On March 25, 1913, Red Deer became a city. The event passed without much notice among the some 2,000 residents of the settlement, an oyster dinner given by the mayor for councillors and town administrators being the only commemoration.
The city’s 100th birthday will not be given such short shrift.
The Centennial First Night party and fireworks kicked off a year’s worth of celebratory events two months ago; with the actual birthday fast approaching, the city announced on Friday how Red Deerians can celebrate a century.
A day of “fun, affordable and free” action on Sunday, March 24, is the centrepiece of the city’s plans. A multitude of events across city facilities will be held for citizens to enjoy — free swimming, cowboy poetry, and a ‘Guns vs. Hoses’ hockey game pitting police officers against firefighters among the attractions.
And, of course, there will be cake.
Free city transit will be offered during the day, with riders able to ride the buses to events at the Rec Centre, G.H. Dawe Centre, Michener Centre and Collicutt Centre.
The next day, Monday, March 25, birthday celebrations get underway at 10:30 a.m. with the city hosts a time capsule ceremony in City Hall Park. To mark the centennial, the city is filling a large capsule with items from a cross-section of the city, reflecting contemporary Red Deer and the times we live in.
The time capsule, when buried, will sit in front of the city’s centennial hot wing tatarian maple tree in City Hall Park. The city also hopes it will be able to locate and open the time capsule from the city’s Golden Jubilee in 1963.
At 5 p.m., a special meeting of city council will be held, with Michael Dawe presenting on some of the history of the city and many former councillors in attendance. Residents can watch the special event online at www.reddeer.ca.
Later in the year, the city will unveil a new heritage sign and downtown walking tour, and a new spray park and skate park will be opening.
City council last year allocated $40,000 specifically for celebrations marking the city’s incorporation day and contributed an additional $25,000 this year.
More events are being organized by the Red Deer Centennial Committee, including the River of Light event during the Homecoming Festival on June 30, for which volunteers, canoeists and kayakers are sought. To get involved, phone 403-340-2013; visit www.reddeer2013.ca for more information.
For a full listing of March 24 events and other centennial information, visit www.reddeer.ca.