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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Tributes

A relaxed Grant MacEwan was a guest at the Elton centennial in 1983.

In the spring of 1966 the Historical Society of Alberta honoured Grant MacEwan for his outstanding contributions to Alberta history. This is only one of many accolades Grant MacEwan received over the course of his distinguished career as a writer, agriculturalist, and politician. The Historical Society of Alberta's recognition of his work was particularly important to Grant because it further confirmed his role as one of Canada's pre-eminent western Canadian popular historians. Grant's experience with the subject of history as a young student makes the story even more compelling. He learned to hate history because his teachers only taught him stories of foreign countries and distant rulers but consistently neglected Canadian history. Instead of turning away from the subject Grant would later immerse himself in the discourse of Western Canadian history-its people, their land and their accomplishments. Grant transformed Western Canadian history into a subject that everyone could read, understand, and appreciate. One of the most popular writers, mayors, and lieutenant governors of Alberta, Grant MacEwan was the author of 49 books on the Canadian west.

In the fall of 2001 Alberta History produced a tribute magazine solely dedicated to Grant MacEwan. Articles by Hugh A. Dempsey, Max Foran, Donald B. Smith, and Lee Shedden begin to capture some of Grant's greatest accomplishments and, more importantly, showcase his lasting impressions on the people he encountered. The tributes are moving, divulging into MacEwan's unique character; how he shaped his life and the lives of others. Evident by much of the content contained within this website Grant MacEwan was Alberta's foremost storytellers. By gleaning through only samples of his work any reader can begin to see why.

The four articles each capture a different side of Grant MacEwan. Hugh Dempsey, a distinguished historian and the founding editor of Alberta History, talks about his lasting encounters with Grant. Max Foran, Grant's son-in-law and assistant professor at the University of Calgary, portrays Grant as a man of great paradoxes. Donald B. Smith, professor of history at the University of Calgary, describes Grant as a tremendous storyteller and as a man dedicated to Western Canadian history. Lee Shedden's article provides readers with a through overview of MacEwan's entire written collection. Also included here is Grant MacEwan's personal creed and the eulogy delivered at his funeral.


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            For more on Grant MacEwan, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.

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