Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Concerts in the Park

A typical summer’s night will see families or individuals strolling the paths and walkways of any city park –no doubt swatting away pesky mosquitoes! Occasionally they’ll stop and greet an acquaintance or sit on the grass to take in a band concert. In the early days of Lethbridge it was a way for everyone to leave their work behind and enjoy the crisp sounds of a brass band. Today it is a means of celebrating a special event bringing the community together for a common purpose.

The Lethbridge Colliery Band, founded in 1889, consisted of miners, as well as other mine and Canadian Pacific Railway employees. They played a selection of new and popular tunes and marches of that era in the “Square”, now known as Galt Gardens. The music was heard from the bandstand located on the west side of the public park.

The Lethbridge Citizen’s Band played weekly concerts in the Square from1906-1918, in a new and improved glassed-in circular bandstand.  The band, numbering 30 members, played  old favorites such as Sousa marches; “By the Beautiful Sea”; “The Maple Leaf Forever”; “Irish Washerwoman”; “The Sky Boat Song”, any Strauss waltz, and Elgar’s “Pomp & Circumstance March #1”. This band was the first to hold evening concerts with the help of electric lights strung inside the bandstand.

The City Band of the 1920s, the Lethbridge Junior and Kiwanis Bands from the 1940s-1970s, and the present Lethbridge Community Band have all performed open-air concerts. On Victoria Day, or Canada Day since 1967, they would assemble in Galt Gardens and, in later years, in Henderson Lake Park and Indian Battle Park with a repertoire of marches, ballads, novelty and other rousing numbers.

This August and September, music will be part of several community festivities at the Galt, including the August 19 Scenic Plaza Whoop-Up Days BBQ on the South Patio with music provided by Pyramid Entertainment, and the September 29 Harvest Festival with Shaela Miller and Pete Watson. For more information, visit www.galtmuseum.com.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Soap and Hope

In the early 1900s cosmetic companies began to understand the power of advertising to sell customers their mass produced products.  Advertising of beauty products from skin cleansers and hair products to nail polish and eye shadow often reflected social attitudes of the times. Locally, the Lethbridge Herald carried numerous ads which promoted beauty products to their local readers.

Early advertisement focused on the scientific effectiveness of products. By the 1920s, the majority of advertisers shifted to using emotion to encourage self improvement through the use of cosmetics.

The importance of first impressions, the need for romance, and celebrity endorsements all figured into the ‘spin’ marketing companies put into their advertisements.  They presented the idea that a good first impression by those who used beauty products led to romance; this was supported by the approval of attractive Hollywood stars. 

Towards the end of the 1930s, the advertisements focused on ‘hope’.  In most cases, the ‘hope’ was for a young woman to find romance and attract and keep a husband. Being a wife and mother was what society expected of women, though many men didn’t feel they could support a family during the uncertain years of the Depression. 

The glamorous Hollywood star was presented as an ideal way to look, a person to copy.  Their endorsements were used regularly in newspaper, radio and magazine ads.  This sales approach continues today with famous stars selling hair colour and body lotion on television and in magazines.  Advertising still focuses on the notion of attractiveness and presents an ideal by which women and men can define themselves. 

The new exhibit “Soap and Hope”, located in the main level hallway at the Galt, includes 20th century artifacts such as a nail and hair care kit used by music director Anne Campbell, and a plastic hairbrush used by author Joy Kogwawa’s mother Lois Nakayama on her children, archival photos, reproductions of Lethbridge Herald ads, and more. It is on display until October 13, 2014. For details visit www.galtmuseum.com.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Real-life Spider-man

We'd like to share with you a rare archival photo of a real-life spider-man...

real-life spider-man
Trick photography: young man with four hands (*IN STUDIO), 26 April 1948
Galt Museum & Archives, 20121093149
This is one of 54 archival photos we have posted in the album “Fort Macleod’s Anonymous” on Flickr the Commons. Most are shot in Fort Macleod, Alberta in the late 1940s. The donor of the photos purchased them at a garage sale in Pincher Creek. Who are these people? What are they doing? Who were the photographers? What are these places and buildings? Please share your knowledge and help us reclaim your community’s history!

Please tell us as much as you can about the people and places by emailing the Archives at archives@galtmuseum.com, leaving a comment on Flickr or right here on this blog. Please tell us where your knowledge comes from – personal memories, local history research, or grandpa’s tips.
* The CAPITALIZED text in the descriptions was copied from the envelopes in which the negatives were found.
Thank you!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

150 years ago

One hundred and fifty years ago, three meetings leading to the union of provinces to form the country of Canada were held.  Two significant conferences in Charlottetown (September 1 – 9, 1864) and Quebec (October 10 – 27, 1864) led to a third, and final, London conference.  The declaration of the British North American Act, Confederation, and partial autonomy from Britain for the united provinces followed these meetings.

During this time, the American Civil War was raging, Britain was trying to relieve itself of colonial responsibilities, and Upper and Lower Canadas were often in deadlock.  It was in this atmosphere the conferences were held.

In September 1864, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island were meeting to discuss a maritime union when the delegates from Canada arrived in Charlottetown. Half of the cabinet from Upper and Lower Canada arrived by steamer to discuss a union of all of British North America.  While John A. MacDonald outlined a plan for a strong central government and preservation of provincial identities, Alexander Tilloch Galt outlined the financial arrangements.

Alexander Tilloch Galt was an influential politician of his time.  In 1858, he had presented to the indifferent British parliament on a federation scheme.  Galt went on to participate in all three conferences leading to the confederation.  He assisted in organizing the new country’s administration, and became the first finance minister in the first Cabinet.

The second conference, the Quebec conference, started at 11:00 am on October 10, 1864 in the St. Louise Hotel (where the Chateau Frontenac stands now) in Quebec City. Seventeen days later, a total of 72 resolutions were completed and ready to be sent to the provincial legislatures and to the London conference.  One conference representative, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, described the agreements as not imposed from others but the work of ourselves.

Local festivities are being planned for 2017 – see facebook.com/celebrate2017 for more information. For more information about the Galt Museum & Archives – named for Sir Alexander Galt, visit www.galtmuseum.com.