Hundreds reunite for Donalda’s centennial

Filled with history as the home of “the world’s largest lamp,” Donalda was in the spotlight as about 1,000 people celebrated

A symbolic birthday-cake float marked the 100th anniversary of Donalda

Filled with history as the home of “the world’s largest lamp,” Donalda was in the spotlight as about 1,000 people celebrated the village’s centennial during the Canada Day weekend.

“We figured we had about 1,000 people on Saturday and about 550 on Canada Day, and about 100 entries for the parade,” said Beth Fulton, who chaired the organizing committee.

Historic and Canada Day themes mixed in the parade, which was about 45 minutes long.

“People were very impressed that a community this small could host such a big event,” Fulton said.

With a population of 259, locals welcomed former residents back home to reflect on Donalda’s past and eye the future of a village that was incorporated on Dec. 30, 1912.

“It was a fantastic reunion for former residents,” said Mayor Bruce Gartside, who moved to Donalda just four years ago, and also served on the centennial organizing committee.

“I saw people meeting other people for the first time in 50 years — some people who thought they would never see each other again.”

At 96 years young, Rosie Vallet and Don McKay were honoured in the parade as the oldest residents, though McKay was unable to attend.

Life in the past was celebrated as 15 former Klondike Queens and many past mayors were featured in the parade, along with new Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman, Crowfoot MP Kevin Sorenson, and officials from neighbouring municipalities, businesses, organizations and many vintage vehicles.

The parade also featured a 100-year-old freight wagon restored by Phil and Joyce Racine of Donalda, with the wheels refurbished by Chris Jenson of Bashaw, and is now located in the front lawn of the Donalda Museum.

“We heard a lot of stories about the history of Donalda, and I would have like to have heard more,” said Mayor Gartside.

With a stable population, while other small communities are dying, he said this centennial could be an inspirational point for the future of Donalda.

“It’s important for our memories and to see that this community is surviving,” Gartside said. “We have shown that the community can survive.”

“We have enough to keep this community alive, and to increase the population to 300.”

Two other former mayors suggested that newcomers and younger people would help Donalda grow in the future.

“I never thought it would die, because you always have to have a positive attitude,” said Bob Conibear, who served as mayor from 1987 to 1993 to close out 15 years on council.

Lower costs of housing and taxes will further attract new residents, said Conibear and Garry Clement, who served as mayor from 1968 to 1978.

“I hope to see Donalda maintain its identity and keep operating as a village,” Clement said.

Historic buildings, the big lamp, the museum and the train are key features that he said would not only attract tourists, but also new residents.

Just Posted

Happy Easter everyone!

Youngsters are excited for the holiday

UCP candidate Nate Horner triumphs in Drumheller-Stettler riding

Horner looking forward to moving ahead with UCP policies in the coming months

Kenney talks pipelines with Trudeau after election win, calls it cordial

Almost a year ago Kenney dismissed Trudeau as a dilettante and a lightweight

Trade show fun!

Annual Stettler Trade Show proves a hit with local residents

Stettler residents cast their votes

Polling station closes at 8 p.m.

‘Open for business:’ Jason Kenney’s UCP wins majority in Alberta election

The UCP was leading or elected in 63 of 87 seats Tuesday night

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Undercover cops don’t need warrant to email, text suspected child lurers: court

High court decision came Thursday in the case of Sean Patrick Mills of Newfoundland

VIDEO: Trump tried to seize control of Mueller probe, report says

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed to a waiting nation Thursday

Most Read