On Friday, August 1, 2014 another heritage maker was unveiled to join the family of over 70 provincial markers located throughout Alberta. Situated in Big Valley, the heritage marker profiles the early history and architectural significance of a prominent local landmark – the St. Edmund’s Anglican Church.
St. Edmund’s, valued by residents of Big Valley as an important part of their heritage, was constructed in 1916 through local donations and a $500 contribution from English citizen Caroline Leffler. Leffler offered the donation to the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary to establish a church in an area of his choice. Big Valley was selected and the church was constructed on the crest of the valley, visible from miles away. Still today, St. Edmund’s Anglican Church stands as a significant community landmark.
In 2002 St. Edmund’s was designated a Provincial Historic Resource for its associations with the town’s history as a railway boomtown and as a very good example of modest Gothic Revival architecture. St. Edmund’s was first painted blue in 1974 for Big Valley’s initial homecoming – 40 years ago!
The Big Valley Historical Society applied for the development of the heritage marker through the Alberta Heritage Markers Program, which is funded by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation. Historical society members and local residents are excited about the heritage marker as it will help to celebrate the provincial significance of the church and increase awareness for this important historic place.
The Alberta Heritage Markers Program promotes greater awareness of the historic people, places, events, and themes that have defined the character of our province. The program brings Alberta’s dynamic history alive through heritage markers placed at roadside pullouts, within parks, and in other community locales.
Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Manager of Historic Places Research and Designation