Episode 58 – The MacKinnon Ravine Mystery

Kay Rollans asks who hung two effigies from the 142nd Street Bridge amid 1965 protests against a freeway slated to be built through MacKinnon Ravine. This episode is part of our season exploring the history of parks and natural areas in Edmonton.

We also launched our Patreon with this episode.

The article that got Kay curious, with two dummies hanging from the 142 St Bridge. It made the front page of the October 30, 1965 Edmonton Journal.

The bridge still stands today, over top of the MacKinnon Ravine park.

Looking north in MacKinnon Ravine.

Kay and Chris went to the City of Edmonton Archives to look for information about Margaret Chappelle and the other members of the Save Our Parks Association, who were very vocal opponents of the 1960s METS plan, including the Jasper Freeway that would have gone through MacKinnon Ravine.

Kay meeting with archivist Tim O’Grady at the City of Edmonton Archives

The Metropolitan Edmonton Transportation Study mapped out a central freeway system for Edmonton, to be built through spaces like the Mill Creek, MacKinnon, and Capilano ravines. The Capilano Bridge was built through the Capilano ravine on the east side of Edmonton, but other controversial parts of the plan were defeated.

The two commissioners hung in effigy were Geoff Hamilton and Dudley Menzies.

Geoff Hamilton popped up in the Edmonton Journal on March 11, 1966, when he quit his commissioner position.
Dudley Menzies remembered in the Edmonton Journal on November 8, 1995.

The clipping files for the MacKinnon Ravine and Save Our Parks Association were full of fascinating coverage of the protests against the freeway from the Journal.

Edmonton Journal coverage of women picketing construction in the MacKinnon Ravine on October 18, 1965.

Olive Hoyle, a member of the Save Our Parks Association, donated many records about the group’s work, including this illustration of woodland creatures commenting on a theoretical future Jasper Freeway.

Illustration from the MacKinnon Ravine files in the Olive P Hoyle fonds at the City of Edmonton Archives.

Construction got surprisingly far.

We also met Anne Packer, who protested against the MacKinnon Ravine freeway in the 1960s.

Anne with her son and a placard that says Freeways Are Not Free, protesting on 142 Street in the 1960s. [Photo courtesy of Anne Packer]
Kay and Anne today.

Anne also shared photos from the dedication ceremony when MacKinnon Ravine was formally made into a park in 1984. Maria Jablonski, Anne, Margaret Chappelle, Olive Hoyle, and Jan Reimer all appear.

Maria Jablonski, Anne Packer, Margaret Chappelle, and Olive Hoyle (L-R) [Photo courtesy Anne Packer]
Shout-outs in this episode to Alberta Blue Cross and connectFirst Credit Union.

Further Reading

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