Fort Edmonton Park

The History of the Making of a Town

Edmonton Alberta

August 20, 2000

very next day it was off to Fort Edmonton Park. Here we found a huge estate with literally miles of roadway to walk on, much of it dirt. This tract of land has both a full scale steam locomotive with 4 cars and several electric trolleys from the turn of the century. We found out that there were 4 different sections of the park. The Fort area (1795-1870), 1885 Street (1871-1891), 1905 Street (1892-1914) and finally 1920 Street (1914-1929). We hopped aboard a trolley and rode for a few minutes, getting off on 1920 Street. We were treated to a visiting dog competition. Called a "fly ball" dog relay competition, it is made up of a team of 4 ordinary house pets. They may be of any size, shape or age. These teams are formed into leagues much like bowling or darts. The challenge is simple, a dog must travel as fast as it can, over two side-by-side runways of some 50 yards containing 4 small jumps. Upon reaching the end, the dog must hit a backboard, which will release a tennis ball for him to catch. The dog must then race back over the jumps to the beginning, at which time the second dog is released to continue the relay. The first team to have their last dog return with a ball is the winner. This is not your AKC dog show atmosphere. The owners work the dogs into a frenzy before they are released. On the way back. the dog's favorite play toy is shaken for him to first chase then grab, as the owner runs backward at breakneck speed to urge the dog to higher speeds. The toy also causes the dog to release the ball which is quickly recycled into the game. The barking, squealing mass of dogs, combined with the screaming and shouting of their owners egging them on, can be heard a mile away at the Old Fort. Inside the hollow barn where the event was taking place, the sound was deafening. From here, we began our tour of the facilities. The area is made of up either relocated or reconstructed buildings from different time periods, most of which stood, somewhere within the city before being moved to the park. Many are from the 1920s, and were businesses that were salvaged from the wrecking ball, as Edmonton grew. Most have a small metal etched placard describing where the building was and who owned it or built it. There was almost always someone inside representing the owner or resident of the time period. In the case of the businesses or stores, there was something there that could be purchased. We wandered through a Ukrainian music store where we found all kinds of musical instruments and painted eggs on display. One such strange instrument was a Bandura. Built in the shape of half of a yin-yang's eye drop with extended neck, it had a double bridge, one shorter then the other. Also in the shop was a pan flute. I have always loved the sound of the pan flute and bought it before I left. Guess what, it's a lot more difficult to get a sound out of it then it is a harmonica.

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