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History of the Society

In the early days of the Edmonton Heritage Festival in Alberta, Canada, more than forty countries participated.  However, until 1983 there was a distinct absence of an English presence.  Following the Festival of 1982, many comments aired on local radio reflected a disappointment by the public to this absence.

Discussion on air via a local radio talk show, hosted by the late Ron Collister - a well known Edmonton broadcaster - resulted in a suggestion for a meeting to be held whereby interested people could come and air their views concerning this lack of representation.  As a result, a meeting was organized and the public invited to attend the Lion's Senior Citizens Comunity Centre for the evening of September 29, 1982.

Over thirty people attended this original meeting, at which five people were selected to form a steering committee and charged with returning in a months time with a set of by-laws and a name for a fledgling Society.

Obeying the rules set forth in the Societies Act of the Alberta Government, By-laws were finally approved and the "Alberta St. George of England Society" recieved its charter on December 15, 1982.

Since the main reason for the Society's inception was to participate in the Heritage Festival, the first year was devoted to raising funds for its entry.  However, from the very moment of its creation, the Society attempted to encourage all kinds of social and cultural events to attract additional members.

Since 1982, the Society has held many "English" style social events, such as Fish & Chips suppers, Afternoon Teas, and Pub Nights, replete with English Music Hall style entertainment such as Cosmotheka, Jake Thackery, and Mike Elliot (these all coming over from England) and Canada's own London Bobby.

Over the years, the Society has formed many diverse groups, including Men's and Women's Soccer in the Edmonton District Soccer League.  Bowling, Cricket and Darts were also initated.  All of which helped promote the Club.

The Society inaugurated the annual celebration of St. George's Day (April 23) - patron Saint of England - by holding its first annual Dinner Dance at the Petroleum Club.  Attendance was over 200 person and the evening included Palm Court Orchestra dinner music, followed by a "Toast to the Queen" and a distinguished after-dinner speaker.

One of the Society's most energetic groups formed, is the St. George's Performers, an amateur theatrical company that encourages members to perform all kinds of theatre, from comedy, murder-mystery, musical revues and of course the traditional English "Pantomime".

The Society has continued to develop it's presence over the years from first renting other local facilities for the early socials of the club, to its own first small facility on the South side of the city, to a larger home in the Prince of Wales Armouries - Heritage Centre.  After five years at the Woodcroft Community League Hall we are now resident in the Edmonton Scottish Society's facility on the south side of the city..

From its inception, the Society has also provided its members with a monthly Newsletter, which includes all upcoming Society events, and supplies members with a forum for stories of interest.

Ironically, an earlier Royal St. George of England Society existed in Edmonton which, from old research documents, reached back before 1910 - when the British Empire had expatriates in many of the current commonwealth countries.  Unfortunately, this Society faltered in 1967 and a void of English cultural programs existed from that time until the current Alberta St. George of England Society was formed in 1982.

The Society celebrated its silver anniversary in 2007 and plans to build on its unique position of being the focal point for English Heritage in the City of Edmonton and Alberta in general.

 

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