Mr.Norman Luxton

1876: Norman Kenny Luxton is born on November 2 at Fort Garry, Manitoba (now Winnipeg). His father is William Fisher Luxton who was one of the founders of the Winnipeg Free Press. Luxton Ave in Winnipeg is named after him. William married in 1866 and was the first public school teacher in Winnipeg. Just 2 years before Norman was born , William ran for city mayor but was defeated on January 5, 1874. He was also instrumental in Winnipeg being incorporated into a city. Norman had three older brothers, William (b. 1867), Henry (b.1870), Harry (b. 1872) along with one sister Nellie "Mrs. Fred Foster "(b. 1873). Many childhood summers are spent on canoe trips in Manitoba. He learned to be a good shot and won many championships including the Championship of Western Canada. At this competition he was up against some of the finest shots from Minnesota and the Dakotas. Norman lived for adventure. He loved printing and Indian lore.

1878:

A younger brother for Norman, Louis Luxton is born

 

1880:

A younger sister is born, Olive Luxton "Ollie' (Mrs. Edward Hosking)

1881:

Another brother George is born

 

1889:

Youngest and last sibling is born, Harold Malloch Luxton

 

1891:

Norman sweeps floors after school and learns to set type at the Winnipeg Free Press.

 

1892:

Norman becomes an apprentice clerk to an Indian agent in what is now Kenora, Ontario. He accompanies the Indian on treaty paying trips and travels mostly by an 8 man canoe working on the rivers of Northern Ontario. Norman was in charge of the cash box which held the treaty paying money. The box was attached to Norman and a strap was buckled around his neck. The theory was if the boat tipped Norman would float up and they could find the money.

1893:

Luxton leaves for the Cariboo Gold Fields to make his fortune. He carries on to Calgary where he gets a job for the Calgary Herald newspaper. He had many jobs including delivery boy and when business was slow he sold brand books which the Herald was printing at the time. He remains in Calgary for 8 years.

 

1896: Norman takes part in the Calgary Herald bicycle race. His sister Nellie marries Mr. Fred Foster on August 5th.

 

1900:

Norman heads to the Kootenay region looking for gold but soon moves to Vancouver and starts up his own weekly "gossip" sheet called "Town Topics"which was printed by hand. When it failed Luxton got a job with the Vancouver Sun. Luxton befriended a Frank Burd who would become proprietor of the Vancouver Province. It was this paper that would later put up a sum of $5000 if Luxton and Voss complete their journey around the world. At this time his brother George is working in Victoria at Oliver .B. Ormand Bookseller & Stationer at 92 Government Street. Mr. Ormand was a good friend of Norman (who nicknamed him Lobster). George quit and moved to St. Paul to be with the rest of the Luxton family and would serve as Norman's "P.R." man supplying stories of the Tilikum's voyage and pictures to papers around the world. It is also reported that Luxton went on a sealing trip to the Bering Sea and also worked briefly as a stockbroker after leaving the Herald.

1901:

Norman meets Captain John Voss and decides to circumnavigate the globe. (See Story)

William Luxton (Norman's father) returns to Winnipeg and gets a job in the Government Public Works Department. He will send for his family later on. The boys who worked with him at the St. Paul Globe newspaper band together and give him a going away gift of a $150 diamond ring.

1902:

Norman gets engaged to Marjorie Kent who was his girlfriend from Canada. She followed him to Australia where her family was originally from. Their plan was to marry and set up a home in Calgary.

Luxton signs up as an able bodied seaman for the Canadian Australian Steamship Company to secure his voyage back to Victoria. He sails on the passenger ship "Aorangi" The Aoragni was built for the New Zealand Shipping Company in 1883 and sold to the Union Steamship Co. in 1900. She was part of the Canadian-Australian Steam Ship Company in which the Union Steamship Company had a controlling interest. The route she took was Sydney, Wellington, Suva, Honolulu, Victoria, B.C. and Vancouver. She could accommodate 160 passengers and she remained in service until 1913. He admits the voyage was rougher than the Tilikum's voyage to Australia.

Luxton arrives in Vancouver and hopes to get a pass or 1/2 fare on the railway to Calgary but is forced to pay full fare. He was written ahead for a job with the Calgary Herald but he is turned down. After only a few brief days in Calgary he heads to Banff for his health.

Luxton starts work as an agent for a haberdashery. One day he walks into an office which housed a little newspaper and the little Gordon Press along with boxes of type stored in cigar boxes and coffee tins. He makes a deal with the owner and soon owns the Crag & Canyon newspaper (which he publishes till 1951. Although he leased the publication he did write stories and editorials and was it's proprietor. The newspaper was not published in the winter. He also opens the "Sign of the Goat Curio Shop" where he sold Stoney handicrafts and mounted specimans of local animals (Both Norman and his brother Louis are taxidermists and Louis lives in Banff with Norman). Norman seems to have his hand in everything and owned most everything else. He eventually owns the Crag and Canyon Newspaper, The Trading Post (gift shop), the Luxton Museum, the Lux theatre, the King Edward Hotel, several restaurants, the morgue and has part ownership of an airline he started with Freddy McCall (McCall Field was Calgary's original airport till the late 1970's).

Norman loves to chase wild horses through the passes in the Rocky Mountains. He is an avid horseman.

1904:

Luxton marries Georgia E McDougall (1870-1965) of Morley. She was the daughter of the famous missionary David McDougall and one of five children. One of her sisters was Mrs. George Ross (wife of the late Senator Ross). She was made an Stoney Indian Princess. She spoke fluent Cree. She grew up with the Indians and is reputed to be the first white child born in what is now Alberta. Georgia was an accomplished musician and played the organ in the Morley-Mcdougall Church for 18 years. Twice for the white congregation and twice for the Indian congregation every Sunday. She graduated from a ladies college in the East and worked in her Father's store. She was active in community affairs in Banff and contributed much to the musical life of Banff. She was an accomplished horsewoman and was presented to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1959 at the Calgary Stampede. She was named "Rainbow Woman" by the Stoney Tribe as they said she always brought calm after a storm. Georgia had the first flower garden in Banff.

Luxton builds a home for his new wife on Beaver St. He also builds a house next door that was used as a boarding house. Norman also builds the King Edward Hotel which stood on the S.W. corner of Banff Ave and Caribou St. On opening day to celebrate Norman threw the new hotel keys away in a bush. One can assume this might be for good luck assuming the hotel will never close.

Somewhere around this time Norman canoes from Jasper, Alberta to Rainy Lake, Ontario. Norman knew all the connecting streams. He was a huge fan of Louis Riel.

1905:

Luxton builds a house for his good friend Patrick James (Paddy) Nolan on the NW corner of Muskrat & Buffalo St. Luxton met Paddy while working at the Calgary Herald. Paddy was a criminal lawyer who had his office over the Herald. Paddy was born in Limerick, Ireland on St. Patrick's day 1864. He arrived in Calgary in 1889.It was said that Paddy was the greatest, wittiest criminal lawyer in Alberta and maybe even Canadian History. Paddy often helped Luxton write up editorials then afterwards they would talk, relax and toss a coin to decide who was paying for a drink or cigar that day. Paddy was a large man and weighed in at 275 lbs.

 

1906:

Luxton is running a tourist boat on Lake Minnewanka. It is a wood burning steam boat. He also builds a chalet there on the North shore.

 

1908:

Daughter Eleanor is born. She will be his only child (1908-1995). As a child Eleanor was very sickly and missed much of her schooling. Her parents would home school her. Norman suggests to Hon. Frank Oliver that the Canadian government should buy 1000 buffalo from Michael Pablo in Montana which resulted in the large herd brought to Wainwright, Alberta. The Buffalo National Park is to this day the official emblem of Wainwright.

1909:

Luxton begins managing the Banff Indian Days. One evening is playing cards with his friend B.W.Collison and comes up with the idea for the Banff Winter Carnival.

1910: Luxton is running the King Edward Hotel and Livery. He adds an addition to the hotel.

1911: Luxton purchases "1 piece Manfish-largest size " on March 18 on a purchase order from J.Cumming, shipped via the "Empress of Japan", 142C Yamotecho, Yokohama, Japan. This "Merman" is still on display at the "The Trading Post" gift shop, it is only one of eight known to exist in North America. He never admitted to buying the creature and told children that he and his brother got drunk and made this creature out of spare bits they had on hand one day. Unfortunately Mermen" were imported from Japan and were known to exist as early as 1845.

 

1912: Luxton attends the first Calgary Stampede. He would be the judge of all the Native events for 25 years. Luxton publishes a wonderful guide to Banff called "50 Switzerlands in One - Banff the Beautiful". The Lake Minnewanka Chalet is advertising fish dinners. Their ad campaing reads, "A Beautiful lake, a sunset view, a dandy fish dinner, built for two". Luxton is still running his Curio Shop. Luxton said his shop was more like a museum than a curio shop. It was the largest and most scientific private collection of game heads and fur rugs in Canada.

 

1913: Luxton opens the Lux Theatre on May 17. It had a complete stage and setting.

1914:

The King Edward Hotel block burns down. It had been the first year round hotel in Banff. Luxton goes on to build the Lux block which includes a new hotel, the theatre (see 1913) and shops.

1915: Luxton purchased the Morley Trading Post. A riding accident meant he he did not have to join the army to fight in WWI.

1916:

Luxton is running the Trading Post in Morley They sold "Ice Cold Coca-Cola" and "Everday Orange Crush - Good for Thirst".

 

1917:

Luxton starts the Banff Winter Carnival. The Canadian Government give him $500 and the C.P.R. run special trains from Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver. Luxton provides sightseeing cars for tourists in Banff. He also writes and publishes a book called "Fifty Switzerlands in One - Banff the Beautiful".

1918:

Luxton visits the Trading Post and finds it deserted. A young boy enters the store and Norman says, "Where is everybody?". To which the young boy answers, "They are all dead from the white man's sickness". The "sickness" was the great influenza epidemic. Luxton accompanies the boy to the Chiniquay Village a few miles away. He finds the majority of Inidans are ill and many are already dead. He organises burial parties and starts to administer hot whiskey (his own private stock as prohibition was on) and aspirin (all he has to offer). The tribe is saved and they credit him saving the Stoney Tribe from extinction. He is named honorary Chief of the Stoney Indians. His name is Ya-Ha- Chunga-Choon (translated means Chief White Sheild). The Blackfoot Tribe also made him an honorary chief named Chief White Eagle.

1920:

Luxton works as sales manager for the Banff Pottery (owned by Mary Young).

1923: Luxton updates "50 Switzerlands in One" and runs a second printing. The cost per book is 10c.

1925: Luxton promotes the Banff Winter Carnival. A young man named Reg Harris offers to take a dog sled to Calgary along with two of his friends to support the Winter Carnival. Luxton agrees. So on a Sunday in early January 1925, Reg Harris, George Child and Harry Knight left Banff with 2 sleds and 12 mismatched dogs (everything from Airdales to Bulldogs). There was virtually no snow so the dogs pulled the slegs and the men walked. By the time they reached Exshaw a lonely Collie had joined the team. On the Sunday night they stayed at the Morley railway station. Monday found the men approaching Cochrane where friends threw a big party and dance for the team. Finally they arrived in Calgary where they had their pictures taken and hosted a large reception at the Capital Theatre. They drew a large crowed and the dogs all howled along to the organist. A Calgary drug story owner had pictures taken of the team in front of his drugstore to use as advertising for his Husky cough drop. Unfortunately not one dog was actually a Husky. Still the owner of the store paid Reg $25 and a Calgary hotel manager put them up and fed them meals. They were able to return to Banff by train.

Luxton still owns 2/3 of a 1/2 of the Tilikum.

1942:

The Tilikum is featured in Ripley's "Believe It of Not" syndicated column on April 28.

 

1950's: Norman collects old clothing from Banff residences to distribute to the needy Indians on the Stoney reserve.

1953:

Eric Harvey builds a museum to hold Luxton's collection of Native artifacts. It is called the Luxton Museum (it is still in operation). Luxton serves one year as president of the Alberta Old Timer's Association.

1962:

Luxton sells the Crag and Canyon.

Luxton Dies October 22 at the age of 89 at the Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary. He is buried in Banff with over 200 people at his funeral. Half of those attending were Stoney Indians. Hymns were sung at the funeral in both English and Cree. Luxton's will gives the Glenbow Museum $127,000. The money is to be used to upkeep the Luxton Museum in Banff.

 

1965:

Georgie Luxton (McDougall) dies in March 27, age 95.

1995:

Eleanor Luxton dies on June 22 at home. She is single and never had any children.

1998:

August 2-Luxton's house opens officially as a museum, part of the Whyte Museum collection.

 2001:

The Tilikum celebrates the 100th anniversary of it's attempted circumnavigation. The "Resolution" magazine of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia does a special edition on the Tilikum. The "Beaver" magazine of the Canadian Historical Society of Canada also does an article on the Tilikum in it's May/June issue. The Maritime Museum of B.C. expands the Tilikum exhibition. Luxton's grave stone in Banff is attended to and the moss is scraped off so it is easier to read.

 

 

 

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