The newly renovated Benalto Centennial Station will be unveiled to the public at a grand opening ceremony on Saturday.
Attendees will hear about the 1928 station’s well-travelled history: After being moved out of Benalto in 1971 to be used as a private residence near Red Deer, the historic train station underwent a second move in 1985 to the Burnt Lake area, before being donated back to the community in 2013.
A local group has been undertaking an ambitious campaign to pay for its return trip to the hamlet and restoration the building.
Volunteers with the Benalto Booster Club have been restoring the station for the last six years with more than $450,000 from grants, donations and fundraisers.
Club member David More said those involved with the transformation are very excited to reveal the finished station to the community.
“When you’re renovating an old building, there’s a lot of wear and tear… so we’ve had to do some work reinforcing the main structure,” he added. But much of the labour has been to bring the interior back to a late-1930s look.
More said the soft amber colour scheme and period-like wallpaper has brought positive comments from project sponsors, who got a preview tour this week.
Saturday’s public open house will be held from 10 to 4 p.m. Everybody is invited to come check out the Benalto Centennial Station. A free barbecue will be held, as well as a time capsule ceremony.
Community members can drop off small mementos, news articles or other artifacts for to the capsule, which will be sealed under the stairs and opened in 25 years.
The Benalto Centennial Station will fill a central role as a community gathering space. It’s also available for small event rentals with a functional kitchen, a museum, and recreation center.