Nothing Really Outstanding – Aileen Copithorne

Aileen Copithorne talks about the freedom experienced growing up in Cochrane. CHAPS Cochrane has a YouTube Channel with over 40 interesting stories of Cochrane. 

Aileen Davies grew up in Cochrane in the home that is now the Cochrane Historical Museum.

She has many stories of growing up in a small town.

She tells a story of biking with friend, Dorothy Reed when Mr O’Keefe, the Bank Manager once offered them ride to 12 Mile Coulee to watch the Stampede Fireworks. They left their bikes behind Andisons’ store. Not thinking that fireworks were after dark they didn’t get home until late. Both parents had searched river and creek areas looking for them. “Our parents were so glad to see us we didn’t get in too much trouble.”

“Dorothy and I had stick horses which we rode over the hill to the brickyard. We also had stilts made by uncle Jack. The family across the road had tall stilts and used to sit on roof of house across the street just to watch people.  Their name was  Kinsley.”

Aileen went to school in brick school that used to be where Holy Spirit currently sits. She remembers looking south one day to see the Brushy Ridge fire.  Students were glued to the windows and the smoke was horrendous.

“I was the lone graduate in my class of grade 12. It was very lonely in high school.” She had classmates in earlier grades but they did not stick it out to Grade 12.

“School was  very regimented. Our Principal had a hand bell to call us back to class. If you didn’t behave you got hit with the bell. We used to have to line up girls then boys and march into school.”

“Cochrane used to be divided into east side and west side. You didn’t have friends from the other side of town. You visited the other side if you had relatives but there was little mixing. Many homes in Cochrane had barns behind them for horses and carriages. Homes had large gardens.” Aileen remembers Auntie Annie feeding a lot of men when they got off the train with food from the garden and from local chickens.

She attended a very rigorous 3 year Nursing program at Calgary General. “The first year you felt basically a slave, we were paid $6.00 per month, had no days off, had to attend lectures from Doctors during our off time and had a 10 PM curfew.  Year 3 you were a Senior and had more freedom.” Occasionally she came home on the midnight train.  The uniform was black stockings, striped blue and white dress, with apron and bib with white hat. “The stockings were terrible.” 

Since the train used to stop in Cochrane it was used to get into Calgary.

Thomas Davies Home

Aileen married John Copithorne and moved to their family place that originally sat where Gleneagles Golf Course currently is.

Aileen tells a story about John’s dad when driving their first tractor. He ran it through a fence into McPherson’s. When asked about his accident he said he hollered “Whoa but the damn thing didn’t stop”.

Copithorne family diary
Claude Copithorne 1920 using binder to harvest grain on Cochrane Hill.
John and Aileen Copithorne.

Aileen says they were lucky to grow up in Cochrane in an uncomplicated time. 

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What is our Why?

We want to share our “Why” with you.  I prefer to have other peoples perspectives but I’ll share a couple of my own first.

  • 20 years ago,  a volunteer group of people concerned with saving the history of Cochrane started the Cochrane Historical & Archival Preservation Society. 
  • 5 years ago,  CHAPS opened the Cochrane Historical Museum. This scope of this one project amazes and motivates me. CHAPS saved a historic building, fund raised, co-ordinated with several levels of government , had it moved to a wonderful location and had the building restored as a Museum. Truly Inspiring.
  • A dedicated, core group of volunteers has been keeping CHAPS active for 20 years. We are in need of help. We need to expand our membership, our influence and our volunteers.

In the next year, I want to interview a number of our volunteers and get their perspective on being involved in CHAPS. Stay tuned.

I hope you are asking yourself how I can help. I have a few ideas that don’t cost a lot of your time or money.

  • share and comment on our social media posts with your friends. We want to share our core message of saving and educating about our history to be spread widely. We’re seeing a massive swing lately. Help us keep it going!
  • Like our pages. CHAPS Cochrane and Cochrane Historical Museum have pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Youtube. I’ll be adding social media icons to our webpage soon to help you find and like our feeds.
  • Become a member. It’s super inexpensive. $10.00 a year for an individual, $15.00 for a family. Here’s a link to our Member page.
  •  Attend one of our meetings. We are having more and more educational meetings. Stay tuned to our events webpage for updates. 
  • Donate to CHAPS to help us fund our projects. We have a Donate button on the top right side and bottom of our webpages. Our CHAPS Facebook page is running a fundraising campaign until the end of March. They have been hugely successful so far and we can always go over the top.
  • Lastly, most importantly, become a volunteer. We have a core group but they can’t do it forever. We can use your help however you want to become involved. A couple of my own ideas are:
    • Membership. Help us find new members and stay in touch with existing members.
    • Become a Director. Volunteer now and let your name stand at the September A.G.M. I did, scared me to death but I’m sure glad I did.
    • Research. Get in touch to hear the topics we’re planning.
    • Volunteer at the museum during the summer.
    • Attend or help with our summer time guided tours of Historic Cochrane.

5 years ago,  CHAPS opened the Cochrane Historical Museum. This scope of this one project amazes and motivates me. CHAPS saved a historic building, fund raised, co-ordinated with several levels of government , had it moved to a wonderful location and had the building restored as a Museum. Truly Inspiring.

We have to say thanks:

  • to everyone that came out to our Photo Archive opening. Both members who shared stories and 15 excited, interested guests.
  • the support of the local media who have helped us share our message.
  • local admins of Facebook pages who provide a means for us to share.
  • everyone that has shared our message on any of our social media feeds.
  • to our existing members and volunteers.

Those other perspectives I spoke of:

  • an editorial in the Cochrane Eagle about maintaining our Heritage.
  • an article on CochraneNow about our Photo Archive.
  • an article in the Cochrane Times about a new exhibit in the Cochrane Historical Museum

1907 Canadian Red Ensign Flag Premiered

CHAPS premiered a new Exhibit at the Cochrane Historical Museum. A unique Canadian Red Ensign flag was unveiled at the Museum today.

Mike Taylor describes Flag Research

The flag was donated by David and Jane Raymont of Toronto who have familial ties to the area. Mr. Raymont purchased the flag in memory of local rancher Arthur Scott Lewis who died in W.W. 1 (1885-1918) He and his wife Maude Lewis, purchased a section of Spencer Creek Ranch (Beaupre Lake area) in 1908.

Alberta became a Province in 1905 and the shield of Alberta was added to the other 8 shields on the right hand side of the Red Ensign flag in 1907. The Union Jack was on the left side, so this flag represented all 9 provinces and England. This Red Ensign, or similar one would likely have been flown in Cochrane with great pride after Alberta became a province. It is therefore very appropriate that this flag will be prominently displayed at the Cochrane Historical Museum.

After the flag was donated it became clear that this was an important acquisition that should be restored, preserved and given pride of place in the Museum. Thanks to a generous grant from the Rotary/Lions/Bow Rivers Edge Campground Society, the Museum was able to have the flag cleaned, repaired, mounted and framed. The meticulous work of professional restorer Gail Niinimaa and the painstaking framing of Scott Winter at Winter Photographics has restored, preserved and beautifully displayed this unique acquisition.

Despite the Canadian Red Ensign never being officially approved by Ottawa, it flew over the Parliament Building for several years before being replaced by the Union Jack during the Boer War. Flag manufacturers capitalised on nationalistic feelings and produced several different varieties of Red Ensigns, adding the new Provincial Shields when they were approved by England. The Museum’s flag, like others has the Union Jack on the left and the provincial shields on the right, but unlike most Red Ensigns has a maple leaf and beaver garland around the shields, making it rare and truly Canadian.

Since the ‘Great Flag Debate’ of the 60’s when Canada finally acquired its own officially approved flag, little has been heard of Canada’s original flags. The history of the Red Ensign is in danger of being lost. In their lifetime, many Canadians have only known the current flag, and its a revelation for them to see an original early Canadian flag. The museum will be showing this history along with countless other exhibits when it opens again in June 2019.

Mike Taylor, Cochrane Historical Museum Committee member. The museum is a part of CHAPS, Cochrane Historical and Archival Preservation Society.

 

December 15, 2018

Museum Visitors – 2018

Jade Lewis has been operating the Cochrane Historical Museum for the last several years.  View our hours here. https://chapscochrane.com/about/  Private viewing can also be arranged during off season months. Follow the above link for directions.

The number of visitors this year has remained constant. The number of visitors from outside of Canada was nearly 230 people. Not surprisingly 61 came from the US.  However, CHM had visitors from a total of 25 countries including Central & South America, Europe, and the Far East.

Toy Exhibit

The Vintage Toys have been a fun display at the museum this summer. We’re going to keep the display again next year and try to tweek it a little and maybe add a few items.

As you’ve been a lender, you have agreed to lend your items until this fall. If you want to let us exhibit them again we need you to sign or initial a change on your forms.

If you’re attending the AGM on Wednesday could you please see Shannon Want to do this.

Thanks so much,

Gayle

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