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More than 100 years of history at Sylvan Lake’s Hazzard County

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  • Here’s some history from the Sylvan Lake and District Archives about one of Sylvan Lake’s oldest buildings, what is now the Hazzard County Bar and Grill.  Continuously operated since being built over a century ago, this building on 46th Avenue started out as Dingwall’s Boarding House.

    Enjoy this local history story and stop by for a cool drink next time you’re at Sylvan Lake. 

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    James Dingwall Family

    By Alex Dingwall and Lillian Duffield

    James Alexander Dingwall and Catherine Ann McCrimmon were married in 1908 in Glengarry County, Ontario. They had two children, a son, Alexander, born March 27, 1909 and a daughter, Helen, born April 24, 1911.

    The family moved west to Red Deer in 1913. Mr. Dingwall worked for Great West Lumber Co., which firm operated a saw mill on the Red Deer River.

    On April 17, 1917, the family moved to Sylvan Lake where they operated the first Dingwall Boarding House. Mr. Joe Rosse had a store in the front part of the building. This building was destroyed by fire on January 21, 1921, when a gasoline lamp exploded. It was rebuilt in 1921 and this building still stands. At present (1984), the P&F Offshore Grocery occupies part of the premises.

    The Dingwalls catered to CNR freight train crews hauling coal from Nordegg Mines. There were 14 to 16 trains a day at that time. Many boarders enjoyed the sumptuous meals served by the Dignwalls. Some of these were Dr. E.K. Wright, who organized the first Sunday School in Sylvan Lake; school teachers, Miss Spicer, Miss Baker, Miss Buzzard, Mr. Les Matheson and others. Also, the late Jack Penley, who operated Varsity Dance Hall for many years, and members of his orchestra boarded at the Dingwalls. Many free meals were handed out to those in need during the depression years. Mr. Dingwall’s beautiful big garden helped supply food for the table.

    Both Mr. and Mrs. Dingwall were faithful church workers. Mr. Dingwall looked after the heating of the church and hall for many years. When the basement flooded and caved in, Mr. Dingwall built the new foundation. Mrs. Dingwall was a member of the Ladies’ Aid and worked hard for the turkey suppers sponsored by that group. She was on the committee in the early days that acquired the church bell and this bell still hangs in the new church belfry. Mrs. Dingwall was also responsible for obtaining a building, donated to her by Mr. Z. Mederis, which was moved in beside the church to be used as a Sunday School Hall for many years. Ladies’ Aid meetings, teas, and turkey suppers were held in this hall as well as many other functions.

    Mrs. Dingwall was also a faithful member and worker for the Women’s Institute and served as president for a number of years.

    The Dingwall’s son, Alexander (Alex) Edgar Dingwall, married Evaline Mina Byers of Sylvan Lake on August 31, 1940. He served five years with the Canadian Forces in the Second World War and saw service in England and Italy. On his return in 1945, he and wife Eve made their home in Red Deer where he was employed for 30 years at Red Deer Motors. They obtained a home through the V.L.A. at 3511-44 Avenue in 1949 and still reside there. Alex and Eve have two daughters.

    Susan Catherine, born April 15, 1948, married Syd Nichols of the Willowdale District and they now farm four miles east of Rocky Mountain House. They have two daughters, Janet and Laurie.

    Mary Louise was born August 28, 1949. She married Gordon Dolling (son of a former Sylvan Lake councilor) and they live in Fort McMurray. They have two sons, Jimmy and Darin.

    The Dingwall’s daughter, Helen Barbara Dingwall, married Robert Thompson of Calgary on September 12, 1945. They moved to Vancouver, Washington, where Helen still resides. Robert passed away in January, 1982. They have one daughter, Shirley Ann, who is married and has two sons. They live 20 miles from Helen.

    Another early Sylvan Lake family was Mr. and Mrs. F.D. McCrimmon, who were doubly related to the Dingwalls. Mrs. McCrimmon was Mr. Jim Dingwall’s sister and Mr. F.D. McCrimmon was Mrs. Jim Dingwall’s brother.

    They also had a sister, Mrs. Mary Bell (McCrimmon) Falkner, who resided in Sylvan Lake for many years.

    Mr. Jim Dingwall passed away on July 27, 1954 at the Red Deer Hospital. Mrs. Dingwall passed away in the Rimbey Nursing Home on February 28, 1960. They are both buried in the Sylvan Lake Cemetery.

    from:  Reflections of Sylvan Lake, pp. 178-179 — Copyright Sylvan Lake Historical Society 1984

    Read more stories about Sylvan Lake, Alberta.  Click here.


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    November 19 2018 Red Deer 2019 Capital Budget Meeting; Item Aquatic Centre

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  • Red Deer Multi-Use Aquatic Centre conceptual model from MacLennan Jaunkains Miller Architects

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    After perusing the agenda for Red Deer’s November 19 Budget meeting, I would say it is obvious that people want a 50m pool.
    20 years ago it was hoped for, and there was discussion about it being incorporated into the Collicutt Centre. 15 years ago it was hoped to be incorporated into the downtown Recreational Centre.
    4 years ago the discussion started about being built by Hazlett Lake in the north-west corner of Red Deer.
    There have been serious concerns about the downtown location. Bussing, parking, traffic and size have brought at least 4 councillors to withdraw support for the downtown location.
    The cost is phenomenal and mysterious and holding back support. 2013 the number tossed about was $85million plus demolition, streets, lights etc.etc. Now 5 years later the number could be $110million plus demolition, streets, lights etc.etc.
    Yellowknife is budgeting $50 million, UBC cost $39 million, Markham and Saskatoon cost $56 million in 2018 dollars.
    Why do we need a Rolex if a Timex will do? The term Taj Mahal is used when talking about Red Deer structures from Public Works to Bus Stations, is that necessary?
    Out of the 7 largest cities in Alberta, Red Deer is the only city that cannot host a 50m swim. We are talking about Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie and Lethbridge doing what Red Deer cannot and unwilling to do.
    The number of pools is a great concern. We have had only 4 pools since 2001, and if we only renovate a current pool then we will be down to 3 pools for a couple of years then be at 4 pools for another 32 years. If we build or renovate a pool every 25 years. The goal was 4 pools for 60,000 residents but we will probably be at 4 pools for 150,000 residents in 32 years.
    The city recently replaced one ice rink downtown, the college opened a new ice rink recently and the city wants to build another rink in the near future. Interesting because the number one activity of Red Deer residents is swimming, even the Red Deer Advocate posted that a few weeks ago. 60% prefer the Collicutt Centre.
    When Red Deer Lodge was renovating their pool, they offered free passes to the downtown pool, a couple of blocks away, and had few if any takers.
    The downtown location is wrong, the cost given is wrong, the delay offered is wrong, so where is the disconnect?
    E-mail legislative services@reddeer.ca and ask or tell them what you think. I did.
    Just saying.


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    Calgary voted against bidding for Olympic Games, would Red Deer have voted against bidding for Canada Games?

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  • Calgarians have voted against bidding for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games. Besides the boosterism of the few, the bid never really resonated with the populace.
    This bid also undeniably fell victim to the unpleasant baggage weighing down the Olympic movement. The cynical narrative is familiar by now. Cities spend billions more than initially proposed to host a two-week party that leaves little long-term positive economic impact. According to reporter Jamie Strashin of CBC news.
    There would have meant billions spent for this event and yet the perception is that there would be negligible long term benefit.
    Another question that was being asked, would the Olympics have delayed other much needed projects, more important to the residents of Calgary?
    Would Red Deer residents, if having the opportunity, would they have followed Calgary in voting against the bidding for the 2019 Canada Games? Will the two-week party in February leave little long-term positive economic impact?
    Has other projects, more important to Red Deerians been delayed or cancelled, until after the Canada Games? Will there be any quantifiable benefits to the average joe in Red Deer having these games?
    I know that the Canada Games does not have the same baggage and is only in the tens of millions not like the billions, in total, by various governments, for the Olympic games, but Calgarians still did not believe they would see any long term economic benefit.
    They can watch the ceremonies, races and events on television like almost everyone else no matter where it is located.
    Will Red Deer be able to show that the Canada Games will give us long term economic benefits without delaying other projects nearer and dearer to our hearts? Will we be scrambling to catch up after it is over?
    Perhaps we should start having plebiscites before we commit our tax dollars to these big events? Just saying.


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    november, 2018

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