Sunday, February 22, 2009



When the family moved to Edmonton, they lived in Calder, a community located on the northwest edge of the city. At that time, Calder was physically separated from Edmonton by a large undeveloped tract of land owned by the Hundson's Bay Company. The community grew up where it did because of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway which had a roundhouse, repair shops and a shunting yard there.

The distance from Calder to the downtown - approximately five miles - and its separation from the rest of the built-up area would have made rents there relatively affordable. Streetcar service was provided by Edmonton Radial Railway. The company, formed in 1908, began service soon after that in Edmonton and later to Strathcona and Calder. Even so, I remember being told that living in Calder involved a lot of walking.

My father and Jacqueline attended St. Joseph's, a Catholic High School located at 109 Street and 108 Avenue. My mother, who knew them at school, said that from the way they dressed it was obvious they were poor.

My grandfather worked at La Survivance for a while, but soon got a better job as a land assessor with the Alberta Government's Department of Municipal Affairs. His initial responsibility was to visit farms in northern Alberta and assess land values for taxation purposes. Later, he was promoted to Supervisor of Field Services. There was a recession in Alberta from 1913 to the mid-1920's. The family likely benefited from the improvement in the economy in the late 1920's, but I don't believe they were ever very well-off.

In the photos are
McDougall United Church, for a long time a landmark in downtown Edmonton; St. Joseph's High School; and a streetcar operated by the Edmonton Radial Railway.

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