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The Heritage Trails are presented courtesy of CKUA Radio Network and Cheryl Croucher

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Barr Colony at Lloydminster, Part Two

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At the turn of the 20th century, two Anglican clergymen took up the call to help Canada settle the West with people of British sympathies.

According to historian David Leonard, the Canadian government granted George Lloyd and Isaac Barr 68 townships to establish the Barr Colony, on what is now the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.

The real mover and shaker of the two was Mr. Barr, Isaac Barr. He was a staunch propagandist, and he went throughout England, primarily in London, to attract people to this great open space, this great lone land that was going to be filled up with settlement soon, and was soon to be transected by the Canadian Northern Railway.

So, in 1903, sure enough, they had rounded up nearly 2000 people who intended, at one point in time soon, to follow this great colonial scheme. And, in April 1903, the first boatload of these people left Liverpool, and arrived in Saskatoon, where they began a 320 kilometre trek across the Prairies to that area in the approximate vicinity of Lloydminster today, just off the North Saskatchewan River, close to where the Canadian Northern Railway had already surveyed its line to Edmonton.

But the voyage across the ocean, and the long trek across Canada, was a difficult journey, and it showed up Mr. Barr's lack of organizational skills.

And there was soon a great falling out amongst the people; who was going to get what quarter section to stake their homestead on; how was the little community that would become Lloydminster, how was that going to be subdivided; who were going to run what businesses where.

So, by the time that they arrived at their concession in the summer of 1903, they were thoroughly disgusted with Isaac Barr. And so they dismissed him and made the more subdued personality of George Lloyd their community leader. And the tiny community of Lloydminster was founded and incorporated, and, of course, Mr. Lloyd was made the first mayor of the community, since he was the director of the whole colony.

Unfortunately, many settlers turned back. They'd come from the streets of London, and Liverpool, and they quickly realized farming was not their cup of tea.

On the Heritage Trail,

I'm Cheryl Croucher.

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            For more on the history of settlement in Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.