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Christmas 1924 by Michael Dawe features excellent historical photos of early Red Deer

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byMichael Dawe

Another Christmas will soon be upon us. Since people often like to recall “old-fashioned” traditional Christmases, it is interesting to look back to the Christmas of 94 years ago in 1924.

The Trimble house in the Michener Hill district of Red Deer- photo courtesy of Joan and Gary Trimble

The early 1920’s had been a tough time for Central Alberta. A severe depression set in following the end of the First World War. Unemployment soared to nearly 25%.

The Red Deer Memorial Hospital went bankrupt. The City struggled to meet its payroll even though expenses had been cut to the bone. The public school trustees went door-to-door to see if they could collect enough in delinquent taxes to pay the salaries of the local teachers.

Shovelling in the deep snow – photo courtesy of Marguerite Lerouge Watson

By December 15, temperatures plunged to -46.1° C and the following two days dropped even further to more than -50° C.

Finally, by the mid-1920’s, the economy began to slowly improve. Local farmers in particular got a boost following the organization of such cooperatives as the Alberta Wheat Pool, Central Alberta Dairy Pool and the Farmers’ Cooperative Egg Marketing Association.

The opening of the Provincial Training School (now Michener Centre), as the provincial institution for the residential care and education of mentally handicapped children, created a large number of very welcome government jobs in the community.

Sledding on the North Hill – photo courtesy of Marguerite Lerouge Watson

The hope that better times were returning created a cautious sense of optimism for the local businesses. As Christmas approached, a number of merchants put attractive displays in their store windows.

Of particular note was an elaborate display of electrical and mechanical toys at Brazier’s Store, some beautiful French ivory pieces in the window of Porter’s Drug Store, toys and hockey equipment in the window of E.G. Johns Hardware and imported English foods in the front of  Lowes’ Grocery.

Tobogganing – Red Deer Archives

Soon, the local papers were full of ads with gift-giving ideas and Christmas specials. Dolls were offered for $1 to $3 at Braziers. Johns Hardware advertised CCM “automobile” ice skates for $6 a pair. The Gaetz and Ewart Department Store sold silk hosiery for $1.95 per pair and silk bloomers for $2.75.

Ad for W.E. Lord’s Department store – ad from Red Deer News

Unfortunately, just as the Christmas shopping season was getting under way, Central Alberta was hit with a terrific blizzard on December 13. 58.5 cm of snow fell in three days and high winds created enormous drifts. By December 15, temperatures plunged to -46.1° C and the following two days dropped even further to more than -50° C. It was difficult to tell what the actual temperature was in the City as most thermometers stopped working.

The passenger trains ran several hours behind. The local schools closed for a few days. Milk, bread and grocery deliveries were often suspended. Wiltshire’s Bakery had to use a sleigh for its deliveries for the first time in four years.

Mrs. Fleming and friend on a stroll with their children’s sleighs – photo courtesy of Lindsay Fleming

Towards the end of the week, things had improved slightly. On December 18, the lows for the day were only -45.6°C. Nevertheless, local farmers found it impossible to make it into town. Many City residents remained loath to venture out of their homes.

Merchants put warm winter clothing on sale. Some put signs on the windows that said “Come In and Get Warm”. Still, the downtown area became very quiet.

Carscallen House at Christmas – Red Deer Archives

Fortunately, the weather warmed up a bit in the final days before Christmas. The local churches were able to re-stage their annual Christmas concerts and the children’s parties that had been postponed due to the terrible weather.

Carscallen children with dolls – Red Deer Archives

The Red Deer Welfare Board continued to gather Christmas hampers for the needy. Great assistance was provided by the newly-formed Rotary Club and Elks Lodge. The Rotary Club also purchased a 4-tube radio for the Christmas enjoyment of the patients at the Red Deer Municipal Hospital. It was the first electric radio to be installed in a public hospital in Alberta.

Little boy by Christmas tree – Red Deer Archives

On Christmas Eve, temperatures “soared” to just below the freezing mark. Hence, the local churches were packed for the usual Christmas Eve Services. Christmas Day was also sunny and relatively warm. Thus, people were able to get out and enjoy the outdoors, between the gift opening in the morning and the enormous family Christmas feasts later in the day.

Springvale Methodist Church decorated for Christmas – Red Deer Archives

Despite all the challenges that had beset the community, people were able to wish each other a “Very Merry Christmas” and heartfelt wishes for a better New Year in 1925.

by Michael Dawe

Michael was born in Red Deer, Alberta March 7, 1956, a fifth generation resident of Red Deer and Pine Lake. Elected to Red Deer City Council in 2017, he served as the City’s Archivist/Historian for 38 years, retiring from the role in 2017.

 

 

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Alberta

Homes by 3Leafs showcases the first single family, shipping container home built in Calgary.

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Homes by 3Leafs showcases the first single family, shipping container home built in Calgary. The Alberta based company is changing how homes are constructed by transforming recycled steel containers into high performance, energy efficient homes with net zero capabilities.

September 19, 2019, Calgary, AB ​Homes by 3Leafs gave media an exclusive inside look into the sleek, elegant modern two-storey home made from four recycled shipping containers. The home is nestled in the eco-friendly community, Echohaven, in northwest Calgary.

Som Sourachit, C.E.O. of Homes by 3Leafs describes this moment as pivotal. “Our high performance, energy efficient houses reduce waste in landfills by repurposing steel shipping containers into dream homes. The houses have net zero capabilities and are the new blueprint for how we should build while protecting our environment. “

It’s estimated there are millions of shipping containers piling up in landfills worldwide. The repurposed containers make the perfect envelope for a home, and reduce the heavy reliance on trees used for construction. The steel means shipping container homes are sturdier and will last for generations with fewer repairs than traditional stick builds over time.

The homeowner, Jaime Turner, added “This is a teaching moment for my young daughter. We wanted to build a legacy for her. This is our forever home and we know because it’s made of steel it will last for generations, and an added bonus is, we are being good to our environment!”

Homes by 3Leafs is proud to be leading the way in new home construction. Currently, 6 building projects are underway.

About Homes by 3Leafs

Homes by 3Leafs is a global company based in Edmonton and is comprised of a team of architects, construction experts, designers, and engineers with years of experience developing stunning homes. By using shipping containers to build, Homes by 3Leafs is committed to saving the environment. Thousands of containers pile up in landfills unused while forests can’t be cut down fast enough to support the robust construction industry. The company leads the way with cutting edge technology and new innovations to help the world build beautiful sustainable homes to last hundreds of years.

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Community

Shed Your Threads is a one of a kind shopping event

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From Elysha Snider and Chelsey Key

Shed Your Threads Consignment Clothing Event

On October 6th, Elysha Snider, Chelsey Key, and Copper Lane Hair Studio will be hosting their third Shed Your Threads: an annual consignment-inspired shop designed to support style and community.
All clothes are donated, sorted, and priced creating a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. Not only does the event promote fashion-based sustainability, but it also supports the city of Red Deer, as every dollar spent gets donated to a local organization.
This year, all proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Red Deer River Naturalists, and all clothes that do not sell will be donated to Vantage Community Service’s Street Ties Outreach Centre for youth experiencing homelessness.
Our hope is to grow each year- from our motivation to the final donations, we want this event to be a meaningful one.
Event Details:
– Date/Time: Sunday, October 6th from 11 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
– Location: Copper Lane Hair Studio in Red Deer
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