Population from Census 2015 - 68,556
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The below 100 parks have received their official names. Read on to find out who the parks were named after, and a short account outlining their contribution to the local Grande Prairie community.
Homesteading in 1921, Germaine Adair was the 1st woman in Alberta to be appointed a Justice of the Peace. She worked for 26 years as a magistrate, court clerk and court administrator.
Bill Bessent’s family arrived in Grande Prairie in 1927 at the start of the World War II, and, as a 16 year old, Bill and his brother joined the Air Force and served overseas. Bill completed a full tour of 30 missions.
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Dr. Andrew Murray Carlisle was on Ontario in 1896, he served as a stretcher-bearer in WWI and arrived in Grande Prairie in 1921, In 1925 he left to work at Toronto Sick Children’s for a short time but returned to Wembley in 1926 and then to Grande Prairie in 1936 where he served as a family doctor for the next 20 years.
Linda Cowell retired from the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen in 2013. This compassionate woman made a tremendous impact on many of the homeless, transient and marginalized people in our community. She cared deeply for all of them. This was reflected in the thousands of nourishing meals prepared by her with the help of volunteers. Whether it was with a hearty bowl of soup or a listening ear Linda was present for these people. Linda made sure they were treated with respect and dignity.
Frank Donald arrived in Grande Prairie in 1917. He purchased the Grande Prairie Hotel from Jack Sutherland, and in 1937 he opened another hotel in Grande Prairie, called the Donald. It was large, luxurious, and illustrated the spirit of Frank Donald’s faith in Grande Prairie. Frank was much more than a hotel man. He diversified into many other business efforts, investing in Grande Prairie’s two moving picture houses, buying and improving the Wapiti Rink, and building the Donald Recreation Centre. He also raised cattle, and had a string of race horses that were said to be some of the very best in all of Western Canada. He was also a great supporter of all sports, and a huge fan of hockey in particular. He would charter a train to take hockey fans from Grande Prairie to Hythe to cheer on the Grande Prairie hockey team.
John ‘Jack’ H.E. Fitzallen came over the Edson Trail and settled at Lake Saskatoon, where he sold insurance in 1914 and moved his business to Grande Prairie in 1916. From 1916 to 1922 he was the secretary-treasurer of the Village of Grande Prairie, being paid $40/month to act as Constable, Health Officer and General Overseer of the Village.
Elvera finished high school at the Grande Prairie High School, now part of the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie. She attended the University of Alberta where she received her teaching diploma in 1952. She served at numerous district schools, many of them one room school houses.
Allan Hauger served overseas in WWII. He worked as a security guard/maintenance person in the 2-14 Building and Nordic Court. He was an avid volunteer in senior’s organizations, delivering Meals on Wheels for 20 years, assisted in senior transportation twice per month for the Legion Luncheon and volunteered for the Young at Heart group out of the Alliance Church.
Guy Ireland (1932-2013) was a volunteer fireman for many years, before becoming a full-time fireman in 1966. He later became a mail carrier for many years in the Hillside area. He played in the Marching Band, sang in the Community Choir, and was involved with the Little Theatre. He published a book of poetry in 2000 called ‘Songs of the Wild’ about his love for the Peace Country. Guy also worked to help develop the GP Museum. His father, Clive, ran one of the first barbershops in Grande Prairie and the family owned land in Muskoseepi Park, where the mini golf is located now.
Jim Kluyt moved from Red Deer in 1965 to take the position of Horticulturalist with the City of Grande Prairie. For many years he designed some of the most beautiful parks in the city, one of the finest being Jubilee Park in the heart of the City. He also pursued the entrepreneurial spirit and opened the Swan City Gardens Greenhouse on the South end of the City, where the Alliance Church is today. Into his retirement he worked for the Grande Prairie Public School District to enhance the outdoor parks for the children, and helped to bring the benefits of nature indoors to schools across the district. Jim’s love for the parks and the natural beauty they provide was evident, as he dedicated his life’s work to ensuring everyone had an opportunity to experience the serenity that nature provides.
Joseph (Joe) Mark (1901-1966) was born in China and moved to Canada in 1909. He operated Joe’s Corner Coffee Shop at the corner of 100 Street and 100 Avenue from 1948 until he retired.
Wilfrid Reid ‘Wop’ May (1896-1952) served in the Royal Air Force in WWI and was involved in the battle with the Red Baron that saw the death of the German flying ace. He was the first pilot to land in Grande Prairie in a Curtiss JN-4 Jenny in 1920. Wilfrid founded the first Grande Prairie aircraft company in 1924 with Harry Adair, a local farmer who donated land for an airstrip near Bear Lake. Wilfrid was the famous bush pilot involved with the Race against Death in 1928, and the Hunt for the Mad Trapper in 1932. He was awarded the McKee trophy in 1929.
Ira McLaughlin came west in 1910 at the age of 19. He moved to the Grande Prairie area in 1928. He was MLA for the Grande Prairie Wapiti region for a total of 28 years and was instrumental in many development projects for both the City and County of Grande Prairie. He died in 1974 at the age of 83.
John Miedema was a respected 26 year (1953 – 1979) City of Grande Prairie employee, and our first City Manager. He was a dedicated visionary who anticipated the need for “green spaces” and recreation areas for all to enjoy. He encouraged green space area development in new subdivisions which was a valuable and lasting contribution to the development of the City of Grande Prairie.
The Oatway family has homesteaded their home quarter for over 100 years since 1910. John Oatway travelled the long trail north from Edmonton through Athabasca to Peace River, then south through Dunvegan to Grande Prairie in only 18 days by horse and wagon.
Thomas William Holmes Paul arrived in Grande Prairie in 1911 driving an ox cart over the Edson Trail for Alexander Forbes. He hauled logs from the Wapiti River to build a church, hospital and manse. He homesteaded with his wife, Nora Annie Fish. He was born in 1894 and died in 1969.
Paul Pivert served on city council from 1978 to 1983. He was passionate about photography and responsible for immortalizing a large portion of Grande Prairie’s history, cultural and sporting events.
The Sargent Family has been in business in Grande Prairie for over 65 years. They began the Ken & Teresa Sargent Family Foundation. Their generosity is evident throughout the community and they have been long standing sponsors of numerous community events.
Harry has a sense of humour that is unsurpassed by anyone. He was involved in numerous business ventures, including being part of the development of CJXX Radio. He served on the hospital board and was the Director of Gift Planning for several years. He served on the Grande Prairie City Council for two terms.
John Edward (Jack) Soars was a well-known radio announcer and host of Alberta’s longest continuing open line show on CFGP Radio. He was a veteran of WWII and served in the Air Force and was a part of the Northern Alberta Broadcast Industry for 45 years. Jack was born in 1919 and died in 2012.
This park was unofficially named Alexis Park, after Alexis Trimm, born March 21, 2003 in Grande Prairie. The park has now been officially named.
Each year on November 11 we honour Remembrance Day “Lest we forget”. The 100th Anniversary Committee wanted a year round tribute to honour those who signed up to defend our country. And so this park has been officially dedicated to the numerous men and women of Grande Prairie who did their part to ensure we can enjoy a beautiful City free from fear and oppression. We thank you.
The five sons of Peter Wright, who arrived in Grande Prairie in the early 1920’s all served in World War II. Kelly (Robert), Phooey (Allan), Clifford and Roy all were in active duty, and Peter served in the reserves because he was not old enough to enlist. Kelly was killed in action and Clifford died of war trauma, but Allan, Roy and Peter spent their lives in Grande Prairie. In 1944, Lieutenant Allan Wright became one of Canada’s most decorated soldiers, being awarded the Canadian Military Medal and the Distinguished Service Cross medal from the US government for the heroic acts he performed while stationed in Europe during World War II. The US medal is second only to the US Congressional Medal of Honour. He was decorated by both the American and Canadian governments, commissioned to the field and wounded in action. Peter Wright, the youngest brother was a professional hockey player. He played in five leagues and on eight different teams during his hockey career. He opened a sports shop when he moved back to Grande Prairie, which eventually became Ernie’s Sports. He also served as a coach for the GP Athletics. Roy Wright was also a skilled hockey player which he could have had a career in. He had a quick delivery and the hardest wrist shot you have ever seen. He completed a tour of duty overseas as a tail gunner in the Lancaster Bomber. Following the war he was content to return home, bought into a department store business and helped to reinstate home town hockey to its pre-war status.
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