Visitors coming to Stettler and Big Valley for Rails and Tales 2017 who aren’t from the area might not be aware of the interesting local attractions within driving distance of the events. The Tyrell Museum in Drumheller is, of course, world famous for its information and displays on dinosaurs, and well worth the visit. The museum has interactive displays, life-sized models of dinosaurs in habitats, and a path that takes you from the oldest creatures right up to the present.
Donalda is known for its lamp museum, which contains a collection of over 850 kerosene lamps, and Canada’s largest lamp which was lit on July 1, 2000. The town has also restored many historic buildings which include the Donalda Co-op Creamery, the railway station, and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which now houses the public art gallery.
The Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin, traces the mechanization of Alberta’s transportation, aviation, agricultural, and industrial past from the 1890s to present, as cars and trucks replaced horse-drawn buggies and wagons, huge factories replaced the village blacksmith shop, and animal and human-powered farm implements were replaced by mechanized equipment. The stories told by each exhibit reveal how the daily lives of Albertans were affected during this period of rapid change.
The Meeting Creek railway station was built by the Canadian Northern Railway in 1913, and is unique in Alberta, being preserved on its original site with both a portion of the original railway, together with a classic prairie grain elevator. The station has been wonderfully preserved and houses photographs and artifacts pertaining to life in the prairie railway depot.
The 1911 Canadian Northern Railway depot, located in the heart of Camrose’s heritage district, forms the centrepiece for the Camrose Railway Park. On the park grounds you are able to walk through the bunkhouse with its communication and other displays. Visit the watchman’s shed, which was originally a passenger shelter in the Silver Springs area, and visit the Sparling Centre with its historical pictures of Camrose. View the track car storage shed, and read and hear the stories of the people who worked maintaining the track and their machines.
As long as you are in the area, be sure to add one or more of these fascinating sites to your list of places to see!