Alix

Settlement

Alix_na_2925_2_thuThe village of Alix was named after Mrs. Alexia Westhead, a pioneer rancher and the first woman settler of the district. The first settlers in the district were English speaking and filed homestead leases after their arrival in the early 1890's. The majority of settlers came from Eastern Canada to Lacombe by railway and travelled by oxen, team or foot to their destinations.  Their supplies had to be freighted from Lacombe, a distance of approximately 25 miles. The trip required 11/2 days to accomplish as transportation consisted of horse drawn wagons and buggies. Among these early pioneers were Edward and Walter Parlby, Joseph Todd, J.R. Mackie and F.R. Mitchell. The early settlers carried on for almost 14 years before the village was established. Joseph Todd, owned the land on which the village now stands and for a short while, the settlement was called Toddsville.Alix_na_2925_3_thu
 
FEATURED AUDIO
audioFeatured_Top2Heritage Trails #241 People and Places: Parlby Lake
 
Brothers Edward and Walter Parlby are "remittance men" from England who have settled in the Beaver Lake District, near a lake to be named for them.  A neighbour of the Parlbys returned from a trip to England in 1896 with a family friend, Irene Marriott.  She and Walter fell in love and married the following year.
 

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BEFORE WWII

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Alix_na_3433_3_thuThe Alix creamery added greatly to the districts economy. N.A. Larson established the creamery in 1916 and during the first year of operation the plant produced 60,000 pounds (27,220 kilograms) of butter. The plant experienced peak production in 1934 when over 2,000,000 pounds (90,7200 kilograms) of butter were produced. The creamery was advertised at international exhibitions, where it won many prizes for its butter.

 

FEATURED VIDEO

 featuredVideoThe Reluctant Politician: The Story of Irene Parlby - Part I © 1999 White Pine Pictures

 
"In the spring of 1896 a young English woman named Irene Marryat made a long journey to the frontier of western Canada. Touched by the sudden beauty of the west and its freedom, Irene would adopt this new country as her home."
 
 
Alix_na_205_10_thuWith the completion of the branch line of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) from Lacombe to Coronation in 1905, a large number of new settlers arrived. Sir William Van Horne, then president of the CPR, changed the village name to Alix, after Alexia Westhead. The population steadily increased with the start of new businesses.  On June 3, 1907 Alix was incorporated as a village but did not administer its own affairs until 1916 when an election was held to elect a council.Homesteaders_thu The history of Alix would not be complete without the mention of Irene Parlby, who became a member of the Famous 5. The first woman cabinet minister in the British Empire, and she represented the Lacombe constituency under the United Farmers of Alberta government; her home was Dartmoor Ranch, near Alix. 
 
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WWII AND AFTER

 
Women from Alix joined the services in WWII and were stationed at Suffield.
 
As WWII was being fought, the Alix Ladies Auxiliary took over the supplying and sending of parcels to the men serving overseas. alix_na_205_14_thu
 
These women also volunteered with the Red Cross and raised money through suppers, bake sales, and teas. They also knitted socks and sweaters as well as hospital supplies, such as pajamas and bed sheets.
 
A number of organizations were formed in the village of Alix over the years, such as the Women's Institute, Oddfellows, Alix Agricultural Society, and the Board of Trade (now called the Chamber of Commerce). Many volunteers have worked hard to improve the community.
 
FEATURED AUDIO
 
audioFeatured_Top2A Woman of the West - Part II © 1967 CBC Radio

Irene Parlby talks about the isolation she first experienced oh the Parlby ranch.

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audioFeatured_Top2A Woman of the West - Part III © 1967 CBC Radio

Irene Parlby and others in the Alix district made their homes comfortable places to live, making their country seem more civilized.

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audioFeatured_Top2A Woman of the West - Part IV © 1967 CBC Radio

Irene Parlby discusses what motivated her and her neighbours to start a Country Women's Club and a local library in the Alix district

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audioFeatured_Top2A Woman of the West - Part V © 1967 CBC Radio

Irene Parlby was reluctant to run for office as a United Farmers of Alberta member in 1921. As a Cabinet Minister, she found politics to be troubling but full of new experiences.

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Present Day

Alix is a progressive community with growing business endeavours as shown by the recently completed $50- million barley malting plant and more than 25 local businesses that offer most services. Alix boasts of some of the finest recreation facilities in central Alberta, with its nine-hole golf course, Alix Lake recreation area, the arena, curling rink and hiking trail. 

The economy of Alix and the surrounding region has received a boost for the future with the recent construction of the Westcan Malting plant in 1993. This plant converts malting barley to malt, which is used primarily for the production of beer. The economic base of the region is wheat, malting barley, coarse grains, coal, cattle, horses, sheep, hogs, straw, dairy products, poultry, oil and gas.