News | DrumhellerMail - Page #2900
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Last updateFri, 14 Jun 2024 6pm

Santa is on his way

Santa’s annual flight around the world to deliver presents starts tomorrow. To help everyone see where Santa is, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is once again using their equipment to track his progress around the world.
    The program began in 1955 and provided updates to those who phoned to NORAD’s telephone hotline, or via television and radio.
    Since 1997 the program has also been online, allowing anyone to keep tabs on Santa’s journey.
    To find where Santa is on Christmas Eve, visit www.noradsanta.org or he can also be followed via Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter.


Preliminary inquiry date set for man accused in stabbing

    The man charged following a stabbing in downtown Drumheller had a date set for a preliminary inquiry.
    Edwin Lively through his council appeared in provincial court in Drumheller on Friday December 9. He was charged with aggravated assault following an incident on November 6.
    Lively elected to be tried in Court of Queen’s Bench by a judge alone. A preliminary inquiry has been set for April 27.
    In the early hours of Sunday November 6, a 32-year-old Drumheller man was allegedly attacked with a knife in downtown Drumheller. He was taken to the Drumheller Health Centre to be treated for his wounds.

Christmas in a booming mining valley

    As told in the memories of residents, history books, and Atlas Coal Mine records, Christmas in the Drumheller valley during the coal mining boom was a busy time. The mines were in full swing, extracting coal to sell across Canada and heat the homes of valley residents.
    The influx of cash enabled some families to have a Merry Christmas, complete with dinner and presents.
    Trains would shuttle people from East Coulee, Rosedale, and Nacmine to and from Drumheller, the main shopping centre in the valley, to take advantage of the stores being open late for Christmas shopping.
    Entertainment during the holiday season was similar to what is practiced today. There were pony rides through the snow, makeshift bobsledding, and many of the winter pastimes we enjoy today.
    The mines would hold Christmas parties for their employees and families. The evening would begin with caroling, maybe someone would recite poems, and Santa would make an appearance. Afterwards, there may be a boxing match where no punches were barred.
    One of the biggest parties was the annual Christmas party held in Drumheller. Santa would visit the party, handing out presents to the children in attendance. The presents were given out based on age and gender and no one was excluded. The union provided the gifts.
    The presents came as a relief at a time when, despite the productivity of the mines, many children would not have a stocking or presents waiting for them on Christmas morning. Today, socks may be the bane of any stocking, but during the Great Depression they would be greeted with joy.
    One of the saddest chapters in the history of the valley occurred at the Rosedeer Mine in Wayne in 1933.
    The Rosedeer Mine, anticipating a great mining season, began hiring miners in August, earlier than the other mines in the valley.
    The miners were busy, and as Christmas approached, many were ordering presents from catalogues. The presents were mailed and held at the local post office, because all presents were cash on delivery. The presents began accumulating, but no one was picking them up.
    The first signs that something was amiss was when the managers of the mine held a meeting with the miners in the wash house.
    The mine was receiving many orders for coal, but no one had paid yet. Therefore, the miners couldn’t get paid until the mine did. The miners were given the choice to continue to work, albeit for no pay.
    Most of the miners continued to work, because they trusted the managers. For the following few weeks, the miners tightened their belts.
    On December 23, 1933, their hopes were proven to have been in vain. The mine went broke and could no longer operate. The result was that roughly two hundred miners were laid off, without any pay for weeks. Any cheques that had been hoarded were worthless.
    The miners cried, because they could not collect the presents they had ordered for their families. Many families were broke and went without Christmas dinner, or even bread in some cases.
    Christmas in the valley during the Great Depression was a difficult time for many families. For some families, it was a magical time, filled with the joys inherent in the season. For those less fortunate, it was another day of just getting by.


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