V had her birthday and the two women working with her at the library took the day off to ‘kidnap’ her for a birthday treat. We agreed I should drive. (I had a four-door, 2012 Ford Focus, with a sun roof. I had to read the instruction book to work some features of the car.)
We headed to Fort Edmonton, a sprawling historical centre with a working train, reconstructed buildings, artifacts, and people in period costume acting as interpreters. We went by train to the actual fort then walked through streets representing a different time period in Edmonton’s history. We began in 1885 before coming down to 1905, then finishing in 1920. We read the signs for each exhibit and made a few discoveries:
- It seems people make their way to Winnipeg then high-tail it to Edmonton for better opportunities. Some things don’t change.
- The 1905 street had a tent city. Edmonton expanded rapidly with people settling in tents while waiting for their housing. Again some things don’t seem to change.
- We visited a penny arcade in the 1920’s street. According to the signs children and ‘decent women’ did not visit them. I wanted to try the shooting range, but the place was full of school kids. At least I had the opportunity to flout convention.
- Speaking of convention, one of the interpreters portraying a WWI era nurse spoke with us like we stepped into the same century, even stating she voted for prohibition. Her tenses remained present like things happened right at that time. I nearly wanted to tell her the story of another WWI nurse from a good family, running off with the Irish chauffeur. (At least she’s not as bad as the eldest sister.)
The birthday caper continued with a visit to Whyte Avenue. We ate at a Greek restaurant in an area I can best describe as a combination of Osbourne, Corydon, and a little bit of the Exchange district in Winnipeg then fed steroids. V looked blissfully happy with her caper/birthday celebration. Seeing someone happy is a great way to spend my last night in Edmonton.