Tag Archives: Oyen

The latest from Forgotten Alberta

As paid work and personal commitments keep me more than busy, my time for contributions to Forgotten Alberta has been nearing non-existent.

However, despite the fact I haven’t had an original thought in months, I have been honoured to have my previous works featured in a couple of Alberta publications during the past month.

Alberta Views magazine featured my piece on Dr. Alexander Scott of Bassano, renowned as Western Canada’s first flying doctor, in the November issue. You can read the original Prairie Post column here.

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.

In other news…

Continue reading The latest from Forgotten Alberta

A glorious summer sojourn in the Special Areas

First of all, I have to apologize that it has taken me so long to get this post online. The pace of my personal and professional life has ramped up considerably, leaving me with less and less time to devote to my passion, the Forgotten Alberta project. However, on the flip side. I’m truly blessed through the course of my work to be able to work alongside many passionate and dedicated rural Alberta residents who are making their communities better places to live.  Last month I was honoured to spend time in Veteran, Consort, and Oyen, where I interviewed local residents, and learned about rural leadership, and the challenges of keeping healthcare professionals in rural communities. I also encountered a stretch of glorious summer weather (one of the few this year), and some spectacular scenery in my travels throughout the Special Areas.

Continue reading A glorious summer sojourn in the Special Areas

#FABTrip15: We end up in Empress

Constructed in 1914, the former C.P.R. railway station at Empress is located in a railway cut, situated on the north end of the village. During its hey-day, Empress served as a divisional point along the now-abandoned “Royal Line”, which operated between Empress and Bassano from 1914 to 1997. The Royal Line is so-named as Empress, and a number of sidings to the west—including Princess, Patricia, Millicent, Duchess, and Countess—possess names with royal origins. Although Empress was once home to a terminal facility, including a roundhouse, today all that remains is the station, which was restored by the community in time for its centennial in 2014. #Alberta #Canada #railway #royal #history #mybadlands #explorealberta #FABTrip15 @gregfarries

A photo posted by Jonathan Koch (@forgotten_alberta) on

Greg and I concluded our sojourn along the old Scapa-Loverna line with a swing through western Saskatchewan. Just over border we located Loverna, which admittedly was much more substantial than I had expected. Loverna was, at one time, a commercial hub for much of eastern Alberta and western Saskatchewan, boasting a population of about 500 souls, before drought and abandonment took its devastating toll on the community, and the surrounding area. Apparently several blazes over the past half-century have served to clear out much of the community’s “dead wood“, leaving  behind only a few occupants, and block after block of empty lots.

Leaving Loverna, we surveyed the scorched earth between there and Alsask, a stop on our 2007 road trip.  As both our vehicle and ourselves began to run on fumes, we headed into Oyen for a meal and sundries, before setting off for the village of Empress. We arrived in the “Hub of the West”  as the sun slid towards the horizon, ending our excursion at the Forksview Inn: a comfortable, clean and affordable place to relax after a long, dusty day on the road. Continue reading #FABTrip15: We end up in Empress

Historic images of western Canadian towns can be found at Prairie-towns.com


(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.

Continue reading Historic images of western Canadian towns can be found at Prairie-towns.com