Families honoured at May Day Miners March
This Sunday, the community will come together to honour the memories of the families that helped build a nation in the mines of Drumheller.
The Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site over the last few years has revived the tradition of May Day. Once a popular event in the valley, honoring worker’s rights, the holiday has shifted in a modern age.
“This is a chance for us to remember our mining heritage, to honour all mine families, in particular to remember the 210-plus men and boys who were killed while digging Drumheller’s coal,” said Jay Russell curator at the Atlas Coal Mine.
The importance of the coal industry runs in the veins of the Drumheller community, and first put the valley on the national stage. “That coal is what fueled the development of Western Canada. When coal was king, Drumheller was the crown jewel in the crown of King Coal,” said Russell. “Our coal went all across Western Canada, and our Mine families were who dug that to help build this country.”
The main feature of event is the Miners’ Memor ia l March to honour those who gave their lives in the mines in the valley. Groups will march at 12:30 p.m., starting at the Badlands Community Facility and will walk to the Miners’ Memorial Park beside Drumheller Town Hall.
“We are going to do a short march, carrying the placards of the names of mine families. They could be miners killed, or they could be just families too,” said Russell. “Reverend Katherine Freeman will preside over the event, and her grandfather was killed in the mines. She the has a direct connection to the valley, her family is from East Coulee.”
The service at the memorial will include guest speakers, as well as a roll call of the miners who perished in the mines and will feature music from Marie Russell.
B e - fore the march , pa r t i c i - p an t s can fill up at the Drumhe l le r Legion’s monthly pancake breakfast. Another tradition they are drawing to mark May Day is sports.
“Drumheller was huge with hockey and baseball and some of the finest ball players to ever come out of Alberta, came from the valley here,” said Russell.
This will be the second annual Miners May Day Slopitch tournament. Teams will be competing starting April 29. This is a fundraiser for the Atlas Coal Mine.
This is a chance for us to remember our mining heritage. in particular to remember the 210-plus men and boys who were killed while digging Drumheller’s coal.”
This year’s Miners March takes place May 1 at 12:30 beginning at the Badlands Community Facility, and ending at the MIner’s Memorial Park beside Town Hall.