Vacay to Saskatchewan 2014: Day 4 (July 4)

Brooks and the wonder of aqueducts

So, July 4th (an American Day of import, I am told, and the day before the wedding which prompted this whole trip) was spent with our friends, Darren and Dallas, in Brooks, Alberta (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooks,_Alberta, http://www.brooks.ca/). They are optometrists – Kevin went to school with them – with 3 boys (4, 2, and 3 months – I don’t know HOW they do it!) I should say, 3, at first very shy, and then very active and not shy at all, boys.

We slept in a bit, then began a relaxing day of no commitments. After a nice lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant with our friends, Darren took the afternoon off to drive us around Brooks to see the sights. Now, Brooks is an interesting town. My sister-in-law says whenever they (her and Kevin and their parents) drove through Brooks, they were told to close their noses, Brooks being famous (infamous?) for its meat-packing industry. It is also part of a big farming community, not surprising given its location, and yet at the same time actually a bit surprising given its location in one of the driest areas of Alberta.

Anyway, for a variety of job-related reasons, Brooks is home to immigrants from all over the world, including the Philippines and many parts of Africa. So it’s actually quite diverse, although I do wonder how all these folks survive the winters there (this last one was especially brutal and long). The diversity has definitely become a strong part of the Brooks community as a whole, however, as we heard stories of community events, one for example, where everyone got together for a “food fair” where people just brought food from their own countries, made in their own kitchens, to sell. Not something that would probably pass health inspector muster in larger centres, but it did sound like it was a really fun event!

Another interesting aspect of Brooks that I was unaware of until this day, is that there are aqueducts. Yes – aqueducts which have been designated an official Provincial Historic Site, and which are definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in the area. Who knew Brooks had aqueducts? I should note that they are not used now, but they were from about 1912 until the 1970s (1979 according to the website). And they have quite the story behind them.

July42014a  July42014b

Here are some websites giving some basic information about these cool aqueducts.

There is, however, a lot more to tell about the aqueducts than one can find at these websites. We heard the following anecdotes from the student guide who manned the station at the aqueducts. I’m glad Parks Canada is still hiring summer students!

July42014c  July42014d

Anyway, built around 1912 to move water from the Bow River, the aqueducts (which were 3 kilometers long) were necessary so that people could farm in the area, given that Brooks is pretty much a desert. They were built with Portland cement, but without consideration for the salt content in the soil in the area. So, by the end of the first year, the cement was beginning to degrade from the salt in the soil and the supports needed to be reinforced. After a few years, they also realized that the slope of the aqueducts was not sufficient to keep the water moving through at a rate that would keep it fresh, so as water sat, things began to grow in the water, slowing it down. I can’t imagine the work that would have been involved trying to keep those 3 kilometers of aqueducts clear. Apparently the aqueducts were also great places to fish back in the day. I wish I could have seen a picture of people sitting on the sides of the aqueducts, fishing poles in the water.

July42014e  July42014f

July42014g

After 60+ years of late-found mistakes and overwhelming maintenance, the aqueducts were abandoned in favour of ground-level canals which you can see right next to the old aqueducts.

July42014h  July42014i

July42014j

After our tour of the aqueducts, we took a quick drive around the man-made lake outside of Brooks, Lake Newell (http://www.visitnewell.com/). A surprising, and huge, oasis on a very hot day!

Then back for a relaxing dinner and a short walk around downtown Brooks and the park.

Don’t know what the story is here…

July42014k

Dallas said she didn’t think there was still a bum living there, but it was interesting that someone thought it was good to point it out:

July42014l

And here are a couple of hotels in Brooks, across the street from each other, where you might think twice about staying…

July42014m  July42014n

The next day would be a short (4 hours) drive to the wedding!

Posted on August 10, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Now, please don’t be offended on behalf of your friends, Em … but why in the name of all the gods would someone actually live there ?
    Unless, of course, there are many wondrous things about Brooks that you couldn’t be bothered showing us, that is …
    [grin]

    • Well, Dallas grew up there, and Darren grew up in nearby Drumheller. And it is a really nice, quiet place to raise a family. Plus, they bought an optometry clinic there. Wouldn’t work for me, but it really works for them! And just wait until you see pictures of the badlands – stay tuned for that post!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Wrangling literary arts for writers: words for people!

Into the Light Adventures

By Sandra Js Photography - Make the rest of your life the best of your life.

POINT BLANK

...come closer

Wildflower Walks

Nature & Wellness Blog

On The Fence Voters

Analysis & Discussion For Political Uncertainty

Not Just Sassy on the Inside

The Journey toward higher consciousness and finding the sassy girl

Still Smiling

Smiling through the good times and the bad

Fiesta Estrellas

creativity and gentleness gathers here.

New York Family Adventures

Vacations and family fun can be any day you choose.

Ripples of Insight

Tarot with an Artsy Twist

a Heart on the matter

words from my heart

Nan's Notebook

Things I want to say about this, that, and the other thing.

My Random Ramblings

tiny tales, six word stories, short stories, and more!

Alive and Trekking

following the bouncing ball across the world

Suzette B's Blog

Inspiration and spirituality

mindescapes.net

Take a moment and escape...

ttj

by PaulaB

The Eclectic Contrarian

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:17

Keep it alive

A look at life, achieving good physical and mental health and happiness

Mom's Recipe Diary

Traditional Vegetarian Recipes, Kid-friendly Recipes & Instant Pot Recipes from Indian and International Cuisines

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

The Ministry of Shrawley Walks

4 Folk, Walking the Dogs

Robynne Devine

Transforming Oneself

%d bloggers like this: