Thursday, June 23, 2016

Big Valley - Big Hopes

Big Valley grain elevator & Red River cart
“There’s a small house just across the street and down a bit,” the woman says. “It just went on the market.”

Frank and I look at each other and we seem to lock into the same idea. Hmmm. Let’s go have a look.

We are excited about the prospect of purchasing a place in this animated town of Big Valley. It offers a wealth of volunteer and possibly employment opportunities. At this posting time, there is a call for part-time bus drivers, a part-time town Administrative Assistant, and various opportunities to entertain the visitors who arrive by train each weekend during the summer months.

We learn a great deal of the history of the town from the Mayor, the librarian, and the shopkeepers at the local café.

Red River cart
“The grain elevator is not painted an official Alberta Historical Society colour but it is one of the last preserved examples of a traditional wooden grain elevator. We’re satisfied with its colour,” the Mayor says. “Also, to answer your question about the Red River cart, it’s not authentic. We do use it in our Metis Days parade, though.”

“The building we’re in was purposely built in this rustic theme to bolster the history of the town and more specifically to show off the Jimmy Jock story,” the shopkeeper says. We learn that it was once a Chinese café.

Jimmy Jock boardwalk beside brick bank building
This morning, Frank hikes up the hill to St. Edmund’s Church. It’s fully restored, operational and under the care of the Big Valley Historial Society – another volunteer opportunity.

Blue church on the hill
This afternoon, together on the street, we are greeted by ‘Eddy’, a local fellow who offers us a tour of the Big Valley Railway Depot. The artifacts and displays are intriguing. The visitors are greeted by the locals and given a tour of the town and a meal. Yes, another opportunity to volunteer dressed in period costume.

Big Valley Railway Station
We are met later by a realestate agent from Stettler, who shows us the small house. We are interested in it and offer a bid. We haven’t heard from the lady since.

Big Valley is a community filled with enthusiasm and hope. Travel north on Highway 56 from Drumheller or south from Camrose, and enjoy the ambiance.

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