News | DrumhellerMail - Page #2472
Last updateSun, 19 Jan 2020 11am

Valley tourism efforts recognized



    After a stellar season, it is no wonder institutions in the Drumheller valley are being recognized for their  contributions to the tourism industry.
    Travel Alberta announced its list of finalists for the annual Alberta Tourism Awards (ALTO) and The Canadians Badlands Passion Play and the Town of Drumheller were both on the list.
    The Passion Play was nominated in the Alberta Pride Category and the Town of Drumheller was nominated in the Friends of Tourism category.
    “We were pleasantly surprised, we didn’t know a thing about this,” said president for the Canadian Badlands Passion Play, Wilf Golbeck. “This is the  first I can remember us being nominated.”
    The Passion Play won an award from Canada Tourism in 1999 for being Alberta’s top cultural attraction. They also won an award from the American Bus Association for being one of the top North American Attractions.
    “A lot of credit goes to the staff and the hundreds of volunteers at the Passion play,” said Golbeck.
    He says the Passion Play is coming off one of its best season ever.
    “It is a reflection of Drumheller, everyone is working together. Kudos go to Canadian Badlands who is pulling it all together,” Golbeck said.
    The Town of Drumheller’s nomination comes from its “Visitor Friendly” project. Economic Development officer Ray Telford explains Drumheller’s Economic Development Task Force partnered with the Province of Alberta to develop a “Visitor Friendly” template that could be used in the valley as well as other locations. It was from this the “Tourist in Your Own Town” promotion was developed.
    “The town made this report available to various organizations such as Community Futures Big Country and the Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce and those organizations followed through on some of the ideas from the template,” said Mayor Bryce Nimmo. “Those organizations did a great job and continue to do a great job in the community.” The Visitor Friendly template suggested that Drumheller consider using a mainstreet program, encouraging improvements to building frontages, reviewing visitor signage, customer service training and many other visitor friendly ideas.”
    The Awards will be presented at the ALTO Awards Gala at Fairmont Banff Springs on October 25. This year, Travel Alberta received 7 per cent more nominations compared to 2008.
    Also nominated along side the Passion Play in the Alberta Pride Category is GPS Tour Guide Inc. – “GyPSy Guide,”  and Banff Metis Crossing, Smoky Lake.
    Drumheller is in the company of  the Jasper Discovery Trail Interpretive Project and the The Whitecourt Trailblazers in the Friends of Tourism Category.

Tyrrell Museum continues to evolve


    Charles Darwin once said: “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
    He’d hardly think of a day at the Royall Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller to be a waste. You’d have to read On the Origin of Species to get more.
    The world-renowned museum features more than 120,000 specimens, but with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s iconic work and the 200th anniversary of his birth, a few in particular are receiving special attention.
    Meet Sarcosuchus. No, it’s not a Greek philosopher but rather the largest crocodile ever to walk the Earth. Known affectionately as Super Croc, its skull measures 1.7 metres long and houses 140 teeth. That makes it bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex or Albertosaurus. The carnivorous dinosaur discovered by Joseph Burr Tyrrell in the Canadian Badlands in 1884.
    A rare cast of the skull highlights the “I think…” exhibit at the museum, which pays homage to the man whose theories are the foundations of modern biology. Darwin scribbled those words in 1837 atop a sketch of what is now known as the first ever depiction of an evolutionary tree.
    Super Croc is the biggest example of evolution, but dozens of others will have you alternately gasping in amazement and learning about the theory of evolution. From a range of skulls depicting human ancestry to the fossil of Archaeopteryx, a prehistoric bird, you’ll get a sense of how and why life adapts.
    But that’s just one exhibit in a marvelous museum with many more. From fun interactive displays to the window where you watch new fossils get prepared, every corner of the 120,000 square foot facility is full of wonderment.
    Just driving in to the museum is enough to give you goose bumps. With hoodoos and sandstone cliffs, the six-kilometre route northwest of Drumheller features little development as discoveries are still being made. One rare exception is the Dinosaur Trail Golf and Country Club, which has nine of its splendid 18 holes constructed around the desert-like landscape. A trip into the valley wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Horsethief Canyon, noted for its spectacular views, hiking trails and hoodoos galore. Standing atop the cliffs you can easily envision the shallow waters that covered the area 100 million years ago. The Bleriot Ferry and Atlas Coal Mine are also nearby, with stories of more recent history ready to be told.
    The Canadian Badlands would have been a veritable playground for a man like Charles Darwin. Now it’s your turn to discover.

Restoration work on Dorothy Churches revives area history


    The Grassroots of Dorothy are continuing its project of bringing back to life the historic churches that remain one of the valley’s attractions.
    The group undertook the project in 2006, with the goal of making sure the historic Catholic and United churches in Dorothy would remain for future generations. At the time, if the group had not intervened, it is possible they would no longer be here today.
    Fast forward to 2009, hundreds of man hours, fundraising efforts and donations of building supplies have the churches standing as reminders of the area’s history. 
    This summer a major step was undertaken as the group refinished the interior walls of the United Church. Betty Faubion explains they reconstructed the lost and broken laths by planing survey stakes to the proper width. Because the art of lath and plastering is slowly being lost, they opted to stucco the interior. Ryan Pascut of Pascut Masonry in Rosedale completed the work, leaving a new look and feel to the inside of the church.
    Betty says they are waiting for the stucco to cure before they begin painting the interior.
    This is just one of a long list of improvements to the churches, and it is certainly not the end of the road. She says the aged character of the churches will always remain.
    “If you get a new back, you can’t always stand straight,” laughs Betty.   
    The project began about three years ago by cleaning up the churches, hauling away tons of debris and mess left by some of the animals that inhabited the church. The roofs of the churches were replaced, sealing them from the weather, and the foundations were shored up. New windows and doors from the outside also help keep the elements out.
    Right now they have the wood to replace the floor of the Catholic Church. They also want to fix the floor of the United Church, sand, paint and install the casings.
    One new milestone they have reached is a youth group from the Lutheran Church in Strathmore held a Sunday Morning service in the United Church, and 17 people attended. The traffic to the churches of people coming to see the site has increased, and it remains a popular destination for photographers.
    While the project continues on, they are thankful for the support, but they could always use more helping hands.
    Much of the labour has been supplied by Frank Roes, Larry Smith and Ray Faubion. Betty says they could always use more hands to help.
    For more information, to volunteer or contribute to the Grassroots of Dorothy and the restoration of the churches contact Betty at 403-822-2121.

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