An early community landmark -
the Michener Fountain
reprinted from Red Deer Express June 15, 2011
Over the past century, Red Deer has sported several beautiful
historic buildings and notable landmarks.
Unfortunately, many of these structures and objects have been
demolished and/or sent to the local landfill.
One beautiful community landmark, which was literally saved from the
scrap heap, was the Michener Fountain. It used to be located in the
centre of the old C.P.R. Station Park on the west end of Ross St.
along 51 Ave.
The Station Park was first created in 1905 as a rest stop for
passengers who were tired or wanted relief from the smoke and grit
of early steam trains.
Mr. Nash, a 'practical gardener', was hired to do the landscaping.
Mayor Edward Michener donated more than 100 spruce, poplar and
'experimental' trees from a large tree nursery that he owned on the
Edward Michener was not only the mayor of the town. He was also one
of the wealthiest men in the community. He and his partner, Stan
Carscallen, had created the highly successful real estate and land
development firm, Michener Carscallen.
Michener Carscallen developed such subdivisions as Parkvale,
Grandview and Highland Park (now better known as Michener Hill).
They also later created Whitewold Beach, one of the first lakeside
subdivisions at Sylvan Lake.
A grand event occurred in the Station Park in April 1906.
The Lieutenant Governor, Premier and all the members of the
Legislative Assembly of the newly-formed Province of Alberta were
invited to Red Deer as part of an unsuccessful pitch to make Red
Deer the provincial capital.
During the visit, the provincial dignitaries each planted a
ceremonial spruce tree in the Station Park to commemorate the
creation of the Province of Alberta.
The brutal winter of 1906-1907 took a terrible toll on the plantings
in the park. Consequently, in the spring of 1907, the Town invested
$225 to renew and refurbish it.
A decision was made to plant native tree species and hardy
perennials to make it less likely that winterkill would hit hard in
The crowning centerpiece for the renewed park was a large ornamental
fountain, which was donated by now former Mayor Michener. It soon
became a landmark for travelers coming to Red Deer on the train.
Ironically, while the park meant to be a permanent beauty spot in
the community, in the summer of 1960, it was turned into a parking
The trees were all cut down. The Michener Fountain was discarded.
Fortunately, Russell McFaul, a local contractor, salvaged the
It was later sold to Ken Martin, who used it as a centerpiece in his
yard at Penhold. In 2001, Mr. Martin very generously decided to
donate the fountain back to the City of Red Deer, on the
understanding that it would be put in an appropriate park setting.
He also had the City promise that the fountain would not be
discarded again in the future.
Consequently, a new park was created, with the fountain as
centrepiece, on a new site south of the Medican complex, along 52
The designation of Centennial Park was given to the site, to mark
the fact that much of the work was completed during the centennial
of the Province of Alberta in 2005.
Unfortunately, a second ornamental fountain, which used to stand in
front of the old Post Office on Ross St. was not as lucky. This
second fountain had been donated to the Town of Red Deer by the
Presbyterian Young Peoples group in 1911.
One of the notable features of the Young Peoples' fountain was that
it had an outlet for people, a small step up for children, a large
street-side trough for horses and a small overflow basin for dogs.
Eventually, Red Deer City Council decided to remove the Young
Peoples' fountain and replace it with a small porcelain one. The old
fountain was hauled to the City Yards for storage. Over time, people
began to forget what it was. Eventually, the remnants of the
fountain were hauled off to Harper's Metals for scrap.
On Friday, June 17, at 11:30 a.m., the annual Red Deer Heritage
Recognition Awards ceremony will take place at the historic St.
Luke's Anglican Church on the corner of Gaetz Avenue and 54 St.
C.P.R. Station Park
with the Michener Fountain in the centre and trees planted
to commemorate Alberta becoming a province along the edge.
courtesy of the Red Deer and District Archives
Station Park once shining jewel of Red Deer
(Red Deer Express June 2009)
Red Deer's downtown hotels have celebrated
(Red Deer Express June 2009)
The history of Red Deer's CPR station
(Red Deer Express April 2007)
Red Deer becomes a divisional point for CPR
(Red Deer Advocate Special March 2007)
The Michener Fountain
(Red Deer Express July 2005)
Canadian Pacific Railway Stations in Central Alberta
Red Deer 1910 CPR station 'jewel' still
dominates Ross Street
Calgary and Edmonton Railway (CPR)
Calgary and Edmonton Railway at Red Deer (CPR)
News article: Arches mark influence of
railroad on city (Red Deer
News article: A new face for the old
(Red Deer Life July 1996)