Stories of the past provide interesting insight; they need preservation

The importance of preservation of our past is highlighted in a story and a special section in this week’s newspaper.

The importance of preservation of our past is highlighted in a story and a special section in this week’s newspaper.

The first, a story about publication of the book Sylvan Lake, A Postcard Perspective, by medical doctors Brian Inglis and Robert Lampard, is testament to the interesting and vibrant life at Sylvan Lake in its early years. It’s because Dr. Inglis was interested in postcards and postmarks, particularly those featuring Sylvan Lake, that the collection was built over many, many years.

Glancing at some of the 201 postcards in the book and the painstakingly documented history of the community which accompanies them, the reader gets another view of how important the lake and tourism were and continues to be to our peace of paradise.

The second, is our special section, Tragedy to Triumph. Initially, we thought about just focusing on the Kraft Hockeyville campaign which is so recent in our memory.

But on reflection, and listening to stories of some of those who contributed to the arena’s construction more than 40 years ago, we saw a larger story. A story we hope is reflected in the extensive research that was done.

The story is of volunteers contributing hours and hours of work first to planning, then to fundraising and finally to raising the roof on the arena.

An interesting item was that the minor hockey association of the day operated the concession and contributed towards cost of the project. Minor hockey and figure skating parents still volunteer in the concession. It’s interesting how some things never change.

But back to volunteers. While our chronology of the arena’s construction didn’t go past the first operating season, we know that volunteers have been the backbone of that community facility on other occasions throughout the years.

Then when it came to the Hockeyville campaign, it was the tremendous outpouring of volunteer time and effort, both near and far, that led to Sylvan Lake’s win.

Now that we’re into a fundraising campaign and planning for a new complex to include an ice surface, curling rink and other amenities, it’s again volunteers who are driving the committees.

One of the failings we found when preparing this section, was that there weren’t any pictures of the arena construction readily available to illustrate our stories.

That gets us back to the importance of preserving our past. It’s interesting to reflect on what’s happened and see where we are today. To do that, another group of dedicated volunteers have been operating Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society. They’re ready to accept photos, written documents and other things which provide so many interesting and intriguing facts about Sylvan Lake’s growth. They’ve created many volumes of pictures and history with what they’ve collected.

We urge people who have old pictures of community events and locations to consider donating them to the archives, or loaning them so they may be digitally scanned for future use and distribution.

Another of our failings in writing the arena history was that we didn’t have time to talk to more of the people involved and glean those informative stories. We hope there’s someone out there who has the time and interest to begin documenting, either in writing or on a recording device, the memories of our older residents so their oral storytelling is available for future generations.