Staff at Rimbey’s Paskapoo Park say it’s terrific to have things back to a normal routine as summer continues to unfold.
“We’ve been really busy actually, which is very nice to see,” said administrator Cheryl Jones, adding that the whole historical village re-opened on July 9. “It’s been great – we’ve had people come from all over the province,” she said.
“I think that over our first couple of weeks we had over 200 people,” she said. “It’s sure a different mindset after two years of things kind of being under wraps and with just dealing with things on our own,” she added. “Now, we can greet people again!”
Normally, Paskapoo Historical Park opens on the May long weekend and operations run seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through until the Labour Day weekend.
But of course, the shifting of restrictions impacted that consistently.
These days, however, it’s back to normal hours and everyone is glad to be back – showcasing the village and the Truck Museum to guests.
Jones recalled feeling a little nervous on July 9 after so many months of having the facility mostly in shut-down mode, but she was excited at the same time.
“We are all wanting things to go back to some semblance of normalcy. And with the 10 acres of grounds that we look after – and all of the buildings – they always have to be looked after whether people are able to visit or not. So all the work put into keeping everything nice and clean and groomed – it’s great to see visitors now able to come to visit and appreciate it,” she explained.
According to the Town’s web site, “The Historical Park houses Rimbey’s museum showcase. The Rimbey Historical Society has painstakingly preserved the region’s heritage with exhibits located in vintage buildings that were refurbished and brought to the site.
“The original Kansas Ridge School, Town Office, General Store, Barbershop, Blacksmith Shop and Church of the Epiphany are filled with period memorabilia. The main museum buildings contain a huge variety of wonderful artifacts donated by Rimbey pioneers and the original Bluffton Legion, renovated in 2014, contains comprehensive exhibits dedicated to our veterans.”
Jones said staff and volunteers are also excited to now be able to showcase The Steeves House – the childhood home of prolific area writer Janette Oke and a new textile museum housed in its basement.
In November of 2019, the Society was able to move the Steeves House from the Hoadley area to the site.
The House was meant to be opened shortly after that, but those plans had to be put on hold due to the pandemic.
“It’s the new addition to our museum grounds this year,” she said.
Meanwhile, there are also a couple of exciting events planned for August as well, including the Town’s in-person portion of Canada Day celebrations which will run at Paskapoo Park on Aug. 21.
“Pretty much everything happens between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. that day,” she explained, adding that the events will include a number of family-friendly activities. “We are the venue for it,” she said.
There will also be a concession available, plus all of the buildings onsite will be open for free for folks to wander through.
“We will have volunteers at the buildings of course to give them guidance for each individual building,” she said.
And then the following weekend, the Vintage Touring Association, which features a number of classic cars, will be in town.
“They have about 25 of them – they will be coming here on the Thursday and then they have day trips in the surrounding area planned. But on Saturday, Aug. 28th, they will all be at the Museum. People can come in and see the beautiful cars and talk to the organizers. It’s another free event as well.”
These days, Jones said it’s also good to have some hired help onsite via the Canada Summer Jobs Grant to help maintain the grounds. “We are very thankful to have them here!”
Folks who used to drop by as part of the coffee gang are now back, too, which is wonderful to see, she added.
“It’s helps to make things seem more like it used to be,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see them. And it really gives us hope for the future when you see things like that happening. They are reconnecting with each other and it’s really nice to see.”
For more, find ‘Paskapoo Historical Park & Smithson International Truck Museum’ on Facebook.