"Camrose" Camrose by MrBill

Camrose Travel Guide: 2 reviews and 7 photos

Camrose Lutheran College

I went to Camrose Lutheran College in 1981-83 and was on the cross country running and ski teams.

Augustana University formerly CLC

Founded in 1910, Augustana is located in Camrose, Alberta, Canada, 90 kilometers southeast of the provincial capital Edmonton. The university college, with a population of about 1000 students enrolled primarily in the liberal arts and sciences, emphasizes small class sizes and personal attention. Augustana is a member of the Association of Universities & Colleges of Canada

Along the tracks

Enjoy the unique Prairie architecture while you can. They are dismantling all the old wooden Prairie elevators, especially in small towns that are not along the main lines serviced by the rail. They are too dangerous to leave empty, and fire insurance is too expensive. And, the grain cos. do not want private farmers getting together to buy a small elevator for their own use, thereby bi-passing the elevator companies. And, eventually they fall into disrepair and become fire hazards. It is a shame that nothing is forever.

Silos made of steel or concrete are replacing old-fashioned elevators. They are cheaper and faster to build and or upgrade. Technically, a silo is a single, cylindrical structure, where as a terminal or elevator has multiple grain storage compartments.

The old elevators where built by stacking 'two by fours' and 'two by sixes' flat on top of each other, which creates an incredibly strong structure, but is expensive and slow to build. However, if you ever tear one down, my dad and I did partly, you get a lot of useable lumber. My first job, when I was 6-years old, was pulling nails our of used lumber, so it could be used again. However, grain dust can spontaneously explode, so these old wooden elevators were quite the firetraps.

Also, silos are round and so the grain flows more smoothly. Elevators were rectangular, and the grain could get hung-up more easily, if it got damp and clodded. Many an elevatorman died going into a grain bin to try to manually unblock a shoot, only to have tonnes of loose grain bury them and suffocate them before there was time to rescue them. Mind you, it also happened to a colleague of mine in Quebec City, and that was a modern terminal. So the risks are still there.

Elevators used to have 'man lifts'. These were not much more than a swing seat, and you pulled yourself up the elevator shaft to get to the top. It took a lot of nerve to pull yourself up manually to the top of the elevator with nothing but darkness and a few hundred feet of emptiness under you.

In the Winter, farmers used to stop by the elevator to check grain prices, chat and have coffee with the elevator manager. In the Fall though they ran 24-hours a day, with grain trucks lined up all the way down the driveway, waiting to unload and then get back to the field to pick-up more grain from the waiting combines. In the Spring, farmers bought their seed and fertilizer. Now, many farmers have their own on-farm storage, and even load their own grain cars on the railway siding, bi-passing the local elevator.

The ‘Walmartization’ of Prairie agriculture has dealt a severe blow to small elevators in favor of larger terminals at main rail heads, and large agriculture supply stores, which have bulk pricing. Once the rail spur goes, the local elevator goes. Then the local school and the post office are shut. And, then you can pretty much see the end of small Prairie town.

Still, it is sad to see it all go by the wayside. Aside from a few preserved examples, soon about all that will be left, are a few older Albertans and their childhood memories.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:quiet little community, good cross country trails
  • Cons:none
  • In a nutshell:great memories, met great friends
  • Last visit to Camrose: Sep 1984
  • Intro Updated Jan 26, 2004
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Reviews (1)

Comments (6)

  • amandajayne81's Profile Photo
    Jan 12, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    Looks like an interesting place. Thanks for the tips.

  • Carmanah's Profile Photo
    Oct 22, 2007 at 4:22 PM

    I agree about the grain elevators. They've always been such a part of the landscape. I love seeing them around this part of Alberta.

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2007 at 6:49 AM

    herefords always seem to be such a dignified animal to me

  • irishgalmtl's Profile Photo
    Dec 21, 2006 at 4:51 PM

    Hello there Bill, You are very welcome. And thank you for you kind holiday wishes. I have never even heard of Camrose and I live in Canada.lol Be safe and happy traveling...Donna :)

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2005 at 3:07 AM

    Interesting ode to days gone by.

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Jan 26, 2004 at 3:02 AM

    Love the railway pics. They are like your mother's paintings.


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