Thirty-three years ago, on July 13, 1979, after nearly a century of operation, the Canmore coalmines closed.
It’s a day that is still remembered as Black Friday and in honour of Canmore’s coal mining past and the miners and their families, the annual Miners’ Day Reunion is once again scheduled for July 13-14.
Coal mining formally began in Canmore in 1887 with the opening of the No. 1 Mine, located in the confines of Canmore Creek.
Mining would continue to be Canmore’s lifeblood for 92 years, until the Dillingham Corp. of Honolulu, Hawaii, bought the mines from Canmore Mines Ltd. in 1971.
Dillingham tried to sell the mines in 1975, in part after a drop in sales in the early 1970s that led to its workforce being chopped from 300 to 65 and because of the OPEC oil embargo of 1973, which drove up shipping rates.
But, finding no buyers, Dillingham instead closed the mine.
A private reception for the miners and their families will be held Friday at the Canmore Miners’ Union Hall from 7-9 p.m.
The parade will be held at noon on Saturday and mining families are asked to meet at the North West Mounted Police barracks at 11 a.m. to prepare for the parade.
Following the parade, the annual beef-on-a-bun barbecue, which is a public event, will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot next to the Union Hall.
Finally, from 2-5 p.m., the Miners’ Day reunion and social will be held at the Canmore Golf and Curling Club. This social event will include music, refreshments, a 50/50 draw for $1,000 and a raffle for a Canmore miners union jacket.
As organizers need to know the number of people participating in the parade and attending the private reception and reunion, please call 403-678-4323 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Next year, the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre will lead organization of the 2013 event and museum administrator Debbie Carrico said Thursday (June 28) she wanted to thank long-time Miners’ Day organizer Laurie Facette for her work.
“We’ll still be working with the Miners’ Day committee to arrange the events. (Facette) will still be working with us. Laurie will still have a part, but the museum will be hosting the event and we sincerely appreciate everyone who has worked on this,” Carrico said.
“And we look forward to celebrating an important day in Canmore’s history.”
Carrico added the committee and the museum plan to assess Miners’ Day after this year’s event is complete with an eye to find ways to enhance the annual event.