Where is Sunny Vale?

Why do some communities prosper while others disappear? For the people who came to Sunnyvale in the 1890’s it might have been just the lack of a train station. Many of the people coming to Central Alberta to establish a homestead would step off the train station in Leduc and begin to set up their claim, some went west and others to the other points on a compass. 
    Among the very first to step off a train were Adam Simonton and his son-in-law “Coonie” Ulrich. They came from Oakley, Kansas along with a friend, John Irwin, from Coby, Kansas. They left the dry lands of Kansas in search of land that had water available. Simonton would settle along Blackmud Lake and John Irwin along the east side of Leduc Lake (now known as Telford Lake). Meanwhile Ulrich was busy establishing his homestead in a valley below his father-in-law’s farm. 
    Simonton and Irwin would write back to friends in Kansas and more and more settlers came looking for land that was far from dry. As the population rose and more children were arriving the new comers saw a need for a school. Simonton and Irwin began the process of registering with the Northwest Territorial Government in Regina for a school district. They had to provide a name and chose Sunny Vale and had to have at least six students for approval. So on the very same day that Leduc was approved for a school district the people of Sunny Vale were also approved. The school year started on May 7th and ended on October 31st. The Sunny Vale School District #298 would survive until 2007 when it was dissolved and became part of the Black Gold School Division.
    The first school was a log cabin and would be destroyed by fire and was rebuilt in 1908. Fires were a major hazard for farmers in the early days as a prairie fire could destroy hundreds of acres of crop in a very short time and very quickly could put a homesteader in life threatening situations. In the fall of 1896 a prairie fire swept through Sunny Vale destroying most of the hay crop and then that winter was one of the worst on record killing hundreds of heads of cattle.  To make ends meet John Irwin and his sons poisoned scores of coyotes and sold the pelts for 50 cents each.  Others would survive only because of the high volume of rabbits that were everywhere.
    But, through it all the land produced for those who stuck with it and in 1897 farmers were recording crops of 100 bushels an acre for oats. Then in 1898 the area got a shot in the arm from an unexpected source, the Klondike!
    The Klondike gold rush saw a tremendous influx of people seeking their fortune in the far north of the Yukon. They were determined to take the overland route and flocked to Edmonton as the jumping off spot. They needed beef, pork, horses and produce and Sunny Vale and area farmers were only too happy to provide. This gave encouragement for farmers to expand and soon Sunny Vale had its own sawmill and threshing operation. An interesting side note was Lester Irwin, John’s son, would be the first to sail on Leduc Lake with a sailboat made from the lumber cut at the mill. Lester called it the Columbia. 
    Over time, new folks came to the area and as Leduc grew the line between Sunny Vale and Leduc disappeared and by 2007 when the Black Gold School Division absorbed the Sunny Vale School District the name had already become part of Leduc’s history.

More Stories:
  • Comics — August 8, 2014
  • Leduc Play Mob Strikes Again  Since June 30th the Leduc Regional Parent Link team has been hosting flash mob gatherings for parents and children throughout Leduc City every Monday morning. With the use of Twitter, Facebook and Leduc’s radio station 93.1 ...
  • Emily’s Walk for Muscular Dystrophy Last week, we introduced you to Emily Wirth and her family’s involvement with Leduc’s Safeway and the, ‘Make Muscles Move’ Campaign. On Saturday, August 9th Emily and her family once again appeared at Leduc Safeway, greeting ...
  • Bi-Plane Ride at Reynolds-Alberta Museum Submitted by Linda Doerr We took a bi-plane ride out of the Reynolds-Alberta Museum Aviation Centre on Sunday, August 3. They offer 3 tours: a 10 min in the surrounding area, a 20 minute Coal Lake tour and a 50 minute Pigeon ...
  • Letters To The Editor Dear Editor; Take it to Heart: For the Vandals When my child needs the law laid down for being non-compliant or unreasonable, it is usually simply due to selfishness. Isn't this really the whole expression of childish behavior? ...
  • Fragapalooza 2014 Fragapalooza (Frag) 2014 was held at the Leduc Recreation Centre (LRC) last weekend. The event began on Thursday, August 7th and concluded on Sunday, August 10th with over 235 gamers from all over western Canada and one from ...
  • Millet Lions Campground Submitted by Brenda Jackson For the past several weeks, crews have been constructing the new road leading into the Lions Memorial Campground. Recently completed, the club members have been in the preliminary planning stages ...
  • Alberta Rocks! For the past 23 years, the Alberta Curling Federation has hosted a summer camp for junior curlers between the ages of twelve and seventeen. The first camp was held in Irma, and saw ten curlers in attendance. Since that time, ...
  • MMH Memorial Street Hockey Tournament Helping Kids More kids will be able to get off the sidelines thanks to the family and friends of a local athlete who lost his life two years ago. Last week, family and friends of Mark Hayduk presented Rachel Yeung, a representative for ...
  • Samson Cree Nation’s Pow Wow Big And Impressive Sometimes people grumble about them. Others disrespect them, ridicule them and discriminate against them. Many don’t know much about them, except the ‘bad news stories’ they hear on the media. I’m referring to our aboriginal ...
  • Pigeon Lake Water Quality Initiative Public Update on Lake Water Quality Initiatives Submitted by Brian Warehouse, APLM Chair The Alliance of Pigeon Lake Municipalities (APLM) formed an In-Lake Technical Committee last November following investigative work into ...
  • Jay Semko And Punch Drunk Cabaret Tour Pleased To Be Playing Wetaskiwin On August 24th, 2014 the community of Wetaskiwin and surrounding region will have the opportunity to, once again, be treated to a well-rounded-out night of entertainment in the Waterworks Theatre in Wetaskiwin. (And if you ...
  • Local Football Talent To Play In U.S. Submitted by Nancy Jones Liam Jones will be attending a college prep school in St. Catharines, Ontario this year. His plane departs on August 15th and he is excited for the season to get started. "I really want to take my ...
  • Winfield Ugetuk Days The day started with sunshine, a pancake breakfast, a bake sale, garage sale and then for lunch, hamburgers on the grill. All this was provided by and held at the Winfield Legion. Just before 11:00 am, a line of vehicles ...
  • Mulhurst Legion Celebrates Mulhurst Legion Branch # 246 presented Les Ouimette, the last surviving charter member of this branch, with the 65 year long-service pin and bar to be added to his past-president and 50-year award ribbon and pin and 60-year ...
  • Comics — August 8, 2014
  • WWII Training Centre Becomes Soccer Field In 2014 The Drill Hall in Wetaskiwin has a great history. Built as a major training centre for troops during WWII, it has served the community in so many different ways since then. More recently, this versatile facility has taken ...
  • Make Muscles Move Leduc’s Safeway store manager, Kelly Worobec, announced the launching of the store’s campaign, “Make Muscles Move” in conjunction with Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Last year, the Leduc store contributed $2,833 towards the nearly ...
  • Ermineskin Skate Park Receives $125,000 Jump On July 30, 2014 the Honorable Verlyn Olson presented Sam Minde, a member of the Ermineskin Cree Nation Council and the lead on the skate park project, with a cheque for $125,000 to help offset costs of the $400,000 project. ...
  • Council Notes From All Over City of Wetaskiwin July 28, 2014 Community Services – Kevin Lucas: Arenas: • Chiller gasket replacement underway. • Painting inside. • Stripping / waxing floors. • Board cleaning completed. • Score Board in arena one has ...




 
  • Leduc Radio Ad
  • Industrial Netmedia
  • Industrial Netmedia
  • Industrial Netmedia