100 years of memories celebrated

Peace River Mayor Tom Tarpey signs a ceremonial proclamation just like the one that made Peace River an official town 100 years ago. Left-right are Councillor Orren Ford, Mayor Tom Tarpey, and Councillor Johanna Downing.

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

After a year of centennial events, Peace River got one more cake in celebration of the town’s 100th birthday.

Some of the activities for the centennial over the year included planting 100 trees, having two murals painted – one of which is already done – and erecting new flag poles and holding a flag raising of Metis and Treaty 8 flags alongside Town of Peace River, Alberta, and Canada flags. Activities were organized by the centennial planning committee.

The final event at the new Baytex Energy Centre on Dec. 1 celebrated all of these events, and included the closing of a time capsule to be reopened in 50 years.

It also featured the ceremonial signing of a proclamation just like the one that made the Village of Peace River Crossing into the Town of Peace River exactly 100 years ago to the day in 1919.

While MLA Dan Williams and MP Arnold Viersen were not in attendance, a congratulatory message from Governor General of Canada Julie Payette was read at the event.

“One-hundred years, this is no small achievement,” Payette says. “Peace River is a historical treasure, but it is first and foremost a vibrant community.”

“I credit the people who live here,” says Peace River Mayor Tom Tarpey.

“We seem to attract the bright, the motivated, and the resilient, which has helped Peace River become the community we have today, a vibrant and diverse community.”

Despite facing adversity such as floods and fires, Tarpey says the town has always rebuilt and improved mitigation measures, and is now safer from flooding than it has ever been.

Tarpey also highlights the contribution and importance of the Indigenous peoples who he says have lived in the area for “time immemorial,” long before European settlers came, or the town existed.

“Their presence, history and contributions are woven into every aspect of our community, including the name of the river,” Tarpey says.

He adds he would like to thank everyone who attended the centennial event, but also everyone who lives and works in Peace River, because a town and a community is nothing without its people.

“We are lucky to share this corner of Alberta’s north together. It’s been a fantastic century, and I expect our second to be even better.”

He also thanks the Snow Birds for attending the Peace River Air Show, and the RCMP for hosting their famous Musical Ride at the ag grounds.

Several neighbouring municipal leaders also gave speeches at the occasion, and brought gifts, which the Town’s councillors gleefully opened on stage.

Reeve of the MD of Peace, Robert Willing, jokes his MD is the Town of Peace River’s “much older neighbour” at the age of 103. He says unlike when regular people get older, as a municipality gets older “it only gets better.”

Town of Grimshaw Mayor Bob Regal says, “It’s been a wonderful 100 years until now and it can only get better with time.”

Reeve of Northern Sunrise County, Carolyn Kolebaba, notes the historical importance of the new Peace River bridge being built and reminds people to be nice about it on Facebook.

The Reeve of the County of Northern Lights also spoke at the event, and councillors for all of the municipalities attended and were recognized.

Former mayor of Peace River Lorne Mann was acknowledged for attending, as were several past town councillors including Neil Martin, Terry Sawchuk, Geoff Milligan, and Leslie Ayre-Jaschke.

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