Prairie Relics

Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic


For this challenge we’re visiting two locations in the Canadian prairies ~ the ghost town of Rowley and Heritage Park in Calgary, both in Alberta.

Since my family has roots in the prairies and I remember some of these things from when “I was a girl,” (I’ll differentiate ~ I’m not that old 😉 …), it’s fun for me to be able to share this with you.

Alberta Relics

These I do remember. There was a time when grain elevators could be seen all across the prairies ~ markers of the next town so you were never lost. As a child I found them very romantic and loved scanning the horizon for them whenever we were going for a drive. Their actual business was to collect and store grain until the next train rolled into town to pick it up.

Sadly you seldom see these wooden sentinels anymore. Most have deteriorated over the years and been demolished. In Rowley, however, these grain elevators have been restored and are a tourist attraction. Similar elevators exist in Heritage Park as well.

This CP Rail caboose is also a relic of the past. Up until the 1980s these manned rail transport vehicles were coupled to the end of freight trains as shelter for the train crew and as lookouts for safety issues.
I can remember what a thrill it was, as a child, to wave to the engineers stationed in the caboose as the end of the train went by. They always waved back.


Relic II

No, I’m not old enough to have used one of these!

Captured at Heritage Park


Manual Typrewiter

While this typewriter on display at Heritage Park does somewhat pre-date me, I am old enough to have started learning to type on a manual.
Carbon paper to type things in triplicate and no “auto-delete” button.
Those were the days. 😉


Kitchen Relics

Stuff in the kitchen of the old rail station at Rowley.
This kind of shelf liner I recall from time spent at my grandmother’s.
Look at that wallpaper!!


Tractor Relic

When I look at one of these old tractors (this one in Rowley) I always wonder how they got any traction.
Hmmm … guess this predates me too. 😉


Relic Stairwell

Lots of relics here, but I’d like to draw your attention to this relic of a staircase nailed into a tree! You’ll find this in the middle of the old bank in Rowley, if memory serves.



Living relics of the past. You rarely see wagon teams anymore.
These beauties captured at Heritage Park.


Thanks for visiting these old relics with me …



©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2014

Shout Outs

The Quiet Image

The Rider

@The West Gate


six degrees photography

Prayers for Southern Alberta

Alberta Rainbow

I’m feeling devastated by what’s unfolding in Southern Alberta right now.

Though I live about 2,000 kms away in Southern Ontario, a part of my heart resides in the province of mountains, prairies and big skies. My ancestors settled there. My brother lives in Calgary. It is my second home.

Sadly, those big skies have unleashed more than 150mm of rain in the last 24 hours (with more to come), causing severe flooding and washing out major highways, destroying homes, upending lives. A state of emergency has been declared.

Feeling powerless to do anything else I offer my heartfelt prayers for a swift recovery.

Be well,



Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Looks like it’s raining over there … Southern Alberta

Another prairie weather moment courtesy of one of several rain systems that passed through southern Alberta one day last summer.

It’s actually kind of amusing to watch the skies shift and change and then to wonder where the rain will fall next. If you’re really paying attention you can plan your driving route around bad weather … that is if you can drive fast enough. Those storm systems can sneak up on you pretty quickly and without warning.

I remember once driving up to Calgary from the Crowsnest Pass and entering a storm mass so pregnant with rain we couldn’t see through the windshield to the hood of the car never mind the oncoming traffic. It’s the only time I’ve seen Lloyd white-knuckle drive.

And then within minutes it was as if a curtain had parted and we were instantly into bright sunshine. When I turned around to look at what we’d come through all I saw was a massive graphite-coloured wall of rain. Just incredible!

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012

Big Sky Country … Alberta, Canada

People call Alberta “Big Sky Country,” and for good reason … the sky looks big!

It doesn’t matter that it’s the same sky we all see by day or night from wherever we are … in Alberta the sky just looks different — bigger — like some natural optical illusion designed specifically to “wow!” us out of our daily cares.

When I was a little girl I lived with my grandmother for a year. At the time (late 1960s) she dwelt in a prosperous farming community north of Edmonton. As teenagers my brother and I often spent our summer holidays visiting her. And periodically throughout my adulthood I would head out west to visit her in an effort to rekindle that feeling of rootedness that comes with spending time in the company of the older generation in old familiar places..

Through these times I collected many good, and not-so-good, memories, and stored my impressions of the area neatly away in my heart to be revisited, as I pleased, when I had a mind to do so.

When granny died in 1994 my trips to that community stopped. And then, two summers ago, my brother, mother and I, somehow all feeling the need to reconnect to the area if only to bring a sense of closure, made the four-hour trek north by car from Calgary. It was during this journey I learned to appreciate the idea that “you can never go back.”

You can never go back and expect that what lives in your memory will have remained intact in real time.

The bustling farming community I remembered had, it seemed, disintegrated into little more than a ghost town. The stores granny used to frequent on Main Street were empty … all commerce seemingly redirected to shopping malls that had invaded the outskirts of town. The second-hand book store was still there. I bought a book.

The old wooden grain elevators that once stood like sentinels at the bottom of Main Street had been replaced by huge, ugly metal silos. Granny’s house, vegetable and flower gardens — her pride and joy — abandoned, weed-infested, unloved.

Was the house really that small? Wasn’t there a porch at the back door? Wasn’t the picture window in the front larger than that? The driveway was longer, wasn’t it?

It seemed like my mind was playing tricks. I liked what I remembered, not what I was seeing.

In the end the only memory that remained intact was the huge Alberta sky.

The image highlighted here was taken about 100 kms north of Edmonton on a windy August day in 2010. I was struck then by the beauty of a vast, fertile landscape melting like butter into the horizon of a big  blue and white sky.

I still am.

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012