Our History

1. Don Boras, Picture Butte, 1974.

Don was fascinated with the camera from a very young age. He would take it from me and insist on taking the picture. However; film was expensive at that time so, Don did not have the opportunity to use it as often as he wanted.

My brother, Don’s Uncle Chester, returned home after serving in the Canadian Army during WWII and then enlisted in the Canadian Merchant Navy, sailing around the world. Chester was able to photograph many different sites of interest, using a professional camera of the day.

On March 10, 1965 Uncle Chester passed away after suffering for years from PTSD. The following year on March 27, 1966, Don’s 13th birthday, he said to me (before I had a chance to acquire a gift for him), “Mom, all I want for my birthday is Uncle Chester’s camera.” This started Don on the road to the love of photography. From that day on, the camera was his constant companion.

Don began taking class pictures at St. Catherine’s School, and then photos of the girls who were running for Grey Cup Queen, which enhanced the Lions’ Birthday-Anniversary calendar for ten years. Entering PBHS in September 1968, gave him an opportunity to begin taking school function photos, which he did for the year book until he graduated in June 1971.

After leaving PBHS, Don enrolled at SAIT in Calgary, where he took courses in journalism and photography. While working for the Canadian Sugar Ltd. in Picture Butte and Taber, he took historical pictures of the factories before enrolling at the University of Lethbridge (B.Sc.) and then the University of Calgary (M.Sc.).

Don’s photos of special family gatherings, weddings, St. Catherine’s graduations, Lions Grey Cup Queens, “Our Town”, and PBHS yearbooks, enhance our albums today and retain the history of a special era. Don’s love for the magic of the camera extended to the subjects which he recorded so gracefully. They were of utmost importance to him.

Don was a resident of Picture Butte for most of his 67 years. He passed away from colon cancer on May 12, 2020 but left behind a photographic legacy.

Helen Boras

2. Picture Butte High School Band, Jamboree Days, 1973.

3. Children Pushing Stroller, Jamboree Days, Picture Butte, 1978.

4. Calf Roping, Rodeo, Picture Butte, 1972.

5. Car in Hole, Don’t Drink and Drive! Crescent Avenue, Picture Butte, circa 1972.

6. Cutting the Net, Picture Butte High School Sugar Kings Champions, 1977.

7. Slim, a 70’s icon! Picture Butte, 1974.

8. Picture Butte Sugar Factory Employees on break, circa 1975.

9. Boys riding bikes as a storm approaches the Picture Butte Grain Elevators. Jaimeson Avenue, 1976.

10. Picture Butte Sugar Factory campaign 1973.

11. Abandoned Oldsmobile Grill, Picture Butte, 1973.

12. Abandoned 1959 Fire Hydrant, Picture Butte, 1973.

13. Karl Keebler, Lee’s Café, Picture Butte, 1973.

Karl was born in Germany on October 1,1901. As a young man, he worked in the Black Forest in Germany hauling lumber by oxen. Karl immigrated to Northern Ontario in 1936, where he worked in the lumber industry. In the early 1940’s, encouraged by a friend, he settled in Picture Butte. In time, he secured a truck in which he could haul lumber from the Crowsnest Pass to the farmers in the Picture Butte, Iron Springs, and Turin areas. As the cattle industry began to grow, Karl kept busy traveling back and forth to the Crowsnest Pass two or three times a week, bringing lumber for fence posts and corrals. He continued to do this until he was seventy-eight years of age. Whenever he returned with a load of lumber for the farmers, Karl would always go for coffee at “Lee’s Palace” (M&E Restaurant on Highway Avenue, today). This is where farmers and cattlemen gathered daily. Their branding plaques are still on display at the Restaurant. Here, Karl was able to personally contact farmers to find out what they needed. Karl also brought lumber to any resident of Picture Butte who needed it, including the building and renovating of the “Butte Hotel”. As time went on, Karl purchased a larger truck to haul the lumber to these farmers; back then his truck was the largest one on our highway. At Christmas time, for thirty years, he brought a large load of Christmas trees, selling them to the residents of Picture Butte from his home yard on Crescent Avenue. Karl was a very well-known and respected member of our community. He offered a very important service to the newly growing cattle industry throughout the 1950’s to 1978, as well as making many children happy with a fir tree for Christmas! Karl passed away in Lethbridge on September 29, 1983. Predeceased by his son Ralph on May 9, 1957. His wife Betty passed away on January 13, 2009.Helen Boras (friend & neighbour)

14. Young boy on Town of Picture Butte Public Works truck, 1978.

15. Machinist at the Picture Butte Sugar Factory, circa 1975.

16. Evan Evans and Brian Ellefson arm wrestling, Picture Butte High School, 1970-1971.

17. High School boys having fun in the Picture Butte High School cafeteria, 1970-1971.

18. High School girls having fun posing for the camera at Picture Butte High School, 1970-1971.

19. High School student preparing for a skit. Picture Butte High School, 1970-1971.

20. Football game at Picture Butte High School. Note the Sugar Factory bins in the background, 1970-1971.

21. Picture Butte railway station, 1976. The station was subsequently relocated to Diamond City and was refurbished into a residential dwelling.

22. Revelstoke and Fletcher’s Grocer. Jamieson Avenue, Picture Butte, 1973.

23. Rob Boras popping a wheelie, 1972.

24. Snake escaping fire log. Family gathering at Vander Heyden’s River Bottom, 1972.

Twigs, small logs and branches were gathered to build a fire. Once the fire was engaged, a rattle snake emerged from its hot log house. Don quickly grabbed his camera and clicked as the rattler slowly managed an escaped from the log into the trees. A close call for the snake.

25. A young Wayne Boras arm wrestling a formidable opponent, Picture Butte, 1975.

26. Sunglass Girls, Picture Butte, 1970-1971.