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Red Deer


Colonization & Settlement of Central Alberta

News articles about heritage, culture and history that supplement and complement the objectives of
the Forth Junction Heritage Society


Innisfail heritage

Innisfail Province ceases newspaper operations
March 31, 2020, The Albertan (consolidated new name including Innisfail Province) (Johnnie Bachusky)
In 1904 the town's new pioneer telephone directory was released for 42 residences, businesses and services. The telephone number for town hall and police station was 17. The Union Bank of Canada had 23. Six was reserved for the Innisfail Free Lance, a local newspaper since Sept. 2, 1898. However, number 1 was reserved for a new newspaper office called The Province, which reportedly was about to buy out The Free Lance (more)


Innisfail heritage
Businesses sensitive to loss of art
Sept. 3, 2019, Innisfail Province (Johnnie Bachusky)
Wade Harris reached out for over a year to save history. But in the end the owner of Innisfail Bowling Lanes had to let it go. The Tribute to the Railroad mural, created more than 15 years ago but badly faded on the west wall of his business at the intersection of Main Street and 51st Avenue, was painted over during the weekend of Aug. 24 and 25. Harris, who also owns bowling centres in Olds and Drumheller, contacted Ruth Jepson,

Red Deer culture

Red Deer group is pushing to create a local 'international village' to promote unity
A city made up of immigrants has no place for intolerance, say group members
Jan. 18, 2019, Red Deer Advocate (Lana Michelin)
Disheartened by inflamed anti-immigrant sentiment, a Red Deer group wants to revive a decades-old plan to start an international village in the city. It's time to remind people where their descendants came from -- and how various cultures make up the fabric of central Alberta, says group member Betty Wulff, of the city's Norwegian Laft Hus Society. "It's time to go back and be proud of what your parents and grandparents

Innisfail heritage
Celebrating a half century of Innisfail history
Sinclair House open to public for one day
May 21, 2019, Innisfail Province (Kristine Jean)
For the past 50 years the Innisfail and District Historical Society has been an essential part of the community. "It's our seasonal grand opening and we are celebrating 50 years of the Innisfail and District Historical Society," said Anna Lenters, president of the historical society. "It's an important milestone." The season grand opening and open house takes place May 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but doors will be open an hour earlier for a

Innisfail heritage
Continuing family legacy at the historical village
Granddaughter of first curator now manager
April 23, 2019, Innisfail Province (Kristine Jean)
Family history has come full circle at the Innisfail and District Historical Village. Twenty-eight-year-old Kayla Godkin, who hails from Central Alberta, was recently chosen as the new museum manager. Her grandmother, Dr. Margaret Godkin, was the museum's first curator 50 years ago. Godkin and her husband were veterinarians in Innisfail. "It kind of feels a little bit like grandma wanted me to work here," said Godkin, noting she never


Innisfail heritage
Sinclair House will be the pride of Innisfail
Dec. 12, 2017, Innisfail Province (Johnnie Bachusky commentary)
There are a few citizens who have reportedly wondered why many others in town have chosen to turn hard-earned money into the restoration of the Sinclair House. The 125-year-old home was finally brought to the Innisfail and District Historical Village last week, and it was quite an emotional moment for village officials when this relic was moved onto its own foundation. It was the culmination of a two-year roller-coaster ride that

Innisfail heritage
Sinclair house is finally coming to town
Dec. 5, 2017, Innisfail Province (Johnnie Bachusky)
A year ago the future of the pioneer Sinclair House appeared grim. The Innisfail and District Historical Society had all but given up trying to save the 125-year-old home due to insufficient restoration funds. But the community rallied after the project's plight became known through the media. Private funding began to pour in. Tradesmen offered their services for free. The town even approved a grant to help. And sometime later

Innisfail heritage
Historical society to relocate pioneer's log home
House from 1890 will be moved next month to historical village
Nov. 25, 2017, Red Deer Advocate (Lana Michelin)
The log home of one of Central Alberta's first indomitable female pioneers is about to be moved to Innisfail Historical Village. "Our boys and girls need to believe that they can do anything" -- and Isabella Sinclair's story underlines this, said Anna Lenters, president of the Innisfail and District Historical Society. "Bella" -- considered by some to be the first white woman settler in the area -- was an Ontario resident of Scottish stock, who

Red Deer history
The history behind some of Red Deer's parks
Oct. 18, 2017, Red Deer Express (Michael Dawe)
One of the significant attractions of Red Deer is its extensive parks and trails system. In various public surveys, those parks and trails are often cited as our community's biggest asset. In early Red Deer, there was initially not much concern about town planning and the development of parks. The Town was a small collection of frame and brick buildings with large open spaces between them. However, as the Town began to rapidly grow and

Innisfail heritage
Site nearly ready for Sinclair House
Sept. 19, 2017, Innisfail Province
Preparations for the arrival of the Sinclair House at the Innisfail and District Historical Village are nearing completion. With the house expected to be moved sometime before the end of September, the foundation at the village for the new addition was set to be filled with sand last week. Lawrence Gould, treasurer of the historical society, said last Monday (Sept. 11) that work had just finished on the foundation. The foundation

Central Alberta history

Canada 150

Land company shaped immigration to region
July 1, 2017, Red Deer Advocate (Paul Cowley)
The merits of Central Alberta were obvious to aboriginal people for thousands of years. It was not until the relatively recent past that the first European immigrants arrived and began to leave their imprint on the area. "A lot of it was shaped by what was known as the Saskatchewan Land and Homestead Company," said Red Deer City Archivist Michael Dawe. "It bought 115,000 acres of land in and around Red Deer so that had a really


Central Alberta history
Wimborne comes alive again with new book
Historical society works more than two and half years to preserve its hamlet's history
November 19, 2013, Innisfail Province (Johnnie Bachusky)
Alex Benedict remembers a time in Wimborne when Friday night was the special time of week when the Central Alberta hamlet came alive with the passing of the train. "Friday night was the busiest night of all. There was as many people there as in Innisfail," said Benedict. "The train brought in the supplies, like all the groceries. There were two grocery stores in Wimborne." Benedict, 74, has lived in the Wimborne area his entire life. His

Red Deer heritage

Remembering the Labour Day weekend of 1913
August 28, 2013, Red Deer Express (Michael Dawe)
Another Labour Day long weekend will soon be upon us. It is often regarded as the unofficial end of summer. For many, it is often the last holiday before the start of school. Labour Day is also one of the oldest of Canada's national statutory holidays. On July 23, 1894, the Conservative Government of Sir John Sparrow Thompson made the first Monday in September into a nation-wide public holiday. For much of its early history, there was little labour union activity in Red Deer. Because the Calgary-Edmonton Railway (C.P.R.) was the biggest (more)

Red Deer history
Interest in Red Deer's history keeps growing
Local officials continue to create ways to explore City's past
July 31, 2013, Red Deer Express
A rich and varied emphasis on exploring facets of local history continues to unfold in the city. There are lots of fascinating ways to learn about Red Deer's past including several newly-developed walking tours. They were officially introduced last month, but officials say their popularity continues to grow as folks tap into the stories of the City's early days. Several walking tours were mapped out in the early 1980s, but City staff felt it

Central Alberta heritage
Heritage projects share grant funding
July 17, 2013, Red Deer Advocate
Several Central Albertan heritage projects are among the 71 that received a portion of the $1.3 million in grant funding from the Alberta Historical Resource Foundation heritage grants. The Canadian Northern (Meeting Creek) Historical Society received $24,940 to help with the conservation of the Canadian Northern Railway Station and Roundhouse in Big Valley. "The pride Albertans take to preserve our colourful history is a result of the

Red Deer history
Residential school artifacts contributed to project
Truth and Reconciliation hearings held in City
June 12, 2013, Red Deer Express (Erin Fawcett)
A red brick and a piece of sandstone from the Red Deer Industrial School has become part of a monumental sculpture of remembrance and reconciliation of residential schools. Carey Newman, a master carver, will use the historic artifacts from the Red Deer Industrial School in his national Indian Residential School Commemorative art project 'Witness: Pieces of History'. "This work will recognize the atrocities of the Indian Residential

Red Deer history
New heritage walking tours and signs introduced
June 12, 2013, Red Deer Express (Mark Weber)
There are new ways to experience Red Deer's past with your family. Three new heritage walking tours, a children's activity map and 58 new heritage signs were launched recently and all Red Deerians were invited to join in the celebrations. The materials are part of the new Red Deer Revealed collection and were unveiled at Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery. "The launch of these heritage walking tours and the official unveiling of

Red Deer history

A Remarkable hit
New permanent exhibit at museum earns accolades
April 15, 2013, Red Deer Advocate (Susan Zielinski)
Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery's new permanent exhibit on the history of the Red Deer area earned accolades from visitors at its grand opening on Sunday. The $1.5 million exhibit -- Remarkable Red Deer: Stories from the Heart of the Parkland -- takes up 4,800 square feet of display space and features more than 400 photographs and 300 artifacts from the MAG collection and Red Deer Archives. Several of Red Deer's prominent

Red Deer history

Looking back to when Red Deer landed city status
March 20, 2013, Red Deer Express (Michael Dawe)
This weekend, Red Deer will be celebrating a very significant milestone in our community's history. It was 100 years ago, on March 25, 1913, that Red Deer was officially incorporated as a City. Red Deer, at the time, had a population of only 3,000, usually considered too small to become a city. However, in 1901, when Red Deer was incorporated as a town, the community had 323 residents. Twelve years later, the population had surged

Central Alberta history
The history of the Village of Sylvan Lake
January 9, 2013, Red Deer Express (Michael Dawe)
The year of 1912 was a very exciting one for Sylvan Lake. The community was enjoying one of the greatest booms in its history. Two railroads, the Alberta Central and the Canadian Northern Western, were building rail lines through the area on their way to the rich coalfields west of Rocky Mountain House. All of the rail construction meant that there were lots of good paying jobs. Farmers had a great local market for their


Innisfail heritage
Last Poplar Grove relic is saved
Nov. 13, 2012, Innisfail Province (Johnnie Bachusky)
Brian Rice moved backwards in the present to save the past for Innisfail's future. With a forklift, Rice, the 54-year-old founder of Innisfail's Red Willow Welding, drove in reverse on Oct. 24, almost a kilometre and a half through the streets of town to transport an ancient relic to its forever resting place at the Innisfail and District Historical Village. After 30 minutes the coveted historical artifact successfully arrived at its new rightful


Red Deer history
Marking a significant historic milestone
North Red Deer celebrates attaining village status one century ago
August 24, 2011, Red Deer Express (Mark Weber)
Organizers are gearing up for a very special day of celebration marking the 100th anniversary of North Red Deer becoming a village. Things get underway at 1 p.m. on Aug. 27 at the North Cottage School and Koinonia Christian School with master of ceremonies and local historian Michael Dawe. Cake-cutting and speeches start at 1:15 p.m., the Youth Aboriginal Dance Troupe performs at 2 p.m. and local musicians Donna Durand


Red Deer history

Laurier's 1910 visit huge event for City
August 4, 2010, Red Deer Express (Michael Dawe)
Next week marks an important anniversary in our community's history. It was 100 years ago, on Aug. 10 to 12, 1910, that Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Prime Minister of Canada, made an extended visit to Red Deer. It was one of the most exciting official visits by a national political figure that Red Deer has ever experienced. The visit was part of a two-month long tour of Western Canada. The prairies were the fastest growing part of the country. (more)

Indigenous and pre-1900 settlement heritage

Fort Normandeau celebrates 125 years
Historic Central Alberta site originally constructed during the Riel Rebellion
May 29, 2010, Red Deer Advocate (Michael Dawe)
One of Red Deer's oldest and most interesting historic sites is Fort Normandeau. Originally constructed 125 years ago during the North West or Riel Rebellion. It is one of only three forts constructed in Alberta during a time of war. The original portion of the Fort was constructed in 1884 by Robert McClellan as a two-storey stopping house or hotel near the spot where the old Calgary-Edmonton Trail crossed the Red Deer River. In March (more)

Red Deer history
Red Deer a leader in heritage preservation
May 26, 2010, Red Deer Express (Michael Dawe)
One of the sources of pride in our community is the fact that Red Deer has often been on the leading edge of heritage preservation in Alberta and across Western Canada. In 1964, Red Deer's City council established the first municipal archives in the province. In 1972-1973, the Red Deer and District Museum was created and was later named the model museum of its size in Canada. Meanwhile, the provincial government began a

Innisfail heritage
New exhibits call Historical Village home 
May 10, 2010, Innisfail Province (Michaela Ludwig) 
Two new exhibits at the Innisfail Historical Village tell more about Innisfail's founding years. As a 40-year anniversary project, the Innisfail and District Historical Society set about restoring the Village's Bowden CP Rail station. And through the doors of that old station, visitors will find several displays depicting Innisfail in its early years and what the railroad meant to central Alberta. Scaled-down model trains chug along the tracks (more)

Innisfail heritage
'Sleeper' village grand opening set 
May 10, 2010, Red Deer Advocate (Paul Cowley) 
Innisfail Historical Village has been a bit of a sleeper among Central Alberta attractions. Curator Dean Jorden and other members of the Innisfail and District Historical Society plans to use their 40th anniversary celebrations to change that. To draw more people to the society's impressive collection of historic buildings, vehicles, equipment and other artifacts in the middle of Innisfail, a project to restore the 1904 Bowden CPR rail station has (more)

Innisfail heritage
Business was good when Innisfail's first store opened
May 10, 2010, Red Deer Advocate (Paul Cowley)
The first day of business at George Washington West's general store went well on that summer July 1st day in 1891. He sold five pounds of apples at 25 cents a pound and four pounds of brown sugar went out the door for another 36 cents. And then a Mr. Miller came in to check out Innisfail's first store. He walked away with a red handkerchief, according to a ledger preserved at Innisfail Historical Village. Once-mundane entries in an

Indigenous and pre-1900 settlement heritage

Riel Rebellion impacted the Red Deer area
April 25, 2010, Red Deer Express (Michael Dawe)
This spring marks an important, but unfortunately largely overlooked anniversary in our province's history. It was 125 years ago that Alberta and Saskatchewan experienced a civil war, usually referred to as the Riel or Northwest Rebellion, but now sometimes referred to as the 1885 Northwest Resistance. It is not difficult to determine the roots of this violent conflict. For many years, it had been obvious that the vast herds of

Central Alberta heritage
County heritage project a first for Alberta
February 3, 2010, Red Deer Advocate (Paul Cowley)

Red Deer County is credited with being the first rural municipality in Alberta to take a systematic approach to identifying its heritage sites and complete a detailed management plan. County council unanimously approved in principle a Heritage Management Plan on Tuesday that is designed to identify, preserve and protect historical buildings and sites. Councillor Jim Wood expressed his support for the initiative, which has been in the

Red Deer history
A long memorable journey for Red Deer's museum
Jan. 27, 2010, Red Deer Express (Michael Dawe)
On Monday, Feb. 15 (Family Day), the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery will be holding an official grand reopening after the completion of a $2.8 million renovation project. The building has been closed since last April as significant improvements have been made to the galleries and front-end areas. The museum has been a major feature of our community for nearly 40 years, but there had been an earlier museum in Red Deer more


Red Deer history

Red Deer's downtown hotels have celebrated history
June 3, 2009, Red Deer Express (Michael Dawe)
The recent demolition of the Arlington Inn, Red Deer's oldest remaining hotel, and the closure of the Valley, means the end of a major part of Red Deer's history. No longer will the city have the cluster of old downtown hotels that have been one of the landmark features not only of Red Deer, but also of almost every community in Western Canada. There was a strong reason for this pattern of development. The main means of travel, (more)

Indigenous and pre-1900 settlement heritage

Ancient history: Story of our area before us
March 4, 2009, Red Deer Express (Michael Dawe)
Most of the writings on Central Alberta's history start 250 years ago when Anthony Henday became the first European to spend the winter in the area, or 125 years ago when the first permanent agricultural settlement started. However, while these are important milestones in our community's history, this leaves out the more than 11,000 years of human history in Central Alberta that preceded these two events. To put another


Red Deer culture
Red Deer - Alberta's next great city
July 2, 2008, Red Deer Express (Erin Fawcett)
Internationally recognized planner Michael von Hausen said he believes Red Deer is the next great city in Alberta.
He, along with planner Michael Gellar were in Red Deer last week to lead the community in shaping a vision for downtown. Over the course of the week they led an evening workshop on the future of downtown and prepared key urban design concepts for downtown Red Deer. Concepts were then displayed for input June 24 and

Red Deer history
The Arlington Hotel, a RD landmark
March 19, 2008, Red Deer Express (Michael Dawe)
One of the oldest landmarks in Red Deer is the historic Arlington Hotel. It has stood on 51 Ave., near the old C.P.R. station, for nearly 110 years. The origins of the hotel actually go back to 1891. That was when Stewart D. Mulkins built the Queen's Hotel to the south east of the new Calgary-Edmonton Railway station on Holt (51) Ave. Despite the impressive name, the Queen's Hotel was a very modest building, 20 by 42 feet, with a


Red Deer history
John T. Moore
Feb. 9, 2003, Red Deer Express (Michael Dawe)
One of the most influential people in the development of Red Deer is someone who has generally been forgotten, John T. Moore. His company at one time owned 180 sections of land in Central Alberta. Moreover, he was so extensively involved in local business ventures that he was often referred to as Red Deer's first capitalist. John T. Moore was born in a log cabin in Markham Ontario in July 1844. As a student, he first trained as a (more)

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