Rather than wait a month to conclude the town descriptions prepared for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Tour, which were posted on our blog on Tuesday, we decided to finish them this week. Today we have the East End, Clairmont, and Sexsmith. Watch for the next Country Roads on February 23, and read about a Buffalo Lakes couple’s hitchhiking and horse riding honeymoon.
Researched & written by Kathryn Auger
Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 6, 1929 ~ Sexsmith
Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 6, 1929 ~ The East End
Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 6, 1929 ~ Clairmont
St. Patrick’s Day was widely celebrated in this area, often with dances. As early as 1915, a St. Patrick’s Day dance was held in Grande Prairie. In 1935 there was a St. Patrick’s Day concert of Irish music followed by a dance, with music by Penson’s orchestra. A St. Patrick’s Day tea sponsored by the CWL featured a silk rug, hand worked by the St. Joseph’s Academy girls. St. Patrick’s Day 1938 was marked in Sexsmith by a dance at the hall, where dollar bills were given out each hour. A house party in the country east of Sexsmith had dancing and entertainment that went on until 5:30 AM. To top it off, the March 16, 1915 paper had an ad on the front page placed by an Irish fellow looking for a wife.
I was recently told that the Sexsmith Sentinel newspapers are online now, so I have looked through some of them to come up with some items that I hope will be of interest. The first paper listed online is September 15, 1949, and is Volume 1 Number 3. I have used articles from the February 2, 1950 issue, chosen more or less randomly.
The article in the Feb. 8, 1935 paper about a challenge game between Sexsmith and Clairmont caught my attention because it mentioned a special train being put on for the game. That’s a pretty big deal, and reading the subsequent articles of Feb. 15th and 21st only served to show how seriously this hockey game was being taken. The challenge had been issued right after Sexsmith lost the Kerr-Orr cup to Clairmont, when no doubt feelings were still running high. The bet on the game was $200, and the assumption was that there were many side bets; don’t forget that this was in the middle of the Depression, and that seems like a lot of money to bet on a hockey game. Grande Prairie’s Wapiti rink was the venue, and the 9 pm start time was after the stores closed for the evening. On the evening of the game, the temperature was 45 below, but the game went on, and Sexsmith was avenged!
Clippings taken from the Grande Prairie Herald Feb.8, 15 & 21. Found on the website Our Future Our Past.