently playing in the NHL system. He’s only played before his hometown crowd twice, both times as a member of the Leafs.

Gardiner has yet to score a point as a professional in Minnesota and tonight would be an opportune time, as he has just one point in his last eight games.

Prediction: Wild by 1

Dallas Stars at Vancouver Canucks, 7:30 p.m.

2015-16 Season Records: DAL 19-5-1 (1st in the Central); VAN 9-9-7(4th in the Pacific)
Leading Scorers: Jamie Benn (18G, 17A); Daniel Sedin (12G, 16A)

Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are currently sitting in the top three for league scoring just past this season’s quarter mark and there’s plenty of reason to believe that the dynamic duo could reach an historic scoring milestone. Since the end of the Original Six era, there have only been 10 sets of players from the same club to finish No. 1 and No. 2 in league scoring in complete seasons.

The last time the feat was accomplished was 20 years ago when Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr finished with 161 and 149 points respectively. Lemieux had previously done this as well with Kevin Stevens, and Wayne Gretzky did it three times in Edmonton with Jari Kurri and Paul Coffey (x2). If Benn and Seguin were to pull this off, they will certainly find themselves in the company of greatness.

Prediction: Stars by 2

Last Minute of Play

When Toft stepped off the S.S. Batory in Quebec City, along her mother and brother, she was met by her father, who had already been in Canada for two months. Annette also found herself in the spotlight as the media was eager to cover her historic arrival.

The press, and presumably much of the country, greeted her with open arms, but in many ways, the celebratory nature of the affair stood in sharp contrast to Canada’s immigration track record up to that point.

While we certainly opened our doors to many immigrants in the aftermath of the Second World War, there were still significant barriers to many prospective newcomers, based on race, religion, and country of origin.

Looking back on Toft’s arrival should give us pause as we think about how we our currently handling the refugee crisis that confronts us. We can only hope that we are able to look back on this situation in 55 years and see that we were empathetic, compassionate and celebrated the arrival of those who desperately needed our assistance, regardless of the significance of their arrival number.

History ‘n’ Hockey returns Dec. 17. Four Canadian teams are in action that night as we look back on the National Hockey League’s first games in 1917.

Mike Commito is a Canadian historian and avid hockey fan. Follow him on twitter @mikecommito.


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.