Exshaw – Cement – Bruno

Precisely what does Exshaw – Cement – Bruno have in common?

Photo by J.Borno

In 1906 an English firm known as the Western Canada Cement and Coal Company establised at Exshaw, using the dry limestone process. Six huge kilns 7 feet in diameter and 85 feet long were built, together with dynamite sheds, stockhouses, offices and a huge hotel. Exshaw was born.

Sir Sanford Fleming named “Exshaw” after his son-in-law, E. William Exshaw, who with Fleming helped establish the Western Canada Cement and Coal Company. By 1910 the company had folded. The successor to the remains was the Canada Cement Company.

Photo by J.Borno

Exshaw, population today 362, is a hamlet in Alberta, Canada situated on the old Banff Calgary Highway, adjacent to the Bow River, 90 kms west of downtown Calgary and 15 km’s east of Canmore. Heart Mountain smiles down on Exshaw. The hamlet once was situated within Banff National Park, the original park entrance was a couple miles to the east of Exshaw.

Photo by J.Borno

The most used substance in the world is cement and that’s what they make at Exshaw. Today, it is very visible on entering the Rocky Mountains from the east, the Lafarge cement plant towers over Lac Des Arc and is the main industry in the community. The limestone is quarried on the mountain north of the plant.

Photo by J.Borno

A number of other plants and quarries are in the area east and west. West is Baymag calcined magnesium oxide plant, and east, Graymont lime and limestone products plant. Limestone is a relatively common sedimentary rock formed from remains marine organisms such as coral or other invertebrates, and composed largely of calcium carbonate and other carbonates.

And finally to Bruno, yes Bruno Gerussi was raised in Exshaw. Gerussi was a Canadian television actor who was best known for that lead role in the CBC series ”The Beachcombers”

Bruno was born in Medicne Hat in 1928. The family subsequently moved to Exshaw where Bruno’s father worked as a sectionman on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Near Exshaw, it is said, there remains a stone bridge built by Bruno’s father, Enrico Gerussi, a Italian trained stone masonsenior. In 1954, a scholarship to the Banff School of Fine Arts led Bruno to acting. He passed away in 1995 of a heart attack, at the age of 67.

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