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!

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.

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.

Movie Monday: Florida

Image: A film still of Iva and Dwain Foster admiring fruit trees (SPRA 449.01.07, 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’s Movie Monday takes us on the longest journey to be featured in our vacation series. Destination? Florida!

In 1952, Raymond and Iva Foster took their three young children on a holiday to the southern states. The trip took place over Christmas and extended into the new year, and the family appears to have found a happy balance between experiencing the area as tourists and living as locals.

In terms of enjoying ‘typical’ tourist activities, the Fosters visited attractions such the Kolomoki Mounds (an archeological site and recreational area in Georgia), a circus put on by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and the 1953 Motorama auto show. Having the ocean nearby would certainly have been a novelty for the Albertan family, and adults and children alike are seen reveling in the laid-back beach life.

In order to settle in and make the trailer park seem a little more like home, toys were set out for the children and potted plants were added as a finishing touch. And let’s not forget the Christmas tree! As hard as it is to believe, this footage of gorgeous sunshine and warm weather was taken over the Christmas holidays. Birthdays were also observed while in Florida, and the children appear to have no shortage of friends to celebrate and play with.

Movie Monday: Bennett Dam

Image: A film still showing the Bennett Dam construction site (SPRA 0198.02.05, 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.

It’s time for another Movie Monday family vacation! This week we are visiting the Bennett Dam, located near Hudson’s Hope, British Columbia. Our featured film was taken by the Marcy family in the early 1960s, when the hydroelectric dam was in the beginning stages of construction.

The W.A.C. Bennett Dam, named after British Columbia’s then-premier, is one of the largest earthfill structures in the world; the reservoir is so immense that it can be seen from space. The building of the dam itself began in 1964, though the site already had been under construction for some years. Cat machines dozed together moraine for sorting, and conveyors transported the graded material to the dam site – both of these procedures can be seen in the film!

During the course of the dam’s construction, more than 100 million tons of gravel, sand, and rock were carried by dump trucks to the dam, and when construction was at its peak, more than 4,800 people were employed for the project. The construction of the dam was a long and complex process, but on September 28, 1968, power was generated from the project for the very first time. The dam celebrated its 50th anniversary of operation in 2018.

Movie Monday: Travel and Family

Image: A film still of Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden (SPRA 0165.09.27, Fonds 165: Roland Pivert 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.

It’s Movie Monday today, and time for the second installment of our vacation series! This film comes from the Roland Pivert fonds and was taken circa 1967. The first half of the film features a visit to the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge, and the second portion of the film shows baby Kurtis Pivert in a Jolly Jumper.

If the Piverts’ trip to Lethbridge, Alberta did in fact take place in 1967, they would have been among the first visitors to the Japanese garden. Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden opened to the public on July 3, 1966 and held its grand opening ceremonies on July 14, 1967 as part of Canada’s centennial celebration. Prince and Princess Takamatsu of Japan attended the grand opening as an expression of the friendship and goodwill between the two nations.

A number of the structures on the grounds were built in Japan, then reassembled when they arrived at Nikka Yuko. The harmony between the many elements of the garden – the waterfall, pond, trees, flowers, rocks – is in keeping with traditional Japanese philosophies regarding beauty and peace, and it is no wonder that the Piverts chose Nikka Yuko as their destination!

Be sure to check back next week to find out where we are headed next!

Movie Monday: Hudson’s Hope

Image: A film still showing the Foster family taking a rest on a road trip (SPRA 449.01.02, 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 we are beginning a series of videos and blog posts that will focus on the road trips and vacations taken by three South Peace families: the Fosters, the Piverts, and the Marcys. Each of these families has been previously featured on Movie Monday, so we hope you will enjoy becoming better acquainted with them throughout the summer!

Our first trip takes us to Hudson’s Hope, British Columbia in 1950. When Raymond and Iva Foster made this road trip, they had three young children: Janus and Ben, who were approximately 4 and 2 years old, and Dwain, still an infant. The film includes many scenic shots taken from a variety of vantage points, and footage of Iva enjoying the outdoors with the children.

The river that appears in so many scenes is presumably the Peace River, named so in honour of the peace settlement that was reached between the Cree and Dane-Zaa people at Peace Point circa 1781. The river, now referred to by locals as the ‘Mighty Peace’, is 1,923 kilometers long and up to 11 kilometers wide. It is one of the principal tributaries of the Mackenzie River system.

Movie Monday: Wedding, Parade, Christmas, and Travels

Image: A film still depicting the Dunvegan Bridge (SPRA 1985.3.82F, Fonds 039: Bert & Miriam Tieman 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.

It’s Movie Monday again! Today we are featuring one of two films from the Bert & Miriam Tieman fonds that will be part of our multimedia project.

Bert Tieman was born in Delft, Holland in 1898 and immigrated to Canada in 1920. During the transatlantic journey, he met Miriam Hutchinson, an Englishwoman who was also making the move to Canada. They married in Calgary in 1926. The couple arrived in the Peace Country in 1927 and filed on NE 31-74-7, where they farmed until 1946, at which point they moved to Grande Prairie. The Tiemans were very active in their community – they volunteered at their church, at schools, at the Drama Festival, and were involved with a number of other organizations as well. Their only child died as an infant, but they opened their home to two handicapped boys for a number of years.

This particular film (ca. 1969) shows events that were obviously of significance to Bert and Miriam, including Marilyn Turner’s wedding, the Alberta Resources Railway Parade, and Christmas celebrations. The film also chronicles their trip(s) to Athabasca, Fort McMurray, Jasper, Hudson’s Hope, Dawson Creek, Montreal, and Edmonton.

Everyday activities such as picnics and outings to the river also appear in the film, indicating that the many of the pastimes we are fond of today were equally enjoyed in the 1960’s.

Content note: This film contains parade floats and/or costumes depicting Indigenous people. For more information, see here.

Movie Monday: Kinuseo Falls, Parade, Water Skiing

Image: A film still showing a pickup truck travelling along a muddy trail (SPRA 198.02.02, 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 features an 8mm from the Ward-Marcy family fonds, taken circa 1960. Marion Ward grew up on a farm near Sexsmith, where she attended school. As a child, she enjoyed family picnics at places like Bear Lake. In the early 1940’s, she worked as ward aide in a hospital and later at a Sash and Door Factory; as a result, she was able to save enough money to attend Vermilion School of Agriculture.

Marion married Miles Marcy in 1946, and together they had five children: Ken, Marilynne, Greg, Kevin, and Colleen. Marion continued to enjoy the outdoors as an adult. Today’s film focuses largely on a trip she and Miles took to Kinuseo Falls with a group of friends. Several trips such as this one took place in the early ‘60’s; they would truck their packhorses to Stoney Lake, then ride the remainder of the distance to the falls.

In this film we also see the Marcy children in front of their home in Avondale. They are in costume and are later seen participating in a Grande Prairie parade wearing those same costumes. The parade includes floats from local organizations such as the 4-H club, UFA, and Holroyd Drugs.

Finally, at the end of the film, we are treated to scenes of an outing at the lake, where a number of good-natured participants try their hand at water skiing.

Content note: This film contains parade floats and/or costumes depicting Indigenous people. For more information, see here.

Movie Monday: Races and Pioneer Days

Image: A film still showing a Pioneer Days demonstration (SPRA 0165.09.29, Fonds 165: Roland Pivert 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 carries forward the theme of last week’s video: rodeos and community events. This film from the Roland Pivert fonds begins with scenes of chuckwagon races, then focuses on demonstrations at a Pioneer Days event.

Many communities in the South Peace have been organizing annual Pioneer Days for the past several decades. Like rodeos, these events began as community picnics with athletics and horse races for the locals to participate in. A poster from DeBolt’s 9th Annual Pioneer Days in 1938 invited people to enjoy the horse races, basketball, athletics, and dance that were to take place.

In later years, however, Pioneer Days became a way of preserving the history of the area. In an era when machines were taking over, many were concerned that the toils of the early settlers would be forgotten. And so the focus of Pioneer Days shifted. As seen in this film taken circa 1970, the event had evolved into an opportunity to share with the community the agricultural roots of the South Peace by holding demonstrations of steam engines, threshing machines, and sawmills. Domestic activities were also exhibited in the form of crafts, quilts, baking, and preserves.

Many communities and museums still hold these events in the summer, so check your local community calendars for upcoming events!