December 11 is International Mountain Day , as designated by the United Nations. Over half the earth’s population relies on mountains for water, food and clean energy, according to the international body.
To acknowledge the day, let’s head out to Alberta’s Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, which is celebrating its fiftieth year. Located in Banff, their collection and exhibitions look at the “history and culture of the Rocky Mountains of Canada.” Surprisingly, there’s a Brampton connection to an item in their Archives & Library.
Born in Tacoma, Washington in 1876, Byron Harmon began a photography business in Banff in 1903, selling postcards of the iconic peaks. Harmon made numerous trips through the mountains, amassing thousands of gorgeous photographs. These images were donated to the Whyte Museum in the 1970s, and are preserved in their storage.
So what’s the Brampton connection? No, Harmon never photographed our prestigious peak, Mount Chinguacousy.
Among the mountains Harmon photographed is Mount Lougheed, named for a Calgary lawyer appointed to the Senate. Sir James A. Lougheed, a man of mixed political record, was born in Brampton, Upper Canada. His family moved to Toronto’s then-modest Cabbagetown neighbourhood at age three, according to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, but nevertheless, he had local roots.
Mount Lougheed is in Bow Valley Provincial Park, within Alberta’s Kananaskis Country region. The three-summit mountain was named by a botanist as Wind Mountain in 1858, for the swirling clouds when he first laid eyes on the peaks. For an era where mountains were usually named for relatively random, famous folk, the natural name was unique. When Lougheed died in 1925, it was proposed that a mountain in Banff be named for him, but the family disapproved. Wind Mountain was renamed in 1926. In 1985, the name Wind Mountain was applied to a different peak in the same range.
Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) is located at 9 Wellington St. E, Brampton, and parking is available at any of the nearby parking garages. For more information, visit pama.peelregion.ca .
Throwback Thursday is provided by Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives. PAMA is a place to explore, learn and make connections about Peel Region’s culture and heritage.
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