Time for a great adventure

By Submitted

July 7, 2016 12:00 AM

This old-style tractor is one of many, many interesting items to be found when you explore Lloydminster's past.

Search through the journals of the men who served militarily in the 1885 North West Rebellion, just north of Lloydminster, and one fact becomes abundantly clear; nearly all of them joined up because they believed it was their last chance for a great adventure. 
This summer’s vacation could be your great adventure too by exploring our past and discovering the extent of our unique heritage that makes Canada such a great country. 
Your experience searching out the story can even be done in segments; being done on a few weekends, or as a whole, in a single trip in an economical vacation without involving extensive travel since it nearly all occurred within a day’s drive, here in west central Saskatchewan.
Beginning with last July 1 weekend, the Frenchman Butte Heritage Center opens every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to welcome summer visitors to their complex of about eight exhibit buildings, crammed full of displays from the early west. 
The center also has a 10-site R.V. Park that features 10 level, pull-through sites with water and electrical services for the R.V.er, a convenient place to stay in a central location while exploring the nearby historic sites of The Pursuit of Big Bear Campaign; Frog Lake, Fort Pitt, and Frenchman Butte National Historic Battle Site, as well as Steele Narrows Provincial Historic Park Battle site to the north. 
There has been a huge effort made in renovating buildings and displays at the Heritage Center.
The Log Cabin Tea-house is open daily for snacks and refreshments as well as acting as a gathering spot over coffee for lively history discussions. 
Significant enhancements were also completed at many of the nearby historic sites with Frog Lake receiving an interpretive walking trail and Fort Pitt an extensive upgrading with the two forts’ buildings outlined with identifying timbers and story boards summarizing the features. 
At the Battle of Frenchman Butte there still exist the original foxhole style rifle-pits, dug by Cree Warriors in their successful defense against the Alberta Field Force under General T.B. Strange on the morning of May 28, 1885. 
The different features of these sites form the basis for the many stories that relate to each of these historical events. 
Many of these details you unveil will be enthralling and heart-warming, while others feature the macabre.
Most tales, though, are jam-filled with suspense, intrigue and of course action, and all true. 
Our early west was not dull! 
You’ll discover men like General T.B.“Jingo” Strange, Sam Steele N.W.M.P., William Fury N.W.M.P.; names exemplifying their very character.
How about a real self-proclaimed gun-fighting Preacher William McKay; or a teenage Annie Oakley style sharpshooting frontierswoman, Amelia McLean? 
All were involved in those turbulent days, right here just north of Lloydminster.
The Frenchman Butte Heritage Center enthusiastically welcomes new members and volunteers to the museum’s daily summertime operation.
There is no need for experience, part of the fun is learning what the way of life was like in the olden days and I am continually amazed at the people who visit our facility. 
They come from all over the world, many with amazing backgrounds or motives for their own great adventure, and all are a pleasure with which to associate. 
One never knows just who will walk in the door of the Tea-house next. 
Come join us, its great fun and the expectations are, you only need do what you feel comfortable doing, we demand nothing.
At the Frenchman Butte Heritage Center opened the completely new mini-golf course .
A number of new displays are being unveiled as well, including one of early frontier buckskin dress of the first explorers like Henry Kelsey, a newly constructed horse drawn wagon, and early farm machinery sprinkled about the fresh landscaping.
Food and drink is available at a hot dog stand,  and the exhibit buildings are open for a free inspection.
We welcome you and admission is by donation in aid of our continuing improvement program.
Web-sites: www.frenchmanbuttemuseum.ca, www.stwalburg.ca, www.trailsof1885.ca.
Frenchman Butte Museum,  1-306-344 4478, Order Circle Northwest, 1-306-248-3232.

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