Tag Archives: U.F.A.

It took more than money to save the south from drought

Photos courtesy of the Esplanade Archives.

PrairiePostLogoAlbertans have a turbulent relationship with Mother Nature. We live in wonder of her ability to shape our majestic landscape and wide open spaces. Sometimes we wonder why we live here at all, when extreme weather events, like last month’s floods, turn lives upside down.

Over the last century, southeastern Albertans have endured the worst Mother Nature could muster. A fact mostly forgotten, it took decades of trial, many errors, and some tough decisions to transform the southeast into a place to call home.

While June’s floods were fierce and dramatic, the drought that afflicted southeastern Alberta between 1917 and 1939 was a catastrophe in slow-motion. As dust and debt slowly smothered farming communities across the south, the neophyte United Farmers of Alberta party was swept into power to prevent a looming economic, environmental and social crisis. Inheriting a massive debt burden from its predecessors, and without access to oilsands billions, the U.F.A. faced some hard choices to solve its so-called “southern problem”.

Continue reading It took more than money to save the south from drought

Rabbit drives were a part of pioneer life

My second column for the Prairie Post, a modified version of a blog post from late last year, talks about when Mother Nature goes sideways, and features a pretty morbid photo from Idaho.

The past few months have been a “hare-raising” experience for the people of Canmore.

The Rocky Mountain town made worldwide headlines last November after town councillors proposed to cull approximately 2,000 feral rabbits that were roaming at-large in the community. Canmore’s loose bunnies were spared, however, after an animal rescue group stepped forward to spay, neuter and house them in a sanctuary.

Such a response would have been unthinkable decades earlier, when an army of long-eared interlopers challenged southeastern Alberta’s stalwart settlers for dominion over the drought-stricken plains.

Click here to read the rest of the column in the Prairie Post

Bow City – The village born unlucky

Many thanks to the Historical Society of Alberta, and the legendary Mr. Hugh Dempsey, CM, for the opportunity to share a decade’s worth of research on the former village of Bow City. Below is the piece in its entirety in the Winter 2012 edition of Alberta History:

Bow City Alberta History (Refresh if iFrame does not appear)

For Vauxhall, like Retlaw before, disillusion could lead to dissolution

The road to disorganization leads to Main Street, Retlaw. (Photo by author, 2010)
The road to dissolution leads to Retlaw. (Photo by author, 2010)
As some in the town of Vauxhall consider dissolving their municipality, it’s interesting to note that the town’s survival was due in part to the dissolution of the neighbouring village to the west. The former village of Retlaw, now a ghost town located six miles west of Vauxhall, was for a time considered the principle centre in the region before the Potato Capital of the West came to prominence.