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Friday, 14 July 2017 07:00

Crowsnest Pass welcomes another historic gem

Written by  Demi Knight
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The official ribbon cutting of the new Alberta Police Provincial Barracks and Exhibit. The official ribbon cutting of the new Alberta Police Provincial Barracks and Exhibit. Photo courtesy Sam Schofield

The Crowsnest Pass is home to a new and exciting exhibit, which opened this June to tell the important and unique stories of the province’s history.

The Alberta Provincial Police Barracks Building and exhibit was officially opened this summer in celebration of this year being the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Alberta Provincial Police. 
The museum which works to tell the tales of the police throughout the years is packed with character and a rich history the community is excited to share.
Chris Matthews, executive director of the Crowsnest Museum, says he has a deep fondness for this new museum and the stories it shares.
“I love that we get to tell the amazing Alberta Provincial Police history, our own infamous rum-running history as well as feature a beautifully-restored historic building, which the building becomes a character in our story,” he says.
The APP Barracks and exhibit works to educate people on the Alberta Provincial Police from 1917 to 1932 who were responsible for enforcing prohibition within its early days. These barracks have been restored to their former glory in hopes to provide the full experience of seeing what the small town used to look like when the APP served the public in the prohibition era.
However, it’s not just the restored building this site has to offer, but also a new exhibit that works to tell one of the most arguably famous stories of the town’s past.
The infamous Rum Running murder which featured the shooting of Constable Steven Lawson takes centre stage at this new exhibit, allowing viewers to visit the place of his shooting, while also learning about the story that followed including the trial, sentencing and hanging of the accused shooter, Florence Losandro.
During the grand opening, which took place June 29, people dove into the fun of celebrating the Alberta police services with a colour party and parade that played pipe and drum music into the afternoon. 
Tours of the new museum and restored building were offered to attendees in the late afternoon, while refreshments and entertainment were carried alongside the festivities throughout the day.
As the sun began to set on the historic day, a free concert kept the spirits of all those in attendance high as music from John Wort Hannam danced into the night.
Although the official opening of the Alberta Provincial Police Barracks and Exhibition took place June 29, the celebrations continued into the next two days, with people from across the province coming together to celebrate not only the 100th anniversary of the Provincial Police, but also the country’s 150th.
“We had approximately 300 people at the grand opening and on Canada Day, we had over 800 go through the Barracks and Museum,” says Matthews of the weekend’s overall events.
Over the following weekend, the museum collaborated with the community to provide a number of activities for the public to enjoy, from the annual Coleman pub crawl and beer gardens, to pancake breakfasts, a parade and a pig roast as well as tours through the new facility. People came out by the hundreds to the Crowsnest Museum and Alberta Provincial Police Barracks to celebrate their country’s history as well as the opening of another historic gem. 
“I think the new Alberta Provincial Police Barracks is a great addition to the community and offers visitors and residents the opportunity to take in a world-class museum exhibit within our wonderful small town,” says Matthews of the new exhibit and restored building.
The new APP Barracks and exhibit is owned and operated in part by the Crowsnest Historical Society and is located on their grounds within the Crowsnest Pass for all members of the public to visit and enjoy, whilst learning about another slice of history the small town has to offer.

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