Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Medicine Hat

Many people are intrigued by the name of my birthplace and tend to want to know more about it. So I thought I would share an article I recently had published in Travel Thru History, a wonderful ezine featuring great travel articles. There are many reasons to visit this interesting prairie city that will always be apart of me no matter where I go. Here are ten of them.

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TEN REASONS TO VISIT MEDICINE HAT 
Canada
by Darlene Foster

Medicine Hat, Alberta, is not often high on anyone’s must-visit list, if it’s there at all. But it should be. There are many reasons to visit this oasis in the Canadian prairies, here are ten of them.

The Name

Who wouldn’t want to visit a place with such a unique name? There are many stories about how the city acquired its unique name derived from the original First Nation’s name Saamis, which means The Medicine Man’s Hat. All the legends involve a feather headdress. One story tells of a battle between the Blackfoot and Cree in which a retreating Cree Medicine Man lost his headdress in the South Saskatchewan River at the place where Medicine Hat became a town. The city uses a feather headdress as its symbol. The locals simply call their town, “The Hat” and residents are often called, “Hatters”.

SAAMISTepee

The World’s Largest Tepee

It’s hard to miss this towering structure as you enter Medicine Hat on the Trans-Canada Highway from either direction. Originally constructed for the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics, the Saamis Tepee is a tribute to Canada’s native heritage. The colours of the structure are symbolic, white for purity, red for the rising and setting sun and blue for the flowing river. It is the World’s Tallest Tepee standing over 20 stories high, weighing 200 tonnes

Read more about Medicine Hat here 

http://www.travelthruhistory.com/html/cities121.html

Jim Marshall mural

One of the many sculptured brick murals by Jim Marshall.

To learn more about Jim Marshall and his sculptured brick murals watch this interesting video which includes fabulous views of the city.

https://www.pbs.org/video/northwest-profiles-james-marshall-brick-artist/

Giantchess set

The giant chess set by the library. Grandchildren is another reason for me to visit.

Do you come from an interesting place? Please share with me in the comments.

I am fascinated by graveyards, always have been. The older the better. I visit them wherever I go, including Canada, the US, England, Spain, Holland and ancient sites in the United Arab Emirates and Malta. I love to wander the site and think about the individuals buried there. I don’t find them spooky, but rather peaceful, often sad and full of stories. When I was visiting my granddaughter in southern Alberta last summer we went for a drive in the prairies and discovered a well-kept, old cemetery not too far from her place. There were only about a dozen gravestones but what we found was amazing. This was the final resting place of my great-great-grandmother on my father’s side, Juliana Wegner Frisch.

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We found my great-great-grandmother buried here in the Eagle Butte Little Plume Cemetery

 

 

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German translation – Mother Juliana Frisch, born Wegner, born Jan 27, 1852, died Sept 17, 1927, Age 75 years, 8 months and 21 days

I have written quite a lot on this blog about my mother’s side of the family but we don’t know as much about my father’s side (Frisch) except that they were also German people who immigrated to North America from south Russia. They arrived in the late 1800s and many settled initially in the United States. My brother and my dad’s cousin have done some research and from what they discovered, Johann Frisch and his wife Juliana Wegner were both born in south Russia in an area what was, at the time, called Bessarabia.  They emigrated from Hamburg, Germany on April 20, 1898, arriving in New York on May 6, 1898, on a ship named “S.S.Scotia.”  With them were all seven of their surviving children, including my great-grandparents, John Frisch and Sophie (Schlect), who had already met and married in Russia. Johann and Juliana homesteaded in southern Alberta and later moved into the town of Irvine to set up a livery stable business and later a mail delivery business.

After retiring to the city of Medicine Hat, they split up in 1917.  Julianna lived the remainder of her life with her daughters until she passed away in 1927. Johann moved to the US where he passed away in 1928 on a “poor farm” in Portland, Oregon where he is buried. I can´t help but wonder why they went their separate ways.

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It was an awesome feeling to be there, at the place where my roots in Canada began. But even more amazing was the reaction of my seven-year-old great-granddaughter who was totally aware of the significance of the place. She was very serious and solemn and asked good questions. This woman was eight generations from her and resting only ten miles from where she lived!

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Standing beside the grave of her 5 times great-grandmother and feeling emotional

All the graves, although old, were in good repair. Apparently, other members of the family are buried there as well, some without gravestones.

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Always sad to see a baby’s grave.

There was a church nearby and I assume the congregation must look after the graveyard.

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And in amongst the dry grass, I found little flowers blooming and it made me think of how life is created and carries on no matter what. How a woman with seven children arrived in a new country, thrived and is responsible for so many descendants. I looked at my great-granddaughter and thought of how her legacy lives on.DSCN0193

The only picture of Juliana I could find was in the Frisch Family Tree book, painstakingly compiled by my dad’s cousin, Reuben Frisch. In the book, nine generations are documented and 1153 people listed (including spouses). In the front cover he wrote,  Thanks to these two people, Johann Frisch and Juliana Wegner who came to Canada, with their children, we get to live the good life.

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Thank you, Juliana Frisch. May you rest in peace.

I just returned from a trip home to Alberta, Canada, where I attended my grandson´s graduation and a large family reunion, visited many friends and relatives and spent quality time with mom, my son and his family. Needless to say I had a wonderful time. I´ll let the pictures tell the story.

Proud Grandma

Proud Grandma

A proud family!

Proud parents and brother

I did it!

I did it!

So glad I could be there for this important occasion.

Calgary friends

Long time Calgary buddies

A friend I haven´t seen for many years

Catching up with a childhood friend I haven´t seen for many years

We worked together 35 years ago.

We worked together 35 years ago. Where does the time go?

Dinner with the grandsons

Dinner with the grandsons

My sweet great granddaughter

My sweet great granddaughter

With my other sweet great granddaughter at the reunion

With my other sweet great granddaughter at the family reunion

my other sweet great granddaughter giving her great great grandmother a ride in the garden

Giving her great great grandmother a ride in the garden

 

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With Mom and her sister at the family reunion

I saw many relatives I hadn´t seen for some time, including my 91 year old great aunt and her husband in Calgary, my dad´s 90 year old brother and my 86 year old great uncle in Medicine Hat. Always good to see them and hear their wonderful stories, some of which I plan to share on this blog.

I´ll write more about the family reunion which deserves its own post.

I´ve put together a short video of our travels in 2014. Great times with great people!
Enjoy!!

I have loved visiting museums for as long as I can remember. As a young person, I would rather go to a museum than play sports or hang out with friends. My aunt and I would often spend entire days at the Medicine Hat Museum which  at that time was a log cabin filled with items from the past. We liked to pretend we were living in the pioneer days. The original museum has been moved a couple of times since then and is now housed in the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre. Last summer, my grandson and I stopped in to view the displays. I was pleased he shared my excitement of museums. The displays were well put together with some of the original items  still showcased as well as many other artefacts. Here are a few samples.

Items from the original log cabin museum

Items from the original log cabin museum

Toys from the past

Toys from the past

The cowboy lifestyle

Representing the cowboy lifestyle

A dressmaker's dummy

A dressmaker’s dummy

A note left by a frustrated homesteader

A note left by a frustrated homesteader

We also visited The Pioneer Village located on the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede grounds. A collection of heritage buildings from the surrounding area which includes a general store, a church, a fire hall. a school and a blacksmith shop.

A typical prairie general store built in 1924

A typical prairie general store 

Items for sale in the general store. Look at those prices!

Items for sale in the general store. Look at those prices!

How many miles has this trunk travelled?

How many miles has this trunk travelled?

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Grandson by a prairie church built in 1924

Grandson by a prairie church built in 1924

It was a fun visit exploring the past with a young person. I’m so pleased that communities realize the importance of preserving a way of life that is no longer.

Do you enjoy visiting museums and heritage buildings?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mom was born December 25th, 1928. Yes, she was a Christmas baby. When we were growing up, Dad  made sure we celebrated her birthday as well as Christmas that day. There would always be a Christmas gift under the tree for mom and a separate birthday gift. We always had a cake and candles included in all the festivities. When I learned to bake, I would secretly make her a cake myself and bring it out of hiding at one point to surprise her.  It’s true she worked hard preparing a traditional Christmas meal and ensuring our Christmas was perfect, but she was always made to feel special on her day. She tells me she never felt cheated by having a Christmas birthday and no one ever forgot her birthday!

This year, since it was a milestone year, we made her party a month early so that all of us could be there. She still lives in Medicine Hat, Alberta, the community she has lived in all her life. One brother drove down from Edmonton, days before flying out to Thailand where he lives for part of the year. My other brother came from Calgary, and my husband and I flew in from Vancouver. We rented a party room in the retirement home she now resides in and posted an announcement in the local paper. It was a wonderful event as over 100 friends and relatives dropped in to wish her a Happy Birthday. Her sister from Arizona made the trip as well. Mom  glowed with happiness.

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Mom with her kids

Mom with her kids

Mom with her remaining sibblings

Mom with her brother and sisters

It was a lot of work, especially organizing it long distance, but I’m so glad we did it. Everyone pitched in and helped of course. When we took mom up to her room after the party she looked through the guest book and all her cards and commented that she never knew she had so many friends. My beautiful mom is so well loved and we are blessed to have her.

She will still get calls on Christmas day from near and far as we never forget our Christmas Mom!

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It is hard to miss this towering edifice as you drive through Medicine Hat, Alberta on the Trans-Canada Highway. Medicine Hat is my home town and I have driven past this landmark many times. This summer my trusty assistant, (also known as my 12 year-old grandson) and I decided to drive up to the Tepee and have a better look. I have no idea why I had not done this much sooner.

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Originally constructed for the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics, the Saamis Tepee is a tribute to Canada’s native heritage. The colours of the structure are symbolic, white for purity, red for the rising and setting sun and blue for the flowing river. There are ten round story-boards built into the tepee depicting native culture and history. It is the World’s Tallest Teepee standing over 20 stories high, weighing 200 tonnes and capable of withstanding 150 mph winds. It was brought to Medicine Hat by local businessman Rick Filanti in 1991.

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We were both fascinated by the storyboards inside the Tepee, all hand painted by various First Nations and Metis artists.

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This one, The Legend: How Medicine Hat Got Its Name, by Joseph Hind Bull, depicts one of the legends of how Medicine Hat got its name,

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This one, called Circle of Unity-Multiculturalism by Nona Foster. portrays the different races  by different coloured hands.

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This one called, The Plains Indians, by Manybears, shows the relationship between man and nature’s survival.

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This storyboard represents Treaty 7, signed at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877, painted by Henry Standingalone.

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The storyboard on the left, The Blackfoot Confederacy, by Henry Standingalone, and the one of the right, Plains Cree Way of Life, by Nona Foster, depict the two major groups that populated the area and the things that were important to each.

Each storyboard comes with a detailed interpretation by the artist and represents a variety of influences and history of the First Nations heritage.

There was something magical about standing inside the large Tepee on a hot, sunny, prairie day. It made me realize what a rich cultural heritage my country has. I used to think of it as a young country with not much history. I realize how wrong I was.


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