Movie Monday: Farm and Vacation

Image: A film still showing tourists panning for gold (SPRA 0198.02.09, Fonds 198: Ward-Marcy 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’s Movie Monday brings our vacation series to a close. We’ve visited various provinces and states throughout the summer and will be concluding our journey with a visit to South Dakota. Today’s film is from the Ward-Marcy family fonds and was taken circa 1960. It includes scenes of children with puppies (or are they kittens?), children playing outdoors, and a vacation to the Badlands of South Dakota.

Badlands National Park covers 242,756 acres of land in southwestern South Dakota. Much like the Canadian Badlands, the rugged terrain is almost surreal with its pinnacles and gullies, spires and buttes. The Lakota people who inhabited the region were the first to call it mako sica, directly translated as “land bad”, for its extreme temperatures, harsh landscape, and lack of water. French-Canadian fur trappers referred to the land as les mauvais terres pour traverse – “bad lands to travel through”.

In the heart of this ‘bad land’ is a small community named Wall, often called the “Window to the West” or “Gateway to the Badlands”. The town boasts a number of famous tourist attractions, some of which appear in the Marcy family film. Perhaps the most well-known of the attractions is Wall Drug, a sprawling tourist mall that welcomes more than a million visitors every year. The store began as a tiny pharmacy in 1931 and drew in customers by offering free ice water. When the proprietor realized how a little advertising could bring in a whole lot of tourists, he began constructing signs all across the United States. At the peak in the 60s, when the Marcy family visited, Wall Drug boasted more than 3,000 highway signs. Though the building itself is not shown in the film, there is a close-up shot of a moving Wall Drug billboard announcing the store’s proximity – only 5 blocks away!

The Marcy family is also shown visiting the Reptile Gardens and 80-foot dinosaur statue in Wall, as well as the ghost town of Rockerville, where tourists appear to be panning for gold. The ghost town was sadly burnt down in a firefighting training exercise in December of 2016, which makes films such as this one all the more valuable for the preservation of history!

Thank you for travelling with us this summer, and we hope to see you back on Movie Monday next week!

From the Vault Friday: Eaglesham and District Drama Club

Today’s “From the Vault Friday” features a program from the Eaglesham and District Drama Club (Fonds 477).

The club was unofficially known as the “One Night Stand”. Their symbol was a leaning lamp post and colours black and red. They aimed to offer programs in the community to promote participation in and appreciation for the performing arts, discover and develop local talent, entertain, and create an awareness of and concern for social and moral issues.

The group usually gave one or two performances a year, sometimes featuring a couple of plays, in Eaglesham, Tangent, and occasionally at festivals.

The Drama Club operated under the umbrella of the Eaglesham Cultural Society (incorporated 1977), allowing it to access additional grants. The Drama Club was financed by donations from local clubs, direct and indirect government grants, and performance admissions.

The video below shows the August 4, 1991 Eaglesham Drama Club production of “I’ll Meet You in the Far Pasture.” (SPRA 0477.04.03.14)

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

Records and Reconciliation: Treaty #8

Image: Facsimile Copy of Treaty 8, 1899 (SPRA 007.04.09)

In 2020, the South Peace Regional Archives launched a major project, titled “Renaming the Past, Reclaiming Their Stories: Indigenous Records,” with financial support from Library and Archives Canada. The purpose of the project was to increase awareness of and access to Indigenous-related records within the Archives’ collections: by re-appraising, describing or re-describing, and digitizing more than 300 records in 70 fonds. This project is vital step in the Archives’ ongoing work towards Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. We are now able to share these records with the community.

The item we are highlighting today is a copy of Treaty # 8 from the Spirit of the Peace fonds (fonds 007). The original treaty is held by Library and Archives Canada.

In 1899 the final text of Treaty 8 was presented for signature by various chiefs and heads across the District by Commissioners from Ottawa, after consultation the preceding year.   A close reading of the final version of the Treaty reveals several divergences from the Report of the Commissioners of negotiations during the preceding year, leading to agreements made in face-to-face not being included in the actual Treaty. The conflicting versions of the Commissioner Report and the final text endorsed by the chiefs and headmen has led to claims of immunity to taxation, freedom from religious interference, as well as the unauthorized imposition of residential schools which have been the centre of subsequent court challenges from indigenous individuals and groups, all unsuccessful at this point.

Why would the Government of Canada not bring forward an exact record of the negotiations as the basis of the final text of the Treaty? Why not search and see if other Commissioner Reports for earlier treaties are not the same as the final text of those treaties?

 

Soldier Spotlight: Private Joseph Davignon

Image: an excerpt from Joseph’s military service file (Library & Archives Canada)

Regimental Number: 624480
Rank: Private
Branch: 22nd Battalion (French Canadian)

Joseph was born in Granby, Quebec on March 19, 1896. It is unknown when he first came to the South Peace. Joseph enlisted in the Canadian Army in Wainwright in January of 1916. On July 16, 1918 at 2:40pm, Joseph was accidentally shot in the back by a man from his battalion. Pages 17, 21, 23, and 27 of Joseph’s service file contain notes from the resulting court case, including testimonies of the witnesses and the man who shot him. His medical records also note that in November of 1918, Joseph had a tumor on his lower lip. As a veteran of World War I, Joseph served with the Eaglesham & District Veterans Volunteer Reserve during World War II.

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: Alaska Highway

Image: A film still showing Janus carrying some logs (SPRA 449.01.01, 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

Today on Movie Monday we are sharing the earliest of the Foster family films. In this movie from June 1949, Raymond and Iva take their eldest two children, Janus and Ben, on a trip along the Alaska Highway. The family would travel the highway again in the ‘50s and in 1962 – trips fondly remembered by the children.

The Alaska Highway (originally known as the Alcan Military Highway) was constructed in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941; both Canada and the United States suddenly saw an urgent need for a defence and supply route reaching the north. By March 9, 1942, the first train load of American troops had arrived in Dawson Creek, British Columbia to begin work on the highway. Though the US Army Corps of Engineers was responsible for much of the highway’s construction, 16,000 Canadian and American civilians were also involved, including a number of individuals from the Grande Prairie area. With such a massive crew working double shifts seven days a week, up to 13 kilometers of road could be completed in a day, and 643 kilometers were laid in the month of July alone. On November 20, 1942, after nine months of incessant labour, the Alcan Highway was officially opened, reaching from Dawson Creek (Mile 0) to Delta Junction, Alaska (Mile 1422).

In 1948, the road officially opened to the public for unrestricted pleasure travel. Permits were no longer required and campgrounds had been established at various locations by the Canadian Government, to be used free of charge. The Fosters, like many others, jumped at the chance to travel the famed highway and were among the first to do so as tourists. Today, more than 100,000 tourists travel the Alaska Highway annually.

From the Vault Friday: Passport

Image: SPRA fonds 517

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a passport from the Lunde Family fonds (Fonds 517). The passport belonged to Marie Jorgensen Lunde. Marie came to Sexsmith from Norway in 1927 with her brother and his wife and children, Ole and Kasbara Lunde. It is unclear what Marie did once arriving in the Peace Region. From her passport, we know she was born October 24, 1894 and had no children when she immigrated to Canada. Her brother and his family filed on a homestead in the La Glace area.

Read more about the Lunde Family fonds (Fonds 517) here.

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

Records and Reconciliation: H.O.P Lake

Image: Lumber Mill on the Cutbank River and H.O.P. Lake, [2005] (SPRA 0630.06.14)

In 2020, the South Peace Regional Archives launched a major project, titled “Renaming the Past, Reclaiming Their Stories: Indigenous Records,” with financial support from Library and Archives Canada. The purpose of the project was to increase awareness of and access to Indigenous-related records within the Archives’ collections: by re-appraising, describing or re-describing, and digitizing more than 300 records in 70 fonds. This project is vital step in the Archives’ ongoing work towards Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. We are now able to share these records with the community.

This week, we are showcasing a document from the Hodgson family fonds (Fonds 630). You can view of digitized copy of the document on Alberta on Record. The document appears to be part of a larger document as it is numbered page 28-30.

This textual record describes how Lea Hodgson and his father John left their farm in Hythe to create a lumber mill on the Cutbank River. It goes on the detail the history of the Mill. The second section in this document is called H.O.P. Lake. This section describes how Lea and his friends “discovered” H.O.P Lake (later, One Island Lake). According to the story, the key to the discovery was “handed to him” by an Indigenous trapper who frequently stopped in the area. The trapper had told Lea about a lake that “could be found by following the moccasin trail, a beautiful lake of clean as crystal water, with a good beach, a lake surrounded by tall pine trees, a lake full of [rainbow trout].” The lake was later surveyed by the British Columbia land offices and divided into private properties.

Like many resources of the South Peace. One Island Lake was known to Indigenous peoples long before the arrival of non-Indigenous trappers and settlers. Although this traditional knowledge is often unacknowledged in settler narratives, it is credited in this document: the lake was “as far as Lea knew…undiscovered by white man.” This story shows the continued knowledge-sharing from Indigenous peoples to non-Indigenous settlers well into the twentieth century. It also shows the establishment of private and government control over the rich natural lands which had been utilized by Indigenous peoples since time immemorial.

Soldier Spotlight: Margaret Schadeck

Image: Margaret’s discharge certificate, cropped (Fonds 131)

Margaret Alma Stevens (Regtl. No. W3225) was born July 8, 1907, in Easton’s Corners, Ontario. She attended school there until Grade 9, later taking a course in Business College in Ottawa. Her parents, Mr. & Mrs. William Stevens, lived at Kemptville, ON when she enlisted at Kingston, ON. in 1942. Margaret joined the Canadian Women Army Corps (CWAC), No. 7 Company, and trained at Barriefield, ON in 1943, where she met Eddie Schadeck. She served as a clerk at Fort Frontenac, Kingston until her discharge in 1946. Her interests included riding horses and writing poetry and songs. Margaret started army correspondence courses while at Barriefield and continued them in Brockville, ON after she was discharged, and in Wembley after she married Eddie in 1946. Their farm was located south of Huallen in the Wembley area. In the 1950s, they moved to Salmon Arm, where they lived until Margaret passed away in 1999.

Margaret Stevens, Canadian Women’s Army Corps, 1942 c. (SPRA 131.02.01)

 

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: Arizona

Image: A film still of the Foster children enjoying carnival food (SPRA 449.01.10, 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

Welcome back to Movie Monday! Today’s film will not take us as far from home as last week’s, but it will have an exotic feel nonetheless. We are traveling with the Foster family once again – this time to Arizona!

The Fosters visited Arizona in 1956, this time with four children in tow. Over the course of their trip, they visited many attractions in the Phoenix area, such as Montezuma Castle, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and the Tumacacori Spanish missions complex, established in 1691. Though the landscape seems dry and unforgiving in many scenes, we also see the family admiring flower fields in full bloom and picking luscious fruit along the way. The heat did not keep the Fosters from enjoying themselves as they embarked on hikes and picnics and attended a local carnival and parade. The parade would have felt quite familiar to the children, as parades were popular community events back home as well (and were often considered a spectacle worth filming). Like Grande Prairie parades, the one in Arizona included marching bands, floats, and people on horseback.

Ruth, the youngest of the Foster children, has not appeared in the other travel films we have featured from the Foster family fonds (having not yet been born), but in this video she is seen taking in the sights together with her siblings, and particularly enjoying the time spent playing in the water.

From the Vault Friday: Grande Prairie Music Festival

Image: SPRA fonds 491

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a program from the Grande Prairie & District Music Festival fonds (Fonds 491).

The concept of the Grande Prairie Music Festival originated with the “Women’s Music Club” that was active in Grande Prairie in 1921. This organization promoted the idea of music festivals. The first joint festival with Peace River and Grande Prairie participants was held May 25-26, 1927. By 1932, Grande Prairie was holding its own annual festivals, and in 1945 the festival became non-competitive. This resulted in a decline of interest and there are no records of festivals held from 1948 to 1951. Attempts were made to revive the festival as a competition in 1952-1953, but it was not until 1959 that music teacher Martin Intscher led the community to re-establish the music festival. With the support of the Allied Arts Council and the Grande Prairie School Board, the next festival was held in 1962 and annual festivals have been held ever since. In 1962, the festival categories included elocution, public speaking, penmanship, dancing, drama, art, and crafts as well as music entries.

Read more about the Grande Prairie & District Music Festival fonds (Fonds 491) here.

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.