Sunday, June 26, 2016

And suddenly it was gone, the town of Frank, Alberta, that is………

June 26, 2016.

As I contemplate what I should write about each week, I realize that I say less and less about what we do day by day and more about what we do outside of the office. That is because the day-to day-work is pretty much the same and to hear about it over and over has to be boring to the reader. While hearing about it might be boring, the work itself remains exciting and rewarding and we look forward to going to work each day, especially because of our opportunity to interact with the young Elders and Sisters whom we serve and with the others in the office staff.

On Friday we drove south along the mountains and then west up and over Crowsnest Pass and then on to Sparwood, BC. The purpose of the trip was to pick up one of the newly arrived Sisters who has been working in Jaffrey, BC with two other Sisters. She is now being assigned to work here in Calgary with a Sister whose companion had to go home with some health issues that were not resolving. Sparwood is in the Canadian Rockies where there is an extensive coal mining history. Since we had not previously been to Sparwood, the Sisters suggested that we meet at the “big green truck”, a hard to miss landmark retired from the open pit mining operation there. After meeting them, Kathy and I treated all of them to lunch at the nearby Subway Restaurant and then we headed back.


The whole drive to and from Sparwood is beautiful with lush green meadows and Aspen groves standing in contrast to the rugged beauty of the Canadian Rockies. One very interesting thing one passes over going through Crowsnest Pass is Frank’s Slide. I encourage you to pull up the history of Frank, Alberta on the Internet. In short, in 1903 at 4:10 a.m. on April 29th, 90 million tons of rock slid down burying much of the town of Frank within 100 seconds. Needless to say, many lives were lost and there was no hope of salvaging any of part of the town that was buried in the rubble.


We also frequently pass through Nanton, AB, which has a museum of older aircraft. On our return trip from Sparwood, we noted they had the big old bomber out on display so we had to stop and take a picture. 

Yesterday Kathy and I had a wonderful day touring Heritage Park which is on the east shore of Glenmore Reservoir. The Park is Canada’s largest living history museum with hundreds of exhibits, shops, restaurants, and daily demonstrations. There is so much to see we bought a season pass so we can return again and again and hope when family and friends visit we can take them there. Many of the buildings were moved and reassembled on site from all over Western Canada. 

Other buildings are authentic but are reconstructions. 

The streets are as they would have been at the time (dirt and gravel) and the sidewalks are all wood platforms. Much of the staff are dressed in period costumes and take on the persona of someone who lived at the time. We rode the train, which is made up of a restored steam locomotive and passenger cars. Other restored luxury passenger cars are on display inside a building including the ones used by royalty when they visited Canada. Canada has an interesting history much like in the U.S. surrounding building a transcontinental railroad. Once completed, travelers could make the trip all the way across Canada in two and a half days.

The Park has a replica sternwheeler ship, a replica of the SS Moyle, which was primarily used in the late 1800s to ferry passengers across Kootenay Lake, a 4.5 hr trip. The sternwheeler is a 2/3-size replica of the SS Moyle and is powered by a diesel engine using a hydraulic drive system which drives the paddle where. It is a wonderful ride around Glenmore Reservoir. 

We also rode on a restored electric streetcar, which transports visitors from the parking lot to the Park. The whole Park is marvelous to visit. We took our time and didn’t try to visit everything so there will be new things to visit on our return including a huge antique car collection, Indian (AKA First Nation) village, restored homes and mansions, gardens, and even an amusement park area. I will include a number of pictures to give you some idea of what the Park is like. We look forward to returning.

We ended our day at Heritage Park with a nice dinner at the Wainwright Hotel. It was like stepping back into the early 1900s. 

Since our ward choir is on a summer hiatus, Kathy and I have decided to visit other wards on Sunday where our missionaries serve. Today we attended the High River Ward which is south of Calgary about 40 km. It just so happened it was a day the Stake Presidency was there to divide the ward into two units. High River is a beautiful town. It is an area that was flooded extensively in 2013 following a remarkable rainy period in June of that year. They are still redoing parts of the town most affected by the flooding. Higher dikes and berms have been added along the river and there are long lines of sandbags along some streets, these left in place in the event this should happen again. 

We have learned that another 15-20 missionaries will gradually be added to our totals by summer’s end. A number of new cars have been ordered to help with this influx and to replace other vehicles reaching 80,000 km, which is the point where we typically sell them. Some days I feel like a used car salesman rather than a missionary as potentially interested buyers call and/or come by to learn what we have for sale. So, if you are in the market for a good used car, call me!

We will be working through the 4th of July, as it has no real significance for Canadians; rather, they are about to celebrate Canada Day on July 1st, which is commemorated as the birthday of modern Canada. This happened in 1867, at which time the British North America Act was passed which united three North American colonies into a single country, Canada, within the British Empire. It will be fun to see how this is celebrated here.

So, to all you Stateside people, have a wonderful 4th of July!

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