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Thread: Edmonton- early years

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    Default Edmonton- early years

    Letters - about 1911-14

    Full text of "The land of open doors; being letters from western Canada. With foreword by Earl Grey"

    H.H. Langton, Esq.

    First issue, March 191 4
    Second issue.. May 19 14
    Third issue, June 19 14


    “The Edmonton city motto is "Industry, Energy,
    and Enterprise," and it certainly lives up to it.
    The way the place grows simply beggars description. The streets are beautifully laid out in bouley-vards (so pronounced). A boulevard is a street with six feet of grass and a row of trees on each side of the road between it and the paths. The city occupies a large area. Except in the main business thoroughfares in the centre of the town, almost every house stands in its own lot. The houses are generally constructed of wood, which gives opportunity for exciting varieties of architecture. The most interesting thing at the pre sent moment is the building of the high-level bridge which spans the huge Saskatchewan valley, linking up one bank to the other. Most cities in the West measure their progress by the number of skyscrapers they possess. But I believe there is a bye-law here which limits the height of buildings to ten storeys ; so in Edmonton we shall never shine in this respect.

    I always enjoy going down town to do some
    shopping. There are so many quaint sights.
    Here, for instance, is a huge wagon piled high
    with stores, furniture, and farm machinery, pulled by a strong team of horses, with perhaps an extra team and foal behind ; the wagon is driven by a typical-looking Western boy, with large hat and yellow buff shirt, who lazily cracks his whip over his horses' heads. They may, for all one knows, be off on a trip of many hundreds of miles up country. They certainly look curious as they go lumbering along the main street of Edmonton.

    On the other side of the road stands a smart
    motor or a well turned out rig. On the pave-
    ment, rough railway men, miners, and odd
    customers of every kind jostle well-dressed
    women and smart business men. It is just as
    much a curious mixture as the buildings. Im-
    posing-looking banks, small wooden shacks, and virgin bush, one next to the other, are still to be seen on some of the main streets of this wonderful city.

    On one occasion I saw three fellows ride into
    town who looked like cow-boys straight out of
    the typical Western novel, with sombrero hats,
    green, red or blue shirts, big knotted scarves,
    white sheepskin " shaps," Mexican saddles and
    ropes, and splendid horses.

    But you must not think of Edmonton as a
    rough primitive place with cow-boys " shooting
    up the town," and so forth. I believe even now
    many people in Europe have a kind of feeling at
    the back of their minds that the Far West is a
    country of cow-boys and Indians and wild un-
    civilised life. For this very reason some English-
    men when they come out here seem to be wanting in good taste. They treat a Western city as a place where they can go about in any old clothes, and behave in a very different way from what they would even in the country at home.

    Edmonton has a population of fifty-five thousand people, and possesses such magnificent natural advantages that it will, before long, be one of the most beautiful cities of the whole Empire. Situated on the main lines of the two new Transcontinental railways — the Grand Trunk Pacific and Canadian Northern — connected with the C.P.R. through a direct line from Calgary, and destined to be the future base of all railways now building into the great Peace River country, it is rapidly becoming a large railway centre. Edmonton strikes me as a pleasanter place to live in than most provincial towns in England. It is certainly every bit as civilised, with its broad asphalted streets, large churches, banks, shops, and excellent tram service. Most of the brick buildings are at present extremely ugly. We are told that the art and especially the architecture of a particular age is the expression of its ideals. I must say I think that even Western ideals should not be judged by Western architecture.

    The Hudson Bay Company have a large
    departmental store on Jasper Avenue. The
    large plate-glass windows are not so romantic as the log walls of old Fort Edmonton which Father Lacombe knew so well. The Indians used to bring their furs once a year to this old trading post, which still stands overlooking the beautiful Saskatchewan valley, almost under the shadow of the new Parliament Buildings.

    The mother church of Edmonton is All Saints'.
    Archdeacon Gray, the Rector, is an old-timer in
    these parts, and has long kept the standard flying against great odds. In his time Edmonton has
    grown from a small town into a great city, and
    with it the life of the...”

    Last edited by KC; 04-04-2019 at 09:18 PM.


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