Movie Monday: Family Life

Image: A film still showing Chuck and Linda Stojan posing on a haystack with a German shepherd (SPRA 0253.01.14, Fonds 253: Jerry Stojan family fonds)

Movie Monday highlights videos from the Archives’ film collection. Every week, an archival film will be featured on our YouTube channel and here on our blog. The Movie Monday project is made possible with the generous funding support of Swan City Rotary Club of Grande Prairie.

Today on Movie Monday we are revisiting the Stojan family. In this film, smiles abound as the children – and the rest of the family – enjoy the simple pleasures of farm life.

Jerry Stojan was involved in raising registered quarter horses in the 1960’s and won many trophies and blankets; in this home movie we see him passing his fondness for equestrianism on to his children, as Linda rides around the yard and older brother Chuck leads the pony. Horses are also seen at the beginning of the film, where several adults appear to be taking a rest while on a trail ride.

In addition to horses, the Stojan family also seems to have been quite fond of dogs; various dogs appear in their films. In this particular video, there are scenes of Linda playing with a litter of puppies, and Chuck frolicking with a German shepherd on a friend’s haystack.

The film is dated as having been taken in 1961. However, judging by the age of the children, it is possible that it was filmed earlier.

Soldier Spotlight: Agnes Anders

Agnes Anders was born in 1920 on the homestead near La Glace/Sexsmith. At age 23 she enlisted in the Navy as a WRN . She was posted in Sydney, NS where she worked most of the 3 years, but was also posted to Ottawa, and Victoria to get discharged in 1946. In 1950 Agnes married Eric Carlson. They had 2 children: Valerie and Renny, and they moved to Fort St. John BC. Agnes taught school in BC. She moved to Sundre, AB for retirement in 2006.

Force: Navy – Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS)
Source: La Glace – Yesterday and Today p. 101
Sundre Round – up Interview by Patricia Riley Nov. 5, 2013

Agnes Anders, SPRA

The Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

 

Movie Monday: Historical Buildings in Grande Prairie

Image: A film still showing the Pipestone Creek Store (SPRA 0001.10.01.04, Fonds 001: Pioneer Museum Society of Grande Prairie & District fonds)

Movie Monday highlights videos from the Archives’ film collection. Every week, an archival film will be featured on our YouTube channel and here on our blog. The Movie Monday project is made possible with the generous funding support of Swan City Rotary Club of Grande Prairie.

This Movie Monday features a look at various historical buildings around Grande Prairie. Some of them are still standing in their original locations more that one hundred years after their construction. The video is narrated by Alice Fortier and was filmed in January of 1992.

The tour begins at the William Innes homestead on what is now 102nd Street. The log barn on this property was built in 1910, and the log house in 1912. These structures remain on their original site and are two of the oldest buildings in the city.  A portion of the land was sold to the city in the 1980’s in order to expand Muskoseepi Park.

Another building of great significance is the Forbes’ home. Reverend Alexander Forbes and his wife Agnes built Grande Prairie’s first hospital in 1911. It was a log structure and still stands today. In 1912, they built a two-story home, called Montrose House, adjacent to the hospital. The Reverend Forbes Homestead and Pioneer Hospital has been beautifully restored and welcomes visitors to tour the home and hospital.

The video continues with a look at the Heritage Village at the Grande Prairie Museum, and concludes with scenes of Muskoseepi Park.

Soldier Spotlight: Private James Walter Aylesworth

Image: Students in front of Flying School Lake School, 1918. Their teacher was Margaret McDonald, later Mrs. Adams of Long Beach, California, 1918 (SPRA 032.08.08.0938)

Regimental Number: 256387
Rank: Private
Branch: 1st Depot Battalion, Saskatchewan Regiment; 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion; 15th Reserve Battalion

James was born on April 2, 1883 in Odessa, Ontario. He was drafted near the end of the war and settled in Flying Shot in 1921. James loved young people, and one Christmas he knit and hung 500 pairs of mittens on the tree at the Flying Shot Lake School for the children of the district. He died in Grande Prairie on January 7, 1964.

Sources: Along the Wapiti, p. 135 & 411

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Movie Monday: Christmas Carol Singalong

Image: A film still showing a Christmas carol singalong (SPRA 0477.04.03.09, Fonds 477: Eaglesham and District Drama Club fonds)

Movie Monday highlights videos from the Archives’ film collection. Every week, an archival film will be featured on our YouTube channel and here on our blog. The Movie Monday project is made possible with the generous funding support of Swan City Rotary Club of Grande Prairie.

This being the last Movie Monday before Christmas, it seems only fitting that we share with you this Christmas carol singalong!

In December 1989, the Eaglesham and District Drama Club presented a theatrical production that featured Indian, written by George Ryga and directed by Beth Chmara, and Hansel and Gretel Revisited, written, directed, and acted by Steve and Pauline Cregg. Stephen Cregg taught high school English, music, and drama in Eaglesham, and was the Eaglesham and District Drama Club’s vice president. His wife, Pauline, was also a teacher and a director of the Drama Club.

The Olde Tyme Music Group provided intermission entertainment at the Drama Club’s production, and at the end of the performance led the audience in the singing of Christmas carols. The songs featured in this clip are “Deck the Halls” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”.

We at the South Peace Regional Archives do indeed wish you a very merry Christmas!

 

Note from the SPRA Indigenous History Committee: The Eaglesham and District Drama Club’s production of Indian was a significant effort to portray a powerful message in a local setting. Playwright George Ryga was born in Deep Creek, near Athabasca. With only a grade six education, he began writing and, with the aid of the Banff School of fine Arts and the BBC, he became one of Canada’s most controversial and productive poets of the 1960s. His first play, Indian, was performed on television by the CBC (Q for Quest) in 1961. Though eclipsed by his most famous play, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, this early work present much of his experiences working with his Cree neighbours while growing up, and their experience of injustice. A critical review and sympathetic summary can be found in Macleans: https://archive.macleans.ca/article/1962/12/1/indian#!&pid=30.

 

Shop the Archives

You asked, and we delivered! Due to popular demand, the South Peace Regional Archives has launched a new online store, featuring all of our books and card sets. To celebrate this exciting event, we have printed three brand new sets of notecards: a 2020 Holiday Collection, a General Collection AND a collection featuring artwork from Olwen’s Scrapbook: A Journey to the Peace Country in 1933. These items would make for a great stocking stuffer or last minute Christmas gift for the heritage enthusiast in your life.

Visit the shop here and peruse the beautiful notecards and books we have available. Shipping is available for a fee; and curbside pick-up is FREE! Prefer to pay via cash or cheque? Contact the Archives directly and we would be happy to arrange a curbside exchange. Unfortunately, we are not able to process membership requests online at this time.

Happy shopping!

Soldier Spotlight: Martha Jensen

Martha Jensen enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Women’s Division in WWII. Without her parents permission, she “borrowed” her father’s naturalization papers to prove they were Canadian citizens. When her father needed his papers she had to confess what she had done. Martha was sent overseas as a wireless operator to Linton Air Base near York, England where two Canadian squadrons (Goose and Thunderbird) were stationed. When she arrived, there was so much work to be done that they worked 8 hours on, 8 hours off, seven days a week. Breaks in the airman’s pub were much appreciated. During her time there, a very special event was the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth with their daughter, the young Princess Elizabeth. After the war, Martha stayed an additional four months, based at Allerton Place, to help with demobilization and bring all the POWs home. After the war she married Alfred Head, who had served in the Air Force at Linton, and lived in the south Peace River Country of Alberta.

There was so much work to be done when the Women’s Division first arrived at Linton Air Base that they worked 8 hours on, 8 hours off seven days a week. Breaks in the airman’s pub were much appreciated.

 

Martha Jensen

 

The Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

 

Movie Monday: Discover the Spirit of the Peace

Image: A film still depicting the Peace River (SPRA 0505.11a-b, Fonds 505: South Peace Regional Archives Film collection)

Movie Monday highlights videos from the Archives’ film collection. Every week, an archival film will be featured on our YouTube channel and here on our blog. The Movie Monday project is made possible with the generous funding support of Swan City Rotary Club of Grande Prairie.

Today on Movie Monday we are sharing a video that was produced by the Spirit of the Peace Museums in 1997. The film’s purpose was to promote the history and museums of the Peace River District, making it a valuable resource for both the classroom and the individual looking to learn more about the area.

The Spirit of the Peace Museums network consists of over twenty museums and archives in northwestern Alberta. The group was formed in 1989 and since its inception has been dedicated to working together as team in order to preserve the area’s history and share that history with the public. Members meet quarterly to discuss ideas, share information, and report on activities in an effort to inspire and support one another.

Member organizations also collaborate on projects such as the “History of the Peace Country in 150 Objects” initiative that marked Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017. The South Peace Regional Archives contributed ten archival objects to the project. The Archives’ role within the Spirit of the Peace network is to offer professional support and enhance the capacity of museums and archives in the surrounding area. One area in which the Archives can offer assistance and expertise is the preservation of documents, photographs, and film. In some cases, these materials will be transferred directly to SPRA, where they will be stored and cared for, but remain accessible to the public. Examples include the Pioneer Museum Society of Grande Prairie & District fonds, the DeBolt & District Pioneer Museum Society fonds, and the Spirit River Settlement Historical Society fonds.

The Spirit of the Peace Museums network is essential to the continuation of relationships between archives and museums throughout the Peace Country, and to the preservation of our area’s history.

Note: the music during the credits was muted for copyright reasons.

Soldier Spotlight: Lieutenant William Brown

Image: notes from William’s service file detailing his football injury

Regimental Number: 629448
Rank: Lieutenant
Branch: 47th Battalion; 16th Reserve Battalion; 1st Reserve Battalion

William was born on July 12, 1892 in Hamiota, Manitoba. He joined the army in 1915. At that time he had been surveying on the west coast of BC. William received the Military Medal for bravery (Wagon Trails says at Ypres in 1915, though his service files indicate that the medal was received in 1917 in France). During officer’s training in Bexhill, England, he played soccer for the Canadian Army and broke his leg there on December 12, 1917. William had an opportunity to stay in England to play professional soccer, but returned to Canada in 1919. In 1918, William met Melanie Grandsard, a Belgian refugee, who was working as an interpreter for the Rolls Royce Company in Derby. They were married on June 20, 1918 in London. William arrived in Sexsmith in May of 1919 and settled on SW Section 9 in the Mount Star area, and Melanie followed him in August. The couple had one son, Cecil Robert, and one daughter, Delphine. William once again joined the army in 1940 and was discharged in 1947 with the rank of major. He died on February 7, 1977.

Sources: Pioneers of the Peace p. 303; Wagon Trails Grown Over p. 408, 1147

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Movie Monday: Kids and Home Sweet Home

Image: A film still showing the Foster home in winter, circa 1967 (SPRA 449.01.22, Fonds 449: Foster Family fonds)

Movie Monday highlights videos from the Archives’ film collection. Every week, an archival film will be featured on our YouTube channel and here on our blog. The Movie Monday project is made possible with the generous funding support of Swan City Rotary Club of Grande Prairie

Perhaps some of us would like to forgo the snow and cold that are inevitably part of winter here in the South Peace, but one can’t deny the beauty of winter! In today’s Movie Monday, we are shown exquisite scenes of the Foster home and farm near Sexsmith. Footage from various seasons is included in the film, but most was taken in the wintertime.

Winter in northern Alberta is a phenomenon that is unimaginable to many, and unappealing to most. But it does make for some great stories! One doesn’t need to dig too deep in the Archives to find some amusing (or sometimes harrowing) anecdotes about the snow and cold. An article in the January 25, 1935 edition of the Grande Prairie Herald described the current weather as a “paralyzing grip of sub-zero weather”, which was a fair description given that the temperature that week had dropped to a low of -48.9 degrees Celsius! The author stated that “anything that would not freeze at 50 below is hardly worth freezing”.

Frigid weather and deep snow also inspire ingenuity. Sometime in the 1930s, the McQuat family built a snowplane, an early version of a snowmobile that was powered by a propeller and skimmed over the snow on skis. The ‘plane’ was used for medical emergencies and transporting hockey teams – this is Canada, after all!

Take a look around our website and see what other winter-related content you can find!