1916, the school register from Beaupré
School shows that cold weather was a
problem then too. On January 11 and 12
(Tuesday and Wednesday), Mr. Pineo noted
"Extremely Cold" and showed none of his 33
students (grades 1 – 8) in
attendance. The following week must have
been OK with most of the students
there but the week of January 24 – 28, he
wrote "School Closed account of extreme
of years later, on January 20, 1918 Mr.
Priestley wrote "Stormy weather –
no schoolchildren". Attendance before and
after that day seems to be
teachers) walked to school, wearing very
heavy clothing. If they were lucky,
they got a ride on a horse-driven cutter.
For the "family" trip to
town for supplies, besides heavy clothing,
the cutter or sleigh was well equipped
with heavy blankets, probably a footwarmer
or hot rocks or maybe a mini-stove.
Ulmer taught at Bilby School and travelled
in winter on a horse-drawn cutter. She
and her children went to school, cuddled
up under a blanket made of horsehide.
This 5-foot square blanket is lined with
heavy blanket-like fabric then trimmed
with felt decorative edging. The blanket
is heavy - weighs over 20 pounds! Mrs.
Ulmer and her family used this blanket
from 1938 until 1956.
blanket used to keep Mrs.
Ulmer and her children warm
riding in the cutter to
This was also used in the
wagon when going to Onoway for
(In this photo, the blanket is
warming a pew from the Old
crockery footwarmer was
filled with very hot water.
It could be used in the
cutter or at home in bed.
Edmonton went through an extended cold
period in 1969, the Edmonton Journal
gave out certificates to commemorate the
its first ice carnival on February 1, 1974.
An article in The Reporter reported
that "an estimated 400 spectators braved
bitter 30 below zero weather to
watch Onoway's first real ice carnival. They
left two hours later, their hearts
warmed with pride, their faces aglow with
pleasure. They had watched some 96
children ... perform for the first time."
area residents have been dealing with
extremely cold weather since the first
days of settlement. We are tough! We chose
to live here and take cold weather
in our stride – right?
temperature went all the way up to -6˚F
twice during this "Deepfreeze".