Historical Society expands walking tours to West Hill

Pictured are members of the brick factory operated by Horace Ittner. Prince Albert Historical Society manager and curator, Michelle Taylor, estimated the photo was taken around 1910 at the corner of 2nd Avenue and 29th Street West. (West Hill Walking Tour event page/Facebook)

Diefenbaker House Musuem, Stefanyshyn’s house among historical homes in first tour of West Hill

Prince Albert Historical Society Manager and Curator Michelle Taylor is hoping expanding their walking tours will develop people’s understandings of the city.

The Historical Society does regular tours downtown, but Taylor said they “needed something different.” The West Hill was the perfect area with it’s history-rich homes.

The first West Hill Walking Tour takes place on Saturday, August 24 from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Taylor said one day she wants the Historical Society to host tours in every area of the city.

“There are some really interesting houses in the city of Prince Albert, so we want to try it out first with a very historical area that when you drive down the street, you actually notice the houses,” she said.

“When people come into the Historical Museum they say—I had one lady in yesterday—who said ‘Oh, I haven’t been here in 25 years.’ So we hope things have changed and we hope you get a better understanding now of what has gone on.”

The tour begins and ends at the Diefenbaker House, located at 246 19th St. W. It was the home of John Diefenbaker and his wife right before he became the Prime Minister of Canada.

The house was open to the public as a museum in 1983, and is now a National Historic Site.

Taylor said another house on the tour is on the corner of 3rd Avenue and 20th Street. It was built by Horace Ittner, a brick manufacturer, out of his own bricks in 1914.

From 1919 to 1957, it was a home for boys from surrounding rural areas who were going to school in Prince Albert.

The house is now occupied by the family of Richard Stefanyshyn.

Longtime volunteer Fred Payton will be leading the tour. He’s been helping the Historical Society consistently since 2006.

“Years ago, probably in the ’80s, Phil West, who was a member of the society at the time, led a West Hill Walking Tour and my wife and I went on it and really enjoyed it. Since I got back involved in the society, I’ve been saying ‘We should do that tour again,’” said Payton.

“It’s something that actually I have been talking about for a while.”

Payton said he’s researched the history of West Hill homes collectively for about two months. He’s lived in three different houses in the area.

“There’s kind of political history from Prince Albert, there’s family histories and there’s just a lot of really interesting information to be shared,” he said.

The West Hill Walking Tour is free of charge. Anyone interested is asked to contact the Diefenbaker House at (306) 953-4863 or the Prince Albert Historical Society at (306) 764-2992 by August 23, the day before the tour.