Monday, July 22, 2013

Oh Canada! A bit of history...

There is a wonderful park in Calgary called Heritage Park Historical Village.  It’s billed as Canada’s largest living history experience and the park’s attractions and exhibits span Western Canadian history from the 1860s to 1950s.  They have costumed interpreters all along the way, in every building, sharing their knowledge with you.  It’s very much like Colonial Williamsburg VA, in the United States. 

Jack and I had a delightful day there.  The sun was shining and the mosquitoes were not to bothersome!  The park is127 acres, so we didn’t get to every area (an excuse to come for another visit?) but where we did visit we were quite impressed with not only the detail of buildings (most were restored, not reproductions) but that they were also completely furnished right down to clothes in the closets, china on the tables, towels in the bathrooms, etc.  Many of the interpreters were actually experienced in the field they were representing.  The blacksmith had started blacksmithing at age 14 and had done it for many, many years before leaving it.  He had been working at the park in another capacity when they found out he had been a blacksmith, then quickly swooped him over to Flett’s Blacksmith Shop (c1902).  The interpreter at the school house had been a teacher for many years herself, and had even taught in a one-room school house at one time.  Same background with the interpreters at the Synagogue (c1910).  It was great because they brought in that background along with their enthusiasm and it really shown through.  It was very interesting talking with each of them.

We had a nice long chat with the fellow at the Shonts Grain Elevator (c1909).  I have a fondness of them and am forever taking pictures of some of the old ones along the roads, and have often wondered what they look like inside and how they work.  He was great!  He took all the time we wanted to show us every detail of how they have separate bins for different kinds of grains and how they are brought down into the wagons for loading, how their weighed, he even showed us a variety of grains and the “new crop” we’ve seen everywhere in Canada, Canola.  The whole thing was so fascinating.  Jack had just as much fun (as he always does) at Flett’s Blacksmith Shop.  What a great shop, with tons of tools and wonderful instruments.  The interpreter was super to talk with as well, I think they both enjoyed the long conversation (I took a walk along the shops).

The railway area with it’s Roundhouse and Turntable was a treat for us as well.  If you’ve read many of my blogs, you know we have a love of old trains, so it should be no surprise that seeing some early 1900 trains was a treat.  I especially loved seeing a complete caboose in it’s true form.  So many of them have either been converted for other uses or stripped.  This one was as it was, the engineer’s office & break area.  They also had a Jordan Spreader that’s used for plowing snow.  Those are pretty rare. 

I must say, the village was pretty complete, everything from the usual homes, stores, hotel, medical, church, school, fire, train, etc. but also a synagogue, a children’s midway area (Farris wheel, carousel, etc), an Aboriginal encampment, an agricultural area, an 1860s fur trading fort, a natural resource area (mine, well, etc) and Gasoline Alley with antique cars, gas pumps, signs etc. 

So much to see, and so well done!

Jack at his favorite spot!
Inside Montefiore Institute with their treasured early 1900's Torah
Shonts Grain Elevator
Canadian Pacific Rail
Inside the Caboose
Gasoline Alley

...kicking back in Alberta Canada,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:   

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