Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
y a d h t r i B h t 0 0 1 y p p a H ! e k a L n a v l y S
Painting by William Winter Image courtesy of Macleans Magazine
B2 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
Section contains interesting morsels of town’s past by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News
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Thousands of pages of information have already been gathered and published about Sylvan Lake’s history. But still there are interesting stories to be repeated from pages of the newspapers which have covered the community’s comings and goings during the past 100 years. Several years ago I started compiling historical information about Sylvan Lake’s Legion branch. That’s when I discovered the wealth of information that’s available about our community and my subject list expanded. Over hundreds and hundreds of hours I’ve transcribed early references to the community from such newspapers as the Red Deer News, Red Deer Advocate, Sylvan Lake World and, of course, Sylvan Lake News. While flipping through pages, I noticed that the Sylvan Lake News has produced several excellent tributes to the community in the past on such auspicious occasions as Alberta’s Golden Jubilee in 1955, the town’s Golden Jubilee in 1963 and the 60th anniversary in 1973. But when it came to producing this special Centennial section, there just didn’t seem enough time, or space, to do justice to all the information I’ve compiled. First, I concentrated on the time leading up to Sylvan Lake’s
incorporation as a village — the year 1912 — and then pulled information from several sources to provide a snapshot of 1913 and early 1914 — since that’s what we’re celebrating in the next few weeks. Minutes of the village’s council meetings in 1913 are now available on the Town of Sylvan Lake’s website and proved invaluable in tracking the actions of the first council. We’ve focused a lot on the early years. With those stories written, I tried to find some interesting information that hasn’t been reported elsewhere or to pull together facts through the years on certain topics. That’s where the idea for the story and chart about the date the ice leaves the lake each year surfaced. And another about various efforts over many decades to make sure the lake offers a feast for anglers and tourists. Of course, since the majority of our original research came from the newspapers which served Sylvan Lake, we had to write a brief history of those and the people involved. Believe me, there’s lots more that could have been added. For this section, reporter Stuart Fullarton interviewed Rev. John Yoos, Dale Mannix and Pat Blakely about some of their memories and involvements in more current times. Earlier this year we published
the annual Discover Sylvan Lake and included several stories of a historic nature in that magazine. Pick up a copy and take a look. There’s so much more that we could have and should have done. But that’s a project for the future. Through the rest of the year we hope to continue bringing our readers stories and reminiscences from those with connections to Sylvan Lake. Perhaps this section will spur other writers to pen their comments. And maybe we’ll get a chance to add to this compendium of information with more historical morsels to tempt you to explore further our roots. We’re indebted particularly to Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society for many of the pictures which appear in this edition. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading what we’ve produced.
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Our front page: Sylvan Lake was featured on the cover of Maclean’s magazine June 18, 1960. The cover was created by William Winter and the information in the upper left corner simply stated, “Sylvan Lake, near Red Deer, Alta.” Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.
Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
Village of Sylvan Lake Formed by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News There was no discussion in newspapers of the day about the impending creation of Sylvan Lake as a village. But it appears not all were in favour once the announcement was made. Early in January, the Red Deer Advocate’s Sylvan Lake correspondent stated that “permission has been granted to incorporate into a village to be called Sylvan Lake”. Nomination for councillors was set for Heenan’s Opera House on Monday, Jan. 13, from 8-10 in the evening. Mr. R. Jones was appointed returning officer. The election was held and in the Jan. 24 edition was the simple notice, “At the election of councillors of Sylvan Lake village on Monday, Mr. Rutter retired in order not to split the vote, and four candidates went to the polls with the following result: - E. S. Grimson - 36; A. Loiselle - 34; A. A. Godden - 29; R. Archambault - 22. The first three were elected. The Red Deer News reported that “the post office has been removed to the new town site,” and “a second petition against the removal of the post office is being presented at Ottawa.” In the Jan. 24 issue of the Advocate, an “observer” wrote “what does the general public think of the way some people are trying to undo the village of Sylvan Lake? Just for the good of their one or two own individual, financial interests, absolutely regardless of the welfare they wish to divide the town and of the village and general public, to use it to enhance their back lots and swamps, that they may hoodwink the people into believing that the future Sylvan Lake town is to be built not where it now is but that it is to be built on land that is more fit for the raising of frogs and ducks than it is for a decent town to be inhabited by decent people. Now, shall we be fool enough to put up with this without a struggle, let
them have our post office and whatever they may see fit to take. They are already canvassing the town trying to induce the people to move their business over where it will help to boom their land. A very large majority of the people are in favour of boycotting the whole east side and it is no more than right that they should under the circumstances for they are doing the village and public a great injustice, and it is quite evident that they are not doing anything like what they will do if we only give them a chance, or are we going to nip it in the bud? It is up to the people to get busy and look about.” Those comments didn’t spark a response from other residents. And shortly thereafter councillors got down to the business of running a village. The first meeting was held Jan. 29 at Heenan’s Opera House. E. S. Grimson was selected chairman.
Simson appointed secretary-treasurer At a meeting Feb. 5th, D. C. Simson was appointed secretary-treasurer at a salary of $300 per annum and office hours were set for two days a week. It was estimated land tax revenue would be $3,000 and the Imperial Bank was selected for the village’s accounts. Applications were to be posted for the position of constable, poundkeeper and chief of the fire brigade, following the third meeting Mar. 5. Also at that meeting councillors called for a notice to be posted that all manure be hauled to the N.W. corner of the northwest quarter of Mr. Loiselle’s property; instructed the secretary-treasurer to get quotations on “cheap fire extinguisher and prices on six dozen pails for fire purposes”. He was also asked to find a location for a police cell. Mr. Mitchell was appointed constable and poundkeeper at the fourth meeting, Mar. 15. Mr. Rutter offered the use of his bunkhouse for a police cell. If it couldn’t economically be fixed up, councillors
Continued on page 5
Heenan’s general store about 1910 - It was located on the northeast corner of 50A Street and Lakeshore Drive, which is now the north end of Lakeland Plaza. Joseph Rosse bought it from Russell Heenan and later sold it to Miss Meyers. She converted it to a tea room and lodging house named Antler Lodge. It was torn down to make way for the plaza. Antler Lodge’s stone fireplace was left standing and shipped to a resort near Rocky Mountain House. In the distance along the street, looking east, are the Loiselle Hotel and General Store, a feed stable, and two other smaller buildings. All of these businesses faced the lake and at one time constituted Main Street. However, by 1913, when Sylvan Lake officially became a village, Rutter Street (on the 1913 map), the present day 50th Street, had become the main street and has been ever since. Photo courtesy Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society
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B4 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
1912 - The year the Canadian Northern Railway arrived by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News The arrival of railroads really spurred development of Sylvan Lake as a community. The Canadian Northern Railway steel laying gang reached Sylvan Lake with the steel on Saturday (January 6), reported a Jan. 1912 issue of Red Deer News. The following week, the story read “The C.N.R. have laid out a town site about six miles west of Sylvan Lake station. It is stated they are to have a station every seven miles. They have the steel laid to Sylvan Lake now, and going on west … They lay about three miles of steel a day.” A report in the competing Red Deer Advocate noted two days later that the Sylvan Lake station site had been plotted and it was to be on Centre Street. But there was at least one hiccup as the area really opened for sale of lots.
“Great excitement prevailed at the lake on Monday, when it was learned that an official of the Canadian Northern Townsite Co. had passed through and announced that their townsite here was now on sale, and left plans, price lists, etc. with Mr. Rutter (at the hotel) to act as agent for selling the same,” proclaimed the Red Deer News issue of March 6, 1912. “Very little information could be had throughout the day, however, as Mr. Rutter was too busy with his own business affairs, and apart from a few ‘tips’ that were whispered by Mr. Jones very little was known. “No doubt all the lots on the plan would have been sold in a short time, had not an old timer, who was familiar with the land in this district, dropped in, and on a glance informed the real estate agent that the subdivision represented on the plan was eight miles east of here. “At this age it is not an uncom-
mon thing to hear of a subdivision within the five mile circle of a fair sized town being put on the market, but at the present stage of Sylvan Lake it was thought eight miles out was a little too far, and the real estate agent informed the people present that the matter would be drawn to the attention of the C.N.R. agent at once, as no doubt a mistake had been made in leaving the wrong plan. Tenders were called for the erection of a school house for the trustees of Sylvan Dell school. J. Heenrich had started to build a 1 1/2 storey house on his lot and has it rented for the summer. A. LeSaunier has opened his harness and repair shop. Alex Loiselle has raised all his lots $50. T. B. Rutter has turned over quite a few lots here this week. C. E. Brookes has hung out his sign, stating all kinds of painting done in first class style. The lake is fast breaking up. Art. Loiselle is building a pier on the ice in front of his hotel. The last survey of the Northern Construction Company has gone into camp till spring work starts. And
On behalf of the Council, Staff and Residents of the Town of Bentley, we would like to congratulate the Town of Sylvan Lake on the exciting occasion of its 100th birthday.
pitched lately.” In August, the Red Deer News stated “The improvements at the lake are much appreciated by the summer colony, the Rolston Drug Co., livery stable, three general stores, butcher shop, harness shop, blacksmith, lumber yard, pool room, and the telephone service and three restaurants and two hotels being great conveniences. With the advent of the railway next year there should be quite a boom in lots.” On Sept. 9 Russell Heenan opened “an up-to-date billiard and pool hall … the largest pool room in the “Far West”, one block south of Sylvan Lake Hotel.” By November the report was all about growth. “Sylvan Lake town, soon to be a big bustling city with a capital B, is still here, and has come to stay with us. Now if you want to see nice, healthy people, Sylvan Lake is the place to come and, speaking about health, why our climate is enough without a doctor. For an instance, Rosse Bros. have sold eighteen lots around the new post office on Greene & Payne’s property, and these lots are to have either business or residence next spring and, being so near the C.N.R. depot, they are very likely to be all business buildings. Mr. James has started a lovely cottage, thirty feet by thirty feet wide, on his lot just east of the new post office.” All this activity was taking place as people waited in anticipation for Sylvan Lake to be proclaimed a village. “Sylvan Lake is to be incorporated as a village very soon, indicated a Sept. 1911 story in the Advocate. “We are not sure as to the limit. We now suppose it will take in A. Loiselle’s subdivision and Greene & Payne’s subdivision and Mr. Gerard’s quarter which will be sub-divided soon and Mr. Armeneau’s subdivision, possibly Brumpton’s sub-division and the A.C.R. land in section 29 probably.” Village status was granted December 30, 1912 but the first election wasn’t until 4315 - 55th Avenue, Suite 100A January 1913. 403-347-7426 www.earldreeshen.ca property is advancing rapidly here. The Red Deer News reported “we hear that one corner lot was sold for $2,250 for the purpose of building a pool room and dance hall. Also an offer for one block of four lots on the lake front was refused for $2,500. A week later it was reported R. Heenan is clearing a lot for a pool room and dance hall; the school site is now being cleared and the local reporter asked where’s the bank, blacksmith, hardware store. A sale was advertised at the offices of Latimer and Botterill May 10th for the Canadian Northern Railway System’s “New townsite of Sylvan Lake” with terms of 1/3 cash, 1/3 on or before one year, and 1/3 on or before 18 months, interest at 8 per cent per annum. In May and June Michener, Carscallen & Company offered lots at Whitewold Beach situated on the southwest side of the lake, immediately adjoining the Northey Property to the northwest and only one mile from post office, stores and station. Lots were $200, $150 and $100 with corner lots $25 extra. (This area is now part of the Summer Village of Norglenwold.) Michener & Carscallen have built two new cottages on their property at Whitewold Beach and Mr. Carscallen will occupy one of them. There will be some new cottages near those of Mr. Jarvis and further up the lake, nearly all the cottages are occupied in lower and upper camp and some tents have been
CONGRATULATIONS SYLVAN LAKE on your
100 Year! th
Earl Dreeshen, MP
Your Community Newspaper since 1935! Local news...local views #103 5020 50 A Ave 403-887-2331 www.sylvanlakenews.com
Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
From page 3... decided the erect a building suitable for police quarters, cell and pound at village expense.
Positive news of growth During the year there was much positive news reported in the Red Deer Advocate and Red Deer News about the town’s continued growth. And a newspaper, Sylvan Lake Times, was started by Mr. Archambault and Sylvan Lake Trading Co., the first issue arriving at the Advocate office in early March. “All the buildings going up now are quite up-to-date and the business is proclaimed by gay and attractive signs.” wrote the Advocate’s correspondent in the Mar. 28th issue. “There are several fine store buildings going to be built this summer, also talk of some nice ones. We are going to have quite an up-to-date summer resort with many places of amusement. We have two pool rooms, two halls and one opera house and we are to have in operation by the 1st of June a large building for a moving picture show, and the public will be supplied with all manner of fun and amusement about the Sylvan Lake beach, while further back will be devoted more to business. We have a Catholic church with a service once a month, and there is talk of building several Protestant churches this summer. The Presbyterians hold services in Heenan’s opera house every two weeks. The C.N.R. has completed their Sylvan Lake depot.”
Lumber ordered for sidewalks The tender of Grimson’s Hardware for fire buckets was accepted; the secretary-treasurer’s salary was raised to $450 “on account of additional school work”; Valley Lumber Co. was instructed to ship three carloads of lumber 2x6x12 and 2x6x18 to include 1,000 feet of 3 inch. Tenders were called for labour to construct a courthouse at the
sixth meeting, Apr. 12. Council would provide the lumber and material. The first car of lumber from Valley Lumber Co. is to include material for the courthouse. Bylaw No. 1 setting the mill rate was read for a third time and adopted. Bylaw No. 2 to borrow $400 from Imperial Bank, Red Deer, for six months at eight per cent to be renewed if necessary was read for a second time. A week later, at the seventh meeting D. Mossburg was awarded the tender for cleaning privies at $2.50 per privy. Bylaw No. 2 was carried unanimously at third reading and Bylaw No. 3 — that no barb wire be allowed within Village limits — was read for the first time. There were plenty of bylaws initiated at the eighth meeting, May 14. Bylaw No. 4 was enforcement of the pound district ordinance, No. 5 stated “that trees on waterfront and waterfront itself be protected”; No. 6 that no bicycles be allowed on sidewalks in the village; No. 7 that all citizens be compelled to assist in extinguishing fire; and No. 8 that pedlars require a license and the fee be fixed at $25. Councillors also accepted Mr. Rutter’s offer of a lot for the courthouse (Lot. 1, Blk C, Loiselle Park), for a period of 12 months; instructed the constable to inspect Heenan’s Livery barn “to see whether necessary precautions have been taken to prevent fire”; and decided “that anybody pitching a tent within village limits must have secure fire and spark catchers over their stovepipes and take all precautions to avoid fire”.
Construction of courthouse approved At their ninth meeting, June 23, councillors decided to go ahead with erection of a courthouse, accepted Mr. Loiselle’s offer of shiplap for the courthouse, to be replaced when the
same is shipped to the village as per its order with Valley Lumber and that shingles be obtained for the courthouse. Racks for holding fire buckets were ordered made to be stationed at the drug store, Sylvan Lake Hotel, Alexander Hotel and the post office. Bylaw No. 9 was given first reading. It stated that $1 per head be paid to the pound keeper for impounding animals and 50¢ per day be allowed for feed per head, and any suitable place within the village limits be allowed as a pound. The secretary-treasurer was asked to communicate with Messrs. Greene and Payne about obtaining a deed for the village of their lakeshore property. The village also agreed to pay to school trustees $50 for the school teacher’s salary.
First council meeting in court house Quick work was obviously done on the court house because by the time of the 11th meeting on Aug. 28, councillors were meeting in that building instead of at Heenan’s Opera House. This meeting included a number of interesting matters. Councillors passed a motion “that fire buckets on stands be filled and kept filled with water”. They asked the secretary-treasurer to write to the Dominion Inspector about placing a fish gate in Burnt Creek to retain fish in Sylvan Lake and also ask about stocking the lake with white fish. The constable was allowed salary to July end and bills presented were paid. The issue of fire protection for the village was again on the agenda at the Oct. 25th meeting. The final council meeting of the first year as a village was held Dec. 1, and minutes on the town’s website indicate the only business was payment of bills.
This advertisement appeared in the Sylvan Lake World, May 21, 1926.
Congratulations Sylvan Lake ON 100 YEARS OF GROWTH AND PROSPERITY. Our members have been active participants in Sylvan Lake’s history. Meetings, court, elections, school, immunizations, funerals and Remembrance Day events have taken place in our hall. In fact, it was here that residents voted to move from village to town status in 1946. We treasure our history and our connections with Sylvan’s growth.
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'JTIQMBOUJOHTJO4ZMWBO-BLF 1926 – 2,500,000 walleye fry. 1929 – 370,000 walleye fry. 1934 and 1938 – small numbers of walleye adults. 1940 – 20,000 perch. 1941 – 57,000 perch. 1942 – 66,000 perch and 85,000 spot tail shiners. 1943 – 44,800 perch, 11,000 walleye fingerlings, 15,000 spot tail shiners, 30,000 lake trout fingerlings, 100,000 lake trout eyed eggs. 1944 – 20,000 perch, 100,000 lake trout fingerlings. 1945 – 2,600 walleye fingerlings, 1,400 spot tail shiners and 27,000 perch. 1960 – 2,520,00 (?) walleye eyed eggs. 1961 – 1,120,000 walleye eyed eggs. 1962 – 420,000 walleye eyed eggs. 1963 – 1,265,000 walleye eyed eggs. 1963 was the last year we found records for fish planting. Reprinted from the Sylvan Lake News, June 7, 1973
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Atmosphere “intensely warm” at village’s first annual meeting “accusations, innuendos and denials”
esting, though partially inaudible, conversation ensued between that gentleman and Mr. Godden. The latter endeavored to direct the At the close of 1913, politics of speakers' attention to the audithe small community was on the ence, but without success. The gist minds of many as an election of Mr. Archambault's remarks was neared. to the effect that there was no The Red Deer News had an intention on the part of the prointeresting report in its November moters of these enterprises to 26 edition. apply for a franchise. “The municipal election is now “Mr. Alexander Loiselle then in the first stage of fermentation. rose, and in a short but excellent Deep lying matter is pushing its speech spoke as to the work done way to the top and soon the whole by the Council, and defended vintage will be formed, bubbling himself from sundry attacks that and twisting and turning, until it had been made on him, concludfinally throws off all extraneous ing with the statement that he matter and settles down for its “had worked for the good of the twelve months' rest. town and not for his own good.” “Efforts are being made by the “Mr. R. Archambault here rose French community to obtain again and drew the attention of supreme control on the Council, the meeting to certain remarks as and coming municipal events to “French Control” appearing in promise to be somewhat lively. the Red Deer News. From this The present Council, the first point on interest in the proceedCouncil of the Lake, consists of ings became warmer and warmer. Mr. Grimson (Hollander), Mr. Dr. T. J. Rousseau, also standing Alexander Loiselle (French Canadian), and Mr. A. A. Godden for the new Council, took the sub(English), with Mr. Douglas ject up. Mr. Godden interposed in Simson, also an Englishman, as the argument, and Mr. H. N. Secretary-Treasurer. Dickson, at the height of a succes“Almost as much interest is sion of accusations, innuendos taken in the latter appointment as and denials “cleared the air” by a in the election itself, and the direct statement. Here the politiexcitement in the village already runs high to the accompaniment cal pot or plot boiled over and the of many rumours and statements, atmosphere became intensely mostly false. The only resigning warm. Urged to action by well member is, I believe, Mr. Grimson. conceived mis-statements, Mr. I am informed that Dr. Rousseau Dickson sprang indignantly to his will put up for election in his feet, and did not subside until the place, and that failing the resignachairman fell upon him. tion of one of the two remaining members, Mr. Godden in fact, the “At the conclusion of the French community will run either Doctor's speech, Mr. Dickson M. Charles Archambault, or M. addressed the audience, and later Pons, both of Sylvan Lake Trading on put three direct questions to Co. Mr. Rousseau pere, relating to In the following week’s issue, statements the latter gentleman the News correspondent continwas alleged to have made, amidst ued to stir interest. “As the nomination day intense excitement. Mr. Rousseau approaches, the interest in the denied each statement. election of Councillors to our vilA brief speech from the chairlage Council increases. man and the singing of “God Save “Messrs. Loiselle, Godden, the King” ended a most amusing Mann, Dr. Rousseau and Mr. C. and entertaining evening. An Archambault are at present named offer on the part of the chairman — the 1st day of December will reveal the truth. A public meeting to translate the gist of the evewill be held about the middle of ning's speeches for the benefit of next week, when some very interthose French people present who could not speak English was not taken up. th “Polling took place on Monday last, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., with the following results: A. TERRY Loiselle, 38; A. A. SOMERVILLE Godden, 33; H. Mann, 30; R. Archambault, 28; Main: 1-888-350-7017 Dr. Rousseau, 24; W. C. Cell: 403-350-7017 Moore, 12, the first three being elected.” Ofﬁce: 403-887-2755 • Fax: 403-887-3235 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Box 8978, Sylvan Lake, AB by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News
esting matters should be threshed out, including the reported desire of certain members of the community to carry on the business of the of the Council in the French language.” The public meeting referred to was the first annual meeting of ratepayers. Reports of the following weeks are more interesting exactly as written so we defer here to the correspondent from the Red Deer News for elucidation. Here’s the report which appeared in the Dec. 10, 1913 edition. “An unusually sultry December day ended here Wednesday last with an electoral thunderstorm, quite unusual in this abnormally quiet village. “The first annual meeting of ratepayers was held at Heenan's Hall and was exceedingly well attended, some seventy persons being present, including many ladies. The platform was occupied by members of the village Council and their Secretary-Treasurer, Mr. D. Simson, Mr. Grimson taking the chair. “The first speaker was Mr. A. A. Godden, who asked for queries and criticisms on the Council's work for the year. No one responding to this invitation, Mr. Godden ran briefly through the work and difficulties of this, the first Council, during the past year. He then proceeded to tackle certain complaints made by dissatisfied ratepayers previous to this meeting, and made caustic allusion to sundry wild and unfounded statements that had been uttered by irresponsible parties, especially alluding to a gentleman who boasted that he had, when down east, spent $800 to break up a Council and secure his own election. He then drew the attention of the ratepayers to two schemes which were said to be on foot to settle on the ratepayers the burden of monopolies in electric lighting and the supply of water to the village. He concluded, amidst considerable applause, by strongly advising his hearers “never to sign away the rights of the corporation”. “Mr. R. Archambault, J.P., a candidate for election to the new Council, followed, and an inter-
Happy 100 Birthday Sylvan Lake! “For the best and all the rest call...”
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Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
First war brought a migration of Lakers back to their homelands by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News We’ve been unable to verify how many people lived in Sylvan Lake when it first became a village but by the end of the year “some 70 persons” attended the first annual meeting of ratepayers, according to the Red Deer News. The first federal census, in 1916, pegged the number at 115. In between World War I robbed the community of much of its early progress and vitality — other matters being of more importance. The first to leave was Mr. W. G. Ballu, who headed for Paris “to help out his countrymen in the war with Germany”, according to an August 5, 1914 article in Red Deer News. This was confirmed in the May 30, 1919 issue of Red Deer Advocate which indicated he “was in Red Deer when news of the declaration of war came, and he set out immediately to report to the French army authorities, without going back home to Sylvan Lake. Mr. Durand followed two days later. Mr. Ballu served in motor transport, infantry, artillery and air service, his last field being in Serbia.” A week after Ballu left for France, Guishain and Baptiste Berreyor were heading by train to Montreal, en route for France. And by the end of the month the enlistees included Charlie Archambault, Paul Pons, Pete Galibert (or Gabbert) and A. Bergor. A list published in late September of the Honor Roll of Red Deer’s volunteers also included Sylvan Lake residents H. Chambon and E. Kingsep. Burnt Lake was represented by H. Patchett and Sgt. R. W. Teasdale. The following week, Pecquiris and Dery of Sylvan Lake were added under the
heading French reservists. Then A. Lemoine, a well known French farmer left for France to rejoin the army. Capt. A. S. D. James of the 24th regiment, South Wales Borderers, wrote a letter to the editor of Red Deer News in Oct. 1915. “He expects to return shortly to duty again either in Flanders, Servia, or at the Dardanelles. He has persumably been wounded or on furlough, which the communication does not state, wrote the editor. From that point the list becomes lengthy. Herbert Anselm Nethercott, proprietor of Sylvan Lake Dairy was shaking hands with his old friends and fellow townsmen in late February 1915 preparatory to leaving for the front. He was one of the few local men killed in action, losing his life in 1916. “He was shot by a German sniper while mounting guard on the night of 17th and 18th May,” reported the Red Deer Advocate. “He had been specially chosen to occupy a very dangerous post 30 yards from the enemy trench. It is assumed that in his eagerness to discharge this duty efficiently the poor chap must have inadvertently exposed himself, thus giving the sniper a chance. He formerly belonged to the Royal Volunteer Naval Reserve, and had been captain of a 6 inch gun crew.” In November of 1916 a public auction was held to sells his effects in Sylvan Lake which included 20 head of cattle, horses and implements. Baptiste Berroyer was rumoured killed in 1916 but we could find no confirmation of this. Others who paid the ultimate sacrifice included Waldo Huestis, who had been teaching at Sylvan Norma School before enlisting in the 196th University Battalion and Sergt. J. S. Eagle
who taught at Ridgewood. Others returned with injuries. And as the years passed, Sylvan Lake became home to a number of World War I veterans who formed a Vet’s Club, were instrumental in erection of the cenotaph and then formation of the current Royal Canadian Legion branch in 1946. Lance-Corp. D. C. Simson, secretary-treasurer for the fledgling village was given a commission in the Royal Engineers on enlisting in 1916. A. A. Godden, one of the village’s first councillors enlisted. R. Jones, returning officer for the first election, joined the 187th Battalion in 1916. E. H. Adair and H. L. Michell of the firm Michell and Adair joined the mechanical transport after leaving their business in the hands of T. Michell a brother of H. L. Michell. Ballu appears to have had some interesting experiences. In a letter to D. C. Simson, printed Jan. 27, 1915, Mr. Ballu says that he left Versailles for the front on December 16th, being attached to the Zouaves. “The other brother, Dr. Andre Ballu, had been captured with 200 others while attending the wounded in the outskirts of Soissons, when the French retired, and had been imprisoned in an old castle in the line of fire, a far from pleasant experience, especially when the French made a counter attack to regain their lost trenches, as the old chateau came in for shell and rifle fire from their own men, and if it had not been for the pluck of Dr. Andre Ballu, who sealed the tower of the castle amidst a hail of shells and bullets, and signaled to the attacking French that they were friends, the whole lot would have been annihilated. Eventually they were relieved, and the Doctor was compliment-
ed by the commanding officer for his pluck. “In some places the German trenches are only a mile from Soissons, and when they attacked Toyon he met streams of wounded coming back, all very cheerful, and quite confident that the Germans will soon be driven out of France. “Mr. Ballu’s letter was written in his car, with the steering wheel for a table. He says, if you can imagine sitting in a car, with the deafening noise of rifle and machine gun fire, freezing cold and mighty hungry, trying to snatch a few minutes sleep, “that’s me”, as there is no day or night - a man must sleep when he can. Notwithstanding, the life is O.K. Best regards to all and good luck.” The Red Deer Advocate reported in early 1916 that he was a prisoner although that hadn’t been confirmed. And in March 1919, the Advocate printed a section from Catholic Chimes. “Lt. Ballu is back in Paris. In his Balkan campaign he won five “citations”, the French War Cross, the Serbian War Cross and the Greek Military Medal. He was wounded once. He expects to return to the Lake in the spring.” A story about Ballu in the Advocate December 1919 indicated he “is the winner of the Serbian White Eagle with two swords and the Croix de Guerre with three stars”. He was elected by acclamation to village council for 1921. Throughout the war years, the wounded returned. Then the war ended in 1918 and more headed back to Sylvan Lake and families. As they were returning an influenza epidemic was spreading through the countryside. Among those it claimed were Dr. J. J. Rosseau, of Provost, formerly of Sylvan Lake who had been a medical officer of the 233rd French Canadian Battalion. Sylvan Lake’s population grew slowly after the war and by the federal census in 1921 it was 180. Most of the information contained in this article is from transcriptions of articles in Red Deer News and Red Deer Advocate for the war years.
The Spirit of Community
We built our ﬁrst ever home in Sylvan Lake back in 1976. Since then we have built numerous home for families and individuals amongst Sylvan Lake’s beautiful neighbourhoods. We are proud to be a part of such a wonderful community and look forward to the future.
100 Years, Congrats!
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B8 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
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by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News The year was 1946 and men were returning from Europe after fighting in World War II. Many came to Sylvan Lake and started businesses, a fact highlighted weekly in the Sylvan Lake News over the period of 13 weeks when a series of articles was published about “Veterans of World War II who are operating their own businesses at Sylvan Lake”. The series provides fascinating information about the men and the businesses they started. The first talked about “the smart new panel truck with the name ‘Snappy Delivery and Baggage Transfer” painted on the side … belongs to George H. Reitmeier …” He’d worked in construction in Summerland, B.C. before enlisting. Others featured were G. N. Talentyre who operated a laundry, Arthur Black and Harvey Brink with their dairy business, jeweller J. A. “Andy” Nyman who was a prisoner of war for 32 months, George Armeneau, the Imperial Oil
agent, Louise LaBoucane and his taxi business and Jack Cole and his brother who operated Tendersweet Meat Market. Several returned men joined their fathers in business. Among them were Jerry Fisher who joined his father in Cobb’s Limited, Dewey Armeneau who joined his father in the garage and auto wrecking buisness known as “Dan’s Auto Wreckers”. Gaston Rosse returned from Navy service to join his father in the grocery business. And Cyril Bloom who joined his father in the farm machinery agency. Barber Walter Pelletier took his training after discharge and started in business on July 15, 1946. Gordon Keith opened Don’s Garage on July 5th. The final story of the season featured William Heikkinen who went to work with Jack Sunell in the hardware and implement business. The full series has been transcribed and is available at Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society for reading and research.
on 100 years Sylvan Lake. We are honoured to be part of this community!
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Outstanding Living From the Team that Cares
- Here’s a question for our readers. This photo was taken in the summer of 1934 and forwarded to us by Marty Kopra who’s husband Lennart is the newsboy second from the left. On the back is a notation that indicates this was taken in Sylvan Lake. Can anyone identify the location and the other people in the picture? The headline on the Edmonton Journal EXTRA which is on the front of the newsstand reads JUDGE REFUSES TO ENTER VERDICT AWARDING MacMILLANS $15,000 which referred to the provincial political scandal of the day involving Premier John Brownlee who resigned in July 1934 after a government stenographer, Vivian MacMillan, sued him for seduction. Lennart Kopra lived here from 1932-36 when father Antti was the minister of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sylvan Lake. When the depression hit and the church stopped supporting him, the family moved to Butte, Montana. Submitted
Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
Aerial - The attraction of summer visitors was enhanced and maintained by the establishment of facilities on the lake itself. The first boat house and pier (just east of the landfill) was owned by Joe McLuskey. He rented boats for fishing and pleasure and, by 1913, Joe was also operating a motor boat launch which took paying passengers on tours around the lake. This picture is from a postcard, circa 1941 published by Calgary Photo Supply Co. Photo courtesy Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society
In the winter of 1952 a strange looking machine was propelled up from the lake and parked in front of Harasyn’s pool hall. The machine was called a ‘snowmobile’. Curious townspeople Walter Gathercole, Bill Hedemar and John Buga checked the contraption. Photo courtesy Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society
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B10 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
Big plans announced for Sylvan Lake’s future by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News
Sylvan Lake was destined for great glory according to early plans for the summer resort. Perhaps even surpassing the cities of Red Deer or Edmonton. “The Government surveyors are laying out more lots,” reported the Red Deer Advocate in January 1912. “Sylvan Lake will soon be as large as Edmonton.” Enthusiasm of the burgeoning community appeared rampant in a Red Deer News report that speculated on the future. “We hear there is a possibility of the lake becoming a commercial centre, as well as a pleasure resort. We understand there is shortly to be erected some manufacturing premises near the lake. We hope that this information is accurate, as it will certainly give a great impetus to the town, which, coupled with the two new lines of railway, will rapidly bring the town to the front. It is certain if one manufacturer comes others will follows.” Perhaps the most impressive news however was continuing reports that Sylvan Lake could become a destination like the railways’ mountain resorts. Big plans were announced in February, 1914
“now that Mr. Alex Loiselle is assured of his (liquor) license, and the coming of the C.P.R. is something more than a myth”. “That gentleman contemplates improvements that will add greatly to the amenities of the lake, and considerably increase its attraction,” said the Red Deer News story. “Not only has the interior of the Alexander Hotel been greatly improved, but on the outside Mr. Loiselle is running out a 350 foot pier, which will enable the largest motor boats to land their passengers without difficulty in all weather. The pier will consist of a six foot causeway running out until a depth of five feet of water is attained; at the far end will be an L-shaped arm 40 x 12 feet, and boathouses will be erected on either side of the pier. On the shore will be built a motor boat repair shop. “H. Nelson Dickson has arranged with Mr. Loiselle to supply a sufficient number of first class boats to equip this end of the lake front. “In addition to this really much needed improvement, Mr. Loiselle contemplates the installation of two public baths, or rather bathing places opposite the hotel. These baths will be free to the residents of and visitors to Sylvan Lake, and will be each 20 by 40 feet, and from three to five feet deep, the one provided with warmed water from the hotel boilers, the other with the beautiful ice-cold water from the stream which flows into the Lake at this point. The bottoms and sides of these open-air baths will be of Portland cement, and an arrangement of sluices or water gates will permit of the constant change of the contents of the bath so that they shall always be fresh and clean. “Another great improvement shortly to be carried out by Mr. Loiselle, as soon as the lumber already ordered
e k a L n a v l y S s n o ti a l Congratu . s s e r g o r p f o s r a e y 0 for 10 f o t r a p a e b to d u o r p We are ! y it n u m m o c t a e r g this
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Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Loiselle 50th Anniversary. Photo courtesy Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society
is to hand, is the laying down of a sidewalk from the corner of the pool house to the C.P.R. depot. “It need hardly be said that all these improvements will be greatly appreciated by visitors to the lake, very many of whom come from Red Deer, and Mr. Loiselle is to be congratulated on the public spirit he is showing in these matters. Whilst undoubtedly acting for the benefit of his business, he is most certainly
working for the god of the community at large.” An April report noted Mr. Loiselle “has started work on the new sidewalk running from the Loiselle pool hall to the new C.P.R. lines … There is also a rumour that he will start on his big 500 foot pier as soon as the ice will allow. This is a much needed want and will help the town quite a lot.” However not much else was heard about that rumour . That summer a report indicated “the C.P.R. state they are going to make this the Saratoga of Alberta”. Under the heading, Alberta Central Railway a Reality, Red Deer News suggested in August that , “A daily service in the summer months will be an absolute necessity as far as Sylvan Lake is concerned, for the coming of this railway means life and vitality to that beautiful watering place. The C.P.R. will surely recog4923 - 33 Street, Sylvan Lake, AB nize the fact that, as a Phone: 403-887-1955 pleasure resort, Sylvan Fax: 403-887-1891 Lake will make the best Email: email@example.com
Happy 100thh Anniversary Sylvan Lake!
Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
Centennial Edition in the province, and that the advent of the railway brings with it other obligations, notably one of accommodation. Some talk has already been heard about a C.P.R. hotel at Third Point. There may be nothing to it, and there may be a whole lot. It is a necessity anyway, and it is only natural to believe that the C.P.R. are alive to the question.” War began in Europe in August and plans for Sylvan Lake’s grandeur disappeared only to resurface years later. “The (Red Deer) News is interested in the persistent rumors to the effect that the C.P.R. contemplates the erection of a large modern summer hotel at Sylvan Lake,” said an August 1922 story. “The rumours appear to have more or less concrete evidence to support them, but whatever may come of the proposition, only the future will unfold. “To the ordinary layman, the proposal seems very feasible. The weekend trains which were started this year have been handicapped by the lack of adequate hotel accommodation, and the train has been cancelled as a result. “… With an adequate hotel of this sort, the future of Sylvan Lake as one of the greatest summer resorts on the continent would be assured.” Two years later the news was
Sylvania Hotel Company had been incorporated to build a modern three storey hotel on a site between the C.P.R. and C.N.R. stations. “G. C. S. Crosby was up to Edmonton on Thursday last to meet the Board of Public Utilities, and to submit to them the memorandum of Association and the proposed prospectus of the company. The commission approved of the material submitted without hesitation,” said a Sept. 17, 1924 story in the Red Deer News. “The proposed grounds will include a golf course, tennis courts and bowling greens. The hotel itself will be a handsome structure, probably stucco, three stories in height, fully modern, with over forty bedrooms, dining room, kitchen and all other necessary offices. “It is planned to have the hotel so built that a large part of it can be shut off in the winter and closed up, but it is the intention to keep open sufficient to meet the needs of the village in the winter.” Even more recently, in 1960, a story about development of Sun Haven Beach, on the northeast shore of the lake said it would include a shopping centre, beach motel, similar to Jasper Lodge, lounge, fully-serviced homes, landscaping and boat taxi and bus service.
Loiselle’s first hotel The first hotel was built by Alexandre Loiselle. This building was constructed about 1905. Beside it is the general store and post office of C. J. Rutter & Sons. It was on the southwest corner of 50th Street and Lakeshore Drive. Photo courtesy Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society
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B12 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
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Retail Merchants Hold First Excursion Over A.C. Railway
Three days after the C.P.R. took over the Alberta Central Railway, the Retail Merchants’ Association of Red Deer celebrated the event by giving an excursion to Alberta’s most promising watering place on Wednesday last, August 12th. This beautiful and resting camping ground has never been advertised to any great extent, and with its miles of sandy beach, where wading can take place hundreds of yards without getting out of depth, with its limpid waters and richly wooded shores, with its splendid fishing and camping facilities, truly it is an ideal spot to spend one’s holidays from the rush and anxiety of business life. Therefore, when the C.P.R. state they are going to make this the Saratoga of Alberta, we know there will be something doing before long, as the lake is now easily reached from Calgary and Edmonton, and C.P.R. officials are very enthusiastic over the matter. With regard to the excursion itself, the fare was 65¢ return. This was so cheap that at first it was considered a mistake had been made. Early in the forenoon people were seen on the streets dressed in holiday attire, and tickets were being purchased at such a rate as to at once satisfy the committee of the success of their venture. Such a crowd was present at the depot at one p.m. that the train, composed of eight coaches, “which was thought to be ample,” was wholly inadequate, but
Agent Donlevy, who is nothing if not energetic, was soon busy getting a couple of cabooses put on. Those left on the platform, principally men, clambered into these, many of them accommodating themselves on the roof outside, consequently getting a glorious view of the country all the way to the Lake. The Band had amused the people while waiting, and the train pulled out at 1:40 amid great cheering, carrying close on to 800 people. The trip through the hitherto untravelled route gave the greatest satisfaction to everybody, and the view gained of the winding river and its banks when crossing the bridge was most inspiring; it has to be seen to be appreciated. Some little nervousness was felt by a few at crossing the bridge for the first time, but the engineer was so careful of those in his charge that one could scarcely feel the train moving, and this was appreciated very much by many of the ladies in particular. The journey was completed in good time, one hour and three minutes. The train was met by A. A. Godden and a crowd of Lake residents and visitors, who opened their eyes at the size of the crowd which got off the train. The glorious sunshine on the lush woodlands and green fields made a splendid picture, and the view of the Lake from the C.P.R. depot was a delight as well as surprise. It was a picnic day in every sense of the word, a go as far as you please affair. - August 19, 1914, Red Deer News
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by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News Tommy Anderson is among a select group. He was one of the former NHL players who chose to settle in Sylvan Lake after his career on the ice. Anderson played eight seasons in the National Hockey League for the Detroit Red Wings and the New York/ Brooklyn Americans — from 1934 to 1942. Initially he played left wing but switched to defence for the 1941-42 season. “Anderson thrived at his new found position — leading all defensemen in scoring with 12 goals and 29 assists for a career high 41 points!,” states Joe Pelletier’s Greatest Hockey Legends.com hockey history blog. He won the Hart Trophy as most valuable player that year. “Imagine a team finishing dead last with just 16 wins in a 48 game schedule, then folding forever. The odds of the NHL’s most valuable player played for that team are pretty slim. But that is the exact scenario that played out in 1942 when the NHL awarded the Hart Trophy to Tommy “Cowboy” Anderson of the Brooklyn (formerly New York) Americans. Anderson got nearly twice as many votes as runner up Syl Apps,” states Pelletier’s blog. “Anderson became the first player on a last place team to win the Hart.” When the Americans folded Anderson joined the Canadian Army during his enlistment played for the Calgary Currie Army team for three years. After World War II, he played with the Providence Reds of the AHL in 1945-46 and the Hollywood Wolves of the PCHL in 1946-47. The Hockey Hall of Fame website states, “In 1947, he hung up his skates and immediately became coach
of the Oshawa Generals, and after three successful seasons there he was named bench boss of the Pittsburgh Hornets (1950-51), the prime minor-league affiliate for the Maple Leafs.” After retiring from hockey he joined his father in the plumbing business and when his father retired, he worked on pipeline crews as a pipefitter. Anderson died September 20, 1971 at the age of 61 and is buried in Sylvan Lake Cemetery. He was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. T. Anderson of Sylvan Lake, a brother, sister and several nieces and nephews.
Former Sylvan Lake World publisher retires Chester E. Moffet, who founded The Sylvan Lake World in 1922, has retired after 35 years as advertising manager of the Eaton store in Edmonton. Miss Kathleen Stockwell was in charge of The World, later leased to the late Will D. MacKay from Saskatoon. Fire gutted the plant and it was closed. Mr. Moffet started his Canadian newspaper career with The Alsask News in 1913, of which Charles L. Dunford was associate editor. The following year Mr. Dunford and Mr. Moffet moved to Oyen, where The News was launched in February, 1914. Upon Mr. Dunford’s enlistment in the 187th Battalion, the late Robert Smith and Mr. Moffet were the printers employed. - January 14, 1960, Sylvan Lake News
Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
Snake Lake, a fisherman’s paradise
Fishing at Sylvan Lake There are at least seven species of fish in Sylvan Lake. Northern pike are indigenous to the lake and support an active year-round sport fishery. Yellow perch were introduced annually to the lake by Fish and Wildlife Division from 1940 to 1945. They are now a self-sustaining population; individuals grow to an admirable size and are a very popular target for anglers, particularly during winter. In 1986, Alberta angling records reported that an exceptionally large perch of 53 cm and 1.6 kg was taken from Sylvan Lake. Walleye were stocked in 1926, 1929, 1934, 1938, 1943, 1945 and from 1960 to 1963. They have now established a self-sustaining population and contribute to the sport fishery. Burbot are also caught by anglers. Lake trout were stocked in 1943 and 1944 but none survived. Spottail shiners were stocked from 1942 to 1945 to increase the forage fish population. Native forage species likely include brook stickleback and fathead minnows. In 1987 and 1988, a total of 3,445 adult lake whitefish from Pigeon Lake were stocked in Sylvan Lake to provide a forage species for wall-
eye and northern pike and eventually to contribute to winter sport fishing. It will be the early 1990s before it is known whether they have become successfully established. There is no commercial or domestic fishery on Sylvan Lake. Summerkills of young perch occasionally occur in the shallow bays of Sylvan Lake. In 1976, 100 to 200 dead young-of-the-year perch were found along a portion of the north shore of the lake; it was estimated that a total of 100,000 were killed at that time). No winterkills have been reported. The abundance of fish in Sylvan Lake is thought to be limited by a shortage of weed beds, a lack of cover and a shortage of spawning grounds. In the early 1940s, projects to improve habitat included building underwater brush shelters. - a portion of the report on Sylvan Lake contained in Atlas of Alberta Lakes, published in 1990 by University of Alberta Press (http:// alberta-lakes.sunsite.ualberta.ca/)
The Indians in the spring of 1884, told Dr. Gaetz of a large body of water lying to the west which they called Kenabik, meaning Snake Lake. At this lake, they said, fish could be had in abundance, and they offered to guide him there. Early one morning, in company with his Indian friends, he set off on horse back for the fisherman’s paradise. He did not return that night and Mrs. Gaetz was very much worried. When he failed to return the second night she was very uneasy; but when the third night drew near with still no signs of his return, the whole family became anxious. They were debating about getting the settlers from the Crossing to go in search of him when he returned with a good string of fish, quite unaware that he had caused his family any uneasiness. - The park county: A history of Red Deer and District, by Annie Louise Siddall Gaetz, 1948.
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Fishing in the creek - About 1911 at the outlet at the east side of Sylvan Lake. The lady on the left is Blanche Cox who married Russell Heenan in 1913 and became the mother of Wayne and Elsie (Mrs. Jack Goodey). Photo courtesy Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society
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B14 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
Estonian heritage celebrated in exhibit at Provincial Archives by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News Sylvan Lake figures prominently in the province’s Estonian heritage which was celebrated with an exhibit at the Provincial Archives of Alberta last spring. The exhibit marked completion of a five-year heritage project by the Alberta Estonian Heritage Society. “It explores the reasons Estonians chose to immigrate to Alberta, highlights Estonian communities and contributions to Alberta, and features social, political, cultural and economic history and personal stories,” said a bulletin from the archives. The heritage project also involved production of a 30-minute documentary and a richly illustrated, 300-page book about Alberta’s Estonian community (Freedom, Land & Legacy). A comprehensive heritage website was also completed. All archival materials collected for the project have been donated to the Provincial Archives to ensure public access to this rich historical information. “Sylvan Lake possesses historical significance, particularly in reference to Estonian migration,” states the website Alberta’s Estonian Heritage (www.aehs.ca). “In 1899, Hendrik and his brother Kristjan Kingsep were some of the first people to establish permanent settlements in the Sylvan Lake area. Attracted by the abundance of fish in Sylvan Lake, the Kingseps were not alone as French-Canadian and Finnish families had also recently settled here. Kristjan’s wife
Tiina and their five young children arrived one year later. Other Estonian families — Jaan, Alex and Anton Kask, Peter and Mihkel Piht, John Herman, Mihkel and Elizabet (Kask) Wartnow, Juhan Oru, Juhan Neithal and Mihkel Rahu — arrived in 1900 and 1901. Known as the Livonia Estonian settlement, families from Saaremaa in Estonian and Nurmekunde in Tver province in Russia, purchased more homesteads and, by 1903, there were 61 individuals residing in Sylvan Lake. Available land soon became scarce as an influx of Swedes, Finns and Estonians flocked to the open west. Families arriving after 1903 opted to relocate at Settler, to the east, and Medicine Valley, to the north. “The pioneering families of Sylvan Lake formed an agricultural collective to ease the burden of farming. Without proper equipment and often facing unfavourable weather conditions, profitable farming was a challenging enterprise in the pioneer era. The agricultural collective was established by the Kingsep brothers and Juhan Neithal, originally from Nurmekunde. Other early community initiatives saw the construction of a school on land granted by Juhan Kask. “When Kristjan Kingsep left Sylvan Lake in 1903, his wife, Tiina, remained on the farm and opened it up as a ‘midway’ house to new settlers. When the railroad eventually arrived at Sylvan Lake in 1911, Tiina sold goods and supplies to construction workers camping in the vicinity.” According to a section of the website (People - Pioneers) which contains family histories, “The Kingseps’ were the first documented Estonian family to settle in Alberta. Henry Kingsep and his wife Emilie moved to Canada with their two young daughters, Linda, three years old and Selma, 11 months old. Like other Estonians who would soon follow, Henry was interested in developing a homestead in western Canada. The family travelled by train to Red Deer.
Henry promptly found a settlement two miles east of Sylvan Lake (then known as Snake Lake). His brother, Kristjan, arrived shortly thereafter with his family and settled adjacent to Henry’s property. Kristjan, a sailor, had visited Canada previously and was impressed with its seemingly boundless landscape. “In 1902 the Kingsep family moved 20 miles west and settled on the banks of the Medicine River. Their arrival here marked the beginning of the Medicine Valley Estonian community.” The website makes fascinating reading for all those interested in the history of the region and heritage of past residents. “John Michael Kask and his wife Minnie Piht emigrated from Maasi Vald, Saaremaa in Estonia to Staten Island, New York in the late 1890s. Juhan operated a modest shipbuilding business in New York City but the promising lure of free land in western Canada took the family to Sylvan Lake in 1900. The Kasks were the second Estonian pioneer family to settle at Sylvan Lake. During the next few years, John and Minnie’s siblings left Estonia to join pioneer homesteaders. Vassily, Michael Piht, and Anton and Aleksei (Alex) Kask, and Elizabeth Kask Wortnow and her husband Michael all arrived in Red Deer in 1901 and walked miles to their designated homestead. “Working collectively was paramount for the Kasks; doing so allowed them to adapt to the challenging life of homesteading. The Kasks frequently participated in numerous community initiatives and established co-operatives for their mutual benefit. Maintaining a convivial relationship with the local Estonian community was crucial to overcoming the language barrier present in the public sphere … Juhan was instrumental in organizing a school district. He donated two acres of land for the Norma Public School, thereby facilitating its opening in 1903.” A photo archives on the website features 20 pictures of homesteads, pioneers, maps and of Norma School in 1903.
The TTh he Da D Dawe awe we C Cabin, ab ab abi biin iin, n, B Bu Built uililt ilt Fr FFrom rom om A B Bank ank Cl an C Clock loc loc ock To TTower Towe owe wer Fr wer FFrom ro om mR Red ed D ed Deer eeer
! s n o i t a l u t a Congr
By Robert Dawe
to the Town of Sylvan Lake on Its Centennial The Dawe Family
Summer Residents At Northey’s (First) Point in Norglenwold Since 1911.
Loiselle’s sawmill. Photo courtesy Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society
Chronicles of early settlers recorded in several newspaper columns by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News
Hardship, intensive labour, neighbourliness and inspiration dominate a series of stories about the early residents of Sylvan Lake. These were written by Anna Pope Jaminette and appeared between March 1953 and April 1954 in the Sylvan Lake News. The 42 stories focus mainly on families who moved to the Sylvan Lake area but also included such topics as the hobbies of J. W. McIntosh (bird egg collecting, grasses, bugs, moths and butterflies), Memorial Presbyterian Church, school year books and stories of early days from her own scrapbooks. Several of these were republished, sometimes with further information, in the Red Deer Advocate’s series Pioneers of Central Alberta in 1967. The full series of stories has been transcribed and is available from Sylvan Lake News or at Sylvan Lake & District Archives. Here’s the list of families chronicled. Frank Raymond Bardwell, Peter Bertheusen, Wm. Bieraugel, Alex Bone, Peter Cameron, Joseph Heinrich, Mrs. Fred Johnson, J. W. McIntosh, Henry Jamieson, Fred Johnson, Kris Johnson, John Koski, Mrs. Mikko Kuores, B. C. Learned, Daniel B. Learned, Andrew Lindholm, Frank Lindholm, Henry Lund, W. D. MacKay, Erik Maki, Mrs. Mary Miller (nee
Petro), Frederick Robert Nelles, Chris Riis, John Ropsfelt, Jim Rose, the Saha family, Henry Salonen, Fred Schaer, Jack Simpson, Karl Soderlund, Stella Weber, Peter Wetelainen, Andrew Woima, Isaac Wuobio, William Orrin Wylie and John Zimmerman. Another series was written in 1967 titled Memoirs of Sylvan Lake District Pioneers. Teacher Mr. T. Green asked his Grade 10 and 11 students at Sylvan Lake High School to complete the project in conjunction with Canada’s Centennial. Stories of 21 pioneers of the area were completed by the students and published in Sylvan Lake News. These have also been transcribed and are available from Sylvan Lake News or at Sylvan Lake & District Archives. Here’s the list. Mrs. Charlie Anderson, Eric Bergstrom, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Bystrom (nee Delia Fitch), Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Bystrom (nee Ida Smith), Swan Bystrom, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Cameron, Mr. and Mrs. Levi Erickson (nee Astrid Engman), Mr. and Mrs. George Fitch (nee Madge Einarson), Christine Grimson (nee Kristin Einarson), Mrs. Dora Hillman, John Oscar Hilman, J. W. Kujala, Mrs. E. Lake, Mrs. Maria Charlotte Lindman (nee Lindholm), Henrietta Loiselle, Mrs. Edwin Mannerfeldt (nee Holsworth), Mrs. Martha (Angus) Martin (nee Reilly), Lillian and Everett Neilsen, Mary Pijeau (nee Henrich), Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Stauffer and John Watson (married Mima Gilpin).
Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
Hotel Burnt at Sylvan Lake HEAVY LOSSES AT LOCAL HOTEL The Alexandra Hotel at Sylvan Lake was burnt to the ground on Monday. Some of the equipment was saved, but the loss was heavy, as only $5,000 insurance was carried. According to Mr. Loiselle, the proprietor of the Hotel, the chimney was afire in the morning, but after using fire extinguishers he thought the fire was all out. Later, while at dinner, the building
#200, 3715 47TH AVENUE SYLVAN LAKE, AB T4S 0C8
burst into flame, and before they discovered it, was caught to such an extent that it was seen to be doomed. The building was all frame and burnt rapidly, but some small portion of the furniture was saved with the assistance of friends who were quickly on the spot. - October 22, 1924, Red Deer Advocate
TEL: 403-887-7951 FAX: 403-887-7966
Sylvan Lake featured on Maclean’s cover Sylvan Lake was the motif for the cover of ue of the recent issue gazine. Macleans magazine. Depicted in thee foreground was a large athers crowd of bathers basking in the bright sunshine, but itt was evident that the artist was not familiar with y-law the town by-law which prohibits any eing dog from being ater, allowed in the water, or being on the beach or pier ash whether on a leash or not, during the ne, months of June, July, August or September, ily because lazily he stretched on the up sand near a group as of sun bathers was a DOG. st The artist William Winterr was evidentlyy h intrigued with Sylvan Lake on a o recent trip to western Canada and got the urge to paint what he saw. - June 16, 1960, Sylvan Lake News
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B16 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
Sylvan Lake Centennial
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS FRIDAY, JUNE 14
Farmers Market – Railway Park Promenade - 4:00pm – 7:00pm Centennial Meet and Greet – Multiplex – 4:00pm-11:00pm Presented by the Chamber of Commerce and featuring antiques, fashion, former Miss Mermaids, a variety of entertainment, a complete walk through of history, and a chili cookoff! Centennial Quilt Show – Curling Rink- 11:00 am- 8:00pm Free Swim – Aquatic Centre 8:30-9:30pm (minimum $2 donation to ‘You can play too’) Drive in Movie – The Goonies! – Canadian Tire Parking Lot 10:30pm
SATURDAY, JUNE 15
Annual Firemen’s Breakfast – Fire Hall – 7:00-11:00am Kids Toy and Equipment Sale – Community Partners 4936-50th Ave – 8:00am-3:00pm Book Sale – Sylvan Lake Library – 10:00am-4:00pm Centennial Quilt Show – Curling Rink – 10:00am-5:00pm Lakeside Go Carts & Mini Golf – 10:00am-4:00pm *Ask at the window for the Centennial Special Community Partners Annual Garage Sale &BBQ #4 5043-50A Street Lakeland Plaza – 11:00am-4:00pm Parade of the Century! - 1:00pm Sylvan Lake and District Archives Historical Display – Featuring Parades of the Past – 2:00-4:00pm Community Partners Charity Pie Auction – Cobb’s Parking Lot 2:00pm Ice Cream Parlor at the Seniors Centre 3:00-4:30pm KidZone – 3:00-5:00pm – Sylvan Lake Arena – Featuring Children’s performers, bouncers, games, and cotton candy! New Town Hall Open House – 3:00-5:00pm Dance of the Century! – Multiplex- Featuring 10 hours of ten decades of dancing, music and overall fun! Live performances include the Boom Chucka Boys, West of the 5th, Saturn 5, Jazz Explosion, Falcons and more! Tickets are in limited supply & available at Chamber of Commerce or Community Partners. 3:00pm-1:00am
SUNDAY, JUNE 16
Rotary Club and Best Body Fitness Father’s Day Fun Run – Centennial Park 10:00am (pre-registration required) www.fathersdayrunsylvan.com Community Partners Art Show & Sale – 4936-50th Ave 12:00-4:00pm Pancake Breakfast – Sylvan Lake Legion – 8:00am-12:00pm 100 Minutes of Music – 1:00pm & R.C.M.P Dog Show 1:00pm – 4:00pm Lions Park Butterﬁeld Acres Petting Zoo – Centennial (50th) Street & Lakeshore Drive Fenced Park 1:00pm-4:00pm
For More Information Go To
SYLVANLAKE.CA OR OUR VISITOR’S CENTRE!
Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
CENTENNIAL JUBILEE Featuring Live Music by Wooden Nickel
Catered by Bob Ronnie Catering Theatrical performances kick off at 2:30 PM on Saturday, June 8, 2013 at the Sylvan Lake Multiplex, with barbeque and social to follow! Purchaser your tickets NOW at the Town Ofﬁce or Aquatic Centre!
The Sylvan Lake Visitor Information Centre
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B18 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
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Amazing amount of information, photos available of Sylvan’s history by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News
Governor General Roland Michener who spent summers at the lake, in 1973 when a three section issue was produced for the 60th anniversary of village There’s a delightful treasure trove of stories and status, in 1988 for the 75th anniversary and in 2005 recorded history contained in the back issues of for Alberta’s Centennial. (There may have been othSylvan Lake News, Sylvan Lake World, and daily Red ers we missed in our research.) Deer newspapers, when it comes to researching the Red Deer News and Red Deer Advocate contain past. many early reports from correspondents. The Our rich history has also been recorded in a num- Advocate is available at the Our Future Our Past ber of books have been written, many of them avail- website from 1904 through to 1949, according to the able from Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society. list on the site. The News is available on the University Material contained in this special section of of Alberta’s Peel’s Prairie Provinces site and contains Sylvan Lake News includes original research I carried issues from 1906 to 1926. The nice thing about this out from all of the different sources. site is that it’s searchable by subject. So typing in For those who might like to pursue further in- Sylvan Lake brings up at the references. Consult peel. depth investigation, here’s a list of sources available library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/RDN/. on the internet and from the archives. It’s far from Reflections of Sylvan Lake was published by complete as a quick internet search will reveal. Sylvan Lake Historical Society in 1984 and contains Copies of the Sylvan Lake World and Sylvan Lake a wealth of information as well as family histories. It News are available on the Alberta Heritage was produced in conjunction with the 70th anniverDigitization Project website called Our Future Our sary of the village’s incorporation by a volunteer Past (www.ourfutureourpast.ca). Copies of Sylvan committee headed by Wilma Balfour, a retired town Lake World are available from the first issue secretary. September 19, 1922 to May 21, 1926. Sylvan Lake “The harmonious mingling of rich human and News began publishing in October 1935 and the last natural resources provide Sylvan Lake with its contiissue available at this source is December 20, 1950. nuity and its growth,” wrote MP Gordon Towers in Archive copies of Sylvan Lake News are also avail- the book. able at Sylvan Lake & District Archives for many Grants were provided by the federal, provincial years, and the files at the News office go into the and municipal government to help defray costs of the 1970s. Later issues are filed outside the premises. 426 page book. Early owners of Sylvan Lake News were cognizant It was followed in 2000 by Recollections Beyond of the evolving history and several sections of the Reflections, which chronicled the years from 1900 to newspaper were produced with interesting and infor- 2000. mative historical information. “Within these pages Sylvan Lake comes alive. You Perhaps most important among these would be can feel the enthusiasm, courage and humour of the the Alberta Golden Jubilee edition published individuals and families who have dedicated themSeptember 1, 1955. It contained 26 pages, in three selves to the growth and development of our town,” sections, with a wealth of information and photo- wrote Mayor Sheryll Bowey. The ‘Memories’ book graphs. A photocopy is available at Sylvan Lake & committee included Pat Ammeter as coordinator District Archives for research purposes. and writer, Bob Swabey as editor, Myrtle Kleeberger Prior to this, in 1953 and 1954, Anna Pope as artist, Sheila Jarvis as writer, Jean Bridge as histoJaminette prepared a series of 42 articles on families rian, Treena Mielke, Elsie Hunter and Marie Schlahs who moved to the Sylvan Lake area in the pioneer as writers, Jack Smalley as cartoonist and Judy era. (Bergstrom) Hinshaw as typist and editor. It’s a 490 Another interesting series, featuring “Returned page compendium of the community’s history and Men in Business”, was published in 1946. copies are still available at the Archives. Sylvan Lake’s Golden Jubilee was celebrated in Also available there are A Saga of Varsity Hall, 1963 with special coverage. At that time the newspaThe Dance Hall, Owners, Orchestras and Musicians, per planned a souvenir booklet of Sylvan Lake’s Golden Jubilee although we’ve been unable to locate 1943 to 1949 written by Ray Benjamin; Sylvan Lake - The Beginnings of our community, 1900 to 2000, a copy of this if indeed it was produced. Special sections also appeared in 1971 for the sil- written for the Archives in 2006 by Jean Bridge and ver anniversary of attaining town status, attended by Grade 2 teachers at Steffie Woima School “for the purpose of teaching local school children the history of our community”, and News in the First Century, a sequential list of events in the history of Sylvan Lake, prepared by Archives volunteers. The Archives also has copies of history books from surrounding districts, which are available for research purposes. Red Deer Archives has files of Sylvan Lake’s growth and photos, including several extensive accessions. Glenbow th Museum (www.glenbow. org/collections/search/) and the provincial archives (culture.alberta. ca/paa/) also have pic403-887-5700 • tures filed and accessible for viewing through the Ryders Square Mall Sylvan Lake internet.
Pathways Animal Clinic
Sending out a big congratulations to the community of Sylvan Lake on their 100 Birthday! We’re proud to be part of this great town!
© Tim Hortons, 2008
Loiselle’s first trip to Snake Lake was an arduous experience by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News The Alexandre Loiselle family was among the very first to settle in or near what is now Sylvan Lake. The travelled by train to Red Deer then had to make the arduous journey to Snake Lake. “Arriving in Red Deer with my family on the 15th of October, 1899, we put up at the Immigration Hall situated next to the Alberta Hotel and now used as a restaurant, waiting for my son to come in with the two cars of goods and machinery I had started from the States,” said Mr. Loiselle in a story told to Frank Mott and printed in the Red Deer Advocate of December 23, 1910. “He arrived on the next day, and on the 18th the late Mr. Jos. Smith took my family out to the place at the Lake, while myself and three other men started from Smith & Gaetz corner with a good 2,600 lb. team and as good a team to work as I ever owned. We had a load of about one ton of goods but our troubles began very soon after we had got over the Red Deer River, as on reaching the little hill opposite where the oil tank now stands we got mired and had to unload to get through
the mud.” Several more times they had to unload and load. About 5 p.m. “we pitched our tent and tied the horses and ourselves and laid down by the side of the team, rolled up in our blankets.” Because they’d only taken enough food for one day, they went without breakfast the following morning. That day they had to make a corduroy bridge 100 feet wide over a creek so they could carry on only to find they’d made a wrong turn. Backtracking they came to another slough “so bad we knew the team could not get through with the load but they managed to get through with the empty wagon and we carried the goods through on our shoulders with water up to our ankles.” They reached their lake place about 11 o’clock the second night. Then three more days were spent fetching parts of the load left along the route and building a shack for winter. The 2,500 word article is contained in its entirety in the Sylvan Lake history book, Recollections Beyond Reflections. It makes fascinating reading providing an account of the trials and tribulations of reaching Snake Lake in those very early years.
Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
Sylvan Lake was known at “The Beauty Spot of Alberta” when the Sylvan Lake Chamber float was in the Red Deer fair parade in 1955. Among those on the float are Bruce Lane, Margaret Martin, Marlene Martin, Jay Wilkinson (wearing the hula skirt) and Jean May (seated). The children on the back include Barb and Dan May and Shirley Martin. Photo courtesy Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society
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B20 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
The Early Days of Burnt Lake The following article was published in the Red Deer Advocate’s Golden Jubilee section commemorating the 50th anniversary of the founding of Red Deer. The issue was dated July 18, 1934. By Mrs. Swain Swainson The Burnt Lake settlement dates back to the year 1890, and the two families who have the distinction of being the first arrivals are Mr. S. Grimson, who still resides here, and Mr. John Anderson, who later moved to Red Deer. The Andersons had come out to the Medicine River, near where Markerville is now, in 1888 and lived there for two years, and the Grimsons had spent the winter of 1889 there also. This winter was very severe - one of the worst in those early days. Later in 1890 the Henry Reinholt family arrived and spent some eleven or twelve years here before moving to Red Deer. These three families seem to have had it all to themselves for the next three years, and no other settlers within seven or eight miles, and seven miles in those days meant as much as seventy miles now. There were no roads, and most of the people had only oxen to drive, some had one horse, and then they drove it with an ox as its mate. It was nothing unusual for all the occupants of the cumbersome wagon to have to dismount, take off their home-made shoes and stockings and wade across the water and mud holes, for the oxen had all they could do to pull the empty wagon across. One consolation was that life had more leisure and peace than it does now. There was not the mad rush to cover miles in a few minutes, or to accomplish a day’s task in an hour.
In the year 1893 six new families arrived, namely E. P. Cronquist, P. Peterson, Erick Johanson, A. Agren, C. A. Pearson and J. Reinholt. Mr. Cronquist had been back to Sweden earlier in the year to get his family, and while there he met Mr. A. G. Lindholm, who had been out to the United States twice but had decided that Sweden was a better place to live in. However, Mr. Cronquist’s persuasiveness soon left no doubt in his mind that Canada was the cream of all countries, and in the year 1894 the Lindholm family arrived in Burnt Lake, where they have lived ever since, with the exception of one son who moved across the line. That same year saw the arrival of M. Matson, A. Erickson, C. Forss, J. Haak, John Halverson and Henry Larsen. That year, 1894 saw the erection of a log schoolhouse on the Larsen farm, and Miss Elizabeth Martin, now Mrs. W. Reay of Red Deer, was the first teacher. The old log schoolhouse is still standing, having been purchased by Carl Asplund and moved to his farm where he lived until his death a few years ago. Messrs. Oscar Norby and Nyberg came in 1895, and it was in this year that Messrs. Lindholm and Peterson built and operated a skimming station where the farmers brought their milk to be separated, taking their cream and skim-milk home with them, the women making butter to be exchanged for groceries from Mr. R. L. Gaetz at the Red Deer River Crossing. The J. A. Smith family and Otto Johanson arrived in 1897, and three years later the first post office and store was opened by John Verhardson. By this time Burnt Lake had become quite a settlement, and there were high hopes that some day it would become a second Stockholm. When Mr. Verhardson left to live in Washington, U.S.A., his place as postmaster and storekeeper was taken by Mr. Nyberg, and a few years later by Linus Linholm. The beginning of the century fairly floated in; never was it wetter; and the
new-comers, the J. Sveinson family, Ole Peterson and T. Gudmundson, who all came from North Dakota, were rather dubious about their new homes. The two latter left a few years later for Red Deer and Saskatchewan, but the Sveinsons made it their permanent home. The next few years marked the arrival of several families who still reside here or in the Red Deer district. These include the Dallaires, Dominiques, Olsons, Selstroms, Telnings, John Flett, J. Beattie, A. L. Stewart and Jim Teasdale. During the years 1909 to 1912, Burnt Lake was a busy place. Lumber was being freighted from the west country to Red Deer, and cement and bridge material from Red Deer to the west country, where the railroad was being built, also provisions for the men in the different camps. Mr. and Mrs. Matson kept a stopping house and served meals at all hours to the hungry men who were freighting. Mr. T. B. Millar erected and operated a cheese factory here at that time, and folks still say that no one made better cheese. Mrs. Millar was equally popular as the school mistress. Mr. Earl Grimson was the postmaster and storekeeper at this time, ably assisted by his sister Ella. In 1912 Mr. Grimson moved his building to Sylvan Lake, where he carried on as a hardware merchant and was secretary for the Municipality of Golden West for several years. On account of failing health he sold his business to Jamieson Bros. and went to reside in Oregon. When Mr. Earl Grimson moved to Sylvan Lake, his father, the first settler in Burnt Lake, took over the post office and served the surrounding districts until the rural mail delivery was established. Several people have come to settle during the last few years, some to leave again after a short period, while others are building up their homes here. We are glad to have so many of our first settlers with us, and hope to keep them for many years to come and listen to their thrilling yarns of “the good old days”, and we hope to prove that we still have a little of their grit and stamina, at least enough so that they will feel the same pride in their children and grandchildren as they do in the district they have built up.
e Real Estate Letter: Sylvan Lak
Sylvan Lake on Congratulations celebrating 100 years! We are proud to be a part of such a great community.
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Phone: 403-864-LAKE (5253) Fax: 403-864-5254 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
lvan Lake le looking over Sy op pe y an m e ar e s of some Ther starting a busines of ew vi a th wi ty proper ying that the ft disappointed sa le ve ha y an m d ering the kind an ely too high consid tir en ld he is te ta real es wnsites. te in other new to prices of real esta would be a real estate people lots for a These Sylvan Lake qu parties re iring to e at er id ns co e price and little mor lot at a moderate a ve ha em th t Le ild and business. itions that they bu nd co on ts en ym on easy pa ven time. siness within a gi other or start a specified bu uld reserve every co le op pe te ta es is way it These real higher value. In th a r fo ts lo o tw r d be the every othe estate people woul al re e es th at th would seem siness before we as we must have bu gainers in values t the speculators t values, at presen can have any grea ess propositions. e chance as busin simply are given the sam up town property ng yi bu le op pe e Now with thes lue, there is no hold it for a high va to n io at ul ec sp r fo hold it, and these ey may choose to th ng lo w ho ng lli te pt out or driven institutions are ke s es sin bu be dul wo eated with more where they are tr s ie lit ca lo r he ot to consideration. ld be given ess industries shou sin bu at th ve lie be We start with in erence at least to ef pr or ce an ch ir a fa wn. building up our to rested A very much inte SIDENT RE SYLVAN LAKE te , Red Deer Advoca 12 - January 19, 19
3 cottages completed at Sun Haven Beach It won’t be long until Sylvan Lake is entirely surrounded by summer homes. New areas are being developed steadily and the quality of cottages being constructed is impressive. Largest of the new developments is Sun Haven Beach, located on the Northeast shore of the lake. This development comprises 160 acres, and will include a shopping centre, motel, lounge, fullyserviced homes, landscaping and boat taxi and bus service. Construction was started June 9th this year and is expected to be completed in 1964. General manager for the project is Bob Weston, of Edmonton, a former resident of Sylvan Lake. The development site has been subdivided into 250 lots in the first phase of construction. No lots will be sold separately. Each cottage will have a lawn and the landscaping will include the planting of 2,000 trees. About 25 per cent of the site has been reserved for parks and playgrounds. The cost of the complete unit, landscaping, insulated and completely furnished cottage with water and sewer will run from $4,700 to $9,250. A beach motel, similar to Jasper Lodge, is planned for the west side of the road allowance. Accommodation there will cost about $18.50 per day. The Shopping Centre will also be in this area. Floating piers will be constructed along the one-half mile of beach. Swimming areas will be marked. At the present time three cottages are nearing completion in the eastern portion of the area. Sods have already been planted for lawns and work has been started on the beach. - October 6, 1960, Sylvan Lake News
Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
With trophies - This picture was taken about 1932. Charles and Jean Palmer arrived in Sylvan Lake in April 1926 where he first managed and then owned Sylvan Lake Creamery. A 1931 Red Deer Advocate story reported he won the Dominion championship at the Western Dairyman’s convention at Calgary that year for the best 14-pound solid block of butter, with a score of 97; a first and second at Brandon; a second and third at Calgary and two seconds at Edmonton. In 1930 Mr. Palmer received three firsts and a second at the Royal Agricultural Show at Toronto; two seconds at London, Ont. — the only prizes that came to Alberta; two thirds at the Canadian National Exhibition at Toronto; two seconds at Victoria, a first and a second at Saskatoon; two seconds at Calgary; two thirds at Brandon; two seconds and two thirds at Regina; two seconds at Edmonton and a second at Vancouver. The article continued, “every churning he has made this year had graded No. 1 — a record probably not equalled in the province”. Photo courtesy Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society
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B22 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
Silver anniversary of town celebrated in 1971 A general meeting of the ratepayers of Sylvan Lake was called for April 22, 1945 to decide if application should be made to the Department of Municipal Affairs for the Village of Sylvan Lake to gain its status as a town. It was not until the 31st of May 1946 a proclamation was published in the Alberta Gazette proclaiming Sylvan Lake as a town. The elected members of the council at that time were K. O. Wilkinson, who was appointed mayor by the members; J. R. Pell and V. M. Neely. The above three were to continue as the town council until the election in February of 1947 when a mayor and six councillors were elected. K. O. Wilkinson was elected mayor and H. J. Cody, Carl Koots, V. M. Neely, S. G. McAphee, J. R. Pell and E. C. Watkiss as councillors made up the first elected governing body of the new town. Mr. L. B. Walker, who had served as secretary-treasurer for the village, continued in that post until his death in 1948, at which time C. B. (Bob) Pugh was appointed and continued until leaving Sylvan Lake in 1953. K. O. Wilkinson was elected mayor for four consecutive terms and served continuously until 1955. At that time R. Speedie was town foreman followed by R. Schaer in 1951 who has been continuously in the employ of the town since.
After the departure of Mr. Pugh, J. V. Meyers was appointed secretary-treasurer but remained only two years before leaving to go to the Town of Bowden. He was then succeeded by D. L. (Roy) White, and in 1955 R. German Sr. became the new town mayor for two terms. 1955 Roy White left to take a position at Barrhead and D. Balfour was his successor, a position he held until his death in 1962. In 1959 H. J. Cody became mayor. At the time Mr. Cody was working toward a degree and found it necessary to resign at the end of a year. Warren Dunford then came to the office of mayor by acclamation in 1960 and served until 1966 when he resigned to take the position of town manager of Stettler. Following the death of Doug Balfour, Mrs. Balfour, who had been assistant in the office since 1960 received the appointment of secretary-treasurer, a position she held until this year and was succeeded by Paul J. Belanger, the present Secretary-Treasurer. In 1962 Mrs. Jean Palmer also came to the office as assistant and remained until her retirement in 1970. In 1960 Mrs. Elmer Peterson pioneered the way for women on the council and was followed in 1964 by Miss E. C. Mahaffy. Following the resignation of Warren Dunford in 1966, Jack Innes was elected mayor, was reelected in 1967 and resigned in 1968. At this time K. O. Wilkinson who had served as councillor from 1958 until 1967 was elected mayor and returned by acclamation in 1969, and heads the present council comprised of Bob Brown, Lorne Peabody, Neil Jarvin, Doug McCutcheon, Leon Nielsen and Bill Crockett. Bill Crockett along with Mayor Wilkinson are veteran members of the Council each having served the greater portion of the 25 years we are celebrating this week.
There are many men still residing in Sylvan Lake who have given generously of their time to serve on council and to all who have worked to make our town so desirable a place to live and raise our families, a hearty vote of thanks is given. In 1954 a major step forward was taken and a sewer system was installed. At this time Andy Murray commenced his long term of service to the people of the town with his appointment to the position of town supervisor, a post he still capably fills. 1956 brought natural gas to Sylvan Lake by Northwest Utilities Limited. 1958 saw the commencement of an extensive street lighting program and today Sylvan Lake is among the towns with the greater number of lights per capita. Another long time employee joined the town at this time in the person of Mike Podgurski. At this time progress was being made to replace the old original school buildings with new and modern buildings which houses all grades one to twelve. Citizens of Sylvan Lake with many guests celebrated the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of the Village in June of 1963. In 1966 work was commenced on the retaining wall along the beach. In 1967 our Sylvan Lake Senior Citizens Lodge was opened, in June and in August of Canada’s Centennial Year the Centennial Park was completed and the official opening was carried out with many provincial government members and our local federal member of parliament present. In 1970 the hard working Sylvan Lake and District Arena Society were able to commence the construction of an arena. Sylvan Lake has a well trained fire department under Fire Chief Gordon Hunter. The population of Sylvan Lake in 1946 was approximately 900 with an assessment of $600,000. The population this year is near 1,500 and the town assessment is $2,472,825. We welcome the people of the surrounding area who have contributed in various ways to the progress of our town and hope as we celebrate the town’s 25h Birthday and welcome Governor General Roland Michener and Mrs. Michener, they will join us on this happy occasion. - July 8, 1971, Sylvan Lake News
Thanks Sylvan Lake for your continued support in helping us grow. We are honoured to give back to a community that is 100 years young!
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Mayor Ken Wilkinson was seated beside Governor General Roland Michener, who came home to Sylvan Lake in 1971 as part of the 25th anniversary of becoming a town. Beside Michener is his wife, Norah and Isabelle Wilkinson. He spoke of the trip as a sentimental journey in coming back to the area where he spent so many summers as a boy. This picture was in the Sylvan Lake News July 15, 1971. Photo courtesy Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society
Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
Past mayor building on lifetime of community contributions by Stuart Fullarton Sylvan Lake News
Of the many people who will celebrate Sylvan Lake’s centennial this year, there are several for whom planned festivities will be particularly meaningful. Longtime resident and former town mayor Pat Blakely is one of them. Blakely first arrived in Sylvan Lake in 1960 and since then, her contributions to, and involvement in, the community have been steadily ongoing. Recently, she’s been busy working with Sylvan Lake and District Archives, helping compile information and prepare displays pertaining to the town’s centennial. She’s glad to see much excitement surrounding the town’s centennial, and is happy to help in any way she can. “People have really come together this year for the 100th anniversary, and that brings that community feeling back,” she said. “There are many, many people busy with it, which is really wonderful.” Her arrival in Sylvan Lake, where she and her husband built and operated the Embee Motel on Lakeshore Drive, marked the beginning of a new life for Blakely. “My husband was in the oil business, and we sometimes moved three or four times a year,” she said. “You never really got to know people, so when I came here, it was settling down that I liked. “You get to know people and know the area, and feel like you were at home.” In 1963, Blakely was elected to Red Deer County School Board, and eventually spent 20 years as board chair. She was then elected to Sylvan Lake town council in 1974, and served for nine years until 1983. Five of those years were
Former Sylvan Lake publisher retires
spent as mayor — time during which she began to see major changes in Sylvan Lake. “The town changed quite drastically,” she said. “It was the first time we really got into development. “The town changed from about 1,500 to about 3,000 people just during my time on council.” Blakely received Sylvan Lake’s Citizen of the Year award in 1988. A September 27, 1988 story in Sylvan Lake News reporting on the award gave some insight into Blakely’s leadership qualities. “I don’t believe in criticizing things that are done unless you’re prepared to do something,” she said in the story. “I get involved to do things.” Blakely has seen many physical changes take place in Sylvan Lake over the years, including the deterioration of the beach at Sylvan Lake, and the construction of schools in the area. One local school, C.P. Blakely School, is named after her. Although the town has grown in size and population, Blakely feels certain things remain unchanged. “It’s still in a way a small town,” she said. “That’s one thing I think that people feel that they’re losing, is the feeling of the small town where you get to know your neighbours and so on.” Blakely feels the anticipation and excitement surrounding the centennial have done much to restore a sense of community in Sylvan Lake. She is looking forward to taking part in some of the many events marking the centennial in the coming weeks, and will celebrate living in a town she’s enjoyed so many years. “I’ve been rather busy in the town,” she said. “I’m perfectly happy and have no wish to move elsewhere.”
Chester E. Moffet, who founded The Sylvan Lake World in 1922, has retired after 35 years as advertising manager of the Eaton store in Edmonton. Miss Kathleen Stockwell was in charge of The World, later leased to the late Will D. MacKay from Saskatoon. Fire gutted the plant and it was closed. Mr. Moffet started his Canadian newspaper career with The Alsask News in 1913, of which Charles L. Dunford was associate editor. The following year Mr. Dunford and Mr. Moffet moved to Oyen, where The News was launched in February, 1914. Upon Mr. Dunford’s enlistment in the 187th Battalion, the late Robert Smith and Mr. Moffet were the printers employed. - January 14, 1960, Sylvan Lake News
Charles L. Dunford started the Sylvan Lake News with the first edition October 31, 1935. Prior to that he was owner of the Oyen News. This photo appeared in the Sylvan Lake World, October 10, 1922.
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B24 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
“Soup” of Sylvan Lake - A True Dog Story The following story appeared in the Red Deer Advocate of October 30, 1935. By George Palmer “Where did that soup-hound come from?” asked Jack. Abbreviated to “Soup” that was how he got his name. The door of the Lakeview Garage office opened one bitterly cold night in the winter of 1929 and through the cloud of vapor, like a wraith, he came stiffly into the warm atmosphere of the office, the picture of dog misery. A skeleton almost, his rib and hip-bones protruding to the point of bursting through the dark grey skin which showed bare in patches and folds. The rest of him was sparsely covered with black, stiff rough hair slightly tinged with grey. He didn’t look young. His tail was rat-like in its bareness, but despite the dog’s starved misery, this member of his anatomy was held up in a proud half curl. His eyes were rimmed with frost and he was almost blind from the cold, but as he stood shivering in the centre of the floor without any resemblance of pleading, there was something about him which compelled respect, and in addition to the exclamations of pity his appearance aroused, were remarks of a complimentary nature His bearing demanded something more than pity. The dog had something which was not easy to define. Emanciated, bedraggled and shivering, he was an ugly animal to look at, but with it all he remained
Staggered With Weakness His shivering gradually ceased as the warmth of the place entered his thin frame, but he staggered with weakness as he went to a corner near the stove and curled up. His eyes sought ours in turn, and Jack went out to get something for him to eat. He ate in hungry gulps without getting to his feet. That was his introduction to the Lakeview Garage and the commencement of long years of dog loyalty which ended only in his — well, you know how it is when you feel all stirred up inside and would rather write it than speak it. His breed was a problem we discussed many a time, and was one which only the best dog experts could solve, and even then the solution would be doubtful. We tried it. Some said part this, and others said part that, until we were all agreed that he was a fullbred mongrel — just dog. He thought more of Jack than he did of anyone else, but he possessed a trait which was more cat-like than dog-like. He became far more attached to the place itself than to any individual, and only once in the nearly six years he was with us did he sleep anywhere else than beside the long rack containing the spare parts, and this one occasion was when he was accidentally locked out. He never permitted us to lock him out again.
good-looking in a peculiar dog fashion.
From the Management and Staff at Sylvan Agencies, we would like to congratulate all of Sylvan Lake on the 100th Anniversary of our great town!
Accepted Responsibility No human could accept a responsibility and live up to it with greater attention to detail than that stray dog accepted his. Against everything, dogs, humans and the elements alike, he fought for the sanctity of all things appertaining to the Lakeview Garage. Cars, trucks, tools, gas pumps — all were his special care. No human was clever enough to entice Soup away from his duty — no dog was too big or pugnacious for him to fight. Fight! Could that dog fight! Never one smaller than himself. Dogs — three times his size — Boston and English bulls, mastiffs, and collies, Chesapeakes and Danes, and his particular pet aversion — Alsatian police dogs — all went down to defeat under that 40 pounds of concentrated dog vitality. All the courage of dogdom was wrapped up in his ungainly little carcass. He was licked dozens of times but never knew it. Bigger dogs would shake him like they would a rat, and drag Soup all over the street and the lot, wiping up the dust or the snow with him, but he kept his hold and hung there until his opponent finally howled or whimpered for release. He always secured a
hold near his attacker’s head — the throat, or neck, or jaws, thereby preventing his opponent from inflicting too much damage on his own body. Never once had he been known to let go of his own accord. Time after time he had to be choked into insensibility to bring his jaws apart — pepper, water, and pulling by strong men availed nothing, and as long as he was conscious he held tenaciously to his grip. Cruelly, at first he had been beaten into unconsciousness and his jaws pried apart in order to release the death-hold he had on his hapless victim. Between fights he guarded the garage, leaving it only during the day to trot stiffly up to the house for meals. Alongside the spare-parts rack he would lie curled up with his eyes registering unwavering vigilance. Never would he allow a stranger to approach beyond a certain barrier — the cash register, and the shelves could be touched only by those who had business there. One step too close and Soup’s upper lip would curl into a snarl which held a depth of meaning, and if that was not sufficient, a low growl would rumble in his throat which gave the intruder plenty of warning. Soup never bit a human being in all the years we knew him — he never had to. He made his intentions clear enough for all to understand. His whole attitude breathed “So near you may come, but not another inch.” Several times in the period of his guardianship, prowlers attempted the doors and windows of the garage and the disordered state of the office with papers, bottles and cans scattered over the floor bore witness to Soup’s agitation during the night, and showed clearly that whoever the prowlers were, they thought better of breaking in when Soup’s ugly face appeared at the window. Then came that fateful early morning of September 9, 1935, when just before dawn Sylvan Lake was aroused first of all by the frantic barking of Soup. The garage was afire, set ablaze by the burning building next door. Willing hands opened the office door and started to move the stock after Soup was first dragged away by one of the partners. He was released and immediately a black streak was seen to bound back through the door. He defied every attempt to remove him until Jack went in again to drag him out. Again he broke away after a frenzied struggle and again he was dragged outside by brute force, his rescuer cursing him for his “stubborn stupidity”. The fire was gutting the office when Soup broke away for the last time, and because the lights outside were rendered useless as the fire destroyed the connections, he was not seen to dash into the burning building for the third time.
Felt He Could Lick Fire Not knowing fear, he felt instinctively he could lick the fire. He was glimpsed momentarily through the flames. The heat scorched him; he wouldn’t budge. The flames licked around him; he snapped at them. The fire surrounded him; he stood defiantly with head raised tensely forward — not a whimper as the flaming heat sapped his life away. On his feet to the very last; finally he was beaten — for the first time in his life. He fell. His shriveled body — one-third its normal size — was found on the spot he had guarded so long. The concrete floor was broken and he was buried there. There he rests and a new garage is going up over him with perhaps another guardian to take his place, but there will never be another Soup. In the spare parts room of the new garage will be something not usually included in the adjustment of a modern service station. On the right wall in the corner where Soup spent his watching hours, a simple brass plate will be attached, bearing the inscription: In Memory of “SOUP” Burnt to Death, Sept. 9th, 1935. est. 1994 “A REAL DOG”
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Editor’s Note: Lakeview Garage and the Elks’ Hall, otherwise known as the Oriental Gardens, both large structures on a very prominent corner, were completely demolished by fire which started in the Elks’ Hall. It was first noticed about 3:30 a.m. September 9, 1935.
Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
Volunteers spearheaded creation of W. I. Pier
Faithful workers of the Women’s Institute (W.I.) were the main backbone of a committee which brought about construction of a new dock at the lake. It was officially opened in July 1928 by Hon. R. B. Bennett, K.C., leader of the Conservative party. They “were favored with a charming afternoon … and a large crowd of visitors, at the opening of the dock. Hon. R. B. Bennett, K.C., leader of the Conservative party, motored from Calgary with Dr. McNabb, who owns Rusticana, one of the finest cottages on the lakefront, and right near the dock. Mr. Bennett was the speaker of the day and opened the dock in impressive style,” said a report in the Red Deer Advocate. Following a luncheon at the Dingwall Hotel, “the ladies of the W.I. marched to the lakeshore for the proceedings of the afternoon. The ceremonies in front of the rustic arch which forms the opening of the new dock, began at 4:35, with Mr. Steele acting as master of ceremonies. “The new dock erected by the co-operative efforts of the ladies of the W.I. he (Bennett) characterized as a very fine piece of public service,” said the report. The opening was followed by an afternoon of water sports. It appears they took the dock in for winter as the following spring a committee was appointed to have it put out by June 15. Then in the fall of 1929, Sylvan Lake W.I. asked for aid from the government to protect their dock during winter months “as this is a very heavy expense to be borne yearly by the local W.I.”
By late 1935 tenders were called for a federal works project to construct a new breakwater which would be 400 feet long and 13 feet six inches wide on top inside of the crib timber. “There will be a one-to-one slope on the lake side, and it will be connected with the shore by an approach consisting of a pile section 500 feet long and 14 feet wide to the outside of the crib timbers. The piling will consist either of tamarac, fir, cedar or pine, to be not less than 11 inches at the butt and 7 inches at the top. The crib work portion of the work below the water level will be constructed in separate cribs not less than 50 feet in length. There will be some 119,800 f.b.m. of sawn timbers, 2,900 cubic yards of rock ballast, 16,760 lineal feet of ballast poles, 21,530 lineal feet of round logs; 2,340 lineal feet of piling and more than 18,000 pounds of iron, in the project. Materials for the project began arriving and construction started August 10, 1938. A month later “the last crib was floated out to the end of the breakwater and moored. “Rock ballast filling continues.” By November, light fixtures were secured to the standards and work was complete. The deck consisted of three inch Douglas fir. A report in the June 1, 1939 edition stated “the cross wharf between the government and W.I. piers was put in place this week by the village works department. “Sylvan Lake’s new pier and breakwater … is an outstanding addition to this lovely holiday resort,” enthused a writer in July 1939. “On a line with the east side of Main street, the pier extends into the water 500 feet. Here rock filled cribbing projects the structure into the water another 100 feet, at which point the cribbing is continued in an easterly direction (approximately parallel to the shore) 400 feet. The shelter provided by
the breakwater makes an ideal area for all kinds of aquatic events.” “The W.I. Pier was put to good use by countless thousands of sightseers of all ages, swimmers, sunbathers, canoeists, boaters, fishermen and seagulls for an enjoyable 25 years. By 1953 foot traffic and the elements had taken their toll; the pier was no longer considered safe; the structure was dismantled,” states Reflections of Sylvan Lake. But the W.I. Pier wasn’t the only one at Sylvan Lake. The federal government erected and maintained a pier at the foot of 50th Street. “In the past, the federal government had constructed and repaired the main pier on Sylvan Lake and the town had leased it from them for a nominal fee,” states Reflections of Sylvan Lake. “In 1958, Quam Construction of Red Deer and Sylvan Lake was awarded the contract by the federal government to rebuild the pier only to find that 60 feet of it was so badly damaged by the ice break-up in April 1959 that they had to turn around and rebuild that portion. That seemed to be the story of the piers for, by 1968, the main government pier was the only one left and, by 1971, it was in such a state of disrepair that the federal government declined to renew the lease, asking instead that the town council negotiate for the pier’s removal. Accordingly, Sylvan Lake town council was able to negotiate the construction of the landfill pier with both the federal and provincial governments bearing the costs.” It was completed in 1973 at a cost of $150,000.
e r a e W
R. B. Bennett, then leader of the Conservative party, opened the Women’s Institute Pier on July 12, 1928 in front of a large crowd of people. Photo courtesy Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society
e c i d u J
r Sylvan’s 100t
by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News
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B26 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
Cenotaph honours service by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News
Anna Pope Jaminette, who wrote the series In Earlier Years mentioned on page B15, is shown in front of her home, the Ozarks, circa 1960. Photo courtesy Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society
! s r a e Y 100
Congratulations on this great milestone Sylvan Lake! We’re proud to be part of such a Ɲourishing community!
Plans for a cenotaph in Sylvan Lake were originally discussed in April 1934 when about 35 local veterans celebrated Vimy by a get-together at the Elks’ Hall. “Padre Stevens and a committee will shortly interest themselves in erecting a cenotaph in town at some suitable location. The committee includes Comrades Streatfield, Appleton, Palmer, Daly, Weston and Nasmyth.” Capt. J. F. D. Tanqueray, D.F.C., designed the cenotaph. He and his wife moved to Sylvan Lake in July 1934 from Edmonton where he was a town planner. He left for England in April 1938 and was killed on March 21, 1940 while on flying service with the Royal Air Force, becoming Sylvan Lake’s first World War II casualty. It was constructed by a Serb stonemason, Tony Krisman, of native stone, and financed exclusively by the veterans themselves. Jack Tooley and Jack Murdoch laid the footings and other members of Sylvan Lake Veterans Club helped with concrete and other work. Proceeds from the Sylvan Lake Vets annual ball at the Pavilion on Tuesday, November 13, 1934 went to aid the cenotaph. Silver Tone Orchestra played. Gents 50¢, ladies 25¢, including lunch. The cenotaph was unveiled by Major-General Griesbach, of Edmonton, in July 1935. A guard of honour, composed of 60 veterans of Sylvan Lake and Red Deer districts, surrounded the monument, and prior to the unveiling were inspected by the General, assisted by Lieut.-Col. Lister of Red Deer. The guard of honour was commanded by Col. Nasmyth of Sylvan Lake and Mr. A. T. Streatfield acted as parade marshall. The parade also included the I.O.D.E., the Boy Scouts, the C.G.I.T., and the Explorers, all prettily uniformed. The four sentries in full uniform were supplied by the 78th Battery of Red Deer, with Sergeant Major Dale in charge. The service was conducted by Major Cripps, of Red Deer, assisted by Rev. R. S. Stevens of Sylvan Lake. “The cenotaph stands in what is to be known as Memorial Park, directly facing the Memorial Church, which was built in 1922. The duties of the
trumpeter were carried out for the day by Mr. Charles Palmer, and the duties of the drummer by Mr. J. J. Dow.” Veterans of the First World War residing at the Lake at the time were: Lt. Col. (Dr.) W. W. Nasmyth, Bert Streatfield, Robt. Speedie, Charlie Palmer, Jack Tooley, Fred Appleton, Eustes Kingsep, Ed Garnett, B. C. Learned, Charlie Reed, Jack White, Victor Pastobak, Bill Pass, Charlie Weston, A. K. Hicks, Will D. MacKay, Henry Chambon, B. M. Bigam, W. A. Biss, Jake Spinks, L. M. Colpitts, Dewey Castleman, George Daley, P. Duffield, Sid deBarathy, R. DePauw, Frank Bloom, Jack Edwards, Glen Eisenhauer, C. A. Harrison, S. Jergenson, A. J. Lewis, A. S. McClean, R. L. Stevens, E. C. Watkiss, D. Wyatt, Louis Johnson, Robt Hill. Lt. Col. William Wylie Nasmyth served with distinction in the South African campaign, going there as Captain with the Second Canadian Contingent. In the World War he served in the 10th Battalion, holding the rank of Major, and was wounded at St. Julien. Later he returned to Canada and raised the 89th Battalion which he took overseas early in 1916. On returning to Canada he resumed his practice at Janetville and later came west to Youngstown. In 1924 he came to Sylvan Lake where he resided until his death Sept. 6, 1941. A plaque was added to the cenotaph in November 1966 which states, “We remember our Korean Veterans 1950-1953 and the Peacekeepers. Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 212, 1996.” The cenotaph was rededicated in July 1, 2000 A picture in the June 7, 2000, Sylvan Lake News showed Loiselle Chapter of the IODE members Lorna Merkley, Anna Orsten, Shauna Schlahs, Barb Watson and Katie Orsten, 9, busy filling a flower garden in the Cenotaph Park. Flower gardens have been planted by Sylvan Lake Chapter of the IODE, as well. The flowers planted by both Chapters were donated by Sheila Davidson from Sylvan Flower Farm. Sylvan Lake Legion, Town of Sylvan Lake and Memorial Presbyterian Church are working together to beautify the park and make the cenotaph more visible. Another plaque has been prepared and will be mounted as soon as weather permits in 2013. It remembers Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2012.
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The cenotaph in Memorial Park was unveiled by Major-General Griesbach, of Edmonton, in July 1935. It was financed exclusively by veterans living in the community at the time, through a series of fundraising initiatives. Sylvan Lake News photo
Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
Longtime residents share fond Sylvan Lake memories by Stuart Fullarton Sylvan Lake News
job.” Yoos and Mannix remember plenty of Sylvan Lake “characters” from the past, as well as the many people who have helped shape the town. Two people in particular — Gerry and Helen Fisher — stand out for both Yoos and Mannix as being outstanding community members. The Fisher family bought Cobb’s store in the early 1940s, and quickly became well known residents of Sylvan Lake. “We have never had finer business people in our town than Gerry and Helen Fisher,” said Mannix, adding that their store acted as the heart of Sylvan Lake for a large number of years. “They were just community people that were second to none.” Helen Fisher, as a registered nurse, “acted as a grandmother” to many people in town, said Mannix. She frequently tended to ill people and was, for several years, the closest thing the town had to a doctor. “This was not a job, this was not a position,” said Mannix. “She was just that kind of person.” Mannix and Yoos said Gerry Fisher was often lenient toward those who entered his store and could not afford to pay full prices. “They would just pay anything on it,” said Mannix. “(The Fishers) were just the finest people that you could ever have in town.”
Sylvan Lake residents John Yoos and Dale Mannix have plenty of fond memories of living in the community. Given the time they’ve both spent in it, it’s not hard to see why. Mannix moved to Sylvan Lake in 1942, while Yoos arrived several years later in 1956. The two have been friends ever since, and with the exception of a short spell Mannix spent living in Benalto, have not lived anywhere else. They are two of a small number of Sylvan Lake residents who have spent a large part of the past century living in the town, and together reminisce about old acquaintances, as well as many changes they’ve witnessed taking place over the years. “This fellow here is a walking encyclopedia,” said Yoos, referring to Mannix and his expansive knowledge of Sylvan Lake. Yoos expressed his belief that Mannix has lived in Sylvan Lake longer than any other person in the town, but Mannix feels there are others who arrived before him that also still live here. “There’s not very many left,” he admitted. Now retired, both Yoos and Mannix enjoyed long, illustrious careers in Sylvan Lake. Yoos spent more than 37 years as minister of Memorial Presbyterian Church, until his retirement in 1993. Mannix spent time working at Sylvan Lake Creamery in the early 1950s, and following stints at several other jobs, operated a wholesale milk distributorship. Throughout the years, the pair has remained close, and Yoos even officiated at Mannix’s wedding. “I was working in the old creamery and John was coming in from over at the Presbyterian camp to pick milk up to take back to the camp,” recalled Mannix, describing how he and Yoos met. In 1957 — one year after they met — they started the local Cubs organization. Since then, they’ve both been heavily involved with a number of Conveniently other community organilocated in the zations. “I’ve been involved in the community wherever I could be,” said Yoos. “It’s been a tremendous ride for myself, and I’ve built tremendous friendships in the town.” Yoos was recognized for his contributions to the community when he received the town’s first Citizen of the Year award. It is something he said he “treasures very, very highly”. Mannix said he feels Sylvan Lake is fortunate to have had so many volunteers in the past. “Sylvan Lake has got a “from the staff and management of Sylvan “ heck of a volunteer base,” Lake Pharmacy & Sylvan Medical Center” he said. “I don’t know five per cent of the people that OPEN: MONDAY TO FRIDAY 9 AM - 6 PM, SATURDAY 10 AM - 2 PM volunteer any more, but (SUMMER HOURS MAY VARY) there’s a lot of them, and 403.864.0688 4 40 3.8 5007 - 46 STREET SYLVAN LAKE they do a tremendous
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Yoos agreed. “They were super,” he said. Yoos and Mannix have seen plenty of physical changes taking place in Sylvan Lake over the years, and have fond memories of the town’s sandy beach, bustling main street, and late-night shopping on Saturdays. Together with their wives, they will take part in the Parade of the Century on June 15, to celebrate the town’s centennial, as well as their own time spent in Sylvan Lake. “The friendships established over the years have been interwoven into much of the community, and I mean really interwoven into it in every way,” said Yoos. “That’s what’s kept me here. I’ve really enjoyed it.”
100 years and going strong!
CONGRATULATIONS SYLVAN LAKE • • • • • •
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B28 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
Fascination with ice leaving the lake dates back many years by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News
It seems that ever since people moved to Sylvan Lake, there’s been a fascination with the ice and its disappearance. Melting snow and warm sunshine bathes Sylvan Lake every spring and people long for the beginning of the summer tourist season. That’s signalled partially by the state of the ice. In fact, the date, and in some cases the time, has been the subject of many derbys, pools, and bets over the years. Sylvan Lake News began publishing in October, 1935 and beginning with the 1936 season reported the date the ice left for quite a few years. Walter Jamieson was winner of the sweep, for being the only correct guess at to when the ice would go out in 1938, reported the newspaper. The first reference we could find of an organization running a pool was in 1944 — “Become an associate member of Sylvan Lake Service Club and estimate when the ice will go out of the lake — you may win a $10 War Saving Certificate.” That year the ice went out of the lake on Saturday, April 29 at 2:39 p.m. Wally Koots’ estimate was only 10 minutes off the mark and he won. In 1946 the ice went out at 12:35 Friday afternoon, April 26 as timed by
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Charlie Donaldson. Gus Woltti had the closest guess. Some years though the timers had a more difficult job. Elma Davies of Bentley had the closest guess in 1949 when she estimated 3:45 a.m. Saturday, May 7. Time was officially placed at 3:00 a.m. “This is the first time, to our knowledge, that the ice has disappeared overnight,” stated the News. The next reference to an Ice Derby connected with an organization was in 1950 when Lee King won $25 in the Sylvan Lake Curling Club’s derby. Then in 1951 there were two derbys, one organized by the curlers and the other by Sylvan Lake Legion. A unique concept was used to set the time in 1954 when “the committee in charge of the curling club ice derby set the time at 3 a.m. averaging the times the ice was last seen on the evening of the 23rd (May) and the first observation on the morning of the 24th.” The following year the Boys Scouts’ ice derby was won by Robert Pickering. Then in 1961, the News, in its May 11 issue reported, “the ice has gone from Sylvan Lake after another winter, although we do not know the exact time, as no pool was run on the event this year.” The Legion was back into sponsoring the ice derby in 1967 when B. C. Learned and Paul Dolling, Legion president, toured the lake to determine the ice disappeared at 1:25 p.m. May 28. By 1973 the first prize in the Legion derby was $30 and a second prize was awarded. That’s the last reference we could find until 2010 when the News again began reporting this item of interest. In other cases the dates aren’t specific. For instance the April 30, 1926 Red Deer Advocate reported “the ice is off Sylvan Lake, this being ten days earlier than usual.” Then two years later, the Advocate reported in its May 17 edition that “the ice is gone, almost a week in advance of its usual disappearance.” Of course, wildlife was also an interest for local folks. “Between four and five hundred mallard ducks are wintering at Sylvan Lake — some say a thousand,” said a February 1931 report. “They have kept a small body of water open and have been feeding on the stubble fields. One duck was shot and found to be quite thin. The Sylvan Lake people got in touch with Mr. Benj. Lawton, provincial game guardian, who came down on Thursday and made arrangements to have them fed.” That winter was described as mild with an absence of snow. A dust storm in March was “one of the most severe which has swept the province in years … the roads and fields were very dry, and the dust swept in clouds before the wind and cut off sunlight and brought darkness in the late afternoon.” Then there were the “way back in …” tales. An April 30, 1941 story talked about an “oldtimer who, 39 years ago was ‘bit’ by a mosquito on April 3, and in that year there was an early spring. This year he was bitten by a mosquito on April 5 — so the ice going out early and the warm weather now experienced was to be expected.” That year the ice went out on April 20. At one point in our history, ice was harvested in the middle of winter to keep things cold through the long hot summer. “The ice harvest is about over,” proclaimed a March 20, 1918 issue of Red Deer News. “Mr. L. Loiselle and his crew of men have put up quite a lot of it. “Messrs. Marshall and Rolston have had about 20 tons of ice put up for the express purpose of trying to keep cool next summer, providing it gets warmer than it has been this winter, and we expect it will.” Then in 1926 a Calgary ice company was to start operations in February to ship 200 carloads of ice from the lake to Calgary via CPR, reported Sylvan Lake World. “It is expected that about 20 men and about 14 teams will be engaged for a couple of weeks.” We’ve compiled the accompanying chart from information in back issues of Sylvan Lake News, Sylvan Lake World, Red Deer Advocate and Red Deer News. Susan Samson supplied records from 1992 to 2012. In recent years Sylvan Lake News has again begun publishing information and have consulted Cynthia and Pierre Giguere of Sylvan Cruises for the official date ice disappears.
When the ice was gone 1920 . . .. . .. May 30 1930 . . .. . April 29 1934 . . .. . April 26 1935 . . .. . .. . .. . .. ? 1936 . . .. . .. May 12 1937 . . .. . .. . May 7 1938 . . .. . .. May 16 1939 . . .. . .. . May 1 1940 . . .. . .. . May 9 1941 . . .. . April 20 1942 . . .. . .. . May 7 1943 . . .. . .. . May 5 1944 . . .. . April 29 1945 . . .. . .. May 13 1946 . . .. . April 26 1947 . . .. . .. . May 6 1948 . . .. . .. May 18 1949 . . .. . .. . May 7 1950 . . .. . .. May 17 1951 . . .. . .. May 11 1952 . . .. . .. . May 1 1953 . . .. . .. May 16 1954 . . .. . .. May 24 1955 . . .. . .. May 23 1956 . . .. . .. May 21 1957 . . .. . .. . May 9 1958 . . .. . .. . May 5 1959 . . .. . .. May 13 1960 . . .. . .. . .. . . ?? 1961 . . .. . .. . May 2 1962 . . .. . .. . .. . . ?? 1963 . . .. . .. . .. . . ?? 1964 . . .. . .. May 11 1965 . . .. . .. May 11 1966 . . .. . .. . .. . .. ?? 1967 . . .. . .. May 28 1968 . . .. . .. May 12 1969-72 . .. . .. . . ?? 1973 . . .. . .. May 12 1974-1991 . . .. . . ?? 1992 . . .. . April 25 1993 . . .. . .. . May 5 1994 . . .. . April 21 1995 . . .. . .. . May 9 1996 . . .. . .. . May 5 1997 . . .. . .. . May 6 1998 . . .. . April 29 1999 . . .. . April 28 2000 . . .. . .. . May 1 2001 . . .. . .. . May 1 2002 . . .. . .. May 24 2003 . . .. . .. . May 2 2004 . . .. . .. . May 1 2005 . . .. . April 27 2006 . . .. . April 25 2007 . . .. . .. . May 4 2008 . . .. . .. May 18 2009 . . .. . .. May 16 2010 . . .. . April 22 2011 . . .. . .. May 12 2012 . . .. . .. . May 8 2013 . . .. . .. May 11 Sources: 1992 to 2012 provided by Susan Samson. Previous dates from back issues of Sylvan Lake News, Red Deer Advocate, Red Deer News and Sylvan Lake World.
Ice caused serious damage to breakwater and piers in many years by Steve Dills Sylvan Lake News
Researching the phenomena of break-up we encountered tales of destruction from the earliest days. “The ice on Sylvan Lake broke up on Saturday, April 26th, without any warning, and the wind blowing from the north caused it to pile up at once, causing a great deal of destruction,” reported the Red Deer News of 1913. “Messrs. Greene & Payne’s boat house was lifted off the piles and driven onto the shore, becoming a total wreck.” Faithful workers of the Women’s Institute (W.I.) were the main backbone of a committee which brought about construction of a new dock at the lake which was opened in July 1928. It became known as the W.I. Pier and apparently was pulled out at the end of the season. Councillor Untinen was appointed as a committee of council to have the docks and piers at the lakefront protected
from the breaking of the ice,” in April 1931. A federal government project saw a pier and breakwater constructed in the fall of 1938 and there was a cross wharf between the government and W.I. piers installed in spring 1939. “Ice in the lake commenced to move Sunday and as the result of a small shove piled a fair quantity on the breakwater,” according to a May 1, 1940 report in Sylvan Lake News. “About noon on Monday a stiff breeze from the north started another shove and piled tons of ice on the structure.” This happened again in 1947 when it was “almost ten feet” high. Then a May 1951 report indicates “ice sheared the heavy timbers of a portion of the pier and breakwater, wrecking most of the north-south section between the W.I. cross pier and the eastwest breakwater. Huge chunks of ice over 24 inches thick are piled on the breakwater almost as high as the light standards.” And again and again. “Hopes that the design of the
new breakwater at Sylvan Lake would prove adequate to withstand ice pressure during the spring break-p have been dashed this week as a slight ice movement has badly twisted the end of the structure,” — May 1, 1958. “Early last Friday, April 24th, ice movement in the lake caused serious damage to the breakwater … the outer two-thirds of the breakwater was caught by ice moving towards the shore and was pushed about four feet off its base. Due to the low level of water in the lake, the ice was able to exert a lifting pressure against the cribbing and to raise the breakwater.” — April 30, 1964 (By no means are these all the references as our research continues - sd.) The current landfill pier was constructed in 1973 at a cost of $150,000. “Jutting 500 feet out into the waters of the lake, it is fully large enough to handle a Grey Cup contest, playing field end zones and all,” according to Reflections of Sylvan Lake. “It is 200 feet wide at the wet end and 320 feet wide at the shore end.”
Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
Happy 100th Birthday Sylvan Lake! CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR
100th Anniversary! -TOWN OF ECKVILLE
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A historical marker on the west wall of Sylvan Lake Hotel, in 1995, showed a depiction in ceramics of the dance halls of the mid 1900s at Sylvan Lake. Photo courtesy Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society
B30 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
This ad for the Sylvan Lake Regatta appeared in the July 29, 1926 edition of the Red Deer Advocate.
Sylvan Lake News has been reporting on community since 1935
Thursday, May 30, 2013 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS
business under the business name Parkland Publishing. At the time of the purchase he’d just established a printing business in Rocky Mountain House.
New publishers Jack and Olive Parry Three years later, Keith sold the Sylvan Lake News to Jack and Olive Parry of Parry Publications Ltd., who also published the Rimbey Record and Eckville Examiner. They started publishing the Red Deer County News from the Sylvan Lake News office during their ownership. The paper was published by the News for 25 years, until 1997. Jack Parry served for 15 years as treasurer of the AWNA and was president in 1960-61. He also served as president of the Canadian Community Newspapers Association (CCNA) in 1971-72. In 1986 he was presented with AWNA’s prestigious Bill Draayer Award for his service to the industry. The Parry’s sold the paper to another experienced newsman, Gary McDonald in November 1980. McDonald had been editor of the Stony Plain Reporter and prior to purchasing the paper was publisher of the Drayton Valley Western Review, both newspapers which were owned by Howard Bowes through his Lynard Publishers group. During his tenure at the News, McDonald served on the AWNA board, taking over as president in 1985-86.
by Steve Dills News sold to Monte Keith Sylvan Lake News Warren Dunford sold the paper in July 1966 to Monte A pioneer printer and newspaper publisher, Charles L. Keith, another veteran newspaper publisher. Dunford, started the Sylvan Lake News in the midst of the Announcing the sale, Dunford wrote, “After being in the hungry ’30s (October 1935 to be exact) and continued as its printing and publishing business at Sylvan Lake for 20 years, publisher for almost 30 years, until his death in March, 1964, and having lived here, except for one break, for nearly 31 years, at the age of 79. The plant was initially located in the Hazelwood building it seems unreal that I will be leaving with my family shortly to take up residence in Stettler. on Main. St. “This has been a sudden change after many years in one In 1955, Dunford was quoted in a history of Alberta newspapers as saying, “While the paper is not a large one, there is a occupation in the same town. However the opening at Stettler good turnover of job work”. In the previous few years he’d been and the sale of the business all transpired in a little over one Hibbert bought paper from McDonald able to bring the plant up to good standards, installing a week.” Barry Hibbert purchased the paper from McDonald in Dunford took on the position of town manager in Stettler. Linotype and a Whitlock cylinder press to facilitate printing 1993, after a three year term as AWNA’s marketing director. While in Sylvan Lake he’ d served as mayor from 1960-1966. the publication. The plant also included a power saw, caster Keith started in the printing business at the Sylvan Lake Then in 1997 he started the Rimbey Review and Eckville Echo. and other equipment. The Review was sold to Black Press Ltd. in 2004. Dunford was joined by his son, C. Warren Dunford, as a News while in high school. He then spent four years in oil Hibbert served the industry, joining the Alberta Weekly industry work before returning to the Rimbey Record to conpartner and co-publisher in April 1946. Warren had previously taken a two year municipal administration course at the tinue in the printing trade. He then worked at the Stettler Newspapers Association board of directors in 1995 and University of Alberta and then worked as a toolmaker for the Independent for two years before buying the Castor Advance, becoming president in 1998-99. Then he was one of three Alberta directors on the CCNA board of directors from 2000 C.P.R. in Calgary from 1941-46. He was in the Calgary Tank which he published for eight years. He operated the Sylvan Lake News and its job printing Reserve for three years during that time. Continued on page 32 Dunford Sr. was born in 1884 at Newcastle-onTyne, England and came to Canada in 1905. He entered the printing and publishing field with Alex Holmes at Alsask, Sask. and in 1914 moved to Oyen where he started the Oyen News. In 1915 he joined the Canadian Army and went overseas with the 187th Battalion, later transferring to the 50th. On his return to Canada in 1919 he resumed his publishing business in Oyen where he continued until moving to Sylvan Lake. While in Sylvan Lake, Dunford served as a MLS#0012759 – Summer Village MLS#0014014 - Summer Village of director of the Alberta of Sunbreaker Cove Norglenwold Weekly Newspapers Association (AWNA), was secretary of the Board of Managers of With his horse drawn carriage and blocks of ice, Memorial Presbyterian JW Sobey delivered fresh meat to homes and Church, and was active on the Soldiers Christmas businesses in Stellerton, Nova Scotia in 1907. Cheer Committee during Sobeys salutes the pioneers who courageously World War II. On his death, he was grew our country. survived by his wife, Gladys Frances and two sons, Warren, his busiMLS#0011662 – Summer Village MLS#0011169 – Summer Village ness partner, and Brian, of Half Moon Bay of Birchcliff an associate professor of chemistry at the For more info on these properties and to view University of Alberta. The newspaper’s ALL of the properties available around the lake name was changed to visit our website at include ‘Parkland Review’ in 1960 and conWWW.WILLARDMORRIS.COM today! tinued as The Parkland Review and Sylvan Lake News until September 1966 when it again became the Sylvan Lake News. real estate central alberta 403-318-4547 900, 3715 - 47 Avenue | Sylvan Lake
Sylvan Lake has seen many changes over the past 100 years but the desire for a getaway at the lake never changes!
Happy 100 Birthday th
TO ALL THE CITIZENS & BUSINESSES OF SYLVAN LAKE!
B32 SYLVAN LAKE NEWS Thursday, May 30, 2013
Sylvan Lake News cont from page 31... to 2003. He also served on the AdWest board (a marketing organization of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba papers) as an AWNA representative and was president at the time of his retirement. Another former AWNA president (1988-89) and Bill Draayer Award recipient (1996), Steve Dills, currently serves as editor of the Sylvan Lake News. A third generation newsman, he’s been publisher and editor of various papers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia since 1979. The News has grown with the community. In 1935, when it was started the village had a population of several hundred. Sylvan Lake became a town in 1946 and when Dunford sold the paper in 1966 the population was 1,410. By 1980 the population was 3,650 and when Hibbert purchased the paper it had grown to 4,097. Today Sylvan Lake’s population is close to 13,000. Sylvan Lake was served by several other newspapers during its early years, prior to establishment of the Sylvan Lake News.
First Sylvan paper was bilingual According to Alberta Newspapers, 1880-1982, compiled by Gloria Strathern, the Sylvan Lake Times was published in 1913 and 1914 by Sylvan Lake Trading Company. It was unique in the annals of Alberta journalism, inasmuch as it was bilingual, being printed partly in French and partly in English. The editor, R. Archambault, had had some newspaper experience on the Paris Times and was married to the daughter of a well-known Paris architect. He was a justice of the peace and had been in partnership with a brother, in a Sylvan Lake general store business. A copy of the paper dated April 1, 1913, donated by Mrs. William Reid, a granddaughter of Alexander Loiselle, was brought in by Mrs. E. Kinna to the meeting of the Red Deer Archives Committee on January 1967, reported the Red Deer Advocate. That copy still exists and we’ve been able to obtain a scan of its pages. From 1922 to 1926 the community was served by Sylvan Lake World. Chester E. Moffet and K. A. Stockwell were listed as publisher and editor in 1922. From October 1922 to April 1925 Will D. MacKay was the lessee and then from 1925 to 1926 W. M. C. Thomas was associated with the paper. The Advocate reported in its June 17, 1926 issue that “The Sylvan Lake
Centennial Edition World, after a checkered career of about four years, passed out on June 1 and ceased publication. Mr. M. C. Thoms, recent manager, has become a member of the recently formed Charleston Amusement Company with headquarters at Sylvan Lake. Shortly after he moved to Calgary. Another reference to the World stated “fire gutted the plant and it was closed”. This was printed in January 1960 in connection with the death of Chester Moffet.
Sylvan Lake Camper operated by Advocate “Last Thursday, the Sylvan Lake Camper, little sister of the Red Deer Advocate, went to rest until the season of 1932 opens,” noted the Advocate in its Aug. 27, 1931 edition. There are other references to this paper in 1934. The Advertiser was published by Ernest C. Fletcher and David C. Peterson and printed by the Red Deer Optimist in the summers of 1932 and 1933. Then in February 1935, the Advocate’s Sylvan Lake correspondent reported “Messrs. F. L.
Stackhouse and G. Benedict are the gentlemen who have started the Banner Advertiser here. At present it is a twice-a-week. The Loken house in the east end is the publication spot.”
Black Press Group new owners Sylvan Lake News, Eckville Echo and Discover Sylvan Lake were sold to Black Press Group Ltd. based in Victoria, B.C., effective June 20, 2011. Hibbert remained as publisher until Dec. 2011. With 14 community and specialty newspapers in Alberta, Black Press (www.blackpress.ca) publishes over 170 titles throughout British Columbia, Alberta, and Washington state as well as the Honolulu (Hawaii) Star-Advertiser, Akron (Ohio) Beacon-Journal and San Francisco (Calif.) Examiner daily newspapers. Michele Rosenthal was appointed publisher of the papers on Nov. 28, 2011. She’s also publisher of Rimbey Review and has been with Black Press for six years, beginning in sales in Rimbey and progressing to general manager and then publisher. Hibbert retired and moved to St. Albert.
SYLVAN LAKE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE…
...the voice of business in Sylvan Lake since 1924. Proudly participating in the 100th Centennial Celebrations!
Join us June 14th at the MultiPlex for a casual evening of catching up with old friends & new. Many artifacts to view, entertainers, Chili cookoff, childrens centennial project and beer garden. email@example.com
The Sylvan Lake World began publishing September 19, 1922. Copies of the newspaper are available for viewing on the website Our Future Our Past.