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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 – reddeer.north@assembly.ab.ca

    Red Deer South MLA Barb Miller – reddeer.south@assembly.ab.ca

    City Clerk’s office – legislativeservices@reddeer.ca

    Special appreciation to Michael Dawe for help with this post.


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    2019 Canada Winter Games

    To a “City of Volunteers” from the Chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games… Thank you!

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  • The 2019 Canada Winter Games are underway and the city is alive with activity.  You can feel a buzz on major roadways, near any of the games venues, and on the sidewalks and streets downtown.  It’s time to enjoy the experience, take in the sport and culture.. make memories with your loved ones.

    It certainly is a good time to be grateful and that’s the way Games Chair Lyn Radford is feeling.  In the days leading up to the games she reached out to her community to offer thanks to a short list of citizens.  Well… at least that ‘was’ a short list of citizens… until the final day of Radford’s “grateful campaign”.    For her final thank you, Lyn turned her attention to the thousands of citizens who are volunteering in all the roles needed to make sure these games are a ‘smooth’ success.

    These people have all stepped up to the plate in a major way and Lyn wants to recognize their impact.  If you’re looking for someone to say thank you to for this event and for the many legacy infrastructure projects that will enhance Central Alberta’s offering to future citizens..  say Thank You… to someone in a volunteer uniform.

    Thank you from Todayville as well!   Now over to Lyn:

    Day 1 of personal thanks for 2019 Canada Winter Games – Red Deer journey- is to the 5000 + volunteers that believe in their community and are sharing their time and skills to make this event a life shaping experience for athletes and spectators .

    From the bottom of my heart ❤️ I send so much love to all of you for stepping up! I know you will show CANADA the class act Red Deer, Central Alberta and Alberta is!


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    2019 Canada Winter Games

    A tremendous gift to Red Deer from local supporters of the 2019 Canada Winter Games

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  • As the 2019 Canada Winter Games begin, all of Central Alberta is invited to take part in festivities that will create life long memories.  The games will certainly be a highlight in the history of Red Deer because of those memories.  When the games are over the benefits will continue to pour in through the incredible legacy projects such as the Gary W Harris Canada Games Centre on RDC Campus, as well as all the amazing upgrades to numerous sporting facilities.

    But you don’t have to be into sports to appreciate the final piece of Canada Games infrastructure which opened this week.  Gary W Harris Celebration Plaza is a gift from so many, to so many.  From the Red Deer Public School Division who gifted this area to the City of Red Deer.  From community builders like Gary and Ruth Harris, Jack and Joan Donald.. and many others, including those who danced in the 2018 Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off.

    Not only with this new community plaza be THE hub of evening activities throughout the Canada Winter Games, it will be home to an endless number of community celebrations in the years to come.

    Be sure to bring your family, your friends.. or come join the party at Gary W Harris Celebration Plaza to enjoy the talent of some of Canada’s best musical artists, to take in the cultural festival, and.. certainly to enjoy being hosted by Games sponsors who will be offering promotional goodies throughout.

    Welcome to Red Deer’s new downtown attraction.. and thanks to all those who made this happen!


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    february, 2019

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