Towers Family

Maud and Robert Towers 1917
Written by Canmore Museum

Vincent Towers was born in England in 1857, and was one of Canmore’s earliest settlers. He came to Canmore to work in the C.P.R. shop. He went back to England in 1887 to marry Sarah Ketland; they returned to settle in Canmore. Vincent worked in the old Cochrane mine at Canmore as a blacksmith and later started a dairy farm near Policeman’s Creek on the site of the United Church. Part of this land was sold to become the R.C.M.P. barracks, which have been restored. When King George V visited this part of the country as Prince of Wales, Vincent was appointed to supply fresh cream, butter and milk to the royal party. At a later date, land was purchased east of the C.P.R. tracks and Vincent farmed for many years. This land would be close to the existing hospital. Sara and Vincent raised eight children. Robert was the oldest, born in 1888, the first white child born on the north side of the Bow River. The family were then living in the little log house that became the telephone office, and Canmore was still considered to be in the North West Territories. The other children were Lillian, Ralph, Annie, Vera, Kathleen, Harry and Walter.

Robert lived all of his life in Canmore with the exception of the years spent overseas with two of his brothers during the first world war. While in England, he met Maud Walkden and married her in 1917, before the end of the war. Robert booked passage for his bride on the first ship to Canada after the armistice was signed and she became Canmore’s first war bride. Maud arrived during the worst winter ever. She had to walk through snow waist high to get from the station to the family home. There was a huge ‘flu epidemic, both in England and in Canada. Her mother and little brother were very ill when she left England. When she and her new husband went to Calgary, soon after she arrived, most people were wearing face masks because of the epidemic. Robert and Maud remained on the Towers homestead east of the tracks and raised their five children: Dorothy (Mifflin), William, Henry, Irene and Cyril, as well as Maud’s youngest brother, Ralph, and Robert’s sister. While growing up, the young people belonged to an active drama club, the Busy Bees group, CGIT, the sewing club and loved to play hockey in the winter. One of their favorite pastimes, and a favorite of other neighborhood children as well, was to roast potatoes in the hot ash heap at the train station. Robert hauled hay to the coal mines for the horses; he also hauled coal and lagon. Lagon was a term used for the trees used for support in the mine shafts. Teams of horses pulling a wagon or a sleigh were used for hauling. In about 1946, Robert formed J.R. Towers Trucking; his brother, Harry, and brother-in-law, Ralph Walkden, became the first drivers. In later years, his sons, Henry and Cyril, joined the business and eventually changed the name to Towers Transport. Robert passed away at sixty six years of age in 1954. Maud continued on with her life in the community and helped keep the business running. Together with her daughter, Dorothy, and her daughter-in-law, Mary, she worked hard for such organizations as the Legion Auxiliary, Rebekah’s Lodge and St. Michael’s Anglican Church. Maud had a life time membership in the Women’s Auxiliary to the Legion and in the Anglican Church Women’s group. In those days community events were very important and everyone came out to support the huge bazaars, turkey dinners, and the many “Teas” that the ladies worked at. The men all pulled together when there was a need in the community such as building the hospital, the skating rink and the Legion. Canmore was a wonderful melting pot of many nationalities. Folks not only shared the beauty of the mountains but shared friendships and recipes and traditions that were different than their neighbors. For entertainment, there were whist drives, regular dances, bridge clubs and family picnics. The celebration of Canada Day has always been a big part of Canmore’s heritage. 

Maud Towers died at the age of seventy five, in 1971. Her daughter, Dorothy, still lives in Canmore, as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren. Five generations of the descendants of Robert Towers have been born and raised in Canmore. 

Maud and Robert Towers 1917


Maud Towers


Playing hockey outside the Tower’s home in the 1920’s

In Canmore Seniors at the Summit, ed. Canmore Seniors Association, 2000, p. 288-290.

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Canmore Museum