October 8, 2019
jennyfromtheblog

Our Creepy Local History of Murders & Executions

We started down the path of writing this article quite innocently enough as we were compiling interesting stories for explorestrathconacounty.com. Intrigued by discovering that the former Fort Saskatchewan jail cemetery was reputedly haunted, of course we wanted to learn more. We had no idea how far down this creepy path we were about to venture. Let’s start at the beginning…

THE DEATH SENTENCE IN CANADA

A rather macabre piece of Canadian history, the death sentence. If you committed murder, rape or treason in Canada in 1869, it was “off to the gallows” for you – the method of execution was always hanging. By 1870, most executions took place in private, behind prison walls, although the public could attend by invitation. That is until 1935, when an unfortunate weight miscalculation by the executioner led to a gruesome decapitation of a woman accused of murdering her husband for the insurance money. Read more.

The last execution in Canada took place in 1962 as the government put a moratorium on capital punishment in 1967. In 1976 they removed it from the Criminal Code, except for certain military offences. In 1998, capital punishment in Canada was abolished entirely, but not before 62 people in Alberta were sent to the executioner over the years – all of them convicted of murder.

HANGING AROUND IN FORT SASKATCHEWAN

31 of those who faced the hangman’s noose did it at the old Fort Saskatchewan Provincial Jail.

Fort Saskatchewan, originally home to the North West Mounted Police (predecessors of the RCMP), was established in 1875 and later became a provincial jail in 1915. For years and well into the future, the jail has been reported to be haunted.

Fort Saskatchewan Jail Cemetery is a small cemetery of unmarked graves located along the trail that runs through Fort Saskatchewan, tucked into a residential neighborhood overlooking the river valley. The sign on site notes that it was moved to this site in 1957.

The following are some of the stories of the executed whose remains may reside here. Be forewarned, they are a bit gruesome.

______________________________________________________________________________

SWIFT RUNNER [Executed 1879]

Swift Runner has the dubious distinction of the being the first person legally executed under the jurisdiction of the NWMP in Fort Saskatchewan, in 1879. The details of his crime are particularly grisly, he murdered and then cannibalized his entire family, including his wife, six children, mother and brother. It is quite a famously horrible story and a quick Google search for “Swift Runner” will yield you several results. This is one such result – read more.

JOSEPH CAMERON aka JOSEPH ARTHUR CAMPBELL [Executed 1919]

Cameron was accused and found guilty of killing a Police Officer and a civilian. The evening started innocently enough, just drinking and playing poker with some buddies. Turns out that Cameron wasn’t a good loser and ended up shooting the man who beat him when he wouldn’t return the money. Later that same night, a police pursuit also resulted in Cameron murdering Constable Frank Beevers.

Beevers is now widely recognized as the first Officer killed in the line of duty in Edmonton.  Interestingly, it is believed that Frank Beevers was actually the Janitor at police headquarters and not a Constable at all. Due to wartime shortages of men, the Chief of Police sent Beevers, along with two other Constables to pursue Cameron. The position of Constable is believed to have been awarded to Beevers posthumously. [Read more: The Edmonton Bulletin, October 18, 1918]

THE RUM RUNNER & THE MOB PRINCESS [Executed 1923]

Florence Lassandro, was hanged in 1923 for her role in the execution of a police officer in 1922. She maintained her innocence right up to her death. She was the last woman executed in Alberta. While it is widely reported that Florence and her mob boss, Emilio Picariello, were buried in unmarked graves, Gord Steinke, a News Reporter from Edmonton discovered their headstones in St. Joachim’s Cemetery. Now the Fort Heritage Precinct sometimes offers graveside story telling of these two infamous characters.

Read more: http://www.vicbergman.com/emperor-pick-the-bottle-king/

VERNON ELWOOD BOOHER [Executed 1929]

One night in 1928, Booher decided to kill his mother at the kitchen table because she didn’t like his girlfriend and had broken off the romance. As fate would have it, his brother and two hired men came running into the house and saw what he had done. Booher said then he panicked, and he had to kill them because they were witnesses.

Unusually, this mass murderer was caught with a little help from a psychic, The Vienna-born Maximilian Langsner. Langsner maintained that he could read mind-waves. Reportedly, he sat outside Booher’s cell for hours until he was finally able to draw the police a map to the location of the rifle used to murder the family. Faced with the murder weapon, Booher confessed and was subsequently hanged to death.  [Read more: https://freaked.com/booher-family-mass-murder/]

GEORGE DWERNYCHUK [Executed 1931]

Smoky Lake, October 1930…Apparently motivated by rage, an estrangement from his wife and controversy over some land ownership, George walked into his wife’s parent’s home after family supper and opened fire with his shotgun. He killed John Walanski and his wife (Dwernychuk’s estranged wife’s parents), along with her disabled 17-year old sister, Mary Walanski; and Helen Huchaluk, her 74-year-old grandmother. Poor John Darichuk, who lived nearby, happened to pass by on his horse and buggy and George shot him too, worried that he might turn him in. Captured in Vegreville the next day, George was sent to the gallows after only 48 minutes of jury deliberation, the shortest murder trial in Edmonton history.

“Tell Mackenzie King and Mr. Forko that they will soon have room for another immigrant” he told his spiritual adviser, Major Hector Habkirk of the Salvation Army just before he was hanged. – Lethbridge Herald March 3, 1931. Read more: Edmonton Journal, This Day in History November 24, 1930

JOHN FERGUSON [Executed 1934]

Classic case of loving the farmer’s daughter! John Ferguson, age 25, was in love with Louis Jobin’s daughter, Marcella, age 16. Jobin did not approve of the relationship. When Ferguson approached Jobin to see if Marcella could leave with him to go work for his parents. Jobin refused and Ferguson shot him in the head. Read more: Winnipeg Evening Tribune, March 16, 1934

WILLIAM HAWRYLUK [Executed 1935]

The newspaper said that Hawryluk quarreled with his wife, hit her on the head with a blunt object and then put her outside in -45-degree temperature. It wasn’t known if she died as a result of exposure or the trauma to her head. Read more: Hannah Herald January 24, 1935

MICHAEL JOSEPH HAYES aka THOMAS LEE [Executed 1950]

Unemployed army veteran, Michael Joseph Hayes, buried his victim, William McKay, alive after a drinking party went very, very bad.  The newspaper clipping says when McKay’s struggles made it evident he was still alive, he was then hacked to death with an axe. Read more: Winnipeg Free Press, July 4, 1949

Interested in the history? Here is some further reading for you:

March 20, 2019
jennyfromtheblog

Spring Break Adventures!

Not sure what to do with your kids this Spring Break? Here are a few ideas! Our local municipalities put on lots of great programs – here are the links:

The Library. Don’t forget to check out the local libraries – our libraries are amazing and they give to the community in a big way! Here are just a few of the fun things they have planned.

Sherwood Park Mall. They’re putting on A Fairy Tale Spring Break. Story time, games and crafts with your favourite princesses. Free registration and then you get to enjoy a little retail therapy! Win-win!

Need some more ideas? Check out these great local businesses:

Level Up GamEscape – Board Game Café in Sherwood Park featuring board games, D& D, Virtual Reality, Youth and Adult Games. Snack Bar onsite, closed Sundays & Mondays, open noon – 10 pm all other days. Stay and play board from $6/all day!

Mastermind Toys – Spring Break Free crafts & events, registration is required, parents need to be there and space is limited!

Indigo Books & Music – They’re offering crafts and LEGO and story time (and a bonus Starbucks just around the corner for Mom or Dad)…we just love them.

Fun Park Amusement Centre – Exactly what it says it is – an amusement centre featuring and indoor trampoline park, jungle gym, dodge ball, arcade, laser tag and a perfectly lovely licensed lounge upstairs for parents! Prices are variable depending on what you want to do. All-inclusive pass is about $30/day, cheaper for younger kids.

Home Depot is offering spring break morning workshops. Contact the store for more details.

Bowling & Golf– We’ve got Sherwood Park Bowling; Fort Lanes Bowling & Virtual Golf;  and Long Shotz Driving Range is now open for the season.

If none of those things inspire you or your kids, venture into the City…

ArtBreak Camp Art Lab – An amazing week-long investigative art and science experience, campers will go behind the scenes at AGA and spend time at Telus World of Science and the Royal Alberta Museum. Week long program from $264.

Edmonton Humane Society Day Camps – A terrific way for your little animal lover to spend a day or two! Daily Camps $60/child.

Telus World of Science – Spring Break 2019. An excellent week of programming – fun science, including workshops, laser shows and IMAX. Daily prices range from around $30 – $40/person. Family passes are available.

City of Edmonton Spring Break Camps. There are plenty to choose from, most are quite affordable.

Millwoods Town Centre. They have a LEGO competition going on and lots of other great activities to entertain the kids.

YMCA Spring Break Camps – YMCA Camps are full day experiences, from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, about $200 for the week. They are a fun adventure for your kids while building their imagination, confidence, independence and communication skills.

Did we miss any great events? Please feel free to share in the comments below!

Cheers until next time!

Jenny from the blog!

February 21, 2019
jennyfromtheblog

Ardrossan United Church

Local Church, Heritage Site and a Community Gathering Place for over 100 years

Hidden in plain sight, just a ½ block from the Ardrossan Recreation Complex sits one of our lovely historic buildings, the Ardrossan United Church. 

I recently had the opportunity to tour this charming church that has played such a significant role in the history of the hamlet. Sincere thanks to Shauna Anderson for enabling the tour and to Board Chair, Nelson Modin for sharing its terrific history with me. 

The history of the congregation goes back over 118 years, to 1901. There were originally two separate congregations – The First Presbyterian and the Methodist, located about a mile apart from each other. Those churches were originally located about 5 km northeast of the current Ardrossan town site, near where the Fairmount Cemetery that divides Highway 16 currently sits.

About 1898, the Lackey family claimed a couple of homesteads nearby and the area became known as the Lackey Settlement, about a mile west from where the cemetery sits. The First Presbyterian Church was built in 1901 and was also used as a school for the area.

The Fairmount Methodist church was built in 1902, the cemetery beside it called Fairmount Cemetery. The first person to be interred in the cemetery is said to be a bachelor who had, sadly, been found frozen to death. Our harsh Alberta winters were certainly even more challenging then than they are now, for pioneers who lived without the luxury of power and central heating systems.

Fairmount Cemetery, located about 5 minutes east of Ardrossan, on Highway 16.
The Ardrossan Methodist Church was formerly located right beside it.

A Church on the Move

Ardrossan started to take shape in 1908, as a new railroad was getting built. While the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway didn’t arrive until 1909, the men building the railroad set up tents and other housing for themselves. At one point, the construction of the railway employed thousands of men east of Edmonton. To provide worship services for these men, a Reverend originally set up a tent, until it was decided to move the Church.

It took a team of 12 horses and sleighs to pull the Fairmount Methodist Church into the town site in 1910. In the meantime, homesteaders were busy clearing land and their preferred method was fire. Sadly, the original church was burned down in a bush fire but was rebuilt by year end.

In 1915, an addition was built on to the church to house student ministers while they were serving the area. The “new” church was built in 1960 and the student minister area is what now links the two buildings together, through a bit of a maze. The interior of the new church is stunning, with the light from the stained glass bouncing off the wood ceilings.

 In the Community Today

The Church is really active in the community and many different groups meet here weekly. All are welcome to join in worship services Sunday morning at 10:00 or for coffee and fellowship Thursday mornings at 9 am, in the little church.

Both Churches, as well as the kitchen and basement area, are offered as affordable rentals for funerals, weddings and other events. Contact Shauna Anderson for more details, phone 780.922.2255 or by email: ardrossanunitedchurchoffice@gmail.com.

Want to read more?

Stay curious! Until next month,

Jenny from the blog

December 21, 2018
jennyfromtheblog

Holiday Helper Contest

Everyone wants a piece of your time, so it seems, through the holidays. It can be exhausting. I know there are so many contests, flyers and ads popping up to bombard your senses, so I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who participated for your overwhelming support with this contest.

I would also like to take a moment to thank the businesses that jumped on board with this contest, designed to completely transform one family’s entire Christmas. They all stepped up in a big way and what I originally thought was going to be a prize package of about $600 climbed to be worth over $1,000! That’s so awesome.

The family that won was incredibly grateful, like many Albertans in 2018; they had experienced a challenging year. Prize pick-up day was filled with much joy and gratitude and definitely a few happy tears! It was a really rewarding moment to be a part of.

We donated the ad space and generated the content for the contest, but the local businesses are the ones that donated the prizes that enabled this contest to move forward. Much gratitude to the participating businesses, please continue to support them!  

December 3, 2018
jennyfromtheblog

Brighten up your holidays!

Who doesn’t love a great Christmas lights display? We’ve put together our comprehensive list of the region’s best holiday lights and festivals. We have a mix of driving, walking and sleigh ride experiences and even a couple of festivals to choose from! So, grab your family, a cup of cocoa, put on your winter gear and hit up one the amazing displays to get yourself immersed in the holiday spirit.

Christmas lights  christmas lights

Lighting Up Our Neighbourhoods…

  • CP Holiday Train – Josephburg [December 10] This is a FREE event, with a heart-healthy donation to the Food Bank. The CP Holiday Train is set to stop at the Moyer Recreational Centre in Josephburg with Alberta’s very own Terri Clark, along with Kelly Prescott and Sierra Noble. They will be putting on a performance, all in support of the food bank.
  • Festival Place – Sherwood Park [November 17 – January] This is FREE to do, just wander through the grounds at your leisure and enjoy the lights.
  • Fort Saskatchewan Enchanted Forest [November 23 – January 7]. This is a FREE event. This is the 15th annual, Enchanted Forest, a perfect alternative if you prefer indoor events! Local businesses create unique Christmas trees with their special touch.
  • Lights on Highway 14 – Strathcona County [seasonal] This is FREE. Just outside of Sherwood Park on Highway 14 (just east of Highway 21) homeowners on a private acreage residence light up their property for everyone driving by to enjoy. It’s a stunning display of lights.
  • Strathcona County Christmas Lights [Facebook Group] – This is a group that lists all the great spots around the County to view some beautiful Christmas displays.

Willing to Venture Further? Here are our Fav Edmonton Area Displays…

christmas lights

  • Bright Lights Christmas FestivalEdmonton [December 8, 5 – 8 pm] This is a FREE event. Featuring music, entertainment, crafts, food and horse-drawn wagon rides to view the lights around the property.
  • Candy Cane LaneEdmonton [December 7 – January 1] This is a FREE event with a donation to the food bank. This is a beloved Edmonton classic! Candy Cane was established in 1968, so this marks their 50th Anniversary of volunteerism! You can walk, drive or take a sleigh ride, but to best experience the event in the proper holiday spirit, it is recommended that you walk or take the sleigh. Sleigh rides are 45 minutes, $17/person and can be booked through the website. Private sleighs can be booked for groups of 22 people.
  • Central Park  Spruce Grove The City of Spruce Grove sets up 150,000 glowing lights in Central Park. There is also a skating oval, community firepit and free wi-fi.
  • Christmas at Bob’s – Edmonton [December 1 – January 7] This is FREE to walk through. One local fellow lovingly creates a massive display in Old Strathcona, year after year, complete with its own soundtrack and tunnel of lights.
  • Edmonton Area Christmas Lights [Facebook Page] – Edmonton This is a Facebook page that shares all the great holiday displays around the city.
  • ETS Holiday Lights TourEdmonton [December 14 – 16] Tickets are $5 and donations to the Food Bank are encouraged. Tickets should be pre-purchased. Tour of the legislative grounds and Candy Cane Lane.
  • GlowSt. Albert [November 22 – January 19] $25 adult / $19 child. Glow is new – it just started up last year in Vancouver to rave reviews! It’s not the cheapest lights display, but in addition to the 500,000 lights and beautiful musical light tunnel, it is a whole indoor festival with something for the whole family.
  • Leduc Country Lights – Leduc [November 30 – December 30]. This is a FREE event with a donation to the Food Bank. Sadly, this is the last year of operation for this family favourite. There will be fireworks on Dec 30 for their last day of operation.
  • Legislative GroundsEdmonton [December 1 – January 31] This is a FREE event. The grounds are lit up and Celebrate the Season features free musical performances in the rotunda daily for three weeks in December.
  • Luminaria at the Devonian GardensDevon [SOLD OUT for 2018 season] Keep it on your list for 2019! It is fantastic and has sold out early for the past couple of years.
  • Magic of Lights at Castrol Raceway – Nisku [November 16 – January 6] $25/Carload or $20/person for hayride, includes VIP parking & hot chocolate. Private bookings for hayrides are available.
  • Muttart Conservatory – Edmonton [Phone to confirm dates & times] Adults $12.50/ Children $6.50 / Family $37. Light Walk is a variety of light installations that turns one of the pyramids into a magical winter wonderland. Adults only on Wednesday nights and Thursdays are family friendly. Santa’s workshop & photos with Santa on December 4 & 6; Holly Jolly Christmas; Christmas Market and Christmas concerts are all offered through the holidays – check their website events page for more details.
  • Williams Winter Wonderland – Gibbons [December 1 – January 1] This is a FREE event – an acreage just outside Gibbons that decorates for a magical display for the public to wander through.
  • Winter Wagon Nights – Edmonton [December 20 – December 29] $10/person at Fort Edmonton Park – enjoy a wagon ride while enjoying the glowing lights, free hot chocolate and winter bonfire. Adult beverages, fresh cinnamon buns and shopping will also be available.
  • Winter Whyte – Edmonton [November 15 – January] Various events on Whyte Avenue through the holidays, but the whole avenue lights up and they introduce sleigh rides through December.
  • Zoominescence at the Valley Zoo – Edmonton [Weekends in December] Adults $8.50 / kids $6. In addition to the spectacular installation of light exhibits, Zoominescence features skating around the pond, and ice slide, art installations and fire dancers. Intended to be a fundraiser for the zoo, prices are affordable for the whole family.

Are we missing any of your favourites? Please share in the comments below!

Merry Christmas, everyone.

xo – Jenny from the blog 

October 8, 2019
jennyfromtheblog

Our Creepy Local History of Murders & Executions

We started down the path of writing this article quite innocently enough as we were compiling interesting stories for explorestrathconacounty.com. Intrigued by discovering that the former Fort Saskatchewan jail cemetery was reputedly haunted, of course we wanted to learn more. We had no idea how far down this creepy path we were about to venture. Let’s start at the beginning…

THE DEATH SENTENCE IN CANADA

A rather macabre piece of Canadian history, the death sentence. If you committed murder, rape or treason in Canada in 1869, it was “off to the gallows” for you – the method of execution was always hanging. By 1870, most executions took place in private, behind prison walls, although the public could attend by invitation. That is until 1935, when an unfortunate weight miscalculation by the executioner led to a gruesome decapitation of a woman accused of murdering her husband for the insurance money. Read more.

The last execution in Canada took place in 1962 as the government put a moratorium on capital punishment in 1967. In 1976 they removed it from the Criminal Code, except for certain military offences. In 1998, capital punishment in Canada was abolished entirely, but not before 62 people in Alberta were sent to the executioner over the years – all of them convicted of murder.

HANGING AROUND IN FORT SASKATCHEWAN

31 of those who faced the hangman’s noose did it at the old Fort Saskatchewan Provincial Jail.

Fort Saskatchewan, originally home to the North West Mounted Police (predecessors of the RCMP), was established in 1875 and later became a provincial jail in 1915. For years and well into the future, the jail has been reported to be haunted.

Fort Saskatchewan Jail Cemetery is a small cemetery of unmarked graves located along the trail that runs through Fort Saskatchewan, tucked into a residential neighborhood overlooking the river valley. The sign on site notes that it was moved to this site in 1957.

The following are some of the stories of the executed whose remains may reside here. Be forewarned, they are a bit gruesome.

______________________________________________________________________________

SWIFT RUNNER [Executed 1879]

Swift Runner has the dubious distinction of the being the first person legally executed under the jurisdiction of the NWMP in Fort Saskatchewan, in 1879. The details of his crime are particularly grisly, he murdered and then cannibalized his entire family, including his wife, six children, mother and brother. It is quite a famously horrible story and a quick Google search for “Swift Runner” will yield you several results. This is one such result – read more.

JOSEPH CAMERON aka JOSEPH ARTHUR CAMPBELL [Executed 1919]

Cameron was accused and found guilty of killing a Police Officer and a civilian. The evening started innocently enough, just drinking and playing poker with some buddies. Turns out that Cameron wasn’t a good loser and ended up shooting the man who beat him when he wouldn’t return the money. Later that same night, a police pursuit also resulted in Cameron murdering Constable Frank Beevers.

Beevers is now widely recognized as the first Officer killed in the line of duty in Edmonton.  Interestingly, it is believed that Frank Beevers was actually the Janitor at police headquarters and not a Constable at all. Due to wartime shortages of men, the Chief of Police sent Beevers, along with two other Constables to pursue Cameron. The position of Constable is believed to have been awarded to Beevers posthumously. [Read more: The Edmonton Bulletin, October 18, 1918]

THE RUM RUNNER & THE MOB PRINCESS [Executed 1923]

Florence Lassandro, was hanged in 1923 for her role in the execution of a police officer in 1922. She maintained her innocence right up to her death. She was the last woman executed in Alberta. While it is widely reported that Florence and her mob boss, Emilio Picariello, were buried in unmarked graves, Gord Steinke, a News Reporter from Edmonton discovered their headstones in St. Joachim’s Cemetery. Now the Fort Heritage Precinct sometimes offers graveside story telling of these two infamous characters.

Read more: http://www.vicbergman.com/emperor-pick-the-bottle-king/

VERNON ELWOOD BOOHER [Executed 1929]

One night in 1928, Booher decided to kill his mother at the kitchen table because she didn’t like his girlfriend and had broken off the romance. As fate would have it, his brother and two hired men came running into the house and saw what he had done. Booher said then he panicked, and he had to kill them because they were witnesses.

Unusually, this mass murderer was caught with a little help from a psychic, The Vienna-born Maximilian Langsner. Langsner maintained that he could read mind-waves. Reportedly, he sat outside Booher’s cell for hours until he was finally able to draw the police a map to the location of the rifle used to murder the family. Faced with the murder weapon, Booher confessed and was subsequently hanged to death.  [Read more: https://freaked.com/booher-family-mass-murder/]

GEORGE DWERNYCHUK [Executed 1931]

Smoky Lake, October 1930…Apparently motivated by rage, an estrangement from his wife and controversy over some land ownership, George walked into his wife’s parent’s home after family supper and opened fire with his shotgun. He killed John Walanski and his wife (Dwernychuk’s estranged wife’s parents), along with her disabled 17-year old sister, Mary Walanski; and Helen Huchaluk, her 74-year-old grandmother. Poor John Darichuk, who lived nearby, happened to pass by on his horse and buggy and George shot him too, worried that he might turn him in. Captured in Vegreville the next day, George was sent to the gallows after only 48 minutes of jury deliberation, the shortest murder trial in Edmonton history.

“Tell Mackenzie King and Mr. Forko that they will soon have room for another immigrant” he told his spiritual adviser, Major Hector Habkirk of the Salvation Army just before he was hanged. – Lethbridge Herald March 3, 1931. Read more: Edmonton Journal, This Day in History November 24, 1930

JOHN FERGUSON [Executed 1934]

Classic case of loving the farmer’s daughter! John Ferguson, age 25, was in love with Louis Jobin’s daughter, Marcella, age 16. Jobin did not approve of the relationship. When Ferguson approached Jobin to see if Marcella could leave with him to go work for his parents. Jobin refused and Ferguson shot him in the head. Read more: Winnipeg Evening Tribune, March 16, 1934

WILLIAM HAWRYLUK [Executed 1935]

The newspaper said that Hawryluk quarreled with his wife, hit her on the head with a blunt object and then put her outside in -45-degree temperature. It wasn’t known if she died as a result of exposure or the trauma to her head. Read more: Hannah Herald January 24, 1935

MICHAEL JOSEPH HAYES aka THOMAS LEE [Executed 1950]

Unemployed army veteran, Michael Joseph Hayes, buried his victim, William McKay, alive after a drinking party went very, very bad.  The newspaper clipping says when McKay’s struggles made it evident he was still alive, he was then hacked to death with an axe. Read more: Winnipeg Free Press, July 4, 1949

Interested in the history? Here is some further reading for you:

March 20, 2019
jennyfromtheblog

Spring Break Adventures!

Not sure what to do with your kids this Spring Break? Here are a few ideas! Our local municipalities put on lots of great programs – here are the links:

The Library. Don’t forget to check out the local libraries – our libraries are amazing and they give to the community in a big way! Here are just a few of the fun things they have planned.

Sherwood Park Mall. They’re putting on A Fairy Tale Spring Break. Story time, games and crafts with your favourite princesses. Free registration and then you get to enjoy a little retail therapy! Win-win!

Need some more ideas? Check out these great local businesses:

Level Up GamEscape – Board Game Café in Sherwood Park featuring board games, D& D, Virtual Reality, Youth and Adult Games. Snack Bar onsite, closed Sundays & Mondays, open noon – 10 pm all other days. Stay and play board from $6/all day!

Mastermind Toys – Spring Break Free crafts & events, registration is required, parents need to be there and space is limited!

Indigo Books & Music – They’re offering crafts and LEGO and story time (and a bonus Starbucks just around the corner for Mom or Dad)…we just love them.

Fun Park Amusement Centre – Exactly what it says it is – an amusement centre featuring and indoor trampoline park, jungle gym, dodge ball, arcade, laser tag and a perfectly lovely licensed lounge upstairs for parents! Prices are variable depending on what you want to do. All-inclusive pass is about $30/day, cheaper for younger kids.

Home Depot is offering spring break morning workshops. Contact the store for more details.

Bowling & Golf– We’ve got Sherwood Park Bowling; Fort Lanes Bowling & Virtual Golf;  and Long Shotz Driving Range is now open for the season.

If none of those things inspire you or your kids, venture into the City…

ArtBreak Camp Art Lab – An amazing week-long investigative art and science experience, campers will go behind the scenes at AGA and spend time at Telus World of Science and the Royal Alberta Museum. Week long program from $264.

Edmonton Humane Society Day Camps – A terrific way for your little animal lover to spend a day or two! Daily Camps $60/child.

Telus World of Science – Spring Break 2019. An excellent week of programming – fun science, including workshops, laser shows and IMAX. Daily prices range from around $30 – $40/person. Family passes are available.

City of Edmonton Spring Break Camps. There are plenty to choose from, most are quite affordable.

Millwoods Town Centre. They have a LEGO competition going on and lots of other great activities to entertain the kids.

YMCA Spring Break Camps – YMCA Camps are full day experiences, from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, about $200 for the week. They are a fun adventure for your kids while building their imagination, confidence, independence and communication skills.

Did we miss any great events? Please feel free to share in the comments below!

Cheers until next time!

Jenny from the blog!

February 21, 2019
jennyfromtheblog

Ardrossan United Church

Local Church, Heritage Site and a Community Gathering Place for over 100 years

Hidden in plain sight, just a ½ block from the Ardrossan Recreation Complex sits one of our lovely historic buildings, the Ardrossan United Church. 

I recently had the opportunity to tour this charming church that has played such a significant role in the history of the hamlet. Sincere thanks to Shauna Anderson for enabling the tour and to Board Chair, Nelson Modin for sharing its terrific history with me. 

The history of the congregation goes back over 118 years, to 1901. There were originally two separate congregations – The First Presbyterian and the Methodist, located about a mile apart from each other. Those churches were originally located about 5 km northeast of the current Ardrossan town site, near where the Fairmount Cemetery that divides Highway 16 currently sits.

About 1898, the Lackey family claimed a couple of homesteads nearby and the area became known as the Lackey Settlement, about a mile west from where the cemetery sits. The First Presbyterian Church was built in 1901 and was also used as a school for the area.

The Fairmount Methodist church was built in 1902, the cemetery beside it called Fairmount Cemetery. The first person to be interred in the cemetery is said to be a bachelor who had, sadly, been found frozen to death. Our harsh Alberta winters were certainly even more challenging then than they are now, for pioneers who lived without the luxury of power and central heating systems.

Fairmount Cemetery, located about 5 minutes east of Ardrossan, on Highway 16.
The Ardrossan Methodist Church was formerly located right beside it.

A Church on the Move

Ardrossan started to take shape in 1908, as a new railroad was getting built. While the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway didn’t arrive until 1909, the men building the railroad set up tents and other housing for themselves. At one point, the construction of the railway employed thousands of men east of Edmonton. To provide worship services for these men, a Reverend originally set up a tent, until it was decided to move the Church.

It took a team of 12 horses and sleighs to pull the Fairmount Methodist Church into the town site in 1910. In the meantime, homesteaders were busy clearing land and their preferred method was fire. Sadly, the original church was burned down in a bush fire but was rebuilt by year end.

In 1915, an addition was built on to the church to house student ministers while they were serving the area. The “new” church was built in 1960 and the student minister area is what now links the two buildings together, through a bit of a maze. The interior of the new church is stunning, with the light from the stained glass bouncing off the wood ceilings.

 In the Community Today

The Church is really active in the community and many different groups meet here weekly. All are welcome to join in worship services Sunday morning at 10:00 or for coffee and fellowship Thursday mornings at 9 am, in the little church.

Both Churches, as well as the kitchen and basement area, are offered as affordable rentals for funerals, weddings and other events. Contact Shauna Anderson for more details, phone 780.922.2255 or by email: ardrossanunitedchurchoffice@gmail.com.

Want to read more?

Stay curious! Until next month,

Jenny from the blog

December 21, 2018
jennyfromtheblog

Holiday Helper Contest

Everyone wants a piece of your time, so it seems, through the holidays. It can be exhausting. I know there are so many contests, flyers and ads popping up to bombard your senses, so I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who participated for your overwhelming support with this contest.

I would also like to take a moment to thank the businesses that jumped on board with this contest, designed to completely transform one family’s entire Christmas. They all stepped up in a big way and what I originally thought was going to be a prize package of about $600 climbed to be worth over $1,000! That’s so awesome.

The family that won was incredibly grateful, like many Albertans in 2018; they had experienced a challenging year. Prize pick-up day was filled with much joy and gratitude and definitely a few happy tears! It was a really rewarding moment to be a part of.

We donated the ad space and generated the content for the contest, but the local businesses are the ones that donated the prizes that enabled this contest to move forward. Much gratitude to the participating businesses, please continue to support them!  

December 3, 2018
jennyfromtheblog

Brighten up your holidays!

Who doesn’t love a great Christmas lights display? We’ve put together our comprehensive list of the region’s best holiday lights and festivals. We have a mix of driving, walking and sleigh ride experiences and even a couple of festivals to choose from! So, grab your family, a cup of cocoa, put on your winter gear and hit up one the amazing displays to get yourself immersed in the holiday spirit.

Christmas lights  christmas lights

Lighting Up Our Neighbourhoods…

  • CP Holiday Train – Josephburg [December 10] This is a FREE event, with a heart-healthy donation to the Food Bank. The CP Holiday Train is set to stop at the Moyer Recreational Centre in Josephburg with Alberta’s very own Terri Clark, along with Kelly Prescott and Sierra Noble. They will be putting on a performance, all in support of the food bank.
  • Festival Place – Sherwood Park [November 17 – January] This is FREE to do, just wander through the grounds at your leisure and enjoy the lights.
  • Fort Saskatchewan Enchanted Forest [November 23 – January 7]. This is a FREE event. This is the 15th annual, Enchanted Forest, a perfect alternative if you prefer indoor events! Local businesses create unique Christmas trees with their special touch.
  • Lights on Highway 14 – Strathcona County [seasonal] This is FREE. Just outside of Sherwood Park on Highway 14 (just east of Highway 21) homeowners on a private acreage residence light up their property for everyone driving by to enjoy. It’s a stunning display of lights.
  • Strathcona County Christmas Lights [Facebook Group] – This is a group that lists all the great spots around the County to view some beautiful Christmas displays.

Willing to Venture Further? Here are our Fav Edmonton Area Displays…

christmas lights

  • Bright Lights Christmas FestivalEdmonton [December 8, 5 – 8 pm] This is a FREE event. Featuring music, entertainment, crafts, food and horse-drawn wagon rides to view the lights around the property.
  • Candy Cane LaneEdmonton [December 7 – January 1] This is a FREE event with a donation to the food bank. This is a beloved Edmonton classic! Candy Cane was established in 1968, so this marks their 50th Anniversary of volunteerism! You can walk, drive or take a sleigh ride, but to best experience the event in the proper holiday spirit, it is recommended that you walk or take the sleigh. Sleigh rides are 45 minutes, $17/person and can be booked through the website. Private sleighs can be booked for groups of 22 people.
  • Central Park  Spruce Grove The City of Spruce Grove sets up 150,000 glowing lights in Central Park. There is also a skating oval, community firepit and free wi-fi.
  • Christmas at Bob’s – Edmonton [December 1 – January 7] This is FREE to walk through. One local fellow lovingly creates a massive display in Old Strathcona, year after year, complete with its own soundtrack and tunnel of lights.
  • Edmonton Area Christmas Lights [Facebook Page] – Edmonton This is a Facebook page that shares all the great holiday displays around the city.
  • ETS Holiday Lights TourEdmonton [December 14 – 16] Tickets are $5 and donations to the Food Bank are encouraged. Tickets should be pre-purchased. Tour of the legislative grounds and Candy Cane Lane.
  • GlowSt. Albert [November 22 – January 19] $25 adult / $19 child. Glow is new – it just started up last year in Vancouver to rave reviews! It’s not the cheapest lights display, but in addition to the 500,000 lights and beautiful musical light tunnel, it is a whole indoor festival with something for the whole family.
  • Leduc Country Lights – Leduc [November 30 – December 30]. This is a FREE event with a donation to the Food Bank. Sadly, this is the last year of operation for this family favourite. There will be fireworks on Dec 30 for their last day of operation.
  • Legislative GroundsEdmonton [December 1 – January 31] This is a FREE event. The grounds are lit up and Celebrate the Season features free musical performances in the rotunda daily for three weeks in December.
  • Luminaria at the Devonian GardensDevon [SOLD OUT for 2018 season] Keep it on your list for 2019! It is fantastic and has sold out early for the past couple of years.
  • Magic of Lights at Castrol Raceway – Nisku [November 16 – January 6] $25/Carload or $20/person for hayride, includes VIP parking & hot chocolate. Private bookings for hayrides are available.
  • Muttart Conservatory – Edmonton [Phone to confirm dates & times] Adults $12.50/ Children $6.50 / Family $37. Light Walk is a variety of light installations that turns one of the pyramids into a magical winter wonderland. Adults only on Wednesday nights and Thursdays are family friendly. Santa’s workshop & photos with Santa on December 4 & 6; Holly Jolly Christmas; Christmas Market and Christmas concerts are all offered through the holidays – check their website events page for more details.
  • Williams Winter Wonderland – Gibbons [December 1 – January 1] This is a FREE event – an acreage just outside Gibbons that decorates for a magical display for the public to wander through.
  • Winter Wagon Nights – Edmonton [December 20 – December 29] $10/person at Fort Edmonton Park – enjoy a wagon ride while enjoying the glowing lights, free hot chocolate and winter bonfire. Adult beverages, fresh cinnamon buns and shopping will also be available.
  • Winter Whyte – Edmonton [November 15 – January] Various events on Whyte Avenue through the holidays, but the whole avenue lights up and they introduce sleigh rides through December.
  • Zoominescence at the Valley Zoo – Edmonton [Weekends in December] Adults $8.50 / kids $6. In addition to the spectacular installation of light exhibits, Zoominescence features skating around the pond, and ice slide, art installations and fire dancers. Intended to be a fundraiser for the zoo, prices are affordable for the whole family.

Are we missing any of your favourites? Please share in the comments below!

Merry Christmas, everyone.

xo – Jenny from the blog