Welcome, Kaydence!

Kaydence Redding is a first year Political Science student at the University of Alberta and the latest addition to the Archives team. Welcome, Kaydence!

Kaydence will be working with us this summer as the Archives Assistant (Student) to gain practical experience in the Archives and learn more about the cultural heritage sector. She will be working on content for Telling Our Stories, projects related to the Indigenous History Committee, and launching a new #ThrowbackThursday social media campaign.

Kaydence has become passionate about the importance of sharing and preserving local history through her studies as a Political Science student, as a prolific local volunteer, and as a past president of Charles Spencer High School’s social justice club, “The Maverick Movement”. She is very excited to be working with the Archives this summer!


National Grant Supports Reconciliation Project

Photograph: Beaver Camp on the Beaverlodge River, 1911. SPRA 0024.01.05.01

The South Peace Regional Archives is launching a new Reconciliation project, made possible Library and Archives Canada’s Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP).

The project, called “Renaming the Past, Reclaiming Their Stories: Indigenous Records” will utilize records related to Indigenous peoples within the collections of the Archives. The project will examine records from 56 fonds previously identified by the Indigenous History Committee as containing Indigenous content, in order to provide culturally-appropriate descriptions and contextual information. It will increase access to approximately 300 Indigenous-related archival photographs and paper artifacts through digitization and promotion on social media. Through consultation with the Indigenous History Committee, the project will enable Indigenous peoples to engage in the identification of photographs and paper artifacts from the South Peace Regional Archives.

For more information on the project, or on joining the Indigenous History Committee, please contact Executive Director Alyssa Currie at director@southpeacearchives.org.

This project has been made possible in part by the Documentary Heritage Communities Program offered by Library and Archives Canada / Ce projet a été rendu possible en partie grâce au Programme pour les collectivités du patrimoine documentaire offert par Bibliothèque et Archives Canada

In Memory: Mary Nutting

The South Peace Regional Archives is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our founding Executive Director and dear friend, Mary Nutting. Mary passed away on Monday, April 20, 2020 after a two year battle with breast cancer.

Mary discovered her passion for history after spending a year in England and subsequently discovering the rich history of our local region. After several years of volunteering at the Grande Prairie Museum, Mary completed an initial survey to identify the locations of archival records of the South Peace. In 2000, she became the founding Executive Director of the South Peace Regional Archives, where she worked for the next seventeen years.

One of Mary’s great passions was connecting people to their history. She enjoyed exploring the family collections and helping people in their “treasure hunts” through the Archives. Mary once shared this particularly memorable encounter:

“Not long after the Archives opened in 2000, I received a request to view a particular diary. The visitor was the grand-daughter of the author and had never seen the diary in question. She smiled at me as I handed her the file, but then an amazing thing happened. As her hand touched the cover of the diary, the tears began to stream down her face. She was not just reading about an historical event, but touching her grand-mother in this document that had been so personal to her at a memorable and difficult time. It surprised us both, I think.”

Among Mary’s proudest achievements was authoring and contributing to numerous historical publications, including Olwen’s Scrapbook: A Journey to the Peace Country in 1933 and A Grande Education: 100 Schools in the County of Grande Prairie,1910-1960. Her contributions to preserving local history were recognized by numerous awards through the years. Regarding her work in the Archives, Mary once said:

“The South Peace Regional Archives are all about time. The time that has passed, the time that keeps on passing, but also the time that is given to all of us to create a future for that past time.”

Mary’s time with the Archives created a legacy that will endure for generations. Her tireless work to preserve our region’s history profoundly impacted our organization, and so many others. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her and her impact will be felt by countless others.

Mary’s full obituary is available from Oliver’s Funeral Home.

 Photograph courtesy of Fran Rodgers Photography

Now Hiring: Archivist

South Peace Regional Archives is seeking an Archivist for a full-time, permanent position tentatively beginning 1 June 2020. The Archivist oversees the process of acquisition, preservation and accessibility of archival records. The Archivist works with both the Awareness Committee to develop educational programs and events that enhance public awareness, as well as the Indigenous History Committee to foster Reconciliation efforts in the Archives. The Archivist works with and reports to the Executive Director.

35 hours per week; permanent position
Posting closing date: 1 May 2020
Tentative start date: 1 June 2020

Location: Grande Prairie, Alberta
Salary Range: $42,000 – $55,000

The full job posting and description can be viewed at www.SouthPeaceArchives.org/Careers.

Archives at Work

Image: Hard at work behind the scenes like these gentlemen!  Two men take time out for coffee beside their equipment and a campfire, ca. 1942 (Fonds 345 Hanna Kirstien, SPRA 2009.040.14)

Self-isolation and facility closures are stressful for everyone. They can also be opportunities while we give health care professionals, public service professionals, and vital service professionals the space and time they need to help keep our communities safe.

Here at the South Peace Regional Archives, while we are closed to the public and suspending our outreach, staff is tending to some long overdue projects. Some are big, some are small. We have a couple of large arrangement projects that we can dedicate substantial amounts of time to in order to finally complete them. Our library shelves need rearrangement to accommodate growth both in the size of our collection and the increase in Indigenous themed texts. And the dreaded cataloging can be tackled.

Work on our quarterly magazine never stops. Our next issue is for the birds. We will be pecking through the records for interesting fonds, photographs, and paper artifacts related to our feathered friends. If you have any suggestions for articles about birds, bird watchers, or bird catchers, please let us know.

This is also a great time for us to plan. We have a number of potential grant project coming up this year. Preparatory work for the new, temporary hires is underway. While we are not currently conducting outreach, we can still prepare for them. Our outreach program continues to grow into the communities outside Grande Prairie. Our popular City cemetery tours are being expanded into the county this year. Last year’s displays at the MD of Greenview community barbecues and the Grande Cache 50th Anniversary celebrations met with great success and this year we hope to find a venue for displays at Birch Hills County and Saddle Hills County.

In some cases, it is not just Archives staff hard at work. Volunteers on our Awareness committee, Indigenous History committee, and the Future Planning committee are conducting research to support outreach, Reconciliation, and the growth of the South Peace Regional Archives. Our reference file volunteers are still busy clipping away to keep information current.

Last but not least, this is a great time to declutter our desks. All those things-to-do lists, quick research notes, box locations, and I’ll-get-to-that-tomorrow piles can all be gotten to. Finally.

Despite all the work we have to do, we are still available to provide some remote research assistance. Our website is a rich resource for anyone looking for something to do while schools and other facilities are closed. Our online researcher guide can be the start of your journey through South Peace history. Explore by topic or person.  A browse through the online photographs on Alberta on Record can be entertaining and informative. Just type in a single word search and see what comes up. You never know what you might find.

Stay safe, everyone.

Archives Closure

Update Tuesday 17 March 4:00 PM:  The Board of Directors has voted to postpone the Archives’ Annual General Meeting, originally scheduled for March 28th, until further notice. Details regarding the rescheduling of the AGM will be communicated as soon as they are available.

Effective immediately, the South Peace Regional Archives is closed to the public for an indefinite period. We will not be accepting any visitors for donations or research requests, and all volunteer work is paused. For those who wish to carry out research, our web page is an excellent resource for information on local history. We respectfully request those with remote research requests to allow us this week to assess how we will address the situation as events at home and around the world unfold. Updates on our services will be made available on this blog or Facebook. Thank you for your patience.

Holiday Hours

During the month of December, the Archives will be open limited holiday hours. During this time, there may be a delay in services. These limited hours allow our staff and volunteers to celebrate the holiday season with their families. It also allows our team to perform essential behind-the-scenes tasks to meet our mission and mandate. Thank you for your patience and happy holidays from the Archives.

December 6-20th

By appointment only

December 21st-January 2nd

Closed to the public


The Remembrance Tree

The Remembrance Tree has now been taken down.  Thank you to all who participated.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles and the conclusion of the First World War.  To commemorate this important anniversary, the South Peace Regional Archives has partnered with the Grande Prairie Museum on an interactive exhibit. The Remembrance tree contains identification tags (“dog tags”) of local veterans from the conflict. Visit the museum to collect a tag from the tree and then visit the Archives’ online Soldier’s Memorial to learn more about your veteran and thousands of others from our region.

Find Your WWI Veteran Here


Find Out More About the Solider’s Memorial Here

The South Peace River country of Alberta supplied thousands of recruits for both the World Wars. The South Peace Regional Archives is creating an online memorial to the veterans from the South Peace area who were involved in these conflicts. We have over 1,100 WWI soldiers and over 2,300 WWII soldiers listed on the site so far, and the list is growing. As we gather information about each soldier, it will be added to the memorial.

Telling Our Stories: Coming Soon!

Keep an eye out for our upcoming edition of Telling Our Stories all about the Old West! This magazine will feature articles about women in the rodeo, wild horses, Treaty Eight, the Sturgeon Lake Games, the Lake Saskatoon Games, and the Peace Country Land Settlement database. The Old West edition will come out in early September so keep your eye on the website to find the digital copy, or become a member to have the physical copy mailed to you!

Explore the History of…

The “Explore the History” series in Telling Our Stories focuses on rural communities that were once more than what they are today. In this age of increasing urbanization and centralization, it is easy to forget that the much of the history of the South Peace Region is found in these places. Settlers arriving through the first half of the twentieth century settled largely in the countryside. They made their living farming or utilizing the natural resources the region offered. Distance, time, and poor roads were often obstacles to travel so, once arrived, people tended to work and play locally. As transportation improved and services centralized, many of these small communities faded into fond memories of their former selves.

Ready to start exploring? Pick a tour, grab your sunscreen (and bug spray), and join us as we explore the history of the South Peace!


Explore the History of Halcourt Ridge (March 2017: p. 12)

Explore the History of South Wapiti (March 2016: p. 12)

Explore the History of Lymburn & Demmit (September 2015: p. 12)

Explore the History of Crystal Lake (June 2015: p. 12)

Explore the History of the Spirit River Settlement (March 2015: p. 12)

Explore the History of DeBolt –Ridgevalley (September 2014: p. 12)

Explore the History of Huallen and the Saskatoon Mountain Radar Base (June 2014: p. 12)

Explore the History of Grande Prairie and Environs ca. 1914 (March 2014: p. 10)

Explore the History of Belloy and Codesa (September 2013: p. 10)

Explore the History Across the Smoky (June 2013: p. 10)

Explore the History of Bezanson (March 2013: p. 10)

Explore the History of the Bear Creek Flats (September 2012: p. 8)

Explore the Aboriginal History of our Place Names (June 2012: p. 8)

Explore the History of White Mountain (March 2012: p.8)

Explore the History of Grovedale (September 2011: p. 8)

Explore the History of the Kleskun Hills (June 2011: p. 8)

Explore the History of Bear Creek (March 2011: p. 8)

Explore the History of Sturgeon Lake (September 2010: p. 8)

Explore the History of New Fish Creek (March 2010: p. 8)

Explore the History of the Burnt River Valley (December 2009: p. 8)