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Spurred on by available grants and the Centennial spirit, Edmontonians threw themselves into celebrating 1967 through a huge number of projects. If you were in Edmonton in 1967 you’ll likely remember some of these, and you may even recall some we haven’t mentioned. Provided with enough space and time, a thorough exploration of local Centennial projects would be a fascinating project. However, in this exhibit we can only hope to touch the surface of what the community pulled together.

Peter Aykroyd, author of The Anniversary Compulsion and director of public relations for Canada’s Centennial Commission, has said you can tell a lot by a place based on the projects that were undertaken in the community. What do these projects tell you about Edmonton in 1967?

NAIT’s Birthday Cake

Colour photo - Three men and a woman put the finishing touches on NAIT's Centennial cake.

This birthday cake was created by students at NAIT as a Centennial project. It was displayed at City Hall and served to the public on July 1, 1967. [EA-408-21]

Edmonton Aviation Hall of Fame

Colour photo of a trowel in a display case. The trowel is engraved with the text "This Trowel presented to Mayor V.M. Dantzer on the occasion of the placing of the Corner Stone at the Edmonton Flying Club June 22 1967"

The Edmonton Aviation Hall of Fame was a Centennial project of the Edmonton Flying Club. This trowel was presented to Mayor Dantzer when the corner stone was placed at the Edmonton Flying Club, June 28, 1967. [MS-692]

Kinsmen Field House

Colour photo of a key. The engraved text reads "Kinsmen Field House Architects Rule, Wynn, Forbes, Lord & Partners"

The Kinsmen Field House was developed as a Centennial project by the Kinsmen Club in Edmonton. This key was presented to Mayor Dantzer at the facility’s opening on January 3, 1968. [MS-692]

Clock Tower

Not all Centennial projects were completed as expected. For example, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce planned to preserve the clock tower of the old Post Office at 100 Street and 101A Avenue by dismantling the tower and rebuilding it in nearby Winston Churchill Park as part of the new Civic Centre plan. In 1972, after several years of negotiations, the Post Office was demolished. The clock now sits near the entrance to the Westin Hotel, though the tower was not reconstructed. However, other pieces of the tower were eventually used in a memorial located at Evergreen Memorial Gardens.

A Centennial Bulletin article from March, 1966. The headline reads "Old Clock Tower Will Be Feature For Sir Winston Churchill Park?" At the bottom, a handwritten annotation reads "Time will tell, What the hell?"

This article from the March 1966 issue of the Centennial Bulletin describes the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce’s project. As can be seen in the annotation at the bottom, not everyone was confident the project would be completed.

Alberta Native Centennial Festival

A flyer advertising the Alberta Native Centennial Festival. The text reads "Alberta Native Centennial Festival. 1867 - 1967. Sunday 2.00 p.m. January 8th 1967. Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. Edmonton."

The Alberta Native Centennial Festival was one of the first Centennial events held in Edmonton. Supported by the Federal and Provincial governments, this festival was organized by Tom Cardinal, Eugene Steinhauer, James Elk, P.J. Bellrose, Robert Grey, Chester Cunningham, Wilfred McDougall, Shirley Cardinal, and Bernie Oppelt. It included dancers from various communities across Alberta, and a special performance by one-time Edmontonian Marlene Jackson, reigning Indian Princess of Canada.

Alberta Native Centennial Festival Brochure

The Edmonton Centennial Singers

First formed in January, 1965 as a Centennial Project for the Edmonton Public School Board, by 1967 the Edmonton Centennial Singers were a group of 84 students from various high schools in Edmonton. The choir performed at local Centennial events and represented Edmonton through concerts across Canada, including Expo 67 in Montreal.

The cover of a record called "The Edmonton Centennial Singers". The cover features a group photo of the singers, and lists several songs: "They All Call It Canada, Today Get On Board!, Proudly We Praise"

The Edmonton Centennial Singers LP [A2001-62]

The Dutch Organ

A dutch organ was donated to the Storyland Valley Zoo by the Dutch Community in Edmonton. The organ was unveiled on July 1, 1967 at City Hall, where it played the national anthem and Bobby Gimby’s Centennial anthem “CA-NA-DA”.

Black and white photo. Several men standing on the steps of Edmonton's City Hall. The Dutch Organ is in the background.

The presentation of the Dutch Organ. [EA-408-4]

Canadian Centennial Memo Calendar

This calendar was created by the Alberta Society of Artists and the Alberta Federation of Home and School Associations. It was illustrated with reproductions of paintings by Alberta artists, and was meant to be used as a personal diary to record 1967 and thereby become a meaningful souvenir.

Colour photo. The Inside of the Centennial Memo Calendar. The left page features a landscape painting by Margaret Chappelle, called "Prairie Slough", with information about the painting in small text below it. The right page has blank space for taking notes for each day from July 16 to July 31, 1967.

This particular page shows a piece by Edmonton artist Margaret Chappelle, some of whose other pieces are in the collection of the City of Edmonton Archives. [759.1 ALB]

Books

Many books were written as Centennial projects, including Edmonton: A History by J. G. MacGregor, paid for in part through a municipal Centennial grant, and published by Mel Hurtig. Other publications included Schools of the Foothills Province by Edmontonian John Chalmers on behalf of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the Atlas of Alberta by the University of Alberta, and Alberta: A Natural History, made possible by the contributions of academics and the private and not for profit sectors.

Colour photo. The front cover of the book "Edmonton: A History" by J.G. MacGregor. Below the title is a photo of Edmonton's skyline as it appeared in the 1960s.

The Klondike Centennial Majorettes

As well as projects done by government and large organizations, there were a myriad of large and small projects done by individuals as a way to celebrate the Centennial year. The Klondike Centennial Majorettes, for example, began as the personal project of Arlene Weber. This group of 14 girls, aged 12 to 18 performed at numerous events, and were said to specialize in Centennial routines. By collecting donations at their performances, they raised enough money to travel to Montreal to represent Edmonton at Expo 67.

Colour photo of the Klondike Centennial Majorettes, in costume. In front of them is a flag featuring the official Centennial symbol.

The Klondike Centennial Majorettes [EA-408-22]

For More Information

City of Edmonton Archives

Prince of Wales Armouries, 2nd floor
10440 108 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta

Email cms.archives@edmonton.ca
Website http://archivesphotos.edmonton.ca/

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