The New West – Calgary

Calgary is situated in the foothills of the Blue Canadian Rockies, where the snow-capped mountains often look as though they are painted on the sky for an awesome sight when you have your morning coffee.  The weather is moderate.  Although there is a saying in Calgary ‘If you don’t like the weather – wait 10 minutes and it will change.’

Calgary - Voted Cleanest City in the World

Calgary – Voted Cleanest City in the World

Calgary is situated on the clear, clean waters of the Bow River – which runs out of the glacier fed Lake Louise.  It was originally a popular gathering point for the Blackfoot natives.  The Bow River was a  place where the tree branches were material for bow and arrows.  With a chinook that can blow through often, the temperatures could warm and the snow go away at any time, including the winters.Calgary is Canada’s newest city and in my opinion, by far the cleanest city.  With the head-offices for oil companies galore, it has the largest population of Americans outside the USA in the world. Most people share optimism and a desire to work and thrive.

A fort was established in 1875 by the North-West Mounted Police and the original founder – Sam Livingstone – was already settled in the area;  The fort was called Calgary which is Gaelic for ‘swift waters’.

The settlers of the area were mainly ranchers and often those ‘second-sons’ of aristocrats.  The Canadian Pacific Railroad ran through Calgary and created a settlement of what is known as ‘China Town’ now as well as a landmark hotel made of sandstone – The Palliser, which is still in downtown Calgary.

Palliser Calgary Hotel

Palliser Calgary Hotel

Calgary was a small settlement until oil was discovered in the Turner Valley, Black Diamond area and in the early 1900′s the city started thriving. There has been no looking back.  Calgary is a bustling, thriving city where it always seemed to me – about every 10 years, old dirty buildings/areas are torn down and new, clean buildings replace them. Some people don’t appreciate that – but to me Calgarians definitely understand the difference between old junk and real heritage landmarks.  There are old buildings that are maintained of course.

It is a transient city and may be a reason people are so friendly.  My two sons were born in Calgary but that seems to be a rarity. Most people seem to come to Calgary to work.  My romance story One Dance with a Stranger takes place in Calgary.  My romance story Alberta Wild Rose takes place in Calgary’s fascinating surrounding area (the Lost Lemon Mine) and the story I am working on now Seraphim will mainly take place in Calgary.

Cowboys and country - Background for Sophisticated Cowboy

 

The book – Calgary, Spirit of the West by Hugh A. Dempsey is a great book on the history of Calgary.

 

 

 

Here are a few websites with information on visiting Calgary.

Visit Calgary

Calgary Attractions

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Doomed for failure? Lloydminster, Saskatchewan or Alberta

The site of LloydminsteFarm Fence, Big Sky Saskatchewanr was originally decided by Isaac M. Barr, and called the Barr Settlement. It was on the present day Saskatchewan, Alberta border. George Lloyd led the expedition to start the colony.

Both men had visions of a good, solid English settlement rather than the many settlements being created by other European countries, mainly German and Ukrainian.  Unfortunately the settlement was doomed for failure.  Unlike the European immigration who were farmers escaping for religious and political reasons, the English farmers were content and not about to leave their homes in pursuit of the harsh Canadian west.  So, consequently most the settlers were from the streets of London, people escaping poverty.  There weren’t many farmers. It is said that most had to be taught how to harness a horse and had little idea of what farming involved.

The unrest in the area culminated into the Frog Lake Massacre, where eight people were killed. The Frog Lake Massacre was headed by Big Bear and Wandering Spirit and part of the 1885 Riel Rebellion.  Most settlers sold their lands and moved elsewhere.

In my story Paradise on the Horizon, I have my hero and heroine go to the Barr Settlement to escape their pasts – a Russian princess and soldier.  Paradise on the Horizon  by Mary M. Forbes

Why are ancestor’s important? St. Joseph’s Colony, Saskatchewan

St. Joseph’s Colony is a huge part of Saskatchewan.  The settlers were predominantly German. Unlike the east, which is predominantly English and French as settlers, Saskatchewan’s two largest groups of people were the German and the Cree (Natives) in Saskatchewan. St. Joseph’s Colony followed Prime Minister McDonald’s dream of an organized grid of square land plots. Two miles long and one mile wide, then broken into four quarter section plots.  The roads, often dirt and sometimes gravel, made for many roads and it was hard to get lost.

sod-house-gothenburg

Sod House

Old house on farm.

Old house on farm

If you could build a house (often sod in the southern part), dig a well and cultivate 10 acres, the land became yours.  I grew up after the area was settled. Most farmers around now owned at least a section of land.  But it was still wild, still isolated. It was my ‘Little House on the Prairie’ upbringing. Fortunately, our house in the northern part of St. Joseph’s Colony, was not a sod home.  My grandmother, however, didn’t have my good fortune. With a family of nine kids, she lived and raised her children in a sod hut.  When my mother was born, they finally moved into a wooden house.  I have seen a sod hut at Heritage Park in Calgary, and I cringe to imagine living in one.  I doubt many people could actually do it today.

 

 

 

Life Changing Days, follows my ancestry on my father’s side.  It was an eye-opening experience to know the hardships they faced.  I will always be proud of my ancestor’s, tough, ambition and determination as they helped create the west we have today. They were only happy to escape the religious persecution and the uprising communist regime taking place in Russia at the time.

Without them and people like them, we would not have the life-style we enjoy today.  It’s important to know and wonder if we could have accomplished the same.
Life Changing Days by Mary M. Forbes

Canada’s Civil War

Batoche

Batoche

The Metis (part white and part native) were a group of people who started the first settlements in Western Canada.  They combined both cultures very efficiently.  They farmed and they hunted as well.  Again, like most settlers in the west, history books don’t often tell of their part in settling the west.

Their villages, like other settlements consisted of shops, homes and churches. Set along the picturesque slopes of the North Saskatchewan River, the village is set in the park-lands area of Saskatchewan, not the flat south most people are familiar with.

Batoche stands out as where The Riel Rebellion of 1885  took place. Batoche is the site Louis Riel chose to set up the ‘Provisional Government of Saskatchewan’.

In ‘Hawk’s Gift – a western romance, – I go into depth as to the causes that both the Metis and Natives felt as a need to separate from Canada. Even to this day Canada’s west is often overpowered by rules and regulations made in the East. And by people who sometimes don’t understand Canadian Western people.    Hawks Gift by Mary M. Forbes

Rosie’s Avid Readers #RBRT The Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight By Thom Hartmann

Rosie Amber

Rosie's Avid Readers

Welcome to a Rosie’s Avid Reader Post, here we feature books read by readers who love reading and want to tell us about a book they’ve just read.

The Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann.

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Avid reader’s thoughts.
A wise friend recommended this book and I found it a very powerful journey through time and remembrance, connecting with ancient practices of sustainability and community and looking deeply and honestly at the world’s current situation. It’s not an easy read but ultimately I found it very empowering as it reignited my hope for humanity and gave me concrete tools with which to face and positively influence a challenging future. It’s a book that’s changed me, as only a handful ever have. Consider a Good Deed done, if you read it.
Book description
While everything appears to be collapsing around us — ecodamage, genetic engineering, virulent diseases, the end of…

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Why would a group of over 2,000 people march naked across Western Canada’s prairies ?

Settling Canada’s West:

kremlin-russia_104101-1280x800

Kremlin Russia

The largest migration to Canada at one time, (8,000 people) the Doukhobors have been a little known factor in the settling of the west in Canada. When you read and research Canadian history you will discover mainly Anglo-Franco activities that are documented.

The Doukhobors were considered a pacifist group. But they challenged the Czar and the Orthodox Church In Russia and Russia appeared to be happy to let the troublemakers go. Canada opened their doors.  But it wasn’t all kindness on Canada’s part. The Doukhobors were great farmers and well able to handle the harshness of cold winters and isolation better than most.

Vosnesenya_-_Thunder_Hill_Colony

Vosnesenia village, NE of Arran, Saskatchewan (North Colony)

Yet the question is – why did many Doukhobors start marching across the western prairies?  In 1902, 2000 or so Doukhobors –  many naked, calling themselves – The Sons of Freedom marched across the cold prairies.  They were searching for Utopia – the land of milk and honey. The Canadian government reports they marched in protest against having to sign allegiance to Canada (something their religion didn’t believe should be done).  And they were ordered to stake claim to square sections of land – privately owned, rather than share communal lands.  It was probably a reason but why naked?  Many Doukhobors, who didn’t win against the government, moved to British Columbia, where the laws didn’t say they must own the land in individual square parcels.

In Paradise on the Horizon my heroine escapes Russia, by joining the Doukhobors migration.

Paradise on the Horizon by Mary M Forbes

The Romance Reviews – Hawk’s Gift (September 26th)

Come and join the fun.  Win prizes, gifts and especially discover new authors and new exciting books. Fall into Love – The Romance Reviews September party.

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Free SymbolAnswer the question correctly today  for a chance to win a free e-book of Hawk’s Gift. (Western Historical Romance).

Roberta Taylor, an aggressive,  wealthy and reporter goes to the west to find a reason why there is such unrest.  She meets enigmatic Damien Larocque and tricks him into taking her to Big Bear’s camp in Montana. 

Roberta stands for everything Damien dislikes in a woman. She is arrogant and believes she is always right. Why does she fascinate him so much?

This is an intense love story, a roller coaster of love, hate, lust, distrust and hope.

Set in Canada’s Civil War – the Riel Rebellion of 1885.  Hawks Gift (160x240)

Roberta is a heroine I love and Damien, well, he’s dangerous but oh, so addicting.…. I envy your ability to write unforgettable characters ….Rachelle Ayala – author of Michal’s Window, Historical Romance.

Romancing September World Blog Tour

Welcome to Day 16 of the 2nd Annual Romancing September Across The World Blog Tour. I’ve teamed up with Rosie Amber again this year. We’re promoting 30 awesome romance authors in 30 days. Help us out by cross promoting when you can and check out these authors.

Don’t forget to go over to Rosie Amber’s page and check out her page too.

Today my guest author is Mary M. Forbes and I want to thank her for blogging with me today. Here is a little about her and her bookOne Dance With A Stranger.

Mary M Forbes One Dance with a Stranger - Mary M Forbes

1) What inspired you to write this book?  I watched George Strait in Pure Country and listened to Alan Jackson’s CD ‘Who I Am’.  The whole story developed from the movie and the CD.  I often get inspiration from songs and ‘what if’ from watching movies or shows.

2) What’s your favourite part of this book and why? I love the last chapter, when Emily realizes her life is empty without love and especially without Wade.

3) What is your philosophy on writing and life? I want to give my readers an enjoyable few hours of escapism.  I think life has enough reality that it cannot harm anyone to dream for a bit and be happy regardless of what reality offers.  My motto is ‘In Dreams we can be anyone we want.’

4) Name your three favourite books that you’ve written — feel free to list buy links   I will always love ‘Hawk’s Gift’ (my first attempt) – a historical romance, set in the west during the Riel Rebellion – Canada’s civil war.

The buy link is on Amazon: – http://www.amazon.com/Hawks-Gift-Mary-M-Forbes-ebook/dp/B005HXD26Y/ref=la_B002UUEK4U_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406295295&sr=1-2

I enjoyed the intrigue and mystery involved in ‘Alberta Wild Rose’– another historical romance – set in the west, about a group searching for a legendary mine in the mountains.  The buy link is Amazon: -http://www.amazon.com/Alberta-Wild-Rose-Mary-Forbes-ebook/dp/B005HXD13I/ref=la_B002UUEK4U_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406295496&sr=1-5

And my other favourite is One Dance with A Stranger – where my characters developed their own personalities and demanded their story be told.

5) What are your goals for this year?   The first part of the year was writing, editing and getting the first book in my Crystal Ridge series published.  Check – accomplished.  I want to finish the second ‘Sophisticated Cowboy’ this year as well.  I am attending a When Words Collide festival in Calgary in August as well as attending a family reunion in Saskatchewan.

6) If you had to give one piece of advice what would it be? In the whole scheme of life – how important is this?  I think people worry too much about what might or might not happen.  I would love to see people enjoy life more and worry less.

Bio: – Born and bred on western stories by Zane Grey, I grew up in the middle of nowhere Saskatchewan.  Although modern life intervened, I soon realized the similarities between my life and North American western past. From riding horses, playing cowboys and Indians with real Indians combined with the scenery of vast, open prairies and endless horizons I was living my dream.

Blurb on One Dance with a Stranger –   Emily feels it is important to hide her sordid past. Love has no part in her new life. Her job and her respectable fiance are achievements that she has no intentions of jeopardizing. No one knows she once posted for a nude magazine and she will do anything needed to keep it that way. Why would she even think of risking everything to follow her heart’s desire – charismatic, fickle Wade Hart? A man who knows all her dark, deep secrets?

Country singing idol, Wade doesn’t question why he is attracted to his brother’s fiancee. He just knows he will have her. He is used to getting whatever he desires. Today he wants Emily. Set in the ‘new west’ – Calgary – follow the twisted path of love and romance, too potent to resist.

Site addresses:  Website: –  https://marymforbes.wordpress.com  Author Central: – http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002UUEK4U  Facebook: – Profile – https://www.facebook.com/marymagdelineauthor  Page: – https://www.facebook.com/marymagdelineforbesauthor?ref=hl ;  Twitter: – https://twitter.com/maryauthor Pinterest: – http://www.pinterest.com/marymforbes/  Goodreads: – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3170035.Mary_M_Forbes 

Thanks so much for joining us on this grand adventure we call Romancing September Across the World 2014 Blog Tour.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Farm Fence and Big Sky Saskatchewan

jmeyersforeman photography

Farm Fence, Big Sky Saskatchewan, copyright jmeyersforeman Farm Fence, Big Sky Saskatchewan, copyright jmeyersforeman

While visiting Saskatchewan we made a trip out to the old farm. It is the place that my Grandfather received as part of his soldier’s grant after World War I, my father and most of his siblings were born there and where I with my brothers were raised. Grandpa has been gone for a long time now, mom and dad farmed there for almost 40 years before selling and moving to town. This was our first visit back in a while.

Most of the old sheds and granaries that my brothers and I play on and around are gone, as are the old cars that were parked between them. The old barn is just about ready to collapse the passage of time taking its tole.  A new, much young family has taken possession of the acreage round the house, the land sold to a…

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Romancing September #RomancingSeptember – Day 16

Rosie Amber

Romance September 2014 cover (1)

Welcome to Day 16 of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Today our guest is Mary M Forbes. Catch up with more from Mary in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.

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Where is your home town?

In the isolation of Northern Saskatchewan I grew up on a farm, even going to a small country farm school. Think ‘Little House on the Prairie’ and it was similar to the way I grew up. I had my own horse and although we were as poor as the proverbial ‘church mouse’ and couldn’t afford anything, I always felt I was more fortunate than others. They may have a bike – but I had a horse. We also had fantastic meals and could eat as much as we wanted.

How long have you been writing romance?

My attempts in writing went as far back as when…

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