Fonds 421 Harry Watcher fonds

Harry Watcher fonds. — [1958-1974]. — 252 negatives. — 1 video recordings.


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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 upstairs 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. An accrual was deposited by Paul Pivert’s estate in 2014.

Scope and Content

This 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. It also contains one 8 mm film.

Notes

This fonds has been identified as having Indigenous related content. Researchers may encounter language that is outdated and offensive. To learn more about Indigenous records at the South Peace Regional Archives please see our guide.

Table of Contents

File 421.01 Watcher Home and Gardens
File 421.02 Grande Prairie County Fair
File 421.03 Grande Prairie County Fair
File 421.04 Remembrance Day Parade
File 421.05 Grande Prairie County Fair
File 421.06 Shriners’ Parade
File 421.07 Grande Prairie County Fair Parade
File 421.08 Building Hudson’s Hope Dam
File 421.09 County Fair Parade
File 421.10 Opening of the Dunvegan Bridge
File 421.11 County Fair Parade
File 421.12 Shriners Dinner & Dance
421.01 Watcher Home and Gardens 1959-1964

The file consists of 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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421.02 Grande Prairie County Fair 1961

The 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 identified as Paulette Pivert, Mary ?, Carly & Delilah Lucky, and Winnifred Buckley, with Bud Lucky driving the tractor which pulls the float.

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421.03 Grande Prairie County Fair 1962

The 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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421.04 Remembrance Day Parade 1962

The 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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421.05 Grande Prairie County Fair 1963

The file consists of 8 colour slides of the County Fair Parade in 1963. One slide is identified as Don Sherk and his heavy horses.

[Children Parade Float], 1963
1 slide; colour; 35 mm
Image shows children walking in a parade and pulling a small float on a wagon in the 1963 County Fair Parade. One of the children appears to be dressed like 12 Foot Davis, and one child is dressed as an Indigenous person with a feather in a head band.
Location: 0421.05.08
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421.06 Shriners’ Parade 1963

The 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 elaborate hats) having dinner in a club hall, and Harry Watcher, in a Shriners’ hat, driving his car.

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421.07 Grande Prairie County Fair Parade 1964

The 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. In the background is the Windsor Ford Used Car Sales Lot.

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421.08 Building Hudson’s Hope Dam 1964

The 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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421.09 County Fair Parade 1960

The file consists of 28 colour slides of the Grande Prairie County Fair parade in 1960. The photographs are taken from the south side of Richmond Avenue, about mid-way between 100 and 101 Street. Ludbrook’s Store, Brown Brothers’ Men’s Wear, and the Royal Bank of Canada are in the background.

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421.10 Opening of the Dunvegan Bridge 1960

The file consists of 25 colour slides of the Opening of the Dunvegan Bridge in 1960. Images show the parade, the crowds, and the new bridge.

[Town of Spirit River Float], 1960
1 slide; colour; 35 mm
Image shows the Town of Spirit River float in the parade for the opening of Dunvegan Bridge. The float is a canoe carrying people who are Indigenous or who are dressed as Indigenous. The people are each wearing a single feather in a headband, and fringed jackets.
Location: 0421.10.19
Dunvegan Bridge, 1961
8 mm film
Eight mm film showing the Peace River, the historic buildings at Dunvegan, and the Dunvegan Bridge soon after it was built in 1960. There is footage of a cruise ship and its passengers, and a street car, possibly in San Francisco. There is also scenes shot in Disneyland. The box the film was stored in is dated June 1961 and self-addressed by Mrs. R.H. Watcher.
Location: 0421.10.01
View a digitized copy of this item here.
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421.11 County Fair Parade 1963

The file consists of 10 colour slides of the County Fair Parade in Grande Prairie in 1963. Photographs were taken by Harry Watcher at the east end of Richmond Avenue, about where his house was.

[Holroyd Drug Parade Float], 1963
1 slide; colour; 35 mm
Image shows the Holroyd Drug float in the Country Fair Parade in Grande Prairie. The float consists of a large stylized headdress and two women wearing headdresses.
Location: 0421.11.02
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421.12 Shriners Dinner & Dance 1964

The file consists of 7 colour slides of a dinner and dance attended by the Al-Azhar Shriners in 1964. Possibly a conference as one slide shows them boarding a plane.

Remembrance Day Display, 1964
1 slide; colour; 35 mm
One colour slide of a Remembrance Day Display in the window of a store, possibly Watcher’s Jewellers.
Location: 0421.12.08
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