Hello Diamond Valley. This may be our new name if our two towns combine. Amalgamation is still in the process of figuring things out, as we all know, government takes a while to decide on things. Amalgamation has been explored here starting back in 1988, again in 1991, 2005, and most recently in 2017. According to the Black Diamond Town website, there was a public online event, asking what concerns they had regarding the subject, and what good people thought may come of it. The main number one concern was cost, would amalgamating increase our property taxes? Or would it come in some other form? Will we have to change our mailing addresses? Other issues were police, transparency, the town’s debt absorption, and lack of understanding and communication. Voting or a plebiscite is not in the cards for us either, but you can go online at Black Diamond’s website to give your input at the next public event which will be this summer sometime. Approximately 300 people emailed their input for the first public online event, please take a minute this summer to add yours, we have way more residents than that so let our voices be heard! In the meanwhile, they would like name suggestions for the merger, and I bet Diamond Valley will be a big one. Black Valley? Turner Diamond? Submit your name ideas along with why you think the name would work, and you certainly can include pictures, stories history, identity, and culture in your explanation. For more information, go to Black Diamond’s website and search What We’ve Heard for the latest updates on this long- lasting issue.
It’s Father’s Day coming up June 16. If your Dad has always had an interest in the cowboy way of life, perhaps a visit to the Bar U Ranch would be in order, as their official opening day was May 17. Please check anywhere you intend to visit before heading out as circumstances may change at any given time. They are located 15 min south of Longview on the Cowboy Trail. The Bar U was home to a famous cowboy named John Ware. Born a slave in 1845 on a cotton plantation in South Carolina, John ended up in Texas after the Civil War. It was here that he learned his impressive cowboy skills. He was hired to bring some of the first 3000 head of cattle to Alberta in 1882. When he arrived with his herd, he found cowboys were in great demand and decided to stay. He instituted such techniques as irrigation, ranching, and agriculture, and won the first competition in the Calgary Summer Fair of 1893. John has a ridge, mountain, creek, jr. high school, and office building named after him, and even his own postage stamp. It was told he could stop a steer head- on and wrestle it to the ground. He was one of the first Black cowboys in Alberta and suffered a great deal from racism. He persevered however; and eventually started his own ranch. John died in 1905 and is buried in a Calgary cemetery.
Another infamous figure in the Bar U’s history is Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, aka the Sundance Kid. He was born in 1867 in Mont Clare, Pennsylvania, and at age 15 travelled west in a covered wagon with his cousin to help homestead, and there he learned his ranching skills. At some point in time he was co-owner of the saloon in the Grand Central Hotel in Calgary but after a fight with his partner he went to Montana. From there he came back north and took a job at the Bar U, rustling horses and cattle back and forth across the border. In 1887 he stole a horse, gun, and saddle from cowboy near Sundance, Wyoming, and was caught. In jail he earned the nickname the Sundance Kid, and more than likely he met Robert Leroy Parker, aka Butch Cassidy, in prison around the same time. Together they formed The Wild Bunch Gang and they went on to act out the longest string of successful bank robberies in history. With a Wanted Dead or Alive warrant offering a reward of $30,000, he fled the U.S. with Cassidy and a woman named Etta Place, first to Argentina and then Bolivia. It was here that Butch and Sundance were killed in a shoot-out in 1908. Butch and Sundance are immortalized in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
There have been many films shot in Southern Alberta. High River is home to many, such as Superman III and Silver Streak being shot at the Museum of the Highwood, and the museum also houses props from the series Heartland. This series used lots of different locations around Calgary and the Foothills. Jackie Chan and Kevin Costner have been seen in the area while shooting their perspective movies, Shanghai Noon and Open Range. One of my favorite actors, Clint Eastwood, filmed Unforgiven around Longview and parts in 91-92, and the series Fargo Year Two also was shot in the area as well. The list is long but some that I recognize that have been filmed anywhere from Calgary to Kananaskis, Pincher Creek to Morley, Bragg Creek to Millarville, among other locations, include; Brokeback Mountain, Buffalo Bill and the Indians, Cool Runnings, Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge, Legends of the Fall, Passchendaele, RV, The Assassination of Jesse James, and X2 X-Men United. For a bigger list in case you are a film buff and would like to plan a tour of these locations, visit highrivertourism.com or albertamoviemaps.com.
The Millarville Farmer’s Market is set to open for the season on June 19 at 9am. It will be much like last year, with customers buying their ticket online and reserving their time slot. They have been implementing a “shop don’t stop” idea in order to prevent congestion in the market, and no wandering back and forth between the lines. Suggested admission is a donation of $3, and proceeds help support programming at the Millarville Race Track. They are host to many youth and education clubs including 4H Club, High Country Pony Club, Sheep Creek Weavers, and Millarville Mutts and Mustangs to name a few. Your donation also helps to offset costs related to grounds and building maintenance. Many of us look forward to at least one trip to the Market every year, so bring your reusable shopping bags, wagons, umbrellas and head out for a shopping experience like no other.
Did you see workers cleaning up the highway between Black Diamond and Okotoks on May 1? The Millarville Stockland 4H Club along with other youth clubs and organizations volunteered to clean up Highway 22X as well as part of Alberta’s Annual Highway Cleanup Program. The clubs raised money for their organizations according to how many kilometers they cleaned, thank you and well done!
One of the reasons that entry into Kananaskis will now come with a fee is that some visitors were leaving their garbage behind. According to Jason Nixon, Environment and Parks Minister, other reasons are overcrowded day use areas and trails, human wildlife encounters, injuries, and illegal parking. I totally get that people in Calgary and the Foothills want to get out of town with all the craziness in the world. I took a drive twice in the last year up to Sandy McNabb and just found there were too many people for my liking. So maybe not such a bad idea to implement a fee, but I feel they should give nearby residents a good discount. More info on the new fee system can be found at alberta.ca.
I will be staying home this year and working on my new garden. I hear Turner Valley is hoping to put together a Community Garden in Riverside Park this year. 40 raised beds are anticipated, and would like the water to come from the overflow from the town reservoir. We used the Black Diamond Garden for a couple of years before we had our own at home, and enjoyed the garden, barbeques and plant/seed swaps. For more information on the Turner Valley Community Garden, give Sharon a call at 403-931-3786 or email at wsbieber@ gmail.com.
After cleaning up your yard and garden of grass clippings, hedge branches, small tree branches and leaves, you can take them over to the Diamond Valley Transfer Station. Turn right past the Black Diamond bridge and right again and you will see it on your left just a ways up. Also, if you have extra garbage that won’t fit in your bin, you can purchase bags at the BD Esso to dump at the Station. The Transfer Station is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10-4.
Vale’s in Black Diamond is always such a nice place to visit. Don’t you just love walking into a greenhouse and breathing in that warm earthy smell? They will be hosting their annual Cultivation of Art Show and Sale. Feel free to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the garden, room permitting. An artist reception will be held June 19 from 1-5, where you can come and meet the artists, have a glass of wine and a snack, and admire the beauty of nature and art together. The Show runs all weekend with over 40 local artists work in many different mediums. Maybe you can find Dad that one of a kind artwork and help support our local talent as well.
And a little to the north is the Leighton Center’s Annual Clothesline Sale, coming up the weekend of June 18-20 as well. For the second year in a row, they are excited to bring an online version right to your couch or kitchen table. Grab a cup of coffee and shop unframed artworks created by some of their most talented member artists, in a wide variety of mediums and styles. Open 24/7 June 1-30. Pick up, delivery, and shipping are available if you want, for more information, visit their web, and they are located in a beautiful setting just a short drive towards the Millarville area.
Lastly, our own Turner Valley Legion is hoping to get back to dine in service and other events this summer. If not, they still offer take out, at very reasonable prices and Mike is one of the best chefs they have ever had, in my opinion. Volunteers also make up a large part of the Legion, and for that we say thanks. Please consider a membership, donation, volunteer, or support through take out. Call 403-933- 4564 or check them out on Facebook.
If you have anything happening in July that your not for profit organization would like to advertise, or just any interesting tidbits, I would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for July’s issue is June 15.
Happy Father’s Day and keep on smiling!