Concept Proposal for
Transportation Themed Rail, Trail and Transit
Innisfail Community Heritage Rail Park
subject to ongoing stakeholder consultation
A 37-acre parcel north of the Discovery
Wildlife Park at Innisfail (pop. 8000) currently owned by Melcor
Developments about 33 km south of the City of Red Deer is one of a handful of sites being negotiated for the
development of the proposed rail park.
The society proposes that the rail park itself
occupy 21 acres of the parcel with the central 16 acres to be used for future tourism,
semi-commercial, commercial or park expansion.
immediately adjacent to the CPR Calgary-Edmonton main line and
Highway 2A. There is the potential for extending a rail spur into
the site from the south elevator at Niobe.
Conceptual site plan at full build-out
of the proposed rail park at Innisfail
Features of the rail park at full build-out
(Phase 3 - conceptual only)
creating a unique experience that values
family recreational activity, the natural environment and the
transportation heritage of Central Alberta;
and to interpret,
demonstrate and display the relationship between built and natural environment as it relates to the evolution of ground transportation in Western Canada
Calgary & Edmonton Railway Museum
of the original 1891 C&E railway station to house
of artifacts. This station was built in
several locations prior to
being replaced or demolished,
including at Red Deer, Innisfail,
Olds, Carstairs, Airdrie,
Lacombe, Ponoka, Wetaskiwin, Leduc and
majority of these artifacts were gifted to the Forth
Heritage Society by the Junior League of Edmonton,
operators of the closed C&E Railway Station Museum in south
Replication of historic railway
as a study in architecture
and/or restored railway stations of Central Alberta
as interpretive centres of the railways of Red Deer County
including the Alberta
Central Railway (CPR), Canadian Northern Western Railway (CNR),
Grand Trunk Pacific
Railway (CNR). These stations would be used
for a variety of purposes including model rail and themed exhibits,
children's pavilion, games room, mini-theatre, gift shop, a
transportation library and administration.
Miniature world historical
model rail pavilion
One or more of the replicated
railway stations could house accurate representations
evolution of the railway in the development of Innisfail, Red Deer and other
communities in Central Alberta featuring a variety of scales and
time periods. This
could evolve to become Canada's largest series of historically-accurate miniature
Transportation history pavilion
Highlighting the evolution of transit
and regional bus service in Central Alberta as well
as other modes
of ground transportation. Regional historic and cultural tours could
be offered from this facility.
Children's pavilion &
activity, educational and
entertainment centre for children to learn the basics of
transportation science and logistics including miniature train rides and other
collections interpretive exhibits
indoor and outdoor displays showcasing private and leased railway
collections and the evolution of rail
and rolling stock in Central Alberta. Sufficient space will be
included for a future rail
hidden un-restored railway equipment storage.
- Train viewing observation
platform and activity area
Elevated viewing point
for rail enthusiasts and photographers to watch the CPR rail line
with games, video and
reading area and refreshment bar with
adjoining themed playground, gardens and picnic area.
Themed interpretive centres
focusing on aspects of
historic railways such as the C&E Railway and the Alberta Central Railway, railway
activity such as fossil fuel and
agricultural transport, personal vehicles and other ground transportation which
include military and first responder vehicles.
- Ornamental rail station
similar to the
many railway station gardens including the 1906 CPR Red Deer park
greeted visitors and settlers in the first half of the 20th
century. Other gardens could
be scattered throughout park with
fountains and other features.
Natural areas, green space, trails, picnic areas
natural areas including
trees, green spaces and wetlands accessible through a
internal trails and external trail connections with picnic areas and
to relax and enjoy the environment.
Family activity zones, themed playgrounds
playgrounds scattered throughout the park and family activity
where families can enjoy the unique built and natural environment.
gazebos, outdoor stage, covered picnic areas and event
of the park plan sets the stage for
the ultimate build-out of the overall vision. It accommodates
current opportunities and allows for additional uses of the site by
the community and other similar organizations. It also provides some
time to modify the plan as community needs, studies, consultations and trends evolve.
The first phase includes:
- Calgary & Edmonton Railway Museum housing the
collection gifted by the Junior League of Edmonton from the
now-closed station museum in south Edmonton;
- children's playground and outdoor activity area;
- covered viewing platform and snack bar for rail fans who
want to watch the busy CPR Calgary-Edmonton main line that
to 15 trains per day. This element alone could
ultimately attract a good
number of visitors from many parts of
- stand-alone interpretive kiosks;
- an ornamental railway garden similar to those that were
once connected to railway stations;
- additional gardens, a gazebo, water features,
- natural areas, trails and tree planting.
Eventually the park
would connect with regional trails;
- temporary heritage transit storage building and bus tour
- the beginnings of a historical miniature world model
- at least one other replicated railway station as
representative of railway architecture.
These features would initially attract mostly local and regional
residents and guests, visitors, and tourists travelling along the
Calgary and Edmonton corridor.
The above features would be developed by the society. The long term
vision for the site is for the central area of the parcel to be complementary stand-alone semi-commercial developments.
Site plan graphic renderings and photos by Paul Pettypiece except
for historic photo courtesy of Red Deer Archives