And so the years went by…

By Sandra L. Brown

February 16, 2017 12:00 AM

The Barr Colonists had another life before coming to the west.
We only need a glimpse into their remarkable history to see that it wasn’t all work and no play. 
Early on, churches served as a backbone of this community with arts and culture intricately woven into their lives.
Mostly Scottish born guests attended the first Burns Dinner held in January 1907. 
This continued annually for several years in honor of Robbie Burns a Scottish poet. 
Travelling opera companies, and even the infamous Philharmonic Concert group from New York, gave performances in the following years.
Fashionable events such as military and masonic balls were well attended by members of local society. 
The first Chautauqua Festival held in 1917 was a tremendous success. 
Usually held for a week, the traveling troupe offered both children’s and adult entertainment in a large tent. 
Fancy dress carnivals and dances were held during the war years perhaps serving as a reprieve from uneasy times.
Prizes were offered for the best costumes.
The Lloydminster Brass Band hosted a very successful first annual ball early in 1919.
After an organizational meeting held in 1929, and with many changes of location, the Public Library found a home upstairs in the City Hall. 
Serving for over 20 years, the librarian’s starting salary was $12.50 a month. 
Interestingly, the library board was listed as a “Mechanics and Literary Society.” 
Lindsay Evans was instrumental in organizing the Lloydminster Art Club which continued on for many years. 
While painting and instructing, Lindsay guided its members and helped them to get their artwork displayed.
Earlier in his life he had trained under A. Y. Jackson who later became a founding member of the Group of Seven. 
Serving overseas in both world wars, Lindsay also served as a Canadian war artist.  A mentor, he supported the arts and did commissioned work.
An accomplished musician, Oliver Holtby started as an apprentice by painting on china at the Coalport China Works in England. 
Arriving with the Barr Colonists in 1903, he didn’t have a lot of time to pursue art in the beginning but eventually began teaching music and painting. 
A very modest and generous man, he often sketched or painted on scraps of paper including the backs of envelopes. 
He also played violin in the orchestra pit during the early days of silent movies. 
Archie Miller’s tent became popular, not for his interest in sports and community involvement, but because he had the first radio in Lloydminster.
There were so few radio stations on the air that listeners could pick up stations from a great distance away. 
Names of hockey stars soon became household names when Hockey Night in Canada was broadcast.
Comedies and other programs soon followed making the world a much smaller place for its listeners.
The early exhibitions included entries of flowers and vegetables as our pioneers had not forgotten their gardens left far behind in England. 
In 1938, with each paid membership of $1, Lloydminster Horticultural Society members received 15 tulip bulbs.
One adventurous young man looking for some fun decided to go wrangle a steer from the local corral and ride it. 
Unfortunately, the steer had other ideas and charged right through the front opening of a tent. 
This particular tent was a recently opened up restaurant.
It was left in a shambles and the rider was thrown on the ground by the steer. 
A collection was taken by the boys responsible and the tousled tent put back in order.
Work began on the Barr Colony Museum in the 1960s, by dedicated men such as Richard Larsen, Colin Wright, William Saunders along with many others. 
It was stated: “…we owe a debt of gratitude for the work they have done so well, making a richly endowed with pioneer artifacts museum, a reality.”
From old time fiddling and yodeling contests, music festivals, theatre, dances, and visiting acts such as Don Messer’s Jubilee Show; music gave us a rich culture. 
It’s been said to never let a good song go to waste. 
An equivalent analogy is, “Never let our cultural heritage go to waste.” 
After all, it’s where Lloydminster began.

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