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Rural Myth?


In her article, 'Descended from Heroes: The Frontier Myth in Rural Alberta' Joanne Stiles notes three features to Alberta's post-WWII farming activity. The reduced importance in percentage of provincial production, a decline in the percentage of the province's overall population and increased centralization of services (leading to more travel outside of rural districts for these services) point to drastic changes in rural life.

Stiles points out that farmer's personal incomes have increased enormously in this period but farmers are no longer the dominant class in Alberta. Her assessment of this situation is that it gives rise to 'a powerful and remarkably uniform myth of orgins' that has resulted in overly sentimentalized and nostalgic recollections of rural life, no longer if ever accurate. There is a tendency to portray early settlers as being self-reliant and inventive in manufacturing and providing for their daily needs at home. The evidence shows that the basics of daily life were more often purchased and further transformed into useful products.

In general, Alberta's cities witnessed tremendous growth and affluence following World War II. In the late 1940s, Red Deer's population was stable around 5000. By the early 1970s it had grown to 26,000 residents and in the thirty years since has increased to approximately 70,000. Town and city centres in the region has all realized substantial growth and like the rest of the Alberta, the region's population is concentrated in urban settlements. Further, the greatest increases in growth are along the corridor that runs through the region between Edmonton and Calgary. The mobility and proximity of rural communities to the region's urban centres as well as Alberta's metropolitan areas increasingly blurs the line between a distinct rural and urban life, although this been true through the development of the region.



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