Thousands of visitors flock to the Prince Albert National Park each summer to enjoy the picturesque views and great camping and fishing, but for those who spent time at the park before it had modern amenities, stores and shopping, the area also holds wonderful memories of childhood adventures and fun family getaways.
Officially opened August 10, 1928, the park is celebrating 90 years this month. A special ceremony was held at the Waskesiu Heritage Museum Friday to mark the anniversary and cut the ribbon on a new replica shack tent next door. Shack tents were built on rented lots in the park for many years, and were made using a wooden floor and canvas roof.
Betty McLeod-Anderson was two years old in 1928 when her family attended the opening ceremony of the national park. McLeod-Anderson is one of the many people who return to the park each year and said the area will always be a special place for her. McLeod-Anderson’s family started out tenting on the riverbank and then owned a shack tent when she was young.
“We lived in a shack tent. My two brothers, my sister and myself and my parents used to let us stay here, and they would come in and out from Prince Albert every Friday with supplies, which would mostly be gone by Monday and then we would have to share,” she said. “I figure that the park is part of my life, it’s part of my being, so I think about it all the time.”
Friday’s event was a chance to remember the history of the park and recognize the contributions of the many volunteers who gave their time to the area.
“It’s a reminder to be thankful to enjoy the beautiful park,” said Chris Arnstead, curator at the Waskeskiu Heritage Museum. “There’s a real sense of community in the town site of Waskesiu.”
Approximately 240,000 people pass through the gates of the national park each year, said Carla Flaman, external relations manager with Parks Canada. Flaman said the national park offers a range of unique outdoor experiences and is home to one of the country’s only herds of free-roaming plains bison, the historic grey owl’s cabin and a protected colony of white pelicans.
On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt
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