Dr. George Lionel Whissell Memorial Park

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Westlock, Canada

Dr. George Lionel Whissell Memorial Park Westlock Reviews

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Ifine memorial to a fine man. Mar 07, 2017
When we rolled into Westlock on our journey North the first thing we did was look for a decent parking space. Much as we love the aged campervan (RV) we have it has the turning circle of a jumbo jet and the all-round visibility of a main battle tank and so confined parking manoeuvres are not advisable but fortunately at this point we were still in Lynne's SUV so no problem. We found a suitable spot and jumped out into a fairly dismal late afternoon for a look round.

It is a shame the sun was not shining as, apart from being more plasant, the images of the charming little garden / park we came upon almost instantly would have looked so much better. It was extremely well-tended which I ascribed to highly defined Albertan sense of civic pride. I had grown accustomed to this and indeed they have much to be proud of. You will rarely if ever find a scruffy community, of whatever size, in the Province. It was only when we had taken the obligatory images to write a review for a now defunct travel website we both contributed to then as well as personal remembrance and walked to the far end did we discover the memorial stone which explained the whole thing fully.

The park was a memorial to Dr. George Lionel Whissell who my research shows was an amazing man in many respects. He was not a native Albertan having been born in 1907 in Quebec where he studied medicine and quaified as a Doctor and a surgeon and where he initially practiced. He did not move to Alberta with his wife until 1938 and did not settle in Westlock until four years later where he practiced until the amazing age of 85.

By all accounts the good Doctor was anything but a one trick pony and continued parallel careers in business and farming. As if three careers were not enough for one man he was involved in numerous public bodies, skied, travelled extensively and was a qualified pilot. Indeed he founded the Westlock Flying Club who used his farm as an airstrip before a proper one was built.

When the time came to slow down a bit he continued to play his beloved bridge until is death in 2006 ageed either 97 or 98 depending on which report you read. If the dates supplied are correct I suspect it is the latter but either way it is a good age and cerainly a life well lived, as they say. I certainly would have liked to have met the man.

It was obvious that for such a beloved, prominent and respected citizen citizen some form of memorial was required in addition to the fact that an area of the town is called Whissellville in his honour. A park was decided on, to be sited on a piece of fairly ordinary open space in Main Street which coincidentally belonged to the Whissell family who gave it over to the town to create the previous park. Enter now an organisation called Westlock Blooms Foundation whose volunteers spent over 70 hours landscaping, planting and so on to create the beautiful space that now exists. The project was principally funded by Provincial Government and the railway company whose predecessors had led to the creation of Westlock in the first place.

Amidst the great and the good, the park was officially opened on 06/09/2013 by Dr. Whissell's five children, all of whom survive him.

I think the title says it all really.
DR George L. Whissell Memorial Par…
DR George L. Whissell Memorial Par…
DR George L. Whissell Memorial Par…
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photo by: SuperGlandeur