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The Patenaudes: a sporting lot

Bryson and Rena Patenaude

Family of 3 with bear cub in front of wooden building and fence

Bryson, his wife Rena, and one of their two sons with pet bear cub, circa 1930s


Around 1921, Bryson (J.P.’s grandson) and his wife Rena Fielding Forsyth Chandler steered away from ranching and opened the Bluebird Inn, a rustic accommodation where Bryson hired himself out as a hunting and fishing guide.

Two men with bear over letterhead

Bryson Patenaude (l.) with hunter showing off their bear kill, over Bryson’s business stationery, circa 1920s


Gold nuggets

Vintage gold nuggets from the Patenaude ranch, 2019. The Cariboo gold rush began with a find on the Horsefly River.

When the Depression hit, the Bluebird Inn became Patenaude’s Pool Room, offering cheap meals and beds. Bryson also worked as a surveyor, cutting trails and installing survey monuments on mountain tops. He proved adept at gold panning, bringing home nuggets that still grace the family’s jewelry.

Rusty Patenaude

Edgar Harold “Rusty” — Bryson and Rena’s grandson — became a hockey star, leaving the ranch at age 14 to play in the Junior league.

Studio photo of hockey player in full gear

Poster of Rusty Patenaude, player for WHL Alberta Oilers, 1972

From 1972 to 1978, he played in the World Hockey Association for the Alberta Oilers, the Edmonton Oilers and the Indianapolis Racers. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft, but due to ongoing injuries caused by the game, he retired. His value on the ice has not been forgotten: Rusty was one of five players — including Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier — invited to the opening of the new hockey arena in Edmonton, since he was the first player to score 100 goals in that city.


Enjoy this interview with Rusty Patenaude with a transcript. To view EN or FR subtitles, click on the gear wheel at bottom right of screen while the video is playing.