Fonds 421 Harry Watcher fonds

Harry Watcher fonds. — [1958-1974]. — 167 negatives.

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Biographical Sketch

Harry Watcher was born on his father’s farm in Bosanquet Township, County of Lambton, Ontario, in 1890. The family moved to Thedford when he was five and then to Forest where he went to high school. He apprenticed as a watchmaker for three years in Parkhill, then came to Edmonton to work for his brother in 1910. In 1915, after working in various other Alberta locations, he came north and established his business in Grande Prairie. He was a popular civic minded man, serving that first summer on the Grande Prairie Sports celebration and helping to organize the volunteer fire department. He served on the Agricultural Society and joined the Grande Prairie Band.

In 1916 he was among the bandsmen who rode the ED & BC train to Spirit River for the May 24 Sports Day, the band’s first engagement. In 1916, he enlisted in the armed forces, having sold his business to C.S. Hook. Returning from overseas in 1919, he joined the Great War Veterans Assoc. in Edmonton and had thoughts of going to Manitoba but a friend assured him Grande Prairie was “booming” after the war and urged him to return which he did. He had a new store 12 ‘ x 15’ built between Smee’s Harness Shop and Spicer’s Bakery. He rejoined the band which had grown and was a member of the fire department for 17 years. He and George Duncan got to live upsairs in the new town hall when it was built in 1920. In 1926 Harry married Nora MacEwen who had come to work for lawyer George Fraser and then the Bank of Montreal.

In 1928 Watcher bought the Spicer building which served his business for the next 37 years. In 1929 he became one of the first shareholders of the Richmond Hill Golf Club Ltd. In 1951, Harry became one of the charter members of the Grande Prairie Rotary Club and in 1963, he and his wife travelled abroad with other Rotarians. A long time member of the A.M. & F.M. Lodge No. 105, in 1963 he was one of the charter members of the newly formed Grande Prairie Shriners Club. In 1965, Watcher retired and sold his business to Stewart E. Curry who built his new Curry’s Jewelers on the site of Watcher’s store. The Watchers had built a home on Richmond Ave. in 1954 and retired there, celebrating their golden anniversary in 1976. Harry died in 1979 at age 88, and his wife, Nora, died in 1981 at age 78.

Custodial History

The records were donated to the South Peace Regional Archives by Paul Pivert in 2003.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists of a collection of 35 mm colour slides showing Harry & Nora Watcher in their home and with their friends, and of the parades which went by the front door of their home on Richmond Avenue.



Table of Contents

File 421.01Watcher Home and Gardens
File 421.02Grande Prairie County Fair
File 421.03Grande Prairie County Fair
File 421.04Remembrance Day Parade
File 421.05Grande Prairie County Fair
File 421.06Shriners’ Parade
File 421.07Grande Prairie County Fair Parade
File 421.08Building Hudson’s Hope Dam


421.01Watcher Home and Gardens 1961-1964The file consists of 36 slides of the interior of the Harry & Nora Watcher home on 100th Avenue (including Christmas scenes), the gardens surrounding the home, and unidentified friends. Three slides have been identified as the Bob Caescadelen family (slide 12, July 1962), Hector’s (Morrison?) birthday (slide 5, October 1962), and Ed Crerar with Harry & Nora (slide 8, August 1964).
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421.02Grande Prairie County Fair 1961The file consists of 35 colour slides of the 1961 County Fair Parade and the Cow & Calf judging at the Grande Prairie fairgrounds, at the time in the Mountview area. Participants on the Dimsdale 4H Club float have been idenified as Paulette Pivert, Mary ?, Carly & Delilah Lucky, and Winnifred Buckley, with Bud Lucky driving the tractor which pulls the float.
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421.03Grande Prairie County Fair 1962The file consists of 18 colour slides of the 1962 County Fair Parade and the cattle show at the Fair Grounds. Participants identified include Don Sherk with his heavy horses (slides 18 & 23) , Ray & Eleanor Harrison on horses in the parade (slide 19).
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421.04Remembrance Day Parade 1962The file consists of 15 colour slides of the parade to the Cenotaph in Jubilee Park on November 11, 1962. Members of the Legion Auxiliary and Airmen from the U.S. base on Saskatoon Mountain are included in the parade.
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421.05Grande Prairie County Fair 1963The file consists of 8 colour slides of the County Fair Parade in 1963. One slide is identified as Don Sherk and his heavy horses.
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421.06Shriners’ Parade 1963The file consists of 15 colour slides of a Shriners’ Parade, possibly for the 1963 convention held in Grande Prairie. Slides include the group gathering at the club hall next to the County of Grande Prairie office, two of the women (complete with elabourate hats) having dinner in a club hall, and Harry Watcher, in a Shriners’ hat, driving his car.
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421.07Grande Prairie County Fair Parade 1964The file consists of 40 colour slides of the 1964 County Fair Parade and the temporary stage set up in the intersection of 100th Street and 100th Avenue for cultural performances during the fair. Slides include the Beaverlodge Band, the County Fair Queen, and the large paper mache Trumpeter Swan which later floated on Bear Creek Reservoir. This was the County of Grande Prairie float with two County staff riding on the swan, one of whom is Bernice Alstad. The cultural performance is Scottish Dancing.
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421.08Building Hudson’s Hope Dam 1964The file consists of 5 colour slides of a trip the Watchers made to Hudson’s Hope, where they were in the early stages of building the Hudson’s Hope Dam.
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