The year was 1964. In an upstairs room of Rony's Cafe on 102 Street just south of Jasper Avenue a small group of Edmonton lawyers had come together for a dinner with a difference. The evening's fare was not to be found among Rony's usual offerings — or the offerings of any other Edmonton restaurant for that matter. The food around which the evening centered consisted of a variety of wild game dishes.
So enjoyable was the evening, so tantalizing the fare and so convivial the atmosphere, that it was decided to repeat the dinner the following year. Thus began the annual Kosowan-Wachowich Wild Game Dinners (until the tab exceeded $1,000 it was always picked up by the Kosowan and Wachowich law firm; since that time other firms have contributed as well) that have become so popular among members of Edmonton's legal community and others fortunate enough to receive an invitation.
Over the years the dinner has changed location as the number of participants has grown, but the camaraderie has endured, as has the nature of the fare. This year's 25th Anniversary Wild Game Dinner, held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on February 28 and attended by 250 guests featured such delicacies as smoked perch and salmon, smoked goose, smoked deer and moose sausage, roasted goose, duck, and pheasants, baked salmon and arctic char, and joints of moose, venison, elk and bear.
Over time another tradition has attached itself to the annual Wild Game Dinner: the raising of money for a sporting cause. At the 1984 dinner the sum of $10,000 was raised to support U of A graduate Susan Nattrass, '72 BPE, '74 MA, '88 PhD, in her attempt to become a member of Canada's Olympic trap shooting team. In 1987 another $10,000 were collected (and subsequently matched by the Alberta government) for the Eddy Mark Shaske Jr. Memorial Foundation for the education, encouragement, advancement and development of trap shooters in Canada.
For the Dinner's 25th anniversary year an even more ambitious fund-raising initiative was launched: the raising of $20,000 to establish the Dr. Alexander C. Smith, Q.C. Scholarship in Constitutional Law, which is to be awarded annually to a University of Alberta law student.
Alexander Smith, '40 BA, '41 LLB, '78 LLD (Honorary), in whose honor the scholarship was named, had influenced a large percentage of the participants in the Wild Game dinner during the 30 years he taught in the University of Alberta law school.
He is warmly remembered by his former students not only for his contributions in the classroom but for his personal courage. Undeterred by the physical disability which was the legacy of a bout with polio, he was an ardent hunter and fisherman.
Born in Scotland, Dr. Smith began his association with the U of A in 1936 when he enrolled in the five-year law program. After graduating from the University he earned Master of Law and Doctor of Jurisprudence degrees from Stanford University. When he retired from the U of A staff in 1943 tribute was paid to his "excellent teaching ability" and his scholarship (his book Commerce Power in Canada and in the United States was recognized as one of the most scholarly and useful books on constitutional law written in Canada) and he was cited as "the man who furthered the building of the Faculty of Law over the past 30 years" and a teacher who "imparted to his students a feeling of respect for the law."
Dr. Smith, who now resides in Victoria, was unable to be present at the 25th Anniversary Wild Game Dinner, but among the head table guests was his son, Edmonton lawyer M. Scott Smith, '66 BA, '70 LLB.
Published Summer 1989.