Category Archives: Heritage Events

Celebrating Our Exhibitions, Fairs & Rodeo Roots

Even though the Calgary Stampede, Edmonton’s Klondike Days and Winnipeg’s Red River Ex have ended for the year, it is the season for stampede and exhibition-style competition and fun. On the horizon is Regina Buffalo Days (July 30-Aug 3), but countless stampedes, rodeos and summer fairs draw crowds until fall. Of course, those are followed by other equally great community events.

In my mind, it is a season to thank and celebrate competitors, volunteers and others who make these events happen. Not surprisingly, I plan to do it with books and writing. My book, Awed, Amused and Alarmed is based on the history of fairs, rodeos and exhibitions. In fact, I always considered such events as some of the most important popular culture highlights in the West. Today’s events are fascinating to the crowds and rewarding to competitors. But it takes hard work to make them happen.


Need gifts? Get two for the price of one.

So, this is my way of saying thanks. For anyone who helps organize such events, competes in them or works with the dozens of volunteers needed for success, I am offering a special price for Awed, Amused and Alarmed. Go to my website and purchase one copy, and I’ll mail you an extra for the same price. The concept is similar to Buy 1, Get 1 Free; or Two for the Price of One. You can request as many as you wish, but order a specific number, and I’ll add your free copies to the package (eg. order 2, I’ll send 4, but you will pay for 2). I will even cover any extra shipping due to the added weight.

My special applies only to Awed, Amused & Alarmed, and you have to order through my website and pay with Paypal. The only other option is to email me with your order, and we will discuss payment and delivery. As well, this special ends October 1. Obviously, trust is important. I trust that you are buying them for organizers, participants and volunteers involved in our wonderful community events. And, when you place your order for the books on my website and pay with Paypal, you have to trust that I=ll mail you the number that you ordered plus the extra books. You can order other titles at the same time, but you will receive extra copies only for Awed, Amused & Alarmed.

It’s important to say thanks and to share the fascinating history of our events. Come back next week, and you will see an excerpt from the book, both for your enjoyment and to encourage you to say thanks and share out history.

Searching for Centennials

Apologies for being a day late with my post, but here I am. Every year communities celebrate birthdays, and with the beginning of a new year,  I am interested in which communities will be celebrating in 2012. Many communities plan special events to celebrate 25, 50 or 75 years as a village, town or city. Of course, the most impressive celebrations are often village centennials since village status follows closely on the arrival of early settlers to the area. Nevertheless, each community decides which anniversary to acknowledge.

Surprisingly, selecting an exact anniversary date is complicated by the fact that the Proclamation Order in Council precedes the Effective Date. Also, the Authority Date can be a few days later than the Effective Date. Sometimes all are synonymous, but if the Proclamation Order is in December and the Effective Date is January of the next year, which do you celebrate?

Despite such confusing details, I think the Effective Date is the one to celebrate. So, I searched for clear and accessible databases that indicate origins of communities in western Canada. Finding those dates was far more difficult than I had expected. True, any researcher can list every community in a province and then research the history of each community, but our lives might be too short to finish the task.

As an Albertan, I am most aware of the websites in my home province, so I was most successful with them. In fact, I happened on, a great website from Alberta Libraries. The on-line expert had been asked where to find a list of Alberta communities celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2012. The Sherwood Park librarian who responded acknowledged the difficulties in finding answers but suggested So, I checked it out.

The information is there, but unfortunately, you must access the profile for every village, town or city to discover the anniversary dates. Although I didn’t research every community, the following ones may be celebrating centennials: Coronation: village, December 16, 1911; town, April 29, 1912; Consort: village, Sept 23, 1912; Hanna: village, December 31, 1912; town, April 14, 1914; Redcliff: village, Oct 29, 1910; town, August 5, 1912; Three Hills: village, June 14, 1912; town, January 1, 1929.; Vulcan: village, December 23, 1912; town, Jan 1, 1921.

Also, I was interested in centennial celebrations in the other western provinces, but for me, the research seemed even more labour intensive. In beautiful BC, Esquimalt was incorporated on September 1, 1912, and Port Alberni became a town in 1912. Ocean Falls was established that same year, and undoubtedly, many other communities were designated as villages, towns or cities in BC that year. In Saskatchewan, Assiniboia, which traces its beginnings to October 12, 1912 when the Canadian Pacific Railway offered lots for sale, became a village December 22, 1912. I suspect that countless other BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta communities should be on the list.

But surely there is a less time-consuming method of finding the dates of incorporation for western Canadian communities. So, I leave all you history buffs with a question. “Where is the information presented in a chart or accessible database which does not require researching the history of each community?” If you know where to find that information, please share it. And if no such database exists, perhaps individuals or organizations will accept the challenge of creating one.