The Oyen Echo also ran my vignette on Cavendish casualty, Pte. John Harold Fenton, on the cover of their Nov. 8 edition. Check out the original here. Thank you to David McKinstry for making this happen.
I was also fortunate to be asked to contribute several articles to the most recent Lomond and District History Book, most of which are based on posts and articles originally published on this site. In the coming weeks I will republish some of these, the first being an updated history of the C.P.R.’s ill-fated Suffield Subdivision.
(Hover over image to activate slideshow options – Slides courtesy of Glen Lundeen / prairie-towns.com)
The launch of Prairie-towns.com signals yet another online endeavour to preserve the history and heritage of Western Canadian communities.
Contained within the collection are over 2700 photos, many postcard images, from 400+ communities throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan. Amongst the total is are several pioneer-era postcards from southeast Alberta communities such as Alderson, Chinook, Orion and Suffield (see above) that have withered considerably, or disappeared altogether since the images were captured.
Bassano has a proud history, and nowhere is this more evident than in the architecture found in the community. I grew up 30 minutes from here, and I had no idea until this summer what a collection of heritage buildings there were to be found in town. This is odd considering a year earlier we stayed at the Imperial Hunter Hotel, an old C.P.R. hotel chock full of historic artifacts from the days of Sam Whiting when Bassano was “the logical and recognized centre of Canada’s great inland empire“.
After a year’s hiatus, webmaster Greg and I set out on another Forgotten Alberta road trip, this time an exploration of the western fringes of Palliser’s triangle. Embarking in late afternoon, we stopped at the C.P.R. siding at Crowfoot to see what we could see. Not seeing a whole lot, we continued down the road to Bassano, home of the best bar in the West by a dam site, or was it the best dam in the West by a bar site?
The next morning, following a close encounter of the thirst kind at the Imperial Hunter Hotel, we traced the Royal Line to Countess, branching north into irrigation country. Searching for a diamond in the rough (thanks Amanda) we found Gem, and then continued our trek northward to the Finnegan Ferry, where everyone and their dog were crossing the Big Red. After agreeing there’s no place like Homestead Coulee, we took a breather at Dorothy, before heading out again on the good road through the badlands.
We stopped at Little Fish Lake to see the birds, hoofed ‘er to Hand Hills Lake, and after eating dust all morning, we landed at Hanna’s Grey Goose Hotel for lunch. We grabbed a photograph at Hanna’s shuttered C.N.R. roundhouse before saying goodbye, continuing east along the Goose Lake line. We flew south at Youngstown, circled Blood Indian Park, stumbled on Big Stone, and found an oasis at Howie. Our marathon journey ended at Jenner and Iddesleigh. Parting ways for another year, we were thankful for the weather and a safe return, and most importantly, the power of Instagram.