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A slice of 1930’s Sylvan Lake heaven

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9 minute read

Hey local history buffs, the above video is a great snapshot of a place and time, in this case, 1930’s Sylvan Lake, AB.  

Lake Cottages have always prompted whimsical names. Sylvan Lake is no different.  This story showcases some great photos from the 1930’s and also includes a Directory from the 1960’s. Names like “Seldom Inn” and “Turkey Teepee” stand out. 

Below is a photo of the Webster cabin, known as the LA-ZE-LOT.  George Webster (second generation) with grand-daughters Kari-Lynn Shiells and Susan Marie Shiells.

the LAZ-E-LOT

“Robin Nest” home on 41st Street and 50th Avenue

The above photo shows the “Robin Nest” home on 41st Street and 50th Avenue in the early 1930s. The people are unnamed except as “Grandma and Ed”.  Ed was the maker of the wooden figurines in the picture.

Two very interesting accessions have come to us out of the blue from two very interesting contributors. The first one came through registered mail from a lady by the name of Gertrude Lambert in Edmonton whose father, Mr. Elliott, had been a teacher at the Olds Agricultural College and, later, Vermilion College. They built a cabin at Sylvan Lake about 1921 where the whole family spent the next 18 or 19 summers (until 1939).  She and her daughter had been down to hunt up their old cabin which is still standing and while they were in town, picked up the current Sylvan Lake News with a write-up about our then new Archives. So, without so much as a phone call, she sent a collection of beautiful old photos and an accompanying registered letter. She was later down for a visit and brought additional pictures. Another interesting side of this story is that we also have met the present owner of the same cabin whose father, Dr. Charles from Calgary, purchased the cabin from the Elliott family and they have been coming here every summer since 1943. We also have pictures from this family.

Here’s what we do know.  The Elliott family built their cabin at Sylvan Lake about 1921 and came every summer until 1939 when WWII broke out.  William taught at Olds, later Vermilion Agricultural Cottage;  children Gertrude (Edna) and Bill, Jr.

 

From left to right: Mrs. (Edna) Elliott; Dr. Jack Elliott (guest); Mr. William Elliott; Jack Elliott (guest); and Bill Elliott. In front is 5-year old Gertrude.

Elliott Family Cabin (Grey Glen), circa 1930

Above is a picture of the Elliott family and their guests gathered on the porch of their Sylvan Lake cottage (circa 1930). From left to right: Mrs. (Edna) Elliott; Dr. Jack Elliott (guest); Mr. William Elliott; Jack Elliott (guest); and Bill Elliott. In front is 5-year old Gertrude. On the back is written: Originally Grey Glen / address 13 Street, 2nd road from (corner) road from Red Deer which went along the waterfront. Built approximately 1920-24 by my father W.J. Elliott and son William S. Elliott  (Site:  33rd Street East)

Davey family, next door to the Grey Glen, Elliott’s Cottage at 13th Street in Sylvan Lake

Above, the Davey Cottage, circa 1930’s

This is the cottage belonging to the Davey family, next door to the Grey Glen, Elliott’s Cottage at 13th Street in Sylvan Lake, circa 1920-38. An older woman and two children are standing by a screened-in porch and a man is sitting and reading a newspaper inside.

Davey Family, circa 1930s

 Above, the Davey Family, circa 1930s

The Davey Family owned the cottage next door to the Elliott’s cottage at 13th Street in Sylvan Lake, circa 1920-38.

Jean Phillips, Gertrude’s Elliott’s friend

 Above, Washing Clothes, circa 1930s

Jean Phillips, Gertrude’s friend from Edmonton, bringing in the washing at Grey Glen Cottage.

William Elliott sawing wood

Above, Sawing Wood in May, 1941

William Elliott sawing wood with a buck saw at Buck Saw

 

Polishing Shoes

Above, Jean Phillips, Gertrude Elliott’s friend from Edmonton, polishing her shoes on the deck of Grey Glen, Elliott’s Cottage.

The Elliotts at Grey Glen

 

Edna & William Elliott [1930]

Mr. and Mrs. William Elliott are standing by their cottage, Grey Glen.

 

Gertrude Elliott, Grade 12

 Above, Gertrude Elliott (Edna), 1938

This is a picture of Gertrude Elliott taken in 1938 when she was a Grade Twelve student (later, Edna Lambert – donor of these pictures). Her full name was Edna Gertrude Elliott.

Taken at Grey Glen Cottage

Former Elliott Cottage in 1996

Above, The (Former) Elliott Cottage in 1996

In March of 1996, Mrs. Lambert’s daughter drove her mother to Sylvan Lake to see if they could find the old cottage on 13th Street built by Mrs. Lambert’s parents, the William Elliotts. They were successful, despite the fact that the name of the street had been changed to 34th Street. Mrs. Lambert, in her letter which accompanied the pictures stated that it appeared “in excellent condition, well cared for and very familiar”.  It had been renamed Sherwood Lodge (formerly, Grey Glen) This picture was taken by Mrs. Lambert and her daughter that day and sent to the Archives with the historical pictures.

William Elliott

Above, Mr. William Elliott Sawing Wood with a Buck Saw – May, 1941

Bill Elliott

Bill Elliott at Grey Glen Cottage [1938]

The name Grey Glen is on the fence as well as the roof of the cottage.

Life Guards

Above, Sylvan Lake Life Guards, circa 1937-38

Gertrude and Bill Elliott worked as life guards on Sylvan Lake for two summers just before the outbreak of World War II, then the family sold the cottage, Grey Glen. 

Jean Phillips 

Jean Phillips – Chore Girl, circa 1930s

Jean Phillips was a friend of Gertrude Elliott’s who was visiting at Grey Glen Cottage. She is holding a water pail in her left hand, a bottle in her right hand, and has a blanket or towel over her right arm.

Below you’ll find a directory from the 1960’s.  Collectively they form a portrait of a much simpler time.

For other Todayville stories from the Sylvan Lake Archives, CLICK HERE.

If you have a unique and interesting stories you would like to see on todayville, you can do one of two things.  Either register for free (except for business) or send us an email with details to [email protected]  Learn more about the Sylvan Lake Archives.

 

Community

Covid vaccines available at 9 Red Deer pharmacies – Locations and contact information

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From the Province of Alberta

COVID-19 immunization program

To ensure fair access to all Albertans needing to be immunized and to prevent unnecessary wastage of vaccine doses please book ONLY one appointment per person. Do not book multiple appointments at multiple sites.

Who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through a pharmacy?

Pharmacies are able to offer immunizations to seniors 75 years of age and older (born in 1946 or earlier) living in the community.

Alberta Health Services will offer the vaccine directly to residents in retirement centres, lodges, supportive living and other congregate living facilities.

Where can I get the vaccine?

Below is a list of participating pharmacies. You must book an appointment with the pharmacy closest to you to receive the vaccine. No walk-ins will be permitted.

Due to limited vaccine quantities and storage and handling requirements, only select pharmacies in Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary are able to participate in the vaccine rollout at this time. Once there is adequate COVID-19 vaccine supply, distribution will be expanded.

Pharmacies are listed in alphabetical order.

Johnstone IDA Pharmacy

100-2 Jewell Street
403-348-8203

Loblaw Pharmacy #1579

Red Deer Superstore
5016 51 Ave
403-350-3530

London Drugs #24

109-2004 50 Ave
403-342-1242

Notre Dame Pharmasave

1109-2827 30 Ave
403-588-3195

Save-On-Foods Pharmacy #6682

6720 52 Ave
403-343-7744

Shoppers Drug Mart #2306

1 Chambers Ave

403-342-5548

shopersdrugmart.ca/en/health-and-pharmacy/covid-19?ShortURL=covid

Shoppers Drug Mart #326

Bower Mall Location

A6-4900 Molly Bannister Drive

403-343-3355

shopersdrugmart.ca/en/health-and-pharmacy/covid-19?ShortURL=covid

 

The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy #341

130-2950 22 Street

403-343-8831

medicineshoppe.ca/en/alberta/red-deer/the-medicine-shoppe-pharmacy-341-7041122

 

Wal-Mart Pharmacy #3075

Parkland Mall Shopping Centre

6375 50 Ave

403-347-1123

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Alberta

How the Railroads Shaped Red Deer

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A crowd gathered at the Red Deer train station to provide a sendoff for members of “C” Squadron of the 12th Canadian Mounted Rifles Regiment. Heading off to join WWI in May 1915. Photo courtesy City of Red Deer Archives. P2603

Rivers, creeks and streams have shaped the land for eons, slowly carving away earth to reveal the terrain we know today. Much of the same can be said for the impact and influence that railways had in shaping the size and shape and even the very location of what is now the City of Red Deer. 

Prior to the construction of the Calgary and Edmonton railway, which started heading north from Calgary in 1890, what we now recognize as the bustling city of Red Deer was unbroken and forested land. The nearest significant settlement was the crossing for the C&E Trail of the Red Deer River, very close to where the historic Fort Normandeau replica stands today. 

Small town of Red Deer from along the Calgary and Edmonton Railway line looking north circa 1900. The Arlington Hotel and the CPR station can be seen. Photo courtesy City of Red Deer Archives. P4410

 

Above left: The Canadian Northern Railway excavating grade along the side of North Hill of Red Deer, AB in 1911. Using the steam shovel Bucyrus and trains. Photo P782. Above right: Workers building the Canadian National Railway trestle bridge at Burbank siding near Red Deer, AB, 1924. P7028. Photos courtesy City of Red Deer Archives.

Reverend Leonard Gaetz whose land formed the townsite for Red Deer. Photo courtesy City of Red Deer Archives. P2706

Navigating how to handle crossing the Red Deer River would be a significant challenge for construction of the railway route. Initially, the route was planned to take the tried-and-true path that had served animals, first nations people and fur traders for centuries, past the Red Deer River settlement. Yet just as the mighty river powerfully shaped the contours and dimensions of the land, the future site of Red Deer would be singlehandedly determined by Reverend Leonard Gaetz.

Rev. Gaetz offered James Ross, President of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway company,  land from his personal farmlands for the river crossing and the townsite for Red Deer.  Ross accepted and history was forever shaped by the decision, as what is now home to more than 100,000 people grew steadily outward starting at the C&E Railway train station. 

A steam engine pulling a passenger train, likely near Penhold, AB, sometime between 1938 and 1944. Photo courtesy City of Red Deer Archives. Photo P3595.

The rails finally reached the Red Deer area in November of 1890 and trains soon began running south to Calgary. By 1891, the Calgary and Edmonton railway was completed north to Strathcona. Alberta gained one of its most vital transportation corridors and the province would thrive from this ribbon of steel rails.

CPR Station in 1910

Over time, the C&E railyards grew and expanded to accommodate the demand for moving more and more commodities like grain, coal, lumber and business and household items along with passengers. Those passengers were the pioneer settlers who would make Red Deer the commercial hub that it remains to this day.

Alberta-Pacific Elevator Co. Ltd. No. 67 elevator and feed mill, circa 1910. Photo courtesy City of Red Deer Archives Photo P3884.

For nearly 100 years, the downtown was intimately connected with the railway in the form of hotels built to welcome travelers, grain elevators, warehouses, factories and the facilities required to service the locomotives and equipment that operated the trains. Tracks and spurs dominated the downtown area, especially after the advent of the Alberta Central Railway and the arrival of the Canadian Northern Western Railway (later absorbed into Canadian National railways).

Left: Aerial view of downtown and the railyards in1938. Note old CPR bridge over the Red Deer River along with the old CNR bridge that was demolished in 1941. P2228 Centre: CPR Track at south end of Red Deer, circa 1904 or 1905. P8060 Right: CPR depot water tower and round house in 1912. P3907. Photos courtesy City of Red Deer Archives.

 

Left: CPR downtown railyards in 1983. Photo S490. Right: Southbound morning Chinook train at the CPR station in the summer of 1939. P13391. Photos courtesy City of Red Deer Archives.

By the 1980s, the ever-present tracks and downtown railyard were seen as an industrial blight in the heart of the city that the railway created so funding was sought and plans were made to relocate the now Canadian Pacific rails from their historical home to a new modern yard northwest of the city. 

This was actually the second relocation of tracks from downtown as the Canadian National railway tracks were removed in 1960 which permitted the development along 47th Avenue south of the Red Deer River.

This massive project opened up the Riverlands district downtown to new developments which included condominiums, grocery stores, restaurants and professional buildings. Taylor Drive was built following the old rail line corridor and removal of the tracks in Lower Fairview meant residents wouldn’t hear the rumble of trains in their community anymore. 

Just as the waters gradually shaped the places we know now, the railways definitely forged Red Deer into the vibrant economic hub of central Alberta that it remains today. 

The 45th Street overpass across the CPR tracks. This was demolished in 1992. Photo courtesy City of Red Deer Archives. Photo S8479.

We hope you enjoyed this story about our local history.  Click here to read more history stories on Todayville.

Visit the City of Red Deer Archives to browse through the written, photographic and audio history of Red Deer. Read about the city and surrounding community and learn about the people who make Red Deer special.

My name is Ken Meintzer.  I’m a storyteller with a love of aviation and local history. In the 1990’s I hosted a popular kids series in Alberta called Toon Crew.

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february, 2021

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