1898 to 1945
Developed for and copyrighted to the Heritage Resource Management Branch of Alberta Community Development
by David W. Leonard
30 November, 2003
1898. The Klondike gold rush brings several prospectors to the Grande Prairie, although none stay.
1899. The Grande Prairie is scouted by Alex Monkman on behalf of the mercantile firm of Bredin & Cornwall. Monkman sets up a temporary trading post at the west end of Lake Saskatoon.
1900. Several people from the Beaver First Nation on the Grande Prairie, including Shettler and La Glace, travel to Dunvegan to adhere to Treaty 8.
1900. Alex Monkman returns to Lake Saskatoon with his new bride, Louisa, and they begin to operate the first independent trading post on the Grande Prairie. Louisa, a Red River Metis, becomes the first non-aboriginal woman to live on the Grande Prairie.
1900. Alex Monkman and Louis Calliou grow the first grain crops on the Grande Prairie.
1901. St. Pierre Ferguson undertakes the first census on the Grande Prairie on behalf of the federal government. The non-Treaty 8 population numbers 93, with most people living near Flyingshot Lake. The most common name is Calliou. Adherents to Treaty 8 are not counted at this time.
1902. With many of the Beaver First Nation moving south and westward, the Hudson's Bay Company closes its outpost near La Glace Lake and opens a new one on the south shore of Lake Saskatoon. It is to be run by Leon Ferguson. This is near Bredin & Cornwall's post run by Alex Monkman.
1903. The Edmonton, Yukon & British Columbia Railway surveys a general line through the Grande Prairie. This line is proposed to extend all the way to the Yukon.
1903. Jim McCreight and Addison Hall move in a herd of about 60 head of cattle from Edmonton to the shore of Bear Lake.
1903. James Macoun undertakes a survey of the Grande Prairie and other parts of the Peace River Country to determine whether the country is suitable for large-scale agriculture. Macoun recommends that the government not encourage hopeful farmers to settle there.
1904. J. N. Wallace surveys the 19th Base Line through the Grande Prairie.
1904. A Roman Catholic mission called St. Vincent Ferrier is erected at the south shore of Lake Saskatoon, with Father Le Treste being the itinerant priest.
1904. Frank Oliver is made the Minister of the Interior in the Dominion government. He rejects James Macoun's negative report of the Peace River Country and will continue to promote the region for large-scale agriculture.
1905. Bredin & Cornwall sell out to the Revillon Freres, and the post at Lake Saskatoon is now run by William Lowe. Alex Monkman begins ranching off Bear Lake.
1905. With Alberta becoming a province, the Grande Prairie is included in the electoral riding of Peace River.
1906. Harry Clifford takes up land at Flyingshot Lake, and his wife, Maud, opens a store there. Maud Clifford is the first White woman on the Grande Prairie.
1906. With the provincial election for Peace River for 1905 invalidated, a by-election is held in 1906 in which Liberal Allie Brick of Shaftesbury is victorious, defeating another Liberal, non-resident Jim Cornwall.
1906. Allie Brick conducts a special prairie census for the Peace River Country, in which it is disclosed that 272 people are living on the Grande Prairie, with most of these dwelling around Flyingshot Lake and Lake Saskatoon. The members of the Beaver First Nation who have adhered to Treaty 8 number 100.
1906. A number of residents on the Grande Prairie, headed by Alex Monkman, Leon Ferguson and Clement Mead, sign a petition requesting that the provincial government build a wagon road from Edmonton directly to the Grande Prairie.
1906. Sixteen residents of the Flyingshot Lake Settlement forward a petition to the Department of the Interior requesting a legal survey of the Settlement.
1907. The Canadian Northern Railway surveys a line which was to extend from Edmonton past what would become the Old Bezanson Townsite.
1907. George Breeden opens a "hotel" and blacksmith shop on the site of 214 Place in present day Grande Prairie.
1908. The Flyingshot Lake Settlement is surveyed by J.B. St. Cyr. St. Cyr also subdivides Township 71 Range 6 W6, which encompasses most of present day Grande Prairie.
1908. Father Le Treste relocates the Roman Catholic St. Vincent Ferrier Mission at Lake Saskatoon to the west side of Bear Creek in present day Grande Prairie, just south of the trestle bridge.
1908. A Senate report called Canada's Fertile Northland concludes that the Peace River Country, and especially the Grande Prairie, is ripe for large-scale settlement.
1908. Leon Ferguson estimates that about 75 potential farmers are squatting on the Grande Prairie, waiting for the land to be surveyed and thrown open for homesteading.
1908. The first district court hearing on the Grande Prairie takes place inside Maud Clifford's stopping place at Flyingshot Lake, with Justice Noel presiding on circuit.
1909. The Canadian Northern Railway begins to build its Peace River line from Edmonton in the direction of Grande Prairie, although it would soon stop at Onoway, and never extend beyond Whitecourt.
1909. In the largest survey to be undertaken in Canada for that year, Walter McFarlane subdivides 17 townships on the Grande Prairie in preparation for homesteading.
1909. In what would be the first successful attempt at group settlement in the Peace River Country, a party of breakaway Methodists from Ontario, known as the Christian Association, settle along the Beaverlodge River.
1909. A Peace River Land Office is opened at Grouard, with Peter Tomkins as the Land Agent. Land in the Peace River Country has still not been declared open for homesteading, although people continue to squat there, particularly on the Grande Prairie.
1909. In the provincial election of that year, Jim Cornwall of Edmonton wins the Peace River riding by acclamation. By now, "Peace River Jim" is recognized as the greatest promoter of the Peace River Country.
1909. In December, the Argonauts Company is incorporated. Headed by William Rae, it intends to subdivide and sell lots just east of Bear Creek on the Grande Prairie.
1910. With all or parts of 17 townships on the Grande Prairie declared open for settlement, the first land rush in the Peace River Country begins. On 26 May, over 300 applications for land are accepted or confirmed by Peter Tomkins at Lake Saskatoon.
1910. Jim Cornwall heads a group of 18 international scientists, journalists, and developers on a tour of the Peace River Country, including the Grande Prairie.
1910. A townsite is surveyed east of Bear Creek by the Argonauts Company, and is called Grande Prairie City.
1910. The first organized sports by Euro-Canadians in the district is held at Lake Saskatoon in July.
1910. The Grande Prairie Agricultural Society is formed.
1910. A post office is opened at the Revillon store at Lake Saskatoon and is called Beaverlodge. The community about to grow up around Robert Lossing's homestead off the Beaverlodge River will be known as Redlow for two years.
1911. In April, a trail is opened between Grande Prairie and the Grand Trunk Pacific railway town at Edson. The Edson Trail instantly becomes the favoured route for the hundreds of settlers headed for the Grande Prairie. That spring, the trail is provided with a stage service operated by John Taft.
1911. In June, a Dominion Land Office is located in Grande Prairie, with Arthur S. MacLean as Land Agent and Joshua Fletcher as Homestead Inspector. Henceforth, all issues involving Crown land in the district, homesteading in particular, are administered through this office.
1911. Alphaeus and John Patterson open the first store and post office in Grande Prairie City, while William Innes opens the first bank.
1911. A North-west Mounted Police detachment is set up at Lake Saskatoon with Constable Sidney Clay patrolling the entire district.
1911. In early July, including Dominion Day, a huge three-day sports is held at Lake Saskatoon with about 500 people in attendance. The event receives full page coverage in the Edmonton Bulletin.
1911. The Beaverlodge Industrial Company is formed, and a large, mobile threshing machine is brought in by Clarence Pool.
1911. The first school district in the area, Grande Prairie #2357, is incorporated.
1911. With the failure of the Canadian Northern Railway to extend northwest beyond Sangudo, the charter for the Edmonton, Dunvegan & British Columbia Railway (E,D & BC) is acquired by John D. McArthur.
1912. The Dominion Telegraph Service is extended to Grande Prairie and Lake Saskatoon.
1912. R.J. Ferguson brings the first automobile onto the Grande Prairie, having driven it from Edmonton via Peace River Crossing and Dunvegan.
1912. The Revillon Freres subdivide part of their grant off the south shore of Lake Saskatoon into a townsite called Lake Saskatoon.
1912. The post office at Lake Saskatoon is now known as Lake Saskatoon. The name of the Post Office run by Robert Lossing off the Beaverlodge River is changed from Redlow to Beaverlodge.
1912. The E,D & BC begins construction out of Dunvegan Yards in Edmonton and builds north towards Westlock. The immediate destination is the Peace River Country, and the ultimate destination is the Pacific Ocean, although no one knows exactly where the track will be located.
1912. The Rural Municipality of Bear Lake is incorporated. The first Reeve will be James McFarlane.
1912. The Beaverlodge & Lake Saskatoon Agricultural Society is incorporated, splitting off from the Grande Prairie Agricultural Society.
1912. By the end of the year, school districts have been established in Grande Prairie, Lake Saskatoon, Kleskun Lake, Wapiti, Lower Beaverlodge, Appleton, Halcourt, and MacHenry.
1913. The Rural Municipality of Grande Prairie is incorporated. The first Reeve is Arthur Carveth.
1913. An automobile is brought into the Grande Prairie over the Edson Trail in December by A.M. Bezanson, J.A. Davidson, and Bill Millford.
1913. The Grande Prairie Herald begins printing under the editorship of William Pratt.
1913. In the provincial election that year, Conservative Alphaeus Patterson of Grande Prairie wins a narrow victory in the Peace River riding over the Liberal William Rae, also of Grande Prairie.
1914. Grande Prairie is incorporated as a village with over 100 people. The first Municipal Reeve is John B. Taft.
1914. Donald Albright is contracted by the Dominion Department of Agriculture to begin experimenting with different varieties of grain and vegetables at his farm near Beaverlodge.
1914. A second newspaper is begun in Grande Prairie called the Frontier-Signal, edited by G.R. Wilson, with backing from William Rae. It will last nearly three years.
1914. Moving pictures are now being shown on a weekly basis in the Pioneer Theatre, located in Club Hall in Grande Prairie.
1914. By this time, post offices are now in operation at Kleskun Hill, Glen Leslie, Sexsmith, Lake Saskatoon, Beaverlodge, and Happy Valley (Hythe), as well as Grande Prairie.
1914. The Buffalo Lakes Lumber Company is formed. It soon becomes the biggest lumber company on the Prairie.
1914. The Northwestern Telephone Company, headed by Anson Wagar, begins to extend lines out from Wagar's farm at Lake Saskatoon to nearby residents. Other small, rural lines will follow.
1914. The E,D & BC arrives at the site of High Prairie. The mail from Edmonton is now being brought to Grande Prairie by way of High Prairie, Pruden's Crossing, and Spirit River. Traffic over the Edson Trail begins to decline.
1914. A reserve for Treaty Indians on the western end of the Grande Prairie is subdivided around Horse Lake.
1914. By the end of the year, 2,344 applicants have made 2,675 applications for Crown land on the Grande Prairie.
1914. In August, hostilities in Europe lead to the beginning of the Great War. Young men from the Grande Prairie begin returning to points in eastern Canada and Britain to prepare for active service. Homesteaders are granted time off from residency obligations in order to serve.
1915. Some farmers from the Grande Prairie begin to take produce to the Goodwin Crossing on the Smoky River, from where it is barged downstream to Pruden's Crossing, and taken to the railhead community of Smoky River, near present day Culp.
1915. The steamer, the SS. Beaver, begins a passenger and freighting service on the Smoky River between Bezanson, the Goodwin Crossing, Pruden's Crossing, and Peace River.
1915. Locals of the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) begin to be formed at various locations on the Grande Prairie.
1915. The first electric lighting plant is installed in Grande Prairie by Joe Voz.
1915 With World War I underway, a number or young men from the Grande Prairie travel to Edmonton to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force. On July 15, a recruitment drive is undertaken in Grande Prairie by the 66th Battalion. 50 young men join up.
1915. J.D. McArthur decides to reverse his plan to build the E,D & BC west from Spirit River Station (today's Spirit River) to Rolla. Instead, he decides to extend a branch line south from Spirit River Junction (Rycroft) towards Grande Prairie.
1916. The E,D & BC is extended into the Grande Prairie from the north, and arrives at Grande Prairie in March. Townsites are subdivided at Benville (Sexsmith) and Clairmont, with a siding put up at Webster. There are, initially, three trains per week.
1916. The first grain elevator on the Grande Prairie is erected by the Gillespie Grain Company at Clairmont.
1916. The Lake Saskatoon Journal newspaper begins publication under the editorship of Gerald Heller. It will last two years and then be relocated to Clairmont.
1916. Prohibition on the sale of alcoholic beverages begins in Alberta. This has already been in effect on northern Alberta, with medical permits required for the import of intoxicants.
1917. Rail service on the E,D & BC is now twice weekly. It takes approximately 37 hours to travel from Grande Prairie to Edmonton.
1917. J.D. McArthur receives permission to raise freight rates on the E,D & BC above the average for the Canadian prairies on the argument that it was warranted by the rougher terrain en route to the Peace River Country. It now costs more to ship farm produce to the Lakehead from this region than from any other grain-growing region in western Canada.
1917. Motorized tractors begin to operate on farms on the Grande Prairie.
1917. An Imperial Oil bulk station is opened in Grande Prairie.
1917. Clairmont is incorporated as a village with over 100 people. Gerald Heller becomes the first Municipal Reeve.
1918. Gerald Heller closes the Lake Saskatoon Journal and begins the Clairmont Independent. It is soon sold to S.R. Tuffley and is closed before the year is out.
1918. A telephone system is installed in Grande Prairie, with the central located in G.A. James' drugstore.
1918. The Kleskun Lake Ranch Company is incorporated by Ed Thompson, and acquires practically all of Township 73 Range 4 W6, which includes Kleskun Lake and the marshy land around it. The lake is soon drained into the Smoky River to provide more grazing land for the ranch.
1918. What would turn out to be the biggest unsolved case of mass murder in Alberta's history takes place on two farms just north and northwest of Grande Prairie.
1918. The Alberta Provincial Police are formed, replacing the Royal North-west Mounted Police. An agency of 'E' Division is established in Grande Prairie, while constables would later be located in Sexsmith, Wembley, and Hythe.
1918. Another settlement wave begins on the Grande Prairie, with encouragement from the Soldiers Settlement Board, which is attempting to locate war veterans on the land. Outlying areas like Sylvester (later Elmworth), Rio Grande, Goodfare, Northfield, Teepee Creek, and Bad Heart are opened up.
1918. The international Spanish Flu epidemic begins to result in many deaths on the Grande Prairie. At least two mass graves are dug to accommodate the large number of victims.
1919. Grande Prairie is incorporated as a town with over 1,000 people. The first mayor is G.A. James.
1919. The Judicial District of Grande Prairie is created, although a courthouse would not be erected for several more years.
1919. Mechanized binders are now being used for harvesting.
1919. The experimental farm operated by Donald Albright at Beaverlodge is taken over by the Dominion Department of Agriculture and made over into a Dominion Agricultural Research sub-Station, with Albright as the Director.
1919. The Grande Prairie (Co-operative) Livestock Association is formed, with stockyards and offices built in Sexsmith, Clairmont, and Grande Prairie
1919. With the post-war increase in rail traffic, the E,D & BC is overused, and extensive breakdowns results in the curtailment of service for practically much of the summer. Land slippages along the Smoky River are a persistent problem.
1920. The bankrupt E,D & BC is taken over by the Alberta government, along with several other lines owned by J. D. McArthur. Their operation is soon contracted to the CPR.
1920. The Valhalla Co-operative Creamery is initiated. It will soon result in the major source of income for this district.
1920. Dalen's Brickyard, southeast of Grande Prairie, begins to make the first commercial brick on the Grande Prairie.
1920. The Northwestern Telephone Company (operating from Lake Saskatoon) is taken over by Alberta Government Telephones. Lines are soon extended to communities throughout the Grande Prairie.
1921. The Grande Prairie Co-operative Society is formed with the purpose of reducing the cost on goods that are purchased in bulk.
1921. A new town hall is built in Grande Prairie on the northwest corner of the town.
1921. Post offices on the Grande Prairie are listed for Beaverlodge, Bezanson, Brainard, Bredin, Buffalo Lakes, Clairmont, Glen Leslie, Goodfare, Grande Prairie, Halcourt, Hythe, Kleskun Hill, LaGlace, Rio Grande, Sexsmith, and Webster.
1921. The Alberta government contracts the CPR to operate the E, D & BC. The CPR charges mountain, rather than prairie, freight rates on the argument that the embankments of the Peace and Smoky Rivers are as costly to ascend and maintain as grades in the mountains.
1921. Plans are unveiled for a railway from Grande Prairie to the Canadian National rail line near Brule Lake (near Hinton), which would reduce freight rates considerably.
1921. Wop May of Edmonton undertakes the first aircraft flights to the Grande Prairie from Edmonton.
1921. George Frederick "Nobby" Clarke appears in the Grande Prairie Court House for the sixth time in two years on weapons and assault charges. Including non-court appearances, he now has nine legal convictions. Donald Kennedy, Justice of the Peace from Waterhole, is instructed by the Attorney General to investigate and make a special report on Clarke.
1921. In the provincial election, the victorious candidate for the Peace River riding (representing the Grande Prairie) is Donald Kennedy of Waterhole, who ran on the UFA ticket, with the UFA winning the provincial election. Kennedy, however, is persuaded to step down in order that Herbert Greenfield (belatedly selected to serve as Premier) might contest the riding in a by-election.
1921. Donald Kennedy is selected by the United Farmers of Alberta to contest the Edmonton West riding (which included the Grande Prairie) in the federal election of 1921. Kennedy defeats Liberal Frank Oliver in the ensuing contest.
1921. By the end of the year, there 50 school districts have been incorporated for the Grande Prairie.
1921. A recession begins on the Grande Prairie, engendered by the post-war overproduction of grain in North America.
1922. For the first time ever, farm foreclosures exceed homestead applications on the Grande Prairie, as depopulation continues.
1922. Alberta Government Telephones takes over many or the rural telephone systems in the district.
1923. The Alberta Wheat Pool is formed, and, before long, Wheat Pool elevators will be erected in most farming communities on the Grande Prairie.
1923. Alex Monkman alerts the British Columbia government about a pass through the Rocky Mountains south of the Kinuseo Falls as ideal for a road or a railroad from the western end of the Grande Prairie to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway line near Prince George. The British Columbia government soon names this pass the Monkman Pass.
1923. A provincial plebiscite is held on the question of prohibition. People, including those on the Grande Prairie, favour some form of controlled drinking. With the sale of beer allowed in hotels, those in Grande Prairie, Clairmont, Hythe, and Sexsmith have their ground floors restructured to facilitate beer parlours.
1924. The E,D & BC is extended as far west as Wembley, where a station is erected and a townsite is subdivided. A station is also erected at Dimsdale. As a result, the settlement on the south shore of Lake Saskatoon begins to decline, with many buildings moved into Wembley.
1924. Sir Henry Thornton of the Canadian National Railway visits the district. He is investigating the possibility of CN acquiring the E,D & BC and extending it to the Pacific coast through the Pine Pass.
1925. Because of the ongoing recession, the population of Grande Prairie has fallen to 1,200 from a high of 1,500 four years earlier.
1925. After an extensive survey of several mountain passes west and southwest of the Grande Prairie, it is determined that a rail outlet is economically unsound, and, so, the Peace River Country is left without a coastal outlet.
1925. In the federal election, Donald Kennedy of Waterhole (UFA) is successful in the newly created Peace River riding (which includes the Grande Prairie), narrowly defeating James Collins (Conservative) and William Rae (Liberal).
1926. With the Locarno Pacts in Europe fostering stability and trade, and the international demand for wheat growing, the Grande Prairie again begins to experience bumper crops and another period of extensive growth.
1926. Immigrant farmers sponsored by Lord Lovat's British Overseas Settlement program begin to arrive on the Prairie.
1926. For the first time, wheat replaces oats as the preferred crop on the Grande Prairie.
1926. Marquis wheat grown by Herman Trelle at Lake Saskatoon is adjudged the best in the world at the World Grain Fair in Chicago. Trelle is also first in oats, the variety being Victory.
1926. The contract with the CPR for the operation of the E,D & BC is allowed to expire, and the E,D & BC is now operated by a newly created provincial department of Railways & Telecommunications.
1926. The first free-standing motion picture theatre in the Peace River Country, the Grand, is opened in Grande Prairie.
1926. The major winter sporting event on the Prairie, the Northern Winter Carnival, is held over the course of an entire week.
1926. In the provincial election, the successful candidate is Hugh Allen of Wembley, who ran on the UFA ticket. Allen defeats Joseph McIsaac of Sexsmith, who ran as a Liberal.
1926. Donald Kennedy of Waterhole, running on the UFA platform, is again successful in the Peace River riding in the federal election held that year.
1927. The Kleskun Lake Ranch ceases operation. The arable portions around the diminished lake are soon subdivided and auctioned off as farmland.
1927. Due mainly to frustrations about the failure of the provincial government to back a coastal railway outlet, the editor of the Peace River Record and the Grande Prairie Herald, Charles Frederick, proposes provincial status for the Peace River Country and northern British Columbia.
1928. The E,D & BC is extended west to Beaverlodge and Hythe. Stations are erected at Huallen, Beaverlodge, Albright, and Hythe. At Hythe and Beaverlodge, new townsites are subdivided, with the older communities eventually disappearing.
1928. The Grande Prairie Municipal Hospital District is established.
1928. The large, brick Grande Prairie High School is built, which will serve senior students throughout the Prairie.
1928. Wembley is incorporated as a village with a population of just over 200.
1928. Saskatoon Island, a peninsula after the decline in the level of Lake Saskatoon, is set aside by the Dominion government for recreational purposes.
1928. Robert Cochrane, whose farm is just east of Clairmont, wins first prize for alfalfa and timothy seed at the World Grain Fair in Chicago. Herman Trelle of Lake Saskatoon is second in wheat.
1928. The Grande Prairie is visited by a large delegation of financiers and railway officials from eastern Canada, headed by CPR President, Edward Beattie. They are reviewing the land in light of proposals by the Alberta government to sell the E,D & BC. to either the CPR or the CNR.
1928. Canadian Utilities takes over the management of electrical power in Grande Prairie, and will soon extend lines to other communities.
1928. Bert Bessant drives his motor car from Fort St. John to Edmonton in just over 26 hours.
1928. The Grande Prairie & District Old Timers Association is formed for people having arrived in the district prior to the railway (1 March, 1916). The first annual picnic is held at Saskatoon Island.
1929. Beaverlodge, Hythe, and Sexsmith are incorporated as villages with populations of just over 200 each.
1929. Sexsmith is noted to have shipped out more agricultural produce than any other point in Alberta, with 1,180,000 bushels of grain and $229,000 worth of livestock.
1929. Percy Clubine of Lake Saskatoon is first for peas at the World Grain Fair in Chicago.
1929. The Grande Prairie Municipal Hospital is opened.
1929. John Imrie, publisher of the Edmonton Journal, undertakes a fact-finding mission to the Peace River Country. This results in a series of articles on the region and the release of the influential promotional book, Peace River: An Empire In the Making.
1929. The E,D & BC, recently sold by the Alberta government to the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railways, is reconstituted as a subsidiary of these two companies and called the Northern Alberta Railway, (NAR).
1930. For the year ending 31 March 1930, the Grande Prairie Land Office has set a provincial record for having processed 2,293 applications for public land, most being homesteads.
1930. With Alberta gaining control of the Crown land and natural resources within its boundaries, a new provincial Department of Lands & Mines is set up to deal with land settlement issues in the province, including the Grande Prairie.
1930. The NAR is extended northwest into Dawson Creek. Sidings are erected at Lymburn, Brainard, and Demmitt.
1930. Peace River Airways is incorporated by Art Craig, bringing regular air service between Edmonton, Peace River, and Grande Prairie. An airport is excavated on a field just west of Grande Prairie.
1930. The provincial government begins to improve the road between Valleyview and High Prairie. This will soon make this route the favoured one for travellers between Grande Prairie and Edmonton.
1930. With the Great Depression underway, the price of #1 wheat falls to under $0.50 per bushel. In the Peace River district, where farmers paid extra in freight rates to have their wheat transported to the Lake head, much hardship ensues.
1930. Wheat grown by Herman Trelle of Lake Saskatoon is adjudged the best in the world at the World Grain Fair in Chicago for the second time.
1930. Timothy seed grown by Robert Cochrane is adjudged the best in the world at the World Grain Fair in Chicago.
1930. In the provincial election, Hugh Allen is victorious for the UFA in the newly created riding of Grande Prairie, winning by acclamation.
1930. In the federal election this year, Donald Kennedy of Waterhole is again successful in the Peace River riding, representing the UFA.
1931. Saskatoon Island (peninsula) become one of the first provincial parks in Alberta.
1931. Wheat grown by Herman Trelle of Lake Saskatoon is adjudged to be the best in the world at the World Grain Fair in Chicago for the third time. Trelle and his wife, Beatrice, are offered, and accept, a world tour by Edward Beattie, President of the CPR.
1931. Wheat grown by Robert Cochrane of Clairmont is awarded the best in the Commonwealth at a Commonwealth trade show in Regina.
1931. With the Depression deepening, the provincial government decides to disallow homesteading in the Peace River district for non-Albertans.
1931. Passenger service on the NAR is reduced to twice weekly.
1931. A government ferry is installed across the Wapiti River near Pipestone Creek, facilitating traffic to the Grovedale district.
1931. The Census that year lists the population of the Grande Prairie to be over 13,000. The Town of Grande Prairie has 1,464 people. The population for the incorporated villages are: Sexsmith (304), Hythe (278), Beaverlodge (211), Wembley (183), and Clairmont (110).
1931. By the end of the year, 76 school districts have been incorporated for the Grande Prairie.
1932. The Depression worsens, and, with #1 wheat falling to $0.38 per bushel, many farmers decline to sell their grain.
1932. With the Alberta Provincial Police disbanding, policing in the Peace River region reverts to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which establishes a detachment in Grande Prairie.
1932. With Alberta Government Telephones curtailing service to rural areas of the province, rural mutual telephone companies are incorporated in several districts on the Grande Prairie.
1932. Hommy Park, earlier established by Hans and Sidsel Hommy, becomes a Provincial Park.
1932. The Northern Tribune, managed by John Yule, is begun in Grande Prairie as a rival newspaper to the Grande Prairie Herald.
1932. Herman Trelle is recognized as the international wheat king for the fourth time at the International Grain Fair in Chicago. He is declared a "Super-Crop Man" and is banned for entering the contest for the next three years to give others a chance.
1934. With the price of #1 wheat falling to $0.32 per bushel, little is shipped out of the Peace River Country, and much of the local economy is internal.
1934. John Alsopp of the Lake Saskatoon district takes first place for wheat at the World Grain Fair in Chicago.
1934. With the resignation of Premier Brownlee, Richard Reid is appointed the Premier of Alberta. MLA Hugh Allen of Wembley is made the Minister of Public Works as well as Municipal Affairs.
1934. An expedition led by the international tycoon, Charles Bedaux, passes through the Grande Prairie on its way to Fort St. John and on to its unsuccessful attempt to reach the Pacific Ocean.
1935. With severe flooding south of Lesser Slave Lake, rail service is curtailed for most of the summer, while
1935. The Peace River Bible Institute is begun in Sexsmith by Walter McNaughton.
1935. In the provincial election, former mayor William Sharpe of Grande Prairie narrowly wins the Grande Prairie riding for the Social Credit Party, defeating Hugh Allen of the UFA and District Agriculturalist W. J. Thomson of the Liberals. Social Credit under William Aberhart forms the provincial government.
1935. In the federal election held that year, Rene-Antoine Pelletier of Falher of the Social Credit Party is the successful candidate in the Peace River riding, with Joseph McIsaac of Sexsmith the runner up as a Liberal.
1936. The Monkman Pass Highway Association is formed for the purpose of encouraging governments to build a road south from the Beaverlodge district through the Monkman Pass to a point on the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway near Prince George.
1936. Wheat grown by Herman Trelle of Lake Saskatoon is adjudged the best in the world at the International Grain Fair in Chicago for the fifth time. Trelle is also first in oats.
1936. William Feist erects the first highway service station on the Prairie, a Union Oil station outside Wembley.
1936. Responding to Premier Aberhart's promise of a $25 dividend for each Albertan, approximately 10,000 people register for theirs at Grande Prairie, although none will receive payment.
1937. The Monkman Pass Highway Association begins to build a road from Rio Grande towards the Pass. Much of the effort is volunteer. Socials, raffles, and other events are staged throughout the Grande Prairie district to raise money for the cause.
1937. Aviator Grant Maconachie incorporates Yukon Southern Air Service, which will bring regular commercial flights to Grande Prairie.
1937. J.M. MacArthur takes over management of the NAR, and the line begins to turn a profit.
1937. Radio Station CFGP is begun in Grande Prairie.
1938. Peace River Airways Ltd. is inaugurated to bring regular air service between Peace River and Grande Prairie.
1938. John Allsop, Justyn Rigby, Lloyd Rigby, James Sebastian and Herman Trelle, all of the Lake Saskatoon district, are all winners at the international grain fair in Chicago and the Canadian grain fair in Toronto.
1938. Wheat grown by Lloyd Rigby at Lake Saskatoon is adjudged to be the best in the world at the World Grain Fair in Chicago. Oats grown by Justyn Rigby is also adjudged the best in the world at the same time.
1938. The schools on the Grande Prairie are now being administered collectively through the Grande Prairie School Division #14.
1939. With war declared, a number of young men leave Grande Prairie to enlist for service, many with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment.
1939. A Monkman Pass Highway Association is incorporated in British Columbia to work in concert with that operating in northwestern Alberta.
1939. The Grande Prairie Herald and the Northern Tribune amalgamate to form the Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune.
1940. The Loyal Edmonton Regiment begins a recruitment drive at Grande Prairie. By the end of the year, 4,773 recruits have been signed up.
1940. A Military Training Center is constructed on the south side of Grande Prairie.
1940. With the war raging in Europe, there is a greater demand than ever before for western Canadian wheat. Yields are high, and exports from the Grande Prairie are greater than ever. The leading exporter is Sexsmith, which will soon lay claim to the title "Grain Capital of the British Empire."
1940. In the provincial election, Dr. Lewis O'Brien of Grande Prairie, running as an Independent, defeats William Sharpe of the Social Credit Party, although Social Credit continues in office.
1940. In the federal election that year, John H. Sissons, a Grande Prairie lawyer, is the successful candidate as a Liberal in the riding of Peace River. Irving V. Macklin of Grande Prairie contests the election as a Canadian Commonwealth Federation (CCF) candidate.
1941. According to the Dominion census, the population of Grande Prairie is 1,724, while the populations of the villages of the district are: Beaverlodge 331, Sexsmith 325, Hythe 247, Wembley 188 and Clairmont 102.
1941. The Municipal Districts of Grande Prairie and Bear Lake amalgamate to form the Municipal District of Grande Prairie #780 (soon to be #127). The first Reeve is James Smith.
1941. A separate unit of the 2nd Battalion of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment called D Company is established in Grande Prairie. The Commander is Delmer Pratt.
1941. A Veterans Volunteer Reserve is set up in centres in the district, consisting mainly of veterans of World War I. The Reserve is granted certain local policing authority.
1942. Work begins on the Alaska Highway. American military personnel arrive in large numbers. Much equipment, supplies and people are routed through the Grande Prairie, to the benefit of local businesses. Many people from the area are employed on the Highway, bringing unemployment to an all-time low.
1942. The airport in Grande Prairie is taken over by the federal Department of Transport and is extensively upgraded to handle the growing air traffic. Access is limited to military personnel or by special permit.
1942. A ferry is installed over the Smoky River at Watino. As a result, some residents on the Grande Prairie begin to travel to Edmonton by way of Highway #1 north to Rycroft, and then the road east to Watino and High Prairie.
1943. The Royal Canadian Air Force begins an active recruitment drive in communities on the Prairie.
1944. In the provincial election that year, Ira McLaughlin of the Bezanson district is the successful candidate for the Social Credit Party, defeating William Rigby of Lake Saskatoon who ran on the CCF ticket.
1945. On 10 May, residents on the Grande Prairie celebrate Victory-in-Europe (V-E) Day.
1945. In the federal election, the successful candidate is the non-resident Solon E. Low of the Social Credit Party, who defeats another non-resident, John H. Sissons of the Liberals. Irving V. Macklin of Grande Prairie is third for the CCF.
1945. Clairmont loses its status as a Village.