It was on this day in 1878 when milk was first delivered in bottles.
Carl Walin Photographic Collection.
Edmonton City Dairy milkman and his horse and milk wagon, circa 1946. Photo courtesy City of Edmonton Archives, EA-275-1580.
Dairy Collectibles of Western Canada by Bob Snyder
My Father and mother did not celebrate many wedding anniversaries together; because they were not given the luxury of being able spend much time together. They were married just before the start of World War 2. Times were tough, the “Dirty Thirties” then my father, like most other Canadian husbands and fathers shipped off to serve and defend OUR country.
The Dirty thirties and the second world over, my father returned home. Even though my mother had, somehow, managed to scrimp, work and save enough to buy a residential lot in Edmonton and Grandfather Darby-her father had made a very good start building our family home, things were still tough. So much so that it lead to the Korean War—seen by many Canadians as the only SURE METHOD of improving the economy.
The first job my father was able to get, after returning home from the Second World War was as a coal miner, in the very dangerous Dawson Coal Mine, Edmonton Alberta (then one of the Starkey mines- head office on Stadium Road, there had been other owners); the second was delivering milk for Northern Alberta Dairy Pool. During the summer and on weekends Dad would often take me to work with him (just to give mother a break from Day Care-in them there days parents raised their own children-they did not rely on the government politicians or the education system to do so. Of course other Veterans, at the same time, were delivering bread, or ice. 1946 to late 1950s not a whole lot of people had refrigerators in their homes even in Edmonton.
First by horses, then by “horseless carriage,” and later by truck, the halcyon days of door-to-door delivery lasted nearly the first 70 years of the 20th century in Edmonton. Coal, milk, bread, ice, groceries, laundry, and a whole lot more were delivered right to the houses of citizens. In those days, before drive-throughs, and suburban malls, many folks, including my own, didn't own vehicles. The convenience of having goods delivered right to your door was hard to beat.
Well before the arrival of Edmonton’s first automobile in 1904, coal was being expedited by horse and wagon. Although it was already well known that there was plenty of it around to be used, natural gas wasn't yet available commercially for house hold use; so most people heated their homes using coal or wood. Between 1874 And 1970, 13 Million Tonnes Of Coal Was Pulled From More Than 100 Mines In The Edmonton Area, Most Of Them From Shafts Dug Into The River Valley.
They included the Humberstone Mine, which started in 1899 near what is now 30th Street north of 111th Avenue, and the Davidson Bush Mine, west of 36th Street and south of 104th Avenue. It shipped coal between 1917 and 1944. Many east end residents also bought their coal from the Beverly Mine, which operated from 1931 to 1951.
Some of the significant early mines near downtown included the Dawson Coal Mine, founded by H.S. Dawson around 1907 just east of today's Dawson Bridge(photo left)
and the Chinook Coal Mine, which started in Riverdale in 1918. Mining in the Edmonton area was extensive, especially after 1910. However, intensive mechanization did not become common due to several factors, such as the nature of the coal seams. Encroaching urban growth finally led to political pressure to end mining within Edmonton, and by 1945 coal mining activities had shifted to areas around the city.
Tough as the times and their lives were; short as the time Granted to them by Nature-Creator of all- was; my parents always found the time to DO AS A FAMILY, TOGETHER. A walk to Shade’s Sweet Shop(next to the alley and then the original Avenue movie theatre, 118 Ave, between 94th &95th streets) on a Sunday afternoon, to buy a 25 cent “double header” ice cream cone, a walk to that small meadow surrounded by aspen for a picnic, maybe a ride on the street car; near Christmas, one got to see the lights—to me—that was a REAL BIG DEAL. My father died in 1953 my mother in 1963 but in that time they taught what life and love is all about. I WILL NEVER FORGET WHAT THEY TAUGHT ME.