Bezanson area families help build the Bezanson Regional Community Cultural Centre!

Several Bezanson families have chosen to leave a legacy of their loved ones through contributing to the Bezanson Regional Community Cultural Centre.

Some families in our area have selected this project at the time of their loss, while others have chosen to join together afterwards as a way of keeping the memory alive!   Each family will have a memorial plaque displayed in their loved one’s name, with their choice of wording, upon completion of the facility.

The LaValley family became “Creators” of our facility when some of the family members joined together to contribute $6,800 in memory of their mother, grandmother, and long time community member Emily LaValley.  Many thanks to the LaValley family for helping to build our community while honoring Emily!

Other families have joined together to make a family donation.   Tom & Janet Laverick along with their children and grandchildren became “Ambassadors” for our project with their joint $20,000 input towards the new Centre!  Their family legacy will be a part of our Centre for years to come!

There are many ways to help!  We are honored to have our families help with #buildingbezanson!

To find out more information about how to leave a legacy for your family, contact Laura LaValley, Capital Campaign Manager

Anna the Cross Country Star

This 2017-2018 college year, Anna van der Giessen will be joining the Wolf Pack at Grande Prairie Regional College as a part of the cross country running program! Anna is an incredible, local athlete who has competed in multiple sports throughout her years at Bezanson School and Peace Wapiti Academy. She played every sport at Bezanson and then stuck to basketball, cross country and track for Peace Wapiti Academy. She excels at all sports and is an incredible athlete, including representing Team Alberta North in Snowshoeing at the Arctic Winter Games. Not only has she successfully completed Emperor’s Challenge Half Marathon in Tumbler Ridge, but Anna has also won the Women’s under 19 Category twice as well as many other awards in the years she has been running. Anna is also very motivated. She will be taking her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at GPRC and then transferring to the University of Alberta in hopes to become a nurse practitioner while being a part of the team. Her goals for the year include, “improving her times and endurance. If she trains hard and make herself the best that she can be, whatever the outcome is, she’ll be happy!”

 Along with her family, friends and community, Bill Corcoran, the GPRC running coach, is also very excited for Anna to be joining the school. “We are really looking forward to working with Anna. She’s a great kid with lots of potential. She doesn’t have a ton of running experience, but she’s athletic. Our program has had really good success with athletes like her. If you have the proper work ethic and some basic talent, you can improve relatively quickly in cross country running,” says Bill.

Anna has played basketball for Northern Energy Basketball, Peace Country Thunder Basketball, Peace Wapiti Academy Titans and the Bezanson Bulldogs. She is a very hard worker and never gives up. She is always friendly and does not fail to make anyone smile. When time permits, Anna is often involved in community events as a volunteer. Anna also came from a small school and has had different opportunities than those coming from larger schools. She leaves a piece of advice for those student athletes growing up in a small community.

“If you are really passionate about the sport, make sure you seek out opportunities outside of school like summer camps or clubs to help you get to the next level. But most importantly, don’t be intimidated!! I found coming from a small school to be beneficial because I got the opportunity to play every sport and get lots of playing time! And playing those other sports has helped me to become a much better runner.”
-Anna van der Giessen

Everyone is so excited to watch Anna in her next step. We wish her the best in her years to come and can’t wait to see her succeed in her new adventure. Anna also would like to thank some people in her community that have helped her with her journey.

“There are so many people who have helped me to get to this point! My teachers in Bezanson and at PWA have all been great and I truly appreciate all the work they’ve put in and the help they’ve given me! And in all my years of playing sports, my coaches have been phenomenal. From volleyball to basketball to track, I have had the best coaches who have given me a love of sports and being active. However, there are two people I’d really like to thank; Les Sonnenberg for always making track season in Bezanson such a success and also Julian Camsell, for taking over PWA’s track team and making my last year of high school track so great!”
-Anna van der Giessen

Photo Credits: Carolyn Goetjen-Pilgrim

By Ally Pilgrim

First Trip by Automobile Over the Edson Trail

Who would consider travelling over the Edson Trail by car? A.M. Bezanson of course who would go to any length to promote the Peace River District; specifically the “Bezanson Townsite”.

In an effort to promote sales of business lots at the “Townsite”, A.M. Bezanson had offices established in Vancouver and Edmonton. A.J. Davidson, a real estate promoter from Edmonton, stated he might be interested in promoting sales of lots at the “Bezanson Townsite” if he could see the country however he
thought his age was not conducive to travel the “Trail” by horse and wagon. Without hesitation, Maynard stated that the “Trail” was suitable for automobiles. Following which, Maynard wired all the Hudson Bay Managers in the Peace River District that he was going to drive a car over the “Trail”. They all responded that they considered the proposed trip by automobile absolutely impossible. That comment only spurred on A.M. Bezanson to accomplish such a feat.

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On December 8, 1913, Mr. Bezanson unloaded a 1912 Cadillac from a flat-car in Edson. It was a heavy load with 800 pounds of fuel and luggage. With Bill Milford, Davidson’s chaffer-mechanic behind the wheel, the three set off with many local Edson merchants looking on in amazement that someone would attempt to drive a car across the “Edson Trail”. The “Trail” consisted of criss-crossed frozen ruts often a foot deep along with many stumps from the trees that had been cut off rather high by the survey crew not to mention the miles upon miles of muskeg. Fifty miles later, they reached the Athabasca River. The ferry had already been removed from the water but the river still was not completely frozen over. The three men decided to build a raft out of logs and attached it to the ferry cables. They drove the car onto the raft and it sank. Luckily the water was shallow enough that the car could be driven back to the bank. More logs were attached to the raft and once again they loaded on the car and crossed the river without any further mishaps. Four days later they reached the Smoky River – a distance of 250 miles. As the road to the “Bezanson Townsite” had not been maintained, Maynard and his companions attempted to cross the river at Goodwin’s Crossing. Two wheels of the car on one side fell into a deep crack in the ice. Luckily Maynard had brought along a block and tackle however they needed poles to be erected as a tripod. In an attempt to locate suitable trees to be used for the poles, Maynard fell through the ice. However after considerable exertion he managed to pull himself back onto the ice. The car was finally lifted out of the crack and the group eventually reached the west bank and continued on to the “Townsite”.

After showing Mr. Davidson the “Bezanson Townsite” which included the proposed nearby railroad crossing along with the mill-site and surrounding land that would be suitable for agriculture,

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the group carried on the village of Grande Prairie and then on to Beaverlodge. At every stop, everyone would come out to see the spectacle of a vehicle in the area.
Next stop – Ground where school was actually dismissed so that teachers and students alike could see the first vehicle in the area. On to Peace River Crossing where 12 miles of roadway had to be cut wider to enable the a car to pass through, back to Ground and ventured on to Sawridge by crossing the Lesser Slave Lake. This section of the journey was quick as they maintained a speed of 65 miles per hour on the ice. However just past Sawridge, the car once again fell through the ice. Out came the block  and tackle and once a tripod was erected, the car once again was hoisted out of the water. This time the vehicle sustained a considerable amount of damage however with the expertise of Mr. Davidson’s mechanic, the car was operational in a few hours. Once they reached Athabasca Landing they headed on the last leg of their journey with one rim coming off every few miles.

1800 miles later they arrived in Edmonton, tired but exhilarated at what they had accomplished. However after all was said and done, Mr. Davidson decided not to invest in the “Bezanson Townsite” as he was uncertain that the proposed railway would reach that area. Undaunted by the set-back in the potential sales of business lots at the “Townsite”, Maynard continued on to Vancouver. He arrived on December 23, 1913 just in time to spend Christmas with his family before he ventured back to Edmonton to continue in his quest to solicit investors who would start business ventures at the “Townsite”.

** Information gleaned from A.M. Bezanson’s book, “Sodbusters Invade the Peace”
No part of this document may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any means without written permission from the author.

By Wanda Zenner

Welcome Back!

Dear Parents,

On behalf of the staff at Bezanson School, I am happy to welcome you to the 2017-18 school year! We are looking forward to a productive partnership with you to ensure our children can achieve their highest potential.

We are very excited to have Stacey Campbell with us again this year as our full time grade 3 teacher and are welcoming Kim Living as our Grade 2 teacher! There have been many wonderful changes happening in our building this summer and we are loving all the updates to our home. The older grade 5/6 portable and the detached ECS portable have been retired after a long career of housing many children in the community. We were positively delighted to receive three new beautiful portables that have been attached on the west side of the building. Our ECS classroom (previously the 3/4 classroom) has a new little kitchenette that will come in handy for many students in our building. We have also put some lovely personal touches around the building with new furniture and décor. Please feel free to come visit us so we can proudly give you the “Grand Tour”!

We recognize that in order to be successful in school, our children need support from both the home and school. We know a strong partnership with you will make a great difference in your child’s education. As partners, we share the responsibility for our children’s success and want you to know that we will do our very best to carry out our responsibilities. We ask that you guide and support your child’s learning by ensuring that he/she:

1) Attends school daily and arrives on time, ready for the day’s learning experience

2) Completes all homework assignments given by teachers

3) Reads daily to develop a love for reading and to improve literacy skills

4) Shares school experiences with you so that you are aware of his/her school life

5) Informs you if he/she needs additional support in any area or subject

It is our desire to keep you informed of all that is taking place at school. Up-to-date and additional information will be sent to you though our monthly newsletters, our Facebook page, emails and Power

Announce messages. If you have questions or concerns that arise at any time, please do not hesitate to give your child’s teacher or me a call.

I look forward to having a long and rewarding relationship with you and your family.


Elizabeth Linfield


Sod Turning Ceremony – September 20, 2017 at 7:00pm

#newbeginnings are starting here in Bezanson!!  Construction of the Bezanson Regional Community Cultural Centre will commence at the end of September!

Please join us for a Sod Turning Ceremony on Wednesday, September 20th at 7:00pm in the Bezanson Memorial Hall parking lot area.  Dignitaries will join community members to symbolically “turn the sod” signifying the #newbeginnings for our community.  Please join us for the excitement!