South Peace Regional Archives is hosting two cemetery tours this summer and we’re inviting you to join in!
On Wednesday, July 11 and Wednesday, August 8 at 7:00 PM we will be hosting our annual cemetery walking tours. Join us at the Grande Prairie Cemetery (84 Avenue and 112 Street) to discover the rich and interesting history of Grande Prairie and area through the lives and stories of its people. The July tour will explore the history of notable persons from Grande Prairie. The August tour will explore the history of Indigenous peoples from the area.
Call the Archives at 780-830-5105 to register (limit of 25 participants per tour)
Please note the Archives will be closed on July 2nd for the Canada Day weekend.
Join us on Sunday, July 1st at the Grande Prairie Museum for free tours and activities.
Photograph: Singing “O Canada” (SPRA 152.02.02.06) Women’s Institute constituency members singing “O Canada” in the basement of St. Paul’s United Church in Grande Prairie during the visit of H.R.H. Princess Alice in 1943. Included in the photo are Mrs. D. W. Patterson and Mrs. J. Smart of Grande Prairie and Mrs. L. Williams of Rio Grande
Effective Monday May 7th, the Archives has reopened to the public. We thank the community for their patience and continued support.
Safety remains the Archives’ first priority; we will therefore not be returning to the building until it is deemed safe by City of Grande Prairie. Archives staff have established an emergency work-site at our offsite office location. The bulk of the unprocessed materials in the Archives’ care was recently relocated this location; these materials remain safely offsite. At this time, there has been no damage reported as a result of the flash flood, either to the Archives building or to the collections in our care. Staff will continue to monitor and assess the situation.
We thank the public for their support and patience during this time.
On Saturday night, the Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Partnership’s Emergency Co-ordination Centre was activated and Muskoseepi Park was evacuated due to a flash flood that resulted in raising water levels in the reservoir. Although the water level has now stabilized, the Bear Creek Corridor is expected to remain closed until the water recedes and the City of Grande Prairie is able to thoroughly assess all potential damage.
The South Peace Regional Archives has activated its Emergency Response Plan to ensure the safety of our personnel and collections. The Archives will remain closed to the public until further notice.
The South Peace Regional Archives Society recently formed The Indigenous Peoples History Committee to take action in response to the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action for Archives. Our initial response was to conduct a search for any records related to Indian Residential Schools within our holdings.
Residential school students outside the Mission Church at Sturgeon Lake. SPRA 0032.08.07.098
Besides a few photographs, we found very little material to document this part of our collective past. We also noted that we have very few collections representing Indigenous people, families, or communities. However, something interesting did turn up: records related to Indigenous people are scattered throughout many of the collections in our care.
This find expanded the scope of our search.
As a first step, we are completing a broad survey of the records in our care. The purpose of the survey is to identify collections that may hold documents related to Indigenous communities and people, including residential schools. This initial survey is nearly complete. With the help of research volunteers, we are embarking on an in-depth search of these collections to find as many of these scattered records as possible.
Future plans include creating school kits, an online searchable database, displays, and a final report of our findings to submit to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Stay tuned as we unearth find these” lost” records from our past.
Top Image: Plan of Flying Shot Lake Settlement in Township 71, Range 6, West of the Sixth Meridian in the Province of Alberta, produced by the Department of the Interior and compiled from official surveys by J.B. St. Cyr, DLS, on August 20, 1907. The plan shows lots, location of houses and stables, including the buildings of Harry & Maude Clifford on the west side of the lake. Flying Shot Lake was home to a large population of Métis families. SPRA 0437.01.01 J. B. Oliver Funeral Home collection.
On Monday Grande Prairie celebrated the National Day of Remembrance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, marking 101 years since this Canadian victory. This battle was fought from 9-12 April 1917 and marked the first time in the war that all four Canadian divisions, or 100 000 men, were in one place. Many South Peace soldiers, including those listed below, fought at Vimy Ridge. To read more about their experiences, visit our Soldiers Memorial.
John Gibson Anderson
wounded at Vimy Ridge; killed in action at Passchendaele
killed in action on 9 April 1917 at Vimy Ridge
George Wesley Bass
worked with the Engineers building tunnels under Vimy Ridge
wounded at Vimy Ridge
Benjamin Thomas Gray
lost his right arm as a result of wounds received at Vimy Ridge
Edward Joseph Heller
mentions Vimy Ridge in his memoirs, available here
“The Spirit of Grande Prairie”, owned by the Trumpeter Swan Balloon Club and later by the Grande Prairie Hot Air Balloon Events Assoc., flew in many Provincial and National Hot Air Balloon Championships. SPRA 0263.02.01 Grande Prairie Hot Air Balloon Events, Assoc. fonds.
An interesting research request arrived on our desks last week: Do we have any balloon airmail commemorative covers from the Hot Air Balloon Championships held in Grande Prairie in the 1980s and 1990s? A good question that led to a few others, most notably – was that really a thing?
Yes it was. Expo ’67 sparked the first air balloon flights in Canada. And according to our researcher from the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society, it was a thing up here in Grande Prairie during our Air Ballooning heydays.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that we have two collections related to ballooning in Grande Prairie, we have come up empty handed in our search for hot air balloon commemorative covers. The Trumpeter Swan Balloon Club fonds and the Grande Prairie Hot Air Balloon Events Assoc. fonds both have detailed records related to planning, memberships, and events but nothing about balloon airmail. We are calling on you dear readers for assistance.
If you have any commemorative covers from local balloon flights and are willing to donate the original items or a digital version, please contact us. We would be happy just to see one.