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Sir Alexander Mackenzie School (Inuvik, NT)

  • Corporate body

The provision of western education in Inuvik began immediately during the community’s construction, with a temporary Federal school in 1956. Several of the attending children came from Aklavik, from where community government officials were strongly encouraging families to relocate. In 1959 a large new regional school opened, officially named Sir Alexander Mackenzie School (SAMS) in 1961. This school housed all grades until Samuel Hearne Secondary School was built in 1966. By that time SAMS had 38 classrooms and capacity for 890 students from grades 1 to 12.

In 1969 all educational facilities in Inuvik were transferred to the Government of the Northwest Territories, who assumed responsibilities for education from the federal government. The Beaufort-Delta Divisional Education Council was established in 1989 to administer regional schools.

In addition to residents of the town of Inuvik, the student body at SAMS for much of its history also included residential school students brought from communities across the Beaufort Delta region and the Arctic to stay at the two major Federal hostels, Stringer Hall (which closed in 1975) and Grollier Hall (which closed in 1996).

SAMS continued to operate as an elementary school until 2012, when it was replaced by the new East Three Elementary School. The SAMS building was demolished in May 2014.

Arden, D'Arcy

  • Person

D'Arcy Arden was born in England, but came to Canada as a young man. He was educated at Ridley College, and trained to enter the Royal Navy; however, he was only five feet tall and was denied entry to the service. He decided to join a large survey in Labrador, where he learned to drive dogs. After a period of doing office work in Ottawa, he was sent to the Yukon (ca. 1911), to Herschel Island. In the winter of 1913-1914, Arden met John Hornby. In 1914, Arden settled at Dease Bay, although he had originally planned to travel to the arctic coast. He married Marie Adele (Arimo) Neitia and had one daughter, Catherine (Kay), and three sons (D'Arcy Jr. "Sonny", Hugh, and James) . In 1925, he was working in the Peace River area watching over the bison at Wood Buffalo National Park. Sometime in the 1930s, he returned to the Great Bear Lake area, and in 1933, he discovered and staked pitchblende claims at Hottah Lake. In 1938, he moved to Yellowknife where he and D'Arcy Jr. ("Sonny") set up a mink farming operation. He died December 26, 1959.

Addison, W.D.

  • Person
  • 1939-2017

William (Bill) David Addison was born April 27, 1939 to Peter Addison and Ottelyn (Robinson) Addison, the oldest of 3 children, in Toronto, Ontario.

His father, a forester, moved with the family to Port Arthur Ontario by the time Bill was 5 years old, where he spent his formative years. His mother Ottelyn inspired his love and knowledge of nature and his intense curiosity as she took Bill and his brothers exploring nature, canoeing, identifying flora and fauna. She in turn developed her love and knowledge of the natural world in Algonquin Park under the tutelage of her father, Mark Robinson, a Park Ranger.

The family moved to Richmond Hill in the early ‘50’s where teenage Bill developed his love of photography. He and his mother built a dark room in which they could develop their photos. Bill was particularly drawn to nature with its abundant wildlife and landscape opportunities. Like his father, he studied forestry at the University of Toronto, followed by a Masters’ degree in Fisheries in the mid 1960’s. It was at University that he met Wendy Livingston who he married in 1966.

Bill’s reading tastes and interests varied greatly, leading to him being conversant on almost any topic. The book ‘Dangerous River’ by R.M. Patterson made such a strong impression on him that he led Wendy on a honeymoon trip into the Nahanni River country where they spent a month traveling the river and its environs by foot and canoe in 1966 despite the fears of relatives that they would never return. He was always adventurous. The collection of fish for the Royal Ontario Museum and the search for lemmings helped finance the trip as did scuba diving for an engineering company. This trip was to be instrumental in many of Bill’s later endeavours.

In 1966, Bill started working with fisheries biology in Maple for ‘Lands and Forests’. Much to his delight, the unit moved north to Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) a year later. He was happy to have returned ‘home’. An article Bill wrote about the Nahanni trip appeared in Weekend Magazine that year as well. A few years later, Bill changed careers to join Wendy as a high school teacher which provided opportunities to camp and canoe together during the summers.

Bill promoted the Nahanni River area as natural place to create a park, and when this occurred in the early 1970’s, he proposed that old-timers in the area be interviewed to provide a history of the area while they were still able to do so. Due to his enthusiasm for the project along with his extensive interests and ability to connect to people, he was a natural choice. The proposal was accepted along with a request that he carry out those interviews. During this time, two daughters, Michelle and Kirsten were born, so the family stayed home while Bill travelled on his interviewing trips. He was always teased about having missed Kirsten’s birth because he was carrying out interviews at the time. Although the scope of the project was limited due to funding constraints, knowing that the interviewees were all aging, Bill continued the interviews after funding ran out, travelling from the Maritimes to California to the Northwest Territories. This was a task that he enjoyed thoroughly, and which resulted in a lifelong passion.

Bill returned to Nahanni River in 1978 and 1979, travelling the length of the river, but also carrying out many hikes in the surrounding areas. He loved exploring Canada which led to many car and canoe camping trips both locally and throughout the country with the family once the girls were old enough for this type of travel. Memorable trips to Dawson City, Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk, the Broken Islands and the Milk River provided a greater understanding of Canada for all.

After retirement in 1998, Bill had more time available to participate in his many interests. Winter and spring months often took Bill and Wendy on camping trips in the Southern US and west, particularly during rainy years in which flowers were present in the deserts or oceans were stormy and snowpack was high. Bill was a prodigious writer, and his ‘epistles’ and digital photos of our many travels in Canada and the US along with several international extended trips were greatly anticipated by the many friends and relatives who received them. His interesting talks and slideshows were greatly appreciated and very well received by a variety of organizations and friends. Retirement also allowed time to enjoy the growing family, which by 2013 included 2 sons-in-law and 4 grandchildren.

Bill’s variety of interests led him, along with a Thunder Bay friend, Greg, to the exploration of local geological formations which they were able to identify as ejecta from the Sudbury (Ontario) meteorite impact in the early 2000’s. This discovery led to work still being carried out on this discovery by geologists and mining companies. Bill and Greg produced several publications on this discovery and for this work they were awarded the Goldich Medal from the Institute on Lake Superior Geology. This interest led Bill and Wendy to a trip to South Africa to take part in a Geology Conference on meteorite impacts as well as a geology cruise to Antarctica. A large piece of ejecta from Thunder Bay now resides in a museum in South Africa.

As geologists expanded on the ejecta studies that Bill and Greg started, Bill returned to intensive work on the Nahanni ‘Old timers’ project, transcribing interviews that hadn’t been transcribed as part of the original project. During their trip to Alaska and NWT in 2017, Bill was still searching archives and talking to people associated with the Nahanni area. Sadly, Bill was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer soon after his return from this trip and died October 25, 2017.

Smee, Horace Herbert (Mac)

  • Person
  • April 22, 1922-August 6, 1995

Horace Herbert (Mac) Smee was born on April 22, 1922 in Edmonton, Alberta. He married Joan Eilleen Smee (also of Edmonton) in Fairview, Alberta. They had two sons, Barry Smee and Martin Smee.

In 1941, he began working for the Northern Transportation Company as a chief steward and was sent to the Northwest Territories. His first job was to paint the S.S. "Mackenzie River" in Fort Smith, which he then rode up the Mackenzie River as far as the Mackenzie Delta. On his return to Fort Smith, he was transferred to the S.S. "Distributor" and made two trips on this vessel. The first trip he acted as steward to Margaret White. After his service with the Northern Transportation Company, he returned to Edmonton and joined the Air Force, which he left in 1943.

The Smees moved to Prince George, British Columbia, where Mac Smee operated two independent theatres, before moving to Vancouver in 1947. In Vancouver, Smee managed movie theatres including the Strand, Orpheum, Victoria Road Theatre, and the Regent. He served as the Secretary of the Famous Players Theatre Managers Association of BC.

Around 1954, the Smees moved back to Edmonton. Mac Smee joined the Hudson Bay Company, where he worked until retiring in 1982. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Mac, Joan and Martin Smee operated a family business, The Plate Connection, an award-winning collectors’ plate and doll supplier.

Smee died on August 6th, 1995 in Edmonton.

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