From The Vault Friday: “Looking Ahead” Booklet

Images: Excerpts from “Looking Ahead in the Peace River Country to the Building of a City” pamphlet, written by Ancel Bezanson in 1914. From SPRA 155.01 (pages 1 and 3).

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a booklet from the Bezanson Family fonds (Fonds 155). The booklet, titled “Looking Ahead in the Peace River Country to the Building of a City” was published by Ancel Bezanson in 1914. The purpose of the publication was to garner interest in the region and encourage homesteaders to move to the “Last West.” It includes a detailed map of the Bezanson town site, several photos of the area, and impressive claims about the future of the region. According to the pamphlet, the Peace River country “is today attracting the attention of Capitalists and homeseekers in all parts of the world.”

Ancel Maynard Bezanson began his love affair with the Peace Country in 1906. That year he traveled throughout the Peace with a camera and a notebook, and shortly thereafter published “The Peace River Trails” to promote the Peace River Country as a place to settle. He was convinced of the agricultural potential of the area, and began promoting the Bezanson townsite with great enthusiasm. However, when the railroad finally came in 1916, it came to Grande Prairie—not Bezanson. The “Townsite” was subsequently abandoned and eventually designated a Registered Historic Resource in 1986.

To view the entire booklet, visit the digitized version available on Alberta on Record.

To learn more about Ancel Bezanson, visit Fonds 155: Bezanson Family fonds.

To learn more about the history of the Bezanson area, visit Telling Our Stories March 2013 (pg 10).


From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

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