No hotel for storm-stranded honeymooners

From our December 2012 issue

By Rena Reid – Victoria, B.C.

The picture of the Cadillac hotel on Page 36 of the June 2012 issue reminded me that there was a time around 1946 when there was no hotel in that prairie town.

A devastating fire in the year prior had destroyed the Cadillac hotel and other businesses.

It was early in January 1947 and my new husband and I were returning by train from a honeymoon in Winnipeg and were expecting to be met by relatives in Cadillac.

Our destination was the Hillandale district about 30 miles south of Cadillac, where a teaching position and a farm awaited us.

We stepped off the train into a good old-fashioned prairie blizzard and knew there would be no one to meet us. What to do?

Her culinary skills were outstanding

Someone informed us that Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Lambert were providing accommodations to travellers in lieu of a hotel and my husband confirmed that we could indeed have a room and meals.

That blizzard continued for the next three days. Roads were blocked in all directions and our train was the last daily for four days.

During our three-day stay with the Lamberts, I spent my time observing and quizzing Mrs. Lambert about her culinary skills because mine were limited and hers were outstanding.

My spouse either visited with our host or braved the elements to join a few brave souls at the coffee shop and poolhall.

On Friday of that week we were rudely awakened about 7 a.m. to be informed that the mail truck was attempting to head south and there was room for us.

The storm had abated and we were faced with a very cold, frosty morning and lots of snowdrifts to shovel our way through.

Late in the afternoon we arrived at the Hillandale post office which was in my in-laws’ home. Needless to say we didn’t do any more travelling that winter.

Over the years that I’ve been receiving The Senior Paper, there have been many stories and pictures documenting that winter of 1946-47 – the year that Cadillac did not have a hotel.