I took a trip to the province of my birth this summer. I only lived in Alberta until I was 2, but we made pilgrimages back to my parents’ hometowns throughout my childhood. This trip was no different – filled with reconnecting with family members, pouring over old photo albums, taking in some landmarks, and lots of driving (all those wide open spaces!).
And while I did spend time in Calgary and Edmonton, almost all my photos are from the small towns and farms. It’s all lovely and nature-filled. You’ve been warned…
First stop: Athabasca. It was supposed to be the provincial capital, but various historical mishaps moved that honour to Edmonton. Now, it’s a bustling little town with beautiful views of the river. The first morning I was there, I got to see two moose calves wandering through the yard!
Next stop: Rimbey and Bentley. Before my brother and I dropped in at our cousin’s place at Bentley, we explored nearby Rimbey (our mom’s hometown) to see if it was all we remembered. My grandparents’ farm has a nice new house on it, and since the new owners don’t plant canola on the same field the grandparents did, we drove right past the turn off. Their trailer park is still there, but my Grandma’s garden has a house on it. No more raspberry bushes. Weirdly, the Drop-In centre is closed. What the seniors do now? Where do they play their bridge?
Onward to: Coronation. My dad grew up there, and his sister and her husband live there still, so there’s lots of history. My great-grandparents homesteaded a section nearby, coming from Scotland with their small daughter to a sod shack on the bare plains. It still boggles the mind. I got to tour around town, visit the old cemetery and work my way through family albums. And as always, I got to see Coronation’s big blue skies and beautiful clouds.
And just a little bit east: Veteran. Another small town, where my dad’s other sister lives with her husband. They’re still on their old farm, which boasts a huge vegetable garden, percheron horses, and a graveyard of wonderful old Western wagons and farm machinery.
We went on a day’s excursion to Provost and the surrounding area, including Cadogan, where the Norwegian side of my family settled. My great-great grandparents (Simon & Karen) donated a piece of their section for a cemetery, which we visited:
We visited Bodo, where there is an interesting archeological site filled with old buffalo bones. And then on to Rosenheim church, a gorgeous old building in the middle of nowhere – that used to support a large German settlement:
Before Calgary, we met in Rosebud for lunch. It’s a tiny little place about an hour from the city with an active theatre community. Very cute. We spent a day travelling down to Vulcan (at which I – sadly – didn’t stop at the Star Trek museum), and my cousin and I had a lovely stop at the Saskatoon Farm. So many flowers, gift shops and (not surprisingly) saskatoon-based food items! I’ll need to go back again when the berries are actually in season.
All in all, another great visit. Got to visit with family, reminisce about old times, see how fast all the cousins are growing up, and even check out a few new places. See you again, Alberta!