Prince Albert Tales
Carla Matheson, figure skater, issued this challenge to the Green and Gold Raiders as they stood along the end boards of the Communiplex Rink. What caused this throwing down of the gauntlet?
The last WHALE OF A TALE was prompted by Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond’s figure skating bronze medal at the recent Winter Olympics. As I marveled when Kaetlyn stood on the podium, I remembered that Prince Albert has its own skating Gold Medalist - Carla Matheson. How and when did this come about?
Fay and I sat mesmerized, as did countless other Canadians, watching Kaetlyn Osmond skate to a bronze medal at the Olympic Games. One could only marvel at the perfection, the intensity, and the skill demonstrated, especially, as the commentators pointed out, that Kaetlyn had suffered a broken leg in 2014, which at the time could easily have meant the end of any Olympic dreams. It did not. The Newfoundland/Labrador skater’s determination to overcome any and all adversities, had brought her to this moment.
I wasn’t very old. I don’t know how she managed it, but she did. My mother had a flair for recognizing an historic moment. There were six of us, ranging from 2 to 15 years old, but my mom got us all dressed up in our finest, herded us to Dewdney Avenue and loaded us on to the Streetcar. It was not just any Streetcar; it was the last Streetcar to make the circuit from Westend Regina to Albert Street South and back again. We all sat in the semicircle rear seat of the car, very well behaved, as our mother warned us within an inch of our lives to be so. Why? She told us that this was the end of an era - end of the streetcar era - and she wanted us to mark the event and remember it. It was a fun ride, a memorable ride. Good for you mom. I remember it!
The last ‘Whale of a Tale,’ noted that the railroad had reached Prince Albert in 1890 and that the government had finally relented to support the building of a railway/traffic bridge ( completed in 1909) connecting the city to rich resources lying north of the river.
My older brother dashed along the tracks yelling, “The Skunk is coming! The Skunk is coming!” We quickly scampered down the track’s grade and hid in the bulrushes along Regina’s Wascana Creek. Soon we heard the rumble of the on coming train - nicknamed - The Skunk. It was one of the diesel trains that a few years earlier had replaced the CPR’s steam locomotives. This new type of train gained its name from the pungent odor that it emitted.