Thursday, June 7, 2018


Do you ever say a name and are convinced you are pronouncing it correctly? I have always pronounced Tawatinaw as Ta-Wah-Teh-Naw. Am I right? I'm not even sure. Is it fun to say? Yes.

In case you are wondering, Tawatinaw is derived from a Cree word meaning 'river which divides the hills' or 'valley river'. It's definitely in a valley, I did not see the river. The 2016 population was 5. However it is home to a ski hill, year round resort and near the historic Athabasca Landing Trail also known as the '100 Mile Portage' built in 1876 by the Hudson's Bay Compnay as a route into the Northern Territories. It became an important route for fur traders, gold rush miners and settlers.

On the way in to the valley, I spotted an old barn and house waaaaaay out in a field seemingly with no way to get to it. We found a nearby road marked 'Dead End', and headed down it in hopes of getting a better vantage point to photograph the house. I never did find a good spot but we did happen upon the First Tawatinaw Cemetery 1918-1921 and the original location of St. Charles Church built in 1912. The dead end road kept going and it ended up not being a dead end but came out beside someones barn on their property. Oops! I made a quick getaway off their land.

Way out in right field

Left field

Onto the church! I have been wanting to see this church for a long time and I was not disappointed. With the almost overnight greening of the province, the church looked stunning against the hills. The guard dog I had heard rumours of came out to visit from the nearby house. He was a good boy. Just a friendly old dog looking for a pat.

There is no marker that I found but I read somewhere that St.Charles Catholic Church moved to this location in 1935 from the spot we discovered on the dead end road. The original log church built in 1912 burned down and this one was built in 1917.

Also spotted in Tawatinaw:

As we were leaving town, there was someone at the mail boxes. Always good to chat with a local so I asked him if he knew anything about the house in the field. He wasn't sure but he did tell me where the new cemetery was and also about the old school that used to stand on the top of the hill. After it ceased use as a school the new owners raised dogs in it. It eventually became unusable and they had a big party, invited the neighbours and lit the place up. That must have been some bonfire. He also showed me where the rail line came through and where the grain elevator once stood. No signs of any of this now. He mentioned that he was 88 years old so he has seen a lot of changes there. I hope someday, I can also say I've seen many things.

A couple photos of 'Main Street' c.1930 from the Provincial Archives:

 References: Place Names of Alberta; Provincial Archives of Alberta

Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Quick Jaunt Through Jarvie and Area

On our travels last weekend, we were on a pit stop when it was mentioned by a local that a nearby town had an old General Store. I'd like to think I am familiar with many places in Alberta, even if I haven't been to them I might have heard the name or know roughly where it is. Well, Jarvie was new to me, and it reportedly had a cool general store. We all know 'cool' is subjective, so best to check it out in person.

We rolled into Jarvie, saw an old church, another old idea what it used to be, a speeder, and then the Jarvie General Store. We even drove into a park where there is a Bat & Bird Conservancy.

Here are some images of Jarvie, old and new!

c.1952 Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Alberta
Former United Church, it looks like it might be a residence now? Unsure. 

c.1952 Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Alberta
What was it? Photo by Kim Nolan

Speeder! Photo by Kim Nolan
At the store, we asked about the area and were told about an old school not too far away...excellent. Directions were, turn right, follow until you get to a 'Y' in the road, stay left, then there will be a 'T' in the road...we managed to find it after a few kilometers of horribly rutted, not great for cars, kinda road.

Behind the trees and bees and mosquitoes is what is left of Cedar Creek school. My 'source' says this was a log school built in the mid 20's and opened in 1928-29. It doesn't appear to be log, looks like milled lumber to me but what do I know. I wasn't about to go and inspect it any closer, that's bee territory now.

From the road. Photo by Kim Nolan

Surrounded by bees and mosquitoes. 

Also in the vicinity was an odd A-Frame house, the kind you expect to see on a lake or in a mountain resort. There is a summer village on a lake a few kilometers away.


Know anything about Jarvie? Let me know!

References: Pioneering With a Piece of Chalk; Provincial Archives or Alberta
Photos taken on May 26th, 2018

Thursday, May 24, 2018


I see a lot of barns. A LOT. I like the ones that are all alone, I am sure they used to be part of a homestead. I try to picture these busy homesteads and can get carried away with all the 'I wonder whys'. I wonder when I wander.

Here are some barns we saw on 2 separate trips. All NW, W and SW of Edmonton. No stories or anything just some cool barns.

March 24th, 2018:

 April 21, 2018 Barns:

The following is a favourite barn (also pictured above), it is easy to spot beside a major highway. I have stopped at it often. Here it is on April 21st and also a shot from last summer. I am standing in almost the same spot it appears.  If anyone else sees barn faces, this one looks happy despite it's pronounced lean.

Do you have a favourite barn? I have one, but it is not pictured here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Telfordville Detour

The hamlet of Telfordville was a treat, I didn't know what to expect here but was surprised at it's charm. If you come in from the highway north, the pretty tree lined road winds down into a river valley and is pleasant change from the surrounding farmland. Keep on this road and it will eventually meet up with the same highway again to the east. It's a great little detour! We came in from the south though on a totally different road!

The first thing you see coming from the south, is an old building with a false front. Perhaps it was a garage at some point. Near this building is what appears to be an unoccupied house. There is an overgrown gate and path. There is no driveway or approach that looks used, that I could see.

Telfordville also has a church and a community hall and about 10 km SE of here we happened to come across the former location of the Telfordville School. Not to be confused with Telford Hall, which also was a school and is also not too far away.

Telford Hall (formerly Telford School), Telford Lake and Telfordville all appear to have been named in honour of Robert T. Telford. He arrived in the area, that is now Leduc, in 1889 after serving with the NWMP. His land is what is now the City of Leduc. He was the first businessman and mayor of Leduc and later became an MLA serving from 1905-1915. Telfordville is 45km west of Leduc.

References: Place Names of Alberta Volume III

Thursday, April 26, 2018

One-Time in Warburg

As a general rule, time permitting, I always like to check out small towns that I pass. On my most recent exploring trip, with my side-kick H and our friend Kim, we ended up in Warburg, AB.

Many Swedish families settled the area and in 1916 a post office was opened with the name Warburg. According to Place Names of Alberta, Warburg is named after Warberg/Varberg Castle in Sweden with an spelling error along the way. The population continued to grow with the railroad expansion and in 1953, Warburg was incorporated as a Village. As of the 2016 census, it had a population of 766.

A few buildings caught my eye as we cruised around town. First an obvious old school, now the Warburg Museum. The current school is right next to it. If you look under the Warburg Museum letters, you see a letter peeking out..possibly an H, possibly from the word school.

Also nearby:

Possibly an old hangar? 

On to the colourful downtown area, where we spotted the local watering hole. I found an old photo which I am pretty sure is the same building due to the oddly spaced window placement and the Established in 1937 clue, and how many hotels could Warburg have had?

Pretty in Pink and Red

c. 1955-56 Courtesy of the Glenbow Museum Archives

Former church. 
Bonus Boler for BigDoer 3/10! 
If you have any Warburg stories or photos, I'd love to see them!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Service: Holy Ascension Russo-Greek Orthodox Church

Seems like the best day to post a church!

This is one that we came across while out exploring about a month ago near Calmar, AB. It was surrounded by trees tall enough that even the domes could not be seen from afar.

If I have learned one thing, it is always look into a row of trees, usually the trees are there for a reason. As I passed by, the church was visible in the break in the trees. Slam on breaks, u-turn, grab camera! We had found Holy Ascension Russo-Greek Orthodox Church.

In 1927, the first church meeting was held, 2 acres of land where donated, a church committee was elected, and building began in the summer. The Temple was sanctified in November 1927. Today, there are 20 families currently in the parish.

I guess I neglected to take a photo of the bell tower, which is off to the side of the front of the church. As is common with Ukrainian Churches, the bell tower is a separate structure. Also as usual, my son rung the bell. There is also a cemetery on the grounds at the back of the church.