Contact Us | About the Society | Membership | Sitemap   

  ACR pier Taylor Drive Red Deer

Forth Junction Project
Media Heritage News
Current Destinations,
Events and Tourism

Forth Junction Project Vision Sharing Historical Perspective Ground Transportation
Heritage Preservation
Forth Junction
Heritage Society

News - Forth
Junction HS

News - Rail Heritage
Central Alberta

News - Alternate

News - Railway

News - Regional
History & Culture
News - Destinations
and Tourism

Miniature Worlds, Model Rail

Tourism & Current Destinations

Proposed Future Destinations

News articles about current heritage and cultural destinations, events
and tourism in Central Alberta

Headlines in blue indicate full story on another page

August 28, 2018, Red Deer Advocate (Susan Zielinski)
Cannons roar
Fort Normandeau brings people together for re-enactment during
celebration of cultures

Fort Normandeau Days 2018   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 Days.
   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 Society.
Cannon at Fort Normandeau   "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," Wells said.
Metis dancers at Fort Normandeau Days   "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 late-1800s.
   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," Wells said.
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 Sunday.
  Photos by Susan Zielinski/Advocate staff

August 25, 2018, Red Deer Advocate (Sean McIntosh)
axe throwing at Fort Normandeau DaysFort Normandeau Days
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 thing."
   The attendance for the event fluctuates each year, but Keewatin Richards said he's hoping to see at least 400-500 people over the weekend.
  "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 six-plus people.
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 staff.

January 30, 2018, Innisfail Province (Johnnie Bachusky)
New facilities approved for
Doug Bos at Discovery Wildlife ParkDiscovery Wildlife Park

   Discovery Wildlife Park has been approved for a significant development upgrade that will include two new cabins for its campground.
   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 town.
   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 McIntosh)
Sunnybrook Farm Museum
Take a walk back in time during Pioneer Days

1943 IHC tractor at 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 tractor pull.
   "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.
enjoying the swing at Sunnybrook Farm Museum   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 Stokoe/Advocate staff
  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)
Stettler 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 (more)

Alberta Prairie Rail Tours Stettler
Dec. 13, 2016, Red Deer Advocate (Susan Zielinski) & Dec. 22, 2016, Central Alberta Life
All Aboard
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, Arctic

Alberta Prairie Rail Tours Stettler
Nov. 15, 2016, Red Deer Advocate
Alberta Prairie Railway to whisk riders away on
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

Alberta Prairie Rail Tours Stettler
Oct. 19, 2016, Stettler Independent (Moush Sara John)
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
location of proposed Discovery campground   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 rent.
   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 66 campsites.
   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 Bachusky)
Big win for Discovery Wildlife Park
Discovery Wildlife Park Alto award   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 glorious aftermath.
   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 Northlands.
   The Alto Award recognizes the park for delivering outstanding customer service to its visitors, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders.
   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 customer service.
   "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
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
Railway Day 2014   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 annually.
   "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 big thing."
   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 Museum's
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 was retired.
   "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 Demonstrations.

May 13, 2014, Innisfail Province (Johnnie Bachusky)
Zoo on National Geographic television series
cheetahs at Discovery Wildlife Park   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 using sedation.
   "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 immediately returned.
   "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 got them."
   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 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 services.
   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 parking areas.
   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 the residents. (more)

Alberta Central Railway Museum near Wetaskiwin
Aug. 21, 2013, Wetaskiwin Times (Michael Chan)
Railway Days still chugging along to success  
All aboard! 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 (more)

Big Valley 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 years. 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 (more)

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 station has (more)

Alberta Central Railway Museum near Wetaskiwin
June 10, 2009, Wetaskiwin Times (Vince Burke)
Right on track:
Alberta 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 (more)

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 Canada.
   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

June 4, 2008, Red Deer Express 'Summer Adventures' (Erin Fawcett)
Take a real train ride with Railway Excursions
Alberta Prairie at Big Valley   The summer season is full steam ahead for the Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions.
   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 package purchased.
   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 enjoy.
   "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 free.
   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 for children.
   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 --

News articles about the vision and progress of the Forth Junction Heritage Society
News articles related to the railway heritage of Central Alberta
News articles about green transportation: transit, biking and high speed rail

News articles about recent rail-related development projects in Central Alberta
News articles about related regional heritage, history and culture
News articles about regional destinations, tourism and miniature worlds


Home | Why Forth Junction? | FAQ | Media News
 Collections | Bibliography | Copyright, Terms of Use, Privacy Policy

website developed by Forth Junction Heritage Society.
Copyright 2009-2022  All Rights Reserved.