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Authority record

Beedle, John

  • 2004.03
  • Person
  • 30 Apr. 1926 - 23 Oct. 2019

John Beedle was born John Bedell in Westlock, AB to Herbert and Nellie Bedell. He was the second oldest of 6 children. He grew up working on the family homestead in Jarvie, AB. Beedle would later legally change his last name to better reflect his family’s roots. Beedle took an interest in nature as early as age 5, which would shape the rest of his life.

Beedle left home at 14 and worked various jobs before settling in St. Albert in 1962. In the late 1940s Beedle started his working career at a greenhouse in Kelowna, B.C. In the early 1950s he moved to Edmonton where he found employment at Calenso's Greenhouses and 2 years later worked at the city of St. Albert and bought a house on a small acreage on Grandin Road where he resided and cared for his mother for many years. Beedle moved through the ranks with the city of St. Albert as Parks Foreman, Parks Supervisor and in 1968 he was promoted to the position of Director of Parks and Recreation. In 1972 he became Parks Planner until his retirement in 1991. It was largely under his guidance, passion and vision that the city of St. Albert has developed its beautiful boulevards, parks, tree canopies and green spaces.

In 1989, both Beedle and former St. Albert Mayor Richard Plain came up with the idea of creating a volunteer run botanical park with a major rose garden as its centrepiece. Beedle spent countless volunteer hours helping to bring the St. Albert Botanic Gardens to fruition and the better part of the next 25 years creating the major gardens located throughout the present day botanical park. In honour of Beedle, St. Albert Botanic Park houses the John Beedle Volunteer Centre. Also, Beedle was a part of the original group that helped establish the St. Albert Garden Club in 1982 and spent many hours serving as a director with the Friends of the Devonian Botanic Garden society.

Beedle was also a member of the Edmonton Light Opera Society. He was an active participant in 26 productions over a 13 year period. In his younger days he sang in church choirs as a second tenor both as soloist and a member of the choir.

Bellerose family

  • MHM
  • Family
  • 1809

The Bellerose family is one of the early and founding Metis families of the settlement of St. Albert. The family patriarch in the region was Olivier Bellerose (1809-1891) who came to the region from Quebec in 1833, in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company. He married Josephte (Suzette) Savard and was stationed at Fort Dunvegan and Lesser Slave Lake before posting at Fort Edmonton in 1855. The family, including thirteen children, settled on the north shore of the Sturgeon River in 1859, a site later surveyed as River Lot 38. Olivier Bellerose was a member of the committee that prepared the original bylaws for St. Albert. Although settled at St. Albert, Bellerose continued to work for the Hudson's Bay Company. Olivier and Suzette Bellerose both died in 1891. Many of the descendants of the family continued to live in the St. Albert region and contributed to its development.

Big Lake Environment Support Society

  • Corporate body
  • 1991-

St. Albert physician, Dr. Fin Fairfield, founded the Big Lake Environment Support Society (B.L.E.S.S.) in 1991. The non-profit organization had 23 founding members. Their aim was to raise interest of the public in Big Lake and protect the natural wildlife on or near the lake, as well as making available recreation activities at the lake including walking trails, canoe trips and bird watching. On January 10, 2002 the organization was named the provincial stewards for the Big Lake natural park which had been designated Special Places site in 2000. In 2005, the site became a provincial park and was named Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park.

Activities of the organization include over ten years of bird count records for the Big Lake area. In 2006 they implemented a water quality monitoring program, obtaining baseline water quality data for Big Lake, its inlets and outlet. B.L.E.S.S. have built a viewing platform at the lake and a shelter on the Red Willow Park Trail. They have added signage relating to bird species at the lake. With help from Alberta Parks, they installed a web camera on the shores of Big Lake. They were active in the protest of the West Bypass road. B.L.E.S.S. also sponsors summer education programs hosted at the cabin at St. Albert Trail and Sturgeon Road.

B.L.E.S.S. has received two awards, the Alberta Emerald Award for Environmental Excellence and the 2005 Steward Service Excellence Award. The society has nominated Big Lake for the Special Places 2000 program and the Important Bird Areas program.

Blodgett, Elke

  • MHM
  • Person
  • 1936 - 2018

Elke Blodgett was born in 1936 in Lepzig, Germany. Her father was a chemical engineer, who first taught her about caring for the environment and living off the land. Her first love of nature began with picking blueberries on her family's East Prussian estate. In her youth, she lived in England, Switzerland, France, Greece and the United States before moving to Canada in 1966. She was married to Ted [Edward Dickinson] Blodgett. She attended the University of Minnesota and completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree in a year and a half.

Blodgett moved to St. Albert in 1966. After exploring the St. Albert river valley and Big Lake, Blodgett became an all-round watchdog, resolving to do all she could to maintain its environmental integrity. She was a founding member off the Anti-Bypass Coalition, and was subsequently elected spokesperson. She was involved in gathering over 10,000 signatures in the 1997 petition to encourage city council to consider all possible routes for the western bypass. She also successfully lobbied for Big Lake to be designated under the Special Places 2000 program. She was a participant on the city committees St. Albert Red Willow Park Update and Parks and Open Spaces Committee. She is involved in continuous efforts to clean up the river valley, and to report transgressions to Alberta Environment.

Elke Blodgett is also an artist focused on pottery, particularly hand-building, raku, wood kiln construction, and primitive firing. Her works are in collections world-wide including the Banff Centre permanent collection, Canada Council Art Bank (Ottawa), and the Consulate-General of Japan (Edmonton). She has been a part of many solo and group exhibitions. She has won dozens of prizes for her work including first prize in Reflections on Three Plains Ceramics Exhibition (Winnipeg), honourable mention in Showcase '80 Juried Travelling Exhibition (Alberta), first prize in Raku, Primitive Pottery and Wheelwork, (Stony Plain), as well as many purchase awards. She has also taught courses in hand-building, raku pottery and kiln construction.

Elke Blodgett passed away on February 15, 2018 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Bracko, Len

  • MHM
  • Person
  • 2 Dec 1943 - 19 Aug 2017

Leonard (Len) Bracko was born in 1943 in St. Albert, Alberta. He graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Education and a graduate diploma in Education administration. Bracko began teaching junior and senior high in St. Albert Catholic school in 1979. In 1989, Bracko ran for MLA in the provincial election with the Alberta Liberal party. However, he came in second to Progressive Conservative Richard (Dick) Fowler, former mayor of St. Albert. Later in that same year, Bracko ran for St. Albert City Council and was elected as alderman. He served as alderman from 1989-1992 before running again and winning a seat as MLA in the 1993 provincial election. Bracko served as MLA with the Liberal official opposition caucus from 1993-1997, when he lost his seat to Mary O’Neill. He returned to teaching and retired in 1997. After his retirement, Bracko ran for and was elected again to the City Council of St. Albert, and he served as alderman from 2001-2013, having been reelected three times (2004, 2007, and 2010). Bracko and his wife Barb were active with Habitat for Humanity and international development. Bracko passed away on 19 Aug 2017.

Brutinel, Raymond, Brigadier-General

  • 2014.22
  • Person
  • 6 May 1882 - 21 September 1964

Brigadier-General Raymond Pierre Marc Brutinel was born May 6, 1882 in Alet-les-Bains, Aude, France. His father was Louis Brutinel and his mother was Louise Maury. In 1903, Brutinel married Marie Calamun (1882-1952). They divorced in 1907 but continued to live together. Brutinel had a daughter, Raymonde (b. 1905) and two sons, Roger (b. 1904) and Pierre (b. 1909).

In 1904, Brutinel and his family moved to Canada. They settled in Edmonton, Alberta but Brutinel also bought property in St. Albert. During his time in Alberta, Brutinel served as editor for Le Courrier de L’Ouest, Alberta’s first French language newspaper. He also surveyed routes and resources for the development of the Grand Trunk Railway. He discovered the coal-rich region around Pembina and is considered the founder of the area known as the Coal Branch. Brutinel was also instrumental in building the Interurban Railway between Edmonton and St. Albert, which ran until 1914.

In 1913, Brutinel and his family moved to Westmount, Montreal. At the start of World War I, Brutinel joined the Canadian army and pioneered the formation of a mobile motorized machine gun unit, financing it himself and soliciting donations from other wealthy citizens in Montreal, Ottawa, and Winnipeg. In August 24, 1914, Brutinel enrolled the first recruits for the Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade, which was the first fully mechanized unit of the British Empire. The Motor Machine Gun Brigade played a significant role in many battles, including Vimy, Canal de Nord, and Somme.

At the end of World War I, in 1919, Brutinel returned to Westmount, Montreal, only to discover that his lawyer had lost all of his assets. Brutinel moved to France in the same year where he worked and invested in different businesses including the Schneider-Creusot Company and the Banque Adam, and purchased several properties and vineyards. Between 1939-1945, during World War II, Brutinel worked with the French Resistance and developed an underground network to aid escaped prisoners of war and downed airmen, as well as send messages.

Brutinel won many military awards, including the Distinguished Service Order (1916), Officier de la Legion d’Honneur (1918), Order of St Michael and St George (1918), Order of the Bath (1919), Croix de Guerre with stars and palm (1919), Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur (1926). He earned seven citations to the Order of the British Army between 1916-1919, two citations to the Order of the French Army (1918), and a citation to the Order of the 42nd D.I. delivered by General Deville (1918). Brutinel was a naturalized Canadian citizen. He died on September 21, 1964 in his Chateau near Couloume-Mondebat, Gares, in France.

Main source for biographical note from: Baylaucq, Dominique, and Jacques Baylaucq. Brutinel: The Extraordinary Story of a French Citizen Brigadier-General in the Canadian Army. Trans. Shelley Pomerance. St Albert: Arts and Heritage Foundation of St. Albert, 2014.

Champagne, Juliette

  • MHM
  • Person

Juliette Champagne is an historian and heritage consultant specializing in Western Canadian history, especially related to Alberta's francophone communities and peoples. She has served as a board member with heritage organizations such as La Société Généalogique du Nord-Ouest. Champagne has several publications, "De la Bretagne aux plaines de l'Ouest canadien, lettres d'un défricheur franco-albertain, Alexandre Mahé (1880-1968)" which is about French-Canadian community building in northeastern Alberta. Champagne has also annotated and published the memoirs of the Oblate Joseph Le Treste, who worked in Northern Alberta between 1884 to 1955, "Souvenirs d'un missionnaire breton dans le Nord-Ouest canadien", now out of print.

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