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COUNTY OF TWO HILLS No. 21 - Excerpts taken from the "Story of Rural Municipal
Government in Alberta 1909 to 1983" by the Association of the Municipal
Districts and Counties
Contributed for use in Alberta Digital Archives by Darlene Homme
Canada needed strong, hard-working men to open the vast unbroken, uninhabited
lands of the West. In 1896 Clifford Sifton, a young Manitoba lawyer, offered a
solution-the mass immigration of sturdy central Europeans. Sir Wilfred Laurier,
then Prime Minister, accepted Sifton's idea and between 1896 and 1914, many
thousand immigrants came to Canada, some of them settling in the north-eastern
oart of Alberta, the nresentCountv of Two Hills No. 21.
The earliest available record of the institutions of our local government is
contained in the minute book of L.I.D. No. 27-M-4 wherein it states that the
L.l.D. was first organized in August of 1904, comprising of townships 53 and 54
in ranges 15 and 16, west of the 4th meridian. The first meeting of the council
was held on January 20, 1905, with Joe Czerniawsky as chairman and councillors
Yan Turczyn, Miron Voroszczuk, and Peter Svarich. Peter Svarich was also the
On April 8. 1905 the first meeting of L.I.D. No. 27-J-4 for townships 53 and 54
in ranges 13 and 14 was held in the Fairwood school house with E.H. Wynn-
McKenzie secretary-treasurer, Dan McColman chairman, and councillors J. W. J.
Laird, J. E. Mahaffey and Wieler.
Local Improvement District No. 28-J-4 with Townships 56 and 57 range 12 as
Division 1; township 55 range 13 as Division 2; townships 56 and 57 range 13,
Division 3; township 55 range 14, Division 4; and townships 56 and 57 range 14,
Division 5; all south of the North Saskatchewan River, was organized in 1905.
The first council meeting was held at Soda Lake on May 12th. The Councillors
were Alexa Lusak, Prokop Iliuk, Elias Rawluk, Jos. H. Weber, and Albert Paradis.
Jos. H. Weber was elected chairman and A.M. Boutillier, secretary-treasurer. On
February 10th, 1906 Jas. E. Cunningham was hired secretary-treasurer for $50.00
per annum, holding that position until 1909 when C.T. McGowan's application was
accepted at $85.00 per year. It is interesting to note that in Division 1 there
were only four ratepayers, hence the council requested the Department for
permission that it become part of Division 3.
Local Improvement District No. 27-H-4 was established in 1909, the first council
meeting being held of May 3rd at the home of R. C. Fife on SW32-54-12-W4. The
councillors were Herman Blok for Division 1, comprised of township 53 range 11;
Maxim Tomyn for Division 2, township 53 range 12; R.C. Fife for Division 3,
township 54 range 12; and Harry Chomik for Division 4, township 54 range 11.
Maxim Tomyn was elected chairman and G.L. Smith appointed secretary-treasurer at
an annual salary of $80.00. In 1911 Mr. Smith retired and Maxim Tomyn became the
secretary-treasurer holding the position until December of 1940.
The evolution of local government of the present County of Two Hills No. 21 may
be divided into five phases. The first phase is that of Local Improvement
Districts described above. During the period of 1904 to 1917, school districts
were set up with one-room and two-room schools dotting the area. Many settlers
came from the Ukraine, Romania, and other parts of Europe and such names as
Myrnam (peace to us), Sober (assembly). Slawa (glory) Boian Marea, Pobeda,
Pruth, Luzan, Borowich, Krasnohora, (beautiful hill), Szypenitz, Beauvallon, St.
Laurent and Brosseau were given to schools, post offices, and districts. The
immigrants were God-loving and God-fearing people. Many churches were built and
on Sunday, after a hard week's work, families travelled by wagon, buggy or
democrat to give thanks for the freedom and happiness they were enjoying,
freedom which they did not have in the old country. Community halls were built
so that they could assemble for plays concerts, educational and entertaining
Early road work in local improvement districts consisted mainly of cutting down
high spots, filling low places and building small bridges so that traffic could
move about. The first marketing centre was Edmonton, about 100 miles away, and a
little later, Vegreville. Road building and repairing equipment consisted of
road plows, two- horse slips, and four horse fresnos. The road crew usually
consisted of a foreman, a plow team, two or three fresnos, and men to help dump
the fresnos. The daily wage was $3.00 per team of 4 horses and $2.50 for the
foreman. In most cases the earnings were applied on taxes which were levied at
the rate of from 2 cents to 3% cents per acre.
Phase two covers the period from 1917 to 1944, local improvement districts being
formed into nine-township Municipal Districts. L.I.D. No. 27-M-4 and L.I.D. No.
27-J-4 became the Municipal District of Norma No. 515, with its offices in
Vegreville, secretary-treasurer N. Mcintyre; Reeve, O.F. Johnson and first
councillors John Dobko, Jas. Wilson, W. Malarski, T. Hodgins and D. Shyshiak. In
1918 L.I.D. No. 28-J-4 became the Municipal District of Eagle No. 545 with A. M.
Boutiilier secretary-treasurer; Stefan EIiuk, Reeve, and councillors Geo.
Cucuirian, John Duger, Alex Gordey, Geo. Strynadka, and John Holowajczuk. In the
same year L.l.D. No. 27-H-4 became the Municipal District of Sobor No. 514. Its
secretary-treasurer was Maxim Tomyn; Reeve, Wasyl Humen, and councillors Wm.
Koshuta, John Lyzanchuk, Win. Buk, and George Chomik.
It is regrettable that there are no records for Local Improvement Districts for
townships 53, 54 and 55 in ranges 7, 8 and 9, being the Myrnam and Derwent
areas. The minute book available starts with the second meeting of the council
for the Municipal District of Ukraina No. 513, held on March 26th, 1921. The
councillors attending the meeting were Peter Bielich, Win. Koluk, Joe Caruk, Dan
Yacey, Peter Makohonyk, and A. Pankow. The secretary-treasurer was N. Bednarsky.
On October 15th, 1921, K. Maughan was appointed secretary-treasurer until his
resignation in October, 1924. John Gereluk was then hired and continued in
office until 1938.
During the years 1917 to 1944 much progress was made. The Canadian Pacific
Railway was constructed in 1928, running from west to east across the Municipal
Districts of Eagle, Sobor, and Ukraina. Hamlets of Whitford, Kaleland, Musidora,
Morecambe, Beauvallon, and Slawa, and villages of Willingdon, Hairy Hill, Two
Hills, Myrnam, and Derwent sprang up. Myrnam and Vegreville Municipal Hospital
Districts were organized. Willingdon private hospital was built. Municipal
District of Norma purchased International TD 18 tractor and scraper. Municipal
District of Eagle purchased its first Caterpillar 60 tractor and scraper and in
1942, the Municipal District of Ukraina purchased an Adams 412 grader. Roads
were greatly improved. Agriculture being the basic occupation of the residents
of the district, worthy contributions were made by District Agriculturists, Wm.
Pidruchney, Alex Charnestski, Fred Magera, and District Home Economist Hanka
The third stage evolved in 1944, the four Municipal Districts amalgamated to
form the large unit, the Municipal District of Eagle No. 81. In the February
General Election for councillors there were twenty-seven candidates. Ejected
were Mike Karpchuk for Division 1; Mike Chmilar, Division 2; Win. F. Elkow,
Division 3; Win. Chrapko, Division 4; Tom J. Horon, Division 5; Dan Lutzak,
Division 6; and, Win. A. Yusep, Division 7. At its first meeting held at
Vegreville on March 8, 1944 - S.P. Mulka was appointed secretary-treasurer, John
Tomyn, Assistant, Mary Ropchan, Stenographer, and Steve Petasky as clerk. The
office was located in Two Hills in a building donated by the Two Hills Board of
Trade. Honorable mention should be made of E.H. Wynn-McKenzie, secretary-
treasurer from 1905 to 1944, Maxim Tomyn, secretary-treasurer from 1917 to 1940,
A.M. Boutillier from 1914 to 1942 and John Gereluk from 1924 to 1938. They
served faithfully and made valuable contributions.
In 1944 the first road from Two Hills to Highway No. 16 at Lavoy was gravelled.
During the period the Two Hills Municipal Hospital Distrtct was established. The
Agricultural Service Board was organized in 1945. This brought a closer liason
between the Department of Agriculture, the council and the farmers. The first
very efficient field supervisor was P.M. Shavchook, and with Fred Magera as
District Agriculturist, they devised and carried out agricultural programs
designated for the betterment of farming in the Municipality. Between the years
1944 and 1955, seed cleaning plants were built at Vegreville, Willingdon and
Myrnam. Agricultural programs of Brucellosis control, tree planting, use of weed
chemicals, and cattle spraying were developed.
In 1955 the fourth stage of local government, the co-terminous boundary unit of
the Municipal District of Eagle No. 81. was set up. For many years the small
school districts were a separate entity providing educational needs in the
communities by authority unto themselves and the Provincial Government. In 1937
the small districts disappeared and the enlarged school unit, the Two Hills
School Division No. 21 was formed. School superintendents F. Hannochko and N.
Myskiw and secretary-treasurers W. Halina, E. Boida, S. Petasky, and P.M.
Shavchotk contributed a great deal to the progress in education in the area.
In establishing the co-terminous boundaries, the Municipal District of Eagle No.
81, lost nine townships to the County of Minburn, of the former Norma
Municipality. Areas gained were four miles of townships 53,54 and part 55 in
range 6 south of the North Saskatchewan River and township 56 range 12 part of
town-ship 56 range 11 north of the Saskatchewan River. The number of electoral
div-isions was reduced from seven to five. In 1959 the Two Hills School Division
and the Municipal District agreed to build a joint office. In 1960 the office
building, one of the finest in the Province at that time, was erected at Two
Hills. Co-op-eration between the two bodies was excellent leading to the fifth
and final stage of local government, that of the County system of
On January 1, 1963 the County of Two Hills No. 21 was established. The
administrative body of the county comprised of Reeve J. Dudar, councillors, P.
Mudrvk, A. Boida, G. Harasym, M. Mehalcheon. J.A. Tkachuk and L. Hutskal;
secretary-treasurer S.P. Mulka; assistant secretary-treasurer P.M. Shavchook;
super-intendent N. Myskiw; and Field Supervisor. M. Mudrvk. The County Council
and the town and village representatives, Geo. E. Pawliuk, Win. Chorney, and M.
Karbashewsky were the school committee with chairman, G. Harasym.
The County has an area of 671,690 acres inclusive ot lana and water. The total
assessed valued for 1969 taxation purposes as determined by the general
assessment is $12,137,700. Its boundaries are defined by County of Minburn to
the south, County of Vermilion River to the East, County of Lamont on the west,
and the North Saskatchewan River to the north, with township 56 range 12 and
part of township 56 range 11 north of the River. Three bridges span the North
Saskatchewan River, the Elk Point bridge, the Duvernay bridge and the Shandro
bridge. The fourth bridge at Myrnam is presently under construction. According
to 1966 census, the population is 5.528. its market centres being the town of
Two Hills, and villages of Derwent, Myrnain, Hairy Hill and Willingdon. At
Duvernay, seven miles north of Two Hills, the Western Chemicals Ltd, (now
Chemcell Limited) have a chlorine and caustic soda plant. The plant is an asset
to the County in that it provides employment to many residents and contributes
to the taxes levied.
The County is served with health unit facilities having the Minburn-Vermilion
and Vegreville Health Units. The Vegreville health unit has a sub office at Two
Hills. Hospital services are provided by the Myrnam, Two Hills and Willingdon
Another service provided for the ratepayers is recreational facilities at Sunset
Lake, Lao Sante, and Sandy Lake, Picnic grounds are available at Luzan and
The County has a full line of modern road building equipment. Its 1044 miles of
gravelied roads and 552 miles of improved dirt roads are maintained regularly
and kept open year round to traffic and to 38 contracted school buses, conveying
1343 pupils to five centres. The Department of Highways maintains 28 miles of
paved Highway No.36; 12 miles of bituminous and 58 miles of gravelled Highway
No. 45; 5 miles of paved and 8 miles of gravelled Highway No. 41.
From 1946 to 1969, John A. Tkachuk served as reeve, councillar, chairman of the
School Committee, the Agricultural Service Board and the Vegreville Health Unit.
He devoted his services unselfishly and for his contributions he was awarded the
Centennial Medal. To those who have not been recorded but who contributed to the
welfare and successful operation of local government, we express our sincere
During the years 1969 to 1982, much progress was made. Alberta Transportation
paved the following Secondary Roads within the County of Two Hills No. 21:
- S.R. 881 - 15 miles
- S.R. 857-8 miles
- S.R. 637-10 miles
The natural gas activity boomed with the construction of 10 gas plants within
the county-these being constructed and operated by the following:
- Westmin - 5
- Merland -3
- Hudson's Bay- 1
- Provident - 1
Also, there are presently 800 gas wells and 10 oil wells within the county
The County of Two Hills also constructed its own natural gas utility in 1975 for
the supply of Natural Gas to its rural people, with the present hook-up or
burners being 883.
Western Truck Body Limited took over the chemical plant after its shut down, and
presently manufactures truck boxes for all types of trucks - e.g. A.G.T.,
Alberta Power, etc.
Alberta Transportation constructed a new airport within the county in 1980,
which is in joint ownership with the Town of Two Hills.
Two major lakes within the county (Sandy Lake & Lac Sante) were developed,
producing 31 lots at Sandy Lake and 120 lots at Lac Sante which provides
recreation areas for the county residents and urban people.
Alberta Transportation also constructed two (2) open bridges within the county.
One north of Myrnam on S.R. 881 and the other located between the Hamlets of
Duvernay and Brosseau on Highway No. 36. Both bridges cross the North
In the past decade, farming operations have quadrupled in size due to
modernization and mechanization. There are presently a number of extensive hog
operations, a few poultry operations and one buffalo ranch within the county
Since the period 1969 to 1982, five municipal elections were held within the
County of Two Hills No. 21 with the results being as follows:
Division 1 - Peter Mudryk- 1958- Nov. 1971
-J.R. Bober- Nov. 1971 to present
Division 2-John Dudar- 1956 to present
Division 3- Fred Hasiuk - June, 1968 - Oct. 1977
-June, 1980 to present
- Alexander Boida - Oct., 1977 - Sept., 1979 (deceased)
Division 4- Robert Bachelet - Nov., 1969 - Nov., 1980
- Marshall Kotowich - Nov., 1980 to present
Division 5- Walter Verenak - Nov., 1967 to present
Division 6-Dennis Ursuliak- Nov., 1967- Oct., 1980
- Metro Stefaniuk - Oct., 1980 to present
Division 7- Bill T. Kokotailo - Nov., 1968 - Oct., 1980
- Nick Dushenski - Oct., 1980 to present
Derwent - John F. Fedechko - Oct., 1969 - Oct., 1971
-John Mudryk-Oct., 1971 -Oct., 1977
- Frank Bielech - Oct., 1977 to present
Myrnam - M. Kaluzniak- 1969- Oct., 1971
-P. Pawluski-Oct., 1971 -Oct., 1974
- Sylvia Yacey - Oct., 1974 - Oct., 1977
- Mary Karbashewski - Oct., 1977 to present
Two Hills - George E. Pawliuk- 1969- Oct., 1977
- Steve Shybunka, Oct., 1977 to present
Hairy Hill - Steve Bidulock - 1969 to present
Willingdon - Lloyd Babiuk - 1969 - Oct., 1980
- Georgina Hauca - Oct., 1980 to present
During the period 1969 to 1982 Office Administration was as follows:
S.R Mulka-to June, 1972
D.M. Hassen - July, 1972 to September, 1973
S.R Mulka - September, 1973 to January, 1974
RW Marcichiw-January, 1974 to June, 1977
G.N. Popowich - June, 1977 to present (Now County Administrator)
PM. Shavchook-to January, 1972
Marshall Mudryk- February, 1972 to September, 1973
G.N. Popowich-January, 1977 to June, 1977
Ed Heberling-August, 1978 to February, 1980
Mike Majcher-September, 1980 to November, 1981
John Kozmak- February, 1982 to present
N. Myskiw-to June, 1971
WA. Cherniwchan-June, 1971 to August, 1978
R.H. Cunningham-August, 1978to November, 1978 (Acting)
D.L. Yakimowich - December, 1978 to present