Sherwood Park 50 years

This article is one of several commissioned by Strathcona County as part of a project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sherwood Park. These stories were published in the Sherwood Park News in 2006 and 2007​​​​​​​.
Last modified: July 6, 2021, 11:28 a.m.

March 14, 2007

In the late 1880's, when settlers first came to the Salisbury District (now Strathcona County), their social activities included square dancing and picnics. Even work became social with threshing crews in the fall and work bees to erect buildings or haul hay. They organized churches and schools and came to the aid of neighbours in need.

This same attitude came with the "pioneers" of Sherwood Park. They helped their neighbours and met many challenges together; they organized fence-building bees and community and social activities. It makes one wonder if "organizing" is a natural instinct for people in communities.

As Sherwood Park grew, people found friends with like interests and organizations began to form.

The first group in Sherwood Park was the Lions Club, which was chartered in April 1959, with 28 members. One of its main projects was the Robin Hood School (now the Robin Hood Learning Centre). It was also involved in Christmas tree sales and Medieval Days. Venice Harris, Dorothy Self and Dorothy Black catered the meals for the first meetings which were held at St. Thomas' Anglican Church, a former parish hall that had been moved to Sherwood Park from Manville.

The Sherwood Park Elks Lodge and Order of the Royal Purple received their charters in the summer of 1963 and supported the senior citizens lodge, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, minor sports and the Christmas Bureau. Fifty years later, the Information and Volunteer Centre for Strathcona County has a list of 20 service clubs.

Other organizations that formed in the first years included the Toastmasters, Oil Wives, Garden Club, Rifle Club, and men's and women's groups affiliated with the first churches. Henry Unrau, who arrived with his family in July 1956, remembers square dancing being a popular activity.

To attract residents to Sherwood Park, developers built the Broadmoor Golf and Curling Club, which opened its first nine holes in 1962. Curling was a popular activity. Both Olga and Oleh Cherkawski, who arrived in Sherwood Park in March 1956, were active in the men's and women's leagues and many bonspiels.

In 1963, when a bowling alley was constructed as part of the expansion of the original shopping centre, bowling leagues were formed and the lanes were booked solid.

Many groups got their start with an informal gathering of interested people. Ena Campbell belonged to a group that painted together each Tuesday. After a year of discussion and research, the group organized and incorporated the Art Society of Strathcona County in 1985. The Society hosts workshops and art shows and in 2002, they found a permanent home and gallery in the A.J. Ottewell Centre.

Over the past 50 years organizations have come and gone and some have been resurrected. We can expect that as our community grows and changes, groups of people will meet for activities that have not yet been discovered. After all, back in 1956, few would have imagined participating in Pilates or marathon running or the Birkebeiner Ski Race!


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