"Hay Lakes - how I'm connected to this small town" Hay Lakes by Carmanah

Hay Lakes Travel Guide: 2 reviews and 3 photos


Hay Lakes, Alberta, Canada
Location: 53° 11' North, 113° 03' West
Population: 362 (2006 Census)
Incorporated: April 17, 1928


My dad's father Carl was born and raised in the small town of Hay Lakes, Alberta, located south-east of Edmonton. His parents were Swedish immigrants. This was back in the 1920's and 30's. Carl snuck into the Canadian Forces at the age of 16 and was whisked off to an army base in England where he was a navagator in World War 2. He flew the Lancaster "G for George" bomber over France during D-Day - it's a miracle he survived. But it was also stationed in England where he met his future wife, Vera (or Ronnie as she liked to be called) and the rest was history.

After the war they flew back to Canada, Ronnie became a Canadian citizen and they started their brand new life together in a Vancouver suburb of Richmond, BC. Ronnie gave birth to 3 children, 2 girls: Sue & Janet, and one son: Eric. Eric's my dad.

My dad grew up in Richmond BC, but every few years his family would drive to Hay Lakes to visit his grandparents. He always had fond memories of being on the farms visiting his cousins, aunts and uncles.

In August 1993, my family (consisting of my Mom, Dad and my little sister Erin) drove out to visit our relatives in Hay Lakes, taking the scenic route from Vancouver to Revelstoke, to Banff, Calgary and then to Camrose (which was only 32 km away from Hay Lakes).

I remember driving down the old highway from Camrose to Hay Lakes, passing by wheat fields, little farms, and grain elevators. Then we got to Hay Lakes. There was a "hay & feed" shop so the local farmers could purchase their cattle food. There was also one old gas station, one little saloon and one little general store - all looking like something from out of a "small town Texas" photo from National Geographic. Then there were small little blocks of cute, tiny homes. And one gigantic school made of red bricks, looking even larger than most schools I had seen back in Richmond. How odd!

On one side of the train tracks was the town. On the other side were 2 old fashioned grain elevators. My dad snapped a picture after a thunder, lightning & hail storm hit... and he captured the mood of Hay Lakes perfectly. Unfotunately you don't get to see the town, but you can see the scenery!

Needless to say, our trip to Hay Lakes was memorable. I finally got to meet my dad's Aunt Wanda, his various cousins, and I got to see my Great Grandmother's old house that was still standing. Hay Lakes was like a town that hadn't changed since the 1950's, it was really quaint and cute.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The town's safe, serene, and beautiful. It looks like a scene from the 1950's. The locals are friendly down to earth people,
  • Cons:There really isn't a whole lot there, however, as long as you realise this, that's half the charm!
  • In a nutshell:The cutest little rural Alberta town right out of a time warp.
  • Last visit to Hay Lakes: Aug 1993
  • Intro Updated Oct 23, 2007
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Reviews (2)

Comments (3)

  • MrBill's Profile Photo
    Nov 1, 2007 at 6:26 AM

    Yes, I went to Camrose Lutheran College with some Hansons. Also Gudmundsons from Hay Lakes. There is another, but the name escapes me at the moment? Thanks for the post card. Ciao. Bill.

  • Kaspian's Profile Photo
    Oct 4, 2007 at 1:15 PM

    I'm actually glad I made that post--if just so I get to explore pages like this!

  • fabrice's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2004 at 8:26 PM

    nice story about your family

Carmanah

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