Small Communities in the County of Minburn
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The earliest settlers came to the Lavoy area in 1899 or 1900 with homesteading in mind. Lavoy rapidly began to expand after the railway was laid in 1905 and from that point on, the community became a hub of agricultural activity. Joseph Lavoie was the first person to homestead on present town site, and is also the person that the town was named after. At the height of the communities population, Lavoy boasted several grain elevators, a school and several different stores that provided the community with the basic amenities. In the last couple of decades Lavoy has seen a net migration of young people away from the community and area, due largely in part to the automation in the farming industry.
Today, the small but comfortable Village of Lavoy can be found between the major centres of Lloydminster or Vegreville. It is located 120 km east of Edmonton on Highway 16, near the new Ag-Pro Grain Terminal (at the intersection of Highway 36).
Minburn shares a commonality with its surrounding towns and villages, as it experienced a boom with the inception of the railway line in 1906. As well, its main economic base consists mostly of agriculture. The village of Minburn, found along Highway 16, shares its name with the County it is located within. The community hall is known to play host to weddings and parties and the local hotel is always busy serving up spirits and good fun! The locals are able to travel easily within the County to their neighboring towns and villages, as well as to the nearest major centre of Vermilion.
The prairie division of the Plain's Cree were the first people to hunt and occupy Ranfurly's surroundings. It is these hunting parties, or similar bands, that are likely responsible for the buffalo skeletons found in the Ranfurly area. After the buffalo were destroyed, the Plains Cree were obliged to settle on reserves. One of the original reserves and the one closest to Ranfurly, is that at Saddle Lake. The area where Ranfurly is located was formed from a large number of smaller units of land dating back to the 1900's. Ranfurly sprung up, along with other nearby towns, when a new railway line came into use in 1906. How did Ranfurly get its name? It was as scientific as picking from a hat filled with names of British Earls, Dukes, and Lords! Lord Ranfurly was the fifteenth governor of New Zealand. The Ranfurly Shield is a New Zealand rugby trophy memorial to Lord Ranfurly, who had no Canadian or local connection.
Unfortunately for Ranfurly, improved transportation and excellent road construction has taken the people to do their shopping in bigger centres in shorter time. Today, even though Ranfurly has a small population, the community shows a lot of spirit, with their Agricultural Days and Parade. You can find Ranfurly along Highway 16, between the villages of Lavoy and Minburn.
Warwick (then known as Old Warwick) began in the early 1900's as mainly an agricultural community. In 1903, the Woods Store and Post Office were two of the first buildings erected in Old Warwick, although the Fairwood School was considered one of the first. The C.P.R. rail line between Vegreville and Willingdon in 1928 became the death of Old Warwick, leading to the existence of Warwick (located eight miles directly north of Vegreville)
The Hamlet of Warwick today plays host to summertime ball games, as well as many dances year round. With its close proximity to Vegreville, Warwick is easily able to be located on Highway 637.