THINGS TO DO:
Amusement &Theme Parks
Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary opens its doors to time travellers with 50th Anniversary celebrations this year. As a cultural history geek, I can hardly wait to discover what’s new in Canada’s largest living history museum.
Entering the year-round Gasoline Alley Museum exhibit, the drive-in movie theatre display featuring a 1951 Chevy convertible sparks a long-forgotten memory. I slide onto the seat and can almost hear the crunch of gravel beneath the wheels in parking lots long gone.
Ride a Historic Colonist Rail Car
Later, I’m aboard one of the only colonist rail cars in Canada on a 45-minute historic tour called A Journey West. It allows passengers to live as if they’re making the journey across the country in the early 1900s.
Imagine what it must have been like to cook your own food aboard, asks our guide, conjuring a stew with hard won vegetables.
This railway car is one of the last of its kind in Canada. The park will introduce a luxurious, 1920s dining car for booking dinners and lunches in August, 2014.
Explore The Famous Five Interpretive Centre
The Famous 5 Interpretive Centre is a replica of the Calgary home of Canadian women’s rights advocate Nellie McClung. She joined four other women and petitioned for the word “person” under the British North American Act to include women, winning that right.
It’s the cornerstone of Heritage Park’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, opening June 20, 2014.
As we move through the house, we smell the wood burning in the fireplace. It’s a cozy reminder of the days before we could just flip a switch for warmth. Our costumed interpreter leads us into the sunroom to show off the ceiling of blue glass with tiny dots of light. They represent the stars that McClung used to watch at night.
Learn About Canadian Women in History
I’m learning a ton of fascinating stuff that I never knew about Canadian women in history. Afternoon tea on the large veranda is full of conversation with my tour companions. I’m reminded of the afternoon teas my granny used to do in the summertime when I tried to balance delicate cucumber sandwiches on the napkin in my lap.
The house also allows for cocktail receptions for up to 60 people in the foyer and drawing room, as well as sit-down dinners for up to 20 guests at the historic dining table. I’ll be back with my friends for that!