Edmonton and District Historical Society Honour Alex Mair
On Monday, August 16th, as part of Historic Edmonton Week, a tree was planted in the "memorial garden" on the lawn in front of the Provincial Archives building, in honour of local historian Alex Mair. This planting was the second addition to what former Provincial Archivist Sandra Thomson envisioned as an ongoing living memorial to individuals committed to the preservation of Alberta's documentary heritage and its many manifestation. The inaugural tree planting was for former Provincial Archivist Alan Ridge and was part of the Official Opening ceremonies of the new Provincial Archives building in October 2003.
The Edmonton and District Historical Society, in memory of Mr. Mair who passed away in September 2001, sponsored this particular planting of a burr oak. Throughout the last twenty years, Alex Mair published hundreds of articles and several books on Edmonton history. Books such as, his history of the Edmonton Police Service and, more particularly, Gateway City: Stories from Edmonton's Past where hugely popular.
As guest speaker and archivist, Bruce Ibsen noted, "those of us fortunate enough to have called him friend know the gaping hole his passing leaves, not only in our hearts but also in our city." Indeed, Alex Mair was a supporter and promoter of history - of society's memory - and a great believer in knowing where we came from and how we got here and what and who shaped our past. He managed, in his very quiet and very informed way, to educate in a manner that everyone could relate to.
The tree planting was followed by a reception hosted by the EDHS and was attended by many invited guests, Alex Mair's two daughters Lory Laing and Kathleen Norton, and his granddaughter Ann Laing.