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Christmas 1957


5 minute read

by Michael Dawe

As Christmas 2017 approaches, it is interesting to look back 60 years to the wonderful Christmas of 1957.

The year had been a banner one for Red Deer. The community was enjoying one of the strongest booms in its history. The population of the City surged by an incredible 21.5% to more than 16,000 residents. Red Deer became known as the fastest growing city in Canada.

The newest subdivision for the City was Eastview, which was developed on what had previously been known as the Card Property. An impressive new junior high school had officially opened on the west side of the subdivision in March. On December 13th, the Joseph FitzPatrick family became the first one to move into a new home in the neighbourhood. Several others soon followed.

The cause of the boom was oil and natural gas. New wells were being drilled across Central Alberta. With all of the oil patch activity, there were lots of jobs and lots of new money in the community.

There were some downsides to the boom. Costs of construction jumped. People found it increasingly difficult to purchase a home or rent an apartment. The local infrastructure fell behind.

With the rapid growth, the City of Red Deer was running out of land for new residential and industrial development. Proposals were made to expand the

City boundaries and annex land from the rural Municipal District of Red Deer.

Hearings on the annexation bid were held in early December. The City made strong arguments in favour of expanding the City’s boundaries by 5820 acres. It predicted that its population might soar to as high as 35,000 by 1977.

The Municipal District of Red Deer opposed the City’s bid. It argued that if the areas requested were put within the City limits, the rural M.D. would be left with little more than farmland and hamlets for a tax base.

In an attempt to help ease the hard feelings, the Chamber of Commerce organized a special informal meeting with the City and rural councillors at the Buffalo Hotel.

As this bid for intermunicipal peace took place, the Chamber of Commerce was also boosting the annual Christmas retail season. A Christmas Shopping Jamboree was organized. Stores remained open during the usual Wednesday retail half-day holiday. Shopping hours were extended on Saturday December 21st and Monday December 23rd to 9 p.m. In order to help parents while they were looking for gifts, free shows were held for the children at both the Capitol and Crescent movie theatres.

The local stores offered all kinds of Christmas specials. Quality women’s coats could be purchased for $7 to $13 each, while men’s dress shirts were offered at $4.95 to $7.50. The local Eaton’s department store had a special children’s toy land where girls’ dolls could be had for $4.49, while boys’ construction sets were offered at $12.99.

Because the local C.H.C.A. television had begun broadcasting on December 11th, television sets were a particularly popular Christmas gift. Local stores offered   21” black and white TV’s for $264 and 17” portables at $219. Premium sets with wood consoles could be had for up to $480.

Local merchants were soon reporting their best sales ever. The Christmas rush was given an even bigger boost by exceptionally mild weather. There were even reports of pussy willows being out in the early part of December.

In the last days before Christmas, the Fire Department distributed the many toys which it had collected for the local needy children. The Lions Club again delivered special Christmas hampers to the many families who had not been benefiting from the boom.

Christmas Day was peaceful and pleasant. Some churches had special Christmas Day services although most had their Christmas celebrations on the preceding Sunday and on Christmas Eve. The weather was warm and beautiful which brought many families outdoors between the morning gift openings and large Christmas feasts later in the day.

All agreed that Christmas 1957 had ended up as one of the Merriest Christmas’s ever.  All were sure that the New Year of 1958 would be even better.

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Winners announced for Red Deer Hospital Lottery

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The Red Deer Regional Health Foundation has announced the winners of the 2024 Red Deer Hospital Lottery Dream Home and Tiny Home prize packages, as well as the Mega Bucks 50.

The Mega Bucks 50 jackpot reached $607,200.00, which makes Carolyn Pelerine of Cochrane, Alberta the winner of $303,600.00.

In addition, the luxurious Tree Hugger Tiny Home Prize Package, complete with accessories by Urban Barn and valued at $163,798.00, is now owned by Mary Vincent of Red Deer.

The coveted Sorento Dream Home Prize Package, which includes furnishings and accessories by Urban Barn and boasts a total value of $1,072,624.00, has been awarded to Maxine Rumohr of Sylvan Lake.

The highly anticipated draw took place at 10:00 a.m. Thursday at the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation office, located within the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, with an announcement following live on Facebook, allowing participants and supporters to join in the excitement virtually.

“We are delighted to congratulate the winners of this year’s Red Deer Hospital Lottery,” said Manon Therriault, Chief Executive Officer of the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation. “The funds raised from this lottery will significantly contribute to enhancing patient care and services at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who participated and supported this important cause.”

Proceeds from the Red Deer Hospital Lottery and Mega Bucks 50 will contribute to acquiring critically needed, state-of-the-art equipment for several units at the Red Deer Hospital.

This year’s lottery will fund equipment such as a phototherapy system, which allows parents to hold and soothe their infant while undergoing phototherapy, a cardiology case cart to monitor cardiac rhythms during stress testing, and other equipment to help provide excellent care for patients in the emergency and operating rooms at the Red Deer Hospital.

The winners of a variety of electronics were also drawn today. A full list of winners will be available in the coming days on the official lottery website at Prize winners who have not already been notified will receive a letter in the mail with instructions on how to claim their prizes.

The keys to the Sorento Dream Home and the Tree Hugger Tiny Home will be presented to the winners at a special ceremony this summer.

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The Grand Opening is TODAY!

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A Day Filled With Hope – Years in the Making!
For years the CACAC has been walking hand-in-hand with many different partners, community members, donors, policy makers, and leaders in research and advocacy towards this moment.The Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence now stands in the heart of Central Alberta, the first Centre of its kind in North America, creating space for different strategic partners to operate alongside one another in the best interest of children, youths, and families who have experienced any form of abuse.

Now, during this momentous chapter in our history, we invite you to join us for the Grand Opening of the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence. 

We’re excited to welcome you and your family to the Grand Opening of the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence today!

Today’s events are family friendly, and there’s something for everyone!

From Noon to 5:00PM the public is welcome to come and see everything the building has to offer at the SKCOE Open House! Staff from every organization from within the SKCOE will be there to answer questions. This is a great opportunity to learn about why this Centre is so important for Central Alberta.

Beginning at 7:00PM, the public is also invited to the formal program at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, which is the building immediately North West of us across the parking lot. The formal program will have many messages and presentations from dignitaries, and you can pick up our Champions of Courage pin, which was minted for the Grand Opening only! Following the program there is a ribbon cutting ceremony.

There is a lot to celebrate, so come out and say hi!

When: Thursday, May 16

Where: Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence, and Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, Main Campus of Red Deer Polytechnic, Red Deer, AB.

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Open House

7:00 PM – Formal Program at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to follow.

How to get to the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence

Please note that there will also be parking available at the lot directly North of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

Detailed RDP Parking Map

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