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Heritage Park’s 50th Anniversary plans unveiled at kick-off event and exhibit opening

Plans for Heritage Park’s 50th Anniversary year were unveiled, and a new, temporary exhibit was officially opened earlier this evening at a private event held in Heritage Park’s Gasoline Alley Museum. 

Guests gathered in the Museum’s main gallery for a presentation by Heritage Park’s President and CEO, Alida Visbach. The announcement outlined Heritage Park’s anniversary plans, which include the opening of three new exhibits, special events and activities planned throughout 2014. The evening included the official opening of the first exhibit, Cars of the Big and Small Screen. The exhibit pays tribute to the iconic movie and television cars from the past 50 years and features 10 vehicles on display, hands-on activities and matinee and evening movie screenings in the museum. The Cars of the Big & Small Screen exhibit will run until April 21. 

Future exhibit openings announced this evening include the Famous 5 Centre of Canadian Women set to open this June, and the River Forth Dining Car, a restored 1920s rail car that will open in August. The Park will be releasing a commemorative book this spring, opening a new playground and offering guests special celebrations on Canada Day, the Park’s official birthday, and Heritage Day.  

“Since 1964, Heritage Park has grown its collection; extended the timeframe of the history we share, and expanded upon its mission of Connecting people with the settlement of Western Canada,” says Alida Visbach. “The result is the Heritage Park you see today; a cherished part of this city’s cultural and tourism fabric, that holds a special place in the hearts and traditions of many people. This milestone anniversary is for the people, and deserving of a year-long celebration. After years of hard work and planning, we are delighted to finally share our plans for our big year with everyone here tonight.”  

Linda Johnson, MLA for Calgary-Glenmore and Ward 11 Councillor, Brian Pincott spoke on behalf of provincial and municipal funding for the Park’s 50th anniversary.   

On behalf of the provincial funding, Honourable Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation said “The Government of Alberta is proud to support Heritage Park’s 50th Anniversary celebrations with a $200,000 grant. Heritage Park is a signature tourist attraction that connects us and visitors with our culture, history and people. Offering such authentic experiences is key to our government’s commitment to build Alberta and grow Alberta’s tourism industry from a $7.8 billion to $10.3 billion industry by 2020.” 

“Heritage Park is a key cultural institution and a valued Civic Partner of the City of Calgary,” says Ward 11 Councillor, Brian Pincott. “In recognition and support of Heritage Park’s 50th Anniversary, City Council affirmed its commitment with additional financial support for 2014. Reliving our past through the 50th Anniversary celebrations is an exciting opportunity for all of Calgary.” 

Additional funding announcements were made this evening, which included acknowledging support from Tourism Calgary, Travel Alberta and Heritage Park’s south Calgary hotel partners. 

Heritage Park Historical Village first opened its gates on July 1, 1964. Since opening its doors, the Park has grown into one of Calgary’s premier tourist attractions and one of North America’s largest and most successful living history museums. Throughout the year, guests have the opportunity to interact with nearly 100 years of history. Heritage Park’s exhibits span the early 1860s fur trade to the petroleum and automobile-dominated 1950s. It is the Park’s mission to preserve the history of the early West and to educate and entertain guests of all ages for many generations to come. Heritage Park Historical Village is a charitable institution governed by the Heritage Park Society.

As part of Travel Alberta’s Alberta Stories initiative, and to celebrate Heritage Park's 50th Anniversary, Travel Alberta has launched a new Alberta story on YouTube featuring Heritage Park. The Alberta Stories initiative plays an important role in bringing Alberta’s tourism brand to life. These stories showcase the true character and distinctive personalities at the core of Alberta’s tourism experience and continue to deepen the connection we have with our visitors.

Heritage Park Historical Village