Jim and Emma Weisenburger

Written by Canmore Museum

How times have changed! Bears used to be a very common sight in Canmore. I remember my dad feeding meat at the end of a long stick to a bear. Elk used to arrive at night and wake the house inhabitants as they rubbed up against the house.

In 1951 the canal washed out at Whiteman’s Pass. Before the Rundle Power plant was completed, Calgary Power supplied power for the town of Canmore. Huge amounts of gravel washed down Canmore Creek and were deposited where Mountain Shadows is now. For years this ample supply of gravel was used by the town of Canmore for different projects. 

Floods have occurred in Canmore more than once. In 1948, the flood was so bad that water was washing right through houses. Particularly badly flooded was “The Horseshoe”, now called Rundle Crescent. Some kids couldn’t get to school, a happy occasion for some people on Mineside. Bridges were washed out.

Another flood occurred in 1972. The Bow River flooded and both sides of town were affected. Sandbags were put along what is now River Road and the golf course. Even women were out helping with the sandbags.

I came to Canmore in 1950 to work in construction, namely Poole Construction, which was building the powerhouses: Three Sisters, Spray and Rundle. Then the company went to Exshaw and built the No. 3 Kiln. Poole returned to the area in 1957 to put extensions on Spray and Rundle Powerhouses. The company was also involved in bridge construction, namely over the Bow River and another east of Canmore, the first one east. My job was foreman. Lots of high school kids got jobs on different projects. They were supposed to be at least sixteen. From 1955 on, I worked on Calgary Power projects in both repair and vandalism control every summer until the year I retired in 1987. 

I met Emma Helis in 1951 and we got married in 1952. Our first home was the Helis home, brought down from Georgetown piece by piece. This home was first occupied in Canmore by the Helis family. This frame home is still standing. We acquired it after we were married. We remodelled it to make it more modern and also to accommodate my height. We are presently living on the same property on which we were married because that was the original church location. 

I was born and raised in Trochu, a farm kid, the youngest of eight children. I started working in the mines at Trochu when I was seventeen. My job was rope rider, in other words, a horse driver. From there I joined the army in 1944 at the age of nineteen. I was discharged in 1946, then went to work for the Alberta Pacific Grain Company, repairing elevators.

In Canmore Seniors at the Summit, ed. Canmore Seniors Association, 2000, p. 300.

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Canmore Museum