2008 was the Wainwright Centennial and the Town of Wainwright celebrated in various ways throughout the year with a featured week of celebrations in July. The Walk of Heroes was reenacted a number of times during the summer and celebrated well-known personalities who helped to mould the history of Wainwright. There was a buggy parade and the military presented us with a Freedom of the Town ceremony at Town Hall attended by many.
There was a formal gala event at the Communiplex, a Fresh Air Cinema at Wallace Park, our first A Taste of Wainwright and a Downtown Show and Shine. The Wainwright Rail Park celebrated the 100th anniversary of the railway in Wainwright and many community and district organizations also celebrated Centennial with events including the Anglican Church Celebration and the Giltedge Homecoming at Giltedge Hall.
July 1 was the biggest event with thousands of people coming to the Party in the Park which featured country stars Aaron Pritchett and Jessie Farrell and many other exciting activities which all day long and culminated with an incredible fireworks display at the end of the evening. The Town of Wainwright created a Commemorative Centennial Catalogue and the Town announced that the Old Town Hall would be restored as a major Centennial Project.
The Next One Hundred Years
As Wainwright becomes a large urban centre that services a significant rural district, we are proud to witness our growth and also aware that we must preserve our historic buildings and artifacts for future generations. It is fitting that Wainwright received a grant to create a Heritage Management Plan to identify practical and achievable objectives, actions and strategies to manage and protect Wainwright’s historic places meant to build upon the vision and policies already formulated for previous town planning policy.
Formulated to achieve successful results for Wainwright & District using existing heritage resources, the recommendation includes the Town of Wainwright municipally designating a number of buildings and historic resources in the community. New provincial funding from the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation and the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program encourages municipalities to support their heritage and funds long-term, sustainable rehabilitation of such projects.
The recommendation also encourages a downtown plan to include current and proposed streetscape projects to enhance and encourage the downtown sector. This includes support for the historic community organizations that provide our major tourist and public attractions to include the Wainwright Museum, the Wainwright Main Street Project, the Rail Park and the proposed Regional Heritage Centre. The first two attractions draw visitors to the downtown sector and the Regional Centre will act as a tourist resource, a visitor information centre and an interpretive centre all of which promote all of Wainwright & District. Wainwright has a devoted and determined volunteer group of community organizations that must be supported to the fullest degree.
The Town of Wainwright has no existing provincial or municipal designations in its municipal boundaries but the owners of the Wainwright Hotel have made an application for Provincial Designation that is currently being assessed by the Province of Alberta. It is noted here that the Wainwright Post Office was evaluated by Public Works Canada in 1982 as part of a project reviewing heritage buildings in Alberta built before 1945 and at the time was listed as ‘preserve’ in their study. When buildings or artifacts are provincially designated or when the Town of Wainwright municipally designates buildings, these are added to the list of Alberta and Canadian Historic Resources and become eligible for provincial funding opportunities.
It is important that the Town of Wainwright works closely with the many important community groups to enhance and improve our community. There is strength in planning and development that involves everyone. Future development involves every aspect of a community from our sports and educational requirements to our history and our pride in our sense of place as part of the bigger picture which is Canada.