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You can help City Council protect Red Deer’s historic “Parsons House”

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The beautiful two story brick home has graced the downtown corner of 49 Street and 48 Avenue for 115  years.  It’s become well known as The Parsons House, named after Dr. Richard Parsons, the home’s third owner.  For the last number of years Parsons House has been home of the legal firm Lee Inglis Albrecht.  But the property and surrounding area have been purchased for construction of Red Deer’s new Justice Centre.  The Parsons House has been designated an historic resource but that in itself may not guarantee it’s future.   For long term viability, the home will likely have to be worked into the design for Red Deer’s new court house.

The Parsons House, c. 1980. Red Deer Archives

It’s no surprise this cause is important to Red Deer City Councilor and former city archivist Michael Dawe.  Dawe says there are many examples across Western Canada of historical structures being incorporated into the designs of new buildings.  Dawe offers this short history of the home.

The Parsons House was built in 1903 on the south west corner of Mann (49) Street and Nanton (48) Avenue by Thomas Goard. He owned the Red Deer Music Company, one of the community’s very first music stores. His descendants still live in Central Alberta.
In 1904, the house was purchased by Edward and Mary Michener. Edward was mayor of Red Deer and later M.L.A. He was also later the leader of the Conservative Party in Alberta. Edward and Mary’s son Roland became Governor General of Canada in 1967.
In 1905, the Micheners started to build a large new house on the brow of the East Hill (now known as the Michener Hill subdivision). They sold the brick  house to Dr. Richard Parsons and his wife Ella. Dr. Parsons had moved to Red Deer in 1903 in anticipation of the opening of the Red Deer Memorial Hospital. He and Ella got married just before they purchased this new home.
In 1912, Dr. Parsons decided to build a large annex on the southside of the house for his medical clinic. The annex not only included an office and examination rooms, but also a laboratory and one of Alberta’s first x-ray machines.
Ella passed away in 1918 during the Spanish flu epidemic, leaving Richard as a single parent with four young children.

Dr. Richard Parsons, with his four children Margo, Ella, Bill and MacGregor. 1919. The young person on the left is unidentified. Photo from the Parsons family.

In 1920, he re-married, to Annie Forbes who had been a matron at the Red Deer Hospital.
Dr.  Richard Parsons passed away in 1944. Annie continued to live in the house until her passing in 1983.

The Parsons House, c. 1944. Photo courtesy of the Parsons family.

For a few years, The house was used as the offices of the Red Deer Native Friendship Centre.
It was later acquired by the legal firm of Lee and Short who renovated it into their firm’s offices.
In 1990, the house was designated a Registered Historic Resource.
In 2018, the house/law office was purchased by the Province as part of the assemblage of a new site for a new Red Deer Justice Centre (Court House).

Parsons House, 1915 (in the foreground are soldiers of the 12th Canadian Mounted Rifles who were training prior to departure for service overseas in the First World War. Red Deer Archives

Red Deer City Council has passed a proposed memorandum of agreement with the Province that will ensure the Parsons House is preserved when the new Justice Centre is built.  If you’d like to support this agreement to preserve this piece of Red Deer’s history,  consider sending an email to one of Red Deer’s two MLA’s and to the City saying you support the agreement with the Province.

Email addresses:

Red Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner – [email protected]

Red Deer South MLA Barb Miller – [email protected]

City Clerk’s office – [email protected]

Special appreciation to Michael Dawe for help with this post.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Community

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 reddeerhospitallottery.ca. 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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Community

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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