News articles about current heritage and cultural
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August 28, 2018, Red Deer Advocate (Susan
Fort Normandeau brings people together for re-enactment during
celebration of cultures
The thunder of cannon fire rang out at Fort Normandeau where
re-enactments of the 1885 Rebellion attracted about 350 people
Saturday afternoon, and another crowd Sunday during Fort Normandeau
During the annual black powder re-enactments, gun fire breaks out
after unsuccessful talks between Canadian soldiers and Metis and
First Nations peoples.
Alden Boysis, who played a Cree warrior in the re-enactment, said
the event gets his heart pumping.
"It's a lot of fun. You just want to do the best you can," said
Boysis, a volunteer with Red Deer's Firestick Living History
"I'm defending my camp from the Canadian forces coming in. We're
trying to let them know we're here, and we don't want them coming
onto our land. But of course with treaties and people settling in
the west, it's rather difficult for us to hold onto the land. We're
just trying to send Ottawa a message -- we're still here," said
Boysis who has participated in the event for three years.
Tanya Wells, Waskasoo Environmental Education Society's special
events co-ordinator and public programmer, said the re-enactment is
quite spectacular with cannon and rifle fire.
But Fort Normandeau Days is the coming together of three different
communities -- the First Nations, the Metis and the Europeans,"
"It's a celebration of culture, a sharing of knowledge, helping to
educate the community about when these three different peoples came
together here at the crossing."
She said the event has evolved with the addition of vendors like a
blacksmith, a beekeeper, and people who sell herbal products and
jewelry similar to products that would have been traded during the
Visitors also learned how to throw an axe and practise their
archery. Children made corn husk dolls, bannack and ice cream.
"It brings the community to a spot where they can enjoy not just
one or two things, but a variety of different ideas and culture,"
1. Mindy Pelensky, of Red Deer, gets an archery lesson from
Alden Boysis at Fort Normandeau Days Sunday.
2. Soldiers in the 1885 Rebellion re-enactment ready their cannon to fire
at Fort Normandeau Days Sunday.
3. Laura and Daniel Allard perform a Metis dance at Fort Normandeau Days
Photos by Susan Zielinski/Advocate staff
August 25, 2018, Red Deer Advocate (Sean
Celebration centres on
'the meeting of cultures'
It will be like stepping into the 1800s at Fort
Normandeau this weekend.
Fort Normandeau Days runs from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
at the historical site, which marks the birthplace of Red Deer.
Tanya Wells, Kerry Wood Nature Centre and Fort Normandeau special
events co-ordinator and public programmer, said the event is a
"fun-filled two days" and celebrates First Nations, Metis and
European cultures coming together.
"It's our biggest celebration out at the fort," said Wells. "It's a
culmination of the summer season, and we try to pack it with enough
activities and fun stuff for families to do."
There will be battle reenactments, axe-throwing, archery, and
escape room, vendors, a barbecue and more.
"We have some new performers this year and ... we're doing a
'sunset ceremony' for the first time, where the cannon will be fired
over the river at the end of the day.
"This way you not only get the reenactment, you get this extra
little First Nations ceremony," she said.
Lyle Keewatin Richards, with the Firestick Living History Society,
which performs the battle reenactment with the 65th Mt. Royal
Rifles, said he loves being a part of Fort Normandeau Days.
"It's a meeting of the cultures," said Keewatin Richards. "It's
about people who were once enemies who became friends, and I think
that's a really important piece of this event."
Keewatin Richards said the event is about more than shooting
cannons and chucking axes.
"It's education and fun coming together," he said. "We're able to
share the history with people and that's really the important
The attendance for the event fluctuates each year, but Keewatin
Richards said he's hoping to see at least 400-500 people over the
"It's a good show. Hopefully it's a nice day, and we'll get everybody up
on the hillside to watch the battle reenactment," he said.
Admission is $3 per person, $10 per family or $15 per carload of
Photo: Lyle Keewatin Richards sets up the axe-throwing
station for Fort Normandeau Days Friday afternoon.
The annual event, which features battle re-enactments, archery, an escape
room, a barbecue and more, is
Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate
January 30, 2018, Innisfail Province
New facilities approved for
Discovery Wildlife Park has been approved for a significant
development upgrade that will include two new cabins for its
At council's Jan. 22 regular meeting a development permit
application from the zoo was presented and approved for the
construction of a new washroom facility and holding tank, a new
registration building at the entrance of the campground, a new water
well near the campground and two cabins in the campground area.
Doug Bos, co-owner of the zoo, said the investment for the new
amenities is worth about $120,000. He said construction will begin
immediately, with the new facilities up and running when the zoo
opens for the season this spring. Bos, who is a town councillor,
recused himself from council's discussion on the zoo application.
The park's report said the intent of the new washroom facility and
holding tank north of the main park building is to accommodate the
growing number of visitors to the zoo, including those coming on bus
tours. He said the new washroom will have six women's and three
men's stalls along with four urinals.
He said the idea for the two new cabins, which won't be serviced,
is to round out the park's "camping opportunities" by attracting
more visitors from large urban centres.
"Many people who live in the cities don't have tenting gear or
anything," said Bos outside of council on Jan. 22. "Last summer we
had a number of tenters there that when the wind came up it blew
their tents away, so now they can move into a cabin."
The report presented to council said the new registration building
will function as a small store and office.
As for the new water well, it was noted in the administration
report that the zoo is currently serviced by private water, and the
additional well will support park operations. The report also noted
the best location for the zoo's new well has not yet been identified
by a water well driller, but once that is done the park must notify
The park will also need to secure a water well licence as required
by provincial requirements, said the report to council.
Photo: Doug Bos, co-owner of Discovery Wildlife Park, said
adding two cabins near the zoo's campground will be
a benefit for guests visiting from large urban centres.
August 3, 2017, Red Deer Advocate (Sean
Sunnybrook Farm Museum
Take a walk back in time during Pioneer Days
Get ready to take a trip back in time.
Sunnybrook Farm Museum in Red Deer (4701 30th St.) is hosting the
22nd annual Pioneer Days Festival, Aug. 19-20, with entertainment
for the whole family.
There will be a pancake breakfast, a silent auction, a tractor
parade, an antique toy display, a bouncy castle, live animal
exhibitions and more through the weekend at the museum.
"It's so exciting to have the festival," said Sunnybrook Farm
Museum executive director Ian Warwick. "This place is really a jewel
in Red Deer. Lots of people drive by and never come in, and there is
a remarkably peaceful park setting here."
People from all over Alberta will make their way to Red Deer to
compete in one of the most popular events at the festival -- the
"It's a pretty exciting thing seeing these old tractors, and the
history around them," Warwick said.
Between 60 and 80 competitors from around the province will bring
pre-1960s tractors to the museum for the festival.
They will compete to see who can drag a weighted sled the furthest
and quickest along a track.
Pioneer Days is a staple in the community, Warwick said, with about
3,000 people coming every year. People like to come out to see
what's new at the museum, he added.
"It's exciting to have people come out to see the changes we've
made ... There's constant revision, changes and development here for
people to see," he said.
Though it won't be complete by Pioneer Days, a small pioneer school
is under construction on the south end of the museum.
The project is expected to be completed by November.
Admission is $15 per family and $5 for an individual -- a price
that hasn't changed in 10 years. More details can be found at
Photo: Howard Shields of Delburne drives his 1943
International Harvester IHCW9 tractor in the tractor pull
event during Pioneer Days at Sunnybrook Farm Museum. File photo by Jeff
2. Three-year-old Lydia Sawatzky from Red Deer enjoys the swings at
Sunnybrook Farm Museum Wednesday.
In a couple of weeks there will be even more activities for families at
the museum, including a bouncy castle, for the Pioneer Days
Festival. Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff
Alberta Prairie Rail Tours Stettler
May 25, 2017, Central Alberta Life (Lana Michelin)
and Big Valley celebrate Canada's 150th birthday
with steam trains
Canada was shaped by railroads, so it's fitting a Rails and Tales
steam train celebration is being planned for this nation's 150th
birthday. Three vintage steam locomotives will be featured in
special events from June 28 to July 5 in Big Valley and Stettler.
The Rails and Tales activities -- to include Metis dancers, steam
tractors and other early agricultural equipment, and a rail history
display -- is being organized by the East Central Alberta
Alberta Prairie Rail Tours Stettler
Dec. 13, 2016, Red Deer Advocate (Susan
Zielinski) & Dec. 22, 2016, Central Alberta Life
Stettler's Polar Express offering round
trips to the North Pole
Families wearing fleece pyjamas beneath their winter coats are
climbing aboard The Polar Express in Stettler for round trips
to the North Pole throughout December. Travellers on one-hour
holiday train ride with Alberta Prairie Railway experience the
classic children's book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van
Allsburg, about a boy who takes a magical Christmas Eve train ride
to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa. Last week,
Prairie Rail Tours Stettler
Nov. 15, 2016, Red Deer Advocate
Alberta Prairie Railway to whisk riders away
The Polar Express
A holiday train ride aboard Alberta Prairie Railway is bringing The
Polar Express motion picture to life starting Dec. 1. The one-hour
The Polar Express Train Ride departs from Stettler for a round trip
to the "North Pole". Set to the sounds of the motion picture
soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the story as they
are whisked away on The Polar Express. Hot chocolate and a cookie
treat will be served as passengers read along with
Prairie Rail Tours Stettler
Oct. 19, 2016, Stettler Independent (Moush
Over 1K visitors at Alberta Prairie Railway's pumpkin patch
Patrons and visitors from all over the province came to attend
Alberta Prairie Railway's Harvest Pumpkin Fest, riding the special
trains that took them to the pumpkin patch on Saturday, Oct. 15.
According to Bob Willis, general manager of Alberta Prairie Railway,
there was a very slight decrease in the total numbers this year from
those of 2014 and 2015, with 1,082 attendees this year. But, he
attributes this to the "challenging"
Feb. 2, 2016,
Innisfail Province (Johnnie Bachusky)
Zoo campground approved
Town council has given the go-ahead to Discovery Wildlife Park to
develop a 66-unit campground on nearly nine acres of land at the
northeast corner of the zoo's 90-acre property.
With council's approval, development work on the new campground
will begin this year and be ready for campers in 2017.
The application, which was previously approved by the town's
Municipal Planning Commission, was presented to town council at its
Jan. 25 regular meeting. As the site is designated a Direct Control
District, council is the development authority.
During the presentation by town development officer Andrew Cohrs,
Coun. Doug Bos, who is co-owner of Discovery Wildlife Park, recused
himself from the discussion and subsequent decision by council.
Cohrs told council the proposed access for visitors to the new
campground will be from the same west side entrance used by the
public to visit the zoo. Council was told campers will have to drive
across the property to take an access road north along the east side
of the property to enter the campground, which will not have an
access point along Highway 2A, although there will be an exit gate
on the north side for emergency use.
Council was told the campground will be enclosed on all sides with
an eight-foot fence and have a gated entrance, which will be locked
at night. There will be no water or sewer infrastructure at the
campground, and the zoo will be responsible for providing trucked-in
water and sanitation services. Power will be provided for each of
the 66 campsites and propane fireplaces will be made available for
Cohrs told council no existing trees from the campground area,
which also includes two grassed islands, a grassed area in the
northeast corner and a pond in the centre, will be removed. Council
heard that the developer will be planting a new tree for each of the
Council was also told the development does not conflict with
Waskasoo Creek or with its accompanying shoreline vegetation.
The application noted that the lands north of the campground site
are reserved for industrial development and that the new
recreational site won't impact any future use.
Photo: The triangular northeast section of Discovery
Wildlife Park (in yellow) has been approved by town
council for development of a 66-unit campground.
Oct. 28, 2014, Innisfail Province (Johnnie
Big win for Discovery
The 2014 season has been over at Discovery Wildlife Park since the
end of the Thanksgiving long weekend but the zoo is rejoicing with a
Discovery Wildlife Park was awarded a Travel Alberta Alto Award on
Oct. 20 for its commitment to service excellence. The zoo won over
co-finalists Alpine Village Cabin Resort in Jasper and Edmonton's
The Alto Award recognizes the park for delivering outstanding
customer service to its visitors, employees, suppliers and other
It's the third time the Innisfail zoo has won an Alto Award from
Travel Alberta, the provincial government tourism-marketing agency
that was established as a Crown corporation in 2009.
In previous years the park won in the marketing excellence and
sustainable tourism categories but this year's award is a first for
"Discovery Wildlife Park goes the extra mile for their customers by
providing unique amenities like golf cart rentals and special family
room for parents with babies," said Debbie Olsen, media relations
specialist for Travel Alberta. "They even offer weather guarantees.
If it's too sunny or too rainy, guests can request a rain check and
come back another day.
"Receiving an Alto Award is a tremendous honour for any
organization and Doug Bos and Debbie Rowland, owners of the park,
could not be more pleased," she added. "Alto Awards recognize
individuals and organizations committed to enriching Alberta's
tourism industry and who by their actions inspire others and
demonstrate what can be achieved by working together."
Bos said he was honoured with the award, and that it was the most
important one he has earned from Travel Alberta.
"For me it is a pretty big deal because it is province-wide, not
just an isolated area," said Bos. "Customer service is huge amongst
all tourist places. When you are up against all the big hotels,
heritage parks and all these people for customer service I just feel
it is a more prestigious award."
Bos also said this month's Alto Award adds to his feeling of
success for the past season, noting the zoo was able to maintain the
30 per cent increase in attendance it was able to pick up in 2013,
the year of the Great Flood that devastated the Calgary Zoo. He said
Discovery Wildlife Park was able to pick up a huge increase in
attendance last year but was concerned it would drop off in 2014.
"We didn't expect to maintain that," said Bos. "Some of the key
weekends we count on, like the July weekend, had some real bad
weather. And there were others where our numbers were not great
because of weather but despite all that we managed to maintain our
30 per cent increase which we are quite happy with."
Discovery Wildlife Park is open daily from May 1 to mid-October
annually. The zoo's website is at discoverywildlifepark.com.
Photo: Doug Bos, the co-owner of Discovery Wildlife Park
(centre) accepts the Travel Alberta Alto Award on
Oct. 20 for his zoo's outstanding customer service.
Aug. 20, 2014, Ponoka News (Amelia Naismith)
Railway Day offers a glimpse
at transportation's past
It was full steam ahead for the Alberta Central Railway Museum in
Wetaskiwin as it opened up the grounds for its largest event of the
year, Railway Day.
Featuring a pancake breakfast, beaver tails, which is a bread type
dish, a spike driving demonstration, wagon rides, speeder rides and
train rides, the one-day event attracts 350 to 450 visitors
"We've been doing Railway Day for 20 years," explained operations
manager Bill Wilson. The museum has been open for 22 years.
Wilson says the day's most popular attraction is the train rides,
which were held in a dayliner named Mount Avalanche. The train
features the museum's oldest car, dating back to 1926.
"Most people have never had a train ride. I'm talking senior
people. People you expect would have had a train ride," said Wilson.
"The young people, they are relating back to when trains were the
Stepping onto the dayliner meant instantly being transported back
in time. The relic featured narrow walkways, patterned and bright
upholstery, upper and lower sleeping berths and a porter's cabin.
During the night, when someone wished to leave their upper berth,
they rang a bell to summon the porter, who would bring a ladder.
When a person wished to return to their bed, the same steps were
repeated. If a person left their leather shoes in the corridor
overnight, they would be shined and returned by the porter.
The museum's exhibit gallery is housed in a mail express. "We try
to do pre-1965, when everything moved by rail," said Wilson.
Another mail express is currently being refurbished, painting is
underway and a new roof was recently installed.
Dayliner trains used to run between Edmonton and Calgary in
three-hour trips. The trains traveled at 90 miles per hour to
maintain their schedules; that equates to 144 km/h.
While Railway Day is the museum's largest annual event, the staff
try to organize a different event once a month.
Photo: Passengers of the Dayliner watch the landscape slip
by their coach window during Railway Day at the
Alberta Central Railway Museum.
Webmaster notes: the article could cause some confusion
regarding train rides. The Dayliner is a CPR Budd self-propelled
passenger rail vehicle that ran between Calgary and Edmonton between
1955 and 1985. The Mount Avalanche is a 1926 former sleeper
passenger car that has been converted to a type of coach.
August 8, 2013, Leduc-Wetaskiwin Pipestone
Flyer (Barry McDonald)
Alberta Central Railway
Ice Cream Festival for kids of all ages
There is nothing much more nostalgic than to take a train ride
winding through fields of barley and canola and ending the trip with
a 'free' homemade ice cream cone. Yet that is what kids of all ages
experienced at the Alberta Central Railway Museum in a lovely
country setting south-east of Wetaskiwin on August 4th, 2013. Many
of the elderly were reminiscing about their train trips of 'years
ago' while youngsters were experiencing their very first train ride.
On arrival at the Museum, the 1959 RS23 locomotive ex-CP 8015 could
be heard idling while sending out a light haze of blue smoke around
the Museum's train station. Guests entered a scaled down version of
the 1907 Wetaskiwin C.P.R. depot to purchase tickets for the train
ride. At 1:30 p.m. they eagerly waited on the station platform with
tickets in hand until Bill Wilson, founder of the Alberta Central
Railway Museum, announced the train was ready for boarding. Young,
old and families entered the restored 1926 first-class
observation-buffet-sleeper Mount Avalanche ready for the adventure.
Once everyone was seated and the tickets were punched, the train
began the journey around the one mile loop of track and in the event
the passengers missed some of the peaceful country scenery the first
trip, the train went around the loop a second time. The smell of the
diesel, the clacking of the wheels on the steel tracks, the tooting
of the whistle and the ringing of the signal bells all added to an
experience that was equally enjoyed, but viewed differently by the
'children' of all ages.
At the end of the trip, guests walked through some of the rail yard
and exhibits to the Maintenance of Way Building where much to their
delight, they were treated to a free homemade ice cream cone. Inside
the building and throughout the site are displays and artifacts that
tell the story of the work of railroaders, the story of train travel
in Canada, the impact of Canadian Pacific Railway on settlement, and
the importance of railways to Western Canada into the age when steam
"Alberta Central Railway Museum is a public museum dedicated to
preserving, conserving and interpreting Canadian Pacific Railway
artifacts and history prior to 1965. The Alberta Central Railway
Museum station was built on site to be a museum and is a scaled-down
version of the 1907 Wetaskiwin CPR depot. Here you can wait for the
train in a typical country station with waiting room, baggage room
and telegraph office. You can hear the operating telegraph and try
it for yourself. You will see how the station semaphore was used to
control train movements. Along with many items which show how
stations served passengers and business customers.
Alberta Central Railway Museum has a collection of Canadian Pacific
rolling stock and maintenance of way tools and track motor cars.
Included in the collection are early heavy weight cars from the
passenger era, as well as freight equipment, cabooses, freight cars
and a snowplow. In 2002, ACRM added the second oldest standing grain
elevator in Alberta to the collection. This elevator, built by
Alberta Grain Company in 1906, will show our visitors how railways
and elevators worked together to serve agriculture in Western
Canada. Our exhibit car houses more of the railway story. Here you
can view artifacts that tell about railway work and workers. An
HO-scale layout of the 1930s Wetaskiwin railway yard shows you how
railway was central to our prairie towns."
Alberta Central Railway Museum is open Wednesdays to Sundays and
also holiday Mondays from the May long weekend until Labour Day in
September. The Museum is easy to find. Start at 40th Avenue and 47th
Street (Co-op Country Junction) in Wetaskiwin and follow the paved
Secondary Road 613 east (four miles) to paved Secondary Road 822.
Drive for 6 miles, turn west onto the side road west for one mile,
and right (north) for half a mile. When you see the grain elevator,
you will be there.
The next special event at the Alberta Central Railway Day will be
on August 18th. For an all-inclusive fare of $8 per person aged 2
and older, guests will be treated to a pancake breakfast served from
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Beaver Tails served from 1 p.m. to 3:30
p.m. They will also be able to enjoy: Model Train Exhibits and
Collectors Show, Exhibits and Telegraph Service Demonstrations,
Train Rides, Speeder Rides, Wagon Rides, and Spike Pounding
May 13, 2014, Innisfail Province (Johnnie Bachusky)
Zoo on National Geographic television series
Despite the unpredictable and often unseasonably cold weather,
Discovery Wildlife Park is off to a good start for the 2014 season.
Highlighted by the inclusion of Alberta's first cheetahs in almost
two decades, the arrival of a pair of adorable black wolf cubs and
an imminent worldwide broadcast of a National Geographic show that
features a renowned veterinarian plying her skills at the park, zoo
officials are understandably excited for this season's prospects.
The zoo will soon be featured front and centre in the current new
television docureality series on National Geographic's subsidiary
channel Nat Geo Wild called Dr. Oakley: Yukon Vet. The show is being
aired in 35 countries.
Dr. Michelle Oakley, who practises in both Alaska and the Yukon, is
being promoted for the show as the only all-species vet for hundreds
of kilometres across the North's rugged landscape, with her patients
being anything from bald eagles and sled dogs to muskox.
"They worked with the bear, a tiger, jaguar and did medical stuff,"
said Doug Bos, co-owner of Discovery Wildlife Park, of the show's
staff during filming. "The vet helped do medical procedures without
"They spent all day filming here a bunch of things. When they were
filming they really focussed on our mechanical bear for the entry of
the thing," he added.
Film crews were at the zoo for their shoot last year and episodes
for the show began airing last month. Although Bos has seen promos
for the Innisfail-based episode on Twitter he still does not know
the date when it will be aired.
Repeated calls from the Province to the show's producers were not
"I don't know exactly what is going to be on the episode we are on,
but on all the other shows they had to use anesthetic to put them to
sleep so she could do all this stuff," said Bos. "What they featured
here was that our animals are trained so they don't have to use
anesthetics and can work on them while they are awake. You don't
have to compromise their health by putting them to sleep."
Meanwhile, the 2014 opening day for the zoo was on May 1. About 40
visitors braved the unseasonably cool weather to see Innisfail's
special critters, including the park's prized pair of cheetahs.
Bos said while there is a lot of current interest from the public
and media over the new cheetahs, the zoo has just received two new
special animals - a pair of black wolf cubs.
"Their eyes have just opened. They are that young. They are on a
touchy diet. Their diet was screwed up when they were found," said
Bos. "We actually got three in and we lost one of them within hours
of getting him, because they were improperly looked after before we
He said the arrival of the wolf cubs comes as the park is creating
a YouTube video series called Growing Up Orphan.
For further information on the Discovery Wildlife Park's 2014
season visit discoverywildlifepark.com or on Facebook.
Photo: New cheetahs, Robin and Annie, promise to be the
star attractions for the zoo's 2014 season.
Oct. 19, 2013, Red
Deer Advocate (Crystal Rhyno)
Sunnybrook Farm starts next
phase of growth
Transforming the southern
landscape of Sunnybrook Farm Museum into a living farm community
took another step forward this week.
A sod-turning ceremony on Thursday marked the start of the next
phase of the South Development Project -- the Co-operative
Mercantile Store and upgrades to the site's water and sanitary
Construction is expected to get underway next spring with the goal
to begin welcoming visitors inside the building by the fall of 2014.
The credit union/store will house museum artifacts.
"Buildings are our No. 1 priority," said Ian Warwick, farm museum
executive director. "We need to build more space. We need to store
more artifacts. People in Red Deer want to donate their personal
history and their treasured possessions to the museums in Red Deer."
Warwick said the museum is at capacity and the more buildings they
can build, the more storage space.
But most importantly, Warwick said the museum wants to celebrate
the farm community.
Sunnybrook Farm is developing the southern portion of the site as
part of its long-term strategic plans. The 1920s Heritage Garage
opened in May. After the store is up and running, the museum will
turn its attention to the Calder School Interpretive Centre.
The school was moved from its location about 20 km east of
Innisfail to the museum in 2008. Warwick said this is a larger
fundraising project that will come with an estimated $400,000 price
tag. Other plans include relocating the museum's entrances and
On hand for the sod turning was Alberta Culture Minister Heather
Klimchuk and other guests. Klimchuk, who visited the museum for the
first time, noted the uniqueness of having the museum in a
residential area. She said museums protect history and ensure future
generations know about it.
The $390,000 store/credit union project was partially financed with
a $110,000 grant from the province's Community Facility Enhancement
Program, as well as with funds from Red Deer Co-op, Servus Credit
Union, Concentra Financial, The Co-operators, and UFA Co-operative.
Red Deer Arches Historic Marker
Oct. 19, 2013, Red Deer Advocate (Crystal Rhyno)
Arches mark influence of railroad on city
The Historic Arches project
was unveiled at Centennial Plaza Park in Red Deer on Friday after
nearly 20 years in the making.
The nine-pillar arches near Alexander Way and 52nd Avenue celebrate
the influence of transportation and the railways in the development
of the city.
Bill MacKay, president of the Central Alberta Historical Society,
said the arches record the history of the railroad and its impact on
Alberta Central Railway Museum near Wetaskiwin
Aug. 21, 2013, Wetaskiwin Times (Michael Chan)
Railway Days still chugging along to success
The annual Railway Day event was held at Alberta Central Railway
Museum Aug. 18.
The event is an opportunity for children and families to learn about
history on the railways. It's also a chance for visitors to take a
train ride around the site.
The museum site features railway stations, railcars and a restored
train. All of the restoration work on the vehicles at the museum was
done by the Railway Day organizer Bill Wilson and his
Station and Railway Park
Sept. 13, 2012, Alberta RETROactive, Blogging Alberta Historic
Places (Dorothy Field)
All Aboard! Big Valley Canadian Northern Railway Station Celebrates 100 Years
At one time, more than 800 communities in Alberta had a train
station. This is no longer the case. Fewer than 10% of Alberta's
train stations remain today, and even fewer continue to serve their
original purpose. The Canadian Northern Railway Station at Big
Valley - designated a Provincial Historical Resource in 2005 - is
one of those few. Train excursions run regularly from Stettler to
Big Valley, often with the mighty 6060 Steam
Alberta Central Railway Museum near Wetaskiwin
Aug. 15, 2012, Ponoka
News (Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye)
Railway Day promises fun for the whole family
Old trains seem to strike the imagination of just about every child;
pulling the cable and announcing a train in departure is probably on
their bucket list of things to do in life. They just might be able
to fulfill that dream at Alberta Central Railway Museum Aug. 19. The
museum will host its annual Railway Day with a range of activities
and rides for the entire family, explained operations manager Bill
Wilson. "We try to keep it family-oriented.
Innisfail and District Historical Village
May 10, 2010, Innisfail Province (Michaela Ludwig)
New exhibits call
Historical Village home
Two new exhibits at the
Innisfail Historical Village tell more about Innisfail's founding
As a 40-year anniversary project, the Innisfail and District
Historical Society set about restoring the Village's Bowden CP Rail
station. And through the doors of that old station, visitors will
find several displays depicting Innisfail in its early years and
what the railroad meant to central Alberta. Scaled-down model trains
chug along the tracks
Innisfail and District Historical Village
May 10, 2010, Red Deer
Advocate (Paul Cowley)
'Sleeper' village grand opening set
Innisfail Historical Village
has been a bit of a sleeper among Central Alberta attractions.
Curator Dean Jorden and other members of the Innisfail and District
Historical Society plans to use their 40th anniversary celebrations
to change that.
To draw more people to the society's impressive collection of
historic buildings, vehicles, equipment and other artifacts in the
middle of Innisfail, a project to restore the 1904 Bowden CPR rail
Alberta Central Railway Museum near Wetaskiwin
June 10, 2009, Wetaskiwin Times (Vince Burke)
Right on track:
Central Train Museum celebrates 17th anniversary
The sound of a train engine being fired up excited the visitors as
they readied themselves for a trip back in time.
The Alberta Central Railway Museum attracted a steady stream of
people, young and old, to check out its exhibits of Central
Alberta's railway history and take a ride on an old passenger train.
It was all part of the museum's 17th anniversary celebration June 7.
"It has been 17 years since we opened in 1992, and every
June 4, 2008, Red Deer Express 'Summer
Adventures' (Johnnie Bachusky)
He is carrying
the message of pioneer trains
Bill Wilson used to be a professional messenger, the type long
forgotten in this day and age.
Wilson, now a vibrant hard working senior citizen, once worked for
the Canadian Pacific Railway for seven years as a telegrapher,
sending out Morse code messages across the province and throughout
During that time he applied his profession at close to 35 railway
stations across Alberta.
Along the way, a deep love and respect was engrained for all things
that had to do with the railroad.
His other great passion was farming, and for more than 40 years he
has owned acreage 14 km southeast of Wetaskiwin.
Seventeen years ago Wilson, with the help of family members, many
friends and volunteers, found a way to merge both of his passions.
In doing so, he is once again spreading a message -- one that
honours a unique pioneer way of life.
He founded the Alberta Central Railway Museum, which today is
spread out on 10 acres of his farm.
Here visitors can experience the joys of what it was like to be
part of the CPR railway lifestyle.
"It was the good old days," said Wilson, a shy man who is adamant
about giving credit to the museum's success to others, particularly
to the many hard working volunteers.
"It is usually the train rides and tours that impress visitors,"
said Wilson. "They do get a true railway experience and see how
messages were sent out before the time of computers."
The museum features a mile-long track for its 90-ton locomotive
"8015", a light-weight diesel originally built to carry grain and
freight on Saskatchewan branch lines.
While visitors marvel at the locomotive and the track, they can
also begin their pioneer train experience by first visiting the
station, a scaled down version of the 1907 Wetaskiwin CPR depot.
Just outside is the plank platform, where visitors will see a
25-foot operating electric semaphore that once controlled train
movement at Wetaskiwin.
On the outside of the station there are express and telegraph signs
that add to the pioneer ambience of the museum.
Inside the station visitors will discover the waiting room, baggage
room and a functioning telegraph. When the station is open in the
summer, the baggage room is converted into a gift shop, which
carries books, authentic CPR chinaware, toys, caps, t-shirts,
mini-trains, timetables and other railway memorabilia.
After touring the station and before going on that anticipated
train ride, visitors can head out to the museum's rail yard and
discover many artifacts crucially important to the story of pre-1965
railroading in western Canada.
There is the Red Deer station entry sign that was originally
located at Calgary's 9 Ave. station before it was used at the Red
Deer station until the building's closing in 1991.
Visitors will find the crossing signal system that was once used in
Field, B.C. This signal box controlled the railway crossing signals
that warned people of approaching trains.
There is the Lacombe tool house, which was used by section crews to
store track tools and equipment and rail motor cars.
Also originally from the Lacombe rail yards, is the portable
bunkhouse, which at one time was used to house section men. When
track workers needed a place to stay at a new location the bunkhouse
would be moved there by flatcar.
As visitors get on the train at the museum and ride the mile-long
track to complete their pioneer experience they will see a
magnificent and disappearing icon of the past in the field -- the
ancient Hobbema grain elevator that was moved to the museum in 2002.
It is now the second oldest standing grain elevator in Alberta.
The goal of the museum is to show visitors how railways and
elevators worked together to serve agriculture in Western Canada.
The museum offers scheduled train rides and tours daily in the
summer. For those who want to celebrate a special event in a special
way at the museum, call 780-352-2257.
For more information about the Alberta Central Railway Museum visit
the web site at abcentralrailway.com.
June 4, 2008, Red Deer Express 'Summer
Adventures' (Erin Fawcett)
Take a real
train ride with Railway Excursions
The summer season is full steam ahead for the Alberta Prairie
The Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions is located in Stettler.
Exciting one day adventures on board a real steam train or diesel
powered train are offered with a stop in Big Valley for a bite to
eat before returning back to Stettler are offered.
"No one does what we do any where else in the world," said Bob
Willis, general manager of Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions.
Trips can be anywhere between five and seven hours depending on the
All ticket purchases include a full course country dinner style
buffet, on board entertainment and possibly even a train robbery.
"We are doing different things all the time," said Willis. "We
offer murder mysteries, dinner theatres and teddy bear specials."
The railway excursions, which run all year long, usually sell out,
so reservations are encouraged.
"People shouldn't drive to Stettler and expect to get on the
train," said Willis. "A lot of times it's all booked up." Willis
added the unique train excursion is one that the whole family can
"You get to experience Alberta like it should be experienced and
you get to see the most beautiful parts of the province," said
Willis. "This is a perfect way to do that and something the whole
family can have a great time doing together."
Prices for excursions range depending on what the occasion is.
An excursion which includes a country style buffet meal is $85 for
adults, $65 for youth, $35 for children with those three and under
This excursion may or may not include a train robbery.
A special event excursion which includes an upscale buffet meal and
a guaranteed train robbery is $135 for adults, $85 for youth and $60
Ticket prices for the murder mystery excursions, which are for
adults only, is $99 per person.
More details about the excursions and their prices are available on
the Alberta Prairie Railway Excursion's web site -- absteamtrain.com.
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