NAME: Bezanson City
CLIMATE: Mild summer,cold winter
COMMENTS: Northern Alberta
REMAINS: Nothing.
Maynard Bezanson wrote a book, The Peace River Trail, that was largely responsible for the first big influx of settlers into the country from about 1908 until the outbreak of the First World War. Traveling in 1906 by horse, canoe and raft, he paid particular attention to the area known as Grand Prairie. With settlers responding to his book, in 1913 he laid out a townsite on the east bank of the Smoky River near its junction with the Simonette about 10 miles upstream from where Highway 34 now crosses the Smoky. He was so sure he had chosen the right place for a town that he had real estate salesmen in both Edmonton and Vancouver selling the townsite lots he had staked out. No man could have been more mistaken in his choice. Not only did the Canadian Northern not extend their branch line beyond the Athabasca River at White court but the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railroad also chose a different route to reach Grand Prairie. It missed Bezanson’s proposed city by a good 25 miles. Consequently, nothing more than a sawmill and a few structures erected by Beznason, including a fairly substantial house, were ever built on the site of Bezanson City. If his city failed to materialize, a hamlet bearing his name was later established on the prairie west of the Smoky River where Secondary Road 733, which leads from Wanham, joins Highway 43 from the north. Maynard Bezanson can be proud for he is one of the few pioneers of the Peace River country who has a place, large or small, bearing his name.
H.B. Chenoweth