Choose your frame ...

By Sandra L. Brown

September 27, 2017 3:15 PM

Heavily framed by aged iron from an old bedstead, the painting was being interpreted by the artist who created it.
A co-worker and I were quietly wondering if we had hung it upside down in the gallery as neither of us saw what the artist was describing. 
Gradually as understanding descended upon us, we saw the farmer’s dilapidated shed standing on the prairie artistically recreated on the large canvas. 
Without the artist’s interpretation, this insightful painting could really have been anything and the statement the artist was portraying would have been naively missed. 
I gazed in wonder at this piece of prairie history forever captured with its rustic colours and bold brush strokes.
The frame played a starring role in this scene and enhanced what was within its four walls for those of us viewing from the outside.
Some aspects of Lloydminster’s history are framed and displayed in such a way that the viewer is seeing it without interpretation; not seeing or understanding the entire picture.  Rev. George Exton Lloyd, the chaplain for the Barr Colonists and our community’s namesake wasn’t entirely who he appeared to be.
He and his family played an active role during the early days of Lloydminster’s settlement.
But there was a different perspective to this man as viewed from outside the perimeter of its frame. 
Throughout Canada’s history, government legislation is often wrought with society’s viewpoints and individual mind-sets. 
The Railway Act of 1925 between the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and the Canadian National Railway (CNR) permitted both companies to control the recruitment and settlement of farmers from European countries. 
This was in response to Canada’s lack of available labour in the growing agricultural economy.  Documents could now be issued to those arriving from what had been previously non-preferred countries. 
How sad indeed to learn folks had a lack of respect for others of different origins and faith…and that some aspects of history are repeated through the generations.
Largely based on religious convictions amongst other questionable reasons, some folks who had already settled in Canada took offense to this scheme. 
One of those opposing the government’s decision was Rev. George Exton Lloyd with the Anglican Church. In his position he could easily influence folks to agree with him and influence the government to make changes. 
He was willing to stand up for what he believed in at all costs to reduce the number of non-British immigrants.
Some will agree his radical opinions and methods fueled this controversy as gathering others to his way of thinking came naturally for this influential man. 
Born in England in 1861 he came to Canada and studied theology. 
Before graduating he fought in the 1885 North-West Rebellion where he was wounded.  That same year he was ordained and married.  Returning to England in 1900, he soon became involved in an emigration scheme with Rev. Isaac Montgomery Barr. 
When these Barr Colonists became disgruntled with the leadership, they asked Rev. Lloyd to take over. 
He was now the leader of what was to go down in the history books as the largest group settlement in the Canadian West. 
Besides his organizational skills which set him apart from Barr was the fact he worked relentlessly for the culmination of his dreams. 
His goal was to “settle Canada for the British” and he demanded a restriction placed upon others wanting to settle here.
Rev. Lloyd was Bishop of Saskatchewan from 1922-1931 until he retired. 
As described on Wikipedia by his successor, Rev. Lloyd was, “an imposing figure in his gaiters and unusual hat and cane – rather than invite discussion he made pronouncements, ‘Young man, there is no hope for men with holes in the seat of their trousers, but there is hope for men who have holes in the knees of their trousers.’”
Even now folks can easily be swayed and influenced by opinions of others, whether we fully agree with them or not. 
Fed by fear, intolerance and a lack of courage to understand; society as a whole can be easily influenced from inside its frame. 
Immigration laws have changed radically over the years.
Lloydminster is and was rightfully shaped by a diversity of cultures and its very identity is framed by this diversity.

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