At this time of year it’s tough to take a moment, put down the credit card, and truly enjoy the spirit of the holiday season. It’s not about buying and it’s not about wrapping. It’s about spending time with the family and friends you love. Today we take a look back at the hustle and bustle of the holidays in early Edmonton. Much like nowadays, it seems shopping was on the minds of many Edmontonians, but come Christmas day, as you will see, Edmonton was transformed and the spirit of season touched everyone. We hope you enjoy this look back.
The Edmonton Bulletin – Thursday December 23, 1909
Kelly & Moore, a clothing company on 50 Jasper Avenue East, was promoting “That Well Dressed Feeling” for the holidays. They were selling men’s Smoking Jackets, House Coats, Dressing Gowns, Bath Robes, Pyjamas and more – prices for full overcoats ranging from only $15 to $35.
Looking to getaway in 1909? It would have cost you a pretty penny, but luckily the Canadian Northern Railway and Canadian Pacific were running holiday specials. Excursions to Toronto and points in Western Ontario would cost you $58.35, and a trip to Montreal would run you $63.35 from Edmonton. Heading West? Return trips to Vancouver, Victoria and Westminster were offered for only $2.00!
The Ross Brothers Ltd on the corner of Jasper and Fraser was the Canadian Tire of 1909. Their hardware and cutlery shop had “husbands and dads” in mind by selling tools, shaving sets (include Gillette Safety Razors), carving sets, pocket knives and even skates from $1-$12. Interested in buying? Their phone number: 1825.
At last word, Santa had reached Athabasca Landing, or at least that’s what the paper of day would say. Johnstone Walker & Co. got a note from Santa himself sending his “heartiest good wishes to all friends in Edmonton”. He was reminding Edmontonians not to forget anyone on the Christmas shopping lists! From 50 cent slippers to $15 table linen – W. Johstone Walker & Co on 263-67 Jasper Avenue East had last-minute shoppers in Edmonton covered.
If you were looking to get outside for the day, Horner’s Rink was the place to be this Christmas. Weather permitting – a band would accompany skaters on the largest and best sheet of ice in the city!
Get pampered and your tummy stuffed for a Christmas Dinner (feast) offered at the Pendennis Hotel. This decadent and scrumptious looking menu featured items such as: Boiled Fowl with Oyster Sauce, Spring Lamb with Mint Sauce, Haunches of Moose (Hunter’s Style), Mallard Duck Stuffed with Green Apples & Cranberry Jelly, Waldorf Salad, Boston Cream Puffs, five different types of cake and Maraschino Cherry Punch! Is your mouth watering yet?
Opera in Edmonton was a cheap affair in late 1909. The Christmas Matinee and Night showing of “The Professor’s Love Story” a beautiful southern comedy drama in four acts cost between 25 and 75 cents. Now that’s cheap entertainment!
The Edmonton Bulletin – Monday, December 27, 1909
A wonderful article written two days after Christmas gives us a glimpse into Christmas day’s comings’ and goings’. Join us for a look back into Christmas Day, December 25th, 1909.
Christmas Day in Edmonton
Great Annual Holiday Loyalty Observed – Splendid Weather Favored Outdoor Sports!
Holiday amusements – were not lacking in Edmonton on Christmas day. Few people were to be seen on the streets in the morning. The first festivities of the day were in the homes. Santa Clause had crept down a thousand chimneys the night before and checked a thousand Xmas trees and filled innumerable stockings. Exploration was the business of the morning.
A snow storm which threatened in the early afternoon passed off and left the day an ideal one for skating and sleigh riding. The rinks were well patronized and the livery stables were left with empty stalls. A few clear spaces on the river, which afforded skating were taken advantage of by steel shod lads.
Despite warnings that have been issued because of frequent accidents, the hill-roads of the city were used as slides for new Christmas sleds by numerous small boys. The hockey match at the Thistle rink in the afternoon between Edmonton and Strathcona teams proved as great a drawing card as when the teams of the twin cities battled for supremacy some years ago. The rink was crowded to the doors with spectators, enthusiastic in the support of either team. Strathcona leading by two goals to none at half time, won the match by a score of 5 to 4…
Twenty rinks were engaged in the curling competition which took place in the afternoon on the Capital, Granite and Strathcona rinks. That means eighty curlers. The games were followed with interest from large numbers of spectators. Strathcona came off with premier honors, winning four of seven games played and drawing a fifth… “The Professor’s Love Story at the Edmonton Opera House, and “The Bonnie Briar Bush” at the Empire were the theatrical offerings of the day. Crowded houses greeted both matinee and evening performances. The audiences were in Christmas humour and were liberal in display of their appreciation…
Christmas dinner at the hotels was the dinner of the year and the Menu prepared by several of the hotelries would do credit to a big New York house. Those who were not fortunate enough to share a feast about some festive family board were grateful to “mine host” for the special spread. Many a ‘tiny Tim’ was made happy by the organize philanthropy of the United Aids, the officers of which scored the city for cases of deserving needs. Over a hundred dispatch boxes were sent out bearing Christmas cheer to many a home which might otherwise have been sad and dreary…
Christmas services were held in the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches – and at the Salvation Army barracks.
We hope you enjoyed this look back at a 1909 Christmas. We here at Fort Edmonton Park want to wish you and your family a joyous holiday season and prosperous New Year. See you in 2012!