Ross Hamilton, The Memory Project, Historica Canada photo

War challenged curious farmer, pilot

Military life suited Malcolm McLean’s restless curiosity and need for challenge. He was farming outside of Dewberry, Alta., in the fall of 1939 when Canada entered the Second World War. Of the first local boys to sign up, he joined the 16/22 Saskatchewan Horse Infantry and took his basic training at Dundurn, Sask. By December […] Read more

The farm as it looked in 1974 when times were better. | Hathaway family photo

Family provides comfort after crop disaster

After being wiped out by hail, Dad heads 
north to earn a living for the family, 
but soon faces further tragedy

Disaster can happen to anyone at any time. Both the memory of the event and the victims’ reaction to it will affect their decisions for the rest of their lives. Harold and Louise Hathaway, my parents, were 100 percent hailed out in 1947. This single devastating event caused a landslide of tragedies that transformed them […] Read more

A plaque at the Eleanor Pickup Arts Centre  shows the Cardium Theatre in its heyday in 1957. 
The Drayton Valley Historical Society turned it into an arts centre in 2006. | Maria Johnson photo

Town transforms cinema into performing arts centre

DRAYTON VALLEY, Alta. — Recitals, choral productions, dance festivals and plays used to be held in local churches, schools and community halls in Drayton Valley, Alta. Today, the Eleanor Pickup Arts Centre provides a home for these local performing arts and brings the community together. “And this is where it starts, in the little theatres,” […] Read more

Waldheim’s first railway station, circa 1908.
|  Photo courtesy of Waldheim Museum

Small town gathers history for future generations

WALDHEIM, Sask. — Waldheim celebrated Canada’s 150th year June 24 with a car show, music, film, fireworks and its version of the popular TV show, Amazing Race. Canada and the Saskatchewan town’s histories were also marked in a Canada 150 book, compiled by volunteers Iona Greene, Anna Penz, Vicki Gossen and Diane Richard. Penz said […] Read more

The brothers were keen to see a Canadian Mountie when they were transplanted to the Canadian Prairies from war-ravaged England in the 1940s.  |  Wilde family photo

The ripple effect of war

The darkness of war had descended on England in September 1940. The German Luftwaffe attacks on Liverpool, this incalculably important port city, were leaving significant collateral damage already. This is the reality that the Jim and Elsie Wilde family faced. Jim was recently transferred to Grantham from North London and was well aware that more […] Read more

Arthur Douglas Gregson grew up in England near Charles Darwin and 
developed in interest in the study of insects. | Photo courtesy Blackfalds Archives

Alberta pioneer sells fleas to supplement farm income

BLACKFALDS, Alta. — Historian Judy Carleton says the book she’s writing about Arthur Douglas Gregson is “not your average settler story.” He’s known to be the first white man to settle the area known as Burbank, southeast of Blackfalds, in central Alberta. Carleton is excited to share his story. “You just can’t make this stuff […] Read more

Edwin Woodrow’s skills as a butcher came in handy in the early 1940s, providing members of the beef ring with fresh cuts of meat, including pork and lamb.  |  File photo

Beef ring provided fresh meat before days of refrigeration

LACOMBE, Alta. — Edwin Pierson Woodrow travelled west in 1907 to work on harvesting crews but found his butchering skills helped supply families with much needed meat. He was among the many farm workers who boarded Canadian Pacific Railway trains in Eastern Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Before the widespread use […] Read more

Alda Dale Randall kept a journal detailing the challenges of homesteading at High Prairie, Alta.  |  Randall family photo

Pioneer’s memories kept alive

“I know, no more than you, how this story is coming out but I shall write it day by day and we shall see what we shall see with a wee bit of prayer that it may be brave and bright.” — Diary of Alda Dale Randall, 1920 Alda Dale Randall braved the harsh conditions […] Read more

Marcel Gauthier, left, Arthur Denis and Keith Gerwing in front of Champetre County Wild West Resort’s saloon.  |  Arthur Denis family photo

Body breaks but memories shine brightly

A new year had started, and as for all self-employed farm entrepreneurs, the risk of accidents was always lurking around the corner. The reasons for these accidents are numerous and range from fatigue, time constraints and unreliable equipment to working alone. I have lived on the farm since birth and was placed in a basket […] Read more