Author Archives: Brian Brennan

Henry Wise Wood: Farm leader and wheat pool creator

(This story is one of a series entitled “One Person’s Journey” telling how people from all walks of life, including a few rogues and rebels, have left their marks upon the world. To see a list of others featured in the series, click here.)

Henry Wise Wood 1860 – 1941

Henry Wise Wood
1860 – 1941

Henry Wise Wood was the first in a series of semi-mystical visionaries – William Aberhart and Ernest Manning followed in his footsteps – who rose up when called upon to give voice to the concerns of western Canada. At a time when 70 percent of Albertans lived on the land, Wood was the most influential farm leader in this province. He could have had the premier’s job for the asking when the United Farmers of Alberta swept to power in 1921. Yet for reasons that remain unclear to this day, Wood never sought political office. Instead, he expanded his role as farm leader and became a pivotal figure in the creation of wheat pools in Alberta.

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Bob Edwards: Booze-loving newspaper satirist

(This story is one of a series entitled “One Person’s Journey” telling how people from all walks of life, including a few rogues and rebels, have left their marks upon the world. To see a list of others featured in the series, click here.)

Bob Edwards 1859 – 1922

Bob Edwards
1859 – 1922

Bob Edwards was Calgary’s first media celebrity, a genuine pre-television superstar who put the frontier town on the North American map long before the cowboy showman Guy Weadick launched the Calgary Stampede or Mayor Don Mackay gave away his first white hat. “Calgary,” said a New York politician during the early part of the 20th century, “is, I believe, a place in Canada where the Eye Opener comes from.”

The Eye Opener was Edwards’s “newspaper,” a satirical publication that broke all the accepted rules of journalism by running gossip and satirical commentary instead of news, yet enjoyed the largest circulation (35,000) of any paper published west of Winnipeg.

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Sir James Lougheed: Lawyer, entrepreneur and senator

(This story is one of a series entitled “One Person’s Journey” telling how people from all walks of life, including a few rogues and rebels, have left their marks upon the world. To see a list of others featured in the series, click here.)

Lougheed

Sir James Lougheed
1854 – 1925

Two buildings in Calgary stand as monuments to James Lougheed, the contractor’s son who rose from humble beginnings in Toronto to become early Calgary’s leading citizen and the grandfather of a future premier.

One structure is the big sandstone mansion Lougheed built as his home. It has been restored to its former glory as a magnificent example of late Victorian home building in the colonies. The other Lougheed development, located in the heart of Calgary’s business district, is one of the last Canadian examples of a turn-of-the-century commercial building with a theatre contained within.

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Leonard Gaetz: Founder of Red Deer, Alberta

(This story is one of a series entitled “One Person’s Journey” telling how people from all walks of life, including a few rogues and rebels, have left their marks upon the world. To see a list of others featured in the series, click here.)

Leonard Gaetz

Leonard Gaetz
1841 – 1907

For the buffalo hunters who migrated between the eastern plains and the western foothills, and for the fur traders who followed them in the late 18th century, the place that became Red Deer was nothing more than a stop along the way – a sheltered river valley where they could camp for the night before moving on. But for Leonard Gaetz and the other white settlers who arrived in the area during the 1880s, it was an idyllic parkland location where, said Gaetz, “I would rather take my chances in the industry of farming than in any spot on Earth either south or north of the 49th parallel.”

Gaetz, who called himself a “pilgrim,” moved to the farming country of central Alberta for a number of reasons: “poor health, poverty, and a desire to keep my family around me.”

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Victoria Belcourt Callihoo: Buffalo hunter and folk historian

(This story is one of a series entitled “One Person’s Journey” telling how people from all walks of life, including a few rogues and rebels, have left their marks upon the world. To see a list of others featured in the series, click here.)

Victoria Belcourt Callihoo 1861 – 1966

Victoria Belcourt Callihoo
1861 – 1966

Victoria Belcourt was born at a time when the buffalo still provided vital food and clothing for the people in her aboriginal community. She died the year before her country, Canada, celebrated its 100th birthday. Among her Cree-speaking people, stories were orally transmitted, rarely written down and often lost to posterity. Fortunately for future historians, however, Victoria’s stories were collected and preserved in archives. They offer a rare and fascinating insight into a way of life that had all but disappeared by the time she was in her early 20s.

Named after Queen Victoria and baptized by an Oblate missionary named Father Albert Lacombe, Victoria grew up in Lac Ste. Anne, a Roman Catholic mission in central Alberta established by the Oblates during the 1840s. She went on her first buffalo hunt at age 13……

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