Over the next few months the McBride Community will gather to reflect, recall and revisit some of the wonderful and rich history that represents the settling of the Robson Valley. 2013 is in fact the Centenary of the naming and laying out the design for the community. Created originally as a service centre for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company, the village at one point became the major service and repair facility between Winnipeg and the coast. Home to a large rail roundhouse and extensive track, McBride was definitely a major industry town.
Over the years farming and logging in the area grew in popularity and the village grew and prospered. More recently the village has seen some shrinkage as several of those industries have changed and moved their service centres elsewhere, however all three are still the reasons why many people call McBride home. In more recent years the Village has become popular with snowmobilers and skiers who take advantage of the deep snow and fabulous scenery high up in the wonderful alpine playground. The Renshaw Valley, Bell Mountain and Mount Lucille are the focus points for these activities. These tourists fill our hotels and motels from December to April and creates a tourism base that is vital to the community’s ongoing existence.
In order to celebrate this rich heritage, various committees have designed a series of events this summer which will allow former McBride residents an opportunity to come home for a visit and to celebrate with current residents. Kicking off the events just a few weeks ago, was the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the McBride and District Hospital held on April 21. Large crowds gathered on that special occasion to celebrate, reflect and share stories. People travelled from as far away as Creston to attend this event.
Next up is Pioneer Days and Adventure Weekend which will be held from June 14–16th, a project put on jointly by the Chamber of Commerce and the Elks-Royal Purple. More information to follow.
A number of fundraising activities are planned in support of the proposed new Library and Museum project including events held May 11 and 12: a Loonie Auction, Spaghetti Dinner and Plant Sale.
On May 31 (7 p.m.) the doors of the new Library Building will be opened for the Stand Up Comedy event which will feature Patrick Maliha and Mike Maguire; again a fundraiser for the Library and Museum project.
Then on June 29th the Annual Dunster Community Ice Cream Social will be a highlight of the summer – 7 pm in the Dunster Community Hall.
Oscars Museum will be open from 10 am – 3 pm on both Saturday and Sunday June 29 and 30th. Also on June 30th heritage displays and social activities are planned with several groups working collaboratively to create a celebratory theme. On Canada Day, the Chamber of Commerce and the Village of McBride combine their efforts as we celebrate the 146th Birthday of Canada. With many activities focused on gathering together to see the various displays that will be set up around town, both in the McBride and District Museum on Dominion Street and at their 2nd Avenue facility along with a myriad of activities planned for the Village Park area. One of those activities will of course be the cutting and sharing of the large Birthday Cake symbolic of this special day. As night falls on the same day, the final event of the weekend will be held around the Ball Diamond as we watch the fireworks show put on with help from the fire department.
September sees more major activities starting with “Dance through the Decades,” at the Elks Hall. This is a fundraiser to support the Library Museum Expansion Plan. Then over at the Community Centre from September 27th to 29th there will be displays and demonstrations under the “Reunion Weekend” banner. Close by, workshops of ‘A Century of Horsemanship’, and Extreme Horsemanship demonstrations will get underway. The Reunion Weekend activities will also include a visual arts and cultural fair with old time music, valley alpenhorns, outdoor games, horse demonstrations, trapping demonstrations, displays of art and craft created by local residents and artisans, delicious food and more including the “Toast Em” Breakfast held at the McBride Community Hall on September 28th.
Together this vibrancy will create a summer long festival, remind of us of the past and create a new and optimistic beginning to the next century for McBride.
By: Chris Parker