Glen Leslie Church

& Cemetery


Alberta, Canada


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GLEN LESLIE CHURCH

Provincial Historic Site

In recognition of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, the County awarded $100,000 worth of grants to various community groups who were planning events or legacy activities in celebration of such an important milestone. Each grant, a maximum of $10,000, was awarded to applicants within the County’s boundaries with their projects in place for 2017.

The maximum was awarded to "Bezanson Community Groups" for a Canada 150 wood-carved monument. The six-sided bench was the creation of Ryan Cook of hit TV shows such as Carver Kings and Saw Dogs. His work is now showcased by Saw Valley Carvers. Each side of the bench depicts a scene of historical significance to Bezanson. Taking centre stage was a wonderful carving of the Glen Leslie Church that was built in 1915. The little log building was completely restored by the Glen Leslie Church Preservation Group over a period of 4 years. The project culminated in 2015 at which time a Celebration was held to commemorate the restoration process and the 100th anniversary of when the building was constructed. The Glen Leslie Church Preservation Group received the Provincial Award for Heritage Conservation by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation in recognition of outstanding achievement in conservation.

The other five sides of the bench include a carving of the Bezanson Ski Chalet, Kleskun Hills, a farmer plowing the fields with a team of horses, a farmer on his tractor and a carving of the first store at the Bezanson Townsite – Hall & Leonard’s Store.

The bench will be placed in front of the Bezanson Regional Community Cultural Centre once construction is complete which is anticipated to be during the summer of 2018. The carvings on the bench depict the history of Bezanson and a tree will be planted in the centre of the bench to represent the future growth of the area.

Written by Wanda Zenner – January 2018


CELEBRATE BEZANSON

A Canada 150th Celebration – Glen Leslie Church Tour

One of the many events scheduled for "Celebrate Bezanson" was a tour of the Provincial Historic Site – the Glen Leslie Church. Saturday August 26, 2017 dawned warm and sunny – a perfect backdrop to view the Church and Cemetery. Wanda Zenner facilitated the tour.

The tour started with a stop at the new entrance sign and landscaping that had been finished earlier that same day. The Church sparkled after a thorough cleaning and had been decorated inside and outside with home-grown flowers and plants. The tour continued with a stroll down the new sidewalk to the brick "Donor Wall" that had been built to honor all of those who had participated in the restoration of the Church. A few steps away was the "History Timeline" that had been installed by the County of Grande Prairie. Many made note of the Hansa roses that had been planted at the entrance along with the large boulders that were the original foundation. Once inside, many took advantage of the home-made desserts and drinks that were prepared by Evelyn Ingraham. Wanda gave an overview of the restoration process itself. Many were astounded at the thought of the top three rows of logs and roof being lifted off in one piece. She explained that although the Community had maintained the building over the years, the ravishes of time had taken its toll and the Church had reached a point where it could have easily collapsed into itself. She explained that the Community held a meeting and "The Glen Leslie Church Preservation Group" was formed in 2011 with one mandate and that was to restore the building to its former glory. She explained that once the roof was off, the walls came down easily. The old foundation was replaced with a new one with vent holes for circulation. As lead paint had been applied to the ceiling and floor at one time and along with the discovery of mould, all had to be remediated. The work continued with refitting the original windows with new wood where necessary along with the original door that had been pain-stakingly restored. By 2014, the restoration was complete and the "Group" received a favorable final inspection report by the Provincial Government’s representative. As such, the Church was designated a Provincial Historic Site.

The organ had been brought back and placed in its original location. Maryanne Halwa offered to play a tune on the organ and what a wonderful tune it was. Wanda pointed out the picture of Reverend and Agnes Forbes that had been placed on the organ along with a photo of Harold Bulford, County Councillor and Wanda Zenner of the Glen Leslie Preservation Group, receiving the prestigious award for Heritage Conservation from the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation. She pointed out the picture of Thomas and Margaret Leslie for whom the area was named after. Following which, she drew attention to the picture of the six teachers who had taught there when the Church was utilized as the school house for the Somme School District. Wanda also provided a binder that contained biographies of the teachers. Along the back wall was a photo of Elizabeth Johnston, the first secretary-treasurer of the Agnes Forbes Auxiliary along with a photo of the original bible (which had been stolen) that had been donated to the Church by Irene Hildebrandt.

From there the tour congregated at a stately new stone at the First Burial Site in the Glen Leslie Cemetery. The beautiful stone had been donated by Elizabeth and Gerald Fritsma. Wanda gave a brief history on Grace (Brookbanks) Parker and then on behalf of the entire Community, thanked the Fritsma’s for their generosity.

The tour continued on to the "Ingraham Mediation Area" that had been landscaped by Evelyn Ingraham. It is a beautiful spot to sit and remember those that are buried in the Cemetery.

A very special thank-you goes out to Evelyn Ingraham for all her hard work to ensure that the tour of the Glen Leslie Church and Cemetery was a success.

By Wanda Zenner


Restoration Pictures click here

The old sign and the church before restoration

Click for a readable version of the sign or center paper

Glen Leslie Church and Cemetery

On November 21, 1914, a meeting was held to consider building a church at Glen Leslie. A subscription list was drawn up with cash donations and volunteer labor promised. Alfred Olson was hired as the carpenter for $4.00 per day. The 20’ x 30’ log church was built on ten acres allotted for a church and cemetery on SW 6 72 3 W6. By March 1915, the logs were hauled and construction began after spring work. Total cost of the Church was $468.00. The first church service was held on October 30, 1915 and continued until 1964.

The Historic Site

In the spring of 2011, the Glen Leslie Church was designated a Provincial Historic Resource by the Minister of Culture & Community Development. The church remains one of the few pre-1920’s structures left in the area.


©This website Copyright by David Sorensen
All pictures Copyright by their perspective Photographers and used here with permission.