Heritage Park is referred to as “Canada’s largest living history experience.” We happened to attend on opening day for the season of 2022, and the employees were excited to have everything fully opened for the first time in two summers. The park covers the history of Canada from the mid-1800s to the 1930s. Covering over 127 acres, there is a lot to see and do for all ages. Plan on a lot of walking! As I previously blogged on, this park also contains the excellent Gasoline Alley Museum. If possible, I would recommend doing the park and museum separately. We just had one day, and it can be done, but you will be exhausted. Here’s another blog post where I went crazy with photos.
The park pays tribute to Alberta’s “Famous 5” women that fought for equal rights for all women in Canada. Since this is a post about the park, if you want to read more about what the women accomplished, click on this link. The Alberta Five
Interior photos of the house, a replica of Nellie McClung’s Calgary residence from 1923 – 1932.
There is a section called “Prospect Ridge” that talks about the history of prospecting for gold, coal mining, and oil drilling.
They have a “mini” replica of a coal mine that you can walk in.
In 1911 oil was discovered by W. S. Herron in southern Alberta. He started the Calgary Petroleum Products Company with A.W. Dingman. This is a reproduction of Dingman No. 1 Discovery Well.
Village Centre, circa 1910
The park has reproductions of buildings replicating life in the early 1900’s, with houses, drugstore, hotel, bakery, newspaper, post office, general stores, saloon and more. The buildings are open to tour and staffed by docents in period costumes explaining the history of the building.
The post office was not only the place to send and receive mail, but it served as the phone company as well. The postmaster knew all the gossip in town!
This structure is all that remains from the barracks of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police (which eventually became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1920) in Banff.
The Strathmore and Bow Valley Standard newspaper was founded in 1909. It was a weekly paper. Back in the day, the owner did everything from reporting to printing the paper. It was a very labor intensive process.
The Montefiore Institute Synagogue was one of eleven Jewish farm colonies established across Canadian prairies between 1887 and 1914. This is a rare surviving example of a prairie synagogue that has been fully restored.
What’s a town without a bakery? This was a very popular stop, with fresh loaves of baked bread, cookies and cinnamon rolls. If you look close at the picture below, Karen and Al are sitting on the bench next door, with Dan in front of them, enjoying some freshly baked goods. The building they are sitting at is Baron’s Snooker, which contained a barber shop and snooker tables.
Snooker tables are similar to pool, but are considerably larger at 12 x 6 feet.
This house, built in 1907, has been restored to represent a Cottage Hospital.
The nurse is demonstrating the instruments and techniques used.
St Martin’s Church, constructed in 1896.
Interior of St Martin’s Church.
The docent played a few hymns on this church organ.
Gledhill’s Drugstore, built in Dundurn Saskatchewan in 1908. Pharmacists would set up shop in small communities to dispense medicinal powers and alcohol-based elixirs. In addition to providing basic medical advice, they administered first aid, pulled teeth and treated livestock. Since they earned little money from the drugs, they would sell toiletries, candy and basic supplies to supplement their income.
Wait, is there a dog in the display case in the above photo? It looks like it could be one of Makena’s relatives!
Peter Prince relocated from Quebec to Calgary in 1886 as manager of Wisconsin based Eau Claire and Bow Valley Lumber Company. In 1894, the very wealthy Mr Prince built this 3300 square foot home, with eight bedrooms and modern utilities.
The Burnside Ranch House, where one of the docents was preparing lunch for other volunteers. They have gardens, chickens, and pigs in the park, and try to live off the land, just as they did a century ago.
This docent gave a very detailed discussion on the history of fur trading and the values of various pelts. Beaver pelts were highly valued.
Heritage Park was a lot of fun to visit (and a good way to get a lot of steps in!).
Quote of the Day: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey