Shirley Timpany and Cathy Jameson remember a time when most farms in the Salmon River Valley operated without electricity, when a walk to school on 70th Street SW during spring runoff often included poling across part of the road on a raft.
Jackson and Timpany grew up in the area that was once known as Mt. Ida Valley.
It was a close-knit farming community where neighbours helped each other, a place where women served up pancake breakfasts and chicken suppers and revealed their gardening prowess in the flower shows they organized.
“It was a very tight and active community, real country living,” says Timpany. “We hardly ever came into town, and if we did it was by horse and buggy or a sleigh in the winter with robes on us.”
“The roads and corners had different names,” laughs Jameson, noting the bridge was described as being at Stan Arnold Road. “We knew where we lived, that’s all that counted.”
Now in her 80s, Jameson, née Jackson, was the only one of her siblings to be born in Canada.
Her father arrived in the Mt. Ida area from Scotland in 1907, working in the old Kernaghan Mill near what is now known as Branchflower Road.
After several years, he returned to Scotland, married and started a family and returned to the valley in 1926, where he bought a farm.
Timpany was a Hobbs when her family moved from Saskatchewan to the valley in 1934 and purchased a 40-acre property near Branchflower.
After farming the land for several years, her dad bought about 60 acres across from the Jackson family farm near the corner of 70th Avenue and Salmon Valley Road.
These women treasure their memories and are hoping other families of the Mt. Ida area will step up with their stories for inclusion in a book the women are putting together.
Four years ago, the late Betty Jackson, the daughter of another pioneer farmer, decided Mt. Ida Valley’s history should be recorded.
“She got calling people and got maps from the city and wanted to go back as far as possible and bring it up to current owners,” says Timpany. “She started putting names on the maps.”
Two years ago, 88-year-old Vince Reed, another valley pioneer now living in Calgary, made the annual summer trip home.
Reed met Timpany and Jameson for lunch, suggesting the women get everything down on paper.
The book will be an honour to Jackson and Reed.
The women would like to hear from anyone with information and photos of the Mt. Ida Valley.
“Our goal is to have a small book printed to retain a history of our pioneers and current residents,” says Timpany. “There are stories told of where Mt. Ida derived its name but none are known to be correct.”
Call Cathy Jameson at 250-832-3338 or Shirley Timpany at 250-833-1169.