Welcome to 'Camp'


"The Camp Flare"  courtesy of George Capton


Somewhere in Alberta, between Brooks and Hanna

just a few miles from Cessford, Alberta.

Picture taken by David Jarvis

Above is a picture of Camp.  Well most of Camp.  Missing from the picture are the three houses on the left side as well as a boulevard and the entrance in to the Camp.   This picture is taken from a tower at the Hudson's Bay Oil and Gas plant.


From George Capton:

As far as I can figure, the camp was established in 1958 with 20 houses for the families of the Hudson's Bay Oil and Gas company employees, and 5 houses for Alberta Gas Trunkline. (2 of which were moved out, and one sold to HBO&G)  Also was a house for, what I believe was the administrator for HB, and a dormitory for the single men. 

The water came from Berry Creek it was pumped into reservoir  in spring and summer shut off in winter.  The sewer I believe was pumped into lagoon, also a  separate water line ran down back yards supplying water for gardens.  (Which we learned you didn't want to drink from)  Gas for houses came from the gas plant, and there was gas supplied to incinerators  in back yards, one was jointly used by four houses. ---Thanx to Mr. Capton for this info.


Click here for pictures from Don Peters and George Capton

Go to my main site for my books, artwork and more




What community would be complete without a community hall?  Well there was one of those here too.  It was the home to children's concerts, movies, and of course those parties that the kids never got to go to on New Years Eve...or whatever the occasion might have been.  In the yard of the hall was the playground and next to that was the skating rink.  Check out the pages of pictures as pictures tell the story...enjoy.  I hope I bring you a happy memory or two.



Ok...enough of the details....What is this website for????  Well, I just find it sad to think that this place where so many of us spent some wonderful years is now simply gone.  Bull dozed under, or however they got rid of it, it is gone...given back to the brown grass of the prairie. I want to have this as a small tribute to our home.   

Eventually I would like to do pages on some of the families that lived here...but I need help. Please email me pictures and story's and remembrances of your stay at camp.  

email to larrybaird.ca@gmail.com  and please put "Cessford" in the subject line.





by Dale Baird, 1973

Many a time I have travelled this road
Through hot and cold, wet and dry.
When the fields were being ploughed and sowed.
Travelled over its roughness, never asking why
that's the truth without a lie.

I have travelled this road in every season
In the spring, summer, winter and fall.
Through rain, snow, hail and wind with a reason.
To see the doctor, or shop, to play hockey or ball
I travelled this road with no trouble at all.

I have seen many animals along this road
they have been both tame and wild.
Stopped on a quiet night you can hear a distant toad.
The antelope and deer both so tender and mild
At which the farmers never seem to get riled.

Also many vehicles I have met along the way
from Datsuns to cattle liners and the odd oil rig.
there were van, tankers and trucks loaded with hay
Even condensate trucks so long and big
And the odd truck hauling and auctioned pig.






by the "Wives of the Hardhats" 

As you leave the camp behind you
After many years or few,
No matter what your feelings are
You'll miss a few that's true!

For in this home of oil,
On the prairie hot and dry
You get out of life what you put in
No matter what you try!

And as you leave behind you
Your friends and neighbours too,
The very best of everything
Is being sent with you!





For those of you who don't know me, I am Larry Baird.   My Family moved to Camp in 1967, right after my sister Sandy was born, my older brother and sister were Dale and Laurie, mom and dad were Ron and Anita.  Dad worked for Alberta Gas Trunkline (which became Nova). For five years Camp was our home.

I remember many different things, from that time...small insignificant things...as well as traumatic things.   Some of the small things were stuff like the pop machine at the plant.  How many summer moments were spent getting a dime pop from that machine (grape was my favorite).  I seem to remember somebody taking more than one, with the help of a coat hanger (I am sure I am remembering that wrong, as we were all a bunch of great kids that wouldn't do anything so devious).


I remember watching BAMBI and other movies at the hall

I remember Darcy Andrew, and me planting a vegetable garden.

We climbed trees that we weren't allowed to climb.  

I learned to ride a bike, in camp.  Dad pushed me around the ball diamond 'til I could do it alone.  Which came in handy for the "bike-parade"

Raise your hand if you ended up being rushed to Brooks for stitches....or some other medical emergency.  Amazing over those rough gravel roads.

The day of the plant fire.

And Winter was very cold... remember the skating shack?   One winter the snow blew almost to the top of the garage roof.  Dale tobogganed down it.

The incinerators.... the salamanders....the garter snakes...the gophers...the bull frogs...the cacti...the gravel...the cattle guard...

... and of course the ball games and horse shoes


Memories of Anita Baird:

We arrived in the fall of 1967 and found some of the men had unloaded our furniture, and I think it was Liz Varty who fed our truck driver.  What a nice welcome!  We made a lot of good friends in the five years we lived there, and I still keep in touch with some of them over 30 years later.

I remember:

>It was such a safe place to raise kids.

>The men's ball and hockey teams
( I think I sat on hard old bleachers for over 50 games one summer )

>Working in the Duchess arena for hockey games.

>Marg Andrew and I drinking pots of coffee waiting for the guys to get home from hockey games in terrible storms. ( Sometimes we even had a little wine )

>Andrew's and us playing Yahtzee many a night and our 9 kids all getting along 100%.

>Kids taking figure skating on our out door rink. ( Dale fell and cut his head and that was it for him.  Laurie did great.)

>Arabette meetings - my 5 silver spoons.

>New Years Eve dances.

>Practicing all the kids to sing at our Christmas Concert

>The year Ken Sparham was Santa and his English HO HO HO sounded more like "How How How".

>Movies at the Hall

>Wags, the bulldog - my friend.

>Trips to Brooks to get Dale or Larry sewed up here or there.

>Larry's bout with double pneumonia in Brooks hospital basement - an adventure in itself.

>Ladies exercise night at the hall.

>The milk truck coming once a week.

>Eldon Andrew tapping on our bedroom window, one night, with his beer mug  - hearing a clink and then "Broke my bloody Meer Bug!!!"

>Parties at the hall - with green beer on March 17th.

>Everyone singing around the piano at the hall.

>David Jarvis climbing on the plant to take a picture of Camp for us

>The recipe book and farewell party for everybody moving out.

>Sandy was only 5 when we left but she has some memories she wants to write herself. She doesn't remember hanging off the monkey bars at the playground and yelling for help, though.

We ALL loved Camp life there.

from Anita Baird       

From Johanna Sparham:

" I remember that  day when all were on their bikes
we were having a parade and I was crying 'cause my mom wouldn't let me go 'cause I couldn't ride a bike ( lol ) and building tunnels in the ditches in winter because the snow was so deep we could. Wow I could go on...."

from Johanna Sparham       




From Toni Jarvis :


"I lived the first 3 years of my life in camp before we moved down the road to Cessford but amazingly still have memories of it.  I clearly remember going in the garage with friends and noticing boxes of pop and thinking yum - and of course trying it - 10cents not needed! Grapefruit pop for my mom all the time - don't even think that exists anymore. 

There were also rolls and rolls of black electrical tape that were obviously there to make the playground less slippery.  When my friends and I were done the handles on every piece of playground equipment looked much better.  Apparently my dad, David Jarvis, saw it and said if any kid of his ever did that they would be in big trouble ( and if you knew my dad he was a teddy bear and I never got in trouble from him).  It was years later when I confessed to him that it was his sweet little girl who did it.

Camp was a great place for little kids.  We had so much fun.  Except for the day I was playing ball with Michael Trentham and we smacked heads and I still have the dent to show for it - Cessford camp memories permanently engrained!!  :) "

from Toni Jarvis Fadollone        




From Nancy Kennedy :


"... My father Denis Ross worked at the plant. My mother was Dorothy...

Our house would of been in the 3rd row 2nd in from the boulevard and we were across the road from the Sparhams.

I remember having picnics at the park with the hoodoos, taking the bus to Hanna for swimming lessons in the summer, going to Brooks for groceries and to the five and dime, the pop machine just inside the plant doors, the incinerators and the hall. I remember an old abandoned dilapidated store just outside the camp that burned down one day while we were gone to Brooks. I remember playing ball and prisoners base. Skating lots of skating. One time my Dads uncle who was a rodeo clown came to visit and he put on a show for all the kids with his rope tricks. I also had the exit cookbook until recently but the covers had come off so I got rid of it."

from Nancy Kennedy (nee: Ross) 



From Don Peters :


"Sitting on the fire cart enjoying a pop at the pop machine which we did very frequently and had some great conversations.

Getting all the kids together to play hide and go seek or kick the can at the hall was always a lot of fun.

We spent every spare minute at the skating rink even when it was extremely cold outside and we had to sit on top of the heater to warm our feet up.  I remember crying waiting for my toes to warm up so I could feel them again.

It wasn't so much fun when it snowed, and we all had to shovel the rink off before we could skate. Then we were in our glory when Dave Trentham drove up with the homemade barrel and gunny sack resurfaced our rink to make it (somewhat) smooth again.

The sports were incredible......we sent every spare minute either playing baseball in the summer or hockey in the winter.

As we got older we graduated to the Duchess and Brooks hockey teams and we proved that all the hours we spent on our outdoor rink paid off.

When we were not playing sports we were riding our motorcycles in the summer, or snowmobiles in the winter. Drowning out gophers (one year there was even some colored ones), making a trip to the dump or visiting with the neighbors, there were so many things to do and enjoy at camp."

from Don Peters         


Click here for pictures from Don Peters and George Capton

Go to my main site for my books, artwork and more



A few years ago mom and I went to see what was left of Camp.  Not much...

Here, mom is standing in front of where our house would've been.

The Hall remains but is now a storage building

Blurry satellite shot


Click here for pictures from Don Peters and George Capton

Go to my main site for my books, artwork and more