There’s a good reason why people love time travel movies. The ability to go back in time and see the past is something humans simply cannot do….or can they?
We may not be able to bend the rules of space and time but we can still get the full, rich experience of Edmonton’s history by visiting these three locations:
Fort Edmonton Park: This living history museum features streets that represent different bygone eras. Start in 1846 at the old trading fort where you can roam through numerous trade shops. Guides in authentic costumes will be plying their skills from quietly beading in the main house to robustly trading in the lodge. Tipis sit just outside the fort walls, and you can sit down in one and chat with First Nations interpretive guides.
Walk or catch the horse-drawn wagon to 1885 Street where you’ll experience Edmonton’s first settlements. Homesteads, schools, shops and other buildings have been transplanted here and restored to their former glory.
Once you hit the municipal era of 1905 Street, you can enjoy the penny arcade, a tea shop, old-fashioned photography (be sure to get your Wild West photo taken!), tent city, a Masonic Hall and more; but it’s the swinging 1920s Street that gets the most attention. The midway, complete with games, a restored carousel and a Ferris wheel bring out the kid in every visitor.
The Park is huge, but you can hop on the Pacific Railway train, streetcar, wagon or stagecoach to give your feet a break as you ramble among the buildings, live animals and shops. If your feet need a longer break, rest them as you catch a show in the Capitol Theatre.
Can’t see it all in just one visit? No problem. Check into the 1920s-themed Hotel Selkirk and enjoy the ambience alongside modern upgrades, like Wi-Fi.
Fort Edmonton Park is perfect for the whole family to enjoy an immersive, interactive, fun and educational experience.
Stony Plain: West of the city, the town of Stony Plain strives to preserve its heritage and does so with old-fashioned light posts, farm-style festivals and historic murals. A real treat is the Multicultural Heritage Centre. On this site sits an old red brick school house which is now a museum and art gallery. Head downstairs after perusing the school. You won’t be able to resist the smells wafting from the Homesteader’s Kitchen where soup, bread, sandwiches and fresh pie – all made from scratch – await. With your tummy full, you’ll have just enough time to step across the path to the Oppertshauser House that was built in 1910. It is now a gift shop with handmade goods and scrumptious candy.
Progress may be inevitable, but Stony Plain promises to never lose its old-fashioned charm.
Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village: A short drive from the east end of the city brings you to a quaint Ukrainian Village. After you step out of your car and go through the gates, you’ll be greeted by the smells of borsht and pierogis, but if you can hold off on the tasty lunch long enough to explore the grounds first (if you can’t, we understand….) you will be richly rewarded.
History springs to life among 35+ restored structures that include a sod house, grain elevator and working blacksmith shop. You’ll be moved by tales of the tired little boy whose recently immigrated parents toil in the fields from dusk to dawn. You’ll clap with delight as the blacksmith turns iron rods into tools. You’ll experience a moment of hushed awe in the beautiful church and you’ll get wanderlust as you roam through the old train station.
By the end of the day you’ll understand and experience the lives of the Ukrainian pioneers that settled in Alberta from 1892 – 1930, and as the park continues to undergo restoration on its many structures, you’ll want to come back again and again. No two visits to the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village are the same.
This summer, for something new and exciting, try something old and historic with a visit to these attractions.