Alberta family auction off one of the largest private collections of horse-drawn carriages in North America

PENHOLD, ALTA. – An Alberta family is honoring the life and legacy of their father this weekend by selling a historic collection of horse-drawn carriages and sleighs dating as far back as the 1800s.

The late Lee Bowie of Penhold, Alta. Began purchasing the unique units almost 60 years ago in what has become one of the largest and most incredible private collections in North America.

“He was the kind of person who liked to fix things up and he really liked working with horses and dogs, so the collection started out as a bit of a hobby,” said Greg, Lee Bowie’s eldest son. .

“It all started with a car he discovered in southern Saskatchewan behind a barn and it grew from there. “

Lee Bowie died in January at the age of 90, but left 27 horse-drawn carriages and sleds behind. The collection will now increase for online auction in the sale of his property to Penhold, located just 120 kilometers north of Calgary.

Her daughter Kim says each car has a unique historical value and many memories that stretch back to her childhood.

“Four generations have enjoyed riding the sleds and buggies,” she said.

“Dad used to take mum on evening carriage rides in a buggy with the surrey on top and down country roads. All the neighbors would think he was a big romantic guy and he sort of was, but also a tough cowboy.

Some of the more unique carts include an original McLaughlin Cutter cart. The company was at one point known as the largest manufacturer of horse-drawn strollers in the British Empire and eventually got into the automotive industry with General Motors Canada.

Greg says another of his personal favorites is the Newfoundland Taxi, built in 1890.

“There are only a few left in the world, like maybe three and one of them is selling in this sale,” he said.

“At that time they were driving on the left side of the street, so the sled or taxi is open on the left side and the passengers are seated on the side and the driver is at the back of the unit with the queues. waiting in front of passengers. . “

The public were invited to view the cars on Saturday in person at the Bowie Estate in Penhold, but the auction itself is taking bids online until June 21.

Robert Klatt of Prairie Auction Services says more than 2,000 people have registered to participate in the auction.

“It has garnered a lot of attention from states in the northern United States and across Canada, even as far as Ontario and Quebec,” Klatt said.

“It’s pretty amazing to see and some people I spoke to woke up at 5 am this morning just to come because there aren’t too many opportunities like this.”

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One of those people who woke up early was Miles Wowk, who drove the three hour drive just east of Vegreville.

“A lot of these coins are 100 or 120 years old, so where do you go to find such an old coin? It’s a piece of history, you buy a piece of history and that’s how the West was colonized. “

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