October 1st, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 38
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A blast from the Crowsnest’s past
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Ezra Black Photo
The Canadian Pickers examining a silver horseracing trophy brought in by Joanne Drain. Fans assembled at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre on Saturday, September 27th for the ‘Lost Treasures of the Crowsnest Past’.
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
Treasure hunters, history buffs and reality television fans assembled at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre on Saturday to participate in the search for the Lost Treasures of the Crowsnest Past.
“This whole thing came about just before the Hillcrest event of this year,” said Myriah Sagrafena, spokesperson for Frank Slide Interpretive Centre. “Its always fun to go to museums but every once in a while some of the items that haven’t made it to a museum are just as important to our history and just as interesting.”
Citizens brought in over 30 historically significant items for the chance to win free tickets to The Harvest of Memories Fall Festival; a gala event with live entertainment and both live and silent auctions, which was held at the MDM Centre Saturday night. All proceeds were donated to the Crowsnest Museum.
Reality television stars Sheldon Smithens and Scott Cozens hosted the contest and spoke about their television experiences before personally valuating each item.
“This area is so interesting. It doesn’t surprise me the people are as well and some of their possessions fit right in,” said Smithens.
Smithens and Cozens have made a name for themselves traveling across the country buying and selling items on the hit series Canadian Pickers; one of handful of reality shows, including American Pickers and Pawn Stars that celebrate the joys of collecting and haggling.
But the Canadian pickers were different because they celebrated the nation’s history. Over the course of the four seasons, the pickers met Henri Richard, challenged each other to drink the notorious Sour Toe Cocktail at the Sourdough Saloon in Dawson City’s Downtown Hotel and picked items for the Western-themed country home of Canadian country music star George Canyon.
Each episode told a different story about Canada, bringing to light both the iconic Canadian legends that have made history and the remarkable stories of the country’s past.
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Lost Treasures of the Crowsnest Past participants seemed to appreciate this and brought in a host of fascinating and eclectic items – for a chance to meet Canada’s favourite pickers.
Christine Wilson brought in an old photo album and some gauntlets, Betty Walmsley brought a stuffed bear and her grandfather’s WWI cap badge from his time in the 192nd Battalion, a unit of the Canadian Expeditionary Force made up of residents of the Pass.
Richard O’Donnell brought a military hat from the turn of the last century and a mantel piece, Donalda Oliva-Quarin brought an antique doll and Brenda Sagrafena brought her grandmother’s coffee grinder and a pottery from the Coleman Liquor Company.
Other items included a pair of early car headlights, a hot sealer to repair punctured tires, a juicer from the 1930s, several miners’ safety lamps, an old table hockey game, a charm bracelet and some postcards dated from just after the Frank Slide.
After some deliberation, the pickers chose a butter dish from the Alberta Hotel brought in by Bob Price, Fred Bradley’s stereoscope that once belonged to Jules Charbonnier and a silver horseracing trophy belonging to Joanne Drain as the most significant items.
The overall winner was chosen by a panel of local historians and announced at The Harvest of Memories Fall Festival.
Price’s piece of hotel wear came in third place. The tiny dish had been in use at the Alberta Hotel in the time of infamous run runner Emilio Picariello.
“This little tiny butter dish tells a very interesting story,” said Smithens.
The horseracing trophy, awarded in 1906 to a horse named Sweet Marie, which was also the name of a popular chocolate bar, said Drain, came in second place. The name C.B. Miller is inscribed on its side.
“My husband bought a car from Captain Beebe who was a local character, I guess you could say,” said Drain. “The trophy was in the trunk and that was many years ago.”
“This was what my partner Scott would call a throw in,” said Smithens.
“This is something that has relatively nominal commercial value but from a historical perspective, it’s almost invaluable because you’re never going to see a another one of those,” said Cozens.
Fred Bradley’s stereoscope that once belonged to Jules Charbonnier won first place.
In a time before television, the stereoscope was the best way of getting three-dimensional images of other parts of the world.
Charbonnier’s stereoscope was made in France and has an interesting slide collection of images of the Pass and of Charbonnier’s travels around the world, said Bradley.
Charbonnier was the general manager of West Canadian Colliers. The stereoscope has been in Bradley’s family for many years and was once restored by local photographer Evan Gushul.
The contest was part of the seventh annual Alberta Culture Days, which saw thousands of events happening all over the province.
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October 1st ~ Vol. 84 No. 38
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