Christmas carols accompanied by a guitar played by Pastor Daniel Jefferies were sung for the congregation at a Christmas candle light service held in the Mirror, Alta., church.  |  Duane McCartney photo

Old church comes alive with candle light service

MIRROR, Alta. — A congregation breathed life into an abandoned northeastern Alberta church by holding a candlelight Christmas service this month. St. Monica’s Anglican log cabin church was built in Mirror and shut down 32 years ago but this summer area residents finished refurbishing it. In the 1990s, Mirror museum members took on the restoration […] Read more

The once flourishing Jackfish General Store is just a memory of great times in the community. |  Duane McCartney photo

Little remains of rural community

JACKFISH, Sask. — The road sign on Highway 26, the church with the historic bell and Rev. Father Leon Bondoux’s log cabin are all that remain of the once thriving Saskatchewan community of Jackfish. The first missionaries in the area were Oblates of Mary Immaculate, with Bondoux forming the first mission in 1890-92. Roman Catholic […] Read more

1925 oil pump given place in Alta. history

A refurbished oil pump originally used in the Wainwright Field represents the feverish excitement during the 1920s when the Alberta community became the centre of worldwide attention. Heavy crude had been discovered, and investors and financers imagined that great wealth would come from vast pools of oil beneath the soil of the district. “The greatest […] Read more

A turntable to move trains into the roundhouse for maintenance is part of the restoration of the railroad infrastructure found at Hanna, Alta.  |  Barbara Duckworth photo

Home for locomotive repair under repair

The Hanna roundhouse, built in 1909, employed 60 people who put locomotives needing work back on track

HANNA, Alta. — A small group came forward with a big voice when the Hanna roundhouse was in danger of being sold for salvage. “I thought that was a shame and somebody should do something about it,” said Sandra Beaudoin, a former lender with Alberta Financial Services Corporation with a passion for history. She helped […] Read more

B.C.’s Windermere church has unscrupulous history

WINDEMERE, B.C. — It’s perhaps the most romantic tale of love and crime from the early days of B.C.’s Columbia Valley. St. Peter’s Church in Windermere, B.C., is known locally as the stolen church. In 1900, Rufus Kimpton, as a gesture of love for his wife, Celina, moved it via rail, wagon and riverboat from […] Read more

A century old Eaton’s catalogue home is undergoing restoration for use as the Wadey Centre, which will house a tourist information centre, the Blackfalds and Area Historical Society, Blackfalds Archives and Blackfalds Chamber of Commerce. Its grand opening is slated for July 1 as part of Canada 150 anniversary celebrations.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Alberta century home set to be hub of activity

BLACKFALDS, Alta. — For settlers on the Canadian Prairies in the early 20th century, the Eaton’s catalogue was equivalent to today’s online shopping mall. Everything needed to fill a house, and even the house itself, could be ordered from the pages of the iconic mail order catalogue. One of these homes that dot the western […] Read more

Construction began in the spring of 1929 and by fall the the bridge at Meskanawa, Sask., welcomed deliveries by train.  |  Duane McCartney photo

Saskatchewan’s longest trestle railway bridge

MESKANAW, Sask. — The steel tracks are gone now but the wooden railway trestle bridge remains along with the memories of a thriving community at Meskanaw, Sask. The last train crossed the bridge in 1979, and the trestle alongside Highway 41 has stood unused ever since. Constructed in 1929 to get the Canadian National Railway […] Read more

This photo, taken between 1910-1920, shows the buildings that now make up the Flatiron block in Lacombe, Alta. The last building, constructed in 1910, was the Union Bank, located behind the Merchants Bank.  |  Lacombe & District Historical Society photo

An enduring Alberta icon: Lacombe’s flatiron building

LACOMBE, Alta. — The distinctive flatiron building in Lacombe, Alta., has been a presence in the community for more than a century. Built by the Merchants Bank of Canada in 1903-04 for $30,000, the landmark sits on a prominent corner of a triangular shaped block in the city’s downtown. Such dominant architecture was preferred by […] Read more

The office of the Reliance elevator looks much like it did in the 1930s. Inglis is the only town in Canada that has a row of five grain elevators.  |  Robert Arnason photo

Town strives to preserve ag heritage

INGLIS, Man. — Hundreds of small towns in Western Canada have a Main Steet and a Railway Ave. But Railway Avnue in Inglis, Man. looks nothing like Railway Avenues in most prairie towns. On the east side of Inglis, five wooden elevators stand adjacent to Railway Ave., which look out of place but special in […] Read more

The Fish Creek church still stands near Batoche, Sask., despite closing its doors more than a half century ago. | Brian Cross photo

Fish Creek Church beacon on prairie landscape

Batoche is famous for a battle pitting Dominion of Canada forces against local Metis and Cree in 1885

Abandoned churches are a common feature of Saskatchewan’s landscape. The Roman Catholic church at Fish Creek, Sask., about an hour’s drive northeast of Saskatoon, is one of the province’s most magnificent. The Fish Creek church, formally known as the Immaculate Conception Church, was built around 1920 and served as the spiritual centre for the Fish […] Read more