HowÂ Riel's Prisoners Spent Christmas When the morning of the 25th of December, 1869, came round in Red River, it found 63 prisoners in the hands of the Provisional Government of Assiniboia, of which Louis Riel was president. They came to…
Published October 18, 2007 by
According to promise I am going to do my best to give you, to the best of my ability, a graphic account of how we spent our first Christmas in Lloyd Minster. I think as Christmas approached we all rather dreaded it knowing how this special season brings with it so forcibly the memory of all the home gatherings in the Old Country. Fortunately, we personally, are far too busy in our surrounding to brood over vain regrets and Christmas Day was upon us almost before we could realize the fact. There was service at 11:00 o'clock a.m. and at 5:00 p.m. the "Festivities" started.
Thanks to the generosity of Messers. Hall Scott and Co. who has just completed a very large building for General Stores, the Gathering of the Colonists took place there and it is certainly owing to their great kindness that our Christmas and New Year was spent so pleasantly and happily. The first item on the programme was a big feed followed by a capital concert divided into two parts. After the first half had been successfully carried through came a large Christmas tree very prettily decorated, the little gifts being distributed by an ideal "Santa Claus". I need scarcely say how delighted the little ones were. The whole proceedings were brought to a close about 11:30 p.m. after a most enjoyable social gathering and the first Christmas in Lloyd Minster is a thing of the past but nevertheless it will be remembered by all who were present as a bright and happy one, the more so as it was unexpected and so well carried out. The effect it had upon us was that we all felt cheered by this little excitement after all we had previously passed through and somehow "longed for more".
Thanks again to Messrs. Hall Scott and Co. another happy gathering was arranged for New Years Eve and yet another on New Years Day. They not only gave the use of their splendid building for a dance but undertook all arrangements and issued a general invitation and welcome to all. The room was very prettily decorated and the floor well waxed. The band consisted of several violins, two coronets, and harmonium. We started dancing at 8:30 p.m. and after a most enjoyable evening broke up at about 4:30 a.m. We all felt years younger. We wound up with Sir Roger and Auld Lang Syne and walked back to Doris Court in brilliant moonlight, arriving home as the clock struck 5:00 a.m. The next evening (Saturday) there was an excellent concert at the conclusion of which there was an impromptu dance, this being the last in Messrs. Hall Scott and Co's. spacious building. You will see that our Christmas and New Year was by no means dull or miserable, nor were our dear absent ones forgotten.