On March 22, 1951, entertainment in the Bezanson community was forever changed when the Bezanson Community Hall bought the Filmosound Specialist Bell & Howell 16 mm projector. According to a list of assets, the projector and screen were worth $892.13; however, because they traded in their old projector it only cost the Hall $596.70. Over the years the Hall purchased films, bulbs and other supplies to maintain the projector from Sharp Theater Supplies Limited based in Calgary. According to word of mouth, the first movie ever played on the projector was The Wizard of Oz, but other films played included Father of the Bride, Lady Without Passport, Follow the Sun, and many others. What is now an old attic in the Memorial Hall used to be the balcony for kids viewing the movies on the Filmosound Specialist Bell & Howell projector. Show nights and dances alternated almost every weekend for many years and records of how much money was made from admission fees and canteen sales are in historical ledgers. Recently, tickets from 1967 were found that would have been used for movie admission! There is even still a location on site from where they used to place the projector to play the movies. When fondly reminiscing about attending the picture shows, one man said that he remembers how every so often the show would stop because the film broke and they would have to wait for someone to splice the film to continue the show. This projector brought joy to many Bezansonites by giving people the chance to come together through the novelty of watching a movie as a community. In 2017, the projector was recovered from where it sat in the balcony since the 50s to be a way for those who have many cherished memories that stem from the projector to reminisce about the days of the picture shows at the Bezanson Hall.
The first movie projector was the zoopraxiscope, made by Eadweard Maybridge, a pioneering British photographer, in 1879. The zoopraxiscope rapidly projected images from rotating glass disks. These rudimentary movies were significantly shorter than the blockbuster films we have today. The first movie ever made was only 2.11 seconds long! The specific projector the Bezanson Hall purchased was manufactured by Bell & Howell, which was an American based company. The original Bell & Howell company was founded in 1907 by two projectionists in Wheeling, Illinois. The Filmosound 16mm Projector was created in 1932 to be economical for amateurs to purchase and became a best seller for many years. The widespread of the projector in the hands of armatures was the beginning of all movies and television shows and the community of Bezanson was on the forefront of that technological revolution.
In 1962, family, friends, and neighbours gathered in the hamlet of Bezanson to volunteer and build the curling rink that is still standing today. The hard workers harvested lumber from the surrounding woods and sent it into a local sawmill to begin building the project they envisioned. The entire community worked together to raise enough money to build the rink. Through cash donations alone, they were able to raise $649.50! Someone even donated a record player which was raffled off allowing for $371.00 to go towards the construction of the rink.
Twenty-one years later the kitchen and benches for supporters and other teams were installed which was an excellent addition to the rink. Over the years, the rink has undergone many renovations.
It has been a hotspot for this community where members of Bezanson and the surrounding rural communities have been able to come together and play a sport which all ages love. The Curling Committee even put together an after-school program for the junior high students of Bezanson around 1967 which made the rink social and educational. The kids were sent home with notes which read that curling would start at 3:45pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The committee kept all twenty-five notes of the students’ names and parents’ signature providing us with historical records of the educational use of the facility. Journals dating back to about 1981 of every bonspiel and meeting ever held were preserved making great memories of this written history. The note books include details of what was said in the meetings, people that have won trophies for bonspiels and other achievements, and includes all the costs they have spent that has brought the rink to where it is today.
The curling rink was another foundation to this great community that has been built on teamwork. The rink brought the community together and we are grateful for the hard work of the volunteers for the opportunities that the curling rink brought to our community.
Learn more about what facilities the Ag Society operates and the programs that it offers to the Bezanson Community! The Bezanson Community Centre is perfect for rentals, whether it be a wedding, family reunion, funeral, or cooperate event. Visit our website www.www.discoverbezanson.ca to contact us about booking your event.
A carved bench created by Ryan Cook of Saw Valley Carvers is a commemoration of Canada’s 150th and incorporates the heritage of the Bezanson community. Each of the six pieces of the bench has a picture of historical significance to Bezanson.
The pictures include a farmer plowing his field with his horses and a farmer working his field with a tractor. These pictures link the agricultural aspect of present day Bezanson to the history of Bezanson in the early years.
The Glen Leslie Church was built in 1915 and services were held there from 1915 to 1964. The church was restored in 2015 and it remains one of the few structures from prior to 1920, making it an integral part of Bezanson’s history.
The Smoky River bank was home to The Grande Prairie Ski Club prior to 1960. In the 70s the Bezanson Community reopened the hill and it operated for a decade or more.
Kleskun Hills is depicted on another piece of the bench. This Alberta Park has been the discovery point of many dinosaur fossils and is home to an abundance of history from the Bezanson area.
In 1914, the original Townsite of Bezanson was thriving and growing. At this time there was a jewellery store, a harness repair shop, a post office and two general stores. Carved on the bench is Hall & Leonard’s Store. This shows that Bezanson began with entrepreneurs and this innovation is still keeping the community alive today.
The bench is going to be placed in front of the Bezanson Regional Community Cultural Center after construction is completed in summer of 2018. The bench will symbolize the past and a tree planted in the middle will represent the new beginnings of the community. The history depicted on this bench will not only remind the viewers where the community of Bezanson came from, but also where the community is going in the future.
The top school in the whole Grande Prairie area was Bezanson School with 7.8
Monday May 23, 2016 article “Failing Grade” from the Daily Herald Tribune summaries the recently released PAT score results. Grande Prairie schools averaged scores less than the provincial average of 6/10, while our local Bezanson school did much better scoring 7.8/10. No doubt a reflection of the commitment from our teachers, support staff and local parent volunteers.
The SAC is organizing Teacher Appreciation Day is this Tuesday, May 24 2016.