Sometimes people who we think of as quite famous are known for their roles or deeds but little-known as human beings. With black and white photographs, we see the image of a person but it lacks the detail that colour provides. This is why we were so excited to get this small slip of paper from the life of Nelson Lougheed.
Born in 1882 in Ontario, Nelson Seymour Lougheed moved to British Columbia with his parents when he was 7 years old. After finishing his schooling, he travelled the province for a bit and then enlisted for the Boer War.
He enlisted in April of 1902, at the age of 20, and was attached to the Canadian Special Service Corps – who clearly didn’t have their own forms. His Unit was the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles. When the war ended in August of 1902, Lougheed was discharged.
The most interesting part of this certificate is the lower part – “Description of Above-Named Man”. this is the first colourful description we’ve had of Nelson Lougheed. First of all, it lists him as being 22 years of age which is either an error or he had added a couple of years to make himself appear older. It gives his height as 5’ 3” with a ruddy complexion and red hair and blue eyes.
Nelson Lougheed became one of our most prominent citizens. He was a member of council and Reeve and then as owner/operator of Abernethy & Lougheed – along with George Abernethy – he ran one of the largest and most complex of the great northwest logging railway shows. As that started to wind down, he ran for MLA for the Conservative Party, won, and became Minister of Public Works where he was instrumental in getting the Lougheed Highway built.