Plastic Flowers and Chicken Wire: A Memorable Canada Day

I was born and raised in Seebe, the little TransAlta Utilities village between the Kananaskis and Horseshoe Dams. The town no longer exists, but I have many amazing memories of this beautiful spot and it’s one of my favorite subjects.

The one room school house at Seebe. Photo Marjory Gibney.

With Canada Day upon us, a particular Seebe memory came to mind.

Over the years, both as an adult and as a kid (don’t ask me how long ago that was), I participated with the Seebe community in creating floats for the annual Canmore Canada Day parades.

In 1988, we entered a particularly memorable float in the parade. We were celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Seebe School, one of the last remaining one-room school houses in the province of Alberta.  I had attended this school from Grade 1 to Grade 7, and my own kids were lucky to experience their first years of learning here as well. So to celebrate the 70-year milestone, we made a beautiful Canadian flag, which we created by tying plastic flowers (the kind you use to decorate a car for a wedding) to a chicken wire frame. Fittingly, we drove that flag down the road with the excitement of a bunch of newlyweds!

The flag rigged up to the car for the parade. Photo Marjory Gibney.

1988 float celebrating the Seebe School’s 70th year. Photo Marjory Gibney

Inevitably, with times changing and increasing demands on our school boards, the little school in Seebe was closed down. In 2004, Transalta closed the town altogether.  Let me tell you, there are some pretty complex feelings involved when your hometown ceases to exist!

No vandals are going to ruin her Canada Day! Photo Marjory Gibney.

Over the years that followed, some of the homes were moved out to be refurbished and used in other locations.  The remaining buildings sat empty for several years, and unfortunately most of them were badly vandalized, including the school.

Given this sad lack of respect, you can imagine my stunned surprise when 22 years later I was wandering through Seebe just before July 1, and was met with the sight of the flag from that 1988 float, carefully displayed on the river fence across from the school.  I believe it had been stored in the attic of the school and left behind when the school was closed.

The 1988 flag found 22 years later. Photo Marjory Gibney.

It was a wonderful feeling to see that our Canadian flag could still inspire respect, even from the people who were vandalizing what was left of our little town.

The combination of sadness, patriotism, nostalgia and disbelief makes this one of my most unique Canada Day memories!

Do you have a unique Canada Day memory? We would love to hear it!


Marjory Gibney

Marjory Gibney is a Bow Valley “lifer,” born and raised in the now non-existent town of Seebe, with the Bow River and Mount Yamnuska in her front yard. Having emigrated the vast distance to Canmore, she has to admit that it’s extremely unlikely anything will ever pry her loose from the Valley. With strong Valley roots (her Dad was born and raised in Banff), Marj has absorbed a fair bit of the natural and human history of the area. She retired in 2008 from her career as a school librarian at Lawrence Grassi and Exshaw Schools, and with more time to focus on photography, music, travel and various other passions, she is enthusiastically pursuing her new career as a full time leisurologist.

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