This year Fort Edmonton Park celebrates its 40th anniversary. While the park started construction in the late 1960s, the first official opening of the Park was in 1974. This summer, we’ll be talking and blogging about the park’s history and its future. First stop: 1920 Street!
While you wouldn’t expect the past to change (isn’t that the point?), heritage enthusiasts know that it isn’t the past, but our understanding of it that is dynamic “ not to mention the ways in which we have to experience it.
Consider how many Canadians knew the name ˜William Wallace’ before Braveheart came out! The historical figure of Wallace hasn’t changed, but our idea of who he was has, for better or worse.
1920 Street is the last of our four eras, has the most gaps to fill, and is interestingly the longest of our streetscapes. Its interpretive theme is “How do we change?”, a question through which to explore the incredible post-war world and how music, politics, entertainment and society were in flux.
It’s also a useful theme for thinking about the park’s last ten years, where our 1920 Street growth has been explosive. The Selkirk Hotel opened in 2004, followed by the PCL Shed, the 1920s Midway, McNeil’s Hangar, the Silver Heights Peony Garden, and most recently the Capitol Theatre and Kline’s Jewelry Store!
In terms of our interpretive program, we’ve added more regular interpretation to the Motordrome and Mellon’s Farm, as well as the amazing Al-Rashid Mosque. In 2008 we added the personae of the Returned Soldier and the Nursing Sister, opening up a whole range of fun programs that will become even more poignant with the ongoing First World War centennial commemorations. Last year we added an Aboriginal Peoples Interpreter position to 1920 Street, ensuring that our city’s indigenous narrative appears throughout the park.
This year we’re even more excited about the possibilities. All winter visitors have had a chance to experience the park on Sunday Brunches at the Selkirk and Thursday movie nights at the Capitol. This summer 1920 Street will boast more interpretive staff than ever, new activities and programs will be introduced, the Northern Light 4D film experience will continue to wow our visitors, and two new attractions are close to opening on our 1920s Midway.
Everything changes. At forty years of age, the past looks golden and the future thrilling. Come down and help us celebrate this summer!