Monday, May 25, 2015

All Aboard!

“We are advised that as a special feature for the visitors, who will be in Peace River over the 24th of May, the river boat D. A. Thomas, will make a river excursion on that day, leaving Peace River at three o’clock in the afternoon. The trip will be for 25 miles up the river, arriving back at Peace River about 10 o’clock at night.

“There will be an orchestra aboard and provision will be made for dancing. This will be a very pleasant trip and no doubt will be availed of by a large number of the visitors in Peace River ...”

The aforementioned advertisement was seen in the May 17, 1926, Grande Prairie Herald. It is imagined that the Boudoir piano (ca. 1904-1915) on display in the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre was instrumental in providing music for the dancers on that trip.

Boudoir pianos were designed for people wishing a keyboard instrument, but who were restricted to a small space. Allan Sproul donated the piano to the Museum in 1983. His parents, Rowland and Clare, had acquired it from Ellen Eddie about 1955.

PRMA 1980.1140.002
PRMA 1992.020.007


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!