Remembering Banff's fallen 0
Brett Clark/Special to the Crag & CanyonWhyte Museum's Historical Interpreture Pam Manning stands in front of the Luxton family plot during her historical tour of The Old Banff Cemetery on Nov. 10, 2009.
The Whyte Museum's Remembrance Day tour of the Old Banff Cemetery offers an insight into Banff's contributions to war.
The Old Banff Cemetery at the end of Buffalo Street, reminds visitors of the price of war, and Banff's contributions throughout history.
"This cemetery is unique and the most historic in Canada," said Pam Manning, a historical interpreter for the Whyte Museum. "One in three people found here can also be found in a history book."
Tom Wilson may be one of the more famous individuals inside the cemetery thanks to his ability to be in the right place at the right time. He joined the North West Mounted Police in 1879 at the age of 17 and was one of the officers who kept guard over Sitting Bull when he crossed the medicine line, today's Canada/United States border. Wilson eventually resigned from the NWMP stemming from a disagreement with Sir John A. MacDonald and his government over the starving of Sitting Bull and his people.
"Wilson had an incredible ability to be in the right place at the right time, when the Banff Springs Hotel needed a tour guide he was chosen because of his knowledge of the landscape from his time spent as a surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway" Manning said. "He is actually present in the Last Spike photograph as well."
Arthur Oliver Wheeler is one of the more notable people found buried in the cemetery. In 1885 the North-West Rebellion lead by Louis Riel and the Métis people of the District of Saskatchewan initiated an uprising against the government of Canada. Wheeler joined the militia as a lieutenant with the Dominion Land Surveyors Intelligence Corps and helped defeat Riel and his rebels.
"A.O. Wheeler was a very brave man, and was actually injured when a bullet grazed his shoulder," Manning said.
Wheeler went on to form the Alpine Club of Canada and was their first president from 1906-1910. He later resided as their honorary president from 1926 until his death in 1945.
Banff artist Peter Whyte enlisted in the Canadian Army reserve during the outbreak of the Second World War and reported to basic training with the Calgary Highlanders at Sarcee Camp. As a war artist he was able to travel from post to post capturing army life. In 1944 he placed second in an art contest and was named an official war artist.
"Being named an official war artist was actually a very serious appointment," Manning said. "A.Y. Jackson of The Group of Seven was a member of the committee who appointed him."
Whyte created over 50 paintings and photographs to support the war effort. He was discharged on Nov. 10, 1944. Today both Peter and his wife Catharine's collection can still be seen at The Whyte Museum of The Canadian Rockies.