Bashaw builds toward its centennial

Bashaw owes its name, in a roundabout way, to a bad poker hand.

Bashaw owes its name, in a roundabout way, to a bad poker hand.

A local property owner was embroiled in a high stakes poker game when he put up a chunk of land he owned in a small community. Lady Luck was not smiling on him that day, however, and he lost the land.

The winner, though, didn’t want land. He wanted cash. In stepped Eugene Bashaw.

He bought the land and the community then known as Forester would soon be named after him. The Village of Bashaw was incorporated on Aug. 18, 1911, and by the 1920s, it became a town.

This is just one of the glimpses into the past that the community will be offering over the next few months as it builds to its centennial celebrations on Aug. 19 to 21.

Historical figures, including Mr. and Mrs. Bashaw, will be making various appearances at events that have been organized for each month.

A kickoff for the centennial called Bashaw Homecoming is set for Thursday at the Bashaw Community Centre from 7 to 9 p.m.

“Basically what we’re doing is we’re going to be telling the community what we’ve planned for the upcoming year to celebrate the 100 years of Bashaw being in existence,” said Peter Graham, who chairs the local centennial committee.

The event will also serve as the official launch of a newly published two-volume history of the community called 100 Years of Memories.

Prepared by the Bashaw Historical Society, 1,000 copies of the $149.95 publication have been printed.

Planning has been going on for two years and efforts to roll out monthly events have been co-ordinated with local organizations. For instance, a talent show has been arranged next month and the top acts will perform at the main celebration in August. High teas and art shows are other events in the works.

Bashaw’s history remains on display on its main street. The wood-frame Boomtown-style Majestic Theatre, built in 1915, is considered the last of its kind in Western Canada. Just up the street is the original fire hall, which was built in 1914 and is now a museum.

For information on events, go to or see the Facebook page at Bashaw Homecoming.

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