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Tag: Heritage Crowsnest

Logos of Crowsnest Pass Museum, Alberta Provincial Police barracks and Bellevue Underground Mine.

History and heritage the focus of one local group

If tourism is to grow in Crowsnest Pass, it will need to be more of a collaborative effort. That’s the feeling of a locally based group, Heritage Crowsnest, which recently completed its first year of operation.

While some in the community might think its intent is to put everything under one umbrella, its CEO paints a different picture.

“We can’t run everything in heritage tourism. We don’t want to,” Chris Matthews explained to Crowsnest municipal council Sept. 12.

“We just want to be part of everything. We want to make everything better, easier, stronger, more sustainable.”

HC is currently working with three local attractions — Bellevue Underground Mine, Crowsnest Museum and the Alberta Provincial Police barracks. It hopes more of the area’s attractions will come on board.

As a partner, Heritage Crowsnest provides such help as accounting, staff recruitment and applying for funding grants.

 

 

“How do we help those groups? How do we foster that growth?” Matthews continued. Some societies and non-profits, he said, are limited in their staff and resources. That’s where he hopes HC is able to step in.

“In our first year, under the banner of Heritage Crowsnest, we have stabilized and grown the [three] operations,” Matthews told council.

“Our goal all along was to make those sites better, more sustainable. To cut excess waste and trim the fat. From the get-go, [HC] was meant to be a leader. It’s a broad statement but it’s also a lofty one. To be a leader is a lot and it has a lot of weight with it.”

As the process developed, Matthews said, there were some revelations.

“A lot of the core features of our documents were rooted in this idea of two sites [the mine and museum], get them working better, stronger, more stable. Out of it, a great governance framework grew and the statement became loftier.”

“It has also provided a living wage for the staff at these operations,” he added. “I believe we are a valuable economic driver for our community and for heritage tourism.”

In 2023, Bellevue Underground Mine welcomed roughly 8,000 visitors during its summer season; about half, some 4,000, stopped by the museum.

 

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Roxy Theatre – an old brick and tin building with a Roxy marquis sign and a sign reading Thank you for supporting the Roxy

Revive the Roxy gets support to purchase Montem building

The Revive the Roxy project has received a tremendous leg up. With the support of Montem Resources and Heritage Crowsnest, the former Montem office building, an adjacent property to the theatre site in Coleman, will be incorporated into the plans and infrastructure for the theatre restoration project.

With the additional space, the Crowsnest Culture and Recreation Society (Crowsnest CanDo) hopes to accommodate certain requirements for the theatre, including additional space for guests, backstage needs and, should there be enough space, food services.

“When Montem approached us asking if we were interested in acquiring the old Montem building, it was a no-brainer on our end,” says Howard Vandenhoef, communications director for Crowsnest CanDo.

The organization has spent roughly two years working vigorously with the community to push forward the Revive the Roxy project. The primary goal is to re-establish and restore the historic Roxy Theatre into a regional performing arts centre for southwestern Alberta.

The Roxy was once a staple of the town of Coleman. Built in 1948, the quonset-style theatre was home to film showings as well as musical performances and special events. 

In 2003, the Roxy closed its doors and the building remained in limbo until Crowsnest CanDo purchased it in 2021 with the intention of creating a performing arts centre.

 

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“It is wonderful that we are able to help out the Revive the Roxy project and see our former office space in downtown Coleman transformed into an important piece of this community project,” Peter Doyle, managing director and CEO of Montem Resources, said in a press release.

The takeover of the Montem building would not have been possible without Heritage Crowsnest, a newly formed organization that aims to preserve the stories and sites that make Crowsnest Pass such a unique, history-rich area. 

The group’s goal is to act as a social enterprise for culture and heritage in Crowsnest Pass, to preserve, restore and share local history.

With the aid of Heritage Crowsnest, it is expected that the addition of the Montem building will save the Revive the Roxy project an estimated $400,000.

“You revive the Roxy and you change Coleman. The impact that it would have on the main street would be extraordinary,” says Chris Matthews, CEO of Heritage Crowsnest.

“Ultimately, Heritage Crowsnest came in and we said we’d purchase the building for the purposes of the Roxy project and secure it for them so that their fundraising efforts don’t get bogged down by the financial strain.”

The addition of the Montem building will significantly help the project along, but there is a lot of work still to be done. The project is currently in the planning and design phase as those working diligently to revive the theatre begin renovating and reshaping the Roxy.

To learn more about Revive the Roxy and how you can help the project, visit www.crowsnestcando.ca.

 

Two men in dark shirts smile and shake hands. To their left is an older man with glasses wearing a tan shirt and dark pants, and dark-haired woman is on their right
A handshake sealed the deal. From left are Crowsnest CanDo chairman Tim Juhlin, Heritage Crowsnest CEO Chris Matthews, Nathan Archer, Montem Resources manager of exploration and field operations, and Karlie Stella, Montem’s manager of administration, human resources and treasury. Photo courtesy of Chris Matthews

 

 

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