A Blackfalds developer is creating a multi-use business complex in Mirror in hopes of drawing more tourist traffic to the hamlet.
An antique store, museum and Western Canadian genealogical service will be part of a new development in the old CP Rail bunkhouse in the community of 470 people, said owner/developer Joseph Fromhold, of Heritage Consulting.
The structure that once accommodated railroad workers is being transformed into the Mirror Business Centre by Fromhold.
One of the first businesses moving in is the Heritage Databank, which has electronic databases containing information about half a million historic families from Western Canada, said Fromhold.
The database, which encompasses First Nations, community, family and personal histories, is administered by Heritage Consulting. Fromhold said an index of its contents can be found online at www.inewhistory.com.
He also intends to open Heritage Antiques in the former bunkhouse. But the developer is in a disagreement with the County of Lacombe over whether he needs to obtain a business license to open it.
Lacombe County says he does, and is looking to ensure proper permits are in place before the business opens, said Peter Duke, planner/ development officer for the county.
Fromhold’s new store will be right across the street from the existing Gracie D’s Antiques and Collectibles, which has main building as well as 13 cabins loaded with vintage items along different themes.
“I encouraged him to come here. I think it will be good for the town and the area,” said Grace D’s co-owner, Grace Smith, who opened her store five years ago.
She and Fromhold believe their two operations will create the largest antique market in Central Alberta, and a real tourist draw.
Fromhold also plans to open a 2,500 square-foot museum in the former bunkhouse with displays about history in the Buffalo Lake region. It will also serve as a “meeting place” for the community, and be a step toward what he envisions as a Northern Plains Interpretive Centre.
Fromhold did not provide timelines for when the museum or store will officially open.
But he released plans to bring a number of other businesses and non-profits to the complex, including the Mountain Cree Band office and clothing, music and car care outlets.