1959 was the Golden Jubilee of the incorporation of the Town of Tofield and in honour of this anniversary, a year-long series of events was planned and consummated under the direction of Dr. W.H. Freebury, Mayor of Tofield and chairman of the Golden Jubilee Committee.
Dr. Freebury issued a proclamation of the Jubilee Year celebrations, which the Tofield Mercury published in the January 29 and February 5 issues. The slogan for the year was "A Proud Heritage - a Courageous Future."
In 1959, two of Tofield's original councillors Mr. Mark Ferguson and Mr. A. Maxwell were still available for comment. Mr. Ferguson lived here and Mr. Maxwell frequently visited his son and his family. The councillors of 1959 were: Dr. W.H. Freebury (mayor), James Graham Allan, Allan Herndon, D.L. Jefferson, Charles Kallal, Conrad Patterson, and Arnold Swift. Secretary Treasurer was J. Edwin Stinson.
During the year, special events were held by many organizations. The Curling Club held its Golden Jubilee Bonspiel; the Lions opened their Natural History Museum and the Children's Playground with Al Oeming as guest speaker; the churches had special services; the Legion Hall was officially opened with Dick Mutlow as president and Major Frank Fane as guest speaker; biographies of pioneer and histories of pioneer organizations were gathered by Mrs. Grace Phillips and published weekly in the Mercury; the annual Dominion Day sports day organized by the Community League under its president, Norman Glover, was the most successful ever held up to that time; the League's Christmas Carol Festival was an outstanding event. To close the year's festivities, a pot-luck supper under the chairmanship of Rev. S. Bell was held in the Community Centre to welcome all newcomers to the area. H.A. Pike, Superintendent of Schools for Beaver County, spoke on behalf of the new residents. A large cast of school children presented a pageant, written and directed by Grace Phillips, which gave a light-hearted account of Tofield's history.
The huge birthday cake, made by Mrs. Mabel Boyles, was cut by Mrs. Edith Rogers, daughter of Dr. Tofield for whom the town was named.
Another Jubilee Event was the production by C.F. Annis of "The Late Christopher Bean" under the sponsorship of Holy Trinity W.A.
The University of Alberta Mixed Chorus visited Tofield in Jubilee year.
Early in Jubilee Year, Mr. R.H. Harris, principal of Tofield School, conducted a competition of his art class for the creation of a distinctive crest suitable for use in Jubilee Year. The winner of the competition was Ray Pittet; runners-up were Anton Tomko and Floyd Taylor. The crests were stamped on T-shirts for all ages; the Tofield stores sponsored the sale of these shirts.
Tofield High School using "Golden Moments" as its theme conducted spring graduation ceremonies for: Elvera Baerg, Elsie Baergen, Louise Baergen, Helmut Duek, Clayton Everitt., Allan Henderson, Shirley Harris, Bertha Johnson, Lydia Mierau, Bruce McFadzean, Erna Neufeld, Linda Neufeld, Art Rempel, Vera Tiedemann, June Foyd, Barbara Sware, Joanne Belcourt.
A well-attended Civic Thanksgiving Service was held in the Community Centre with representatives of all local churches participating.
The Jubilee Committee consisted of Dr. Freebury, Howard Watson., Dick Mutlow, Norman Glover, Graham Allan, Mabel Boyles, Bill Worton, Grace Phillips, Vince Bates.
J.E. Stinson., secretary of the Town of Tofield, was also secretary of the Jubilee Committee.
Tofield's Centennial program was launched on January 23, 1967 at a meeting of interested citizens called by Mayor W.H. Freebury. A committee to co-ordinate the year-long program was named consisting of: Dr. W.H. Freebury, Mrs. Marie Worton, Gabe Pittet, Jim Francis, Father Scriven, Larry Willson, Bill Christensen, Rev. W. Hammett, Mrs. Mabel Boyles, Mrs. Petra Stauffer, Mrs. Grace Phillips, Thomas Jacobs. David Halverson and Andy Heiberg with Miss Chimko as secretary.
Dr. Freebury appointed Mrs. Petra Stauffer as Tofield's Centennial Queen, an office she filled with charm and dignity.
The whole district entered enthusiastically into Centennial plans. Centennial flags flew from most buildings on Main Street; old fashioned costumes were worn in the streets and in business places every weekend, teas were held which Queen Petra honoured with her presence.
At a "family night" in April, Queen Petra received her crown from Dr. Freebury. A variety program featuring adults and children of all ages was arranged by Marie Worton.
An "ethnic night" of folk dances, followed by old time dancing arranged by Ruth Kraus and Harold Schultz was held later in the spring with a huge crowd participating.
The Lions' Club held a Winter Carnival, complete with ski-do races and parachute jumps.
Souvenirs were bought by Mrs. Boyles and sold in Robinson's Store by the kindness of C. Blacklock. A Centennial doll, dressed by Mrs. Boyles, was raffled.
Mrs. Joan Dunham staged "The Passing Parade" - a program well received by its large audience as it followed the fine arts down through the years.
The Tofield High School published a Centennial Year Book - a pictorial record of Tofield in 1967. The Tofield Historical Society planned and prepared to produce this History of Tofield. They also sponsored a visit by Lieutenant-Governor J. Grant MacEwan who spoke to an audience in the Community Centre.
Special church services and carol festivals were participated in by all the local churches. Almost every organization held special events where Centennial costumes were featured and at which Queen Petra was an honoured guest.
A large bulletin board was placed on Main Street by Bill Christensen and Thomas Jacobs. On it were announced Centennial events. The Ladies' Bowling Club donated benches to be placed on Main Street.
A park "Tofield Centennial Park" was Queen Petra's special project. Aided by the town Council and interested citizens, this park is now a reality on Main Street. Its opening by Bud Salloum of the Alberta Centennial Committee, was followed by an ethnic supper in the Community Centre late in the fall.
July first was Centennial-oriented. Special attractions such as the fashion show, the large parade, the jumping horses, the 21-gun salute by the Tofield Gun Club all made the day something to remember.
Bill Bakschaat was chosen by a group of clergymen as citizen of the year and presented with a scroll as a symbol of community appreciation of his services during the years he has worked at the Tofield Hospital.
Queen Petra entertained her "subjects" at a garden party at her home in August.
Exactly a year after it had been appointed the Centennial Committee held its final meeting. The money in the treasury was divided among the Tofield Library, The Tofield Community League and the Youth Sports' Committee.
The committee having been asked to recommend possible candidates for Centennial awards, did so; in due time these Centennial Achievement Awards were receive by: Dr. W.H. Freebury, "Queen" Petra Stauffer and Grace Phillips.
The committee in charge of the preparation of this history of the Tofield community is all too well aware that, in spite of our vigilance, we "have done those things which we ought not to have done and have left undone those things which we ought to have done". For any such errors or omissions, we ask the reader's indulgence; to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing the information contained herein is correct and complete.
We are happy to have been instrumental in preserving for future generations the history of Tofield.
Grace A. Phillips