Where four counties come together
 
Our Lady of Sion has a magnetic personality.  As she brought together farmers across a spacious radius in the Onoway-to-Busby region to form the Sion REA, today she continues to bring together both urban and rural residents in four counties, i.e., Barrhead County, Lac Ste. Anne County, Sturgeon County and Westlock County.
Let's back up a bit and note that REA Founding President Walter Kennett lived in Sturgeon County, although much of the REA was located in Barrhead County, Lac Ste. Anne County, and some in Westlock County.
Just how close together the Counties came is illustrated by the activities and experiences of a family we have already talked about in the previous chapter, i.e., the Arndt family.  In the years after Richard married Dorothy and the two of them operated a grocery store in Onoway, they bought two sections of land at Sion.  One section, just south of the old Sion Hall, was in Barrhead County, and the other section, just across Range Road 20 to the west, was in Lac Ste. Anne County.  
In 1974 they sold their Onoway business and set up what is today a million-dollar retail establishment in the heart of Sion country.  It is known as the Nakamun Superette, also known as "the Real Country Store."
A favorite question back in the mid-seventies, as it still is today, was just exactly where is Sion, and the only possible answer is that it straddles Range Road 20, putting it half in Barrhead County and half in Lac Ste. Anne County.  Its influence, however, goes far beyond that.  Sturgeon County plays large in the picture as well, as also does Westlock County.
The name of the community, Sion, as we have noted at length, seems to have originated close to Lac La Nonne, and gradually migrated eastwards.  The earliest maps show it situated in the northwest quarter of Section 36, Township 56, Range 2, West of the Fifth Meridian.  In the northeast quarter, closer to the intersection with Range Road 20, there was a general store and St. Luke's Anglican Church.
By the time Dorothy and Richard opened their country store on the quarter-section just below that one, however, the Sion Post Office had moved across the road to the east, from Lac Ste. Anne County into Barrhead County.  It was not alone here.  This was also the location for the historic Sion Hall, a favorite social, recreational and entertainment centre built here shortly after the turn of the century (we are trying to get hold of a picture of it taken in 1911, which means it may have been quite new at that time).
In later years an additional  general store, owned by the Kelly family, was built near the Sion Hall.  The store on the west side, by the old Anglican Church, was of course still there as well.  It was owned by the Schutt family.  It eventually burned down, as did the Anglican Church.
"We have fabulous memories of the good times David (husband) and I enjoyed at social gatherings and dances in the old Sion Hall," says Lori Koyich of Busby.
By the late seventies the need for a new "Sion Hall" became obvious, and what was even more obvious was the way the Province of Alberta was rolling in oil wealth.  The Province decided to help the Sion community build a new entertainment and recreation centre.
Everything worked fine until the recession of the early eighties.  The Province wanted more help and participation from the farmers of the Sion area, but the economic slump plunged farmers into unexpected and unplanned-for problems of their own.  These problems left them with precious little time or money for anything else, including a community centre.
To add insult to injury, the two sides of Range Road 20 seemed to be descending into a childish rivalry.  They couldn't seem to get their act together.  The people east of Range Road 20 began thinking of themselves as "Sion," in contrast to people west of Range Road 20, who seemed to think of themselves more as "Nakamun" than "Sion."  They just couldn't seem to co-operate sufficiently to finish the construction of the new community centre.
To make a long story short, that excellent shell of a half-completed building was never finished.  It stood there for many years, waiting for the Sion community to get its act together.
It was suggested that an enterprising group try to set up an agricultural cooperative of some sort, possibly in the nature of a Farmers' Market.  It was also suggested, by another group, that the old and the new Sion Halls be auctioned off to the private sector, and let private enterprise determine what new directions the community of Sion will take, or whether in fact it will not take any new directions but will simply be relegated to history as a community with a colorful past but no future.  The big question was, "Where do we go from here?"
 
Maps
An interesting mapmaker's depiction of the eastward migration of the locality of Sion is seen on the next two maps.  
First map shows the old locality of Sion as it was located on Map No. 83 G 16, published in 1955 by Alberta Energy and Natural Resources (Resource Evaluation and Planning Division).  The Locality of Sion is shown just above the east end of Nakamun Lake.
The map which follows this map also bears the number 83 G 16, but this is a detailed, highly technical topographical map, identified as the Lac La Nonne area, published in 1975 by the Canada Map Office of the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources.  This fairly recent map moves the location of Sion to the east side of Range Road 20.  This considerable shift of location moves Sion from the County of Lac Ste. Anne into the County of Barrhead.  It confirms what Richard Arndt (Nakamun Superette) tells us about the Sion Post Office in recent years having been on the east side of Range Road 20 rather than on the Nakamun Lake Side.
No doubt the construction of the Sion Hall shortly after the turn of the 19th Century (early 1900s), had a great deal to do with the official Sion location now being east of Range Road 20.
All this is in keeping with the popular designation "the Sion Corner."  This is a strategic and significant intersection which may well become increasingly important on the Alberta map.
A popular Travel International slogan today is "Let's put Sion back on the map!"
Now go back and have another look at the old area map shown on the first map.  We are proposing that the provincial Highways people pave the Triple Seven straight north of where the pavement presently stops ten kilometres north of Onoway.  Follow the red line on our map. Build the road straight across the shallow end of Kakina Lake, right on up to the Nakamun Lake corner where you do a gentle curve to the right and then another gentle curve to the left when you get over to Range Road 20.  Take the pavement up to the Sion corner, do a gentle curve to the right and carry on by paving the baseline road all the way to Alcomdale, where the Triple Seven route to the far North carries on up to Westlock, Athabasca, Fort McMurray and beyond.  
            The Province has announced it will twin the highway to Fort McMurray, and that's good news.  We anticipate the next step beyond that will be pushing pavement north all the way to Fort Chipewyan.