A little trip into town

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November 17, 2016 12:00 AM

In the early days, a trip into town was an exciting event as the Barr Colonists bartered, sold, and purchased goods. 
It was also a social activity, as many folks did not get into town very often and relied on each other for friendship or support. 
Farm and townsfolk alike caught up on the latest news and gossip while bonding together at the general store.
Perhaps a treat of penny candy or a five-cent double ice cream cone was on the list. 
Sharing a home cooked meal at one of the restaurants was a favourite gathering spot especially for bachelors and visitors to town.
Most businesses were family owned and run.
They also served as a source of employment for newcomers saving money to purchase land or to build a home.
Businesses set up quickly to aid the Barr Colonists and arrival of new settlers to Lloydminster. 
The first store, Hall, Scott and Co., on Broadway, owned by Herbert Hall and George Scott, opened in July 1903, a few short months after their spring arrival. 
The temporary canvas roof covered the 750 sq-ft general store, which eventually grew to 6,000 sq-ft of permanent floor space.
It was also the location for the Barr Colonists first Christmas celebration. 
After parting ways, Scott Brothers Hardware opened,  aiding in the steady downtown growth.
In May 1907, Hall’s Store advertised the notion of customers bringing in their produce and trading them for coupons that equaled cash value.
Advertised as the lowest prices in town, a full line of grocery items and dry goods, such as fabrics from 10-15 cents per yard (no ugly patterns) and ready-made clothing, were available. 
They were the only store in town to carry Ogilvie’s flour and rolled oats.
The midsummer clearance sale at MacLeod’s retail store on Main Street was all about cutting prices for the month of August.
Hats and caps at 20 per cent off and the finest Egyptian yarn underwear for 50 cents each were available in a range of sizes with the hopes of keeping you warm for the coming fall. 
Sweaters ranged in price from 75 cents to $2.40 for men and boys.
Sweaters were suitable for boys who played baseball, football, lacrosse, tennis, and of course, marbles. 
“Here is where we sock it to you!” 
Black cashmere hose were on sale five pairs for $1, and cotton socks were 10 cents a pair.  Limit of one dozen pairs per customer. 
Terms were cash or goods on approval. 
Mouth-watering aromas of freshly baked goods wafted down Main Street from Mr. T. Barber’s up-to-date bakeshop. 
A real time saver in 1926, he purchased a modern Fletcher electric bread mixer with a capacity of mixing two bags of flour. 
With the addition of a new set of bread pans, his average daily output was 250 loaves per day. 
Embedded on each side of the bread pans leaving an imprint on each freshly baked loaf was his name.
Purchasing or ordering supplies from a catalogue and picking up their mail with hopes of receiving a letter from the homeland weren’t the only reasons for coming to town. 
Community events such as sport competitions, musical concerts, and theatre brought folks to town. 
Ice cream socials held in various churches included an entertaining programme.
Bachelors and various community groups sponsored dances and lavish balls. 
Often funds raised went in aid of building or maintaining churches, schools, or the hospital
Agricultural or fair exhibitions and picnics were popular events and well attended.
Themed events in 1910 such as the Harvest Festival, Hard Times Social, and a Halloween toffee pulling party for children, celebrated special occasions. 
In the summer of 1910, the Al Barnes Three Ring Circus stopped in Lloydminster. 
Nearly 200 animals including camels, Bengal tigers, lions, Arabian horses, Russian bears, and elephants performed for two hours before a captivated prairie audience. 
The Barnes 30-piece military band provided the music for the entertaining afternoon and evening shows.
Our community shadows the entrepreneurial spirit of the Barr Colonists legacy.
Storefronts, advertising, prices, and the offerings of a “General Store” have changed over the years, but the sense of community bonding has remained.

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