Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bow Island a misnomer

Photo: Mother and daughter pose in Bow Island with town mascot Pinto Macbean

Recently I drove with my daughter through Bow Island, a small town in southern Alberta, located on the Crowsnest Highway between Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.

I knew from letters Mom kept that Dad built elevators here in the 1950s. When we stopped on our way through, I hoped we might sense some connection with Dad, the grandfather that Yasemin met only once, when she was a tiny baby.

But the wooden elevators are all gone, and the old hotel burned down recently. That would have been where he stayed during the severe blizzard he described in the letter to Mom. The bad weather kept the men from working for several days.

We learned at the information kiosk that the place is not close to the Bow River and has no island. This is due to a bureaucratic mix-up that swapped the names of Bow Island and nearby Grassy Lake, a former coal town. The error was never corrected.

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