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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis condemns MAiD in Parliament as targeting nation’s most vulnerable
‘I call upon with government to reverse its course and instead provide help and hope for Canadians suffering with mental health conditions’
Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis condemned the Trudeau government’s treatment of Canada’s most vulnerable, revealing that 36 Canadians are euthanized every day.
On November 28, Dr. Leslyn Lewis, Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Haldimand-Norfolk, Ontario, addressed Parliament on the dangers of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), the euphemistic name for Canada’s euthanasia regime.
“The poor, homeless, the abused, veterans, seniors, youth, adults suffering with disabilities, those suffering with depressions, and mental health conditions,” Lewis said. “These are among the most vulnerable in our society that are falling through the cracks of Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying regime.”
The most vulnerable are falling through the cracks of Canada's Medical Assistance in Dying regime.
Every day 36 Canadians die by MAiD, the HIGHEST NUMBER in the world. Canadians suffering with mental illness need help and hope, not euthanasia. This gov't must reverse course. pic.twitter.com/tT8x5PBpxq
— Dr. Leslyn Lewis (@LeslynLewis) November 28, 2023
“They are the ones who will be at risk when the MAiD laws in Canada are expanded in March 2024,” the pro-life MP added. “Last year, death by euthanasia increased by 30 percent from the year before. Every day in Canada, 36 people use MAiD to end their lives, which is the highest in the world.”
“I call upon with government to reverse its course and instead provide help and hope for Canadians suffering with mental health conditions,” Lewis appealed.
On March 9, 2024, MAiD is set to expand to include those suffering solely from mental illness. This is a result of the 2021 passage of Bill C-7, which also allowed the chronically ill – not just the terminally ill – to qualify for so-called doctor-assisted death.
The mental illness expansion was originally set to take effect in March of this year. However, after massive pushback from pro-life groups, conservative politicians and others, the Liberals under Trudeau delayed the introduction of the full effect of Bill C-7 until 2024 via Bill C-39.
The expansion comes despite warnings from top Canadian psychiatrists that the country is “not ready” for the coming expansion of euthanasia to those who are mentally ill, saying expanding the procedure is not something “society should be doing” as it could lead to deaths under a “false pretense.”
Similarly, Angelina Ireland, the head of one of Canada’s few pro-life hospice societies, recently warned that euthanasia has become a national “horror” show.
“Unfortunately, there is no reprieve in sight as think Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) becomes a national horror and the ‘professionals’ sharpen up their needles,” Ireland told LifeSiteNews.
“We have reached the point where we must all protect each other from MAiD,” she noted.
Euthanasia deaths have gone through the roof in Canada since it became legal in 2016.
According to Health Canada, in 2022, 13,241 Canadians died by MAiD lethal injection, which is 4.1 percent of all deaths in the country for that year, and a 31.2 percent increase from 2021.
The number of Canadians killed by lethal injection since 2016 now stands at 44,958.
MNP steps in to help youth “Move Your Mood” at the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence
Ribbon Cut at the Newly Named MNP Move Your Mood Studio in the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence
The ribbon has been officially cut, and a new name announced for the MNP Move Your Mood Studio inside the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence.
The MNP Move Your Mood Studio held its naming ceremony and ribbon cutting on Tuesday, November 21st. Move Your Mood, an Alberta Health Services program, occupies a portion of Floor 2 inside the new Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence on the main campus of Red Deer Polytechnic.
The new MNP Move Your Mood Studio has a large space for classes and physical activity, complete with a climbing wall, physical activity gaming wall, and kitchen.
A significant contribution was made on behalf of the partner group from MNP’s Central Alberta region. This contribution reflects their commitment to investing in the communities that they are a part of.
“On behalf of the Central Alberta partner group and our entire team across the region, we are elated to celebrate the MNP Move Your Mood Studio,” says Patrick Wigmore, Regional Managing Partner for MNP in Central Alberta. “At MNP we truly believe that making a positive difference in the communities where we live, work, and play is a fundamental part of who we are. Our partners throughout the region believe that pooling our efforts together to create a greater impact for organizations like Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre and in turn, Move Your Mood, will leave a lasting legacy of positive impacts in Central Alberta. The decision to support the CACAC was unanimous.”
Move Your Mood is a research-based program that promotes physical activity and healthy lifestyle practices to improve the mental and physical well-being of participants. The MYM program provides opportunities for participants to experience how to move their bodies, fuel their bodies, practice mindfulness, and build positive coping strategies.
“We would like to thank MNP for their generous donation to the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence and helping make this dream come true for children and youth in our community. We are grateful and honoured to share the name of the MNP Move Your Mood Studio and look forward to the opportunities this space will provide our entire community in the future. The space will be up and running in the New Year.” – Denise Fredeen, Health Promotion Facilitator at Move Your Mood.
The MNP Move Your Mood Studio will be a shared space for all children and youth accessing services at the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence. The Studio will be a place where children and youth can learn positive coping strategies to improve their mental and physical wellness through interactive opportunities. There will be opportunities for them to play, practice mindfulness, be physically active, learn how to make healthy snacks and take part in creative activities.
The space will provide professionals in the building an opportunity to create positive connections and teach children and youth skills they can continue to be active and healthy for life. The space will also provide opportunities for prevention work with students in the community and a space for future training of RDP students and MYM Coaches.
To learn more about the MNP Move Your Mood Studio and its programming, please email
[email protected] or visit www.moveyourmood.ca.
About MNP: National in scope and local in focus, MNP is one of Canada’s leading professional services firms — proudly serving individuals, businesses, and organizations since 1958. Through the development of strong relationships, we provide client-focused accounting, consulting, tax, and digital services. Our clients benefit from personalized strategies with a local perspective to fuel success wherever business takes them. For more information, visit www.mnp.ca
About CACAC: The Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre is a not-for-profit organization rooted in the protection and recovery of today’s most innocent and vulnerable – our children. The Centre is comprised of a collective that is driven by the courage to support children, youth, and their families affected by abuse, enabling them to build enduring strength and overcome adversity. We work in a collaborative partnership with the Alberta Children and Family Services, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Justice, Alberta Education, Red Deer Polytechnic, the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre and the RCMP. Together we harness our collective courage to provide children with
supported recovery. For more information on CACAC and the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence, please visit: centralalbertacac.ca
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