StettlerLocal.com June 29, 2022 @4:25pm
The Stettler Community Builders Committee will unveil two new monuments on June 30th across from the soccer fields beside the Recreation Centre at 3 pm. The committee chose the June 30th date because that is the date that Stettler was officially designated as a village. The new monuments are just a few yards from last year’s erected Community Builder’s monuments recognizing Fred Colley and Clark Burlingham.
The committee created the Community Builders Program to memorialize the names of those who have made significant contributions to our community over the years.
The two new monuments, comprised of granite plaques with photos and a summary of the subject, sit on heart-shaped metal bases. The Town of Stettler funded the project, Woodcraft by Dave engraved the granite plates, and WTS Manufacturing made the heart-shaped bases that comprise the body.
This year, the committee will recognize one of the early pioneers of the district who built an iconic business and helped build the town's recreation program, Judge William 'Billy' Gray. Gray was a former member of the British Navy before coming to Canada in the 1800s. He worked on many early Alberta ranches before becoming a territory representative and then for the provincial government by holding such titles as Notary and Justice of the Peace. Gray came to Stettler shortly after the townsite was opened and was not only the local Justice of the Peace but also served as the Dominion Land Agent. Gray was also a key player in recruiting young men from the area when the first World War began.
The second monument will be dedicated to businessman, town council member, and community enthusiast Harry Poon. Poon was a well-known, well-respected community member who sat on the town council in the fifties and owned and operated the Club Cafe for many years. During this time, he also ran the Star Bowladrome in the basement of the Club Cafe and opened the Star Dining Room. Poon also developed the recreation program in Stettler, most notably the hockey program. Poon came to Canada to live with his father when he was just ten years old.
The committee hopes that future Community Builders' names are submitted by those who live or have lived in Stettler. Interested parties can submit names on the town website, and volunteers are willing to help with nominee research. More in-depth biographies will also be added to the program's page on the town's website to make the project accessible to those no longer in the district.
The June 30th unveiling is open to the public and will begin at 3 pm.
Carson Ellis, Local Historian
Our Town Stettler