Through the years Twenty-one-pounder hauled out of Lesser Slave River

Snippets from April 29 Northland Free Press and Lakeside Leader

Roland Michener High School student Mark Russell had the April 26 Catch of the Week. He plunged into the Lesser Slave River when the fish broke his line and caught the fish. It was 21 pounds and 41 inches long. The type of fish wasn’t reported, but there was a photo.

On Sundays, people all across the province could call anywhere in the province for 50 cents or less for the first three minutes. This was for both direct dial and operator-directed calls. It is unclear how much the call cost after the first three minutes and how much the normal rate per minute was.
Also advertised for 50 cents was the new proof of age card from Alberta Liquor Control Board. It was to be available to people 18 years and older on May 7, 1975 from noon to 6 p.m. Proof of age included birth or baptismal certificates, passport, drivers license, discharge papers, foreign government visa, or a declaration from a parent, guardian, or school official.
Later in the paper a T-Bone steak full course meal at Mitsue Lake Cafeteria was only $4, and a hair perm, cut, and conditioner was regular $20 (on sale for $15). Shag plush carpet was on sale for $7.50 a yard. A men’s three-speed bicycle was for sale for $25.
All of the above suggests that 50 cents went a long way, in 1975.

In real estate, 80 acres of mostly cleared land next to the town of Slave Lake were for sale. The asking price was $40,000. A three bedroom home with two car garage in town was $32,000. A two bedroom home on a smaller lot in town with natural gas, stove and fridge was $12,600. A 1971 Emperial, 12 by 50 feet house trailer, with a heated porch was $9,000.
These prices have changed quite a bit in the last 45 years. In the Century 21 add on Page 3 of the April 15, 2020 Leader, prices ranged from $39,900 (trailer house) to $225,000 (four bedroom, two bath with garage), to $1,150,000 (Widewater acreage) and a commercial building for $2,600,000.

In entertainment, Rex Theatre was showing ‘Cinderella Liberty’, Alfred Hichcock’s ‘W’, ‘Girl from Petrobka’ starring Goldie Hawn and Hal Holbrook, ‘Arnold’, ‘Sword of Sherwood Forest’, and ‘Fly Me’.
Gilwood Golf and Country Club’s general meeting was to be May 1 at the Legion Hall. The business was to include – electing board members, golf course expansion and summer plans.
The Slave Lake Musical Theatre Association held a potluck supper for all of the previous year’s members plus 15 more people. The evening ended with a sing-a-long and there were plans for a summer beach party.
(As of 2020, the theatre, the golf club and the theatre association are still alive and kicking in Slave Lake).
Other groups that are still in Slave Lake mentioned in the paper included the Hospital Auxiliary, the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre, the Chamber of Commerce, and ALANON.

There was soon to be a General Motors dealer in Slave Lake – Seguin Motors. Its new stock was to include Chevrolet and GMC pickups, Camaro LT, Buick LeSabre and Skylark, Pontiac Ventura, Vega, Parisienne, Chev Monza 2 + 2, and Pontiac LeMans and Safari.
In other vehicle news, Emil Lessard at Lessard’s Garage had stock to be a fully equipped muffler and exhaust shop.

The town’s annual clean-up was to be May 12, but Slave Lake school kids had already picked up trash along the roadways, cleaned the town centre, and scraped the fountain.

Disasters were on the front page. A local 15-year-old had died. The other two items had to do with disaster planning. Pre-schoolers visited the fire hall and various people took part in a disaster exercise in an overturned bus on the SE bridge. The exercise included cutting through the roof of the bus.
The exercise included smoke bombs, the RCMP, local firefighters, and ‘hysterical’ high school actors playing the victims.

Parents were requesting more playgrounds in the SE. In Phase 1 of the SE, many children had to cross the railway to get to the nearest park. The new plan which was being looked into would build four parks in the SE – two each in Phase 1 and Phase 2.

The controversial ‘pool room’ bylaw received a second reading by Town of Slave Lake council. The biggest issue is at what age should minors be banned from entering arcades and pool halls. The amended law said “youth aged 13 and under are not allowed into the premises without written consent from their legal parent or guardian.”

The Alberta Forest Service Native Liason Committee was established to improve communication between the forest service and Indigenous people in Alberta. It had members from Alberta Forest Service, the Native Firefighters Association, the Indian Association of Alberta, Métis Association of Alberta, the Federation of Métis Settlements, and Alberta Native Affairs.

The fifth annual kindergarten fashion show was to be on May 1 at the Elk’s Hall. The theme was ‘Cross-cultural: where the trails meet.’ The event included a bake sale and cost $2.50 per adult and $1 for seniors and children.
Rex Theatre was showing ‘The Private Eyes’ (Tim Conway and Don Knotts), ‘Resurrection’ (Ellen Burstyn), and ‘Rooster Cogburn’ (John Wayne).

The oilfield was having hard times. There was a Canadian oil dispute. The deadlock was between (Canadian Prime Minister Pierre) Trudeau and (Alberta Premier Peter) Lougheed. Nearly half of the oil rings operating in Canada were going to be leaving the country during the summer. At the time, these were in Alberta and British Columbia. The rigs were being shipped to the United States by American trucking companies. The crews were not expected to follow.

Alberta health care costs were going to increase by 10 per cent. The new monthly cost for per person was $9.50, and family $19.
A yearly subscription to the Leader cost $12. (In 2020, with inflation it is now $55).
A certified millwright could make $13.08 a per hour and an automotive journeyman mechanic could make $13. Twenty registered Hereford cows with calves were for sale for $1,000.

Several Slave Lakers were compiling a history book. The deadline for publication was the 1982 Riverboat Daze. Some of the research included the 1937 Alberta Blacksmith Association’s price list. This include replacement spokes for a wagon for 25 cents. Pearl Borzel, Jean Holt, Etiennette Plant, and Edith Andrews were part of the crew putting the book together. (The final product is “Pioneers of the Lakeland: A Homespun History of Slave Lake and Surrounding Area”. The Rotary Club of Slave Lake Library has 13 copies. There’s one at The Leader, and likely others kicking around).

The Swan River Band Recreation Committee set up a youth drop-in centre in Kinuso. The band office was reserved for kids under 17 three days a week. They could play pool, pinball and other things. There were also plans underway for pool, archery, and horseshoe tournaments, and camping trips.

Real estate. In the Century 21 ad: a double-wide three bedroom trailer house in Smith was on the market for $49,000, summer cottage lots in Marten River were $12,000, and a new house in Slave Lake was $66,000.

National Forest Week was (and likely still is close to) May 2 to 9. To celebrate, Junior Forest Wardens planted 415 white spruce seedlings at the Sawridge Recreation Area. A 25 foot blue spruce was planted beside the Saan store. “The tree will serve not only as a community landmark, but also as the town’s permanent Christmas tree.” (Presumably, this is the tree in Citizen’s Park which was decorated for Christmas).
The highlight was to be the annual Loggers Sports competition and pancake breakfast. In 1991, Slave Lake was Alberta’s forest capital, so the events were to have an added punch. It was also Canada’s 125th anniversary.

The speaker at Volunteer Week events was an athlete and an academic. The Citizen of the Year was to be named on May 1. There were four nominations. The announcement was to be at the annual volunteer appreciation supper. The Leader and Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre were the sponsors. (In 2020, Volunteer Week fell on April 20 to 24. Most events were put off because of COVID-19).
In Smith and Hondo, the festivities included a seniors luncheon and hay rides.

At the grocery store, six cupcakes cost $1.29, roast beef at the deli was 99 cents a 100 grams, a one litre ketchup was $1.55, and diced frozen hashbrowns were 85 cents per one kilogram bag.
The Sweet Grass Cafe, in the Sawridge Inn, was advertising a mother’s day brunch. The price for mothers wasn’t given, but kids could eat at the ‘knee high buffet’ for 99 cents.
Gilwood Golf course was open. It had a special of a steak sandwhich and a bucket of balls for $6.95. The Mother’s Day special was $10.95 for adults and $5.95 per child.
At the Sawridge Truck Stop, the prices ranged from 99 cents for children under five to $7.95 for adults.

An acreage with a three-bedroom house and two acres was on the market for $129,000. Mobile homes ranged from $19,900 to $59,000.

A server could make $7 an hour.

The provincial election in the riding of Lesser Slave Lake was gearing up to be a close race. The candidates were incumbent Pearl Calahasen (Progressive Conservative), Darryl Boisson (Wildrose), and Danielle Larivee (NDP).

The Town of Slave Lake proclaimed April 15 to 29 Victims of Crime Awareness Week. The announcement came from a request made by Victim Services Alberta. The proclamation included a promise to continue to support victims throughout the year.

On May 2, Team Rwanda was bringing one of the latest trends to Slave Lake. As a fundraiser, the group was hosting a one day only escape room at the Slave Lake Alliance Church. A team of six people were going to Rwanda on a humanitarian trip. (This has since become a tradition. The 2020 escape rooms have been postponed until the fall).

Parent Link was organizing free lending libraries around Slave Lake. This was part of an international “take a book, leave a book” project to support literacy in communities. (In March 2020, Parent Link closed its doors due to provincial funding changes. A new program with similar aims will reopen soon. (See article in the April 29 Leader).

The Royal LePage real estate ads had houses ranging in price from $89,900 (mobile home) to $585,000 (house in Canyon Creek).

The Town of Slave Lake animal control bylaw was expanded to include cats. The new system allowed the bylaw officer to ticket people whose cats are running at large and “defecating on private property.” The complainant had to prove whose cat had done the pooping.

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