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Jan. 28, 2020, 7:00 PM Sitting Bull: Four Years in Canada
Jack Dunn, Retired Teacher, Historian, Author
Central Library, 800 3 ST SE
Free program

Feb. 7, 2020, 1:00 PMThe Czech Community of Calgary
Lubos K. Pesta, Q.C.
cSpace, 1721 29 AVE SW
Free for members; $5 charge at door for non-members

Feb. 18, 2020, 7:00 PMMapping Black Calgary, 1890-1960
Cheryl Foggo, Author, Filmmaker, Playwright
Central Library, 800 3 ST SE
Free program

Dec. 7, 2019 At the Chinook Country Historical Society’s Christmas Luncheon, director Kate Reeves presented the inaugural Diana Sim Volunteer Recognition Award to Roberta Ryckman (pictured above).  Please find below Harry Sanders' obituary for Diana Sim, in whose memory the volunteer recognition award is named.

Diana Winifred Sim
(1933 - 2003)
by Harry Sanders

Diana Winfred Sim passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 2, 2003 at the age of 70. She was predeceased by her parents, Jessie McKenzie and Albert Sim. She will be missed by her sister, Dorothy Wallace of Dumbarton, Scotland, nephews Jim Wallace and David Wallace, as well as numerous close friends in Calgary.

Diana served with the Royal Air Force in Germany in the early 1950s, and left Scotland for Canada late in that decade. She lived in Montreal and Banff before moving to Calgary in 1967. She worked at the Banff Springs Hotel, and then enjoyed a long career with Parks Canada’s Western Region Office, first in the Engineering section and then for Historic Sites, where she played an administrative role in arranging historic site ceremonies and in the placement of historic site plaques in western Canada. Always willing to try something new, Diana embraced and mastered electronic record keeping and communications early on. She took early retirement and soon found herself busier than she had ever been at work.

For a woman of 5’1’’, Diana was a force of life. She was outgoing, enthusiastic, and interested in everything. Whenever there was a problem, she was willing to commit her time and energy to help. She was a member of four women’s choirs, and sang in a choir at the Kiwanis Music Festival; she attended the opera, the philharmonic and the Pleiades Theatre; and volunteered for the International Organ Festival and Lunchbox Theatre. She also volunteered for Canadian Blood Services.

Diana loved history, and was an active member and outstanding volunteer for the Historical Society of Alberta (and its local branch, the Chinook Country Historical Society) and the Lougheed House Conservation Society. She was a long time member of Wesley United Church and more recently joined Hillhurst United Church. She knitted, travelled widely, and late in life, learned and excelled at water colour painting. Diana loved Scottish country dancing, and once danced on the Great Wall of China. She pursed whatever she wanted in life, and in so doing brought joy to others.
Diana’s memorial service was held on Tuesday, September 9, 2003 at 2:00pm at Hillhurst United Church. 

The Lake and its Beginnings: A History of the City of Chestermere
by Brandi Holmes
As featured in Townsizing (Summer 2019)
Photo courtesy of Walt De Boni
The City of Chestermere has a long, decorated past that dates back to the 1880’s, mainly revolving around the natural slough, which we all know today as Chestermere Lake.

When the Canadian Pacific Railway came through Calgary in 1883, more people became interested in settling the West. But as a part of a natural wetlands the slough didn’t bring very much positive interest other than to the farmers and cattlemen in the area.
With a handful of farmers settling around what would become the Chestermere area, it became apparent that irrigation was needed to make the farms more productive. The slough, unofficially called Kinniburgh Slough after the Kinniburgh family who farmed near-by, was determined to be the perfect option for irrigation. Under the North West Irrigation Act in 1894 surveys took place to determine the feasibility of general irrigation and the CPR ultimately determined that water from the Bow River would be diverted to a potential reservoir site.
The diversion took place at the turn of the century and the project was given the name of The Western Block of the CPR Irrigation Project. A canal was built, and a dam to form a balancing pool out of Kinniburgh Slough — officially, Reservoir #1.
The water was diverted from the Bow River east of St. George’s Island, and flowed down the Main Canal starting close to where Nose Creek runs into the river.
The old head-works and weir can still be seen near Harvie Passage from view points at Pearce Estate Park in Calgary, but the rest of the project is barely visible from Deerfoot Trail.

Once the Irrigation Project was up and running the first farmers as far away as Gleichen received water in 1907.  It was not long after that local businessmen started to take notice. It was also during this time that the lake was being used for recreation in both summer and winter. The CPR leased land to allow people to build semi-permanent cabins or boathouses in order to use the lake for recreation. By 1910, maps show this new body of water being named Chestermere Lake.
RC Lea on the southeast part of the lake built the first cabin in 1926, then in 1944, was a more official manner of five-year leases from the newly formed Western Irrigation District (The WID) became available. The price of the lease was determined by the price of the ‘lot’ and was anywhere from $1 to $10 per year, renewed on a yearly basis.
With more and more summer residents, the Chestermere Cabin Owners Association (CCOA) was incorporated in 1959 with approximately 50 members. The CCOA worked together to bring natural gas and electricity to the cabins, help reduce pollution to the lake and held many community events. Soon, the population around the lake started to grow exponentially and in 1975, the CCOA bought the land around the reservoir from the WID. This land was then offered to the current leaseholders for first right of refusal, after that it would go to the public.
In 1977, with 120 permanent summer residents, the area was given official status as the Summer Village of Chestermere Lake. The status of summer village in Alberta meant that part time residents could vote for the village council. The first mayor was Bill Porter.
Many of the first residents of the summer village still live in the City of Chestermere to this day. The Porter family is one of the oldest families to settle down, with Mabel and Bob Porter coming in 1955. Bill Porter, son of Bob and Mabel, still lives in Chestermere with his wife Arlene.
The Peddlesden family also still lives in Chestermere, with Jennifer currently living on the same plot of land her father and uncle leased back in the ‘50s.
The Porter family has had a big impact on the development of what we know now as the City of Chestermere. They opened the first gas station in The Summer Village, a restaurant, hotel, post office, liquor store, shopping centre and storage yard. In addition to Bill being elected mayor twice; 1976 and 1996, the Porter name runs deeply through the history of Chestermere.
When asked about living and raising a family in a smaller community, Arlene says “it’s easier to make more meaningful connections in a small community, in comparison to living in a big city where you might not even know your neighbour’s name.”
“People find it desirable to live in a small community farther away from the city, because it provides a better quality of life.”
Fast forward a few years to 1994, the lake has now been a staple watering hole for surrounding residents from the big city, with more people electing for permanent residence in a smaller community. Now, with more permanent residents and not as many part time cabin owners, the summer village voted to become a town — the village status was completely skipped! Then in 2014, mayor and council elected to become the City of Chestermere and on January 1st, 2015 that title was made official.
Today, Chestermere is still growing with a current population of 20,732 with over 68 per cent of that population being working age and over 91 per cent owning their homes. There is a handful of new communities and developments on the horizon and even though Chestermere is now a city, the deep history surrounding the lake is still prevalent today.
The Chestermere Historical Foundation was established in 2011 and operates programs and educational opportunities for citizens of all ages to learn more about local Chestermere History. 
Visit for more information on the history of Chestermere.
Copyright © 2020 Chinook Country Historical Society, All rights reserved.



Telephone Number:
(403) 261-4667

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