After the Fur Trade: Living On the Land
Early Edmonton settlement began in the 1870s when the Hudson’s Bay Company employees began moving out of Fort Edmonton as the fur trading days were ending. They claimed river lots along the north and south shores of the North Saskatchewan River. Forty-five lots were self-staked and settled on, the bulk of them by ex-Hudson’s Bay Company employees. These homesteads lands extended to the east of Fort Edmonton, which was located near the Alberta Legislative Buildings, to the vicinity of present-day Rundle Park, and west of the Fort to the vicinity of Groat Road. From the North Saskatchewan River, the river lots on the north side of the river extended to about 118th Avenue.
Here are the stories of four of the River Lot owners and their descendants. Two of these families settled on the land that became the Highlands area of Edmonton. The other two families were west of what became the Highlands. These families made new lives, living on the land.
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Kick the Can: And other Stories from the Highlands Neighbourhood
Kick the Can is a collection of articles that were previously published in Highlands Historical Society newsletters prior to 2014. Other memoirs have been provided by early Highlands’ residents and compiled and edited by Carol Snyder.
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Carol Snyder – Proud to be a Western Canadian, born in Regina, Carol Snyder has lived in Edmonton since 1983. As a textile artist she became interested in nature dyeing to complement the spinning and weaving she was enjoying. A Canada Council Grant in 1981 funded the research for her first book, Nature’s Colours. A Guide to Western Canadian Dye Plants. On moving to Edmonton, Carol owned and operated a yarn shop until retirement in 1995.
Her life changed in 2003 when she was accepted to participate in the 100th anniversary Barr Colony wagon trek from Saskatoon to Lloydminster. Her interest in the Barr Colonists resulted in meeting with some of the many descendants, and writing a book, On Saskatchewan Time, The 100th Anniversary Barr Colony Wagon Trek. Thinking that perhaps her own family history had included a wagon trek, Carol began research into her great grandparents who homesteaded in Manitoba. This also resulted in a book, The Hawthornes of Deloraine.
Having enjoyed interviewing people and writing their stories, Carol volunteered as Oral Historian with the Highlands Historical Foundation for 10 years, 2004 to 2014. Many people were interviewed and their stories published in the Highlands Historical Society newsletters written by Carol Snyder, and other Highlands residents. Carol was honoured to receive a Historical Recognition Award in 2014 from the Edmonton Historical Board for her work with the Highlands Historical Society.
After “retirement” from the historical society, further items of interest kept arriving on Carol’s desk. An intense interest in the Gullion families who settled on the land that became The Highlands resulted in research into the fur trade and the claiming of river lots along the North Saskatchewan River in the area which became the City of Edmonton. This resulted in her most recent book, After the Fur Trade: Living on the Land.