Monday, March 28, 2016

Two new fonds for researchers to use - Alexander Mackenzie Voyageur Route Association and RCMP Centennial fonds

Two new fonds, or ‘collections’ are available to researchers at the Archives of the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre. Our Archivist Carson has been working very hard on processing them for several months thanks to a grant from the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation through the Archives Society of Alberta. The two fonds are F055 : Alexander Mackenzie Voyageur Route Association Fonds and F056 : Royal Canadian Mounted Police Centennial Fonds. Both fonds commemorate big events that happened in Peace River.

The Alexander Mackenzie Voyageur Route Association fonds (or AMVRA for short) is the collection of documents and photographs pertaining to the association that did a lot of planning for the 1993 Bicentennial. The Bicentennial was commemorating the completion of Alexander Mackenzie’s overland journey – the first white man to cross the North American continent, in 1793. The Association began as the Alexander Mackenzie Trail Association (AMTA) in 1985, and were advocates for the preservation of the Mackenzie Trail, an ancient trade-route used by the South Carrier Native Americans known as the Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail. Eventually as the bicentennial got closer, the association became more actively involved in planning the BC portion of the celebration. A group of university students from Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, in northern Ontario, retraced Mackenzie’s route, paddling thousands of miles of rivers across the country. This troupe arrived in Peace River in 1992, and set off from Fort Fork in 1993 to complete the final leg of Mackenzie’s 1793 journey. The Association hoped to reach a national level, with branches all across the country celebrating and commemorating Mackenzie’s milestone achievement and Canada’s furtrade history. Unfortunately, after the bicentennial was completed in 1993, the Association began to lose steam. They eventually became part of the Sir Alexander Mackenzie Historical Society here in Peace River until AMVRA’s dissolution in 2013.

The records of this Association include numerous letters and planning documents pertaining to the Bicentennial and the Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail/Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail. There are a number of photographs of the trail and the various sites along it during the Bicentennial Celebrations.

The RCMP Centennial Fonds consists largely of meeting minutes and correspondence pertaining to the organization of the centennial events held in Peace River in 1998. The Royal North West Mounted Police (RNWMP) arrived in Peace River in 1898 to help maintain peace and order. The RNWP was later reorganized into the Alberta Provincial Police in 1917. In 1932, Alberta reorganized its police force again, and joined it with the RCMP. 1998 also happened to be the 125th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police nationally. Most of the Peace River centennial was spearheaded by Mrs. Beverly Tailleur. She spent countless hours writing letters asking for sponsorship, coordinating events in Peace River including a formal ball, and keeping in touch with what other communities were doing in the Peace region to celebrate. An interesting series in this collection is that of murals painted in McLennan. It is believed Mrs. Tailleur photographed the murals as an example for what Peace River could do. It’s very interesting to see how some of the buildings have changed!

Drop in and have a look at the material. Descriptions and finding aids should be soon available on Alberta On Record and on the museum’s website – - have a look at what else we have while you’re there!

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