Edmonton’s River Valley: The Glitter of the Gold Rush

Every summer around this time of year, I look forward to checking out the sights and sounds of Edmonton’s local exhibition formerly known as Klondike Days. Its very name conjures childhood memories full of non-stop carnival rides, piping hot corn dogs and the sweet smell of freshly spun cotton candy. The name Klondike Days was originally brought in by exhibition organizers in the 1960’s and the Klondike gold rush theme was enthusiastically embraced by the public. I’ve always wondered what our local historical connection to the gold rush really was. Is there really gold to be found in the river valley?

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Man washing gold at Edmonton, 1890. Source: Provincial Archives of Alberta, B5280

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Gathering at Victoria Settlement

Students at Victoria School, circa 1910: Left to right Frank Whitford, Fred Kuzemsky, unidentified, Wasyl Kotyk, Wayne Kozub or Esepenko, teacher Mr. Rowbottom, Demetrius Ponich, Metro Starchuk, David Thompson, Elena Brucenorsky, Wasyl Brucenorsky [in doorway] and two unidentified at far right (Photo: Rev. D.M. Ponich Collection, Alberta Culture and Tourism).

Students at Victoria School, circa 1910: Left to right Frank Whitford, Fred Kuzemsky, unidentified, Wasyl Kotyk, Wayne Kozub or Esopenko, teacher Mr. Rowbottom, Demetrius Ponich, Metro Starchuk, David Thompson, Elena Brusanowsky, Wasyl Brusanowsky [in doorway] and three unidentified at far right (Photo: Rev. D.M. Ponich Collection, Alberta Culture and Tourism).

Descendants of settlers from Alberta’s historic Victoria Settlement district, and enthusiasts of Alberta’s history generally, are invited to take part in a special gathering and genealogical symposium on the 6th of August 2016 at the Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Site.

The agenda for the day’s events are listed below. An area map illustrating the location of Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Site can be found below or at the site’s website: http://www.history.alberta.ca/victoria/location/location.aspx

Gathering at Victoria Settlement

Saturday, August 6, 2016

9:00-9:30                     Set up of tents, tables, registration, displays from participants.

9:30-10:00                   Registration – meet and greet.

10:00-10:30                 Ross Stromberg: Program Coordinator, Alberta Culture and Tourism.

10:30-10:45                 Elaine Breadon Peiche: Victoria Home Guard Society.

10:45-11:45                 Peter Melnycky: Historian, researcher, author of 

                                      ‘A Veritable Canaan – Alberta’s Victoria Settlement.’

11:45-12:30                 Linda Collier: President of Historical Society of Alberta; historian and

                                      great-granddaughter of Rev. George McDougall.

12:30-1:00                   Enjoy your picnic lunch and mingle!

1:00-1:45                     Graham Dalziel: Member of Smoky Lake Heritage Board; owner of

                                      historic Riverlot #3 – with a suitcase full of found treasures!

1:45-2:30                     Donna Shanks and John Althouse: Donna is President of Edmonton

                                      branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society. John is a member of E.A.G.S

                                      and Editor of Clandigger.

3:00-3:30                     Steven Bentley: Historian and genealogist with some ‘Whitford’ stories.

3:30-4:00                     Group photo and closing.

4:00                              Carpool to cemetery for those who wish to explore it.

5:00                              Victoria Settlement Historic Site closes.

BONUS: There will be THREE genealogical consultants on site to help with family histories! Steven Bentley plus Bill and Sandy Macdonald.

Please bring your picnic lunch!  AND, your family history, stories, research to share.

Everyone is responsible for their own entrance fee to V.S. ($5.00 per person).

Check the Victoria Settlement website and Plan Your Visit:

http://history.alberta.ca/victoria/planyourvisit/visit.aspx

If you plan to join us, a quick email to victoriasettlementgathering@gmail.com would help us with our planning.

WE CAN’T WAIT TO MEET ALL OF YOU!

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Changing Animals: Alberta’s Ice Age Megafauna and Wally’s Beach

When St. Mary Reservoir in southern Alberta was filled in the 1950s, no one knew that it submerged an incredible record of life from 13,000 years ago. That record, including footprints of mammoth, camel, and horse, was recently exposed – the internationally significant site is now informing opinions about the role humans played in the extinction of Alberta’s ‘megafauna’.

Rare and information-rich trackways from lumbering mammoth were revealed by scouring winds at St. Mary Reservoir (courtesy of Shayne Tolman).

Rare and information-rich trackways from lumbering mammoth were revealed by scouring winds at St. Mary Reservoir (courtesy of Shayne Tolman).

Wally’s Beach

Shayne Tolman, a teacher from Cardston, is responsible for drawing attention to St. Mary Reservoir and Wally’s Beach, a site complex on an ancient island in St. Mary River that is currently being investigated by Dr. Brian Kooyman and a team from the University of Calgary. Archaeologists have discovered that the menu of some of Alberta’s oldest humans included megafauna like camel, horse, and perhaps mammoth. Over six thousand artifacts indicate that people were hunting big game at a time when these animals were likely struggling to cope with climate change. Did human hunting lead to megafauna extinction or are warming temperatures to blame? Many researchers argue that pre-contact human populations were too small to impact big game while others suggest that targeted hunting patterns among small groups could have big consequences.

Megafauna of Alberta at the end of the last Ice Age (produced by Todd Kristensen)

Megafauna of Alberta at the end of the last Ice Age (produced by Todd Kristensen)

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Remembering Allan Pard

Allan Pard (right) and Blair First Rider (left) (Photo Credit: Jack Ives)

Allan Pard (right) and Blair First Rider (left) (Photo Credit: Jack Ives)

Alberta Culture and Tourism staff are heartbroken by the loss of our mentor, colleague and friend Allan Pard. Allan (Mi’kskimmiisoka’simii “Iron Shirt”) was a highly respected and beloved Piikani Nation Elder and ceremonialist, active in ceremony and numerous sacred Societies. Working for the Government of Alberta for more than 30 years, Allan was integral to a large number of Alberta Culture and Tourism initiatives and served as a senior adviser to the Ministry of Indigenous Relations. He constantly strived to bridge relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples by fostering environments of understanding and respect. He challenged us to do better, and led by example each step of the way. (more…)

Honouring Alberta’s Heritage Heroes

Nominations for the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation’s Heritage Awards are still open. Help us honour and celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of individuals, organizations, municipalities and businesses who have contributed to the preservation of Alberta’s heritage.

Deadline for nominations is July 15. The awards ceremony will take place on October 14 at the historic McDougall Centre in Calgary.

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For a copy of the guidelines and nomination form, click here or contact Carina Naranjilla at 780-431-2305 or Carina.Naranjilla@gov.ab.ca. More information is also available at http://www.culture.alberta.ca/heritage-and-museums/grants-and-recognition/heritage-awards/.

Written By: Carina Naranjilla, Grants Program Coordinator

The Borden Number System: What the FcOq?

In a previous post we talked about how Alberta has almost 40,000 recorded archaeological sites. Each of these sites has its own record and associated artifacts so, you can imagine, it is a lot to keep track of. One of the most important tools we use to organize site data is a Borden number. You may have heard sites referred to by their Borden number before; for example Head-Smashed-In is also known as DkPj-1. The Borden number is actually more important than the site name as the Borden number is what is used to organize all site records and for cataloguing artifacts. In fact, the majority of sites in Alberta do not have a name at all, they are known solely by their Borden number.

Borden number DlPd-3 (Ross Site) is used as the unique identifier for this archaeological site (left). Borden numbers are also used to catalogue artifacts that are recovered from archaeological sites (right).

Borden number DlPd-3 (Ross Site) is used as the unique identifier for this archaeological site (left). Borden numbers are also used to catalogue artifacts as a way to identify what site they came from (right). (Photo Credits: Royal Alberta Museum)

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The Battle of Jutland, First World War Commemoration and Alberta Place Names

No single event has had such a dramatic impact on place names in Alberta than the First World War Battle of Jutland. Deep in the heart of Kananaskis Country can be found a series of mountains bearing the names of the ships and naval commanders of this naval battle. At least twenty-six mountains bear names commemorating the Battle of Jutland – sixteen of them are named for Royal Navy vessels that took part in the battle and ten are named for the Admirals, ship captains and seamen that lead and fought at Jutland. Additionally, many features associated with the mountains (glaciers, lakes and creeks) have subsequently been given Jutland names. The great number of Jutland-related geographical names in Alberta is curious. While there is no questioning the significance of the Battle of Jutland – it was the only major sea battle of the First World War, one of the few times in which dreadnought battleships fought directly against each other and its results affected strategy and tactics on both sides and altered the course of the war – it was also a battle in which there was no significant Canadian presence; no Canadian ships were involved and only one Canadian casualty has ever been confirmed. So, how did so many of these mountains along the Alberta-British Columbia boundary end up being named to commemorate this battle?

Mount Engadine (left), The Tower (middle) and Mount Galatea (right), taken in 1916 by the Interprovincial Boundary Survey. Mount Engadine and Mount Galatea are named for Royal Navy vessels that fought at the Battle of Jutland, the seaplane carrier HMS Engadine and the light cruiser HMS Galatea.

Mount Engadine (left), The Tower (middle) and Mount Galatea (right), taken in 1916 by the Interprovincial Boundary Survey. Mount Engadine and Mount Galatea are named for Royal Navy vessels that fought at the Battle of Jutland, the seaplane carrier HMS Engadine and the light cruiser HMS Galatea. Image Source: Mountain Legacy Project, IMG_3320. The Mountain Legacy Project is based at the School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC. For more information, go to mountainlegacy.ca, or email mntnlgcy@uvic.ca.

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