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Early Settlement

 Grande Prairie area in 1909.The rich agricultural promise of the Peace River country brought waves of settlers. Many of the early arrivals had to struggle through the wilderness on rough trails to travel to the Peace country.

The pattern of settlement was different in the Peace River country when compared to the west in general. The movement of settlers into the Peace River did not occur after the railroad was established, but the promise of good agricultural land, a railroad, and institutions was all the early settlers relied.

SurveyorsThere was a trickle of settlers into the remote northern territories of the Peace River country until 1911 when the Edson-Grande Prairie Trail was cut through the wilderness. Many endured the hardships of this rough trail traveling by horse, cart, oxen cart, dog sled, or on foot.

Surveyors having lunchSince 1905, there had been rumours of a railroad to be constructed; however the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway (EDBC) did not link the Peace River country to Edmonton until 1915.

These surveyors are with horsesThe second wave of settlers arrived during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Farmers in the south who had seen everything they had built lost in the drought and poor markets moved north. The Peace River country was the refuge many had sought from their hardship in southern Saskatchewan and Alberta.

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