Connect with us


Red Deer’s strong connection to Lord Strathcona’s Horse


6 minute read


In my role as Honorary Lieutenant Colonel 41 Signal Regiment, I’ve been brushing up on my local military history.  In a recent visit with Michael Dawe, former Archivist for the City and newly-minted City Councillor, he told me about our city’s connection to the the Lord Strathcona’s Horse and the story of Angus Jenkins, the first member of the Regiment killed in action.  Here’s the first of 3 stories we’ll feature leading up to Remembrance Day this Saturday.

(by Michael Dawe – Photos courtesy Red Deer Archives unless noted)

Red Deer has a strong historical link with the Lord Strathcona’s, going back to the original creation of the regiment. In 1900, Lord Strathcona (Donald Smith), one of the founders of the Canadian Pacific Railway, offered to fund the raising of the regiment for service in the South African (Boer) War. Men across Western Canada and from Red Deer enthusiastically applied for enlistment in the new unit.

It was not hard to figure out the popularity of the Ld.S.H. It was a Western Canadian regiment, not one based elsewhere. It was a unit of cavalry/mounted rifles. The free-wheeling mobility of such a military unit was attractive to the cowboys who made up a sizeable portion of Central and Southern Alberta’s population at the time.

According to the Calgary Herald, 17 men from Red Deer and district applied for enlistment and 9 were accepted in the Ld.S.H. The regiment arrived in Cape Town in April 1900. They went into action in June as part of General Buller’s Natal Field Force.

Bad news started to reach Red Deer shortly thereafter. Archibald McNichol, of the Balmoral district on the east side of Red Deer became ill with enteric (typhoid fever). He passed away at Newcastle, South Africa on June 19, 1900.

On July 1, 1900 (Dominion Day), Angus Jenkins, also from Balmoral,  was killed in an ambush near Waterval. He was the first member of the Lord Strathcona’s to be killed in action. His funeral was attended by the Earl of Dundonald and Sir Sam Steele, the commanding officer of the Ld.S.H.

On September 4, 1900, Charles Cruickshank, another young man from Balmoral, was killed in an enemy attack near Badfontein. He, and five others of the Ld.S.H. who were killed that day, were buried on the banks of the Crocodile River.

In the fall of 1900, a decision was made to build a hospital in Red Deer as a memorial to the three young men of the Ld.S.H. who had lost their lives in service overseas. Lord Strathcona made a large donation to the project. When the Red Deer Memorial Hospital officially opened in April 1904, a large marble plaque was erected in the hospital so that the three young men would never be forgotten.

The veterans of the Ld.S.H. had a significant influence on Red Deer after the end of the Boer War. A.T. Stephenson became the first Town/City Commissioner in 1908,. He was the most important person in the running of municipality for the next  27 years, despite on-going ill-health due to the  malaria which he had contracted while in South Africa.

When the First World War broke out in the summer of 1914, many local young men flocked to enlist in the cavalry/mounted rifles, but they mainly joined the 35 Central Alberta Horse/ 5 Battalion.  Nevertheless, some, such as H.B. (Ted) George joined the Ld.S.H. Ted George not only survived his service in the trenches of the Western Front. He narrowly escaped being killed in the terrible Halifax Explosion of 1917.

The strong connections between Red Deer and the Lord Strathconas continued for many more years.  Lionel Page, who had been a student in Red Deer and then farmed what is now the Rosedale subdivision, became a highly decorated veteran of the First World War. After the return of peace, he enlisted with the Ld.S.H. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and became the Ld.S.H.’s commanding officer in 1929. During the Second World War, he became the Commander in Chief of the Canadian Army’s Atlantic Command.

The distinguished service of the Lord Strathcona’s to Canada has continued through the Korean Conflict, peace-keeping in Bosnia and, most recently, the war in Afghanistan.

Read more from Todayville.





President Todayville Inc., Honorary Colonel 41 Signal Regiment, Board Member Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Foundation, Director Canadian Forces Liaison Council (Alberta) musician, photographer, former VP/GM CTV Edmonton.

Follow Author


‘Harm Reduction’ is killing B.C.’s addicts. There’s got to be a better way

Published on

From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Susan Martinuk 

B.C. recently decriminalized the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs. The resulting explosion of addicts using drugs in public spaces, including parks and playgrounds, recently led the province’s NDP government to attempt to backtrack on this policy

Since 2016, more than 40,000 Canadians have died from opioid drug overdoses — almost as many as died during the Second World War.
Governments, health care professionals and addiction experts all acknowledge that widespread use of opioids has created a public health crisis in Canada. Yet they agree on virtually nothing else about this crisis, including its causes, possible remedies and whether addicts should be regarded as passive victims or accountable moral agents.

Fuelled by the deadly manufactured opioid fentanyl, Canada’s national drug overdose rate stood at 19.3 people per 100,000 in 2022, a shockingly high number when compared to the European Union’s rate of just 1.8. But national statistics hide considerable geographic variation. British Columbia and Alberta together account for only a quarter of Canada’s population yet nearly half of all opioid deaths. B.C.’s 2022 death rate of 45.2/100,000 is more than double the national average, with Alberta close behind at 33.3/100,00.

In response to the drug crisis, Canada’s two western-most provinces have taken markedly divergent approaches, and in doing so have created a natural experiment with national implications.

B.C. has emphasized harm reduction, which seeks to eliminate the damaging effects of illicit drugs without actually removing them from the equation. The strategy focuses on creating access to clean drugs and includes such measures as “safe” injection sites, needle exchange programs, crack-pipe giveaways and even drug-dispensing vending machines. The approach goes so far as to distribute drugs like heroin and cocaine free of charge in the hope addicts will no longer be tempted by potentially tainted street drugs and may eventually seek help.

But safe-supply policies create many unexpected consequences. A National Post investigation found, for example, that government-supplied hydromorphone pills handed out to addicts in Vancouver are often re-sold on the street to other addicts. The sellers then use the money to purchase a street drug that provides a better high — namely, fentanyl.

Doubling down on safe supply, B.C. recently decriminalized the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs. The resulting explosion of addicts using drugs in public spaces, including parks and playgrounds, recently led the province’s NDP government to attempt to backtrack on this policy — though for now that effort has been stymied by the courts.

According to Vancouver city councillor Brian Montague, “The stats tell us that harm reduction isn’t working.” In an interview, he calls decriminalization “a disaster” and proposes a policy shift that recognizes the connection between mental illness and addiction. The province, he says, needs “massive numbers of beds in treatment facilities that deal with both addictions and long-term mental health problems (plus) access to free counselling and housing.”

In fact, Montague’s wish is coming true — one province east, in Alberta. Since the United Conservative Party was elected in 2019, Alberta has been transforming its drug addiction policy away from harm reduction and towards publicly-funded treatment and recovery efforts.

Instead of offering safe-injection sites and free drugs, Alberta is building a network of 10 therapeutic communities across the province where patients can stay for up to a year, receiving therapy and medical treatment and developing skills that will enable them to build a life outside the drug culture. All for free. The province’s first two new recovery centres opened last year in Lethbridge and Red Deer. There are currently over 29,000 addiction treatment spaces in the province.

This treatment-based strategy is in large part the work of Marshall Smith, current chief of staff to Alberta’s premier and a former addict himself, whose life story is a testament to the importance of treatment and recovery.

The sharply contrasting policies of B.C. and Alberta allow a comparison of what works and what doesn’t. A first, tentative report card on this natural experiment was produced last year in a study from Stanford University’s network on addiction policy (SNAP). Noting “a lack of policy innovation in B.C.,” where harm reduction has become the dominant policy approach, the report argues that in fact “Alberta is currently experiencing a reduction in key addiction-related harms.” But it concludes that “Canada overall, and B.C. in particular, is not yet showing the progress that the public and those impacted by drug addiction deserve.”

The report is admittedly an early analysis of these two contrasting approaches. Most of Alberta’s recovery homes are still under construction, and B.C.’s decriminalization policy is only a year old. And since the report was published, opioid death rates have inched higher in both provinces.

Still, the early returns do seem to favour Alberta’s approach. That should be regarded as good news. Society certainly has an obligation to try to help drug users. But that duty must involve more than offering addicts free drugs. Addicted people need treatment so they can kick their potentially deadly habit and go on to live healthy, meaningful lives. Dignity comes from a life of purpose and self-control, not a government-funded fix.

Susan Martinuk is a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and author of the 2021 book Patients at Risk: Exposing Canada’s Health Care Crisis. A longer version of this article recently appeared at

Continue Reading


$1,000,000 boost from province for upgrades at Red Deer’s Centre for Social Impact

Published on


Youth HQ is proud to announce that Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Red Deer and District has been awarded $1,000,000 through the government of Alberta Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) for the purpose of facility upgrades to the Centre for Social Impact.

The Centre for Social Impact (CSI) is an inspiring place where charities and non-profits can
collaborate; a place centrally located where families can readily access a variety of supports and
services; and a place where organizations can share resources and minimize operating costs.
“We are grateful for the support from CFEP, which enables us to address facility enhancements
and upgrades in support of the charities and non-profits that share this place where community
connects.” States Rob Lewis, Executive Director, YouthHQ.

Board Room at the Centre for Social Impact. Priority upgrades are the roof of the building and the HVAC systems

“Investments into non-profits in our communities, like Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Red Deer
not only support new activities and programming but uplift youth and help build stronger
communities. Alberta’s government is proud to provide this million dollar grant to Red Deer Big
Brothers and Big Sisters, as they provide essential supports and services for the youth of Red
Deer and surrounding area.”

Tanya Fir, Minister of Arts, Culture and Status of Women

“The CFEP grant awarded to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Red Deer and District is very
exciting news for Red Deer and surrounding communities. This substantial investment will
directly benefit our community by supporting essential youth programs, providing lasting
benefits for our youth in the years to come. I was happy to write a letter of support, as I am
continually inspired by the work Youth HQ does in our community. This grant will undoubtedly
enhance their ability to make a positive impact.”

MLA for Red Deer-North and Minister of Health, Adriana LaGrange

Conferencing area at the Centre for Social Impact. Priority upgrades are the roof of the building and the HVAC systems

For more information on the Centre for Social Impact please visit

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Red Deer and District

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Red Deer and District enables life-changing mentoring relationships
to ignite the power of young people. Providing life changing mentoring experiences since 1976,
Big Brothers Big Sisters has been matching children and youth with adult role models who help
them achieve their biggest possible futures. We believe we are #BiggerTogether, and currently
work with over 220 young people to ignite their potential.

About Youth HQ

Youth HQ empowers youth by fostering a community of support. Our network seeks to instill
young people with confidence in their unique identities and abilities, providing them with skills
for life through knowledge, healthy relationships, and quality experiences while providing safe
environments to learn and grow. Youth HQ coordinates programming for Big Brothers Big
Sisters of Red Deer & District and Boys & Girls Club of Red Deer & District, offering numerous
programs and services that support children, youth and families.

Continue Reading