Friday, May 15, 2015

Peace River swept by Orange Crush

For the first time in forty-four years, Alberta witnessed an “orange crush” that swept the province into a new provincial government led by the NDP. Peace River experienced its own Orange Crush much earlier when the new bottling plant for the famed soda beverage established itself here in the 1920s/1930s. At that time it was located at 9812 100 Ave (where the present day City on a Hill Church is), and was owned by the Scott Fruit Company.
In 1949, George and Vivian Pratt moved to Peace River and bought the old bottling depot.  They decided to build a new plant in 1953, and constructed it parallel to Main Street on 99th Street. Orange Crush at the time cost between 7 and 10 cents a bottle, and was first bottled in crinkle glass bottles before the standard glass bottle became the preferred. The depot also bottled Kik Cola, American Dry, Grape Crush and Root Beer. Deliveries went out to Worsley, Hotchkiss and around Peace River.
The picture shows the new Orange Crush plant on 99 Street in the 1950s. Third from the left is Edward Pilkafski, and fifth from the left is Donny Lovelock. Edward worked at the depot for six and a half years as a delivery man.

The Pratts sponsored a women’s baseball team during the company’s operation, and the museum has some of the memorabilia in its collection, including one of the player’s sweaters.
The Pratts decided to sell the business in 1963, and the building was remodelled into offices. Though the bottling depot in Peace River is now no more, many of us still enjoy an Orange Crush pop every now and again.

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Royal Soother

With the recent arrival of Princess Charlotte, we thought we would feature this antique soother, manufactured in 1897, as part of our collection and currently on exhibit in the Toy Stories. The soother was donated 1977 by Jean Hargrave (nee Cruickshank).
           Although it appears wooden, the soother is made from natural rubber, as you would expect from an object meant to go into a baby’s mouth! Although this material would go on to revolutionize modern industry in Canada, this rubber was likely imported from South America. The budding overseas rubber industries closely protected their trade, and exporting rubber tree seeds from Brazil was even considered a capital offense at that time.

PRMA 77.759.5
On one face of the soother we can see a picture of Queen Victoria, the ruling monarch of England during that time. Despite gaining independence from England in 1867, many Canadians retained fond memories of their former rulers, and the continued influx of English immigrants contributed to the enthusiasm towards the Crown. Even 108 years after the manufacture of the soother, the Royal Family remains ever popular with Canadians, especially with the recent birth of Princess Charlotte. However, I don’t think the modern and savvy Prince William would be too happy using the likeness of his great-great-great-great-grandmother on his daughter’s pacifier!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The   River   Project   Story        
Members of the Valley Peacemakers Quilt Guild are continuously challenging themselves. From year to year, the challenges are different and unique to the Guild. The creative results are displayed in the Guild’s annual show in the DMI Gallery of the Peace River Municipal Library.
The idea for the River Project quilt artwork now displayed in the Museum, gelled following a sighting in a book and seeing a similar installation in Oregon. What better project, with the rivers that merge in our community, thought Carole Gold, as she issued the challenge to fellow quilters.

They had a year to prepare for the 2014 Guild show. It was the Guild’s first group artwork project. What you see is the work of 13 individual quilters (Danya Frank, Jill Wood, Vivian Massier, Carole Gold, Aralee Tailleur, Hildegard Campsall, Beverly Hafstein Pichette, Lois Laurin, Margaret Stewart, Carol Scobey, Chris Warne, Alice Olson, Elizabeth Daigle). They followed the guidelines set out by the issuer of the project challenge. Each panel is an indication of the artist’s self-expression and creativity. Each has a story behind its creation.
The Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre acquired this work of art through donations made in memory of Robert (Bob) Campsall, as well as a donation from the Campsall family.
Bob delighted in not only living by the Peace River, but also by watching, with wife Hildegard, its many moods from their living room window.

Pictured are: Emily Harris, granddaughter; Erin Harris, daughter; Hildegard; Patti Campsall, daughter, and John Errington. The panel behind Erin was created by Hildegard, featuring an eagle, which the Campsalls used to watch as it and its mate enjoyed the wind currents over the river.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Farewell Megan!

Museum blogs usually feature artifacts and their story or events and the reason behind them. This time, we’ll change it somewhat. We’ll delve, briefly, into the story of the person responsible for many of the blogs over the past five years – Museum Collections Technician Megan Purcell.

Megan came to the Museum well-equipped educationally and with the experience necessary to meet the challenge of managing the Museum’s extensive and growing artifact collection, including one of her favourite subjects – rocks and fossils. In addition, she designed and assembled the Museum’s displays and featured exhibits. As well, she made presentations to groups as part of the Museum’s outreach program.

Megan has done so much more. She is renowned for culinary talents on display at Museum gatherings and for staff special occasions. Alas, as of the beginning of May, Campbell River, BC, and its Museum will reap the benefits of Megan’s skills as she moves on professionally and personally.

She will be missed, not only by those of you she has assisted during her tenure, but also by Town and Museum staff – her colleagues.

Farewell Megan. Take care.

Friday, March 20, 2015

It's a Mad Hatters Party!

It's a Mad Hatters Party when the Museum and the Toy Library join together for a morning of fun and play! Next Friday, March 27th, 2015, the Museum and the Toy Library (now Peace Playland) are hosting a Mad Hatters Party for children ages 1 - 5, where everyone is invited to wear their favourite hat.

From 10 - 11:30 am, children and their parents or grandparents will be able to play with toys that the Toy Library will bring with them as well as the toys that the Museum has out in our Toy Stories exhibit.

We even have a dress-up station in this exhibit! Of course, once you're wearing your finest dress-up attire, you'll want to strike a pose at the picture station!

We invite you to join us that morning, wearing your favourite hat, for only $2 per child, with $1 each going to the Toy Library and the Museum.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Was it a bird? Was it a plane? No, it was a meteorite!

The town of Bruderheim recently commemorated the fall and recovery of the Bruderheim meteorite in 1960. What an impact this arrival from outer space must have had on the community – especially in light of the ‘race for space’ that the United States and the USSR were engaged in so tightly. Sky watchers must have been in awe. Did you know that the Peace River Museum collection includes a piece of that space rock? It was donated by the Percy Hills family from Judah Hill district.
Speaking of the Hills family, did you also know that three years later, the Peace River meteorite came to Earth and that, then graduate student in geology at the University of Alberta, Len Hills, was part of the recovery team? The Museum Library includes a report of the collection of specimens and eye-witness reports. The report (1964) begins:
                “Peace River, as a detonating bolide, entered the Earth’s atmosphere at 4:35 a.m. MST March 31, 1963, creating a flash visible for over 100 miles, followed by detonations resembling sonic booms over a 4,000-square-mile area.”  It goes on to say that March was "a time of year and day most unfavourable for recovery. However, this was Sunday morning and the Peace River country had not quite settled down from a frontier Saturday night. Peter Karpiak was up, administering to a sick horse; Alfred Bobier was looking for new-born lambs and calves .... A number of Peace River citizens were returning from parties. To many slumbering observers it was only an awakening flash and a bang, which resulted in a prowl of the premises to see if the oil heater had exploded.”

Further along in the report, the team writes of the recovery process, which determined that the ellipse of the fall was in the Brownvale area and it naturally yielded the highest concentration of specimens. One such sample,  labeled Peace River #1  and weighing in at 18 pounds, was discovered by university student John Westgate. “To the folklore of the land of Twelve-Foot Davis should be added the name of Eighteen-stone Westgate, because his discovery, like Davis’s rich fractional claim, proved to be an incredible stroke of fortune.”
If you would like to read more from the report, drop by the Museum Library between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
(Source: The Peace River Meteorite: Fall and Recovery./ R.E.Folinsbee and L.A.Bayrock, Department of Geology, University of Alberta: 1964)


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Happy New Year!

The Chinese Lunar Year just celebrated the Year of the Sheep or Goat with wishes for peace and humility in 2015.  This Blog is in honour of the Chinese families who contributed to the social, cultural and economic growth of the Peace Country in the early 1900s right up to today.

Back in 2011, the Museum hosted a travelling exhibit from the Royal Alberta Museum titled CHOP SUEY ON THE PRAIRIES. At the time, we were all reminded of the Chinese Canadian proprietors of restaurants and cafes in the Peace. These families included, though not exclusively, Dan Soo Der with the Royal Café in Grismshaw; Joe Hong and Hong’s Restaurant in North Star, Whitelaw then Notikewan; Jimmy Darr out in Hines Creek with Darr’s Café; Kimlin Der with the Grand Café, the Queen’s Café and finally the Dragon Inn in Fairview.
In Peace River we remember the families of Der Ham Lock with the Sun Café then the New Sun Café, Frank Mah at the Golden Palace Café in the McNamara Hotel, Tom Der Guey at the Dog House and the New Sun Café, Benny and Janet Wing with the Gueys and other partners established the Mayflower Café. Most recently the Bob and Sereena Kwan family with partner Romeo Yu retired from the business TJ’s Restaurant which they established and operated in Peace River. TJ's Restaurant was well-known for the best Chinese cuisine in Peace River!
Happy New Year! 
Artifacts from the Sun Café, the Golden Palace and the Dog House.

Friday, February 13, 2015

February Artist of the Month

"Pandas in their environment" by Sherri Beattie

It is fitting that Sherri Beattie is our Artist of the Month for February as it is a month to remember the importance of  family connections, family activities and family history. Sherri's work will have great appeal for children visiting our current exhibit Toy Stories. She likes to paint images of animals in bright acrylics.

As a member of the Peace of Art artists, she has included three pieces in the Infinity exhibit at the Library Art Gallery. While these works still depict her love of colour, the repetitive patterns she has created are an intriguing departure from her usual subject matter. Take time to walk through this eclectic and expressive exhibit from artists of the Peace of Art club and delight in viewing how creative the folks of the Peace are. Our artists help document who we were and are today as well as provide a commentary about some of the important issues of the time.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Family and great communities!

Family Day in Alberta is weekend filled with cultural, historical and recreational opportunities. The Museum offers something to add to this compliment of activities.

SS DA Thomas Steamboat was built in the
West Peace River Shipyards in 1916
The Historic Places Committee is holding a second Jane Jacobs Walk on February 16th, 2015 in Lower West Peace River.  This area was once a community in its own right, distinct from Peace River Crossing. It boasted banks, stores, blacksmiths and a hotel until the railway bridge was completed in 1918. That precipitated a relocation of its business community to the Crossing where greater traffic developed. Now a residential neighborhood, it is a unique place to live. Our walk will look at the special places found here and talk about the historical profile of this location.
Meet us at the Lower West Peace Playground on 91st Street at 1pm. Be prepared to walk for about 1.5 hours and we urge everyone to dress for the weather.

Beaded moccasin tongues or vamps
Staying with families and the value of creating memories together, we are pleased to host FNMI Coordinator Tanys Oxman on February 21st and 28th, 2015 for Aboriginal Art and the Child. This two part series is open to youth ages 7 to 12 years. They will create modern day wampum belts and par fleche bags while learning the cultural and historical significance associated with each object.  The sessions are free with the price of admission $2  and we ask you to pre-register as only 12 places are available.

For more information about either of these events, please call us at 780-624-4261 or email at   Our public hours are 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.