There was a day of ribbon-cutting, unveiling and saying thanks last week at the Hay River Heritage Centre.
One of the highlights of the Sept. 11 event was the opening of a new trail and park area in which exhibits are displayed, such as one of the original generators for the town and various farming equipment.
The plan is to add more exhibits to the outdoor area, and to hopefully pave the now-stone pathway to make it more accessible for wheelchairs.
Brad Mapes, the chair of the Hay River Museum Society, said things have been moving forward at the heritage centre under a proactive board.
“It’s amazing what we’ve done in the last year,” he said.
Mapes credited those advances to the efforts of volunteers, support from the business community, and funding from various government departments, such as Education, Culture and Employment, and Industry, Tourism and Investment.
The special guest at the Sept. 11 event was Deputy Premier Michael Miltenberger.
Prior to the ceremonies, Mapes took Miltenberger on a guided tour of the museum and its grounds.
“I’ve driven by it, but I’ve never stopped in,” the territorial cabinet minister said. “It’s a very impressive amount of work.”
As part of the special events at the heritage centre, three volunteers in particular were honoured – Vicky Latour, and Peter and Marge Osted.
“The history of the museum really has to do with the fact that Marge, Peter and Vicky put a lot of effort into getting the property and getting all the items in here, and getting a vision of what we needed to have to go forward. And we appreciate all they’ve done,” said Mapes.
A garden just outside the heritage centre building was dedicated as The Vicky Latour Garden.
Latour and Miltenberger unveiled a plaque naming the garden.
The Osteds were honoured with the naming of a wing of the heritage centre The Peter and Marge Osted Gallery.
Miltenberger said he was struck by the incredible reliance on volunteers.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our community, and I think we see it here today,” he said in comments to guests. “Without volunteers, we’d be nowhere.”
Miltenberger, who is the Thebacha MLA, also suggested connections could be developed between the Hay River Heritage Centre and Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre in Fort Smith.
“There are things I think we could create in the South Slave that would bring all that history together, recognizing the unique roles that both communities have played in the history of the Northwest Territories,” he said.
Mapes said the Hay River Heritage Centre will continue to develop, noting, “It’s more than just the history, it’s the wellness of our community.”