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.