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Central Alberta

Schedule of services in Central AB plus a couple of notable videos to help remember this Remembrance Day

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As we approach the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended WWI, here are a couple of videos that you may wish to watch.  The first is a video tribute to the Canadian military set to the song “Sounds of Silence” by Disturbed.

The second is a long format documentary that explores the experiences of Alberta Reservists who have deployed oversees, produced in 2017.  Deployed: Army Reservists Overseas is a 90 minute documentary by LCol Mike Vernon of the Calgary Highlanders. It features interviews with a wide variety of current and former soldiers who have deployed on dozens of missions, beginning with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Egypt in the 1970s on through the Afghanistan deployments of recent years. In Canada, reservists are not ordered to serve overseas, but volunteer to do so, putting their civilian lives on hold until their return. The Highlanders are part of 41 Canadian Brigade Group, based in Calgary, and all the soldiers in the documentary are drawn from units of that Brigade Group.

Though each is a unique individual, their personal stories tell some universal truths about our soldiers, their lives and their work. For all of them, their days overseas were filled with moments of adrenaline-filled risk balanced by the daily routine of regular duties that are part of every deployment. As reservists who often must immediately integrate themselves back into civilian life after their return from deployment, they also have faced some unique challenges. LCol Vernon has served in both the regular force and reserves. In civilian life, he has worked as a video journalist for CBC Television News and is currently a journalism instructor at Mount Royal University in Calgary.Starting in 1956 with file footage of Egypt, the documentary uses interviews with Alberta soldiers who have served overseas to tell the story of their experience and the impact of their service on their professional and personal lives.

Here is a list of Remembrance Day services in Central Alberta:

Red Deer 

Red Deer Legion Service @ Servus Arena – Starts at 10:30 AM

The Korean War Veterans Association Service at  Veterans Park – 49th Ave and Ross Street  Starts at 10:30 AM.  You can park at Sorensen Station Parkade.

Bells of Peace Ceremony at Gaetz Memorial United Church – 4758 50th Street starts at 5 PM

Lacombe 

Lacombe Memorial Centre – 5214 50 Ave starting at 10:45 AM.

Bells of Peace Ceremony at St. Andrew’s United Church 5226 – 51st Avenue from 4:30 to 5:15 PM. There will be a commemorative bell ringing ceremony to to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended WWI.

Meals at Lacombe Legion – 5138 49th Street with breakfast 8-10 AM (by donation), Noon to 2PM (light lunch) and from 5-7PM, a community potluck dinner will be held. Please bring enough food to feed the group you are bringing, and then add a bit to ensure there’s enough from everyone.

Blackfalds 

Remembrance Day Ceremony at Abbey Centre – 4500 Womacks Road starts at 10:30 AM.  Note that parking is limited. There will be a brief ceremony at the Cenotaph but the main service will take place inside.

Rimbey 

The Rimbey Legion Service will take place at The Peter Lougheed Community Centre starting at 10:45 AM

Sylvan Lake 

Remembrance Day Ceremony at NexSource Centre – 4823 49th Avenue starts at 10:30. Please arrive early to be seated.  Soldiers from 41 Signal Regiment 2 Squadron will provide the Honour Guard.

Bells of Peace Commemorative Ceremony  Memorial Presbyterian Church – 5020 48th Street begins at 4:45 PM.  There will be a bell ringing ceremony to mark the anniversary of the Armistice.

Innisfail 

The Innisfail Legion’s Remembrance Day Memorial Service ( Innisfail Legion – 5108 49 Ave) begins at 9:45 AM. There will be a wreath laying ceremony at 10:45.  There will be a video feed into their clubroom for overflow and sandwiches and refreshments will be served after the service.

Penhold

Service takes place Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. – Ceremony at the Penhold Regional Multiplex

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.

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Crime

Investigation of attempted home invasion at Innisfail leads to six arrests

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From Innisfail RCMP

Innisfail RCMP work with multi partners to seize stolen property and charge six suspects

A report of an attempted home invasion on Feb. 18 led to the arrest of six property crime suspects and the recovery of a substantial amount of stolen property by Innisfail RCMP.

The Innisfail RCMP responded in the evening of Feb. 18 to the attempted home invasion near downtown Innisfail.  Two males were reported as trying to break into the home while in possession of weapons.

The two suspect males were identified by the RCMP. On Feb. 19 Innisfail RCMP with the assistance of the Central Alberta District Crime Reduction Unit and RCMP Air Services attended a property on the C+E Trail in Red Deer County, north of Penhold, to arrest the suspects.  One was arrested without incident and the second fled in a Ford F350, with two other occupants, recently stolen out of Saskatchewan. A pursuit ensued, and efforts were made to deploy tire deflation devices, but they were not successful.

The F350 travelled throughout the central Alberta area to a location near Pigeon Lake, where three occupants abandoned the F350 and were picked up by a second Ford dually pickup truck. The dually was under observation as it travelled back into Red Deer where all 5 occupants were eventually arrested at two different locations in the city with the assistance of the Red Deer City RCMP, Innisfail Integrated Traffic Unit and the RCMP Police Dog Services.

On Feb. 20, Innisfail RCMP with the assistance of RCMP Calgary Auto Theft and Blackfalds GIS executed a search warrant at the C+E Trail property. The RCMP seized items related to many property crime investigations throughout Central Alberta including: stolen firearms, ammunition, a stolen dirt bike, stolen tools, break-in tools and other weapons. The dually was examined by the Calgary Auto Theft Unit and found to be a cloned (different VIN) vehicle that was stolen 3 years ago from a ranch near Strathmore.

The following persons all from the Red Deer area have been charged as follows:

Gary Auvigne (45) is facing over 20 criminal code charges, including break and enter, use a firearm while committing an offence, utter threats, possession of a stolen firearm and breach of a release document (x6).

Thomas Larkin (41) is facing 17 charges including break and enter, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of break in tools, flight from police and dangerous driving. He is also charged with breaching a release document (x7).

Katherine Young (29) and Thomas Foshay (36) are both charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of break-in tools.

Adam Bogusky (36) is facing seven criminal charges including possession of break in tools, fraudulent concealment, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, dangerous operation of a vehicle and flight from police.

Kameryne Boyd (21) is charged with possession of break in tools, fraudulent concealment and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Auvigne and Larkin were held in custody pending Judicial Interim Release hearings scheduled for Feb. 26, 2021 in Red Deer Provincial Court. Young and Foshay  participated in Judicial Interim Release hearings and were released by a Justice of the Peace for future court dates. Bogusky and Boyd were released by police for first appearance court dates on April 6, 2021 in Red Deer Provincial Court.

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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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