If you came down to Christmas Reflections this past month, more than likely you were greeted by Wanda Loewen with a big smile and a hearty welcome, sat by the fire with her husband Dave, or learned to make a craft with their grand daughter, Emily. In fact, at almost every event last year, you would have had a chance to be charmed by the Loewen Family.
Between special events, interpreting in costume and even some computer inputting, the Loewens are passionate about giving back and engaging Edmontonians in our history.
Wanda had the idea to get involved: “We were looking for something to do together as a family, and now we just love it. It’s so nice to be a part of the team”. Dave and Wanda met in the Canadian Armed Forces, where Dave piloted Helicopters. This translated into a passion for restoring vintage vehicles (he’s working on a ’28 Ford Truck currently) and an interest in blacksmithing. Both have always been very involved in community, something that was important to pass on to Emily, “We lead such busy lives that we don’t often have a chance to be together, so being at the Fort is a relaxing and fun way to do so”.
The Loewens began volunteering in costume on 1885 street in 2011 and love bringing the waggon to life. “It’s so much fun to show people – especially kids – how things were in the past. It’s amazing to see the look on their face when they realize how much better we have it ” Wanda and Dave easily connect with the public, and even young Emily is a natural: teaching other kids about cooking on the fire, or making butter in a jar. Every interaction has an element of fun and of education; Emily has taken a real shining to the Midway and has learned to “bark” like a pro, Wanda learned to can apple sauce over the fire, and Dave has black-smithed up a storm.
“My wife made me do it!” Dave jokes, “But we just really love being at the park.” Wanda affirms that “this is a chance to pay it forward. We love the people we work with and never know who we’ll meet!” We are lucky to count them as very busy and dedicated members of our team!