A D.C. Legend

Today, a story from the Alaska Highway News about a Dawson Creek man who has spent over ninety years serving his country and community, seeking adventure and learning at every opportunity.  Please enjoy reading the life history of Flight Sergeant Sam Side: his own version.

And look for his biography at Bill’s News in Dawson Creek!

Know a local legend?  Let us know.  Please write to townspirit@hotmail.com or leave a comment on any post.  Thanks 🙂

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Curling History

The snow has flown, the ice is frozen.  Time for curling!  Here in the Peace Country, where ice and cold are free and plentiful for almost half of every year, curling has always been a major attraction.  Any little hamlet on the prairie with enough community spirit could come up with a rink: an uninsulated, wood frame  building with room for two sheets.

Curling was different in many ways back in the 20s and 30s.  Towns like Spirit River were small, isolated, and close, especially in winter.  The curling rink offered friendly competition, a place to socialize, show off and talk over problems with the farm or the school.  Well, maybe that much hasn’t changed, but the venue certainly has.

The ice was made by hard labour.  Teams of horses hauled water from the river.  Tanks were filled and the water was heated over an open flame.  Meanwhile the sheets were shored up with snow to hold the water in.  Water was slowly released to form the sheets in layers.  It was painstaking work.  All could be lost if the banks broke and the water leaked away.

Once finished, however, the curling rink was the centre of social life in the winter, especially among the men.  It cost five dollars to curl all season.  Curlers usually owned their own rocks, often a jam can filled with a mixture of frozen water and sand and featuring a handle made of some unused tool.  Since rocks were homemade, they varied in weight by as much as six pounds.  How can you take out a heavy rock with a light one?  That was just one of the skills an early curler had to develop.

It also took a skillful player to make a shot through the debris on the ice.  Just as nobody had a team sweater, no one had dedicated footwear for curling.  They came straight from working in the farmyard, often arriving by horse, so of course plenty of manure made its way onto the ice.

Through it all, curling was the friendly sport, open to all and not averse to a bit of fun in the midst of some serious sportsmanship.

Do you have memories of the early days in the Peace Country?  We would love to help you help everyone remember the good old days!  Please write to townspirit@hotmail.com.




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The Night Shift Labours of Jack Frost

This post was first published when Town Spirit was just a few months old, in November of 2010. As beautiful as the frost has been, it is still nice to think that winters always pass and summers always come – just in case you don’t like tobogganing, skating, hockey, curling, snowshoeing, skiing, or winter photography, and yearn instead for mosquitoes, sunburn, sticky Popsicles and lawn mowing!

Please enjoy this post about frost, and remember: if you have pictures of our beautiful Peace Country, we would love to share them here. Just email townspirit@hotmail.com. And thanks for dropping by!


It’s the most beautiful winter phenomenon, the sparkly, fuzzy whiteness of well-grown hoar frost decorating trees, fences, rose bushes and grasses.  Today’s display of hoar frost was gorgeous!

Hoar frost is also called pruina (if you want to sound supersmart while you are discussing the weather).  Frost crystals really do grow –  the size of the crystals, or “spicules,” depends on how much moisture is available in the air.

Hoarfrost is kind of a funny word… but don’t worry, it comes to us after a long and innocent journey through the German language.  Originally the word was hehr, meaning “sublime”.  Then it morphed into words meaning “old” and “grey with age” (as in an old man’s hoary white beard).  Any of those meanings are quite fitting.  “Frost” has always meant pretty much the same thing – ffffrrreezing!!!

A lot of people think the correct term is “horror frost.”  Maybe that’s just because it’s a bit uncomfortable to say hoar.  But Horror Frost sounds like a good local legend!  If you want to make one up and debut it on Town Spirit, Town Spirit really wants to hear from you!!

Email townspirit@hotmail.com.

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Eaglesham Students Spend the Night in the Trenches

This year was the sixth year students from Eaglesham had first hand experience of digging trenches, battle maneuvers, and sleeping out in the cold – finding just a small taste of what the soldiers of World War I would have faced every day.  This year, with temperatures dipping to -30C, the lesson was particularly powerful.  For the first time, students from other schools joined in as well.

Read more about this unique learning experience in this article from CBC News Edmonton.

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Winter’s Blast

This week’s -20s blast of cold air, snow and frost makes last week’s mild introduction to winter seem very tame.  But here we are tough.  We can take it!


A typical back road last week.


If you have a photo of the Peace Country to share, why not post it here?  Just email townspirit@hotmail.com to see your pictures here.

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We Remember


Spirit River’s Remembrance Day services begin with the laying of the wreath at the cenotaph at 10:30 a.m., followed by the march to the Centennial Hall for further services at 10:45.

In Rycroft service begins at 10:30 at the Community Hall, and in Eaglesham at Eaglesham Hall, also at 10:30.

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Time to Remember

Remembrance Day is Tuesday, but one’s thoughts often turn to stories of war, heroism and veterans at other times as well. Please take a few moments to browse the Our Veterans category to read local veterans’ stories.

If you have a local story to share it is always welcome here. Please email townspirit@hotmail.com.

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