Edmonton

Our Edmonton kicking it old school with 10 epiphanies from our past

This week CBC TV’s Our Edmonton is kicking it old school with its annual history edition and we're sharing some little known facts sure to surprise.

Looking for trivia to wow at that next dinner party? We're hooking you up with some facts from the past

Clothing, household items and coal are all part of the experience at the Beverly Historical Society Interpretive Centre. (John Robertson/CBC)

Previous editions of Our Edmonton's annual history shows were hosted in hotspots such as Government House or the Magrath Mansion.

This year Our Edmonton is landing at the oldest branch of the Edmonton Public Library.

When the Strathcona library opened in 1913, it was the only branch in town.
The Strathcona branch of the Edmonton Public Library opened its doors on March 14, 1913. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

Back then, the entire library collection was about 5,000 books, compared to today's one million, give or take.
The original coal chute still visible on the outside of the Strathcona branch of the Edmonton Public Library. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

Return a book late and you faced a fine of two cents a day.

The brick and limestone building, constructed in the English Renaissance style, contained a men-only smoking and reading room, an auditorium and two fireplaces to keep its patrons warm.

The Strathcona library is one of more than 25 historic spots showcased in this weekend's edition of CBC TV's Our Edmonton.

Five historic hot spots to explore

Our Edmonton

4 years ago
1:29
We're sharing some cool history from Edmonton and area in this little video. 1:29

10 things you might not know about our past

  • Edmonton's Blatchford Field became the first licensed municipal airport in Canada in 1927.
  • In 1969, a hamburger was tabled in protest of the cafeteria food at the Alberta legislature. The clerk had it encased in resin and it now resides in the legislature library.
  • The house is the message in Edmonton's Highlands neighbourhood. The childhood home of Marshall McLuhan, the famous philosopher of media theory, is open to the public.
  • During the Second World War, landlocked prairie cities like Edmonton recruited more than 3,500 sailors to serve at centres like HMCS Nonsuch.
  • Alberta has its own wildfire mascot. Bertie Beaver was a gift to the forest service from Walt Disney in 1958 for help in shooting films in the Kananaskis region.
    Walt Disney and mascot Bertie Beaver at the 1965 Calgary Stampede. (Alberta Forest History Photographic Collection)
  • Government House is more than just a backdrop for wedding and graduation photos. Since it opened in 1913 it's been a boarding house for road workers and a veterans hospital.
  • When the C & E Railway ran back in 1897, passengers paid $9.60 to travel between Edmonton and Calgary — a 20-hour journey.
  • The Edmonton civil defence bunker, built in 1954, was designed to house local political and military leaders in the event of an attack and still stands today.
  • Ever seen a sentinel up close? The St. Albert Grain Elevator Park has two restored buildings dating from 1906 to 1929.
  • After the Rolling Stones rented rehearsal space in the Winspear Centre for Music in 1997, curtains had to be dry cleaned three times to remove the smell of cigar smoke.

Watch for more trivia on Our Edmonton from the Strathcona branch of the Edmonton Public Library Saturday at 10 a.m., Sunday at 4 p.m. and Monday at 11 a.m. on CBC TV.

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