Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Lilac Szn

Lilac season is almost over here. I love the splash of colours that you can find almost anywhere you go during this time of year. What I don't love is their smell. Next up...canola season. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

What the duck?

2 animal posts in a row is unheard of on this blog, but I liked this duck couple.

I spotted them behind my sisters house, just beyond her patio. This small green space has a resident rabbit and a cheeky squirrel, but ducks are unusual. I assumed, that Mallards tend to stay near water but this was nowhere near any water and is actually in a dense residential neighbourhood next to a major roadway. I hope they made it to their destination, wherever that may be. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Fox in the Rocks

Now that the weather is nicer, I have got back to evening walks around town. Tonight on my walk I spotted a fox watching me as I walked by a little hill in the field behind my house. I didn't want to get too close or be 'that person' that gets too close to the wildlife, so I kept going but as I went around the side of the hill there were baby foxes playing amongst a big pile of large rocks on the back side of the hill, at least 6 or 7 of them. They saw me and darted back into their den but would peek out and look. 

I have know that there were foxes back here for years and would see one occasionally but always just fleetingly. One night a few summers ago, I was awoken by the sounds of 2 of them barking/shrieking at each other in front of my house in the middle of the night. The sound is hard to describe but it did answer the age old question, 'what does the fox say?"

I snapped a quick zoomed in photo, told the fox family to have a good night and be safe and I headed home. 

Did you spot the 2nd fox?

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Signs & Rooflines

Long before Forest Lawn was a neighbourhood in Calgary, it began as settlement of homesteaders in 1910. In 1935 the Village of Forest Lawn was formed by amalgamating 2 villages (Albert Park and Forest Lawn). Forest Lawn became a town in 1953 and a few years later, in 1961, it was annexed by the City of Calgary. 

If you're from Calgary, the name Forest Lawn probably brings up an opinion, stereotype, or pre-conceived notion of the area. While it may have an 'it's complicated' relationship status with the rest of the city, there is no doubt that it is also a unique and culturally diverse part of the city. The main street through the area, 17th Avenue SE, is now known as International Avenue. 

I lived and worked in the area for many years and saw lots of good things, met great people, and made great memories. I worked at a bank and also a flower shop on 17th Avenue SE and also owned 2 homes in the area, one of which is where I was living when my son was born. I also saw some not so good things, including my first ever dead body...but that is another story. 

If you didn't already know, I am a fan of old signs, especially old and vintage neon signs. On a recent drive around my old neighbourhoods, I stopped for a picture of 2 of my favourite signs. This building below, built in 1965 (thanks to Chris at BigDoer for that info), with the wonderful roofline, is in the heart of International Avenue.

The 4 Seas sign lives on, even after the restaurant is long gone.

A block west from the 4 Seas is Paradise Lanes. Still open for business.

I barely scratched the surface of International Avenue and may have to dive a bit deeper for a future post. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Jake's Butte - Dunbarney School

I always stop at this place, it's right along a paved highway and it's easy to photograph. I have stopped here several times over the years and will continue to until it falls down or I do. 

A hill, a school, and a ranch (still in operation) in the area all share the name of Jake's Butte. Named after Jake Lewis. According to the book, "As We Remember Big Valley", round-up cook Jake Lewis set up camp at the bottom of a hill but the riders couldn't find the camp. Jake put a lantern on top the hill so the riders could spot him, the hill was then named Jake's Butte and the school was also so named. The original school was used from 1913-1943, when Dunbarney School was then moved on site and used until 1950. It closed permanently when Ozark School was moved just over a mile away and Jake's Butte became redundant. It was then sold to the Jake's Butte Community Society. It appears that it was also a home at some point.

*I have an update, I was doing some more reading and found an undated image of Dunbarney School, which was moved to Jake's Butte in 1943. I am reasonably sure that they are the same building. The roofline, 2 small windows on the north side, and the chimney match, it appears the entry way was removed but the roof piece is still there. 

References: Pioneering with a Piece of Chalk; As We Remember Big Valley

Monday, April 24, 2023

Mural Monday

I am a fan of murals and public art. Or should I say most public art....I'm looking at you 'Travelling Light', aka the Big Blue Ring in Calgary. Art is definitely subjective and sometimes divisive but always something to appreciate. 

Anyway, in the City of Red Deer, there are several sides and backs of buildings in and near the downtown core that have been transformed! I think it is such a great addition to the area and makes lurking in alleys extra fun and not at all suspicious. 

Fitting mural for the Food Bank building.

Stay tuned for Part 2! More murals!!! Want more now? Check out these murals from all over the world!  

Friday, April 21, 2023

Arthurvale Adventure

Coddiwomple: to travel in a purposeful manor towards a vague destination.

Sometimes I coddiwomple my way through life, sometimes I have a set destination but get there in a random way. There are no wrong ways to explore, but there are wrong turns. 

On this particular trip I was actually headed somewhere specific and never ended up getting there. I made some 'right' turns and ended up finding an old church and some other signs (literally) that indicated that a community once thrived here. I had found St. Hilda's Anglican Church in the district of Arthurvale.

Image from 'A History of the Huxley Area'

Many of the first permanent settlers to this area were English men and women who belonged to the Anglican Church. It was a long trip to the closest Anglican Church and the local community asked for their own services. The first service was held on July 29, 1905 in the home of a local man, with 38 people attending. Services continued to be held once a month in various homes until a church could be built. Lumber was purchased in June of 1907 and work progressed through the summer and even though the church was not complete, the first service was held October 27, 1907. Many of the churches furnishings were sent from England by friends and relatives. 

I found out that occasional services were held there right up until COVID happened and that there might be a Spring or early Summer service in the works. This church used to be unlocked for all to enjoy and sign the guest book, until recently when items were stolen from the church, forcing the caretakers to lock the doors. Makes you wonder what kind of person would steal also, it seems particularly evil to steal from a church. 

Just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road is a sign for the short lived Arthurvale Post Office. By the end of 1905 the community met and discussed having the Government establish a Post Office there and the Stephenson House was chosen as the location. The name Arthurvale was chosen after Arthur Stephenson, the only child in the district at the time. 

Post Office Sign and St. Hilda's in the Background.

Another short distance away is the location of Loyalty School, the school is long gone but the entrance gate to the property is still there, just beyond the gate you can see a stone pillar that may at one time been part of a grander entrance or sign. The school opened in 1916 with 42 pupils. The school was already too small and another room was eventually added in 1925. By 1938, High School classes were being offered and the original Arthurville School was bought and moved (about 10km) on site and a dormitory built. The school closed in 1956 and the children were bussed to the nearby town of Huxley. 

What lies beyond..

The pioneers of the area now rest in Arthurvale Cemetery beside St. Hilda's but there are still those who care for the church and keep the history alive.

Sources: Pioneering with a Piece of Chalk and A History of the Huxley Area.