Past and Present

The Town of Athabascaís appearance has transformed dramatically since the turn of the century. Most of the buildings standing today are relatively new. Some, though, have been here since the days of Athabasca Landing. Of these, few have retained their historical appearance. For example, only the CN train station and the United Church are similar to the original buildings. Both exteriors have been preserved. While the train station has been revamped on the inside and converted into a senior citizenís drop-in centre, the United Church has worked to keep its original interior.

Many buildings of historical interest from the time of Athabasca Landing have been lost due to fire, floods, or demolition. Strathcona Street has changed dramatically. Now known only as Main Street, its buildings have been modernized. Few original buildings remain. The Grand Union Hotel has lost its former glory. Showing its age, it is now known only as the Union Hotel. The Olivier Block currently houses the Leeds Sewing Store. In the early 1990s, the CN train quit coming to Athabasca and the company sold its land to the town. A park and walkways are being built on the former CN right-of-ways, the site of the original Athabasca Landing. The digitized photographs here provide contrasts between the modern Town of Athabasca and historical Athabasca Landing.

Athabasca is fortunate that a number of local citizens have recovered the history of Athabasca Landing, preserving the historical materials in the Athabasca Archives, and celebrating their history in the book Athabasca Landing: An Illustrated History. In making photographs from this era more widely available, this web site enables visitors worldwide to glimpse the rich history of Athabasca Landing. The "Then & Now" section points out, however, that historical buildings and streetscapes can be lost forever if there is not a concerted effort to preserve them. For now, photographs of the old Athabasca Landing will have to suffice.

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