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Walking tours offer historical perspective of Red Deer

Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery offers new Parkvale tour
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Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery runs summer historical walking tours until September. (Photo from Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery on Facebook)

Walking tours of Red Deer are allowing visitors and residents to step back in time on select Saturday afternoons and Wednesday evenings this summer.

Tours are available of the city’s Ghost Statues, historic Downtown Buildings, and new this year is a stroll through the city’s oldest neighbourhood Parkvale.

Lynn LeCorre, education co-ordinator at Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery, said Parkvale was home to some of Red Deer’s earliest business owners so it gives people another window into the lives of those who operated the downtown shops.

“There’s this nice connection between all of that history,” LeCorre said.

Updated pamphlets, originally created by the City of Red Deer for self-guided walking tours, are still available. But since the historical tour program was handed over to the museum, the walking tours are providing more information on buildings and former residents, as well as an acknowledgement of Indigenous history.

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She said tour guides bring along historic photos of buildings that are still standing, and some that are not, to enrich the experience. Sometimes during a tour seniors will share their recollections and stories of growing up in the city so guides learn even more for future tours.

“It just adds so many more layers,” LeCorre said.

Red Deer’s collection of 10 Ghost Statues is one of the larger life-sized, bronze sculpture collections in Canada.

She said the collection is meant to be a wide snapshot of those who have called Red Deer home. Statues include Reverend Leonard Gaetz whose familiar name is posted on city street signs and buildings, fugitive Francis the Pig, maestro Keith Mann, and others.

“It’s just kind of a sampling of the past ways of life and stories.”

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She said rain cancelled a lot of the tours last June, but this year the weather has been more cooperative. Response so far has been good with about five to eight people regularly taking the hour-long tours.

Pre-registration is required for the tours which only cost $2 plus GST for MAG members, and $3 plus GST for others. Donations to the museum and tips to tour guides are welcome.

Tours start and finish at the museum where washrooms are available. People are encouraged to be prepared with sunscreen and bug repellent. Organizers try to provide as much warning as possible for cancellations due to severe weather.

Tours run from June until September. For more information visit reddeermuseum.com/talks-and-tours/.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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Susan Zielinski

About the Author: Susan Zielinski

Susan has been with the Red Deer Advocate since 2001. Her reporting has focused on education, social and health issues.
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