Pages from the Past- Morinville in 1994

With special thanks to a glimpse of pages from the past and for access to files from the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society-Musee Morinville Museum, Paulette Houle and Volume 4(for) History Committee. This article is a recap and is not all-inclusive.

compiled by Lucie Roy

1994 was a year of new beginnings for Morinville.

It is remembered as the year of celebration for the opening of the Morinville Community High School (MCHS).

On Nov. 3, Education Minister Halvar Jonson topped off the two-year project by cutting the ribbon and declaring the school officially open.

It is also remembered for the murder of one of its most well-known residents, the transfer of hundreds of air force personnel from Namao and an arduous battle over Alberta’s most famous bull by a Morinville area rancher who takes Agriculture Canada to Federal Court.

The last graduation class took place at Georges H. Primeau School on May 6.

January

Canada Post unveiled its plan to install super boxes, ridding the town of general delivery and post office pick-up services.

Morinville athlete Andrea Orbeck and partner Sigi Clayton finish second in the women’s World Cup overall standings. The duo makes up Canada’s number one bobsled team.

The Morinville Agriplex hosted the CJHL’s annual star game. Six members of the hometown Jets star in an 8-6 win for the North.

Sturgeon and Thibault school districts roll with the cutback blow delivered by Education Minister Halvar Jonson. Plans are to cut community school funding, cut kindergarten funding in half and reduce Alberta’s over 140 school boards to less than 60.

February

Thibault Roman Catholic Public District No. 35 and Legal School District No.1738 plan to merge into one school district is dismissed in a letter from Education Minister Jonson, who says the merge is off unless they can incorporate Sturgeon School Division in the deal. The letter fits into the province’s plans to reduce school boards.

In July, the Sturgeon trustees vote they prefer the board stay on its own rather than seek a regionalization deal with Thibault and Legal.

Thibault and Legal school district begin negotiations with St Albert Catholic to form a regional board and Minister Jonson blesses the move in a letter. In August Morinville Legal and St Albert reach a deal to form a new Greater St. Albert Regional Catholic School board which will commence operations in January 1995.

March

The federal government announces CFB Edmonton will be a military infantry base, with air force personnel transferred out to other bases throughout the country.

Morinville is shocked by the news former-councillor Roger Champagne has been murdered in Las Vegas with his wife. He was shot trying to stand up to the armed robber.

Flynn Brothers announce plans to build a mall on the site of the abandoned Machine shop at 100 Ave and 102 St.

April-May-June-July

Fire Chief Don Found is named the town volunteer, and Henry & Lorraine Lamoureux are named the 1993 Lions Club of Morinville Citizen of the Year.

Morinville’s Jason Holland, a defenceman with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, is drafted in the second round by the NHL’s New York Islanders.
Frontier Daze disappoints in 1994. Attendance is a disappointing 1,342 for Morinville’s annual festival.

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The last Georges H. Primeau Grade 12 Graduation Exercises took place at St Jean Baptiste Church on Friday, 6 May 1994. There were 81 graduates with Miss Shawna Wiley as Mistress of Ceremonies, a Welcome by Miss Leslie Cater and valedictorian’s Address by Miss Colleen Chevalier. The Address to Graduates was by Mr. Paul O’Dea and presentation of diplomas by Mr. R. Giesbrecht and Mr. Gary Smith. The school will now be strictly a junior high with the opening of MCHS. Nadine Froment was named the school’s top senior student.

Principal Ren Giesbrecht said this evening represented the end of an old era, with the opening of a new one- the end of GHP’s status as a high school and the Thibault district and the beginning of a new school district with the Greater St Albert Catholic board.

Notre Dame parents petition town council for traffic lights at the corner of 100 Ave and 700 Grandin Drive. School redistribution means more students have to cross the intersection in September. The town promises a traffic count.

In July UGG celebrates the grand opening of its brand new 557,000 bushel-high throughout grain elevator just outside of Morinville. The elevator is the company’s largest. UGG President Ted Allen lauds local farmers` role in the building of the new Morinville elevator.

September

After two years of planning, MCHS opens its doors to students for the first time.

In October a new developer unveils plans to build a $6 million shopping mail across the street from the courthouse.

The Sturgeon Regional Sanitary Landfill Authority receives a charge per tonne scheme which was dropped the previous year after an outcry from Sturgeon residents.

Vector Developments scrap its plan for a $6 million mall in Morinville due to an outcry from local residents. A condo project is slated instead.

November-December

Morinville is rocked by tragedy. Hockey parent and volunteer Terry Grykuliak, and player Leigh Kilarski, 11 are killed when their mini-van collides head-on into a pick-up truck near Westlock. Ten-year-old Tyler Grykuliak is severely injured. The trio were on their way to a minor hockey game in Barrhead.

It took three years of fundraising and weeks of moving books and shelves but the Morinville Public Library is finally ready to call the first floor of the Town of Morinville building home. Large windows facing unto Main Street will mean a brighter, less cramped research and reading space for the public.

`We will be a lot more visible as a library,” said chief librarian Mark Oberg.

In December, Thibault and Legal held their last official meetings in their histories. The Thibault board gathered and toasted 102 years of history at the end of 1994. The board has regionalized into Greater St Albert, in attendance were Superintendent Lee Lucente, Chair Roger Blackburn, trustees Dave Hurtubise, Don McGrath, Joh Byer and Secretary-Treasurer Larry Schwenneker.

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