Gathering at Victoria Settlement

Students at Victoria School, circa 1910: Left to right Frank Whitford, Fred Kuzemsky, unidentified, Wasyl Kotyk, Wayne Kozub or Esepenko, teacher Mr. Rowbottom, Demetrius Ponich, Metro Starchuk, David Thompson, Elena Brucenorsky, Wasyl Brucenorsky [in doorway] and two unidentified at far right (Photo: Rev. D.M. Ponich Collection, Alberta Culture and Tourism).
Students at Victoria School, circa 1910: Left to right Frank Whitford, Fred Kuzemsky, unidentified, Wasyl Kotyk, Wayne Kozub or Esopenko, teacher Mr. Rowbottom, Demetrius Ponich, Metro Starchuk, David Thompson, Elena Brusanowsky, Wasyl Brusanowsky [in doorway] and three unidentified at far right (Photo: Rev. D.M. Ponich Collection, Alberta Culture and Tourism).
Descendants of settlers from Alberta’s historic Victoria Settlement district, and enthusiasts of Alberta’s history generally, are invited to take part in a special gathering and genealogical symposium on the 6th of August 2016 at the Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Site.

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

Gathering at Victoria Settlement

Saturday, August 6, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                      great-granddaughter of Rev. George McDougall.

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

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

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

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

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

                                      and Editor of Clandigger.

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

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

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

5:00                              Victoria Settlement Historic Site closes.

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

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

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

Check the Victoria Settlement website and Plan Your Visit:

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

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

WE CAN’T WAIT TO MEET ALL OF YOU!

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A New Window for Canadian Historical Images: The New York Public Library Digital Collections

Researchers, bloggers and casual internet searchers will be interested in exploring a new source of historic images available to the public, many with relevance to Alberta and Canada in general. The New York Public Library Digital Collections includes over 674,000 items, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts and streaming videos. More than 180,000 of the items are in the public domain and available for downloading without charge, by the public, directly from the Digital Collections website in high resolution.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Sculptured lion in front of N.Y.P.L." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 10, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/620a3d58-fe41-dc81-e040-e00a18060f0c
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Sculptured lion in front of N.Y.P.L.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 10, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/620a3d58-fe41-dc81-e040-e00a18060f0c

Browsing through the collection, researchers will find numerous images illustrating Alberta’s rich history, including remarkable images from the Blackfoot reserve in southern Alberta.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Indian camp at the foothills of the Rockies, Alberta." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 10, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-4569-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Indian camp at the foothills of the Rockies, Alberta.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 10, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-4569-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Indian camp, Blackfoot Reserve, Alberta." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 10, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-4568-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Indian camp, Blackfoot Reserve, Alberta.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 10, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-4568-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Many of the images posted on the site are also contained within the collections of such institutions as the Glenbow Museum and Archives, the Provincial Archives of Alberta and the Library and Archives of Canada. Due diligence is always a wise course of action when considering using any image, and the New York Public Library collection is no exception. Some image captions such as the one identifying the first train to arrive at Read more

Remembering Beverly’s War Dead: Alberta’s First Great War Memorial

Canada is in the midst of marking the centenary of the Great War of 1914-1918. The war which engulfed the Dominion of Canada was to have dramatic effects on the young, barely decade-old province of Alberta. By 1914 Alberta boasted a greatly expanded population of 470,000 of whom more than 49,000 served in Canada’s armed forces. Of that number over 6,000 died and another 20,000 suffered non-fatal casualties.

On the eastern boundary of Alberta’s capital City of Edmonton the coal mining community of Beverly was incorporated as a Village in 1913 and elevated to the status of Town in July of 1914. Just prior to Canada’s entry into the Great War, Beverly had a population of 1,200, attracting residents from across Read more

The 1909 Rutherford Cup – The Start of an Alberta Sporting Tradition

With the onset of spring, the attention of many Canadians turn to the perennial quest for the Stanley Cup, the storied challenge trophy, emblematic of hockey supremacy. Few realize that in Alberta one of Canada’s oldest sporting challenge trophies was established in 1909 by then Premier, Alexander C. Rutherford and is competed for until the present day. The history of the Rutherford Cup is as old as that of football’s Grey Cup and senior hockey’s Allen Cup all of which were established 106 years ago.

Alexander Cameron Rutherford, Alberta’s first Premier [1905-1910], distinguished himself not only as a legislator but also as an active participant in many aspects of Alberta’s developing society. Sporting activities featured prominently among Premier Rutherford’s many interests. He held executive positions with baseball, curling and football (what we now call soccer) clubs in Strathcona and established competitive trophies for the Strathcona Curling Club and the Strathcona Football Club. In 1909 Rutherford also established a challenge trophy to be vied for by senior high school soccer teams in central Alberta. The first competition for the cup culminated on the afternoon of Saturday October 16, 1909 at Edmonton’s Diamond Park in a match between Edmonton High School and Red Deer High School.

Rutherford Cup
Premier Alexander Cameron Rutherford with Edmonton High School team, winners of the inaugural Rutherford Cup, 1909. Source: City of Edmonton Archives EA-10-18

As reported by the Edmonton Bulletin, the first half of the inaugural championship match was fast and close with neither side scoring, but was marred by an unfortunate accident at the 15 minute mark. Red Deer full-back and team captain Carswell “came into violent collision” with an Edmonton forward while trying to prevent a shot on goal and broke his leg. The injured player was attended to by Dr. McGibbon and dispatched by ambulance to the Misericordia Hospital. Edmonton played an aggressive first half, giving the Red Deer goal keeper Hewson “plenty to do.” Half-back McLean played a strong game for Red Deer while on the forward line Krause and Slade “showed up well.” Hicks and Keffer starred for Edmonton, while Dean’s running and Hepburn’s shooting on goal were features of the game. Hepburn scored the game’s only goal for Edmonton after ten minutes of play in the second half with a very difficult shot. Red Deer was reluctant to concede defeat and pressed strongly in the last minutes of play with the final result “in doubt until the whistle blew for full time.” A reception was held that evening at Queen’s Avenue School with a short program of games, songs and recitations along with “dainty refreshments served by the girls of the school.” Brief addresses were given by Edmonton High School Principal William Rea, and Superintendent James McCaig, the trustee of the Rutherford Cup. Red Deer spokesman McLean stated that although defeated, his team was prepared to challenge for the trophy again and “contest its possession with the present holders.”

Determined to avenge its loss, Red Deer honed its skills during the spring of 1910 in preparation for a rematch with Edmonton. The Edmonton Journal announced that the Red Deer squad was coming to Edmonton to try to “lift the Rutherford Cup,” this time “much strengthened” and “confident of success”. The grudge match was played on Saturday April 23, 1910. The Red Deer squad was indeed much improved, the Journal noting that in the loose game they worked well together and back checked quickly. They appeared “to have had much more practice than the local boys,” were heavier and “knew how to use the weight.” Krause at centre was his team’s star, scoring the game’s solitary goal after only four minutes of play. Edmonton’s left winger Dean made spectacular individual rushes, bringing the ball down the field repeatedly, only to have the centre field man fail to score. Full-back Gillespie also played a “brilliant” game, working his position well and punting strongly, his quick checking preventing Red Deer from running up a much larger final score. Although attendance at the match was small. “fair co-eds were out in large numbers and cheered lustily for the Edmonton boys.”

The Edmonton press lamented the result of the match with partisan headlines: “Red Deer Grabs Rutherford Cup E.H.S. Pigskin Chasers Are Defeated by Students From the Half Way City.” The City of Red Deer celebrated that their boys had successfully journeyed to Edmonton and “annexed the handsome Rutherford cup” on the strength of Krause’s “doing the needful.” The Red Deer Advocate noted that the boys were “deserving of high praise for their clever play” and paid tribute to Edmonton’s hospitality. Following the match the competitors were royally received at a banquet hosted by Col. Robert Belcher, whose son captained the losing side.

Archbishop O’Leary High School, Winners of the Rutherford Cup, 1994. Source: Alberta Culture and Tourism.
Figure 2 Archbishop O’Leary High School, Winners of the Rutherford Cup, 1994. Source: Alberta Culture and Tourism.

Since its inception in 1909 the Rutherford Cup has been competed for almost annually, making it perhaps Alberta’s oldest athletic competition. Until 1988 senior soccer teams from the Edmonton Public and Separate (Catholic) Schools Boards challenged each other for the cup. When these two boards discontinued their joint athletics board, the competition lapsed and since then only senior schools of the Separate system have competed for the cup within the Metro Edmonton High School Athletic Association which currently includes 51 member high schools from the Edmonton and Metro Edmonton area.

To follow the annual progress of play for the Rutherford Cup check the Metro Edmonton High School Athletic Association website at: http://metroathletics.ca/index.php.

The original version of this article appeared as “1909 Rutherford Cup – The Start of an Alberta Sporting Tradition” in Alberta Past, Vol. 11, No. 2, Spring, 1995.

Written By: Peter Melnycky, Historian, Historic Places Stewardship Section, Alberta Culture and Tourism.

Alberta’s Victoria Settlement: Still a Special Place after 150 Years

The year 2012 marks the 150thanniversary of Alberta’s Victoria Settlement. In 1862 Methodist minister George McDougall established a mission at the “Hairy Bag” a buffalo feeding ground north of the North Saskatchewan River which was a favourite meeting place and camping site for Aboriginal peoples for thousands of years. The mission was named Victoria in honour of the reigning British monarch. The Hudson’s Bay Company soon noted the activity of free traders in the vicinity and the large numbers of Aboriginals gathering at the mission and established Fort Victoria in 1864, a post which operated for more than three decades.

Clerk’s quarters and trading shop at Fort Victoria, c. 1890. Provincial Archives of Alberta B.2406.

The mission and trading post attracted several hundred English-speaking Métis (historically known as Mixed-bloods) from the Red River Settlement, in what is now Manitoba, who established a permanent river lot settlement at Victoria. The river lot system was based upon the seigneurial system of New France. It consisted of long narrow river-front lots that provided all settlers river access for transportation and agricultural needs. Combining agriculture with the traditional buffalo hunt, a prosperous community of missionaries, fur traders, settlers and Cree hunters developed. In 1887, when the community established its first post office, it was named Pakan in honour of local Cree chief, James Seenum or “Pakannuk”, in tribute to his leadership during the 1885 Rebellion. During the 1890s, settlement in the district expanded as hundreds of Ukrainian and other European settlers took up homesteads. The community thrived as a commercial and service centre until 1918 when the Canadian Northern Railway line was established north of the settlement at Smoky Lake.

Fort Victoria was designated a Provincial Historic Resource in 1976, ensuring that Victoria Settlement’s historical ties to Alberta’s First Nations, Métis and Ukrainian settlers and it’s associations with the fur trade, mission and homestead history are conserved for the benefit of all Albertans. This site is interpreted as the Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Site. It includes the Hudson’s Bay Company Clerk’s Quarters built in 1865, Alberta’s oldest structure remaining on its original location and the 1906 Pakan Methodist Church.

In 2001, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada commemorated the area as the Victoria Settlement National Historic Site of Canada. Its highly visible and physical attributes represent an exceptional illustration in a concentrated area of major themes in Prairie settlement including the development of the fur trade, the establishment of the Métis river lot system, the arrival of missions, Prairie agricultural development and the establishment of eastern European immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century. The national designation along the old Victoria Trail includes the Lobstick Settlement to the west, the Victoria (Pakan) Settlement to the east, and a Ukrainian settlement area to the north.

Main (Free Trader’s) House at River Lot 3, Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Resource

Historical points of interest in the National Historic Site include the site of the McDougall Mission, the McGillivray House originally located on River Lot 7 but currently found on River Lot 3, which is also designated as a Provincial Historic Resource and the Anderson House, a Municipal Historic Resource on River Lot 14 of the Lobstick Settlement. Other resources from the Settlement have been moved: the Erasmus House is currently displayed at Fort Edmonton Park, while the Sinclair House which for many years functioned as the Pakan Museum on the Mitchell property at River Lot 7 is currently displayed at Metis Crossing along with the Cromarty House from River Lot 12.

Written by: Peter Melnycky, Historian


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