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Bar U Ranch, Part Three:
Prince Edward Comes to Visit
One of the most exciting events at the Bar U Ranch, south of Calgary, occurred in the fall of 1919.
As historian Simon Evans explains, it was just after World War One, and Edward, Prince of Wales, was touring the Empire.
We have to go back a little bit to realize how important this was, because the Prince of Wales was so incredibly popular at that time. He was a mixture of a, if you like, of a rock star. I suppose the closest we could get to his popularity was that of Princess Diana.
He'd fought in the gruesome First World War in the trenches; he came across as very, very young looking, but brave to a fault. And after the cessation of hostilities, he was sent by the British Prime Minister around the Empire, as it were, to say thank you to all the young men and the countries which had supported Britain so valiantly during the First World War. So, he arrives in Canada.
The prince travelled across the country, visiting veterans' homes and hospitals. After completing his official duties in Calgary, he took a 24-hour break at the Bar U Ranch.
In a letter to his sweetheart back in England, the prince wrote about his exposure to western living.
"And at ten in the morning, we rode off to the roundup of cattle, which was an amazing stunt. I rode a nice, locally-bred horse in a stock saddle. We were in time to help the cowboys and Indians to roundup the last odd, hundreds of cattle. And they collected close to 2000 head, I guess. It was quite good fun, and I got lots of hard riding, doing my best imitation of a cowboy chasing refractory calves that wouldn't be driven into the corral to be branded, etc. It gave one small insight into ranch life on the prairies, but of course, I should have stayed at least a week on the ranch to get the proper idea of it all."
Short as his stay was, ranch life made such an impression on the Prince, he bought one for himself.
He did, he bought a ranch just next door to the Bar U, and the whole transaction was supervised by George Lane. He bought the ranch that became the EP, or Edward Prince Ranch, and he kept that, as one of the only bits of property that he ever owned, until the 1960s.
During the 1920s, the prince spent several summers at the EP Ranch.
On the Heritage Trail,
I'm Cheryl Croucher.